Luckily for me she has exquisitely simple tastes. She has said that she fell in love with me the first time she tasted my pizza, which I know to be an exaggeration, if not an outright fabrication. But it means I manage to avoid finding just the right place to take her for dinner every year in exchange for a couple of hours in the kitchen. (This is also how we avoid any undue Valentines Day foolishness, except the pizza is heart-shaped and only red and white toppings are allowed above the cheese.) This is yesterday's effort:
Green onions, bell pepper, zuchini, fresh tomato slices, mushrooms and pepperoni with mozzarella and provolone cheese, homemade sauce and a hand-tossed, 100% whole wheat crust. I'm still working to get the crust just right, but if you've ever wanted to make whole grain breads that don't rise like cardboard and taste like wood, you might want to buy Peter Reinhart's book.
You have to start the dough the day before, but it's totally worth it. Then you should e-mail the author and tell him he should send me money because I'm pimping his book on the Internet. His pizza dough is the only thing I have tried that I didn't really love (don't tell him that), and that's only because I like my crust pretty thin and crispy, and his dough is more tender and bready like they tend to make on both coasts. I haven't tried a deep dish with this crust. One of you in the Midwest will have to let me know how that goes.
The most significant change I have made lately is slicing cheese instead of grating it. I've always tried to avoid pre-grated cheese because it's dry and tends to burn before it melts right, but using little slices of ball mozzarella and provolone instead of grating blocks myself has definitely stepped up the flavor a notch. (Bam!)
Oh, and you're going to need one of these:
Actually, you don't really need one, but you will want one, because it effing rocks like a hurricane. Sometimes I make bread just so I can play with the mixer. Seriously. The wife is not the only one who has good birthdays.
Speaking of presents, she got a Wii, because she is cool, but also because she is a girl. The allure of multi-core power and graphics acceleration is mostly lost on her, and she hasn't ever liked a shooter game that I know of, with the exception of Fallout (1 & 2). If Emily is to be believed, this may be the last time you hear from me, as the Wii will have consumed all of our waking hours from now on.
Oh, last thing on the cooking. My most important kitchen accessory is this apron:
Oh, plus there was a cake, but it was eaten before any pictures could be taken.
Update: I almost set the kitchen on fire this morning, probably because of the headspace thing. I may have to lay off the cooking for a while.