Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Homemade" Pizza

So this post is a little love letter to one of my best bros Adam, currently gallivanting around Eastern Europe like a G.  I visited Adam earlier this year in Denmark where he's been living (soon to return though!).  I'm going to share some photos and stories from my visit ASAP (again, bad blogger) but until then I thought I'd throw my latest cooking adventure at you.
I absolutely love pizza.  This is not news to anyone.  Bread and melted cheese and anything else: count me in.  Adam and I have made a little ritual of making our own pizzas, drinking sweet brews, and having girl talk (which isn't to diminish his masculinity, but in fact, speaks to what a killer friend he is).  So this is my first "homemade" pizza in Brooklyn, which sort of makes sense, but also confuses me.  Pizza is obviously easily attainable in NYC but I do love making my own so much that it's surprising I took so long. 
Well I had some sprigs (maybe that's the right time for that word?) of basil slowly deteriorating so I!  I use quotation marks around "homemade" for a variety of reasons. 
  1. I have taken to buying the pizza dough from local pizza shops to seriously cut down on my cook time.  Making your own crust is awesome and delicious, but it also takes at least three hours.  I have a life (read: I'm lazy) so I have no time for that.  In the real world, a ball of dough should cost you $2, but since it's Brooklyn, $5 is what I paid.  A 75% markup seems right (god, NYC is starting to wear on me). 
  2. I often buy delicious, bougie sauces rather than making my own.  Again, "I have a life."  This one was Arrabbiata from Michael's of Brooklyn.  I know I'm committing Italian sins with this switch-up but I like some spice and Arrabbiata has just what I'm looking for. 
  3. Homemade sometimes (maybe 50 years ago) conjures up the idea that it's cheaper than buying from a store.  For the $5 I spent on the dough, I could have gotten two slices from the pizza shop.  Tag onto that the $20 I spent on sauce and fresh mozzarella?  Well, I'm not doing my wallet any favors.  None whatsoever as a matter of fact.

But the truth is I love love love making pizza; it's stupidly easy and I feel really accomplished. Which I am realizing is half the battle. Sometimes you need to give yourself some easy tasks to check off the proverbial list just so you can feel a little more confident when you tackle the big things (major life decisions). So a tip for all my fellow 20-somethings constantly saddled with big choices; make some pizza. You'll feel better.

So the most fun part of pizza making (besides eating) is making the dough fit the pan.  Pizza dough is this weird indescribable texture which seems to refuse to mold to the shape you desire.  I honestly think it's an active decision on the part of the dough to make my life complicated.  So I have developed a finely-tuned strategy to outsmart an inanimate object.  Some might call it dance, but that would be too kind.
If you've ever done this before, you know you can't just press out pizza dough like say, cookie dough.  This shit is obstinate.  The old images of men throwing it up in the air is no joke, but I don't trust myself with that kind of gravity involved so I instead do I little dance and wiggle out the dough in the air while grasping it firmly with both hands.  I'll leave you to paint that image in your heads now.
Beautiful, right?  Y'all don't even know until you try it.

So the rest is a cake [pizza] walk.  Throw on your sauce of choice and go to town on your toppings.  For this (and most of my pizzas) I chose fresh mozzarella, basil, gorgonzola, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes (in place of fresh since I had them handy) and lots of hot pepper flakes. And maybe 20 minutes at 350 and you're ready for awesomeness in your mouth.

You're welcome.
(Adam, miss ya bud.  Get home.  Let's make pizza.)

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