Homemade Everyday Pizza

You know what I mean. It’s Wednesday.  You’re trying to save money so no eating out, the leftovers are looking nasty (even though they’re not) and you’re hangry because you’ve spent the last three hours doing hard labor in the yard.  So what do you do?  Make a pizza!

Whoa, whoa! you’re thinking.  Glenda, we’re hungry and want to eat.  We don’t have the time nor energy.  And I respond with, Surprisingly, yes you do.  I don’t especially like to cook and when I do, I try to make it as quick as possible, unless it’s a Julia Child recipe; then, I plan for that weeks in advance.  I know I ain’t making it out of there under four hours.  So, if this is your approach to dinner, then this recipe will definitely be right up your alley!

Point made.

Recipe ~

DOUGH:

1 C.                        warm water

1 pkg.                    active dry yeast OR 2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp.                     sugar

1 tsp.                     salt

2 TBSP.                 oil

2 ¼ C.                   flour

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water.  Sprinkle a scant amount of sugar over the top to help the yeast bloom.  While this is happening, gather together the other ingredients and put in the same bowl.  Stir vigorously with a sturdy spoon 20 times.  If the dough gets too thick, get your hands in there and do some mix/kneading for about half a minute.  Let the dough rest for at LEAST five minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°.

While the dough is resting, make your sauce and prepare your toppings.

SAUCE:

8 oz.                       tomato sauce

1 tsp.                       salt

1 ½ TBSP.             fresh oregano OR 2 tsp. dried oregano (I use dried – easier!)

¼ tsp.                     garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.  See what I mean?  Easy.

Now that your dough has rested for a bit, shape on a greased 15” pizza round, or pat into a greased 9 x 13” pan.  I like fluting my edges, similar to a pie crust, just so I have a kind of “handle” to hold my pizza in my hands.  Now add the sauce and your desired toppings, pop in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.

Done.

Sleeper

When growing up I remember all tomatoes were red, all lettuce was iceberg, Oscar Meyer bologna was king, and white bread, enriched with vitamins and minerals, was good for you.  Then in the 80’s, we started hearing about cholesterol, both high and low-density lipoproteins, saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, (no, trans-fat wasn’t in the public consciousness yet!) and carbohydrates.  There were other buzzwords circulating at that time, but I won’t belabor my point….too much.  If you all remember, carbs were king and feeling the “burn” while you exercised was the only way to go.

sleeper

Love this house! I think it’s somewhere in Arizona.

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He always knew how to make use of his – ahem – less than attractive face.

I’ve used the title “Sleeper“, a great Woody Allen movie, because the nutrition information seemed to jive with what is happening today.  The main character is, without his consent or knowledge, put in cryogenic sleep because something went wrong during a routine surgery he was having, and wakes up to a dystopian world 200 years in the future.  He is awakened to find cream pies, cigars and cigarettes are considered to be healthful.  In one scene, Woody is panicking because he’s been told the reason why he was thawed (you have to see the movie!) and one of the doctors who was responsible for bringing him out of the freeze, lights a cigarette and hands it to him, telling him to take the smoke deep into his lungs.  Hahaha!

My point?  Eat what YOU want, exercise in a way that makes YOU feel good and get all the sleep YOU need.  Just be certain to maintain a weight and state of health that makes YOU feel good.  You’ll know you’ve hit the spot if you aren’t prescribed a crapload of maintenance drugs to stay alive because you’re overweight and don’t exercise.  Oh, wait – that sounds like me.

Excuse me, I think I’ll go make myself a bologna sandwich on white bread…

Thanksgiving rant and a DIY all-purpose cleaner – a twofer!

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Even in the midst of our anticipation, I am seeing all this funk that must be cleaned!

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Slumbering peacefully.

I hope everyone had a great turkey/tofurkey day!  I need to make it plain that I am not ungrateful for all that I have.  I feel blessed that I live indoors and have food in the pantry and am able to make a feast of such epic proportions every year.  I haven’t always been so blessed.  But that’s another entry.

Having said that, I must now bash these beautiful sentiments with ingratitude and share a wonderfully inexpensive DIY all-purpose cleaner that helps with all the nasty clean-up!

Thanksgiving is not so much about the wonderful meal, in my opinion, and I believe I’m not alone, but about the clean up.  It is the North American tradition that the men, children and elderly sit in the living room, sitting room, parlor, or what have you, and watch football and eat snacks while the capable women work in the kitchen and prepare what could be the most time and labor intensive meal of the year.  And as the men, children and elderly are sleeping off the somnolent effects of overeating, the equally tired capable women are cleaning up in the same kitchen what could be the most time and labor intensive mess of the year!  I know, I know, one would say clean as you go.  And believe me, I do.  Really.  When the turkey is on the table, all the cooking dishes are already cleaned.  Yet here I am, another year, looking at another gigantic mess.

First load down...

First load down…

A new tradition I have seen crop in the last 20 or so years is just to chuck out all the work and let somebody else slave in the kitchen – right on!  We have tried that on several occasions.  The results – we generally all sit for an hour or so in an overcrowded restaurant waiting area, are seated and served by the overworked, resentful staff and receive food that isn’t so special.  Yikes.  At first, we thought this was an anomaly.  We tried it again another year, and have discovered similar results.  One year we actually ended at the fair dining establishment of Carl’s Jr. because every other place was packed to the gills.  It wasn’t so bad, except they didn’t include my order.  *sigh*

So, in the spirit of “God helps those who help themselves” (who coined that anyway?), I decided to add an easy, cheap inexpensive, and effective all-purpose cleaner.  I nabbed it from Megan Card but wanted it to smell citrusy.  I just happened to have some essential oil on hand, but I believe this addition can make it a little less economical; however, I also use it for making laundry detergent, so it works out for me.  For the original instructions, follow the link.

Here is all you need:
 
1 spray bottle

Being good and cheerful!

Being grateful and cheerful!

1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap 
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2 tablespoons of vinegar
2 cups of water
8 – 10 drops of essential oil (I used doTerra Wild Orange)
 
Mix the dish soap, baking soda, and water in your spray bottle. Let the baking soda dissolve fully before adding in the vinegar (You want to avoid a reaction with the baking soda and vinegar. Otherwise you will have a nice science project for your kids to observe on your hands!) Then add 8 – 10 drops of the essential oil scent of your choice.  Once you have added all the ingredients, screw on the lid to the spray bottle (be sure the nozzle is in the OFF position) and shake lightly. 
 
*Tip- If you notice that your spray bottle has pressure building inside it, unscrew the nozzle slightly to allow some of the pressure to release and then screw it back on.
So I’ve kind of redeemed my rant by helping out with instructions for a good cleaning product; however, I imagine my Thanksgivings will be spent working in the kitchen until I reach the “elderly” age, when I will then bitch about how old I am!  Enjoy!

Ladies and Gentlemen, once again, Julia Child

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I think I must have used every pot in the kitchen!

I did warn in an earlier blog that I may be reviewing recipes in Julia’s famous “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cookbook and posting my results, and here we are.  I made Daube de Boeuf several weeks ago, but haven’t got around to blogging because I just finished cleaning up the kitchen after making it -!  (joke)

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Marinade

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No shortcut here!

First, I was surprised that the beef was marinated.  I don’t know what to expect of French cuisine, but for some reason, I thought marinating was more of an American thing.  But what are most Americans today but displaced peoples from other countries?  Of course, there was much chopping, slicing and prepping and I realized later on that I could have taken a short cut with the tomatoes, but as always, I wanted to be true to the recipe and blanched, peeled and seeded the tomatoes.

 Now I shall contradict myself.  Julia Child seems to like boiling her bacon first.  In all the recipes I have made that use bacon, she always wants you to boil it for at least 10 minutes before using.  Does anyone know why?  I have never done that and I’ve always been very happy with the results.  I know that when I lived in England, their bacon was thicker and, well, more flavorful than the garden variety one finds at  American stores.  (I do miss that!)  Is French bacon saltier or something?  Anyone?  So I don’t always stay true to the recipe.  sigh

I also did not lard the meat because she didn’t insist, but the option was there.  She describes this term as inserting larding pork or blanched bacon (there we are again!) through each piece of meat.  Considering that it’s a casserole, and the beef is cut into 2 1/2″ pieces, larding would have taken way too long.  Probably why she didn’t insist on it!

This recipe didn’t seem so long to prepare as other main dishes from this book, only about two hours.  That’s not including the marinading time, which was at least three hours.  However, the amount of cookware involved in the prep seemed to be right on target with everything else I have made!  It truly did take awhile to clean up, and that’s even counting the clean as you go system.  So total time spent on this wonderful casserole was probably about five hours.  I cannot begin to imagine cooking from this book every night and working a full-time job such as Julie Powell did.  I am a stay at home goddess, and I find my occasional forays challenging enough!

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After cooking in the oven for three hours, the aroma suffused the house with savory deliciousness!

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Close up! I can remember the taste by looking at this….yummm.

After having said all that, I did not get any pictures of this delicious dish being plated.  I did get a few in the pot just before I started gobbling it down, but no pretty ones.  boo-hoo  Oh, well, we’ll catch it next time!   As Julia Child would say, “Bon appetit!”

What next?

Julia Child Was Wrong!

I always rinse and pat my chicken as she advised, and I clean up my kitchen with Lysol wipes, bleach spray and comet out the sink.  I’ve been doing it since I started cooking, along with millions of others.  I’m still alive and kicking.  It seems to me that if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  In this case, which is the “fixed” and which is the “broke”?

Cook of the House

I am not the cook in our family, but fortunately, we do have one.  A serious one.  My daughter Rachel researched her culinary schools and found San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy fit enough to meet her tough criteria.  At least, the curriculum as it was in 2007/2008.  After a hard day at work, literally cooking in ambient temperatures of 100°F plus (thank you California weather), she unwinds by….cooking.  On her days off, she researches new culinary methods, cookbooks and techniques.  So you understand when I say she is serious.

Being serious doesn’t mean somber.  Not in her world.  She saw these whimsical cookie cutters online and had to have them.  This is a visual document of her playing with them.  www.culinarianonsequitur.wordpress.com