Had a power outage for 3 hours this morning while some very agile men climbed the huge tree out the back of our street and lopped off half its branches to keep them off the power lines. I was worried something would go wrong and I'd be unable to use the oven this evening, because Friday night is... pizza night!
I never ate a pizza in America that I liked, at least compared with the Mexicana from Gabriella Pizza (Carnegie) so I started making my own. I used to buy the base and do the toppings myself, but I now make them from scratch and they are delicious. Here's how you do it.
Turn on the oven to 450F and leave to heat up while making the dough.
Make the dough using quick-rise yeast and bread flour and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
While dough is rising, spray pizza tray with oil and prepare the toppings. This takes exactly 30 minutes.
Sharpen a knife and cut cherry tomatoes into slices. Place in bowl with extra virgin olive oil and crushed garlic.
Open can of pineapple tidbits and put in a sieve to drain. Drink some of the juice because it's good.
Chop red bell pepper. Scoop a few pitted kalamata olives out of the jar and chop. Scoop a few julienned sun-dried tomatoes out of their jar and leave to melt (because they've been in the fridge and have congealed into a godawful mess).
Take a serrano chilli pepper out of the tub in the freezer, run under hot water for a bit, and chop.
Divide the dough into four, freeze three lumps in sandwich bags, and roll out the fourth. Cut in half. Note, MCP gets the "bigger half". Stretch dough into two thin rectangularish shapes and place on pizza tray.
Assemble da pizza! Oh, first get together all the things you forgot, like the pepperoni from the tub in the fridge. Give one slice to dog, who is telepathically aware of the moment you removed said tub from fridge and shows up with puppy-dog eyes. Check the fridge for basil. If you have some, it's probably last week's and black. Throw it out. Check the basil plant on the kitchen window sill. It's probably looking pathetic but may yield a leaf or two. If not, grab the dried basil or oregano from the spice rack, or both if you're feeling... I don't know. Italian. Don't forget the black pepper.
Give dog another pepperoni because she's not going anywhere.
Okay, now assemble da pizza. First the tomato+oil+garlic. Try to avoid too much of the juice that leached out of the tomatoes because it'll make the dough soggy. Then the bell pepper. Then it gets complicated...
Put the pineapple and pepperoni on MCP's pizza. Put the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and chilli on yours. Add herbs and black pepper to both.
Now for the cheese. "Cheese is not a garnish, it's an ingredient!" Heed these words of wisdom courtesy of MCP. Grab the shredded mozzarella from the freezer - you carefully divided it up into pizza-size portions last week because a packet in the fridge goes moldy in four days. Bash the frozen bag on the counter top until it breaks apart, and sprinkle on pizzas. Extra for MCP. Get the cheese box from the fridge and grate a little cheddar (the orange American stuff) on MCP's pizza. Remember at the last minute that you have a tub of feta in the fridge and you like it, and add that to your pizza. (Warning: It will roll off because you should have put it under the mozzarella.)
Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Suddenly remember that you probably have anchovies in the cupboard... yes, you do, and you forgot to use them yet again. No delicious bursts of salty goodness for you.
While pizzas are cooking, clean up that mess you made, pour iced tea for MCP, and take out napkins, pizza wheel, forks and plates. This takes exactly 10 minutes.
Remove crispy golden pizzas from oven, put on plates and call MCP to dinner. Hide the bandaid on your finger because at some point in the last 40 minutes, you cut yourself.
While dog watches with puppy-dog eyes, eat!