After years of a passive acceptance of Trader Joe’s pizza dough as our weekly convenience dough, we have wholeheartedly converted to being boosters and eaters of Whole Foods fresh pizza dough. The ingredient list is about 1/7th the length of TJ’s bizarrely shelf-stable stuff, which one processed-food phobic friend has scolded me for buying, another remarking on it tasting like bananas.
We’re not happy to let it go, as we’ve gained much joy from its shelf-stablenish (nay, fridge-stablenish). A very good friend has generously taken to delivering me a ball of dough every week or so from the Whole Foods prepared foods section; you know: the place with sushi stations, and coffee stations, and pizza stations. At least that’s how it is at the Whole Foods near my work in quasi Beverly Hills/quasi Hollywood. If it’s not out in front, I’m told they’ll begrudgingly get you a ball of the dough. And the wait is worth it. It’s $2.99 a ball, and lo behold, it’s alive. Twice i’ve let it sit in my office, and then my car, and twice has it risen to threefold it’s original size, as its yeast becomes beastly and bigger.
The very cool thing is that as it triples in size in a warm environment it allows you to make even more pizzas! So with this (admittedly out of focus) monstrosity, we cooked up a monday night feast.
After having completed and triple-tested the recipes in the hyper calibrated, Gastrokid Cookbook (available for family liberation pre-sale at Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon) I realized the limitations of the standard recipe format. While the aforementioned book is a brilliant (if I do say so) manual for raising a foodie family in a fastfood worled, youre not allowed to use instructions like:
“Let pizza dough rise for 4 hours in a 74 degree Los Angeles 10 x 8 office in a semi-shady corner on the faux-sisal carpet near the Campari bottles and manila file folders, then let rise another 27 minutes on the seat of a 69 degree black Audi A4, while listening to NPR in medium to heavy rush hour traffic. Upon arriving home, neglect freakishly inflated dough for 30 minutes while playing with kids and fixing yourself a drink of appropriate strength, depending on the work day.”
That said, recipes be damned, we made these 6 mini pizzas. The kids were invited to assist and couldn’t be bothered to do so. Scorned, all I did was preheat the oven to a searing 450, oil two pans with cheapo TJ’s olive oil, then pinched the big ball o’ dough into 6 semi-equivalent balls, which I stretched out on the pans, and then topped, clockwise from top left with:
1. feta, black olives, and fresh mint
2. prosciutto and olive oil, at the request of hyper-picky 4 year old Desmond
3. ricotta, thinly-sliced beefsteak tomatoes, and fresh basil
4. prosciutto, rosemary, and a fresh egg
5. tomato sauce and quattro fromaggio (from TJ’s)
6. quattro fromaggio and prosciutto
We ate it all. With a big salad of wild arugula, leftover chopped tomatoes, butter lettuce, vinaigrette, and shaved parm. The salad was refreshing, the pizzas varied in deliciousness, the crust was crunchy and yeasty and excellent and pure. The family satisfied. No leftovers. Game over. For now. And to be repeated again. And again.