Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza; and a “true confession”

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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?)

Aaweekendherbblogging
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.   Mozzarella

Pizza with Prosciutto and Mozzarella

Crust
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.

ToppingMozzarellaslice

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

Pizza
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?

Bon Weekend!

BTW:  I'm hosting WHB next week.  Send your entries to katie@thymeforcooking.com   Come on and join in the fun!

 

27 thoughts on “Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza; and a “true confession””

  1. :-)))) Oh Katie, this reminds me when my husband trapped the ants in our kitchen….I came back from work and the whole kitchen was black. I had no pizza

  2. So yummy. I’m seeing a lot of pizza recipes with fresh tomatoes that look really tempting! And the basil on your pizza looks fantastic.
    Sorry to hear about the bugs. I can relate because my house is almost 100 years old and has a dirt basement, and in the winter I have a problem with mice coming in. I hate it!

  3. Ah, the glories of such moments Katie! In your lap!
    Holy cats ” scared the little darling because he clutched the inside of my thigh ” yes, that’s easy to fill in the blank!
    The pizza looks fabulous and I think I’ve not used sauce on pizza for at least 20 years.

  4. Darling Katie! I’m crying here!! So badly!!! Did it sting you? You deserve to have eaten the whole gorgeous pizza!!! And I home your hubby re-opend the crack under the stairs!! 😀

  5. OMG, Katie, I don’t know how I would have survived such a traumatic event. I hope you weren’t bitten? Did your hubby rescue you?
    This pizza looks very comforting. Since you are hosting WHB, I should make a special effort to contribute.

  6. Aiee! Very funny story, though.
    Could you post a link to the rules for WHB during the week? Sounds like fun.
    Take care…and watch where you’re sitting!

  7. Lydia, I laugh now…I probably would have really laughed then if I had been a witness rather than a participant…
    Kalyn, yeah, we have mice, too. We’re an equal opportunity house.
    Ulrike, ants? Ants are really horrid, they get into everything and hide so well! Maybe centipedes eat them…
    Lannae, I hate things that don’t brush off easily… flies, mosquitoes, a flick and they’re gone.
    Tanna, We eat lots of pizza this time of year with fresh tomatoes and basil…no centipedes (vivid imagination)
    BZ, I think we’ve gotten the upper hand, killed 1 or 2 a day for a couple of weeks now. Did you know they can live 5 years?
    Nora, he’s so used to my shreeks (when I see one) he just calmly grabs the broom and comes to check…It was all over by the time he got there. And, yes, do something for WHB 😉
    Betty, I even check out my own bathroom now…And I’ve quit walking barefoot in the house for a bit… I’ll send the link.

  8. Honestly, I felt bad reading about this, I HATE centipedes, I have learnt to live with spiders and even the occasional scorpion but I can’t stand those bastards… poor you!

  9. Ilva, Thank God we don’t have scorpions! I have all I can handle with the spiders and centipedes!
    Anh, A pizza can cure a lot of woes 😉
    Chris, we do a pretty good job of polishing it off. I just keep telling myself ‘it’s light’…Giggle away…

  10. Oh my God, although I had to laugh out loud when reading your description, I share your horror – I hate them, especially spiders give me the creeps.
    I think, I have to prepare a pizza, too. Maybe it helps to get rid of those vivid thoughts….

  11. Hiya, I am a news reader to your blog, and I can safely say that my office thinks me completely mad as I have been laughing at my computer screen (while reading your story! 🙂 The picture is very clear…. and I sympathise as I have a similar phobia for spiders – let’s just say at 2am I have been known to get out the hoover and stand armed ready to suck the little beast up before I can sleep!
    All that being said, your recipe looks great, and I would love to share a pizza recipe I make and will try and post it on my blog soon http://www.asweetpea.wordpress.com
    Look forward to reading about your next adventure
    Erika

  12. Oh my! Poor you. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry on your behalf. I have to say your pizza is perhaps the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen such a fresh and vibrant pizza with such gorgeous flavours. I must try this soon!

  13. Jutta, I’m always torn – I’m also terrified of spiders and centipedes eat spiders…still… Pizza helps!
    Thanks Erika, I’ve once plastered a spider to a hotel room wall with hairspray – it stayed there for 3 days but it didn’t move…
    Thanks for visiting…
    Truffle, thanks, we love that pizza – but only late summer when everything is fresh from the garden… and laugh!

  14. hahahahah. Fabulous, absolutely fabulous. I too live in a house that has all sorts of cracks and spots where spiders and other buggies live. And now I know… don’t try and block their holes! there is some disturbing statistic that if you see a spider in your house 95% of the time it was born inside. Ugh.
    That said… the pizza looks like a good way to comfort yourself and push said thoughts out of your mind.

  15. Wonderful and funny post, Katie, although I cringed at the thought of a centipede attached to one’s inner thigh. It seems you have recovered though and went almost seamlessly from horrifying centipedes and bathroom capers to pizza! You are a wonder!

  16. Hairspray is a great tactic… I have also resorted to a heavy book – left in the middle of the room for days until I was sure the spider was 150% dead! Speak soon

  17. Yeah, Kevin, anything for a pizza haha!
    Katerina, I DID NOT want to know that. Did you know centipedes can live for 5 years! I can kill the little tiny ones I see on the bathroom floor – under 1/8″ (.3cm)
    Christine, I was doing more than cringing….
    Erika, I was too embarrasses to call a bellman to come and kill it for me…. and I was alone, what choice did I have? Doesn’t say much for the housekeeping staff, tho..

  18. That is truly one of the funniest things I have read in months! Growing up in SOuth Africa you were constantly surrounded by all sorts of weird creepies – gigantic (but apparently not venomous) spiders crawling around on the ceiling of my bedroom, an annual invasion of bees wanting to nest in our roof, scorpions in washbasins on holiday, snakes in the house… and still I was terrified of most of them!! No, here in London, there really aren’t any creepies. Oh, there are spiders in autumn, but they are just too small to be scary. And we CERTAINLY don’t have centipedes!! I would have passed out in terror if I were you, especially when it applied the Death Grip. It reminds me of a story of a friend who went to an outhouse in Chile, having been warned to take the light because of snakes, sat down, and though in the darkness he had been bitten by a snake. Turns out he was pecked by an angry rooster, but by then he had already told all and sundry that he could feel anaphylactic shock setting in from the venom. Whoops!

  19. Jeanne, I would have been in a constant state of terror: gigantic spiders? I have nightmares about big spiders… And the guy and the rooster, what a hoot! But the fear could’ve caused the anaphylaxis…
    And the Brits – putting little rope ladders in their bath tubs so the spiders don’t get trapped…. That’s one I won’t do!

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