I've always experimented. Especially in the kitchen. Recipe?! What's that? Why would you not follow your nose and instincts and see where they lead? Why would a recipe be smarter than my instincts?
Sure, I'm bound to make mistakes by not following the guidance of those who have cooked before me. But I will also miss out on new discoveries, parings, and inventions.
I stopped cooking and baking for years out of boredom from being required to follow someone else's "rules", fear of making mistakes, having no one to cook for but myself, and laziness. Ugh. Well, and because I severely dislike doing dishes. I traded with my college roommates... You do dishes, I'll mow the lawn. Seriously better deal in my opinion.
In 2014, after several things changed in my life and I found a renewed interest in cooking and baking. I don't mind returning to basics so much. I don't beat myself up so badly for a) not following a recipe exactly and b) having it not turn out because I experimented.
I recently put too much baking soda in a cake after I ignored my instincts. So, I threw it out. there is no saving a cake with too much baking soda. The taste never recovers. It feels wasteful, I won't deny that. But I also don't put on excess weight for feeling required to eat my bad experiments. Nor do any of my family, friends, or co workers.
To avoid some of the more catastrophic and wasteful recipes, I've tackled some easier items such as dense breads or cakes and 1 pot meals and pizza.
I like pizza, but only the best. I'd rather spend the money on a really good pizza every month or quarter than settle for less. There are many great pre-made pizza's and some that leave something to be desired. There are even more excellent restaurants who make wood fired pizza. The folks that make pizza at Trackside are brilliant.
However, as much as I love having someone make pizza for me, I have discovered that I equally love making it myself with the best ingredients available. When I choose top quality, I'm more satisfied, fulfilling the craving, and less likely to eat pizza night after night.
My co worker talked about making pizza a couple weeks or more ago. The more she talked about it, the more I realized, "I could make that!" and visions of ingredients placing themselves into my shopping basket popped into my head. "I can really do it! And it'll be good." So off I went to the store after work.
Handmade mozzarella, kumato (brown tomatoes), living basil, and of course The Essential Baking Company's pizza dough. The first pizza was magic. So yummy. I enjoyed rolling out the dough. Loved the simplicity and beauty of placing each ingredient in its own layer.
I recently discovered how tasty salami and zucchini are when I made them the main ingredients of a sandwich I packed for a hike. Seriously delicious. Ooo wouldn't they be great on a pizza?
This time using no olive oil and no base sauce, I layered thai basil, diced roasted yellow pepper, genoa salami, and thick slices of freshly pulled mozzarella.
After my pizza stone was finished pre-heating and all the previous ingredients placed, I put the pizza in the oven. When it was done, I put the fresh tomatoes, and raw zucchini on top of the cooked pizza. Crunchy, yummy, and filled with wonderful flavor.
What is interesting is that I am a diehard Hawaiian pizza fan. Even cold for breakfast. But since I began making my own and having a sense of what the ingredients are like both cooked and raw, I find that I like salami, because I can choose one that doesn't give me heartburn. I also like being able to add lots of veggies and can be "Sally" about how it's made, putting some on raw and cooking others. There never seem to be enough veggies and some are simply better raw.
Homemade pizza is an experiment worth repeating.
Have you tried making your own pizza?