Kitchen Catastrophe: Pizza Dough(nuts) Interlude

Okay, okay, so I haven’t really been keeping up with the Kitchen Catastrophe Challenge.  This isn’t so much due to lil’ pup Ripley as it does to all of Rip’s indirect costs: dogwalker and vet visits and the like.  At this point, it seems like the dog is eating better than either of us (my Kitty Boo is exempt from The Fido Finance Effect: she will always be pampered).

So, in terms of food, we’ve had to be creative, foraging the cabinets and refrigerator for items, making do with what we’ve got (not unlike this dude from TLC’s “Extreme Cheapskates”).  Here’s what I’ve been able to make recently:

Homemade Pizza Dough

Mark Bittman’s pizza dough recipe from the New York Times has seen better days:

On my second attempt (we’ve already made this dough three times!) I swapped out 2 cups of all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour instead.  Using that much whole wheat flour created a denser, gritter crust that I was a fan of, but Lance was not, so on the third crust, I only replaced one of the cups of white flour with whole wheat.  This was the result:

Now, the barbecue sauce for this grilled chicken pizza isn’t homemade (I use Bull’s-Eye since it’s all-natural), and the chicken is pre-stripped by Tyson or Perdue or whoever. I mixed some mozzarella with shredded Parmesan for the topping, though I repeatedly sliced my finger on the very sharp lid to the plastic cheese container; apparently, you’re supposed to lift up instead of twist:

Ouchie.

On another night when Lance had to work late, I attempted an Asian-style calzone, throwing in random ingredients (rice, broccoli, sesame seeds, etc.) with an orange-barbecue sauce which I’ve adapted from Sandra Lee’s Crouton-Crushed Chicken Tenders.

Obviously, I had some spillage issues, but I think it turned out alright, if non-fancy:

Lance has also been going Lady Gaga over Domino’s new-ish Parmesan Bread Bites (lord help me).  The dough recipe above yields for two pies, so with the extra dough, I tried to recreate them, kneading grated Parm into the dough and then dousing each bite in a garlic butter bath before they go into the oven (500 degrees for 15 minutes).  After I took them out of the oven, I brushed them again with garlic butter, then threw them into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag with a whole fistfull of Parmesan, then shook.

These turned out okay, but they’re still missing the airy texture of the real deal.  Plus, they’ve been a little dry all three times I’ve tried them.  If more garlic butter is the answer, I might just have to hang myself with an apron tie.

But wait, there’s more! We haven’t even gotten to dessert yet!

Then last night, I found this Giada recipe for Italian do(ugh)nuts, which call for…*drumroll pleeeze* pizza dough as the base.  All you do is roll it out, cut your little donuts out (for which I used a biscuit cutter, and for the hole, a Target prescription pill bottle…whoops!).  Then I cracked out the deep-fryer and started massaging Crisco right into my thighs.

Apologies for the lack of uniformity in shape, but these were my first donuts ever(!), and I was pretty pleased with myself.  These were pretty good, almost beignet-like, while still a little hot and soft on the inside (…that’s what she said?), covered in cinnamon sugar, but I tried them again this morning and they just aren’t the same: the oil taste is significantly more pronounced, which sort of ruins the whole thing.  Only make these if you’re going to eat them right away!

So there you have it: I haven’t given up on the kitchen, I’m just taking a detour through a puppy-shaped corn field, and apparently all I have time for at the moment are carbs.

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