COOKING ADVENTURES #4: HOMEMADE PIZZA
Good evening, readers!
I’m sitting here in my computer chair with a full stomach and a slight case of indigestion. It’s been over an hour since I finished eating my homemade pizza… and I’ve got to say that I am extremely pleased with the way this cooking adventure turned out. This marks one victory for the month of January after three disastrous creations. However, if this heartburn continues, I may have to amend that statement…
I chose to make an Italian sausage and green pepper pizza for this week’s adventure. I will first note that it has been over ten years since I’ve made a homemade pizza. And I wouldn’t even count the one I made then as “homemade” necessarily. It was in a Home Economics class in middle school and I was partnered with three other people. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do much other than wash the dishes and put the thing in the oven. So, in spirit, this is really my first time making a pizza.
Now, other information you may or may not be aware of. I work a full time job on top of blogging, writing, and marketing. I come home every night and the last thing I want to do is slave over a hot oven attempting to make something purported to be “easy.” This is me we’re talking about here; the one who couldn’t cook buckwheat pancakes, the one who can’t make pudding from a box, the one who accidentally welded a tea kettle to a burner… Yes. These are only a few of the things I’ve done. I’ve gotten into the habit these last couple years of cooking frozen dinners, notably pizza. I rarely order out. This week, I figured I’d try to nix all of my frozen dinners and stick with fresher ingredients.
The first thing that I did was to heat up a pan and pre-cook the sausage. I pulled out my expensive saucier pan, which I do all my cooking in… (and yes, I know that you’re not supposed to do that in a saucier pan. Go easy on me, people.) I dribbled some oil in it and put the heat on low. Next, I pulled out a cutting board. Now, we have our first issue.
I have four cutting boards. One is about the size of a kumquat, two are slightly larger flexible cutting boards, though still not large enough to cut anything bigger than a green pepper, and the last is a titanic cutting board about half the size of my stove. I should have probably put the two flexible cutting boards together. Instead, I decided to use Monstro-board to cut my sausage on. And because my knives are not sharp, I didn’t quite ‘cut’ the sausage. I pretty much ripped it into pieces too large to properly digest (as I am now discovering).
After that fiasco was over and the sausage was in the pan, I took a moment to wash the dishes from my excursion earlier in the day of making egg salad (and I made that with no issue!) I discovered to my disappointment that the Monstro-board is bigger than my sink. It required creative washing to clean it properly. After the sausage was cooked, I tried to get it out of the pan with a wooden spatula and onto a plate. I say “try” because naturally, there were escapees. Two pieces flung themselves across my kitchen in an attempt to get away and became cat food for the lemon-eyed demon as a result.
Next comes the pizza crust. I was very smart this week, folks. I didn’t buy dough that required rising or any such thing because I know I would have done something wrong. I, instead, bought a Pilsbury Pizza Crust. I trust the Pilsbury Dough Boy. He’s one of the few childhood commercial icons that has not failed me. Ronald McDonald is a clown, so, he’s automatically an enemy. The Golden Crisp Bear lovingly advertised cereal that tasted like someone had dipped coffee beans in maple syrup and then smoked a cigar over them, and how can I forget Mr. Owl from the Tootsie Pops commercials. Biggest liar ever.
The dough can was one of the ones that you’re supposed to peel the outside wrapper off of. As a result, it randomly popped open in the middle and scared the living daylights out of me. Once I’d gotten the dough laid out on the pizza stone, I realized I had a rather small square pizza. And it was on a round pizza stone. Go figure.
I rolled up the edges for a crust, then pulled out some pizza sauce and put a few good dumps of it on. Then I spread it around with the back of a spoon for even coverage. Next, I sprinkled on a hefty dose of mild cheddar cheese. As I came to the end of pockmarking the pizza with the cooked sausage, I realized I hadn’t cut up the green pepper yet. I pulled out my cutting board approximately the size of a kumquat and using the dull santoku knife, and chopped half of it up (rather clumsily I might add) before raining that down on the pizza as well.
Preheating the oven to 425 degrees, I shoved the pizza stone in for fifteen minutes and sighed. It was one of those rare occasions when I’ve been satisfied with the look of the food before it goes in the oven. Fifteen minutes later, the heavenly aroma of sausage and peppers had overtaken my apartment. I pulled the pizza out of the oven and nearly died of a heart attack just looking at the thing. For once, there was nothing wrong with it. It had turned out okay. And I was glad that it did. My mom had come over for dinner so it was one of the few times I’d seriously needed my cooking adventure to be edible.
We each had about two slices and I’ve got to say, I kind of wish I’d only had one. That was probably the most filling pizza I’ve had in a long while! When I buy frozen pizzas, they are never thick enough or large enough slices to really satisfy my stomach. This was so satisfying that it’s now almost two hours later and my stomach is STILL full… and still upset from indigestion…
Despite that, I will finish the night off by saying that I will probably try to perfect my pizza recipe in the future so that the stomach torturing after-effects don’t last so long. It was fun to be able to make it and it satisfied my taste buds for the night.
On next weeks Cooking Adventures blog, I’ll be trying to tackle Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. It sounds decadent, delicious, and decidedly dangerous… but I’m excited for the possibility that it might just turn out the way it is supposed to. Stay tuned for the first Cooking Adventures blog of February!