College game day–my team was on the road to a far off place. The die hard fans had travelled there, but the rest of us were at pubs, pizza parlors, and gathered around piles of pick up foods near whatever television was tuned to see our boys trounce the home team. Pay back was on our minds! This team had skunked us good last year in our stadium, so we were yearning to return the favor. All went well until the last quarter when we lost the ball twice and their defense scored both times. Then our defense let another score rack up and our offense couldn’t find its legs again. Our 20 plus lead dribbled down to a 3 point loss. What cure can heal this sorrow?
Some people drown their sorrows in booze, but a true football fan knows that the only way to ease a broken heart is to have a really good pizza. Not ordinary buffet style pizza or chain restaurant pizza, and certainly not frozen pizza, but a freshly made pie at small, locally owned pizzeria. Even better is the one you make at home, for you can measure your ingredients and know exactly what you are eating.
I pulled out my ancient LET’S COOK IT RIGHT by Adelle Davis, the Grandmother of all nutritionists, and found her pizza dough recipe which I used to cook often back in our poor days when eating out wasn’t in our budget. I got the ingredients ready quickly, for I keep them on hand. As I stirred the flour and water/yeast mix together, I thought about how life brings together unlikely people. If we were all flour, the dough wouldn’t rise. If we were all yeast, there would be nothing for the yeast to encourage to grow. Some of us are cheerleaders and some of us are the team.
The few minutes of kneading the dough gets rid of some of your frustrations surrounding the recent loss. No longer will you be mumbling, “Here we go again, rebuilding…how many games are we going to lose this year…grumble…” Instead you will focus on your finger prints as they sink into the dough. Then you realize that your life is like this ball of dough, for many have touched your life to shape it, just as you have touched the lives of others to form them. This is when you realize that making an artisan pizza isn’t just about getting food on the table, but it is a way of looking at life, a sensibility that allows you to experience the connections of both the great and the small, as well as the mundane and the sublime.
After splitting the dough in half (freeze half for next Saturday), I got out my rolling pin to stretch the dough to a thin crust about 12 inches in diameter. Life stretches us, if we will let it, but too many are afraid that we might be torn apart. If the dough does rip a little, just pick it up, lay it over the nearest dough hand press down. It will seal in the baking. Artisan pizza isn’t perfect, it is “going onto perfection,” as the Methodists say.
Put the dough onto a preheated baking stone (425 degree oven) and put 2 ounces of spinach over the dough. Sprinkle 4 oz mozzarella cheese over this, 8 oz bite sized precooked chicken breast pieces, and 6 oz halved grape tomatoes. I sprinkled powdered garlic, basil, and oregano over the top. Close oven door, cook for 15 minutes or until the smell is overwhelming. This makes two adult servings. Men may need a salad to complete their meal. Women with hearty appetites will be fully satisfied.
When you first pull this Artisan Pizza out of the oven, have your camera ready! It is like your first child: you will be so proud. Why, you will ask yourself, have I not done this simple, yet amazing expression of my creativity and uniqueness before? Perhaps your family did not cook, or cooking was always a big production full of drama and excitement. Then again, your efforts may not have “measured up,” so you were banished from this grownup world. With Artisan Pizza, mistakes are part of the game plan and production is an opportunity to relieve stress, not add to it.
Eating Artisan Pizza is the very cure for the wounded weekend warrior. My game day T-shirt has a dusting of flour on it, but I have the balm of Gilead for my soul. There is always next week in the SEC and college football. I already have my dough prepared.
Recipe forARTISAN PIZZA