It's not as great a sacrifice as you might expect. Good corn- and rice-based substitutes exist for most products, such as pasta, and potatoes and rice fill a lot of gaps. Overall, the ban has made us better, more creative cooks. Still . . . when the wife's away, as she was for a business conference last night, the chef likes to play. With gluten.
My favorite gluteny (glutenous? gluttonous?) indulgence is scratch-made pizza and my favorite scratch-made pizza is a Margherita, whose classic ingredients are olive oil, sliced tomatoes (not tomato sauce), sliced mozzarella (not grated), and basil. Clean and simple.
Homemade dough is a piece of cake (heh!). Note that all the measurements below are eyeballed, not precise. For a small pizza, I start with about a cup of flour, a small spoonful of yeast (think 1 tsp), a big spoonful of sugar (think 1 Tbsp), a glug of olive oil or butter, a generous sprinkle of salt, then slowly add warm-hot water and mix/knead. You want the dough to ball up and just begin pulling away from the side of the bowl instead of sticking to it. Balance with more flour as needed. Too wet is better than too dry. Don't work too hard at it.
Set the bowl in a warm place (I float it in a hot water bath in the sink or a larger bowl) a few hours to let the dough rise. You can do the whole "punch it down, knead it and let it rise again" thing but I don't think it's necessary. Plop it out onto a floured board or counter and shape it into a crust. If it's sticky, keep sprinkling flour until it isn't. The ideal result has a smooth velvety rubbery texture and smells fantastic.
|Simple ingredients: olive oil, sliced mozzarella, fresh basil from the garden, and sliced tomato (which could have come from our garden except we didn't happen to have any ripe last night). Why, it's practically health food!|
Give the dough a light coating of olive oil, then layer on the tomatoes, basil and cheese. I add crushed garlic and a sprinkle of oregano. I also top it with a sprinkle of coarse salt (e.g., kosher or sea salt) so that the crust edge in particular comes out almost like a pretzel.
Get the oven as blazing hot as you can. I have used a pizza stone before but didn't find the results significantly better and the stone is hard to clean, so I don't bother. Pop it in, check it in 8 or 9 minutes, bake until the crust is golden and the cheese starts to brown. Finish with some Parmesan if you want.
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"Housekeeping," by which I mean some thoughts on managing and tidying my Internet life.
In addition to my original "Mom's Cancer" website, which is now static and basically just directs people here, I maintain these here Fies Files, a personal Facebook page (yes I will be your friend), and a Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow Facebook fan page. I try to minimize duplication and overlap. For example, I usually only mention WHTTWOT reviews on the fan page, unless they're especially noteworthy. I use my personal Facebook page for chatty little stuff that doesn't merit full blog posts, which I like to regard as more polished mini-essays with a point. I don't always achieve that, but that's the ideal.
Did I just imply that Facebook is pointless? Perhaps I did.
I've noticed a couple of things. One is that the blog draws fewer visitors than it used to unless I post a link on Facebook telling everyone there's a new post. Then they flock. I infer that fewer people check a regular roster of bookmarked sites, and instead rely on Facebook to alert them to new content. That's interesting to me. Now when I sit down to write something, I not only have to decide if it's more appropriate for Facebook or The Fies Files, but whether it's worth a post on Facebook directing people to The Fies Files.
I've also noticed that fewer visitors are commenting on blog posts, preferring to leave notes on the Facebook posts that link to them. That's also interesting to me. Do you start on Facebook, come here to read the post, then go back to Facebook to comment on it? I appreciate a Facebook "Like," which I take to mean "I read it and liked it but don't really have much more to say about it." But I miss the conversation over here. Facebook is so ephemeral: here now, gone in six hours. By comparison, a blog post is freakin' Stonehenge.
Fascinating how we use technology, how the technology trains us to use it, and how that changes what we say to each other.
That's as deep as I get first thing in the morning.