the ultra-busy

Today was one of those days at work when the work starts as soon as I clocked in and wasn’t going to end for another eight hours. As much as I get to sit down at a computer and do my job, my head still feels worn out at the end of the day.

Neil came by for dinner tonite. We had porkloin, veggies, and mashed potatoes. Mare did an excellent job at cooking it all. Afterwards, we met up with K$ at the Crpwn (sic).

w00t!

Anyway, I’m gonna get to my late night viewing to sleep after this. I know I’m three posts short, but I am focused to make it up to you before Friday. Actually, I’ll have to make it up to you by tomorrow nite ’cause Friday nite is NOFX!

To conclude and because I’m tired, check out Journey performing Don’t Stop Believin’ live, and here are three reasons why Steve Perry is Steve Perry in this video:

  1. The leopard print shirt was meant for a woman.
  2. He can pass as someone’s mother.
  3. He has no shame wearing tight pants with his package outlined for all to see.

Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip1zsUIosoA

the ‘za of the week (feb 17 – feb 23)

On Thursday, Mare and I made a pizza topped with nothing but meat, sauce and cheese. The ingredients were: pepperoni, Canadian bacon, breakfast bacon, breakfast sausage, and mozzarella that Mare shredded herself.

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The pizza came out extra greasy even with extra Parmesan sprinkled over both the marinara and the toppings. This pie is a meat lover’s dream come true.

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Check out the glimmer of the greasy and witness the meat toppings swimming in a sea of melted mozzarella. Yum!

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the ‘za of the week (feb 10 – feb 16)

Baking a pizza at home is a very relaxing experience. From stretching the dough to sprinkling the shredded cheese and adding the toppings, a homemade pizza is made with love rather than being just another pie filling a ticket in a corporate establishment.

This past Wednesday, Mare & I baked a homemade pizza topped with Canadian bacon, pineapple, and ricotta. We had fun with the arrangement of the toppings as you can see in the photograph below.

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The dough treated us well again and stretched all the way across the baking sheet. If you’re using canned pineapple to top a pie, then make sure to drain the pineapple as much as possible. We use a strainer to make sure the pineapple tidbits are well-drained. Sprinkle a decent amount of Parmesan on the marinara to soak up any extra liquid that may want to get through and sog up the crust.

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Topping a pizza is comparable to decorating a cake. Even distribution of the toppings is important, so each slice will have a balanced amount of toppings.

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This pie baked excellent. Hawaiian-style pizzas have their own unique flavor combination.

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In this close-up, you can see the shininess of the cheese caused by the grease being baked out. You can also see the baked spots on the ricotta which I really enjoy. A pineapple tidbit made the picture in the lower right corner as did a piece of Canadian bacon in the upper right corner.

the ‘za of the week (feb 3 – feb 9)

The ‘Za of the Week was topped with: two Italian sausage links, half of a red onion, seven white mushroom caps, and ricotta. Yes, ricotta. This very mild cheese normally used in lasagna makes an excellent pizza topping. I learned this one from a pizzeria I was employed at for years. They used it on their gourmet pesto pizza which was one of their best specialties.

I failed at using enough Parmesan on this one which resulted in a pie that was soggier than usual. It still tasted great. With the onions, mushrooms and ricotta holding a decent amount of liquid as well as the liquid in the marinara, a good amount of Parmesan should have been used to soak it all up.

I really love when parts of the ricotta get that golden color from being baked. I notice that the pizza in the “after” photos look like they’re either floating or superimposed in the picture. That’s due to the cooling rack it’s sitting on when the picture’s taken.

We used skim milk ricotta which is another reason for the excess liquid from the toppings. Overall, it was a very tasty pizza, and we plan on using ricotta again on the weekly pies in the near future.

the ‘za of the week (jan 27 – feb 2)

With the frequency of ‘Za of the Week posts versus posts about anything else, this blog ought to be renamed Modern Pizza Box. This week’s pie was topped with: pepperoni, red onions and pineapple.

The dough stretched so well this time around, and extra sauce was used again. We were going for an interesting topping combination without using anything out of the ordinary. Then again, Burma doesn’t consider crickets as a pizza topping out of the ordinary.

The layers stacked like this:

  • Garlic-infused olive oil brushed on the baking sheet
  • Dough
  • Extra marinara
  • Parmesan
  • ½-¾ cup of mozzarella
  • Sliced pepperoni
  • Sliced red onions
  • Pineapple tidbits
  • 1½-1¼ cups of mozzarella
  • Parmesan

The two main things I felt should be stressed with this pizza were:

  • Use Parmesan to soak up the liquid that leave the toppings, mainly the onions and pineapple. Who enjoys soggy pizza?
  • Make sure to drain the pineapple well if you are using canned pineapple. The best way to drain pineapple is with a strainer.

The rest of the pie is pretty standard everyday American pizza.

The crust came out perfectly crispy. The toppings combined very well to create a flavor of its own. Even though pineapple usually accompanies ham on a Hawaiian-style pizza, it still goes well with pepperoni. Red onions have a sweet flavor when they’re cooked, so they go well with a topping like pineapple.

Where’s the pepperoni? Buried beneath the sea of cheese.

the ‘za of the week (jan 20 – jan 26)

Simplicity was what we were going for this time around. Pepperoni and fresh mushrooms topped this ‘Za of the Week.

Nothing real special going on here. Keep in mind that fresh mushrooms will shrink down when baked on pizza, so be liberal with them. This particular pie contained six whole mushrooms sliced and placed evenly. The pepperoni slices were placed about a quarter-inch apart. Extra sauce was also used. When using extra sauce, extra Parmesan had to be used to keep the crust from getting soggy.

Let’s go over what entails putting together this pizza real quick:

  • Grease the baking sheet with garlic-infused olive oil.
  • Spread the dough evenly on the sheet. This will take pushing the dough around with your fingers and feeling out the evenness of the dough.
  • Spread the marinara even on the dough.
  • Generously sprinkle Parmesan on the sauce.
  • Evenly sprinkle about 1 cup of mozzarella on the sauce.
  • Put the sliced pepperoni about a quarter-inch apart across the pizza.
  • Place the sliced mushrooms evenly across the pizza.
  • Sprinkle another cup of mozzarella on top of the pepperoni and mushrooms.
  • Sprinkle some more Parmesan on top of the mozzarella.
  • Sprinkle a little bit of dried Italian seasoning across the pizza.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pie 180° about six minutes into the baking process to provide even heating.
  • Remove from the oven after 10 minutes. Let the pie sit for a minute. Carefully move the pie to a cooling rack to allow the steam to leave and preserve the crust’s crispiness. Slice and serve after a few minutes.

Notice how the mushrooms shrink up a good amount after baking. This pizza came out and tasted awesome. Keeping it simple let the individual flavors compliment each other rather than creating a big complex flavor like some of the pizzas we’ve made with many more toppings.

Mmmmm… greasy & cheesy… two of the finest qualities of good ‘za.

the ‘za of the week (jan 13 – jan 19)

Mare requested that I make this week’s ‘za with pita. These were some deluxe little pies. We made them based on the style of chicken carbonara, and they came out great.

We used six pieces of pita.

They were stacked high with delicious toppings.

This is how it went down:

  • Pita
  • Marinara sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Italian cheese blend
  • Sliced white mushrooms
  • Fried garlic
  • Seasoned chicken
  • Sliced red onions
  • One slice of bacon per pita
  • A sliced jalapeño on mine
  • More cheese on top to keep it together

The oven was preheated at the usual temperature of 450°F. One pan had four pitas, and another had two. They were both baked for seven minutes each. The crusts for the pan with two came out much crispier then the pan with the four. It all depends on how crispy you want your crust. If the pan with four was baked for the usual ten minutes, then the pitas would have been as crispy as the pan with two.

Be careful with them though. Baking them for too long will burn the pitas. I usually judge how done a pie is by how melted the cheese is. When the cheese turns brown on the crust and where it was sprinkled thin on top, then I know the pie is pretty much done.

The combination of all of these flavors was unique and intense. The onions did not cook as well as they usual do on fresh dough, so they were a bit prevalent. Overall though, these pita pizzas made a delicious and memorable dinner.