Monday, March 17, 2008

Dark Days: Pizza Night

It seems everyone in the Dark Days challenge has taken their turn at pizza. It’s one of my favorite foods, too, so it’s about time I write about our own local version.

Sunday afternoon, I began making pizza by putting all the crust ingredients in the bread machine. (By the way, the only way I was able to get a new pan for my machine was by purchasing a whole machine on eBay. I don’t mind, though, since the price was what I would have expected for just the pan, and now if my machine breaks, I have a spare in the garage!) I used a combination of local whole wheat flour and organic all-purpose flour from Utah. My machine makes pizza dough in an hour, so that was plenty of time to prep the rest of the ingredients. I can’t seem to get the dough spread out thin enough when I let the machine punch it down, so I turn off the machine a minute early, before the punch down.

For the topping I cooked up some sausage from our pig (very local) and non-local mushrooms (I know, I know, maybe this summer I’ll get brave enough to try the local ones.) I also used my last (sob!) package of homemade pizza sauce from last summer and grated Tillamook mozzarella.

The pizza tasted great, and it makes my heart glad that Munchkin will eat two pieces of my pizza when he will only nibble the crust of the frozen kind. The only thing I can’t figure out is why my cheese always melts in a large, removable slab. I use all mozzarella and a normal grater. The cheese ends up solid and a little toasted on top and gooey underneath. Maybe I’m cooking it too long, or at the wrong temperature. Anybody know?


Joyce said...

Hi, Donna!
I made a comment on another blog today, but I want to ask you the same question: as great as local eating obviously is for the environment, etc., do you find it really time consuming to do the actual shopping part? I don't think we have quite as many options here in the winter, and no farmer's market until at least late April, but I was wondering if this is more than a working mom and dad would find feasable on a routine basis. For a homemaker or avid gardener, I can really see it (and that includes me), but for someone who is tied up at work all day and then has a houseful of kids to take care of evenings and weekends, how do you think it would work out?
This is not at all a criticism of the locavore or slow-foods movement. I just hope that this can become really useful to people, and not just a kind of hobby. :)

Donna said...

Interesting question, and I think the answers are going to be different depending on where people live. I definitely find the shopping more time consuming. Nothing beats the convenience of one-stop shopping, but to buy local in our town I use a CSA for veggies, local farms or farmers' markets for fruit, 3 different small markets for milk, meat & eggs, and grains, and another grocery store for other items. I've never thought of eating local as a "hobby," but the shoe fits.

In some ways, I find it less time consuming to buy local. I buy local meat in bulk and then have a seemingly endless supply in the freezer. After I've processed local summer produce, I also have a stash that lasts for months.

To answer your question, if I were working full-time, I would probably not do more than bulk local meat purchases and a CSA, and I might ask my husband to pick up the CSA box on his way home from work instead of me trying to bring kiddos along. I think that size commitment to eating local would be possible for even very busy people.

Joyce said...

Thanks-that's helpful. And I may have misused the word "hobby". I know people are committing to this for more than just fun.
Here, there's no farmer's market until probably May; the store at the nearby apple orchard is closed this time of winter, too. We have a u-pick berry place about 15 miles away, closed now of course, and there is a good health food store about 4 miles form me. I think the key is lots of planning ahead. I don't know of any CSAs locally, but I could check that out.
I weigh all this against the fact that I can ride my bike to my gocery store that's just a mile from my home, and I 've gone there so long I know the clerks by name. I think for me, I may just take a middle path on this one. We'll see how it turns out. I'm going to start thinking about it a little more, though.