Soctober 9, 2012

Look how fast I can knit while steam is escaping through my ears?

Today was the weirdest day.  On my facebook, I said:  “I can’t decide if I should write a book or a country music song about the happenings of this one day. So far, and I’m holding my breath for no more excitement, my day has involved a lawyer, a realtor, a dump truck driver, a backhoe operator, a swimsuit model, a welder and a plumber. I wonder what tomorrow holds! :)”

The lawyer happens to be my cousin, who happens to be an attorney not far from here so we called him about an issue we’re having.  We’ve been talking to him for a couple of days, faxing and emailing documents back and forth, even though he’s on vacation in Maine.  Thank goodness for family! I believe we have resolution on that little problem.

The realtor — that goes along with the lawyer.  She was nice and I still like her (the realtor).

The dump truck driver got stuck and apparently did some serious damage to the dump truck.  I heard it was broke down on the side of the road when he left here and then the boss came to talk to the guy doing the job.  Not sure what happened with all that.  Surely wasn’t the driver’s fault he got stuck . . but what do I know?

The backhoe operator was in charge of the driveway job.  His wife is the swimsuit model.

The welder — nothing I want to say about that.

The plumber — we have a leaking pipe either in a wall or in the concrete foundation.  The plumber will start tearing things out tomorrow and try to find the source of the leak.

This sounds like a very good time to run away from home . . if you ask me.

Tomorrow’s a new day.  Hopefully there will be no screaming in my back yard (I was not involved), no crying (I was involved) and by this time tomorrow . . maybe there will be no more steam escaping through my ears.

Pizza & Pans

Until probably a few years ago, I had never made a homemade pizza.  It seemed terribly difficult but really, I just never thought much about it.

Now that I have made lots and lots of pizzas, I wish I could convey to everyone how easy it is to make a homemade pizza.  Through the years I’ve tried a lot of pizza crust recipes and while all of them were great, this is my current favorite.

For my sauce, I simply dump a quart of my home canned tomatoes into a pot, add a little brown sugar, a little garlic, use my stick blender to grind up all the tomatoes. Then I add a little oregano, Italian herbs, fennel . . whatever spices you like. I simmer it on high til it’s as thick as I want it to be.  So easy!

I think that the pizza pan has as much to do with a successful pizza as does the recipe.  When I first began making pizza, I used a regular solid bottom pizza pan.  It worked fine.

Then I graduated to a pizza peel and a pizza stone.  That worked but . . I lived in MO and I had two ovens.  I keep the pizza stone in the wall oven because I mostly used my regular “under the stove” oven.  We moved here and I have one oven and a tiny little kitchen.  Storing the peel was an issue.  There’s no way I can leave the stone in the oven.  Too often I have something on both racks in my oven.  The stone is heavy and fragile and I didn’t like having to let it cool in the oven after using it, then taking it out and putting it away.

Not long ago, when I should have been knitting or sewing, I was researching pizza pans.  I came across this one.  Anything that has 200+ reviews, and 190 of them are 5 star ratings, that’s coming home with me.  I’m telling you  . . I LOVE this pan!  It was pre-seasoned and it does not stick one bit!  When I oil it, I oil it heavily.  There’s not oil puddling but it’s definitely not dry.  This makes the crust kind of crunchy on the bottom, almost like a toasted cheese sandwich.

Start with the crust.

I bake it for 8 minutes at 450º, just as the instructions recommend.

After it’s baked those 8 minutes, I let it cool for a few minutes, the put the sauce on it.

Then the other topping ingredients are added.

Then it bakes til the cheese is melted and the pepperoni and Canadian bacon are hot.

That, my friends, is a perfect pizza made in a perfect pizza pan!

I have no idea how much it costs to make a homemade pizza.  The crust basically takes 2-1/2 cups of flour, a tiny bit of yeast, some sourdough.  The sauce comes from a jar of home grown, home canned tomatoes.  The cheese was one bag of Great Value (Wal-Mart) mozzarella, I used half a bag of Canadian bacon and half a bag of turkey pepperoni so there’s enough of each of those for another large pizza.  I can tell you that it costs a fraction of buying a pizza and unless you have a good pizza establishment near you, it’s a whole lot better than most pizzas you can buy already made.

The Driveway Project

The day came . . yesterday . . when it was time to begin construction of our new driveway.  I will like so much better having the driveway come from the back and not from the front.

Would you like to walk down the new driveway with me?  I thought you might!  :)

This photo is just walking out my back door.  The red hens and Roscoe are on the left.  The Dominque chickens are supposed to be on the right, though they roam the whole place.

Walk past the fence and there are just woods on both sides.  Nice, huh?

Turn slightly to the right!  See the fence on the left?  Sometimes the cows are over there.

Vince thinks we should put gravel/rocks in this little cleared spot to the right.  I said “Why?  Are we going parking?”  That’s about all it would be good for.  It’s a good ways from the house.  Not sure why he thinks anyone would park out there.  The dozer guy said there were some trees that there he didn’t like.  Hmm . . not sure what that meant.  I think the trees were hanging over the driveway and would eventually cause some problems so he pushed them over and moved them to the burn pile.

If you look real hard and use your imagination, you can see the dozer at the very end of the driveway straight ahead.  I didn’t want the guy to see me taking pictures but he was close to the highway so you can see it’s a pretty long driveway and kinda scenic I think.  I love living back here in the middle of nowhere.

Now . . let’s turn and walk back home!

You’ll see now the fence and the pasture is on our right (because we changed directions).  The driveway to the left is to a big old ugly burn pile.  We’ve been under a burn ban for so long that we haven’t worried about getting it burned but once the trees that were pushed over there while clearing the driveway have dried up a bit, we’ll get with the fire department and come up with a plan for burning that pile.

There’s my house!  Way at the end of the driveway.

Did you enjoy that little walk?  I did.  Today the rock trucks begin arriving with loads and loads and loads of rock.  It will take a few weeks to get the gate installed but this is a project I’ll be very happy to have done and behind us (or in front of us  . . depending on which way we’re heading!)  :)