Confessions Of A &Amp;Quot;Pizzaholic&Amp;Quot;. - SoGirl Blog at - 241989


Confessions of a "pizzaholic". 
Jul. 2, 2011 10:59 am 
Updated: Nov. 9, 2011 1:50 pm
Hello, my name is wisweetp, and I am a pizzaholic.   

I'm not sure how--or when--it really happened.  I've always loved pizza.  As a kid growing up in rural Mississippi, I ate the frozen Totino's and thought they were the greatest thing under the sun (no pizza parlors in the area then).  College brought Domino's, and I managed to plow through at least several dozen in 4 years.  

After college came moving to a metropolitan area (and university town) which offered many more options.  Papa John's quickly became a favorite with orders placed at least once a month.  Then the most wonderful thing happened...a new Italian restaurant opened a block from my office.  They offered pizza by the slice with a host of toppings available.  Now THIS was pizza!  Hand-tossed crust, crispy and charred on the bottom from a hot brick oven and topped with practically anything you would want.  I eagerly worked my way through the premium peppers, prosciutto, artichoke hearts, spinach....loved all of them!  And their meatballs...oh my!  It was cheap and delicious, and it didn't take long to become one of my favorite places in T-town with lunch there once a week.  

Fast forward a few years to my move north to Wisconsin when I married.  More local pizza parlors with great pizza.  This time the crust was cracker-thin and crisp.  Another new love and visits to them whenever we could fit it into the schedule while spending time with my husband's young son every weekend and taking care of his ailing mother who lived with us.  

I have always loved to cook but never tried pizza at home (believe it or not), thinking it would never be any better than the true pizza parlors we frequented and that I had been to in the past.  Boy was I wrong!  Several years ago, I happened upon the brick-oven pizza from the AR site and decided to give it a shot.  I made it exactly as the recipe was written the first time, and oh what a revelation that was!!  We were blown away by how good a pizza could be at home.  I quickly purchased a pizza stone, and we began our odyssey.  We made thin and crispy crust (with King Arthur 00 Italian style flour--HIGHLY recommend!), we made deep dish (Chicago-style), we made the brick oven crispy-chewy style.  And we topped it with anything that sounded good.  Especially good were the meatballs from the Succo recipe from this site.  Sliced thinly and with onions and peppers, this one was, and is, a favorite.  A favorite, too, is the super simple just tomatoes and cheese.  For deep dish, pepperoni, sausage, onions, peppers, and mushrooms is the usual.  Sometimes we use fresh tomatoes (and fresh mozzarella), sometimes it's canned organic pizza sauce, sometimes it's a quick cooked sauce.  And I've begun brushing a butter/olive oil/garlic mixture over the crust before I add the toppings.  It's  like eating garlic bread and pizza at the same time, and my husband went wild over that one.  Broccoli Raab and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes was another favorite.  

I have made pizza crust so many times I can practically do it in my sleep.  It's always the same basic recipe for me, but my liquid and flour amounts vary depending on which style I'm after for that day.  And semolina flour adds a great crunch and texture, and I almost always add a bit of that to the dough.  It's also better than cornmeal for sprinkling under the dough.  Great results and no burning like cornmeal can be prone to do.  

And here's my ultimate proof of addiction.  When it came time to buy a new stove last year, I used my entire appliance budget so that I could buy a double oven range.  And although, I  love to cook and bake much of my own bread, it was the pizza that prompted the double oven!  I had already ordered another pizza stone so it was ready and waiting.  Those stones are in my ovens full time now.  I don't think I could ever bake anything else directly on them since they are permeated with pizza!  However, as an aside, they are great for leaving in the oven to maintain a constant temp when you are baking breads, cakes, etc.  

My next splurge will be a brick oven and if I won the lottery today, that would be my first purchase!

I make pizza at LEAST once a week, usually twice.  We try to make one of them healthy with lots of veggies and little else and the other might be a splurge, with rich cheese and plenty of meat on my husbands's side.  Or I make one for him and one for me, and enjoy the leftovers.  

If you are like us and confirmed pizzaholics, tell me...what are your favorites for crust, sauce, and toppings?  And which is your favorite...thin and crispy, deep dish, chewy?  

Now I must sign off...time to make the pizza dough!  : )  Happy Baking and pizza making!

Jul. 2, 2011 6:16 pm
Well done, getting the double ovens! ... The best "eating out" pizza I have ever had was at Nordstrom's Bistro in Columbus,OH. They make it rustic and with simple ingredents but the ingredients they choose and how they use them is awesome. ... I keep three pizza stones, here.Pizza is their primary use butI also will throw a batch of bread dough on them and have a crusty/rustic loaf for soup and gravy sopping. I will use moderately warm stones for raising bread, also.
Jul. 2, 2011 7:32 pm
Thanks, Mike. Yes, I absolutely love my double ovens! Using a warm stone for raising dough is a great idea! I'll have to adopt that one. And I agree completely that the quality of the ingredients really make the dish. Now thinking about a crusty loaf for soup sopping has me in a bread baking mood. : ) I love a crusty loaf with gazpacho this time of year....
Jul. 3, 2011 4:51 pm
Love your honesty! I think pizza could be the #1 all-American food. We ate Papa John's on the way home from church today, and had left-overs for a late afternoon snack. I've never met a really bad pizza, but home-made is awesome.
Jul. 4, 2011 5:23 pm
Love home made pizza, also. I do not like meat on any pizza. Usually veggie only. BUT, living in Wisconsin, have you ever had a Rocky Rococo pizza?? I am not sure if they are over your way or only in the Madison area. I LOVE their Garden of Eatin' pizza.
Jul. 4, 2011 6:24 pm
chris k, I have had Rocky Rococo pizza one--a slice of just cheese. Honestly, my favorite part of eating there was the salad bar! I'm a relative newbie to Wisconsin, having moved in 2005, but my husband is a lifelong resident, and he's had it numerous times. I'm ok with a little meat on the pizza, depending on the type of meaty but like lots of veggies to a little meat. I don't like black olives, so a lot of times my choices for veggie pizzas are limited unless I can choose my toppings. We very rarely eat pizza out anywhere any more. Mamaw, thanks for dropping in on my blog. And I has definitely become an "All-American" food!
Jul. 5, 2011 12:36 am
My Fiancee worked in the pizza industry for 10 years. He once informed me that pizza is the perfect food! He firmly believes this. So he is the pizzamaster in our house. He usually mixes the dough in our bread machine,he does add about a teaspoon of gluten. I dislike black olives on pizza too. This is strange because I love them any other way. We've got some Semolina that was supposed to be for his Ravioli (He worked for a place called Holy Ravioli making hundreds a day for restaurants etc... after 14 years he owes me a batch!) Back to pizza. So I'll mention the Semolina to him. Anything pizza on a food show or anywhere and he stops what he's doing to absorb it:) I shop at a small discount store an hour from home. So when I'm visiting my Dad this store always gets a visit. Canned artichoke hearts, green or black olives, provolone, mozz regular or fresh, pepperoni or sausage, canadian bacon, good Parmesan, all of these at such incredible prices...I really stock up on these things because of their prices. Here's one to try--Cut up some fresh tomatoes in smallish chunks, then add some Italian Dressing, fat free or not, any variety you like. Spread on your crust and bake. It is yummy. My Dad taught me this as a way to preserve your tomatoes in the frig and it's great in a salad or on cottage cheese. Then one day I said "Let's try it on pizza." It was a real success.
Jul. 5, 2011 2:38 am
And the double ovens? Lovely. Also the thing about leaving the pizza stone in the oven to maintain a constant temp is great info. We have a really old oven. Thanks.
Jul. 5, 2011 2:23 pm
Thanks for the tip, redly. I love Italian dressing on tomatoes (especially with fresh mozzarella added, too!). I'll have to give that a try when my tomatoes began getting ripe. And I'm in agreement with your really is the perfect food! Almost anyone can find a combination of ingredients they like. I got the tip about the baking stones from the Mother Superior of food chemistry, Shirley Corriher. : ) It works great.
Jul. 7, 2011 9:16 am
Loved your blog. I just started doing homemade pizza on my gas grill and I will NEVER cook it inside again. We have gone on a pizza grilling spree this summer with ingredients from my container garden and I will never go back to the oven to bake it. I used to love my stone, but I don't know if I will use it much anymore. I love it best when I set my olive oiled dough right onto the grill. LOVE IT!
Jul. 7, 2011 10:40 am
Hi, mauigirl. I'm a charcoal purist, so I don't have a gas grill. But I do love to grill pizza on my Weber. I'd love your recipe for the dough for grilled if you're willing to share!
Nov. 9, 2011 1:50 pm
I'm a pizzaholic too!!! I could eat pizza every day and never be bored of it. I'm lucky to live in Seattle and have found lots of fantastic pizza joints that I frequent, thin crust is the only way to go for me! One of my favorite ways to have pizza is with my mom's homemade crust and everyone in the family makes their own personal pizza with whatever toppings they want, no need for compromise :) TO PIZZA!
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About Me
I'm a born and bred Southerner now living in the Midwest (temporarily!). I learned to cook by watching and helping my grandmother and great-grandmother, both of whom were wonderful Southern cooks who cooked by "feel" rather than by measuring. And that's how I cook now, too. Recipes are more of a suggestion than instruction for me. I love to garden and use my fresh veggies in my creations, especially salsa and hot sauce, which are my specialties.
My favorite things to cook
Baked goods (especially yeast breads), soups, pizza, roasted and grilled veggies...
My favorite family cooking traditions
Christmas candy making with my mom. She lives across the country now, so we haven't been able to do that since I moved..better on the waistlines!
My cooking triumphs
Planning an outdoor party for 20 people where the main course and the main side dish were to be grilled. It was POURING when the time came. I moved everything inside and prepared the food on stovetop and oven, and it turned out beautifully anyway.
My cooking tragedies
Making biscuits at my mom's house one time and accidentally using plain flour instead of self-rising. Needless to say, I had to make another batch of biscuits when I realized what I had done! Otherwise, I've been pretty lucky!
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