Sunday, August 5, 2007

Pass the Pizza

That might not be the purtiest pizza in the world but it is, by golly, right up there with the tastiest. That is, if you like white garlic sauce and spicy chicken. And I do. I really do. I also like the way the recipe I found for crust just made a great timing framework for everything else -- including occasional contemplative coffee breaks. It's hard to enjoy cooking if you're so rushed you can't take time to smell the spices.

PARTY OF THE FIRST PART -- CRUST: In a small bowl, put 6 tablespoons of warm water and dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in it. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon yeast over the top and let it sit in the sunshine to get all bubbly and frothy.

In a larger bowl, put 1 cup of flour and stir in 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dried sweet basil and 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning. Make a well in the center, pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit and sip while waiting on the yeast.

When the yeast mixture is ready, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to it, then pour the whole thing into the flour mixture. Sing "I've Got Friends In Low Places" to keep the rhythm while you beat the dough into submission. It should be cleaning the bowl by the time you hit the chorus for the third time. Put a cover on it and set it somewhere warm to rise. You should have some more coffee until you quit panting.

PARTY OF THE SECOND PART -- TOPPING STUFF: Whatever pleases you is what should go on top of a pizza, of course. Second choice is whatever pleases you out of what you happen to have on hand. I diced up 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast and quick-fried it in a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled it with a generous portion of McCormick's taco seasoning mix. Put it in a bowl to cool.

The only cheese I had on hand was cheddar but I concluded that was okay, given the Mexican flavor of the chicken. Shredded up a very generous cup or so of it. Then I sliced and diced some of that wonderful garden-fresh real tomato. Thought about dicing up some sweet Walla Walla onion but forgot.

PARTY OF THE THIRD PART -- WHITE GARLIC SAUCE: Take a couple of fat cloves of garlic, peel and smoosh and mince them. Get out the frying pan again, put the heat on medium and plop in half a stick of butter (2 ounces) and, as it's melting, toss in the garlic. Stir everything around a bit, then add 2 heaping tablespoons flour. Stir and stir and stir and stir. Add 1 cup of milk and use the whisk to keep the sauce from lumping up. Season with kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste. Turn off heat when it thickens. How thick? I dunno -- thick enough that it won't run off the edge of the pizza but not so thick that it could pass for a second crust.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees fairy height. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead about a minute. Shape into a ball, cover and let rest about 10 minutes. Might as well have another mug of coffee while you're waiting.

PARTY OF THE FOURTH PART -- GETTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Roll out the dough and lay it in the pizza pan. Mourn the fact that you can't seem to get the knack of spinning it around on your fist to spread it out. That would be so cool. Spread the white garlic sauce around on the dough, leaving a margin around the edge because it suddenly occurs to you that you need to roll the edge a little bit to contain the filling. Artistically sprinkle the sauce with the colorful bits of tomato and chicken and then cover it all up with the shredded cheese. Do a sorta-kinda roll all around the edge of the crust and shrug. It'll have to do.

Put the pizza in the oven, bottom shelf, and set the timer for 15 minutes. Ovens vary so you might need to go 20 minutes. As it happened, the 15 seemed perfect.

When the pizza comes out of the oven, try not to sob with pride. Take pictures, slice pizza, take more pictures. Eat some of the pizza. Moan with ecstasy.

See those two slices below? They don't exist any more. Neither do two more slices I didn't bother to photograph. I think my current level of satiation is pretty much at Overkill so I'll save the rest for a midnight snack. I almost said "midnight mass." That works. Good food is a lot like a religious experience.


John Bailey said...

"not so thick that it could pass for a second crust" Delicious, Dee, in so many ways! Now, I wonder if I can persuade Graham that we need pizza for dinner tonight... :-)

bb said...

Pass me a slice please. :-)

Stephanie said...