All I can say is that I tried. This past weekend I tried to make a vegetarian pizza, and that was my second trial. The first time I made this pizza, I topped it with baby spinach and zucchini. To my surprise, I found that the spinach did not sink into the cheese and remain wet. Instead, it dried out, the same way we dry kale back home in Zimbabwe to make mufushwa. To say I was disappointed will be an understatement. It had taken me close to three hours, making the dough for the first time, rolling it out, adding my toppings, and cooking it. So I set out to try again.
This time my toppings were shiitake mushrooms and baby spinach. After my first pizza trial, I still did not bother to check online so that I can troubleshoot the second time around. Nope. I thought all I had to do, was to bury the vegetables under the wet mozzarella cheese, and that was going to save the spinach from desiccation. Flying in the dark is just how I roll. This strategy may have somewhat worked, if it were not for my roommate who came and turned off the oven when I was elsewhere in the house, thinking that I had forgotten to turn it off, which happens more often than not over here. I forget everything. It is frustrating since I did not think this would happen in my early thirties. I thought I still had maybe 20 more years to go before I start forgetting my wallet in the fridge, or the other time I was yelling at everyone, saying they had hidden my glasses, all the while I was wearing them. Anyway, I digress.
So it happened that when I came back to the kitchen, I prepared everything, buried my vegetables under the cheese, put the pizza into the oven, and set my timer for 20 minutes while cooking at 475 degrees F (approx. 245 degrees C). It was a hot day, and the oven felt hot since the hot air had been sealed in during preheating before it was turned off. When I came to take it out after my 20 minutes were up, I found a slightly risen, uncooked, white pizza staring right at me. As usual, this was followed by screams, yelling, and finger-pointing. But what to do? The pizza was ruined.
However, I am one to quit quickly. So I turned my oven to 500 degrees F, set a new timer, waited to see what I was going to come up with. Mind you, I was recording this for my YouTube video, and I wanted a perfect pizza, but that is not what I got. Instead, I had an overcooked, not so-vegetarian looking pizza. It was brown on top with no sign of the green baby spinach. The delicate green leaves were nowhere to be found. The white and brown shiitake mushrooms were also just blended in with the burn. Despite tall his, I persevered. I continued to record and to my surprise it was delicious. I am glad I did not toss it away. What it did not have in terms of looks, it made up for it in taste.
However, I am not one to quit quickly. So I turned my oven to 500 degrees F, set a new timer, waited to see what I was going to come up with. Mind you, I was recording this for my YouTube video, and I wanted a perfect pizza, but that is not what I got. Instead, I had an overcooked, not so-vegetarian looking pizza. It was brown on top with no sign of the green baby spinach. The delicate green leaves were nowhere to be found. The white and brown shiitake mushrooms blended in with the burn. Despite all this, the pizza was delicious, and I am glad I did not toss it away. What it did not have in terms of looks, it made up for it in taste.
My latest, third pizza trial
As promised in my YouTube video, here is my recipe for making pizza dough.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil (or any oil you have)
1. Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl.
2. Add some water and the olive oil gradually until the dough is sticky, but not too sticky that it is difficult to handle.
3. Knead the dough, adding a little bit of flour, so it does not stick to your hands
4. Cover with plastic and let it rise for about 1½ hours. You want it to double in size.
5. For future use, you can freeze it in a tightly closed plastic bag for about a month or so.
I hope you will try to make your own pizza at home. Its great fun especially when making it with kids. You will likely be more successful at this than I am. I will keep trying until I have perfected the art of making pizza. Next time, I will scour through my recipe books in the basement or just check the internet. Its high time I start consulting with the professionals!
With so much love,