Tuesday, June 7

Pizza, Courtesy of Trader Joe's

This is a great meal to make with a group of friends.  Basically, Trader Joe's sells bags of pizza dough for $1-$1.29 (it is inexplicably cheaper in New York City the last time I checked), little containers of pizza sauce for maybe $3, bags of four grated cheeses for $5, and potential toppings line the aisles of the rest of the store.

from Trader Joe's

1 bag of pizza dough
1 container of pizza sauce

Since this recipe is whatever you make of it, here are my suggestions on the matter:

Pizza dough:  There are a couple different kinds of pizza dough available: plain, herb, and something else.  They all taste good, so don't be too nervous, but do be wary of the flavored doughs when you are baking.  Sometimes they are not cooked completely after the alloted time.  Preheat the oven to the temperature on the bag, I think it's 400 degrees.  And when the bag says to let the dough sit for 20 minutes before using it, let the dough sit for 20 minutes before using it.  I realize that it is kind of a drag, but letting the dough sit will make it easier for you to stretch it out into a pleasing pizza shape.  Also, I always cook the dough for more than the 8-9 minutes they suggest - sometimes as long as 20 minutes.  If you do not wait long enough, the pizza will be soggy in the center.

this particular batch got really puffy -
just plain ol' cheese pizza

Pizza sauce:  I like the pizza sauce.  That said, it is the bare-minimum that is required for a pizza sauce.  I have friends who like to add some dried spices or fresh chopped garlic to make it tastier.  Go by taste!  On the other hand, they also sell a container of ricotta cheese.  It is simple ricotta cheese without anything to detract from its pure essence, but sometimes I add a pinch of salt, some dried herbs, olive oil, honey, or garlic.

ricotta with herb d'provence, olive oil, and salt

the white pizza

Cheese:  I think Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggi (the bag of grated cheese) is a rip-off.  That does not mean I have not purchased this item on multiple occasions.  The four cheeses in the bag are tasty, complement each other well, and yes, they are already grated for you.  I would recommend buying some uncut mozzarella - it is cheaper, fresher, tastier, and makes for better snacking.

Toppings:  Go wild.  Or not.  God knows I love plain cheese pizza.  Here is a partial list of past toppings: pepperoni, sliced mushrooms, black olives, baby broccoli, prosciutto, bell peppers, onions.  Just throw on whatever is in the fridge that looks good.

slice of the cheese - made with slices of mozzarella

This song goes out to Katie, who promised to make pizza with me this summer.  She has burned me some of the best CD mixes that I've ever listened to, one of which is the song I'm listening to right now... AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long":

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