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View Diary: What's for Dinner?  Swiss Steak Edition, with a nod to Vegans.  20090725 (194 comments)

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  •  Home Made Pizza (15+ / 0-)

    Late lunch, early dinner.

    We’ve had two Chinese students staying with us, teenage boys who eat a lot. Today, two more boys from their class have been hanging out with us too.

    Looking around the kitchen, we had the remainder of a 10 pound bag of onions that I wanted to use before they started getting mushy, some leftover tri-tip ends from earlier in the week, a roasted eggplant, and a jar of stewed tomatoes and onions that was a remainder from a friend’s canning last year. We also have lots of white flour – the result of a long trip to Costco when I was getting new tires, and had time to really wander around the store, doing some calculations on things like the cost to make a loaf of bread.

    This is the type of cooking challenge I love, because there’s a double level of frugality in cooking from scratch and using those ingredients that are a day or too away from feeding the compost pile.

    The solution? Pizza, and not just one pizza, but three kinds of pizza.

    Pizza dough is quick and easy. I used Mark Bittman’s recipe, 3 cups flour, 2 tsp  yeast, 2 tsp coarse salt, 2 TB olive oil, and a cup of water, whirled in  a food processor, kneaded,  and left to rise in an oiled covered bowl. I  actually doubled the recipe, and added some freshly ground black pepper to the dough. With hot weather, rising until it doubles is pretty quick.

    Meanwhile, caramelize four large onions in oil and butter, cooking quickly at first, then a long simmering until they brown, adding a little sugar to encourage the browning and some balsamic vinegar at the end.

    Second, simmer the eggplant and the tomato sauce together.

    I chopped up the tri-tip into little matchsticks, and mixed it with some minced dried tomatoes in olive oil ( Another result of that long shopping trip at Costco).

    Chopped up a handful of basil, marjoram, and oregano from the garden.

    Rolled out three crusts, transferred to cookie sheets, and gave the pizza a chance to rise again.

    Grated about ¾ of a pound of mozzarella, from one of those big Costco 2 pound bricks, and found the container with some finely grated Parmesan.

    Preheated the oven to 500

    Then quick assembly, drizzling a little olive oil on the crusts, and sprinkling with coarse salt, and a third of the herbs for each crust.

    One crust got the beef, sundried tomato, and cheeses.

    The second got the tomato eggplant mix with the cheeses

    The third was the caramelized mushrooms.

    Baked in the oven until the crusts were crisp, and the cheese was brown on top.

    Everybody loved them, and with all modesty, I have to say, they were amazingly good.

    Cost, not counting energy, about $8.00 to feed four very hungry teenagers and three less hungry adults.

    As part of the plan, I saved a quarter of the pizza dough in the refrigerator, and had some leftover caramelized onions and eggplant that I mixed together and saved. That’s a quick and delicious meal. It’s one of those things you can throw together if there’s unplanned company.

    There is a God, but he got an MBA. How else can you explain our world?

    by Aeolus on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 05:18:38 PM PDT

    •  Oops correction (5+ / 0-)

      Where it says caramelized mushrooms, it should have been caramelized onions. I have some mushrooms in the refrigerator that I should have worked into this, and was just thinking about using them with the remaining crust.

      There is a God, but he got an MBA. How else can you explain our world?

      by Aeolus on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 05:21:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most folks make the mistake of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ek hornbeck, pidge not midge

      putting too much oil in pizza crust.  Your amount is about right.  Much more and it is bread rather than crust.  When I make a very thin crust pizza, I use no oil at all, since it is so thin that being tough is not a factor.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      Time for real health care reform, not just to patch the patches.

      by Translator on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 05:23:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think of pizza dough as baking (4+ / 0-)

        Where I'm very careful about my measurements and use tested recipes from trusted sources (and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is pretty reliable)

        Unlike cooking, where I measure by eye and correct for taste.

        There is a God, but he got an MBA. How else can you explain our world?

        by Aeolus on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 05:36:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have gotten to the point that (4+ / 0-)

          I do not measure much, except for pastry crust, when baking.  There are only a couple of really important rules, and even though the results may be a bit unexpected now and then, I have never ended up with anything like Ellie May's biscuits.

          Warmest regards,

          Doc

          Time for real health care reform, not just to patch the patches.

          by Translator on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 05:39:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ellie Mae's biscuits...Uncle Jed and Jethro using (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ek hornbeck, esquimaux, Translator

            them as "clay pigeons" for target practice.  

            •  The first few seasons of that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ek hornbeck, Melissa J

              show were charming.  Granny reminds me so much of my grandmum that you would not believe it.

              Warmest regards,

              Doc

              Time for real health care reform, not just to patch the patches.

              by Translator on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 07:14:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I had a "Granny" Laura...tiny and very feisty! (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ek hornbeck, Translator

                Ellie Mae was a hero of mine. I have always had "critters" and as an adult worked in a widlife rehab center for 14 years. My house always had wild things underfoot and here's still a few that didn't "graduate" hanging out here.

                •  Ellie May was actually (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ek hornbeck, esquimaux, Melissa J

                  one of the first feminists on the TeeVee.  Very pretty, obviously, but pugnacious when necessary and a caring person.  Donna Douglas finally settled in a town not to far from where I grew up and rarely gives interviews, but the few that she has recalls those days fondly.

                  It is funny how an insignificant show like that can do things.

                  Congratulations for taking care of needy animals.  They have too few friends.

                  Warmest regards,

                  Doc

                  Time for real health care reform, not just to patch the patches.

                  by Translator on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 07:26:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

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