Wednesday, March 22, 2006

How to have fun and get exercise, too

I had a few of my good friends over for pizza, last evening, and, by gum, my arms are sore today! It seems that pressing dough into thin layers across four very big deep-dish pans is actual work. Who'd 'a thunk? I cheated on the dough, though. Under normal circumstances, I'd have sat down the day before and started a few great wads of homemade dough, but this was sort of a short-notice event, so I went out and bought dough.

Not the kind you'd expect, though.

My Classic Italian cookbooks use a sort of biscuit dough for the base of their pizzas, so I went wild and bought some of those a-splodey cans of eeeeevil "buttermilk-flavored" biscuit dough (you probably know the ones I mean -- the pasty white guy gets poked in the belly and giggles in the advertisements). With sixteen-inch pans, I had to use a can and a half of dough, re-formed into a ball, then pressed in a firm outward spiral to cover the whole bottom of the pan (that's where the rigorous exercise comes in)... and then I stabbed the sheet of white gluey stuff a few times with a fork, brushed some roast-garlic-enhanced ollie voyle (extra virgin, whatever that means) over the entire thing, and pre-baked the crusts at just about the length of time the can says you should bake the tray of individual bikkies (about 10 minutes, or, until they're cooked, but not showing any golden-browning).

The cool thing is, in the course of an hour, I had four very tasty pizza crusts waiting for whatever toppings my friends wanted, and it would only take about 20 minutes per pie to get dinner ready when they arrived. Plus, I actually had time to spend at the table with my guests, instead of slaving over a hot oven (although, considering the weather, that might not have been a bad thing).

We topped one pizza with the standard Midwestern treatment: hamburger, onions, mushrooms, peppers, bacon crumbles and extra cheese. One was pepperoni, peppers and onions (with a quarter of it also covered with hamburger, bacon & mushrooms, as well). One had shrimp, onions, pineapple, peppers,& extra colby cheese, and the last one was a "white" pizza, using a light ;-) portabella-alfredo sauce instead of the usual tomato-based sauce, then topped with swiss, mozzarella, and chevre goat cheese, grilled chicken, bacon crumbles, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and more mushrooms. (I must say, that's my favorite, but since it was the last out of the oven, there was more of it left over for me, today. Even cold, it made a darned good lunch.)

One of the mob brought salad fixin's, and everybody brought his own beverages. We had a pretty swell evening all around. They're coming back on Friday, for spaghetti. I'll be starting on the sauce this evening or tomorrow morning. I wonder if I should bake garlic bread, or take a shortcut again? I think I'll go for the total shortcut & ask somebody else to bring the bread. I don't feel like kneading any more, this week.

Come to think of it... why did I ask them over Friday? Hmmm. Being nuts has its downside, I guess.

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