Sunday, March 9, 2008

That character thing again

It snowed here Friday night and snow in Alabama ranks right up there with...rewriting the constitution. So the kids and I brought out the blow-up bed, put it in front of a window, raised the blinds and opened the drapes and turned on the outside lights. So that everytime we woke up during the night, we could see the white flakes hurtling down through the light.

God throws you these little moments so that, during the course of REAL LIFE, you don't throttle your offspring.

Last night we decided to make homemade pizza. Not complicated, on-the-grill, roast up some vegetables pizza; For some reason we've never owned a pizza stone and last week we were re-gifted with one so...homemade pizza it was. The Nice Kid went online to find a good dough recipe and a little while later I realized she was making the dough and coming back into the den to look at the computer every 60 seconds. When I asked why, turns out the computer wouldn't print out her recipe. When I asked why again, it seems she had disconnected the printer to hook up her iPod and had forgotten to reconnect the printer. (When I fixed everything this morning, I got three color copies of a recipe for pizza dough.)

Then I realize she's making the dough with her hands instead of using the dough hooks and she's not skilled enough at this yet to approach the dough from a well-floured vantage point and we have the mess from HELL all over the kitchen but hey, it's just pizza dough. Bread, water and yeast are pretty hard to mess up.

Why do I still say things like that?

The dough didn't rise. Or, didn't rise in the time it was supposed to. The package had been opened and there was 1/8 teaspoon missing, and that shouldn't have made an enormous difference but still...the dough wasn't rising. We ate something else and then about an hour later I looked and the dough had made some progress so we decided to go for it.

Mistake number one: "Sprinkle the surface generously with cornmeal" isn't a suggestion and you need to make sure your child understands the extent of "generously." Mine didn't. So when we got ready to slide the pizza onto the heated wasn't budging. It could be lifted in sections but we didn't want sections, we wanted a pie. Didn't work that way. After a few hilarious moments while she juggled the hot stone and I disfigured sections of pizza, we just scooped and prayed. We had a...lumpy...looking concoction but think about it: Bread, sauce, pepperoni and cheese. We're having a loaf. A foccacia. This will work.

Into the oven. We played with the temperature and timing a little so that the thick parts had a chance to at least get done, without totally burning the thin spots. It looked pretty good. Not showpiece good but in-your-mouth good.

Mistake number two: Double check. Double check about forty times because I don't care how much time and effort and good flour and happy oil you put into bread of ANY gotta have salt. And believe it or not, salt is secondary for taste because it's FIRST for texture. And somehow, in the not-printing-out-the-recipe and the not-paying-attention and the trying-to-also-talk-to-Carrie Ann-on-the-phone, TNK forgot the salt.

She announced it wasn't that bad...sort of like a pretzel pizza. The Not Nice Kid ate the pepperoni off the top.

I mixed a drink.

So here, not building character in any form and wasting about ten dollars worth of pepperoni and cheese sits...The Lump Who Came To Dinner.

The kitchen still looks like a hurricane came through and I have no idea how to get this stone clean but as they headed out the door for church both kids announced..."We're going to try again tonight!" I hope there's extra bourbon.

1 comment:

Country Girl said...

In a discussion about hand-beating versus mixer mashed potatoes, I once read that the final verdict is: What your mama did. That's all there is to it.

Well, we tried pizza again last night and it came out the way it was supposed to and I realized...I'm from Alabama. I do NOT understand my New York friend's passion for thin crust. Just don't get it. I'm sorry but one of the great pleasures of my life is...the buttery, yeasty FAT crust on a pan pizza from Pizza Hut. Because...that's what my mama did. But we DID get the crust right per someone else's criteria and so...been there. Done that. Let's go to Pizza Hut.