Friday, July 03, 2009
There are days when I catch quite a bit of flack because I like to cook using recipes. I know that M. thinks this is slightly elementary and he is right. What he doesn't know is that the biggest reason I like to cook using recipes is so I have someone else to blame it on when it doesn't work out. Now that is elementary (school, that is).
But really, with summer upon us it is so easy to not use recipes and just throw things together with great results. So I have been improvising a bit. The other day I spent hours trying to decide what I would make for dinner. There were 4-5 tomatoes in the bowl but they weren't great tomatoes. I thought about stuffing them. I thought a long, long time about stuffing them with sausage and herbs and topping them with breadcrumbs and then baking them and serving them alongside a green salad. But then I decided I didn't want stuffed tomatoes. I wanted something bready and cheese and savory -- is this how pizza was invented?
I roasted the tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a 350 oven for several hours to make a rich, jammy tomato sauce. Late in the afternoon I went to Trader Joe's for a bag of their ready-made pizza dough. For $1.29 I was excited by skeptical, hoping it would be good. I wrestled with the dough, and layered it with my tomato jam, mozzarella slices, and handfuls of fresh herbs from the garden: three kinds of basil, thyme, rosemary. It was so beautiful.
Into the oven it went. I finished it with a few minutes under the broiler so it was hot and browned and bubbly. It wasn't thin crust pizza exactly, which is why in some ways it was really more like a flat bread but it wasn't flat. Hence the name FAT BREAD. Maybe next time I'll have the energy to beat it into submission. But for the price I was impressed -- it is definitely something to have in the fridge for those "what's for dinner?" days.
Best of all was the satisfaction of knowing I'd thrown dinner together for less than two bucks with nary a plan for how I was going to pull it all off.
I felt very sneaky.