Hello! I know you haven’t seen me here much these last few months, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been in my kitchen. I’ve said it before: it’s my happy place. My oasis. When there’s nonsense going on, I retreat to the place where nothing can go wrong, and where I can get a few minutes of solitude. Okay, maybe you are looking at that last sentence and thinking, “But everything can go wrong in the kitchen!” Sure, flour can be spilled, dough can be too sticky, crust can get burned, but really, is it the end of the world? No. Is it a disaster? Never. Unless you’re slicing a digit and bleeding all over the place, or burning yourself on a hot pan (all things I can proudly say I’ve done, more than once,) mistakes in the kitchen aren’t tragic. So just take a deep breath and embrace the fact that you can be creative, you can feed yourself and people you care about wholesome food, and it’s going to taste damn good in the end. Oh, and that solitude? Sometimes it happens, and pushing dough to the edges of a pan is meditative, and other times I’ve got whining kids cranking out saying they’re hungry, or that their brother was mean. But truthfully, just being in the kitchen calms me down, and my reactions are kinder there.
So what have I been cooking? I’ve made 9 pizzas in the last seven days. Yes, nine. Four had peach, basil and homemade ricotta, two were avocado, corn and basil, a pesto pepperoni and a standard pepperoni, and then one with garlic oil, figs, mozzarella, Maldon sea salt and a splash of balsamic. I just got on a kick, and I can’t seem to stop. Here’s the thing: pizza is really easy. It’s one of those tricks, that once you learn how to do it, you wonder why you never did it before. And you can throw anything you want on top, and most of the time it works. This week, they all worked. And they worked so well that I just kept repeating them.
I’ve been making my own dough for a few years now. I’ve tried tons of recipes, but my all time favorite is from the cookbook and blog, Dinner: A Love Story, by Jenny Rosenstrach. Her recipe is pretty much Jim Lahey’s no-knead dough recipe, and it’s a winner….