PIZZA AND WINNING AT EUCHRE

Roost1350 Pizza!

A misconception of being “retired” (ugh..that word!) is that we eat out a lot more than we did when we were working. Although somewhat true, we like the casual element of having friends in, cooking a simple meal, and using our years of honed mental skills somehow. Playing cards seems to be more socially acceptable, then say doing a puzzle (that’s a whole post on it’s own), so that’s what we are doing tonight. Euchre. If you know what this word means, you belong to an elite group. If you don’t, please ask a euchre player to teach you..we like drawing others into the cult. But first, we gotta eat!

Ah, what’s the best thing about a pizza? To us, it’s all the possibilities of what stuff can go on it. Here in The Roost, with our Living Large in a Small Place attitude, most times we make flatbreads that come to life with bits and pieces of what we have in the fridge. When we are impressing guests with an entire pizza, we try to make a plan of what we will use. If you notice from the title, this was to be a Mushroom and Olive pie. Ten minutes before show time, The Rooster announced his buddy needed meat. ( That’s code for “oh my god, we are having guests and no meat…again?”) Thus we added the pancetta we keep rendered in the cheese drawer for such meltdowns. My BFF makes, and freezes in large cubes, the best red pizza sauce. A cube is great for two flatbreads, a whole pizza takes 3 cubes. BFF-I’m out again.
Baby Bella, but can really be any room you prefer or have that need to be used up. (Tip: Keep the mushrooms unwashed in the ref until ready to use.) Rinse off the dirt and let dry before slicing to sauté. Slice fairly thick and just cook until they are less than firm. They will finish up on the pizza in the oven. Go ahead and do this ahead and impress your guest with how casually you are preparing this baby while you chat and enjoy happy hour.
Wash up pan and stove top way ahead…show off a little at how little you stress over having guest in your kitchen.
Cheater alert. Unless you just adore all the mess of rolling out pizza dough, do your homework and find a ready to cook crust that meets your standards. This one is from Whole Foods and is $7. Like to roll, most groceries also have a ball of dough in the deli section that will double on the way home if you let it for about half this price. (I know all you thrifters who make your own wonderful crusts for pennies are cringing. I admire and salute you but I’d rather read the latest mindless novel and not have flour all over me. We all have our limits.)
The Rooster and I do not like soggy crusts that I have often produced in the past. Lightly oiling the crust and baking it on its own until the golden spots appear seems to really keep us happy. This is also something I can do ahead and wow my guests with my culinary skills. Cardboard and plastic are already out to the trash. Hey if they don’t ask, don’t tell.
(Please note how well I have researched so the cheater fits nicely on our own pan…culinary skill.)
Show time. In front of guests, or better yet, let them assemble the pie since you have done all the dirty work so far. We preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake until the cheese looks bubbly and has those great little brown spots. How long? Well if you are a wine drinker, about a glass of white since you know how quick a crisp blanc goes down, or half a red. Position yourself in front of the oven glass and watch.
Another culinary skill mastered.
Ah, just noticed how we had a little shrinkage during round two baking. Interesting.
With the firmer crust, the pie slides right off the pan onto our John Boos butcher block. (I need to write a post just about our beloved because he is really a big part of every meal at The Roost.) I could fib and say the multiple size of the slices is on purpose, but its really just that this is another skill I don’t care about mastering. For guests, I always add in that I want everyone to have a choice about the size they choose.
Good cook justifying 101.

In Closing….

Well, the guys beat the gals playing Euchre. Or, shall we say, we let them win because they get all pouty on the nights we give no mercy. And a pair of roosters with ruffled feathers are no fun to listen to. Thanks for spending a few minutes of your day with The Roost! Life is good!

Suwannaphati

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