Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Learned While Making Dinner

This evening, I am making this pizza with this dough for dinner.  Things I learned in the process:

  • The dough recipe attached to the first link is no bueno.  It doesn't work at all.
  • I LOVE kneading bread dough.  It's simple, it's easy, it's fun.  And it's something humans have done since the dawn of time.  I always like doing things that are basic not only to the history of the human race but to my family specifically.  I grew up making bread with me mum and I love every part of it.  
  • If you are making dough on a winter evening and need a warm place to let it rise...use the dishwasher! I ran my dishwasher right before I started cooking.  After the dough was ready, I couldn't find anywhere to put it.  I happened to brush up against my dishwasher and realized how warm and cozy it was.  So in went the covered dough.  Perfect.  It's rising as I blog. 
  • Though I don't consider myself a chef, I am getting better at it.  All my life, I have been the one who has to follow a recipe step by step.  I measure everything exactly as written.  No flair, no improv, no risk taking.  But as I cook more, I have started deviating from the recipes (I know! right?).  Nothing big, mind you, but definitely more than I used to.  This evening's example?  The recipe calls for one clove of crushed garlic to be sprinkled on top of the pizza.  While I love garlic, I am not a fan of biting into a chunk of it.  I decided to infuse the required olive oil with the garlic so I get the flavor but not the chunks.  To those professional (Helm) chefs reading this, I know this the reinvention of the wheel, but I was proud of myself for thinking of it. 
  • No one seems to agree on how to make a margherita pizza.  Every recipe includes the same ingredients and they all start with putting olive oil on the dough and end with basil on top.  The middle part, however, is up for debate.  Do you put the mozzarella down first, or the tomatoes?  Is the parmesan sandwiched between the crust and mozzarella, or sprinkled on top of the tomatoes?  It's a mystery. 
  • I want to try a thin crust recipe next time.  It tastes good but it is thicker than I like.  I enjoy a good Italian thin crust.  Enjoying the toppings is where it's at for me, not getting full on crust.  But it's good for the first time around.