Friday, September 10, 2010
Veggie Pizza - whatever is in the fridge
Something that I have loved learning from being a freshie in the restaurant industry is learning how to use whatever you have in the store. If one special isn't selling on fish, we'll change the special the next night. Or make salmon cakes. Or if we have extra risotto from the night before, we make fried risotto balls as an appetizer special. The list goes on. It has been a helpful practice to develop at home - I am so finicky some weeks and I don't have an appetite, other weeks I go out with my friends too often and I don't hit the grocery store, or old groceries are sitting there going bad. Today I needed lunch and the smartest lunch is a lunch that you've already paid for, at the grocery store.
I had half of the pizza dough from last week's margherite as well as some cut veggies from a primavera I made for lunch earlier this week. Some marinara I saved from raviolis, a garlic clove, an overripe tomato, and some fresh mozzarella also left from the margherite. A little bit of Parmesan, which exhausts my cheese supply (sad), and some dehydrated mushrooms I bought last week and never used. Mushroom trick: I have always marveled at how quickly mushrooms go bad. I do most of my shopping at Publix, which breaks down their cardboard boxes of mushrooms and packs them into tiny plastic containers, tightly wrapped with plastic. I inquired about why my mushrooms go bad so quickly (slimy fishy) and why our cardboard-stored mushrooms at work last for a long week. The answer? Mushrooms need to breathe, and moisture makes them go bad. If they are stuck in a plastic container tightly wrapped (like we do for everything else to keep O2 out), they will sit in their own moisture and go bad. The solution? Take off the plastic wrap and leave them open air (thus the dehydration of my little guys) or better yet, throw them in a paper sack.
I am definitely taking a risk with the old marinara - highly acidic and highly basic foods are the first to go bad (thus, soft cheese. On the other end of the spectrum, tomatoes). But it smelled fine and let's be honest, it was probably packed with so many preservatives that marinara could live on in my refrigerator for a year and still be fine. So, I'll let you know in about 8 hours when the foodborne illness sets in (or not. hopefully not).
On top of my pizza went marinara, chopped garlic, sliced red onion, sliced green and red peppers, sliced mushrooms, a diced tomato, some fresh mozzarella and some shredded parmesan. Anything like this can be made from your leftovers and dwindling food supply - throw some things together that you enjoy together, add a tomato sauce base or an olive oil/salt and pepper/garlic base, and you can have a tasty little pizza without wasting a thing.
Up next: HOMEMADE PICKLES!