Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Do you have things that you're obsessed with?  Or things that, when you see them, you have to buy them?  In Conspiracy Theory Mel Brooks' character has to buy a copy of Catcher in the Rye everytime he sees it.  Now, I'm not calling myself crazy, but I do have a few "Catcher in the Rye" moments.  One of them is in produce.  If I find a type of produce (fruit or vegetable--though fruit tends to be more common) that I have never had, I become incredibly curious.  So unless it costs a fortune, you can be pretty sure it'll end up in my cart.  Or basket.

Case in Point:

Yes, these have crept into our grocery stores recently, and I hopped on that train as soon as I saw one.  They're essentially a strange looking orange, though not quite as tart.  Since this post is titled Confessions, I will confess that I am a cynic and I suspect that the fruit tree breeders made a tragic mistake but decided that they would go ahead and market it as if they meant it to look like an orange hedgeball.  And we, the unsuspecting public, think that it's a magical new fruit (unless we've secretly been wanting to eat hedgeballs...).  Well the verdict is in, and it was pretty good.  Not magnificent, not even terribly special, but good.

Case in Point 2:

I have a thing for finials and door or cabinet hardware.  I also have a thing for ceramic things...generally made in the 1940's & 1950's.  So when I was perusing a thrift store in town and saw these puppies perched on the top of brass headboard, I had to have them (it was my birthday a few days before, so I still had that "entitled birthday girl" feeling).  I did have to buy the whole headboard...and the rest is now downstairs under a stack of boxes, keeping them from getting wet in our damp basement!  And here they are, my birthday finials:

I have no idea what I'm going to do with them.  But I love them.  They're about the size of a tennis ball, so they're too big to go on a lamp harp...but perhaps curtain rod?  We'll see. 

And in order to justify this post with something useful, here is a recipe for something delicious!

Doesn't that look awesome?  I'm hungry, so I'm practically drooling.  Joe loved this pizza more than any other one I've made, and that's saying something because he's a farm boy and there's no meat in this recipe.  Here's the recipe for, essentially, a margherita pizza:

Start with a crust recipe for a thin, crispy crust.  My favorite website for new recipes is allrecipes. com.  The recipe I used in this picture was  Grill Dough.  It turned out really well, the only thing I changed was that I didn't actually use a grill.  I took a grill grate (round) and baked the crust on that at 450 degrees, to simulate the high-heat and "unsheeted" bottom of the crust that you'd get from a grill.  I'm sure using the grill probably works really well.
I've never tried a pre-baked purchased crust, but I would imagine if you can find a good one, it would work fine.

The key to making this pizza is using simple, really good quality ingredients.

Start with the sauce.  This sauce was Pomi marinara sauce and it was awesome, but hard to find.  I've used other sauces, but my qualifications for a good sauce are 1) I prefer chunky tomatoes, not smooth   2)  I'm a sucker for labels, so I have to like the label.  No, not a good qualifier, but it works for me.  And if it says it's imported from Italy, I'm totally in.  3)  You really do get what you pay for.  I make this only for special nights, so I spend more money to get something really delicious.

Next, the cheese.  This ain't no block o' mozzarella or pre-shredded baggie of powdered cheese.  No sir, this is fresh mozzarella--the kind that comes in a ball, not a chunk.  Again, I make this for special nights, so again you get what you pay for.  **I recently discovered that the Wally World does make their own fresh mozzarella that's not quite as good as the pricey brands but it's darn close and much less expensive.  Less expensive, in fact, than their normal block mozzarella, so there's a tip if you shop there**

Then, fresh basil leaves.

Last, a sprinkle of Parmesan.  Once more, not a canned, powdered version.  The real stuff.

And put it all on the crust in that order.  No need to tear up the basil leaves, just sprinkle them on.  The Mozzarella is a little difficult to slice, so have patience and use a sharp knife.

So now that we've spent our whole grocery budget on one night...Eat up!  And enjoy it, because you don't get to eat again for a week...


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