Something about fighting.

“Here’s what I don’t understand about you Americans,” a Nigerian friend said to me once, years ago, “the people running for elected office here campaign like crazy about how they’ll ‘fight for you!’ It’s all they say, how they’ll fight and fight and fight. And then they get elected, and you end up with nothing but fighting, because you elected people who just want to fight. And then you talk about how much you hate all the bitter political fighting. I just don’t understand this.”

That’s it. That’s the post.

(Well, I mean, except for the food part, which I left out last night, so I made sure to add it below).

Yes, for real; that’s it. Just think about it, at least for a few minutes.


Decadent Weeknight Pizza/Tart with Quick Puff Pastry Dough

I’ve been playing with my pizza dough. (Did I write about this already? I don’t think so, but the days are starting to blur together. I mean, I did write about it for the tomato pie, which is the photo I’ve used. But I don’t think I’ve written about making this dough a habit.)

Anyway, I’ve been trying the quick puff pastry recipe from this David Tanis tart, and I think it might become a regular routine. Why? First of all, it’s very easy. And forgiving. And, of course, there’s all the butter.

More than any of those little, positive attributes though is something more esoteric. Weeknight pizza feels … ordinary. Weeknight puff pastry tart feels extravagant. And it’s actually less effort than making a yeast dough.

So here’s what to do, one night soon: Make pizza, with this luxurious, decadent pastry underneath. It will feel like a treat, not a slog. You’ll see.

Here’s how:

Ingredients

for the dough

  • 1 cups flour
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/4 squares (if using salted butter, then eliminate the added salt)
  • 1/4 cup ice water

for the topping

No rules here. Surely you’ve made pizza before, right? Then don’t overthink this part when you get to it.

Instructions

1. Combine flour, salt and half of the butter, mixing with a paddle attachment (or by hand) until it looks like coarse sand. Add the remaining butter and water, and stir/mix just until the dough comes together. Flatten into a 1″ thick disk, wrap, and put in the refrigerator.

2. While the dough chills, think about what you’ll want to top your pizza/tart with. Cheese? Certainly. Figs? If you have them. How about that shredded buffalo chicken from the other night; wouldn’t that be good?

3. Read a book, or work a puzzle, or take a cat nap for about 30 minutes.

4. Pull yourself away from your book to roll out the dough: Unwrap it, dust with flour, roll it into a long rectangle, fold it over itself in thirds, and repeat twice. You should end up with a rectangle of butter-flecked dough that’s about 8-10″ wide and 18-20″ long. Transfer the sheet of dough to a foil-lined baking sheet and put it back in the refrigerator.

5. Return to your book (or whatever) for a few minutes, if you must, but then get serious about your toppings and make sure you have them prepped.

6. Turn on the oven (350 degrees if it’s an average oven, 325 if it runs hot or if you’re using a convection setting). Busy yourself while the oven heats up and the dough continues to chill. When the oven reaches the desired temperature, move to the next step.

7. Retrieve the dough from the refrigerator. Using your lovely fingers, pinch the edges to form sides that are somewhere between 1/2″ and 1″ high, then fold the sides of the foil up to snug it in.

8. Arrange the toppings on the dough. Do not over complicate this. Also, do not over weigh the dough.

9. Pop your lovely creation in the oven, pour a glass of wine, and have a sip or two – but don’t get lost in a book (or any other endeavor), because you’ll need to check on things in about 15-20 minutes and will most likely want to fold those tall foil edges down over the rim of your tart so the dough doesn’t burn unattractively (also, burnt dough is not tasty).

10. When everything looks right, take the baking sheet out of the oven and let your lovely creation cool for a bit, right there on the baking sheet, on your counter. And then transfer it to a cutting board and cut it into pieces, and eat it, and feel very accomplished and cared for indeed.


This post is 23/56 in a self-directed challenge to write (or at least post) something (SOMETHING) every day – a birthday gift to me from me, because writing gives me a place to put the clutter that lives in my head.

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