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.

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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”?

Julia Child’s Coq Au Vin

Like so many people my age, we were aware of Julia Child in a peripheral sort of way.  We knew she was a woman who cooked and had television shows and quite a number of cookbooks.  The term “foodie” had not yet been invented, and the culinary arts weren’t the enormous enterprise they have become today.  (Does anyone remember the Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr?)  It wasn’t until I saw “Julie/Julia” that I had to run out and buy Julia Child’s co-written premier cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” at the tender age of 47.  Unlike Julie Powell, I have not, and will not repeat her project of cooking every recipe in the book; however,  I have dabbled in a few chapters here and there.  I now know how to make an omelet, something I had been making totally wrong before.  I can whip up a mean tomato sauce that works on spaghetti as well as chili (I can’t think of anything French that I have needed it for!)  I have also served her famous Bouef  Bourguignon and found it most tasty.  Her mayonnaise recipe is wonderful and the directions that she gives are so intrinsically….her you can almost imagine she’s talking directly to you.  I suppose it was this running narrative throughout the book that helped make it such a big hit.  Well, that and the good food.

Anyway, I spent four hours in the kitchen concocting her Coq au Vin.  I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms, but it didn’t seem to matter.  The sauce was delicious!  Even the onions were cooked in a special way for this recipe, which, incidentally, is the same onion recipe she employs in her Bouef Bourguignon recipe.  I did double the amount so my husband could enjoy this for his dinner away from home.  And I did use the instructions she gave for an electric skillet, because the amount we had was so huge it wouldn’t fit in a regular 10 or 12-inch pan.  I may have misread the recipe, but I don’t think so.  About halfway through her directions, she totally drops the ball on any electric skillet temperatures, so I had to figure it out myself.  I was capable, of course, but if I had been a newbie cook and was really needing some numbers, this might not have turned out so well.

All in all, it was a good experience.  If you’re looking for some old-school recipes that were devised before such widespread worries as calories, cholesterol, carbohydrates, etc., nip on down to your local bookstore or peruse your online book purveyor and grab this gem.  Be prepared to spend some time in the kitchen, but also be prepared for callouses on your back as you pat yourself for creating such wonderfully rich and satisfying food!

P.S. – I will probably add a few more Julia Child recipes to my blog, as she has become a fave in my kitchen!