Welcome to Saturday's Potluck

Main dish for this week is pizza. The worlds most popular fusion food. An evolution of historical Mediterranean flatbreads, adding mozzarella made from a water buffalo herd imported from India in the 7th century and the fruit of a poisonous plant from the Americas. In 1879 a pizza with the three colors of the Italian flat red (tomato), green (basil) and white (mozzarella) was selected by Queen Margherita as her favorite pizza. The classic cheese pizza was born and publicized

The first pizza franchise Shakey's, started in 1954, had an outlet in my hometown. Customers packed together along 3 lengthwise rows of tables with benches, pitchers of beer for the adults and root beer for us kids. When I applied for an after school job in high school the tables had been turned 90 degrees into 5 short rows with chairs. Individual tables would not happen for another decade.

All newbies ended their shift hand washing stacks of pizza pans with baked cheese. Learned to wield a french knife, work in a 500 degree oven with pizza paddle and handling drunks. It was the first job I quit. Arranged with the owner/Boss several weeks in advance to change my schedule to accommodate my obligation of participating in the local fair. On the last day of work before fair the Boss changed his mind and said if I did not show up on Thursday there was no longer a job. Told his I would finish the shift and it would be my last day. Ran into his ex-wife years later, she was still laughing at his surprise.

It turned out fine, I made enough money at the livestock auction and cash payments for winning different competitions to pay the first year of college tuition. Best lesson, do not allow yourself to become financially trapped in a job.

________

What's on your mind today?

________


The Weekly Recipe

Primarily bake at home now to avoid chemical additives in dough and toppings.

Basic Bread Machine Pizza Dough (salt and sugar deliberately left out)
Add in this order to bread machine
1 cup water
1 egg
3 cups flour (often equal portions Bob's Red Mill wheat pastry flour & whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp yeast
opt 1/2 tsp gluten (creates a more flexible crust - more New York Style)

Use dough setting, most machines 1 1/2 hours, will continue to rise if not removed and may make a mess. When I worked at a more normal job, set the machine on delay start for a loaf of bread. If late the worst outcome was fresh baked bread bread for dinner instead of pizza.

Divide the dough into 4 portions. Freeze 3 for another time. If softer crust is desired press into a circular shape on a baking pad. Rolling the dough creates a crisper crust. If adventurous toss the dough for the finished size.

Oven 425 degrees. 10 to 12 minutes on pan, then slide onto ceramic stone kept on the lowest rack in the oven for 4 minutes until cheese bubbly and bottom of the crust browned. Times can vary with size of pizza, crust thickness and volume of toppings.

Use same crust for calzones and stromboli.

Toppings use your imagination and past experience in pizzerias. Favorite cheese is BelGioioso fresh mozzarella, often buy ahead and keep in the freezer.

________

Contributed last week by on the cusp

I can make a from scratch crust. I can make a from scratch sauce. But why, when I can by imported Italian sauce, and get wonderful, thin crusts from NJ? (Every Italian I have ever known was from NJ!)
Mamma Marie is the NJ crust company's product.
(In Italy, you only get served crusts with basil, other spices, upon request. Order it there, it is thin, and is very plain.)
Now, sauce. Spend all day, or 30 minutes making your own. Or try Rao brand, imported from Italy, using Italian grown tomatoes. Unless you can get tomatoes from Italy, process them, make your sauce recipe, you can't compete on even terms with this sauce.
They make a general pizza sauce, and a Margherita sauce. I prefer the Margherita, although the pizza sauce is good.
Now, fix it up with whatever you like, and bake it on a Presto Pizzazz.
Guess where I found this stuff? The sauce, the crust, and the Pizazz?
Walmart. Yep.
This is the closest I can come to what I enjoyed in Italy, Croatia, or anywhere in the world.
I take credit for the accidental find of the crust and sauce. I give my fiance full credit for the Pizazz.
The last thing I can say about pizzas is that they are served everywhere. Africa, Central and S. America, Asia, Europe. Nothing says goofy American Tourist like ordering a pizza for lunch. It a dinner meal, meant to strike up conversations, and be a time when the food preparer doesn't have to go back and forth from the kitchen for more of this or that.
Everyone I have suggested the Rao to has become addicted.
There ya go!

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QMS's picture

'farmers' pizza -- pesto based on thin crust with lots of veggies scattered about and feta

134126030_3695193250519913_4581075443221807901_o.jpg

winter wonderland here today, about 4" fresh snow overnight
sun is breaking thru making the world bright
just above freezing, so the shoveling won't be bad

Thanks for the OT SOE!

Enjoy your Saturday all!

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QMS's picture

@QMS

ten-cousins-brick-oven.jpg
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lotlizard's picture

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studentofearth's picture

@lotlizard Italian, New York, Chicago or California. All or additional variations?

Any long-time resident of the west coast pizzerias know California style was not a unique creation by southern California chefs in the 1980's. It is adaptation of the western pizza chains Shakey's, Izzy's and Abby's crisp crust targeting the flavors of standard menu combinations. Sweet, salty and with tomato undertones is Hawaiian Pizza - pizza sauce, cheese, Canadian bacon and pineapple chunks cooked together. When made perfect tastes like a pizza sweet barbecue sauce.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

lotlizard's picture

@studentofearth  
place is Johnny’s in Prospect Park.

https://johnnyspizzadelco.com/

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studentofearth's picture

@lotlizard free of food market preferences of American soldiers, expats and tourists.

Does Johnny's use California style black olives or green? The first pizza I ordered in Connecticut was covered in green olives to my surprise.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

lotlizard's picture

@studentofearth  
Green olives? Only in salads.

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@studentofearth
My middle grandson's favorite.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

lotlizard's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness  
He later clarified that he was Just Kidding and conceded that he had let himself get carried away with rhetorical excess.

https://www.qwant.com/?q=iceland%20president%20pineapple%20pizza&t=web

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@lotlizard

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

snoopydawg's picture

@lotlizard

It wouldn’t be a joke if I said it. Pineapple on pizza
. For gawd’s sake why ruin it? Smile

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Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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snoopydawg's picture

@QMS

Doesn’t that get in your mouth? I’d have to pick most of the veggies off. I’m such a picky eater I drove my mom nuts and even though she made me eat stuff that got in my mouth I refused after 1 bite. Other than that it looks great!

Thumbs up dude!

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Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

E9C51B0A-05F9-4128-8CB6-228B891C477D.jpeg

studentofearth's picture

@QMS daytime temp projected in low 40's so no shoveling today.

Would not mind sitting next to a heated brick pizza oven right now, enjoying a crisp pesto pizza.

Stay warm playing in the snow.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Lookout's picture

for keto peoples...cauliflower crust pizza. Sounds weird, but tastes great.

Buy cauliflower rice or grate two cups of cauliflower.
Steam or microwave till soft.
I put it in a colander lined with a clean dish towel.
Use towel to press and squeeze out water.
Add cooked cauliflower to one cup of Parmesan cheese.
Add a good shake of crushed red pepper.
Mix with a well beaten egg.
Spoon out on a parchment paper lined pan.
Shape your crust how you like....round, square?...to about 1/4 inch thick with a spoon

Pop in a 400 F oven for about 20 minutes till a least the edges brown.

Top with your favorite ingredients, and reheat till done to your liking.

I used to make a wheat flour crust (using yeast), and modified that recipe from the old "Joy of Cooking" pizza dough. It was good too.

As to sides...we like a fresh salad with our pizza...typically with an olive oil and quality vinegar dressing. And of course a glass of wine!

Happy cooking and dining everyone!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

studentofearth's picture

@Lookout Parmesan cheese. I will need to try this recipe and add a few toppings.

Joy of Cooking an essential on my shelf. Yeast dough is so adaptable. Ground flour is the compost, seed with yeast add moisture. let grow. Use the other ingredients and temperature to alter speed of growth and texture. A good pounding simply helps it rise a little higher.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

@studentofearth

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

studentofearth's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness Not the stuff (is it cheese?) in the cardboard shaker can with anti-caking added for one's dining pleasure. Smile

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

mimi's picture

lesson from your essay is just this:

do not allow yourself to become financially trapped in a job.

Yes, yes, yes. This is in the mail to my son. It needs courage to quit, but without quitting there is no new beginning. So...

Wish you all luck and lots of pizza. For me getting a pizza into the oven, means I am tired and have no fun to do from the scratch cooking. Never made a pizza from scratch. Always just the lazy, boring pizzas you can buy here out of the freezers in the stores. Can't eat them anymore.

I miss the fish market and the MD blue crabs in Washington DC. I always cooked them my way from scratch. Times bygone. I stop here otherwise I start to cry.

Have a good weekend all.

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"heh, as they say, if you don't dig the blues, you got a hole in your soul" - JS

studentofearth's picture

@mimi Locally the increasing population and pollution impacted opportunities of wild foraging. Really miss the summers of staying on the fishing boat, dropping a crab pot off the stern while tied to the dock and cooking fresh dungeness crab for dinner.

Frozen cheese pizza livened up with fresh herbs and onions from the garden always a treat.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

@mimi

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

mimi's picture

time the bird flue virus H5N8 has been found in humans. Russia Reports First Cases of H5N8 Bird Flu in Humans

So no more eating chicken or half boiled eggs. Hallelujah. How are your veggies growing in your victory gardens?

I mean Lord have mercy.

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"heh, as they say, if you don't dig the blues, you got a hole in your soul" - JS

Azazello's picture

Did you learn to make those mojo potatoes ?

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It didn't have to be this way.

studentofearth's picture

@Azazello Spice mixture came in a foil bag to mix with 5 pounds of flour to coat the 1/4 inch thick potato slices and brined chicken before cooking together in a broaster. A commercial cooking unit which fries food in oil under pressure.

Benefit of the COVID pandemic a Japanese Shakey's released the recipe (go here for the recipe). Various brands of bullion taste different I am going to experiment with the spices, a little buttermilk powder added to the flour. Will try adding chicken flavor with rendered chicken fat saved from the last roasted chicken.

But this is no ordinary Shakey's-style mojo food hack: this recipe is actually shared by Shakey's Japan last March 15, 2020 via their Twitter account (in Japanese).

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Jen's picture

I love pizza, I really do. I just do not like more than a slight taste of sauce though. Just enough to say it's on there. I do not know of any good local pizza places, I usually just get dominos or pizza hut. Since pizza hut closed in my town last year, I've just been stuck with dominos. I always order with light sauce and sometimes they listen and sometimes they don't.

I remember when I was little, my parents got pizza from a place called, "pizza place" or maybe it was "pizza box". They had a rectangle pizza cut into squares and I always had to have to middle piece because no crust.

In high school, there was a place in the mall (where I went every Friday and Saturday) called "italian village". I loved that pizza. I still think it's the best pizza I've ever had even though it's been years since I've had any.

I've tried making pizza myself but it's never turned out right. Barely edible sometimes. Maybe if I had a bread machine and learned to make the crust...

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Is it great yet?

QMS's picture

@Jen

Tom Monaghan started that chain in Michigan, early 60's.
When I went to U of M early 70's it was our go to spot for
midnight munchies. He was raised in my home town - Jackson, MI
(birthplace of the Republican Party) in an orphanage.

Made out quite well. Interviewed to be crew on his yacht in
Ft. Lauderdale early 80's. Seemed he had an extreme right wing
religious bend, so passed on it.

Pigs that we were, we would take out 2 slices, double them up,
(crusts out) and voila! instant calzone. Yumm.

Another story about pizza in Rome, NY.
Sicilian town. Pizza joint - plain pizza just dough.
Wife freaked, as in downstate NY, it at least came with
sausce and cheese. Oh, that's extra said the gal.

I like mushrooms on mine Wink

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enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS

anything and everything type place and I really wanted the individual pizza, but really felt like fries too, as in sammich and ... and I told the waiter of my dilemma. He said that at the end of his shift he would get a pizza, a small salad and a side of fries, put the salad and fried on the pie, fold it like a giant taco and eat the whole thing as a unit. I decided to pass on that but did get the pie and a side of fries, and since have been known to get a small or medium to split with my wife as well as a side of fries to also split. Its a good pairing.

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@QMS

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

travelerxxx's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

My New Yorker wife says your statement is totally false. Actually, I won't repeat here what she really said about both Chicago pizza and Chicago hot dogs....

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@travelerxxx

Those Nathan's hot dogs are pretty good, but the vendors are philistines that put ketchup on them.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

travelerxxx's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

Wife swears by Zweigle’s "White Hots," but then she's a native Rochesterian. She also considers it sacreligious to put ketchup on hot dogs - mustard only ...onions, fine; sauerkraut optional. (Side note: to show you what heathens Texans are, we have seen many here slather their hot dogs in mayonnaise. Gawd!)

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studentofearth's picture

@Jen @Jen as a base is my favorite. Sometimes a brushing of garlic infused olive oil, roasted garlic paste or pesto.

As a successful, experienced cook when a recipe fails to meet expectations I blame quality of ingredients available or cooking equipment first. It may take a long time before I realize "opps" maybe forgetting the yeast was the problem. My first kitchen was small with a low ceiling. The space above the refrigerator was the perfect temperature to rise dough. Never had such a sweet spot again and have shifted to a bread machine. Using the oven is an option, but if easily distracted the dough becomes too hot, killing or inhibiting the yeast.

Type of flour makes a big difference in the texture, flavor and ease of handling raw dough. Best to start experimenting with flours readily available. The only type I do not like to use is bleached.

Keep your memory target in mind and good luck. The perfect pizza is one you enjoy and are comfortable sharing with others.

edited - spelling

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

ovals49's picture

@studentofearth
than our winter indoor temp, at least for its first rise. The second rise is usually 8-10 hrs in the refrigerator to allow the tangy bacteria to do its thing, unless I’m in a hurry.

Never had such a sweet spot again and have shifted to a bread machine.

I discovered only recently that our oven, with only its two halogen light bulbs turned on warms it about ten degrees above ambient. You might give that a try if you haven’t already. It might be just the sweet spot you were looking for.

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“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” – Albert Einstein

studentofearth's picture

@ovals49 Also been thinking about using a wooden dough bowl for the rise. A little insulation for the very small amount of heat generated by the yeast. The two concepts could work together. - Thanks

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

enhydra lutris's picture

staple here at casa lutris. I learned to appreciate fina pizza in, of all places, San Diego.

San Diego seems to have always had a vibrant Italian community, as back into wild west days even. It has its own "Little Italy" on the landward side of Harbor Drive (now probably something else) which is really Hwy 101, nestled between downtown and Old Town. Since 1946 they've had a ristorante/pizzeria named Pernicano's. When I was growing up they had another location along the coast where Pacific Beach met La Jolla. Eventually other places started making pizza, but Pernicanos was "THE" place to get pizza, especially pepperoni and mushroom (if you grew up in San Diego, margherita was a bit too bland for your taste buds).

My crust is 1 cup well fed sourdough starter + 1.25 cups all purpose flour and 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. You mix this into a dough by hand (I use a Danish style pastry whisk) and it really doesn't want to absorb all the flour, but it will, and then dump it onto a lightly floured counter and knewd the hell out of it, adding more flour as needed to get a smooth elastic dough. Make this as early in the day as you can. Put it in a lightly greased bowl and cover. (I use a bowl that comes with a tight fitting lid.) Maybe an hour before dinner you dump in onto a floured peel, deflate and lightly coat with flour and then press, roll and or toss to more or less fit the peel and transfer top a non-stick pizza pan dusted with cornmeal. Add sauce and toppings. I bake at 425 or 450, sometimes on convection, for 10 to 15 minutes and even 20, depending upon how much sauce and goodies are on it.

Our sauce is a modified version of the one in Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Bastianich.

Toppings are whatever you feel like. Usually good for 2 meals if we exercise a little restraint.

Serve with: Sangiovese, Barbera, Montepulciano, Lagrein, Chainti Classico Riserva, or other dry acidic red wine. (The Italian Reds are pretty much all acidic, which stand up to acidic tomato based dishes and also cut through heavy cream sauces.)

Weather permitting, I'll make this on a special pan on top of a stone on a Weber Kettle, or, optionally on a Weber Q - 2200 portable gas grill (crank the Q up to 500 or so).

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

@enhydra lutris going and try this dough. It has been years since tried an oil crust. The market carried one choice for olive oil, the crust was not outstanding. Should be a difference between the Wesson oil and olive oil when making pizza dough. Understanding of various grades of olive oil and local choice is much better.

In the '80 family owned Papandreas Pizza came to the area. Adult children moved up from California opening a new location. Not been able to recreate their crust, maybe this is close. Favorite spot for calzones. San Diego introduced me to fish tacos and margarita on the rocks.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

enhydra lutris's picture

@studentofearth

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

magiamma's picture

boy trabajar en el jardin con Adaberto hoy. Woohoo! Passe un buen dia, todas.

Thank you so much for this OT.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

studentofearth's picture

@magiamma the comments have been great. Smile

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

QMS's picture

The snow critter morphed today

the pizza delivery critter

IMG_2562.JPG

after getting a tip

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just for giggles

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studentofearth's picture

@QMS

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

It is pretty common to have sliced tomato on pizza toppings in Europe. He loves that.
So, we shopped for emergency supplies, and the only tomatoes in the store were very expensive campari tomatoes. Well, that is now the official tomato for my home kitchen. I give you one guess as to which store carries the most wonderful tomato around?
(Hint: Walmart.)
The camparies were grown in Texas. If that town can grow them, so can I.

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snoopydawg's picture

@on the cusp

Tomato’s can be buried under mounts of dough, sauce and cheese and my tongue will find it and closes my throat. This was how I proved to mom that I can’t eat them. Just cannot eat them and my whole family knew that. But there is always one person who will insist that I was lying so she made a vat of stewed tomatoes and tried to make me eat it. This was my great aunt Alice and such a pretty name shouldn’t be given to anyone as evil and mean as she was. I never warmed up to her after that, but can you blame me?

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Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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Creosote.'s picture

@snoopydawg
They didn't sit well with my father and his Danish background and I avoid them too.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Creosote.

I was a picky eater and eventually did learn to like things I didn't earlier such as strawberry. Now who could hate to eat them? Me cuz they reminded me of tomatoes plus they had seeds on them. Ugh...until I thought try one with an open mind and found I like it. Did it with a tomato too just to see what would happen. I couldn't even take a bite. Might be the acid in it because I love ketchup on lots of things and V8 juice, but can't drink tomato juice.

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Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

E9C51B0A-05F9-4128-8CB6-228B891C477D.jpeg

TheOtherMaven's picture

@snoopydawg

It's how they got their reputation as "poisonous" originally. (By the time they're in ketchup they've been cooked and processed up the wazoo, and whatever the irritant alkaloid is has probably been inactivated.)

As to lactose intolerance (message below), that's very common outside Northwest Europe. It was the universal condition of humans until the dominant mutation arose (several times, in various places) that allowed lactase persistence into adulthood and therefore the ability to digest milk products. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactose_intolerance

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

snoopydawg's picture

@TheOtherMaven

I don’t know but I will admit some jealousy when I see people taking a big bite into one and get a blissful look on their face. Oh well..

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Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

E9C51B0A-05F9-4128-8CB6-228B891C477D.jpeg

@snoopydawg down. My grandmother made me drink a glass a day. I would excuse myself from the table, go throw it up. Every day for 2 weeks. I was 4. She enjoyed her little ritual.
I never had anything to do with her after that.

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