Saturday, July 25, 2009

This Ain't Your Little Ceasar's Pizza, Pizza

Dough scares me. It just does. I think its the whole deal with the flour, the yeast, the waiting for it to rise, etc. It could just be that I grew up on rice and baking is not in my blood. It will be a cooking hurtle that I will someday overcome but at this time, I'm just not ready for it.

For my birthday last winter, I got a pizza stone as a gift. Its been sitting in my kitchen for six months unused. My fear of making the dough kept me from delicious homemade pizza. When I heard that Matchbox, (whose pizzas are quite delicious) sold dough, it got me thinking that I may never need to actually make my own dough (Matchbox sells their dough for $4.) I knew Trader Joes sells dough for a great price and they also have a whole wheat option. The price is $0.99 for 16 oz of dough. The problem is that Trader Joes in DC is not in the most convenient location (for me.)

It was on a Tuesday afternoon that my friends and I decided to get together for a spontaneous make-our-own-pizza dinner. None of us have ever made our own pizza dough and we had some time issues. My mission was to find a local shop on U Street that sold dough. Pizza Bolis - No. Pizza Hut - No. Coppi's - Yes ($6 per pizza dough; unfortunately, I'm NOT their pizza crust's #1 fan though I think their salads are fantastic), Italian Pizza Kitchen - Yes ($3 each.) IPK was the closest restaurant to my friend's house and so IPK won.

After work, I made my way towards U Street. On my way there, I decided to stop by Whole Foods because I heard from @Macheesmo that they might sell pizza dough. They didn't but I decided to get some whole wheat naan in case the dough didn't turn out as well as we would have liked. During my low-carb days, I made my fair share of low-carb pizzas using whole wheat pita or naan. They were pretty good.

My friends are great collaborators. Jazmin brought basil and tomatoes from her garden. Crickett sauteed some spinach, mushrooms, red onions, and other delish vegetables and provided the mozzarella cheese. Sarah brought the red wine. Annie brought the cheesecake. I brought the dough, feta cheese, and some tomatoes from North Carolina.

Do you see this picture above? Do you notice something strange? Yeah...its called Thrifty DC Cook doesn't know jack about rolling out dough. Crickett was doing her best to roll it out using a roller. I tried picking it up and throwing it around the way Lucille Ball did on "I Love Lucy." The dough bounced back whenever we tried to move it and eventually we thought that this is as good as it was going to get and so we had THICK crust pizza (I actually think of it as ball of Pizza.) Luckily, some of us liked it. I'm a thin crust girl and I did not.

The pizzas that were made with the whole wheat naan were DELISH! They came out of the oven hot and the crust toasted with a slight crunch. Yum.

Total, we made four different types of pizzas. Crickett was the main chef that day and what I can tell you is that some of the pizzas had feta, artichokes, sauteed spinach, tomatoes, basil, mozarella, etc. The one below is the second of the two fresh doughs that we bought. I worked on this dough a little more and got it rolled out a little thinner than the first but it was still thicker than I would have liked. I also poked some holes into the dough and could not figure out how to fix it. In the end, I just pinched the holes together when it was resting on the pizza stone. This one was made with tomato sauce, lots of basil, fresh tomatoes, and mozzarella.

If I ever get the guts to tackle dough, I'll use this recipe sent to me by @Metocurean. Hopefully, I also work my charms on the cook at Astor Mediterranean on Columbia Road for the recipe of their crust. The crust on their pizzas is GOOD. I swear they must inject olive oil into the crust as it bakes.

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