I read a blog a few weeks ago about naming foods and it really struck a chord with me. The writer (forgive me, please, that I really can't remember whose blog it was) went on a minor rant about how we -- that would be bloggers and anyone else who writes about food, creates recipes, writes menus, etc., etc. -- have a tendency to assign a dish a nationality just because of one ingredient, maybe two.
For instance, if it has basil and tomatoes, it's Italian. Feta and olives? Greek. Cilantro and cumin? Mexican. You get the idea.
Guilty. When I was planning to make a white pizza for a girls night in, I told them my friends we were having a Greek pizza, because (here, I *blush*) I was using feta and olives with tomatoes and spinach. Oh, and oregano.
But what else would I call it? I know that one ingredient does not a dish make. Soy sauce doesn't make it Chinese Tarragon doesn't immediately mean French.
I know all this, and, still, I didn't know how else to identify what kind of pizza I was making that other people would readily understand. It's a whole lot simpler to say "Greek pizza" than to spell out "a pizza with no tomato sauce, no mozzarella or provolone, but spinach, tomatoes, olives and feta." And I knew that's what my guests would understand.
Maybe that's why we cavalierly assign names that really aren't authentic It's like using cliches; they're handy shortcuts, universally understood.
So we had a Greek pizza. And the next night, Mr. Rosemary and I had the pasta dish pictured at the top. It wasn't "Greek" because it didn't have feta. But I did have extra spinach and olives from the pizza, so I tossed those in with the warm pasta, fresh tomatoes, and added Parmesan. What would you call that dish? Besides quick, easy and good?
Back to the pizza . . . . I was sure that I'd made a big step towards overcoming my fear of yeast since I now successfully make my own dough often, even weekly.
But my sister introduced me to a new yeast that Fleischmann's makes called Pizza Crust Yeast and I have to admit, it was very easy, very quick and very good. That's a trio of adjectives I like, no matter how much I like to spend time in the kitchen.
The beauty of this yeast is that it requires no rising. So you can mix up the dough and make the pizza right away. No waiting for anything. It still needs to be kneaded (don't we all) but there's no waiting.
Problem is I only had one packet of the yeast. Now I need to find more. It's not readily available everywhere yet, so I'll have to keep my eye open for it and buy buckets of it when I do.
I'll still make regular pizza dough, but it's nice to know I have a handy alternative.
There's only one teeny, tiny little problem with the yeast: It makes only 1 12-inch pizza, which Mr. Rosemary could handily eat by himself.
No Rise Pizza Dough
1 3/4 - 2 1/4 cup flour
1 envelope pizza yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup very warm water (120 - 130 degrees F.)
3 tablespoons oil
Combine 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add water and oil.
Mix together until well-blended, about 1 minute
Add 1/2 cup flour gradually until dough forms a ball. Add additional flour if needed, to handle
Spoon dough out of bowl and onto floured surface. Dough will be slightly sticky.
Knead on floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes.
Press out dough to fill a greased pizza pan. Or, if you're like me, and need a rolling pin, roll dough to a 12 inch circle and transfer to a greased pan.
Top as you want with sauce, cheese and toppings.
Bake on bottom oven rack at 425 F or 12 to 15 minutes until cheese on top is bubbly and crust is brown.