So. I redeemed myself on the pizza front. Very unusual pizza for me (sorta “Americano”) but worked fine. D looked up the instructions Alice Waters uses in Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza and Calzone, and those include temps of 450-500 and time of 15 minutes – but with a stone. Apparently doesn’t even consider cooking pizza without a stone. Further contributing to this reasonably successful dinner, R&E thought they’d used the oven up to 450, so I decided to try it, cheating a bit to a setting of 455 b/c I think the oven is slightly cooler than the setting would indicate.
I had defrosted the other half of the sauce I made on the… 23rd, was it?… the final boost being in the microwave. This left a pool of almost clear liquid separate from the mass of once-frozen sauce, so I drained the clear part off to thicken the sauce a bit. This was minimalist on the amount of sauce, but fine. Could easily have used all of it, rather than this half of it, on this pizza.
I cleaned, sliced, and sauteed up the rest of the good brown mushrooms from the packet B bought and I opened about a week ago. This was probably just over half the package. While they were beginning to cook (salted, in olive oil), and taking intermittent breaks to stir them, I diced the rest (3/4) of the very nice green pepper (from the Denver Sandwich dinner) and then tossed that in to cook for a couple minutes with the mushrooms. I cut the mozzarella chunk in half, and got 3/4 of the way through grating it when I remembered that that was a 16 oz rather than a 4 oz package of cheese! So there was 6 oz or so of mozz on the pizza. I also grated some parmesan (Stella – not really aged stuff but with a nice flavor) and mixed the cheeses together.
I had found the dough not defrosted well when I went down at 6pm, and put it, with some olive oil, into a small bowl, stretching the softened parts so the frozen bits were on the bottom of the bowl, then placed the bowl in a pan of warm water and covered it. I flipped the dough over after the bottom had softened, so the (previously) top of the frozen part would soften. By the time I pulled out the dough, it was quite defrosted and a bit revived. I rounded it up a bit, and then rolled it out with a rolling pin, which I don’t usually do. But it worked very well. I poked the crust with a fork and pre-cooked it 5 minutes, on a pizza pan in about the center of the oven, without adding toppings, and then removed it and composed the pizza. I spread the sauce over the pre-cooked crust, put on a bit over half the cheese mixture, spread the mushroom/green pepper mix around, and added the remainder of the cheese, and then baked another 10 minutes, checking periodically. It turned out well.
B requested green beans as the veggie, so I trimmed and cut and washed up more of the package he bought before I arrived (19th), steamed 4 minutes, then drained and added butter to the dried pan (after pouring the hot water into the bean dishes to heat them) , returned the beans and salted, tossed in salt and butter.
I opened a bottle of Protocolo, then found B didn’t want wine with dinner b/c he had surreptitious plans for a jazz concert. which I’m glad to hear he enjoyed a lot. He later had a bit of a different leftover bottle in the fridge. Not sure what that one was, but could have been Protocolo also. Put up two pictures of the same bottle under Mom’s room and kitchen lighting conditions, perhaps as a way of excusing the lighting-challenged pictures during my visit…
I cooked about 1/2 cup (dry) of medium seashell macaroni, drained, and returned to the pan, adding the rest – maybe 1 Tbsp? a little more? – of the leftover pesto from last night. Added a bunch of grated parmaggiano and some salt, and it was very tasty. This is not a special lunch, but I took the picture b/c of the soup-plate I used. I found six of these in the attic the other day, and had an immediate flash of memory of them. I could not have told anyone that we had ever had pink dishes, but when I saw them, I remembered them. So I brought them down and cleaned them up. Brother B was wowed to see them, too, and immediately said “spaghetti!” So I think we will have to have spaghetti before I leave and use these dishes 🙂