Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rocket pizza, and a return to blogging

Wow. I had absolutely no idea how much of my spare time would be given up when I decided to become a Girl Guide leader two years ago. My evenings became time for planning, or meetings, or trying to shoehorn in a workout or two since I didn't have Guides that night. I was always tired. I was still cooking, but blogging about it was the furthest thing from my mind. It's a shame, because I still love cooking, and I still love blogging. So now that I'm on hiatus from Guiding for at least a year, I'm hoping to make a triumphant! return! to blogging! beginning with this delicious homemade pizza that served as last Friday's supper for Chris and I.

Over the past two years I've become fairly adept at making homemade pizza, thanks to Smitten Kitchen's pizza crust recipe, plenty of practice, and the purchase of a pizza peel at a restaurant supply store in Toronto. We already had the pizza stone; we lacked only the courage to really crank the oven up. Once we started doing so (and taking down the smoke detector beforehand) things got real, pizza-wise.

I'm very proud of this particular pie - the shape is near-perfect, the crust was soft in the middle and crisp on the bottom, the sauce was utterly simple and didn't get in the way of the flavourful toppings, which included fresh mozzarella, applied before the pie went into the oven, as well as prosciutto slices and fresh arugula (rocket) leaves, which we piled on once the cheese was lightly browned. The residual heat warmed the meat, making the fat silky, and wilted the greens just enough. A drizzle of green olive oil to finish, and we were in pizza heaven for 30 minutes.

I wouldn't call the crust thin, but it wasn't too thick either - a sort of medium-crust, if you will, with plenty of air in it for lightness and some decent chew to it. The arugula came from our CSA, something we're doing for the first time this summer and enjoying greatly. The cheese and meat were from the grocery store, and were just fine, but I bet this pie would have been even more transcendent with local Pingue prosciutto and mozzarella di bufala. We'll try that sometime soon. IN the meantime, this version served us beautifully.

Something I'm working on is simplifying my cooking life a bit - I'm trying not to reinvent the wheel in the kitchen every night. There are things we enjoy eating over and over, and I'm learning that cooking things frequently doesn't make me an uncreative cook - it allows me to hone dishes to a fine point until they truly sing. Perhaps even reinvent them with different, seasonal ingredients. In other words, you may see a lot of pizza on here, since we're hoping to have it every Friday. You may also see many tacos, grilled vegetable sandwiches, meats on sticks, and twists on burgers. I hope that's all right.

I've missed this place, and I'm happy to be back.

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