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Warning: Embarrassing personal moment disclosed ahead. For readers under 18 and others of a sensitive nature, please scroll down to the Pizza.
To set the scene: Mon mari is one of those guys that is very handy around the house and is usually found somewhere fixing something. The other day he decided to fix the ugly, gaping cracks between the staircase and the wall.
Ours is an old house, built of stone. Things don't fit together neatly. There are no 'tight' seams, like in an American sheet-rocked house. There are gaps and bumps and cracks. Centipedes and spiders like to live in said cracks and gaps. When not hiding they spend their time on the wall going up the stairs.
As mon mari carefully filled in, plastered and painted along the stairs I was pleased: the creepy crawlies, that so terrify me, would finally be barred from my house!
I mistakenly assumed that it was where they got in. I didn't realize that it was where they got out. Apparently we trapped them all inside the house. Centipede sitings (and killing by mon mari) increased exponentially in the following days.
The scene: I have used outhouses in my life; both in my childhood visiting relatives on farms and, currently, at rest-stops in France. I know enough to 'look before you sit'; to check out the environment so as to insure there is no unwanted assistance. It didn't occur to me to do that in my own modern bathroom.
Let's pause here and reflect on how, shall we say, carefree, we can act in our, um, private moments.
Okay, here it is: I ran into the bathroom, in a hurry, as usual. I'd had my morning coffee and just polished off a liter of water. I noticed that the toilet paper holder was empty (?), grabbed a new roll from the basket on the floor, unzipped the shorts, sat and started to put on a new roll, multi-tasking, as usual. As I tipped the new roll to insert the bar a huge, giant, monstrous, gigantic, the biggest-one-I've-ever-seen centipede fell out….and landed on my 'lap'. I let out a blood-curdling scream and started a frantic scramble. Apparently I scared the little darling because he clutched the inside of my thigh with a death grip that wouldn't let go. You can use your imagination to fill in the rest….
After I, er, put myself to rights and, um, tidied the bathroom, I decided that surviving such a traumatic event deserved a reward. And what better reward than a fresh, made from scratch Pizza! (You were wondering how I was going to work that in, weren't you?)
This Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted by the wonderful and talented Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. Kalyn has been spotlighting tomatoes all week on her blog so I thought I would add one of my favorite uses for garden fresh tomatoes. I came up with this recipe years ago and haven't made a traditional 'sauced' pizza since. I vary the the rest: cheese, herbs, ham; but I always keep it light and let the individual flavors shine through. This particular one also has my favorite summer herb, basil. I've used it two ways: half on the raw pizza to be baked and the rest added when the pizza is finished.
Pizza with Prosciutto and Mozzarella
2/3 cup warm water, 105 – 115F (45C)
1 pkg (2 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil
2 cups flour
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let sit a few minutes to 'proof'. If you have a mixer with a dough hook put the yeast and all remaining ingredients in mixer bowl. Blend with dough hook attachment until well mixed then kneed for an additional 3 minutes. If making by hand put yeast in large bowl along with all of the rest of the ingredients minus 1/2 cup flour. Stir to combine. Put remaining flour on work surface, add dough and kneed until smooth and elastic – about 10 minutes. As remaining flour is incorporated dough will become less sticky. Regardless of method when done kneading put dough in a medium, lightly oiled bowl. Then turn it over so there is a bit of oil on the top. Cover the bowl with cling film and put aside to rise. After dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes, punch down. Lightly butter a pizza pan or large baking sheet. (Mine is 14 X 16 inches, 35cmX40cm). Roll dough out with a rolling pin as best you can. Then put on pan and stretch it to fit, patting it out with your fingers. If it keeps springing back wait a few minutes – or accept that your pizza will be slightly smaller than anticipated. Try not to put any holes in the crust. You are now ready to assemble the pizza.
1 large onion
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic
3 – 5 tomatoes this really depends on size. I slice 3 and have 2 more waiting in case I need them
Prosciutto, 4 – 5 slices (4oz, 120gr) You could use ordinary ham or smoked chicken or turkey…
1/2 cup sliced olives any flavor, optional
1 ball fresh mozzarella, cow or 'di bufala'
1 large handful fresh basil leaves
Finely chop onion and garlic. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet and sauté onions, garlic and oregano until tender. Remove and set aside. Slice tomatoes as thinly as you can – you should get 7 – 10 (or more) slices from each one. You want enough slices to cover the dough, touching but not overlapping. Tear or cut Prosciutto into large pieces. Slice olives. Slice mozzarella as thinly as possible then tear into chunks. Leave small basil leaves whole, tear large in half
Spread onion/garlic mixture evenly over crust. Lay tomatoes evenly over crust – they should be touching and cover the entire crust. Bake at 450F (225C) for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add Prosciutto, olives, cheese and half of the basil leaves. Return to oven and bake an additional 7 – 10 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese bubbling. Remove from oven, add remaining basil leaves, slice and serve.
Note: Here the olives on a pizza are always black – and with pits!
Note 2: With fresh mozzarella there will be a bit of milk released as it melts so be careful when you take it out of the oven.
Be sure to stop by Kalyn's Kitchen on Monday for the complete recap of all the recipes from around the world.
What do you think: Could I tout the wonderfulness of chocolate-covered centipedes? Would that get centipede-hunters from around the world to come to my house and rid me of the devils?
BTW: I'm hosting WHB next week. Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org Come on and join in the fun!