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True Wealth 101 Ch.1: Food.


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True Wealth 101 Ch.1: Food.

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  #1 (permalink)
Sydney, NS
 
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Ok, we have a sleep problem thread. Meanwhile, I am chowing down into one of my favorite things: home made pizza. And thought I could share how I make it. But first, some totally unnecessary and gratuitous philosophical remarks - to whet your appetite hopefully (pun intended) for recipe below.

This is a trader's forum. The purpose of trading is to make money. The purpose of money is to help have a better life. But let's say you have plenty of money either from trading or whatever. What is a better life? Many answers to that on many levels, but I suggest as a starter and for this thread in particular: good food.

I grew up in Europe under the roof of an Englishman who, contrary to that venerable nation's reputation as being the only country in that cultural region which has lousy food, ate very, very well. His idea of a vacation was to go to somewhere like France or Italy and basically test out all the restaurants and find the best dishes. His favorite find was a dirt cheap place with fantastic, authentic food. I got this from him (my stepfather) thankfully, namely an appreciation for the simple but excellent versus excellent and complex and very expensive. And we had the time and money back then to savor both. But the excellent peasant stuff is best.

In that spirit I offer a free lesson in how to make mouth-wateringly fantastic pizza that anybody can make quite easily. If you follow these directions you will make a pizza that is much better than anything you can buy pretty much anywhere outside of Italy or a place with a fire-brick oven run by sane Italians. Think about it: that combination is rare enough even in Italy, but outside???

Ok, first the definition of a pizza: A pizza is flat (usually white) yeast-leavened bread, usually round, roasted in the oven at around 400 degrees with stuff on top.

In other words, it's flat, freshly baked bread with stuff on top. Pizza is not fancy food, it's peasant food.

HOW TO MAKE A GREAT PIZZA:

Ingredients:
1. Buy a pre-made pizza-dough ball from supermarket for about $1.50. Better to make your own from scratch using cookbook instructions but this is much easier. They are in the freezer section usually.
2. Defreeze the dough by taking out the morning you plan to make it, or about 1-3 days before you make it. Keep tightly wrapped in strong plastic because it starts to expand as it thaws. If it expands, no problem, just don't want it to dry out.

Ingredients for pizza:

this is the secret I am giving away. Basically, you use one fresh tomato per medium sized pizza sliced thin. After that, add anything you like to taste. Classic things to go with tomatoes are:

onions, sliced thin;
mushrooms;
spinach (frozen is fine), green peppers.
thin-sliced salami, pepperoni etc.
pizza/mozarella cheese, cheep supermarket stuff is fine. Walmart has 'pizza mozarella' which is great, even if not organic, expensive etc.

This recipe is to get you started. It's SIMPLE:

Pizza dough;
Tomatoe;
medium onion;
cheese;
salt, pepper, chili peppers, italian seasoning or equivalent (green seasoning with marjoram, oregano, thyme, sage etc.)
olive oil.

How to make:

Once dough is unfrozen:
1. Turn oven to 450 degrees.
2. Slice the tomatoe and put on plate;
3. Slice the onions into nice thin strips that can lie flat on pizza and put on plate;
4. Grate cheese and put in bowl/plate.

You are about 3-4 minutes into the work. The oven is not yet warm but warming up.

Now roll out the dough. I won't tell you how to do this. It is fun (and takes a few times) to figure out how to do this. Just remember: your intention is to get something that is evenly flat and not too too thick at the edges. Overly thick edges are a sign that you are just not trying hard enough to get it flat. (Hint, if you don't have a rolling pin try an empty wine bottle. Works fine.)

You also need flour and a wooden cutting board.

To make the pizza dough flat:

1. Sprinkle flour on the board.
2. Mess around with flour until it is flat.
3. Lift it up and put flour on the board again so it won't stic to board whilst you add ingredients.
4. Pour a little olive oil on flat dough and spread with brush or finger, especially around the edges.
5. Thin layer of cheese. This protects dough from getting overly soaked by juicy tomatoes as they cook later.
6. Add on onions.
7. Place tomatoe slices around the pizza.
7. Salt, pepper, spices etc. at any stage, but especially on the tomatoes which are juicy and will spread the aroma and taste of the spices.
8. Last layer of cheese.

Oven is now ready. Get the pizza off the cutting board (this is another trick you'll have to figure out yourself!) and into the oven.

Secret #1: use fresh tomatoes not spaghetti or pizza sauce. Already covered above. I cannot emphasise how important this is to making a truly delicious, authentically genuine pizza.
Secret #2: before you did all this you either had purchased a pizza 'stone' from a cooking supply place for about $25.00 OR you do what I do and go into a home decorating type place and get a sample or two of simple floor tile. Best is without glaze but most have it. Costs about $1.50 and many places give them away for free. That tile has been in the oven since you turned it on and is now hot.

Before placing the pizza on the tile/pizza stone, sprinkle corn flour or ordinary flour on it.

Turn oven down to 400-425. In about 20 minutes you will have a fantastic pizza, basic peasant food. Serve with red wine preferably or if you are me in rural Canada, homebrew beer.

Can't go wrong.

Again, the secrets:
1. Fresh tomato with pretty much anything else you like (within reason)
2. Pizza 'stone' (or floor tile).

After removing from oven let sit for 2-3 mins otherwise is too hot.

Eat.

And understand the nature of true wealth whilst doing so.
As all sane peasants without hardly any money all over the world have known how to do since the sun was a young flirt oh-so-many moons ago.

PS. Cultural observation: the main reason Americans have thick pizza is because they did not learn about using a pizza stone and did not have brick ovens during pioneer era. Later on, they had electric ovens and racks without firm surface underneath and used thin metal thingies to prevent uncooked pizza from oozing through the rack cracks. Didn't figure out about using floor tiles. Didn't have floor tiles back then and moved straight into vinyl (or kept with wood floors which are better and wood was abundant. Europeans cut down most of their forests by 2-300 years ago in the North, and 2000 years ago in the South so learned to improvise.)

Because Americans did not know about pizza bricks/stones/floor tiles in ovens, they had to make super thick pizzas. Thin tomato slices on super-thick pizzas don't cut it; doubling up on tomato slices turns the pizza into some sort of gloupy soupy stewy mess. Ergo, have to make a super-thick pizza because no brick underneath to make it crisp (and strong). So a thick, condensed sauce with oil is preferable. Then thick everything else. It's not simple peasant food any more but a monstrous tail-fin Cadillac pretending to be a basic Chevy. In short, because of absence of nice brick ovens, Americans never really learned about the joys of fresh-baked bread on brick, and then never twigged to just how delicious fresh tomato is on freshly baked bread.

Understanding history is important!

Also: this procedure will prove to you and your friends once and for all that you don't have to be Italian to make a damn fine pizza!

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cclsys's Avatar
 
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Pizza recipes II - information for tourists.

A favorite in Tuscany (at least when I lived there) is the 'Pizza Sophia Loren', the simplest form of which is a base of spinach on which are placed two eggs. Sometimes there is ham (breakfast style) in the mix.

Why Sophia Loren? Because the two eggs resemble a certain portion of her (in)famous anatomy. Italians like having fun with language as well as living well.

2. Pizza Putanesca. Actually there are several putanesca recipes including pastas, meat sauces. All of which use anchovies. Now this is a polite forum so I can't spell out how you get to Putanesca from anchovies in gory detail. Suffice to say:

Putanesca means 'prostitute style'.
Anchovies have a certain smell and taste.
I leave it up to you to figure out what anchovies have to do with putanas. (Hint: it does NOT mean that putanas like eating anchovies as nearly all tourists and a no doubt embarrassingly large number of native Italians naively assume!)

As I said, they do like to have fun.
It's because they eat so well and thus know how to be truly wealthy.
Or is it that they know how to be truly wealthy and thus eat so well?

This is something they would not bother debating.
Too busy enjoying the pizza!

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