Thursday, March 27, 2008

Defining Rural

Some people define rural as having a big backyard.

Some people define rural as living in the suburbs.

Some people define rural as living outside the range of the city water supply.

Those people don't live in Montana.

In Montana, rural means that the distance to your nearest neighbor is measured in miles. It means that the number of students in your child's grade in school is a single digit. It means that you look out your back window and see this:


In Montana, rural means that you don't get cell service, DSL, daily mail service, or pizza delivery.

When you live in rural Montana, you learn to have a well-stocked pantry, and you learn to cook. My family doesn't care for frozen pizza, so when the craving strikes, I head to my KitchenAid mixer and start some dough. Here's my trusty recipe:

2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 tsp. salt
2 T olive oil
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Here's what I do:

Mix the yeast, brown sugar, and water. The water should be just a touch hotter than what you would shower in. Let that foam for a few minutes. Then toss in the salt, olive oil, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix for about 2 minutes. Then gradually add the rest of the flour. Take the dough out of the bowl, spray the bowl with Pam, and replace the dough. Spray the top of the dough with Pam and cover with a dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for an hour.

While that's rising, make your sauce. Here's my trusty recipe:

6 oz. tomato paste
6 oz. warm water
3 T Parmesan
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 T honey
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. each:
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Mix all those ingredients and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

When the dough is doubled in size, call in the subordinates. It's time to put them to work.

This recipe makes one giant, thick pizza crust. If you prefer your pizza with a thin crust, use this recipe to make two pizzas. I like my pizza with a substantial crust, so I use the recipe for one crust.


Punch down the dough and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Spray a pizza stone or pan with Pam, and then plunk the dough down in the middle.


Let the subordinate do the heavy work. You don't want to break a nail.


Once it is rolled out on the stone, use your fingers to make a ridge around the edges. Then get another subordinate to apply an ample coating of sauce.


Because I was feeling lazy on this particular night, I cheated. Don't tell. Use the recipe for the sauce above; it's much better than this stuff.


Once the sauce is professionally distributed, employ another subordinate to be the hand model for the photo shoot.


Now you need to choose your toppings. I haven't been to the grocery store in a couple of weeks, so my options are pretty limited. We're going to go with pre-shredded cheese, pepperoni, and mushrooms (just to gross out my sister). I'm not a big fan of the grease in the pepperoni, so I put several paper towels on a plate, place the pepperoni on top, and cover with another paper towel. Then I microwave it for a minute or so.


That's just gross.


See what I have saved my family from ingesting?


Meanwhile, the subordinates are laying on the cheese.


I like a mixture of Parmesan, Provolone, Romano, Cheddar, and Mozzarella.

Then the subordinates put on the additional toppings. This picture is for my sister. Mmmmmm, mushrooms. We use the canned variety because we're rural. We don't just pop over to the grocery store for some fresh mushrooms. If we were going to drive that far, we'd just go to Pizza Hut and forget this whole production.

Put the pizza in the center rack of the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on how heavy-handed the subordinates were with the cheese.


It should look something like this. Remember that it's more important for the subordinates to help in the experience than it is for the end product to be beautiful. Try not to notice the sauce that sloshed over onto the edge or the wayward cheese that ended up halfway off the crust. Just relish the bonding experience with the children.


Besides, it tastes pretty good. It doesn't have to be pretty. Or fat free.


Colleen said...

Ugh. Now I have to go to sleep with visions of fungi (canned fungi, no less - *shudder*) dancing in my head. I'd rather eat the pepperoni grease! Lovely models you have there, though.

Also, love your sense of sarcasm. Hope the readers have learned to detect that ... it's a fine art, you know. ;-)

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

I love making homemade pizza and this recipe looks awesome. I think I will have to give it a try!

Dad said...

Sarcasm, what sarcasm? We have a dry Scottish wit combined with a highly developed Irish sense of the absurd.

Mum-me said...

Looks so yummy - I think we'll have pizza tonight.

Anonymous said...

I think you just became the rural pizza delivery woman for Winifred! I will be calling in my order shortly.

Stacie said...

I just put the dish towel on the dough from this recipe! I will let you know how it turns out!

BoufMom9 said...

That looks so yummy!
My kids prefer the homemade pizza as well. We usually do a white pizza though as I am too lazy to make a red sauce. LOL
Thanks for what looks to be a great dough recipe too!
BTW I would LOVE to have that view from my window. NJ is so ugly!

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