Anyways, yesterday just reminded me why I think I shouldn't try to cook something new on Fridays. I am not Jewish, but I think they got it right by celebrating the Shabbat on a day where culinary endeavors, mainly in my kitchen, never seem to go right. I knew I wanted to try my hand at making homemade pizza and once my husband came back from school I knew I would have the time to dedicate to making my pizza dough and toppings. Sometimes I wonder if there is a ghost in my house, because the other day a pizza dough recipe I had stashed in one of my many cookbooks was splayed out on my counter. I went through the recipe and when I saw the recipe included overnight preparation I stalled on making the dough. Plus I was going through the MIA meat thermometer debacle and that recipe made it to the wayside. I checked my BH&G New Cookbook for their version of pizza dough and seeing that it only took about 30 minutes of prep time, including resting the dough, I decided to go that route. Now I wished I didn't.
fresh mozzarella goodness
Since the recipe produced two pizza doughs I decided to make two pizzas. The first pizza I attempted was a margherita style pizza which could be considered the great-grandmother to the modern day pizza that is served today. For those who don't know the history of pizza, I'll give you the story in short. A Neapolitan baker was asked to prepare a dish for Queen Margherita of Italy during the latter part of the 19th century. He derived a pizza using fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes to represent the 3 colors of the Italian flag and hence the Margherita pizza was born. Margherita pizza is one of my favorites since it utilizes fresh mozzarella, which is probably my all-time favorite cheese. Growing up in an Italian household, we ate fresh mozzarella a lot and there is nothing like it. The taste, in my opinion is completely different than the block mozzarella you get in the grocery store, it has a soft texture and a mellow, creamy taste taste. Luckily, better grocery stores in Savannah carry this cheese but it isn't always cheap. The container of fresh mozzarella I procured at Publix was almost 12 bucks a pound for 3 4oz-ish ovaline mozzarella balls. It is well worth the money. If you haven't tried fresh mozzarella but like the block kind, definitely try it. It is a whole different, creamy ball game.
So I prepared the pizza toppings from a recipe I found on Epicurious (that app is amazing, if you haven't downloaded it yet and you own any one of Apple's fine gadgets I suggest you download it today). Their recipe called for refrigerated dough and I haughtily thought I had a step up on this pizza making adventure since I made my dough from scratch. I prepared the charred tomatoes for the topping and dutifully sliced my fresh mozzarella and diced my block mozzarella that the recipe called for. I even perfectly chiffonaded my basil. All this precise prep to have my pizza dough fail on me.
When the pizza came out of the oven it looked delicious. After my time working in a pizzeria, I knew to let the pizza rest before cutting and when I started the pizza wheel through my work of art I knew right away something was wrong. The crust was difficult to cut through but I persevered on. I served the pizza to Mike and the kids then put the subsequent pizza I had prepared, utilizing diced chicken cutlets and the gupesto I had made earlier this week. I took a bite of the pizza and right away I knew the pizza was not only overcooked (my fault for following the baking time corresponding to refrigerated dough in the Epicurious app) but the dough had absolutely no flavor. Most people say the pizza outside of NY tastes like crap because of the lack of NY reservoir water. We installed a way too expensive water filter on the house when we bought it to have water that resembled NY water at least in taste so I knew that wasn't the only problem with my dough. This is the first time a recipe from my BH&G cookbook has failed me, the dough's taste was less appealing than a communion wafer.
Chicken Cutlet and Gupesto pizza before baking.
I will not be discouraged though, the next time I make pizza I won't be lazy and use the more time consuming recipe. Maybe next time the crust won't make me want to genuflect after eating a slice.