The thing is, I'm really a minimalist when it comes to the kitchen. My rule for gadgets is that it must take up little space and do more than one thing. No olive plates, George Foreman grills, or garlic presses here. My life is simpler without them. These rules have developed over time, not so much because I like to make up rules, but pretty much because my condo-in-the-city kitchen is smaller than the master closet in the house we used to live in in South Carolina before we moved to the DC area almost 6 years ago. In fact, I have literally 2 square feet of counter space. We'd have double that if we had a dishwasher since we wouldn't have to have the dish rack out, but then I'd lose half my cabinet space, and I think we can agree that would be worse (maybe you and I could agree on that, but tell that to Paul--he'd so much rather have a dishwasher than a cabinet to store the dishes). What can I say--that's city living, right?
Speaking of city living, though I think that raising kids in the city has its challenges, there are some really fun aspects to it. For example, if you ask Charlie what a train says, instead of the typical "Choo choo," she'll reply, "Stand back. Doors closing." It's great.
Anyway, back to the kitchen. So, we don't get the bread machine out all that often. Okay, never. Because it does take up a lot of space and is hard to get to, and until now, I've never realized how incredible this is going to make my life. I'm not being dramatic. I'm totally serious.
I said a while ago that we were going to try to avoid using flour during our local food challenge. I've changed my mind. I've put some thought into this, and even though it'd be great to support the local bakeries and breadmakers at the farmers' market (which I'll probably still do), bread at those places can be a little pricey, and I figured that since they are not exactly using local flour either, I can view our family as a local business and just support us instead. So I'm going to start making bread, dough, pasta, etc.
So, tonight we made homemade pizza for the first time! I have to say, it was really good. REALLY good. And SO easy! I just followed the recipe in my handy dandy bread machine manual and added some oregano to the ingredients for a tasty variation. I literally just tossed in a few things and then pushed a button, waited an hour and a half, and voila! Pizza dough! Charlie helped spread out the dough onto our cookie sheets, then we baked the crusts, topped the crusts, and put them back in the oven for a few minutes, and then we had pizza!
We had some pesto left over from our pasta the other night, so we put that on one crust with a little minced fresh garlic, mozzarella, and parmesan, and for the other pie we drizzled olive oil and then layered crushed fresh tomato, zucchini, onion, minced garlic, mozzarella, and parmesan. Really, the possibilities are endless! I plan on trying many other veggies and maybe some sausage or other meats that I can get from the farm.
I also plan to make a double recipe next time and either freeze the dough or even make a couple plain cheese pizzas to freeze and then top when we're ready to eat.
Just wait until we try making bread in this thing!