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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pizza Night

So, faithful reader (Hi, Momma), I could try to impress you. But I won't do that. I'm gonna tell it to you straight.

Here at Casa del Cottage, pizza is a frequent menu item--it represents three or more food groups in every slice, requires no silverware (unless my dad is eating--he uses a fork and knife on fried chicken. Really.), and can be prepared with a minimum of effort on a weeknight.

Minimum of effort? What about proofing the yeast, and letting the dough rise, and simmering the sauce for hours?

Yeah, that's right. Frozen pizza. Oh, I still have my flour-crusted notebook from a certain Puckish restaurint containing said restaurant's famed dough recipe. And it is a damned fine recipe. And I make it from time to time. But not on a Tuesday.

Since giving in to frozen pizza about a year ago, I have tried every brand of "natural" or "organic" pizza available in our town. (Along with the occasional Tombstone with pepperoni, but only when my husband buys it.) Hands down, my favorite is the store brand from Whole Foods. Three reasons: it has a really good crust (medium thickness), features excellent toppings (in about 6 different styles), and is cheap, to boot! Now, it's not a large pizza, so I usually do one of two things to supplement: either add sliced chicken sausage or shrimp for some extra heft or, as I did tonight, make a tasty salad.

The kiddo, of course, is anti-salad, so tonight I thought I would try a new tactic. I put one of his favorite things on earth, strawberries (Out of season, yes, I know. I'm only human.) in the salad. I told him he could only have the strawberries if he ate some lettuce. Shows how much he likes strawberries. No salad, no way. His loss.

I marinated the strawberries in balsamic vinegar that was brought to me from Italy two years ago and is aged to a near syrup consistency. Yes, please. Tossed that with the salad greens. Topped with goat cheese. Seriously? Why did I even make the pizza? The only thing that would have made the salad better would have been 1) pistachios, because, come on, PISTACHIOS!, and 2) no freakin' cilantro in the greens mix. WHO PUTS CILANTRO IN MESCLUN MIX? Gah. No. Me. Gusta. Cilantro. Anyhoo, once I removed the offending greenery, it really was a lovely salad.

The best thing about this little meal is that it gave me more time to talk to my kiddo. We only have about two hours together every night before he goes to bed, and I can get so absorbed in cooking that I am not much company for him. It's a tricky thing to navigate because, of course, I cook for our family because I want us all to be well-nourished and healthy, but part of being nourished is being attended to emotionally, and so my tendency toward overwrought multi-course feasts is sort of counter-productive when I spend an hour or more cooking a dinner we will sit together to eat for less than 20 minutes.

Hooray for letting go! Hooray for pizza!

3 comments:

Amy Morton said...

I had the same startling experience with salad mix! Did you buy it at Whole Foods? I have twice accidentally bought their mix with "herbs biologique." (Note: A fancy name does not equal good taste.) And I'm with you. Hated it. The painstaking removal process only deepened my rancor. Needless to say, I will be checking the writing on the bags MUCH more closely!

Karen said...

Know another good frozen pizza? Trader Joe's. So good!

Cilantro: You either love it or hate it. Not many people are down the middle. I love it, and good thing b/c it's in so many things.

Hi, I'm Cameron Blazer. said...

Oh, Trader Joe's, how I long for thee! We don't get any Two Buck Chuck love in SC!

A couple of years ago there was a local press release announcing the location of a new Trader Joe's in town, and the local alt-weekly just about caught on fire from people burning up the phones to find out when we'd be getting a Trader Joe's. Turns out it was a new location for a local discount furniture retailer of the same name. That giant sucking sound you just heard? Every post-hipster in Charleston breathing a sigh of disappointment.