"Piehole" in Midwestern means "mouth," as in "Shut your piehole." Preferably we shut it on some tasty home cooking. We love to grow, market, buy, cook, bake and grill so we can feed our faces, chow down, pig out, scarf & whatnot. I'm a born Midwestern home cook posting foods and recipes that show up in front of me, because like all Midwesterners I eat what's put in front of me. Pull up a chair. What can I get you?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Piehole Goes Italian: Pizza, and Arugula Salad

The one food I would want on a desert island is pizza and I eat it thrice a week at least. I buy a bag of five or six nine-inch frozen pizza shells, the thin kind, from the Italian grocery, because they're cheaper than at the big grocery store. Also, at the Italian place buy pizza seasoning. Nothing else will make your home pizza taste like real pizza. Penzey's Spices sells Pizza Seasoning too.

To make your pizza crisp and tasty, pour some olive oil on top of the shell and spread it to the edges. Then dust it with pizza spice. Top with whatever, in this case some fresh mushrooms that I'd sauteed slowly in a little butter to get the water out. Tomato is not always necessary. I always put cheese, and make up for the indulgence by eatin' my greens. Absent a real pizza shell, I'll use a wheat tortilla, same way. After it's baked, cool it slightly on a rack, not in the pan, or the bottom gets soggy.

Arugula (aka roquette or rocket) is a very spicy leafy herb that's fast and easy to grow and get hooked on. Get organic arugula seeds from The Cook's Garden; at least that's where I got mine. Plant in sun and ignore (okay, water a bit during drought) and harvest in about four weeks. Wash it and stem it and spin it like any other green.

An All-Arugula Salad is heavenly and needs to be dressed very lightly and simply. A few drops of olive oil; toss. A squeeze of lemon juice. Toss. A mini-pinch of salt. It's ready. A few thin slices of fresh mushroom won't hurt. Tomato, though, would be gilding the lily. I like serving it on a glass plate like I get my salads in Italian restaurants.

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