Sunday, September 7, 2014

From Frozen to Gourmet

We had a football game in Eugene yesterday afternoon, and since it may be the only game all year I'll be able to watch because my cable channels are really limited, I decided I wanted to do my own version of tailgating and pigging out. Plus, I've been wanting a good pizza ever since I wandered past Mezzaluna a few days ago. But, the cost of starting from scratch seemed too much, so I punted.

Have you ever noticed how chefs on TV -- even in Italy -- finish every pizza with a good drizzle of olive oil? With that in mind and a spirit of curiosity, I cut some basil outside, added a few garlic cloves and salt and a good amount of olive oil and let it sit all afternoon until the flavors were thoroughly melded. The oil alone was delicious and, in fact, I think this would make a wonderful pasta sauce, although perhaps with minced rather than whole garlic.

 At the store, I bought my favorite Newman's Own frozen pizza with pepperoni (I like the brand because of its thin, crispy crust and the healthy ingredients, such as nitrate/nitrite-free pepperoni). It's good, but I wanted more today.

So, I also bought a few cremini mushrooms and harvested a few cherry tomatoes from the garden, and tossed those in a pan with a bit of olive oil to get rid of most of the moisture inherent in both. They were still juicy.

I scattered these veggies over the frozen pizza, then, once the pizza was baked and hot, I gleefully drizzled oil and basil over everything in generous quantities. In case anybody wonders, the oil did not soak into the crust and make it soggy -- even the last pieces I ate at the end of the evening were still crispy and perfect.

As you can see, oil was shining/running everywhere and in this case, that's a good thing. It also occasionally ran down my chin as I ate it, which was also a good thing in this case. I gotta say, the increase from frozen to gourmet was exponential! Such an easy and inexpensive fix, and one I'll remember for the future. And yes, by the end of the evening I ate every last piece of it, stuffed to the gills and happy. Today is diet time.

And oh, yeah, the football game turned out pretty good too.

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