4.28.2020

Natalie Makes: Homemade Pizza


These past few weeks at home have brought uncertainty, but I have to say that being home has made me embrace being a homebody. I miss the city, having my own place, working with my closest friends, and having the freedom to do just about whatever I want. However, having a fully functional kitchen has been a plus. My down time is either producing more work or trying to feed my creativity into writing and trying new hobbies. I think a lot of people are trying to fill the time with things that make them happy and I can completely advocate for that. 

Whether it be reading new books, doing yoga, painting, gardening, or cooking new recipes, art has been one of my saving graces during a time like this. A big part of our lives comes from being creatively stimulated and entertained, I empathize with families trying to come up with intricate science projects for their kids or Zoom play-dates, because I cannot imagine what it's probably like  keeping your kids entertained and busy right now. 

When I'm taking a break from school work, I have been trying out new and old recipes. Every now and then my family will order takeout, but I've been really curious with using only the ingredients we have to make food. Before, I was always hesitant to make recipes, mainly because I never had the time, but I've found a new comfort making food that my family can enjoy at the end of a long day. 

Joanna Gaines's second cookbook, Magnolia Table, was something I indulged in because her definition of food capitalizes on bringing good company and good memories to each meal. Not just recipes that are set and stone, but ones that I can assimilate with my grandma's famous recipes, too. So I set out to make homemade pizza. I made dough that consisted of Joanna's and my grandma's recipes, and my personal added touches for toppings, to create a deliciously balanced margarita pizza. What's not to love about that? 

Making pizza dough is actually quite simple. I've never made bread before, but you can't really mess it up if you go little by little. If there's anything I learned from my family and consumer science courses, it's that less is more. 

All you need is active dry yeast, sugar, flour, salt, oil, and warm water. To their distinct measurements, you gradually knead in each ingredient until you get a nice ball of dough, simple right? I'm no Bon Appetite chef, but my grandma has taught me that there's delicacy is making dough and not over-kneading it or adding too much water. Sticky dough is a no-go. 

I think the most satisfying part about making dough is that you make it with your hands, clean obviously, but the process is just as gratifying as taking a bite of that first slice. The best thing about pizza is that you are not limited to the toppings you put on it, so pineapple it is. You can make extra dough for later and pizza night can be every night. Making pizza engages you and brings me back to my Italian roots. 


I've already made Joanna's famous oatmeal cream pies, which are undoubtably the best things I have ever made. In her cookbook, she also includes a variety of herb and spice pairings, which are great if you have random spices lying around. An abundance of salads and soups you can make in a crock pot, and of course my favorite, desserts like creme brûlée and flourless chocolate cake. 

My reliance on food may have sparked a new hobby, but at the end of the day, it has given me appreciation for having food on the table and a roof over my head. What has been on your menu lately? 

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