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Stalking the Wild Pizza

By ClassicG in Culture
Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 11:30:40 PM EST
Tags: Food (all tags)

In the past few decades, pizza has gone from from being a novelty ethnic food, to a virtual staple of the western diet. The varieties available are numerous, from the frozen cardboard circles available in every grocery store, to those from the plethora of different pizzeria companies, large and small. Though most people today have sampled pizza of one kind or another, there is a surprisingly large number of people who have no experience with what I consider the finest form of pizza: the one made at home, completely from scratch; the 'wild pizza'. Let me introduce you to the simple yet sublime art of pizza-making.

Making the Dough

Making the dough for the crust of the pizza is probably the most difficult step in pizza-making, but it is still quite simple and straightforward. Here is my own personal recipe for basic pizza dough, enough to make a single ten-to-twelve inch pizza:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1-1/2 cup white flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon yeast

    That's it. Now, there's a bit more to it than just stirring these together, but not much. There are three ways to mix the dough together: by hand, with a food processor, or with a bread machine that has a 'dough' setting.

    Making dough with a bread machine is dead simple: add the ingredients (water first, then the flour, and finally the yeast), and then activate the dough setting. You will need to watch the dough to make sure that it isn't to dry or wet, and add flour or water if needed. The dough should form a smooth ball in the mixing pan - if it forms a sticky mass on the sides, add a little flour, and if it's dry and crumbly, add a little water. Aside from this, the bread machine will handle the kneading and the rising, and when the machine's cycle has completed, the dough is ready to be shaped into a crust.

    Another way to make the dough is with a food processor. This way isn't quite as automated as with a bread machine, but it still takes most the labour out of the process. Simply place the water and the yeast into the processor's bowl, pulse for a moment to dissolve the yeast, and then add the flour. Run the machine for a minute or two until the dough forms a smooth ball. If the dough won't form into a ball, but instead either remains a sticky mass or becomes crumbly, you will need to add a little flour or water, as mentioned above. When using a processor, the dough won't always form into a perfect ball, instead going into several small balls and/or a layer of dough under the blades - this is OK. Once the dough is ready, pull it out of the machine, form it into a single ball, and place it into a large bowl. Pour a tiny bit of cooking oil over the dough, and roll it around in the bowl until the surface of the dough is oiled on all sides. Cover the bowl up with plastic wrap, and put it aside to rise for thirty to sixty minutes. In this time, the dough should roughly double in size, after which it will be ready to be made into a crust.

    If you have neither a bread machine nor a food processor, then making the dough by hand is your only option. Still, there is nothing difficult involved, and is a simple, straightforward process. Start by mixing the yeast and water together in a bowl, stirring with a fork until the yeast has dissolved. Add a half-cup of the flour and stir until combined. Add another half-cup of flour and mix it into the dough. At this point, you should have a sticky mass that is beginning to resemble proper pizza dough. Take the dough out of the bowl and dump it onto a clean surface that has been sprinkled with some of the last half-cup of flour. What we are now going to do is mix the last of the flour into the dough by hand. Sprinkle the dough with more the flour, and start kneading it into the dough with your hands, continuing to add more flour as you go until you've got it all mixed in. If you're not sure how to knead dough, here's the basic idea: just form the dough into a ball, press down and forward on it with the heels of your hands to stretch it out, and then pick up one end of the dough and fold it back over itself. This is repeated many times, occasionally turning the dough or flipping it over to work it from a different angle, until all the flour is incorporated, and the dough is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky. This should take about five to seven minutes in total, after which the dough is placed in a bowl, oiled, and set aside to rise, as above.

    Shaping the Crust

    Once the dough has been made and has risen, it's time to shape it into a pizza crust. There are two ways I use to do this: rolling it our with a rolling pin, or pressing the dough out by hand. Both methods start the same way - take the ball of dough out, drop it onto a clean, lightly floured surface, sprinkle it with flour, and then flatten it out into a disc with your hands. At this point, you can use a rolling pin to finish it off, rolling the dough out into a ten or so inch circle.

    Instead of using a rolling pin, it's also possible to press the dough out into a crust shape by hand. It takes a few extra minutes, but doing it this way has some definite advantages. A hand-pressed crust can be made considerably thinner than a rolled one, it allows the crust to have an outer 'rim' on the edge which a lot of people enjoy and helps keep the pizza toppings in place, and the cooked texture of pressed crust is (arguably) better than that of a rolled one.

    Forming the crust by hand is basically just a matter of pressing the dough out to the desired size and thickness. Starting in the middle, press down on the dough with your fingers and palms, working it gradually toward the outer edge. Flip the crust over every once in a while, and if the dough starts getting sticky, sprinkle it with a little flour. Be careful not to press down on the outer rim itself, as having this lip of dough is one of the big advantages of making the crust this way. Once the dough is getting close to the desired size, you may want to stretch it out a bit as well. You can either do this by simply tugging on opposite edges of the crust, or if you want to make the crust very thin, by using the 'pizza stretch' that many professional use. This involves picking the dough up, draping it over both your hands, and gently pulling your hands apart to stretch the dough. If you accidently tear a hole in the crust using either stretching method (which can happen a lot if the dough is was a little too dry), simply pinch the hole shut and continue.

    Assembling the Pizza

    Once the crust has been shaped to the desired size and thickness, it's time to assemble the pizza! This might go without saying, but make sure that you move the crust onto your pizza pan before you begin assembly. Moving the pizza after the toppings have been put on is virtually impossible, and the first time you accidently put your pizza together on the work surface on which you shaped the dough should be enough of a reminder to make it your last. (It certainly was for me!) The moving is usually easier if you fold the crust into quarters first, unfolding it again after moving it onto the pan. You might want to sprinkle the pan with a little cornmeal before putting the crust down - this helps keep the crust from sticking, and adds a nice bit of texture to the final product as well.

    There are two basic ways of assembling a pizza: the standard way, and the 'inverted' method, which makes a more cohesive pizza. The standard way is the easiest - spoon the sauce over the dough and spread it out into an even layer, add the toppings, and then cover with a layer of cheese. The only problem with this is that you occasionally run into the problem known as 'pizza slide' where the cheese-and-topping layer separates from the crust and slides off, usually as the pizza is being eaten. The 'inverted' method tries to solve this by reversing the order that the ingredients are placed on the pizza, using the cheese as a 'glue' to hold everything in place. Start by placing the cheese down first, directly onto the crust, then laying the toppings onto the cheese, and then spooning the sauce over everything. Don't worry if you aren't able to spread it out very evenly because of the toppings below, it will still come out fine.

    Now, onto the ingredients! This is where a pizza-maker's creativity can really flow - while there is nothing wrong with the standard mozzarella-and-pepperoni pizza, there really is no limit to the kind of things you can top a pizza with. I've got some of my own personal 'exotic' favorites in the 'Recipes' section below which I hope you'll enjoy. For the moment though, here are a few notes on some of the more common pizza ingredients.

    Tomato Sauce: If you want a good tasting pizza, it is very important to use a sauce that you enjoy the flavour of. Making your own sauce is not difficult, but isn't needed (and is outside the scope of this article), and I find that a good quality bottled or canned pasta sauce works just fine.

    Spices: No pizza is complete without a sprinkling of herbs and spices. Some that you might want to try in particular are: basil (dried or fresh), oregano, garlic (real minced garlic is best, but garlic powder will do in a pinch), fennel seed, parsley, and if you enjoy things on the spicy side, crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper. You might also want to add some of these to the dough itself, though the flavors they add will not be as strong.

    Cheese: While mozzarella is considered the the standard 'pizza cheese', don't just dismiss the other kinds of cheese available. Cheddar especially is very good on pizza, and its tang adds a very nice counterpoint to the mellowness of mozzarella. Parmesan and Romano are two 'hard' grating cheeses that can add a pleasant sharpness when sprinkled over the top of a pizza. Another thing to consider is to slice the cheese thinly rather than shredding it. Cheese that has been sliced has a quite different texture when melted, and also has much less tendency to burn than if it was shredded.

    Pepperoni and Salami: More than any other item, it is pepperoni that has become synonymous with pizza toppings. Though the soft, pale red stuff that is often passed off as pepperoni is adequate, it really is worth it to hunt down good quality pepperoni. The 'real thing' is very firm and a deep red in colour, and is much stronger in flavour - a little goes a long way. Likewise, good quality salami is much firmer and darker in colour than the normal stuff. Genoan salami in particular is wonderful on a pizza, and shouldn't be too difficult to locate.

    Mushrooms: A note about using canned mushrooms on pizza: don't bother. Canned mushrooms have almost no taste, and will become virtually lost in the midst of the other toppings. If you want mushrooms on your pizza, get fresh ones, and cook them a little to bring out their full flavour. Wipe them clean with a damp cloth, slice them up, and saute them in a little oil until they are lightly browned before putting them on the pizza.


    As mentioned before, there is nothing wrong with the mozzarella-and-pepperoni that is pretty much the de facto standard pizza. But there are a lot of combinations that go far beyond that, with toppings that one might never consider putting on a pizza. Here are a couple of my personal favourite 'exotic' pizza recipes:

    Chicken & Broccoli Curry Pizza

    This pizza is one of my all-time favourites, and is actually the invention of my wife and I, here written down for the very first time.


  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (more or less to taste)


  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup chopped cooked broccoli
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

    Mix the ingredients for the sauce together and heat, either in the microwave or on the stove, until moderately hot. Pour over a prepared pizza crust, and spread out. Add the chicken and broccoli, and then top with the cheese. Bake.

    White Clam Pizza

    This pizza is my version of one I found in a cookbook several years ago, and is a bit unusual in that it has no sauce at all.


  • 1 can clams or baby clams, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 slices of bacon, uncooked, chopped (can also use ham)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2-3 teaspoons olive oil

    Mix the clams, bacon and garlic, and spread them on a prepared pizza crust (no sauce). Sprinkle with the cheese and oregano, and finally drizzle with the oil. Bake. Note: this pizza cooks fast - keep a close eye on it.

  • Baking the Pizza

    Finally, it's time to bake the pizza. Preheat the oven to between 450 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit, higher temperatures giving a slightly crisper crust. Slide the pizza in and start timing - it should take between six and ten minutes to bake to completion. Start checking at about the five minute mark - the pizza is done when the crust and cheese are just starting to brown. Once it's done, pull it out (use an oven mitt!) and let it sit and cool for five to ten minutes before cutting it. This gives the pizza a chance to 'meld' together, making it easier to cut and eat without it falling apart.

    I think you can handle it from here. :c)

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    Have you made homemade pizza before?
    o No - and even after this article I'm still too nervous to try it. 6%
    o No - but I might try it soon now that I've read this! 27%
    o Tried to once - never again, and you're not going to convince me otherwise. 2%
    o Occasionally - these tips will help, thanks! 36%
    o All the time - thanks for the recipes! 12%
    o Bah - I am a master pizzaiolo, and I need no help from amateurs. 15%

    Votes: 111
    Results | Other Polls

    Related Links
    o Also by ClassicG

    Display: Sort:
    Stalking the Wild Pizza | 120 comments (112 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
    sweetleaf pizza? (3.00 / 1) (#2)
    by sye on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 05:32:23 PM EST

    so do you have the recipe for inhouse 'Sweetleaf Pizza'?

    commentary - For a better sye@K5
    ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
    rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
    Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
    enter K5 via Blastar.in

    Sweetleaf Pizza (4.75 / 4) (#42)
    by Meatbomb on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:21:34 AM EST

    1. Prepare and smoke huge joint
    2. Make pizza as described above
    3. Prepare and and smoke 2nd huge joint
    4. Insert videocassette, remove pizza from oven
    5. Enjoy!


    Good News for Liberal Democracy!

    [ Parent ]
    I told you so (none / 0) (#60)
    by archivis on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:25:42 PM EST

    ClassicG, I *told* you this is what Sweatleaf *I* always thought about when thinking about the name of your old studio...

    [ Parent ]
    re: sweetleaf pizza? (none / 0) (#116)
    by victwenty on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:08:20 PM EST

    so do you have the recipe for inhouse 'Sweetleaf Pizza'?

    yes, just sautee some "sweetleaf" in olive oil over low heat (olive oil doesn't work the best but hey, we're making pizza) for 20 minutes. Then liberally brush the oil over your pizza crust before adding anything else and bake as usual.

    Eat. Wait 30 minutes. Hunger will inspire repetition.

    [ Parent ]

    Notes on Pizza Making: Variations and Rebuttals (5.00 / 6) (#7)
    by archivis on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 06:37:19 PM EST

    As it happens, I know the author of the article, and I've eaten his pizza before.  He's pretty good - he got me started on the whole pizza-making things - if possessed of a few utterly crazy notions - inverted toppings are just plain wrong and mushrooms - specifically Portobello mushrooms - don't need to be sautéed before adding to a pizza.

    Notes on preparation of crust:

    If you want a firmer crust, try browning it in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes before adding the usual toppings.  This will increase the hardness of the crust, and if you have added any seasonings to the surface of the crust this will give them an opportunity to cook and "smoke" - adding an interesting subtext to the pizza in general.  

    Also, if burn your crust a little while browning it, you can sometimes salvage it by flipping it over before adding the rest of the toppings.  The less-cooked upper surface will then be in direct contact with your cooking surface and will prevent the over-cooked bottom surface (now buried under toppings) from continuing to cook much.  It's a little weird, but it can be a lifesaver.

    Notes on toppings:

    Don't be afraid to try unusual things on your pizza.  Vegetarians can rejoice because making a vegetarian pizza is quite simple - and irregardless of what the author might think vegetarian "fake" pepperoni works *extremely* well.  Cubed tofu can substitute for standard meat toppings and fake meat as well, and the creative chef and make surprisingly tasty cheese-free pizzas, if only the courage to innovate is there.

    The key to making a cheeseless pizza is the quality and quantity of the remaining ingredients.  A strong sauce with a number of nice flavourful chopped vegetables simmering in it can make for a lovely meal.

    Back to one of my favourite pet peeves, you don't have to pre-cook your mushrooms (specifically Portobello) to death before adding them a pizza.  This may sound heretical, but if you want to taste the flavour of a Portobello mushroom - grab one, clean it off, and eat!  If you sauté it what you taste isn't so much mushroom as hot oil.  Besides, cubed Portobello mushrooms resting on a pizza cooking on a fully-heated pizza stone in my oven for 8 to 10 minutes at 500 degrees, cook just plenty on their own; they also get ample opportunity to absorb the oils released by the other ingredients.  The result is a subtle mix of flavours, not an overload of sautéed flavour.

    BTW, the best arrangement of ingredients is sauce, cheese or other binders, and then individual toppings just as mushrooms, pepperoni, or cubed tofu.  This arrangement allows the individual ingredients to cook properly and acquire their own crispness.  If for some reason you don't think an ingredient should actually be crisp then by all means bury it under the sauce where it can get soggy.  I don't recommend it, but what they hey - pizza making is highly individualistic :)

    Italian Style (4.33 / 3) (#53)
    by Bios_Hakr on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:24:21 AM EST

    One of the best things about spending 6 years in Italy was the pizza.  Lots of unusual ingredents.

    My fav?  Tuna and onion.  Absolutely amazing blend of flavors.  I also like the 4-Stage pizza which was spinach, salami, artichoke, and bell peppers.

    My wife liked a variation of the 4-Stage called the Vesuvis which had an egg cracked over the center to give the illusion of a volcano.

    As a side note, Italians don't generally eat anything with their hands...including pizza.  As a result, Italian pizza is VERY thin crusted and usually a bit oily.

    Oh yeah, that's another thing, you have to put a little olive oil right on the top of the pizza before baking it.  The oil really brings out the flavor of the vegetables.

    [ Parent ]

    Pepperoni (4.33 / 3) (#9)
    by zonker on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 07:21:18 PM EST

    Amen! I've been shoping at a local market that gets some imported pepperoni, and it's the real deal. It is sooo much better than the dull and dreary stuff you get from Pizza Hut or other chains.
    I will not get very far with this attitude.
    The Enigma of Pizza (4.46 / 13) (#10)
    by bc on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 07:23:07 PM EST

    Myself, I have never understood the attraction of pizza. It's greasy grub for gluttons, cheese & fatty meats on a bread base. Ugh.

    Nonetheless, I like pizza on an idealogical level. The pizza refutes many worries of globalisation, as it is warped to the tastes of the local culture. In America, pizza is fast, simple, and processed. In Italy, authentic, in India spicy and curried, in Chile chilied. In my country, Scotland, pizzas are often deep fried (!), explaining some of my prejudice.

    Lord bless the proletarian pizza, and curse the middle class fuckwits who seek to deny the benefits of globalisation to the unwashed masses on the basis of some imagined "homogenisation." Long may they consume the fat filled foods of every culture.

    ♥, bc.

    "greasy grub"? Not homemade pizza... (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by ClassicG on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:28:05 PM EST

    I can understand you thinking that way if you've never had homemade, but if you really think that pizza is nothing but grease-on-bread, you really should try making a light thin-crust pizza. As I mentioned in another comment, another pizza I enjoy is a thin thin crust pizza with fresh tomatoes and herbs and a tiny drizzle of olive oil and that's it. One of the main reasons I prefer making my own pizza is to avoid all the fat and grease!

    [ Parent ]
    Political eating (3.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Wondertoad on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 09:25:06 PM EST

    I'm trying to eat vegan prole.  The other day my friend brought over some risotto that had been prepared with vegetable stock.  Now, I'm sure that's vegan, but what I'm wondering is whether it's prole enough.  I mean, risotto is a peasant dish, that's for sure.  And if it was made with chicken stock, even free-range organic chicken stock, that would still be a peasant representation.  But only the modern, capitalist menuing system brings us such things as vegetable stock.  The peasants would laugh at such stock, calling it weak!  They would naively throw a pig bone into the stew pot.  I know that's barbaric, but it did solve their needs in a culture where only the landowners could eat correctly.  So you can see my concern.  What I'm wondering is if I could maybe just go vegan prole at home, but vegan regular when dining out.  Thanks for your help!

    [ Parent ]
    Vegetable Stock (none / 0) (#71)
    by Dolohov on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:49:02 PM EST

    Vegetable stock is made just the same way meat-based stocks are. You take a pot of water and toss in the unused bits of veggies: mushroom stems, carrot tops, etc. If a restaurant makes its own meat stock, it probably makes its own vegetable stock, because hey, it's easy, and it's tasty.

    If I can figure out WTF "prole" is, then I could tell you whether this is it or not. On the other hand, it sounds ridiculously trendy, so I probably don't care.

    [ Parent ]

    Prole = abbreviation for proletariat. N/T (none / 0) (#73)
    by Wondertoad on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 08:08:09 PM EST

    [ Parent ]
    Deep Frying (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by pmc on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:02:54 AM EST

    In my country, Scotland, pizzas are often deep fried (!),

    I still remember the time I ordered pizza and chips from the local chippie (a fast food establishment for non-Scots) and they threw this wedge of pizza in the deep fat fryer. Huh???? You could almost hear your arteries wince. Here is a nice page describing the Scottish approach to Nouvelle Cuisine

    This was before the chippies got adventurous and started deep frying everything - The Deep Fried Mars Bar is practically legendary there for being the most unhealthy food imaginable, and they contribute a lot to Scotland's leadership in the European bad health league tables.

    [ Parent ]

    Deep Frying (none / 0) (#74)
    by Edgy Loner on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 08:11:14 PM EST

    How do they manage it? Is the pizza battered before hand? I'm just having a hard time picturing a deep fried piece of pizza. The deep fried Mars bar does sound pretty yummy though.

    This is not my beautiful house.
    This is not my beautiful knife.
    [ Parent ]
    Deep Fried Pizza (4.00 / 1) (#82)
    by treefrog on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:05:09 AM EST

    - or the "Cardiac Supper" as it is sometimes known (note for those who live outside Scotland. If you ask for an "X supper", you are asking for X with chips).

    Usually, a plain old frozen supermarket pizza is removed from its plastic wrapping, and tossed into the frier, to be served up several; minutes later, dripping with fat.

    They are absolutely delicious!

    regards, (and happy eating), treefrog

    Twin fin swallowtail fish. You don't see many of those these days - rare as gold dust Customs officer to Treefrog
    [ Parent ]

    I've had fried pizza.. (none / 0) (#118)
    by ripplestick on Wed Jul 24, 2002 at 10:21:12 AM EST

    But it wasn't in Scotland, it was in Italy, it's prety much pan fried pizza crust, and they said it came about due to the lack of home ovens until recently.

    [ Parent ]
    Pizza is getting out of hand (4.62 / 8) (#13)
    by istevens on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 07:35:02 PM EST

    Do we really need a chicken and broccoli curry pizza?  If you want to eat curry with bread, get some naan for goodness sakes.  Stop emptying truckloads of food on some dough and calling it "pizza".  The article claims that "mozzarella-and-pepperoni [...] is pretty much the de facto standard pizza" but I rarely see evidence of this.  Restaurants and pizza houses will not be content until they have used every edible item as topping on a pizza.

    Enough is enough!  Keep it simple.  Your pizza need not contain two pounds of vegetables and meats in order to taste good.  Plain pizza is the one true pizza!  If you have a pizza with "everything" on it, chances are you won't taste any of it.  Traditional pizza allows one flavour to dominate, more than likely the sauce or the crust.  Play with different pizza doughs and sauces.  My favourite pizza involves a nice cornmeal crust with a tangy spicy sauce, a smattering of cheese and a sprinkling of green peppers and mushrooms.

    If you insist on using a large number and quantity of ingredients for your pizza, do yourself and your guests a favour and make a stew, a ragout or a casserole instead.

    Weblog archives

    Simple pizzas often -are- the best (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by ClassicG on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:19:55 PM EST

    I didn't have room for all the pizza recipes that I enjoy making (the article is quite long as it is), so I picked two of the more off-the-wall pizzas I make to showcase. Nevertheless, I agree with you that simple pizzas, showcasing one or two ingredients, are some of the best. A fresh tomato pizza on a thin thin crust, sprinkled with herbs and a little olive oil, is another favourite of mine.

    [ Parent ]
    Simple Pizzas (4.50 / 2) (#17)
    by archivis on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:42:34 PM EST

    Whole-wheat crust pizzas are the staple of my diet.  One or two toppings - if I can afford them - besides the cheese (or tofu - if I can afford them!) - and sauce are as far as I go.

    Most of the time I make a plain sauce (giant vat o' sauce sold at the grocery store spiced myself and doled out for a couple weeks) and cheese pizza.  Ingrediants are a luxury!

    [ Parent ]

    Pepperoni (4.00 / 1) (#19)
    by nambit on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 09:04:05 PM EST

    Round my way cheese and pepperoni pizzas are usually called Americano. I always imagined that was because USians liked their pizza that way.

    [ Parent ]
    That's one of the old favorites, yes (4.00 / 1) (#28)
    by ariux on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 11:44:47 PM EST

    The others being plain cheese and "Vegetarian" - a sort of garden combo with onions, mushrooms, peppers, olives, and sliced tomatoes.

    [ Parent ]

    Tomato Sauce (4.20 / 5) (#14)
    by gromgull on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:05:20 PM EST

    I use simple tomato puree, not the concentrated stuff in a tube, but one of the small can you can buy for about 20p in Safeway. Crush a clove of garlic in your mortar (you do have a mortar don't you? Have you not seen Jamie?), pour in some extra virgin olive oil, mix in some basil and oregano (fresh if you have got it, but dried works) crush it all a bit more, mix in the tomato puree and away you go.

    This is of course quite lazy and very quick, if you want to do it more properly you caramelise some onion with garlic first and then proceed as above, but that means another dirty pan and another 15 minutes.
    If I had my way I'd have all of you shot

    How to crush garlic (4.00 / 1) (#57)
    by KnightStalker on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 12:03:29 PM EST

    My girlfriend taught me this... quick and does a better job than the mortar unless you chop the garlic up before you mash it. Anyway, cut the clove in half, put the cut sides down on the cutting board, and use the back of the knife in a quick chopping motion working from one side to the other while holding the clove down. If you do it right, it makes nice smooth garlic paste.

    [ Parent ]
    Or (4.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Iesu II on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 04:39:56 PM EST

    Put the peeled clove on your cutting board, lay the side of your knife across it, and bash the knife with the heel of your palm. Instant mush. If you have a nice knife you can do this to several cloves at once.

    Obviously, be careful, or you'll slash your wrist. ^_^

    [ Parent ]

    Garlic Press (none / 0) (#90)
    by wiredog on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:25:16 AM EST

    In the US we have this thing called a garlic press. A little pocket with lots of holes, and a plate. Place garlic in pocket, press plate against garlic, see finely crushed garlic come out of holes.

    Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
    [ Parent ]
    that works well (none / 0) (#99)
    by KnightStalker on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:24:03 PM EST

    ... but it's a pain in the ass to clean, and it never quite squashes all the garlic. And it's just one more thing to think about getting out of the drawer when you already have the knife and the garlic right there on the cutting board. And with the garlic press you don't get that Neandertal cave cred. :-)

    [ Parent ]
    When to press and when not to press (none / 0) (#103)
    by unDees on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:44:58 AM EST

    If the garlic press misses a portion of the garlic, do several cloves in a row and then squish the leftover goo through one more time. When I use this technique, I seldom leave more than a thin coat of garlic behind.

    Cleaning? My garlic press comes with a little plastic cleaner that pokes little prongs through all the tiny holes--takes about ten seconds if I do it immediately after pressing.

    As to the inconvenience of retrieving the press from the drawer, I find that three cloves is the break-even point. It's about as quick and easy to chop three or fewer cloves by hand as it is with the press. Any more, and the specialized gadget shows its worth.

    It's at this point that k5'ers should leap into the discussion and demand of me, "For what recipe are you using fewer than ten cloves of garlic?!? You must be doing something wrong!"

    Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
    [ Parent ]

    Some other things (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by fluffy grue on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 08:45:45 PM EST

    I find that the premade pizza shells you get at the grocery store are actually quite good. I don't like Boboli, though, but I love the Albertsons store brand. Both sorts (plain and Sicilian) are quite good bases, and I like the convenience of not having to store yeast (which always seems to go bad on me before I get a chance to use it, regardless of where I store it).

    Hormel's turkey pepperoni tastes pretty good, and it's low-fat, so it's a lot less greasy. It doesn't taste quite the same as regular pepperoni, so it's not a perfect substitute, but it's a great taste all its own.

    Instead of regular mozzarella, I always use fresh mozzarella. It's made with a slightly different process; I think it's less rennet. Whatever they do, it's also much lower-lactose, which makes lactose-intolerant people like me happy. :) When cooked it has a quite different texture which gives it a sort of a gourmet flavor.

    One of my favorite pizzas is to take some white onions chopped and sauteéd in red wine, spread them on the crust (no sauce), and cover with smoked gouda, parmesean, and artichoke hearts.

    Thousand island dressing makes a surprisingly good replacement for marinara sauce. I know, it sounds disgusting, but it's good. Pizza Hut even makes them like that in Hong Kong (where I was first exposed to this) and Japan.
    "trhurler: he's a bright ray of sunshine shoved right up your ass" -- Misery Loves Chachi


    The problem with pre-baked store shells.. (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by ClassicG on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 09:10:52 PM EST

    The problem with pre-baked store shells is that they are usually far too thick. I like my pizza crust thin and at least a little crisp, and these are anything but. I'm not saying that these shells should be avoided - I used them a lot before I started making my own dough - only that they are a substitute for the 'real thing'.

    [ Parent ]
    I like it thick and chewy (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by fluffy grue on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 09:20:32 PM EST

    And so the storebought shells are great for me. :)
    "trhurler: he's a bright ray of sunshine shoved right up your ass" -- Misery Loves Chachi

    [ Parent ]

    Pita/Pocket Bread (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by quam on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 01:07:51 AM EST

    In Austin there is a tiny greek grocery store which makes and sells 10 large whole wheat pitas/pocket bread for $1.25 or so. Not only are pitas cheaper than grocery premade pizza shells, but I prefer the flavor (pita bread has a slight smoked flavor) and it is much like thin pizza crust many restaurants consider authentic Italian.

    Also, a friend of mine prefers to use tortillas as pizza crust.

    -- U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.
    [ Parent ]
    Ick (none / 0) (#37)
    by fluffy grue on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 01:31:38 AM EST

    Tortilla-based "pizza" is an affront to all of humanity.

    Pizza-flavored quesadillas, on the other hand, are yummy. :) But they're not pizza!
    "trhurler: he's a bright ray of sunshine shoved right up your ass" -- Misery Loves Chachi

    [ Parent ]

    phoenicia? (none / 0) (#79)
    by jlinwood on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:07:31 PM EST

    Are you talking about phoenicia on burnet or s. lamar?

    [ Parent ]
    Phoenicia (none / 0) (#97)
    by quam on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:34:05 PM EST

    The one on south lamar. Many grocery stores sell Phoenicia pita bread but usually add .75 to $1. Not only is it cheaper at Phoenicia, but the bread is usually warm and fresh. I also like their dry pasta selection --- I cannot find some types of pastas elsewhere. I guess you're probably already aware of this and I am making myself hungry. Yum...

    -- U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.
    [ Parent ]
    yeast (3.50 / 2) (#39)
    by janra on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 02:34:50 AM EST

    I like the convenience of not having to store yeast (which always seems to go bad on me before I get a chance to use it, regardless of where I store it)

    Yeast goes bad? Odd, I've never had that happen to me. I have a tin of dry yeast in the fridge, it's probably over 2 years old, and I used it last month. The little buggers started reproducing almost as soon as they hit the warm, lightly sugared water, just like they did when I first bought it. I make pizza maybe once a month, so the yeast tin hasn't even been sealed the whole time, because I open it and stick in a spoon periodically.

    Does yeast come in other forms, that may actually go bad?

    Discuss the art and craft of writing
    That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
    [ Parent ]
    I must just have bad luck, then (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by fluffy grue on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 02:50:36 AM EST

    I have a little glass jar of active dry yeast, which doesn't seem to want to ferment at all. I also have a large vacuum-packed bag which I haven't opened yet because I don't want to waste it in case it's still good. I have Schrödinger's kitchen or something.

    I find that those little tiny packets of Fleischmann's yeast work perfectly, but I never buy those because I have so much other yeast that I don't want to waste.

    (It's like how if you accidentally buy 24 rolls of crappy one-ply toilet paper, you don't want to use the one-ply stuff, but you don't want to waste it by buying some good two-ply paper, and so you just end up not going to the bathroom.)
    "trhurler: he's a bright ray of sunshine shoved right up your ass" -- Misery Loves Chachi

    [ Parent ]

    BTW (none / 0) (#41)
    by fluffy grue on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 02:51:10 AM EST

    Don't mind me, I've had a bit much to drink today. :)
    "trhurler: he's a bright ray of sunshine shoved right up your ass" -- Misery Loves Chachi

    [ Parent ]

    Different Yeast (4.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Dolohov on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:25:07 PM EST

    All yeast is not preserved equally, and some of it does go bad. I used to buy yeast at the local co-op in a brown paper bag and it stayed good pretty much forever. However, I had to kind of coddle it a bit to get it to go -- soak it in warm water with sugar until it got to, well, reproducing and flatulating (Which is how yeast makes dough rise)

    Now, however, I live somewhere else and I have to buy it in those little envelopes, which need to be kept cold. The upside is that they're rearing and ready to go, and I don't need to coddle them as much or at all.

    If you're interested, there's a lot out there to read on the subject.

    [ Parent ]

    Mozzarella (none / 0) (#104)
    by bdjohns1 on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 10:27:44 AM EST

    Instead of regular mozzarella, I always use fresh mozzarella. It's made with a slightly different process; I think it's less rennet. Whatever they do, it's also much lower-lactose, which makes lactose-intolerant people like me happy. :) When cooked it has a quite different texture which gives it a sort of a gourmet flavor.

    There's a few other differences - fresh mozzarella is higher in moisture and somewhat lower in protein (which is what gives the cheese its body). The amount of rennet doesn't matter so much as the time it's allowed to sit with the rennet active (ie, before cutting the curd).

    Also, one big difference when buying pre-shredded mozzarella is the application of anticake powder (typically cellulose) to prevent clumping/caking in the bag. It makes the cheese look better (and easier to handle), but it impedes how well the stuff melts together. I typically buy a block of mozz and shred/slice it myself.

    And, look for low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella as opposed to the low-moisture part-skim stuff. If you're not too gourmet for mass-produced cheese, I highly recommend the Kraft Italian mozzarella/parmesan blend. Just enough of the parmesan to give it a little tang.

    Obligatory disclaimer - I work at Kraft, although not on mozzarella

    [ Parent ]

    I just ordered (3.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Work on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 09:26:11 PM EST

    a papa johns spinach alfredo pizza. I will report on it when consumed.

    OT (vlt) (3.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Kasreyn on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:20:03 AM EST

    Papa John's is not pizza.

    "Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
    We never asked to be born in the first place."

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    [ Parent ]
    Not real pizza . . . (4.00 / 1) (#80)
    by hardburn on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:17:12 PM EST

    . . . but an incredible simulation.

    while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

    [ Parent ]
    Perfect timing (4.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Teehmar on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 10:02:44 PM EST

    I just finished making pizza, and brought up K5 to read while I eat it.  I make my crust by hand.  To shape the crust, I just drop the ball of dough into the middle of the (lightly) oiled pan, and flatten it out to the edges, turning the pan as I go.

    It's nowhere near as difficult as it sounds.

    Pizza is a fun art (4.66 / 3) (#25)
    by pexatus on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 10:42:53 PM EST

    It develops a lot of cooking skills and teaches you a few things about what happens when you don't follow directions.

    I find a pizza stone is a good investment. It helps make the crust harder so the pizza slices won't go limp on you. It's best to preheat it for at least 10 minutes. This means you have to get good at either sliding a pre-assembled pizza onto a stone, or assembling a pizza really fast on a hot stone before it cools. To put a pre-assembled pizza on another surface, the surface where you assemble it must, prior to laying the dough down, be covered in flour. Then you pull a magic trick where you put the assembly surface (in my case, a cutting board) 1 inch over the stone and yank it away as fast as possible, allowing the pizza to drop onto the stone. This is the point where you find out whether you put enough flour underneath.

    Here's a pizza I invented, which I call Indian pizza: Lightly spread some garlic butter over a piece of naan bread, then spread vindaloo sauce over it as you would tomato sauce, and put some sliced mushrooms and mozzerella cheese over the top. Put it on a pizza stone and cook at 450 degrees F until the cheese browns.

    For the vindaloo sauce, I use this recipe. I substitute ground chile de arbol for cayenne pepper and use about 6 of them for the recipe size given. Cook the sauce before using it on the pizza.

    Pizza stones (4.66 / 3) (#27)
    by ClassicG on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 11:02:39 PM EST

    I've got a pizza stone myself, and use it all the time for my own pizzas, and have discovered a much better method of keeping the pizza from sticking to the assembly surface. Instead of using flour, try a generous sprinkling of coarse cornmeal. The large grains of the cornmeal act like little bearings and allow the pizza to 'roll' off onto the stone. I have never had a pizza stick to an assembly surface since I discovered this trick.

    Another really useful item to have when using a pizza stone is a pizza peel. A peel is basically a really big spatula, large enough to hold a whole large pizza all at once, and is used to assemble the pizza on and to move the pizza in and out of the oven. If you enjoy pizza baked on a stone, I think a peel is a must-have item.

    [ Parent ]

    Parchment paper (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by barnasan on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:45:01 AM EST

    I have a very simple and clean solution for putting all my breads into the oven:

    I put a piece of parchment paper on my (metal) pizza peel, and put the bread or the streched pizza on it.

    Then the pizza is topped and put in the oven along with the parchment, on which it actually cooks.

    The parchment paper and pizza slide effortlessly from the metal peel onto the tiles in the oven, minimizing the time the oven door must stay open -  and also the possibility of burning yourself in the process. The whole process (open door, put pizza in, close door) takes about 2 seconds.

    Another advantage is that you don't have all that smoke and smell that scorching flour causes (since you don't need any for preventing sticking), and it also catches any sauce spills that would otherwise end up directly on the stone and be difficult to clean!


    [ Parent ]

    yes, but..... (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by hawthorne on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:48:37 AM EST

    then you miss out on one of the major advantages of using a pizza stone. One of its functions is to draw some of the water out of the crust, so that you get a nice crispy crust.

    While you will still get the initial burst of heat using your method, it won't have quite the same effect.

    [ Parent ]

    Hmmmm..... (4.00 / 1) (#86)
    by barnasan on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:43:36 AM EST

    Well, all I can say right now is that my breads and pizze all have great bottom crust, and everyone who ever tried some loved it.

    So I still suggest that bakers, who have difficulties with putting the bread / pizza in the oven (this can ruin much of the joy of pizza making IMO), should at least give this method a try because of its simplicity.

    Nevertheless as I'm always striving for the perfect loaf, I will definitely test the difference. Yum! ;-)

    Thanks for the input!

    [ Parent ]

    Yum! (none / 0) (#63)
    by demi on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 04:51:34 PM EST

    Here's a pizza I invented, which I call Indian pizza: Lightly spread some garlic butter over a piece of naan bread, then spread vindaloo sauce over it as you would tomato sauce, and put some sliced mushrooms and mozzerella cheese over the top. Put it on a pizza stone and cook at 450 degrees F until the cheese browns.

    Great recipe! I might make some changes to it but I think I will try that tonight. Do you make your own naan loaves or is there a place nearby to get them? Making naan bread with a sufficiently crispy outer crust and a soft inside is something I have been trying to master for some time.

    [ Parent ]

    I buy the naan (4.00 / 1) (#72)
    by pexatus on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:51:55 PM EST

    They sell some at the local Indian grocery store. It's not very good naan; it's more like a pita, really, but it gives the whole thing more of an Indian taste than just regular crust would. I would love to try it with real freshly baked naan if I knew how to make it. I don't know if it would be possible to make it the way you make pizza crust, by baking the bread at the same time that the pizza is cooking. You'd probably have trouble getting the top to be crisp if it had sauce and cheese covering it. Maybe try putting the naan in at a really hot temperature for a little bit, to sort of flash the outside, then turn the temp down to 400-450 degrees F and add the sauce, toppings, and cheese.

    [ Parent ]
    Directions (none / 0) (#69)
    by Dolohov on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:36:17 PM EST

    Directions are all well and good, but it's far better to understand what it happening and why. (You can learn this by not following directions, but too often people just learn to never stray off the path, which is a shame.)

    [ Parent ]
    De'ja vu (2.00 / 1) (#26)
    by thadk on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 10:58:19 PM EST

    Seems like someone at some point posted a good article on pizza making but I can't locate it on Google for the life of me...Anyway, excellent work +1

    meat is murder (2.00 / 7) (#29)
    by turmeric on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 11:54:53 PM EST

    pepperoni is murder

    Food chain (2.33 / 3) (#34)
    by Verteiron on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 01:01:41 AM EST

    If we aren't supposed to eat animals, they wouldn't be made of meat. Humans must kill to survive, whether it be animals or plants. If you choose to believe that killing animals is horrible, fine; live your meat-free life and don't try to evangelize it.
    Prisoners! Seize each other!
    [ Parent ]
    Why not evangelize? (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by pexatus on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:37:56 AM EST

    If we weren't supposed to steal, other people wouldn't have more money than us, right?

    I don't think that eating animals is wrong, but if I did, I would try to convince everyone else it was. What if you lived in a society that practiced ritual sacrifice of infants for consumption? Would you be content simply not to sacrifice any infants yourself, leaving your neighbors to themselves? Or would you pull them aside one afternoon, during a neighborhood barbeque, and suggest that maybe they try one of your delicious hamburgers instead of a baby?

    No, I'm not comparing eating humans with eating animals, I'm just suggesting that you think hypothetically for a moment. What if you believed eating animals was wrong? What if you viewed animals on par with humans? I may not agree with it, but it's a hell of more respectable intellectual position to take than most religions propose, religions who give the name "evangelism" a bad connotation in the first place.

    Honestly, I think the reason people get so worked up over vegetarians is unconscious guilt about eating meat. If someone posted a comment about how making pizza is evil because the yeast are being used as slaves to make our crust rise for us, it would be dismissed or ignored as a troll. But if someone claims a vegetarian stance, does anyone stand up for an intelligent debate about the philosophical implications of eating meat? No, they just tell the poster to stop making waves and to keep his ideas to himself.

    [ Parent ]

    Not quite guilty... (none / 0) (#106)
    by glothar on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:48:31 PM EST

    Honestly, I think the reason people get so worked up over vegetarians is unconscious guilt about eating meat. If someone posted a comment about how making pizza is evil because the yeast are being used as slaves to make our crust rise for us, it would be dismissed or ignored as a troll. But if someone claims a vegetarian stance, does anyone stand up for an intelligent debate about the philosophical implications of eating meat? No, they just tell the poster to stop making waves and to keep his ideas to himself.

    I can honestly say that I feel no guilt at eating animals. People evangelizing vegetarianism are received in much the same way you'll see luddites handled on the internet. They are told they are dumb, and if they are dealing with intelligent people, are told that they have a right to their own opinions, but that they have no chance of convincing everyone.

    (Idealistic) Vegetarians are attacked because, like some religious zealots (read: Morons), they are advocating a quasi-religion which defies logic. Complaining about the yeast in pizza is meaningless since we are completely ignoring the millions of bacteria I killed while typing this.

    Humans were designed to be omnivores. There is no reason (ignoring nutritional concerns) why we should not eat meat. We also were designed to walk upright, though it causes us some back problems. I suspect their would be a similar backlash against any decent movement to make people stop walking upright. Vegetarianism is attacked because we have evolved to the point where we can provide enough nutrients for ourselves that we can choose what to eat. Add to this, a philosophizing brain, and of course some members of our species will advocate removing something we no longer absolutely need.

    The lack of necessity of something does not requre its removal. Meat is still more nutrient dense than most plant material. And the animals we eat certainly go through less suffering than the prey of most predators.

    I accept that some people dont want to eat dead animal flesh. I find it tasty with some A1. I dont tell them to eat meat, they can't tell me not to. However, I dont tell them that not eating meat is wrong or immoral. If someone thinks that killing yeast is wrong, fine. I'll call them a fruit or looney and we'll move on. However, I've ran into many rather militant vegetarians, and I've had enough of being told that I am "evil" for doing exactly what nature intended me to do.

    SIDE NOTE: I still am confused a bit by the yeast reference, as yeast are neither plants nor animals proper. I dont know what you were attempting to say.

    [ Parent ]

    About yeast (none / 0) (#109)
    by pexatus on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:34:01 PM EST

    Yeah, I think you missed the point of the yeast reference. Here's what I was getting at (and was trying to keep shorter than this). If someone makes a political argument, responses to it usually take one of 3 forms (well, 3 forms pertinent to this discussion):
    1. Respond to the statement with their own argument, refuting the original statement with evidence and reasoning of their own.

    2. Realize the argument being made is so baseless and idiotic that it is either a troll or written by an idiot (a non-troll idiot, that is) and is therefore not worth arguing with.

    3. Tell the person who wrote the statement to keep his ideas to himself, even though the argument itself is not a troll.

    My point is that the first two are acceptable to me as valid actions in a discussion. The third is no better than a character attack and is rare, but I see it all the time in response to vegetarians. In order to illustrate why I believe the third is not a common response to any discussion in general (and is therefore over-represented in vegetarian discussions, the phenomenon that I was pointing out), I introduced the argument that eating yeast is wrong. This statement is so beyond clueless that anyone would disagree with it. I was attempting to show that given even as idiotic a statement as that, just about anyone would choose either the first or second response.
    Complaining about the yeast in pizza is meaningless since we are completely ignoring the millions of bacteria I killed while typing this.
    As you recall, you chose response 1. Response 2 would have been sensible as well. What I was getting at was that most people would not say, "You militant yeast-lovers, why don't you stop hounding us? I'm tired of hearing how evil eating yeast is!" Now you might say that this is only because you aren't exposed to anti-yeast-eating people all the time. Think about real-life examples, though. Remember when Slashdot interviewed Alex Chui? Nobody told him to shut up. They either made fun of him, or argued logically with him (which, on account of his stupidity, is difficult to do without making fun of him).

    I have no evidence that vegetarians are told to shut their mouths because meat-eaters feel guilty. It is just the simplest explanation I can think of for this phenomenon. And note that I said unconscious guilt. "Unconscious" was a bad word. Think more of the kind of guilt you might feel smoking in front of your parents. You don't think it's wrong, but you still might get uncomfortable doing it in front of them. Likewise, you might feel uncomfortable eating meat in front of vegetarians (though I often see this discomfort manifested as making a big deal out of the fact that meat is being eaten; like those clever T-shirts that say "PETA: People for the Eating of Tasty Animals"). Since you don't want to stop eating meat, the only remaining solution to your discomfort is to have the vegetarians not say anything.

    I have no problem at all discussing the morality of eating meat with a vegetarian (I am a meat-eater) or discussing the benefits and the many, many drawbacks of organized religion with a theist (I am an atheist). Sometimes, the vegetarian or the theist is so clueless that I don't bother discussing anything with them. However, I never think to tell them to keep their ideas to themselves. I'll tell them their ideas are moronic all day long if that's what I think, and that they should think of better arguments. But I will usually never tell them not to argue, period.

    Granted, the actual post we're talking about was a little out of place in response to an article about making pizza (I think it was a joke anyway). I advocate telling someone to shut up if they are out of place. For example, this is why I think it's okay to keep religion out of a science classroom and science out of a theology classroom. It's simply a waste of everyone's time to pretend that the two subjects cover enough common ground that discussion is possible across the rift that divides them.

    But I guarantee if an article advocating vegetarianism made it to the front page, where it most certainly is not out of place, since articles can be about anything the author likes, a significant percentage of the responses would be of type #3.

    By the way, I don't think the second argument for vegetarianism I gave in my first post is "a quasi-religion which defies logic." Paraphrased here, it goes:

    1. It is wrong to make animals suffer.

    2. Animals must die in order for us to eat them.

    3. Death causes animals suffering.
    Therefore, we should not eat animals.
    Granted I don't agree with it, obviously, since I ended up refuting it by denying premise #3. But I can't see how it "defies logic".
    Humans were designed to be omnivores
    For the record, humans were not designed be anything. They evolved and along the way developed some facilities that allow them to digest meat. We can digest human meat, too, but that is not a justification for eating other humans. This isn't a justification for NOT eating meat, either. It's just an observation about the human anatomy.
    I've had enough of being told that I am "evil" for doing exactly what nature intended me to do
    Nature likewise does not intend anything to happen. It just happens.

    Sorry about the length of this post. I have trouble finding a middle ground between too succinct to get my point across, and ridiculously long in an attempt to ensure that I'm not misunderstood.

    [ Parent ]

    Oops (none / 0) (#110)
    by pexatus on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 05:10:57 PM EST

    The reference I made to my own post wasn't the parent. I was thinking of a different post I made here.

    [ Parent ]
    hypocrisy (2.00 / 1) (#115)
    by dipierro on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 11:23:13 AM EST

    If you choose to believe that killing animals is horrible, fine; live your meat-free life and don't try to evangelize it.

    If you believe that evangelism is bad, live your evangelism-free life and don't try to evangelize it.

    [ Parent ]
    killing animals bad, killing plants ok? (2.50 / 2) (#44)
    by Phantros on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:48:06 AM EST

    I find it funny that some people think that killing animals for food is bad, but you never hear a word about plants. Why is it bad to eat an animal, but fine to eat a plant? Many of the animals we eat really aren't much smarter than plants, so that can't be the rationale (example: Clams, not capable of solving differential equations, contrary to popular belief.)

    I enjoy eating from both kingdoms.

    4Literature - 2,000 books online and Scoop to discuss them with
    [ Parent ]

    Possibilities (none / 0) (#58)
    by pexatus on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 12:29:38 PM EST

    1. We have to eat plants. You can live a healthy life eating only plants, but not eating only animals (I think). Given this, eating a plant to save one's own life is justifiable, whereas eating an animal because of personal preference in taste is not (These are suppositions here, not my own opinions).
    2. Animals have a nervous system and therefore can suffer, whereas plants do not. Killing animals causes suffering, so we shouldn't kill them.
    This first one assumes that all life is sacred and no living being has the right to harm another. I don't buy this, as I don't view life as being any more of a sacred concept than any other complex system like a galaxy or an economy.

    The second one makes more sense to me. I do not endorse the suffering of animals or inhumane treatment of them. However, it's possible to take an animal's life without making it suffer. Humans think of the end of life as a form of suffering in itself, but why? We are intelligent enough to contemplate our own existence, and the realization that one is about to die is suffering because of all the opportunities cut short. Animals aren't going to be broken up because they died before they got a chance to visit Rome or go skydiving or get married. It's just one less day they get to spend climbing around in a tree flinging their crap at one another. If any animal were intelligent enough to contemplate its own existence, then I would think it is wrong to kill them. The evidence of some forms of intelligence (like that chimp who knew sign language) in some of the primates is enough for me to say that they should be treated like humans with limited abilities.

    [ Parent ]

    Lions (4.00 / 1) (#62)
    by kenkaniff on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 04:46:19 PM EST

    Have you ever seen a lion kill a gazelle or a zebra? It's not pretty. A slow bleeding death, during which, your killer is ripping flesh from your bones as your life trickles out ontp the savanna dirt. If you manage to avoid the predators, you get another day of scrounging for food to stave off starvation.

    Nature isn't kind.

    Humans are animals, and omnivores, at that. It's not unnatural to eat animals, just like any other animal in the food chain.

    A field of cows is protected from predators, guaranteed more than ample food and water daily. When it's time to go, it's a quick death and then off to Sizzler. It's the cushy bovine life. Anywhere else, it would be called a symbiotic existence, cows are kept around as food for the humans, and in return, the humans offer protection and sustenance. Only the pretentiousness of human attitude makes it something cruel and unusual.

    That being said, what <B>IS</B> cruel, is raising animals in inhumane conditions. Caged chicken farms and the like. Free range chickens taste better anyway, don't buy chicken from companies with caged chicken farms.

    Eating no meat or little meat for health reasons is just fine, something more people should do, even. But eating meat is natural, and healthy in the right quantities.

    [ Parent ]

    Right on (none / 0) (#70)
    by pexatus on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:43:42 PM EST

    That's pretty much my take on it as well. One thing that makes me uncomfortable, though, is how much it sounds like the people who justified slavery by claiming that they were providing for the poor slaves who would have had a harder life if they were free.

    Of course, the reason I don't take that as a reason to set all the animals free is that I think that animals (except maybe those higher primates) are unable to contemplate their own existence and the concept of their freedom. Therefore they do not suffer the way humans suffer merely by being held captive on a farm and put to our service in a way that's no physically worse than their life would be in nature. I might be wrong about that, since I've never actually talked to an animal about it, but it would take a lot to convince me otherwise.

    [ Parent ]

    Existence (none / 0) (#75)
    by kenkaniff on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:42:35 PM EST

    Animals are able to contemplate their existence. The ceiling at which they become content is much lower in "food" animals than it is in human animals. If a cow/chicken has food, water, and is able to propogate it species, that's pretty it. As you said, a cow won't be disappointed if she never sees Rome or skydives.

    It does sound like the slavery justification. Though, in it's defense, humans have 6 or 7 levels of satisfaction, something I vaguely remember from psychology. Animal needs, and like 4 or 5 other mental conditions. Captivity for a cow means all of its satisfaction needs are met. Captivity, or slavery, for a human means that those animal needs are probably consistently met, but the rest are unequivocally violated.

    I'm sure a study of any "food" animal's brain will reveal that it's several orders less complex than a human brain.

    [ Parent ]

    eating animal and morality (4.00 / 3) (#114)
    by dipierro on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 11:21:02 AM EST

    Why is it bad to eat an animal, but fine to eat a plant?

    Eating animal is much more wasteful. The US uses 6.9 kilograms of corn and soy to put just 1 kilogram of pork on the table. "Cornell University's David Pimentel, a specialist in agricultural energy, estimates that 30,000 kilocalories of fossil fuel energy are used to produce a kilogram of pork in the United States--equivalent to the energy in almost 4 liters of gasoline." More than 3000 liters of water are used to produce only 1 kilogram of beef. (source)

    Further, animals generally are put in terrible conditions. While a clam might not care if it's stuffed together with thousands of its kind, a calf might. While you're right that drawing the line between plant and animal is inappropriate, no one requires you to draw any line anywhere. Clear-cutting 10,000 trees might be wrong, but chopping down 1 might be OK. Does that mean there's magically a number between 1 and 10,000 where the morality goes from right to wrong? Even if there is, you don't have to know what that number is to know what to do in each case.

    [ Parent ]
    No, pepperoni is justifiable homicide (4.50 / 2) (#48)
    by FatOldGoth on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 06:01:08 AM EST

    With apologies to Pete Loveday.
    Are you invested with attitude?
    [ Parent ]
    Not in italy it's not (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by ripplestick on Wed Jul 24, 2002 at 10:16:44 AM EST

    Pepperoni is the italian name for bell pepper...
    Salame picante is what americans call pepperoni, and yeah, I guess that would fit your definition of murder.

    [ Parent ]
    What to cook it on? (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by MattGWU on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 12:19:52 AM EST

    What is the flat thing of choice on which to cook the pizza? Cookie sheet? Naked oven rack? Aluminum foil? Pizza stone? None of the above? I know it makes a decent difference....in my own experimentations with a Boboli, I've tried the foil (No considerable toasting), and the cookie sheet (Charcoal). Is a pizza stone they way to go?

    pizza stone...eh... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by V. on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 12:39:16 AM EST

    They work pretty well. Best advice I can give is to put some foil on your stone so that when stuff drips off it doesn't get onto the stone. It can be a pain to get the cheese off of a porous stone.

    If you would like a stone I can send you one. We got like 10 off them as wedding presents. ;)

    BTW, I'm not vegetarian but self-made veggie pizzas with no cheese are great if you can learn how to make a decent sauce. I've converted my wife to cheeseless pizza also.

    [ Parent ]

    No to foil! (4.00 / 1) (#88)
    by cashrefundman on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:05:12 AM EST

    The cheese on the stone is easy enough to scrape off once the stone is cool, and the discoloring gives it character and shows you are a busy baker.

    Instead, sprinkle some corn meal on the hot stone just before putting the pizza in. Corn meal is the "ball bearings" of bread baking. Your pizza will be easy on easy off.

    [ Parent ]

    Using foil or parchment paper is missing the point (none / 0) (#89)
    by ClassicG on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:36:37 AM EST

    The idea is to have the pizza crust in direct contact with a very hot absorbent surface. Using any kind of layer between them takes away most of the benifits of the pizza stone, and you might as well use a pan.

    A generous sprinkling of corn meal is the best way to get the pizza onto the stone, though personally, I put it on my pizza peel before I put the crust down rather than sprinkle it onto the stone itself.

    [ Parent ]

    Silly (none / 0) (#120)
    by archivis on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:44:40 PM EST

    Make less sticky dough :)

    [ Parent ]
    Quarry tiles! (4.33 / 3) (#49)
    by barnasan on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 06:48:26 AM EST

    This is an old trick.

    The pizza will be very good if cooked on a hot stone.

    Using quarry tiles is a classic trick, if you don't want to buy or mess around with a pizza stone. I got a box of unglazed tiles from home depot with some 20 tiles for about <=$8. I simply keep them in the oven on the rack. If a tile breaks (every stone - also pizza stones - breaks in the oven eventually), i have plenty of replacement.

    And crank that oven up as high as it goes! ;-)

    p.s. it's best to use unglazed tiles, because tile glazes can contain lead. (at least some time ago this was the case, frankly i don't think it's still true but who knows...)

    [ Parent ]

    Pizza Stone (4.00 / 1) (#102)
    by archivis on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 07:19:06 PM EST

    A pizza stone, either commercially bought or made from a quarry tile or the like is a MUST!

    [ Parent ]
    Topping order (4.00 / 1) (#32)
    by tzanger on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 12:44:10 AM EST

    Any order you want, so long as the pepperoni (thin sliced) is on top.

    Pepperoni on top leaves it nice and crisp and delicious. I've even taken to asking for this specifically when I order pizza. It's absolutely amazing.

    Completely (none / 0) (#100)
    by archivis on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:49:09 PM EST

    do I agree! :)

    [ Parent ]
    Egg and My Favorite Toppings (4.33 / 3) (#33)
    by quam on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 12:59:15 AM EST

    Unusual for some people, after the toppings are placed on the pizza, I occassionally crack and drop an egg onto the center of the pizza and sprinke a little cheese over the yolk. Although I have added an egg to various toppings, an egg topping is a nice complement with spinach.

    Pineapple, grilled red onion, and diced red peppers. I also like to sprinke dried oregano and a little garlic powder on top of cheeses.

    -- U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.
    Egg, yes definately (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by lordpixel on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:48:48 PM EST

    Its unheard of here in New York, but reasonably common in England.

    Egg on the top of a pizza, in the middle, either early in the cooking process, so its "hard boiled", or late in the cooking process (ie, open the oven, crack it on there near the end) if you prefer "soft boiled" is great!

    Always gets a confused look from all of the Yanks I've mentioned it to, but very worthwhile.


    I am the cat who walks through walls, all places and all times are alike to me.
    [ Parent ]

    I'm into really esoteric fusion cuisine (3.66 / 6) (#35)
    by KWillets on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 01:02:25 AM EST

    Kimchee pizza.

    Here's a recipe:

    Take some Kimchee, and some Pizza.  Put the kimchee on the pizza.  Put it on the top, so it doesn't fall off.  Eat.

    With red pepper, garlic, and lactic acid, kimchee tastes a lot like pepperoni.  It goes well with cheese.

    On my next episode:  My top-secret recipe for Kimchee Spaghetti.  

    kimchee tastes a lot like pepperoni (4.00 / 2) (#91)
    by wiredog on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:28:11 AM EST

    Good God, what kind of pepperoni do you use?!? Good, or even decent, pepperoni tastes nothing like kimchi!

    Unless you have really bad kimchi? Nah. Even bad kimchi wouldn't taste like pepperoni. Saurkraut, maybe, but not pepperoni.

    Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
    [ Parent ]

    Maybe not the meat flavor (none / 0) (#93)
    by KWillets on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:18:02 PM EST

    But many of the seasonings are the same.

    [ Parent ]
    Seasonings? (none / 0) (#94)
    by wiredog on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:22:38 PM EST

    Well, maybe the garlic, but still. That's like saying that kimchi tastes like tomato sauce, because of commonality of seasonings.

    Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
    [ Parent ]
    *chuckle* (1.00 / 1) (#112)
    by azzl on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:15:58 AM EST

    Dude, I make up a lot of dumb shit when I'm high too, but I don't go around calling it "fusion cuisine". And shitting your pants ain't "performance art" either. In fact, come home, grandpa, we're all worried about you.

    [ Parent ]
    Toppings etc. (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by Graymalkin on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 01:42:39 AM EST

    A good dough is very important to a good pizza but it something that is going to be noticed mostly for texture rather than flavour. You can use a sour dough mix however which makes a pretty yummy dough. Now however, onto the fun part.

    I love to cook pizza and adding stuff like pizza toppings is usually my favourite part of the process. One topping I find hard to do without is smoked Gouda cheese.  It has a consistance similar to that of bleu cheese with a much less sour flavour to it. Montery Jack cheese is also a favourite around my house whenever I make pizza so I usually grate up equal amounts of mozerella and jack cheese and spread them over the dough. Then I crumble up the gouda and spread it over the top. A well kneeded sourdough crust will make that a quite excellent pizza. Note the gouda will not melt as brown like the mozerella and jack cheese, so be careful not to brown the gouda too much or it can start to become bitter.

    For the meat lover in me I usually do something along the lines of hamburgered or sliced italian sausage. It is a bit spicey for some people but pretty nummy. Another sausage I've tried on pizza was polish sausage which wasn't half bad. For me pepperoni is a little passe taste wise unless I spend a lot of money on expensive stuff. I've been attempting to stay away from it lately. Too much meat weighs down a light crust along with the weight of the cheese, unless you're going for NY style folding I say practice some smart pizza engineering regarding meat.

    For the vegetarians a veggie pizza is an ART. With a meat pizza you can pretty much toss stuff on there because the texture and taste gets all mangled up. With veggies you have to know exactly what you like because the taste is important. With a veggie pizza you need to be aware of what order you're going to hit the veggies. My prefered pattern goes something like a light sprinkling of sliced or diced olives in the center of the pizza followed by a row of sliced peppercinis or bell peppers. Be sure to get the seeds no matter what you use, the bite of the peppers is important! After the crunchiness and pepper of the peppers you ought to have a row or mushrooms to let your mouth cool off from the peppers and finish with the crust. You don't have to make such a methodical pizza but it looks cool and gives you a very distinct taste as you work through the slice.

    Get a pizza stone and make sure it is plenty hot, it will put a lot of heat into the crust and keep it very crispy. A crispy crust is necessary to support a three cheese pizza. Never attempt a three cheese pizza with a weak thin crust. The gods of pizza making will smote you good.

    Be wary of your pizza making music as well. If you're making a fiesty pizza you need to be rocking out in the kitchen. People can taste when you've been kneeding dough with upbeatitude. If you want a mellower feel to the pizza like a personal sized pizza for a candle lit dinner with your babe or dude throw on some Chopin to get yourself in the mood by kneeding the dough slowly to the beat.

    No kidding! (none / 0) (#68)
    by Dolohov on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:31:38 PM EST

    I made baguettes once while listening to a Wagner opera on NPR. They came out hard as rock -- good for toasting, though.

    [ Parent ]
    Leave pizza making to the pros. (1.57 / 7) (#45)
    by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:56:10 AM EST

    They normally speak Italian an live in Italy.

    All the rest are  unsatisfying culinary masturbations.

    Or aberrations (those things in boxes in the supermarket are not pizzas, neither are those spoutered by chains).

    Stapple food of the western world? Unless France, Italy (yes Italy), Germany and the UK became part of a global conspiracy to move the western world to the east, I should say that stapple food in those places does not include pizza imitations (think potatoes and you may be into something).

    UScentrism here? Naahhhhh!!! How could I think that.

    Don't you love to troll once in a while?
    _._ .....
    ... .._ _._. _._ ...
    ._.. ._ _ . ._.. _.__

    water (3.50 / 4) (#46)
    by sar on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 04:50:27 AM EST

    You cannot make decent pizza unless you use nyc tap water.

    All the bets pizza places in the country import nyc tap water by the truck for this purpose.

    you must be trolling (none / 0) (#51)
    by khallow on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:06:03 AM EST

    I'd rather just kidnap the NYC pizza makers and stick them in the basement. You got to make everything so complicated. *sigh*

    Besides, NYC tap water is no good for chicago-style pizzas. Just letting you know.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    all you need (4.50 / 2) (#64)
    by bloodnok on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:15:29 PM EST

    I take it that NYC tap water has all the flavours you need for a good, spicy pizza?

    I've never tasted NYC water, but peronally I'd be pretty freaked if what came out of the tap tasted like salami :)

    [ Parent ]

    Parent is NOT A TROLL! (4.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Captain Frisk on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:06:28 PM EST

    A friend of my fathers runs a bagel shop in DC. His first bunch of bagels were horrible. He finally realized that the key was water, and he imports NYC water to make his bagels. People assume that NYC is filthy, but the water is pumped in from the Catskills, and is one of the cleanest tap waters in the country. I wouldn't go so far as to say that the pizza will be horrible without it, but the poster makes a valid point regarding the water... there is something special about it.

    [ Parent ]
    What! (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by wiredog on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 11:30:03 AM EST

    There's a decent bagel shop in DC? For God's sake tell us WHERE!

    Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
    [ Parent ]
    Toppings..... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by barnasan on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:58:42 AM EST

    "Real" pizza is simple pizza. If you want to taste Italian pizza, take it very easy with the toppings. A good general rule is that the dough should be visible at different spots after the sauce is applied.

    One of the staple foods in our household is "Pizza Bianca alla Romana", which is the simplest one: it is topped with extra-virgin olive oil and coarse salt. That's all!

    No need for heavy toppings. If you make your own dough (and I like the recipe in the article), then it will be fantastic!

    I'm a bread geek and I think I must have read all bread material that is out on the web. I offer you nice people two links:

    This page discusses mistakes often made by pizza bakers. Again, simplicity is
    emphasized. The site itself is run by Italians who take their food very seriously. They can go overboard with it, so take it with a grain of salt. :-)

    This one gets you to a page where you can see videos of how Pizza Margherita is made from scratch by Roberto Donna, one of the premier Italian chefs in the US, and Julia Child (OK, I know she's funny, but her baking lessons are invaluable for beginning bakers).



    theartisan.net (4.00 / 2) (#101)
    by KnightStalker on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:49:34 PM EST

    I just tried making a pizza (my first) from their crust recipe. That was the first bread I've ever made that actually came out well. The topping I put on it wasn't that great, but the crust was DAMN good.

    [ Parent ]
    Pizza Bianca alla Romana? (none / 0) (#119)
    by ripplestick on Wed Jul 24, 2002 at 10:47:20 AM EST

    It's a ciclista to me.

    [ Parent ]
    The Secret of Firm Crust. (4.00 / 1) (#52)
    by broody on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:44:00 AM EST

    This article is only missing one vital crust making tip. The secret of a crispy crust is a sprinkle of Vital Wheat Gluten (sometimes called Gluten flour). I grab mine at Giant but you can probably find it lots of other places.

    Yummy article...

    ~~ Whatever it takes
    Another option. Soft crust. (4.00 / 2) (#59)
    by mguercio on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 01:32:29 PM EST

    If you want a softer crust, you can substitute 1/2 of the water in the mixture with beer. You have to be careful because if your rising bowl is too small the dough will overflow over the sides. Cheers
    The definition of "high achievment" is not the wisdom that you have attained yourself, but the wisdom you can share with others.
    [ Parent ]
    Not Necessary (4.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Dolohov on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:28:12 PM EST

    It's a good tip, but it's better to start with a high-gluten flour and not add any more dry ingredients than necessary. I'm told that bread-maker flour is the best for this, but if you live near a baker, they'd probably be happy to give tips on flour selection. (I live near King Arthur Flour myself. They're really cool about that.)

    [ Parent ]
    Ultra-Thin Chicago Style... (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by broody on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 06:58:04 AM EST

    I've been trying to match the ultra-thin crust that a little Chicago pizza dive called Tony & Lils used to make. In the process, I have toyed with dozens of high gluten flours, sadly none have quite been up to muster. The only way I have gotten 90% of the way to a match is Vital Wheat Gluten. If you have any specific suggestions for flour, they will be happily accepted.

    That said, your quite right in it being better off to use a high gluten flour at the beginning. It makes a huge difference when one uses quality flour.

    ~~ Whatever it takes
    [ Parent ]
    My Pizza Recipes (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by luke on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:49:32 AM EST

    I've started making homemade pizza a lot in the past couple of years. It's really easy, and fast if you make a large amount of dough ahead of time for storage in the fridge/freezer.

    My dough recipe is pretty much the same as ClassicG's, but I add sugar (food for the yeast!), a little salt, a little olive oil, and some Italian seasonings (like basil, oregano, marjoram, etc.)

    I make a bunch of dough at once to keep around. I find it keeps in the refrigerator for about a week, and indefinitely in the freezer. I hardly ever freeze anymore -- my roommates eat all the dough before I have a chance!

    My Pizza Sauce:

    1 35oz can 'Italian Style' tomatoes
    2-4 tbsp honey
    2 cloves garlic
    1/2 cup finely chopped white (or vidalia) onion
    2 tbsp seasonings (basil, oregano, marjoram, etc.)
    4-6 oz. Italian style tomato paste (if you can find it)

    The most important thing I've found about pizza sauce is to get the right kind of tomatoes. It must be the 'Italian Style'. I think these are also referred to as Roma tomatoes

    Drain tomatoes, blend into puree. Combine with remaining ingredients, and cook covered over low heat for 45 minutes to an hour. If you can't find any Italian style tomato paste, uncover the sauce for part of the process to allow the mixture to thicken.

    I usually make a bunch of this sauce at once, and keep it in the refrigerator.

    My favorite pizza is topped with hash-brown style red potatoes, and ricotta cheese. My base cheese mix on pizzas is usually 1/2 mozzarella and 1/2 munster. Fontina cheese is good too!

    Tomatoes (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Dolohov on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:25:12 PM EST

    Roma tomatoes are often called plum tomatoes in the states. Your recipe, it seems, would work really well with fresh tomatoes. Slice off the tops and then slice lengthwise. Drag a spoon down the middle to de-seed (The seeds add only a nasty, bitterish flavor and you should really deseed even canned tomatoes) then do what you will to them. If you want to get a little wild, roast these deseeded babies, then slice them onto your pizza with a light sauce or even instead of sauce.

    Mind you, get your tomatoes from a trusted dealer. Current law in the United States says that a tomato is considered "vine ripe" if there is ANY, repeat, ANY red showing on it AT ALL. They are then boxed up and gassed to bring out the redness. The result is a nasty, but bulletproof, tomato. If you're going to buy fresh, buy from a local farmer or a friend. You can grow them yourself with little difficulty (I don't; I live in an apartment with no backyard).

    [ Parent ]

    Roma tomatoes (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Karmakaze on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:52:55 PM EST

    I can vouch that Roma/plum tomatoes make the best sauce.  "Beefsteak" tomatoes, the big red ones that are the iconic tomato, have much too much water in them, and generally not a lot of flavor.  Roma's also take up less space.  You can grow a small vine in an apartment (although it won't yield terribly much)

    I can also vouch that store-bought tomatoes are generally awful.  Especially stay away from "hydroponic" tomatoes.  Practically all of the flavor in a tomato comes from the soil.  The ones grown in our (clay rich) backyard were entirely different than the store-bought kind.  Depending on where you  live, there are places you can find decent tomatoes.  In the US Pacific northwest, try a local "organic co-op", in the Pennsylvania area (including surrounding states) look for "Amish markets" - the produce there is generally good.

    We used to grow tomatoes when I was a kid.  Big tomatoes are for salads - small ones are for sauces.  And once you've eaten salads picked from a garden, nothing from a supermarket comes close.
    [ Parent ]

    Ah, pizza... (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Mzilikazi on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:52:28 PM EST

    I love pizza, in all of its various forms... And I've made quite a few myself, both thick and thin crust varieties. (A tip for those wanting to make their own--add in a half cup or so of dry nonfat milk solids to the flour, it gives a nice flavor to the crust.)

    I haven't seen much in this thread about Chicago style pizza, are there any fans out there? I had a great one in Chicago in '95, a deep dish vegetarian that had asparagus and goat cheese among a half dozen other cool toppings.

    My current favorite is a local mom & pop joint run by a bunch of Italians from Bari in Italy (the bootheel). The pizza is more or less New York style, though I mainly enjoy going in for the conversation. I can come in and order in Italian, carry on a conversation with the guy at the counter while my pie is cooking, and depart without speaking a single word of English. When she's there, the matriarch of the family will come out and bring me a glass of wine and a hug. :)

    A variety I haven't seen mentioned yet is BBQ pizza, which is popular here in my home town of Memphis. Chicken or pork, it's quite good if done properly. Coletta's makes an awesome BBQ pizza. (If you want to try it at home, there are several different ways to do it, but one version uses a thin layer of BBQ sauce instead of tomato sauce, with roast pork or chicken and cheese as the only toppings.

    Oddly enough, I wasn't overly thrilled with the pizza I had in Italy, though none of it was bad. I had one or two that were good, with nice cripsy thin crusts. But I spent most of my time there in the north, where it's not really traditional. I did have a great quatro stagione pizza in Florence, but that experience is tempered more by the fact that the owner of the place was bored and decided to come and sit with me during the meal, and his wife kept bringing out delicious side dishes to us. :) Have I mentioned that I love the Italian people?

    The worst pizza I ever head was in a Italian joint in Amsterdam run by Indoesians. Not only did the crust and sauce suck, but the cheese was a mix of gouda and edam (I'm sure it was cheaper in A'dam than mozzarella) and tasted horrid.


    my fave recipe (4.00 / 1) (#78)
    by sal5ero on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:05:59 PM EST

    no cheese, no tomato sauce base. instead, replace the tomato base with satay sauce. top with roasted vegetables - sweet potato, potato, squash, pumpkin, onion, aubergine, zucchini (sp?) - plus cooked broccoli, uncooked mushrooms and mixed herbs. also, fry some tofu cubes (previously marinated in soy sauce) and put that on too. probably also other veggies that i can't remember. stack it high (an inch or so) and put it in the oven.

    um... (none / 0) (#105)
    by anon868 on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:18:39 PM EST

    Eww, you actually eat that? I don't even think you could properly call that pizza.
    Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
    [ Parent ]
    why not (none / 0) (#113)
    by sal5ero on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 07:58:01 PM EST


    [ Parent ]
    pesto pizza (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by sos on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:36:18 AM EST

    One of my favourite pizzas: Use pesto sauce instead tomato sauce, use chicken, sundried tomato, olives, and cheese of course.  Come to think of it, antipasto would also go nicely on such a pizza (but I only just thought of it).

    There's also the highly untraditional pizzas (as if there was such a thing) that have stuff like chunks of lamb, mango chutney, corn chips, potatoes (not necessarily on the same pizza :-) ) or other funky stuff...  but I can't be bothered making pizzas like that at home.  Leave them to the pizza restaurant down the road.

    --- My real e-mail address isn't quite scalding.

    Another topping... (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by treefrog on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:41:59 AM EST

    Personally, I favour cooking my pizza on a quarry tile (note, you leave the tile in the oven, and slide the pizza onto it). For a topping, try brushing the pizza with some olive oil mixed with a clove of crushed garlic, add a small amount of Picos blue cheese (Da Vinci's deli in Bear Flat in Bath (UK) sells it - and it is the most seriously strong blue cheese I have ever tried), and season with some salt.

    Serve with a glass of red wine (Quinta do Portal?)

    Regards (and happy cooking), treefrog

    Twin fin swallowtail fish. You don't see many of those these days - rare as gold dust Customs officer to Treefrog

    skip the toppings, just gimme the dough. (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:40:56 AM EST

    Personally, I love baking bread from scratch. Having a bread maker do it for you overnight it sweet, but there's nothing better than experimenting with the ingredients, shaping the loaf and then taking that first bite of a still-hot piece of bread.

    Here's my personal favorite: White bread flour blended with oats and whole wheat flour. I call it "Mr. Ed Bread". Second favorite: take a recipe for white or whole wheat bread and substitute cold coffee for the water. Really great for making bread bowls for dips and so on.


    what does papa john's use for sauce? (none / 0) (#98)
    by miguel on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 04:43:48 PM EST

    it's sooooooo gooooood.

    I want you to be free

    Chicago Style (none / 0) (#107)
    by Hefty on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:08:53 PM EST

    The inverted method of preparing the pizza as mentioned in the article above is actually the way an authentic Chicago style pizza is made. I accidently found this out after following the directions of a pizza pie that oddly enough had the toppings inverted. My dad (born and raised in Chicago) saw what I was making and this somehow made a 60 year old man giddy again with excitement. He said, "Jeez, I haven't eaten a pizza made like that since I was a kid, rustic Chicago style pizza." An authentic Chicago style pizza will be a deep dish thick crust, then the cheese, then the toppings, then the sauce, and don't forget the freshly grated parmesian and romano cheese to cover the top.

    French bread is better pizza bread.. (none / 0) (#108)
    by sudog on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:26:57 PM EST

    You pre-cook the bread in the oven before adding your ingredients and cooking the pizza itself. The French bread makes superior crust and has a texture and taste that is probably the most thrilling part of actually eating the end result.

    Takes a few hours longer though. :)

    I am in love with you ClassicG (none / 0) (#111)
    by oooga on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 08:10:04 PM EST

    Since reading this story I have made four of the goddamn tastiest pizzas I've ever et. Since I'm allergic to milk, it's f*cking hard to find a pizza I can eat. But making my own, and using goats milk. Um, um. Gotta go, timers a dingin'.
    Taking my toast burnt since 1985
    Stalking the Wild Pizza | 120 comments (112 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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