Pick a Pizza, Win a Prize!

You can never have too much pizza. At least, I can’t.

I know it’s cliché, but pizza really has been one of my favorite foods since I was like, born. Maybe because it’s just so versatile, that you really could never exhaust all of your potential pizza options in one lifetime. Maybe because it’s also as much fun to make as it is to eat. On the heels of our recent pizza-making team effort, my boyfriend and I decided to try our hands at another pizza variety. We used the same crust recipe and the same sauce recipe, but this time let the sauce cook for a few hours in the crock pot.  We also switched up the toppings, like you do, and for this one, went with pepperoni and mushrooms, and used a mix of Havarti and mild cheddar cheese.

waiting to bake.
waiting to bake.

Oh yeah – and this time we also rolled out the dough much thinner, and made two thin-crust pizzas, instead of one giant extra thick and puffy one. Having not one, but two crusts made it into a little friendly pizza-making competition. We each rolled a dough, and topped it individually, and baked them, one at a time.

Pizza #1:

Pizza 1.

which is which?

Pizza #2:
and whose is whose?

and whose is whose?

So….can you guess which one is mine? Pizza #1 or Pizza #2? First person to comment on the post with the right answer gets a free Small Indulgences cookbook!  And no guessing if you already know – that means you, Steve. 😉

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Meatloaf Muffins: the journey from baking to cooking.

DSC_1073

I don’t cook.

I bake, yes  –  A LOT. But I just never got into cooking. Then one day a few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a friend about cooking, and I decided that should change. Suddenly, I wanted to cook; and I’d never had any inkling of a desire to do it before. I started looking up recipes, and noticed that the things I most wanted to try were those meals that incorporated my baking skills – homemade pasta, meatloaf, baked eggplant, etc.  As I don’t yet own a pasta maker (this will soon be remedied), that was out for now. Shortly following this cooking epiphany, I stumbled across a meatloaf recipe. I figured it was a sign, and thus meatloaf would be my next challenge. I was discussing said meatloaf with a friend, explaining to her my reasons for selecting it (in addition to the sign from the universe),  one being that it was just like baking a loaf of bread, which I’ve done a thousand times. She then suggested that since I am only one person, I should try meatloaf muffins. This way, I could save some for future meals, and share some with others, if I so desired. I loved this idea! And so it was.

I started with an onion. I cried. A lot.

96 tears.

96 tears.

I then mixed all the ingredients in a large bowl. The recipe called for pepper. I wanted rosemary. I did what I wanted.

a loaf waiting to happen.

a loaf waiting to happen.

Next, I shaped it into a loaf, and then broke it down into muffin-sized lumps.

she's lump. she's lump. she's lump. she's in my head.

she’s lump. she’s lump. she’s lump. she’s in my head.

I baked them,  took them out 5 minutes early, topped them with shredded Gruyere, and baked them for 5 more minutes.

mini meats.

mini meats.

I removed them from the oven, and let them cool. I realized at this point that I did not yet understand the principles of baking meat and how it differed from baking a cake. When you bake a cake, it conforms to the size and shape of the pan it’s being baked in. Not meat – it retains the shape you make it. So I wound up with what looked more like meat boulders.  Next time, I’ll know better.

boulders of joy.

boulders of joy.

Now for the true test. I poured myself a glass of wine, and selected two meat boulders. They certainly smelled delicious, and honestly, looked rather delectable.

red wine and meat boulders: the perfect pairing.

red wine and meat boulders: the perfect pairing.

I put some extra barbecue sauce on the side for dipping, and dug in. I couldn’t believe it – success!! This was some good meatloaf! I put down the fork and called my mom. I had to share my cooking success story with someone who I knew would be proud.

And now, my friends, I’m hooked. Small Indulgences are not just for baking anymore. Here’s to new adventures!