8/19/15 Food Bank Pizza, Homemade Garlic Bread & Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Yesterday I went to the food bank. I got a whole lot of food. I ended up coming home with 3 very large bags of food and books, and even some shoes for myself. I will tell you the things that I found.

I got to the food bank, and their was a line of people. When there is people there, I tend to look around at the free books and clothing. I found a pair of black flats in size 9 ½ W, the luck of that is priceless. My last pair broke a long time ago, and I have been waiting for the universe to give me another free pair at the food bank, I guess it was time. And this pair is cuter.

I also happened upon a box of children books, everyone was standing around it, like it already had been gone through, but I knew better. I put my bags down to mark my place in line and dived in. It was full of kids books. I had to make a decision at one point one how much to keep, so I narrowed it down. I got only paperback, ‘cept a really light good one, and all that my son could understand. I had a lot to bring home, before I even had gotten inside to the food. I sat down and tried to wait patiently.

I have a problem, I don’t really like people much. I am trying to fix this problem, at this point, some pushy homeless lady tried to ‘shop’ for me, and hand me things, and get offended, each time that I said “ No, thanks.” I was done shopping and I don’t need friends. But to Karma, and that random lady, I am sorry that I was so unfriendly and ‘rude’.

I was really happy when it was my turn, to start the food line. I started by get some badly needed drinks. I got a can of seltzer water-soda, which most of the time I end up enjoying that day to myself, its a nice treat. I got a lot of milk, now I have some organic soy milk in the fridge and some cooking milk. Its nice to have some to cook with, we do not tend to drink the food bank milk, but I cook with it.

I got lunch, some Amy’s frozen enchilada’s to cook when I got home, I am the only one who tolerates the spices, but I looooovvvvee them. I told my husband one time, that I would drink the Amy’s enchilada’s sauce, and I still love it that much. It used to be a staple in my mother’s and I’s apartment living in Santa Rosa, its like the taste of organic home.

I got some pizza dough, and earlier in the day my husband’s friend got us a pound of flour, so I could keep my starters up, I finally re-started a sourdough starter. I am excited, because as far as I know, I am doing pretty good with it. I got some boxes of raisins for Elijah’s snacks, towards the end of the food line. I got some bread and some single serving local made sweet treats at the end of the line.

Then I had a chance to put my bags down and get all my produce. You are only allowed one bag of produce, so again my ‘Tetris’ skills come to play here. I start with potatoes and apples; hard items on the bottom. Then the carrots and oranges, also semi hard. I also had an opportunity to get a cauliflower, that went in the middle. I got a bag some romaine lettuce and I cant wait to broil-braise it. Then I had my bags of mush. I missed the old banana basket of mush, I should have filled a plastic bag of those, but I forgot. Instead I got a plastic bag of mushy but fresh and organic heirloom tomatoes, I was excited for tomato paste again. I also got a mushy bag of avocado which I have to break into asap.

When I finally got home with my bounty, I put it all away except what I wanted to use. I kept the tomatoes out, the bag of pizza dough out, some of the snacks and treats out for the boys, and some of the milk.

I figured out that I needed to bake bread with my discarded starter from the morning, make pizza with the food bank pizza dough, and process the heirlooms. I started with my dough. I added some dry yeast and warm water to my discarded starter, I was being too lazy to look up a ‘real’ recipe for it. I just went with my pizza dough recipe and my baker’s instinct. I waited until it foamed up good, then added it to my pizza dough mix. I did not Autolyse yesterday. I forgot, until it was too late to try that with my dough, but since I was using a really chunky starter-yeast mix, maybe it was better that I did not. I mixed the dough, and let it out to rise until it tripled in size. I waited until it filled the largest bowl I had clean basically.

While the dough rose, I chopped up the heirlooms and put them into a cast iron on top of the last of my chopped Portabella mushrooms, I topped it with a whole lot of Italian Seasonings. I took a few pictures of it here.

before Italian seasonings
before Italian seasonings
before: heirloom tomatoes with Italian seasonings
before: heirloom tomatoes with Italian seasonings
close up
close up

I put them in the oven, I did not time how long it cooked. I only watched it until all the water in the tomatoes was gone, I tried to reduce it to a paste in the back of the oven, on the bottom shelf while everything else was baking. I thought that I had no pizza sauce-tomato paste already made, but it turned out that I had a ½ jar in the fridge. I was able to let that cast iron of heirlooms go for probably 2 hours, the whole time I was cooking and prepping the pizza and the bread I was baking-reducing that.

After baking the tomatoes
After baking the tomatoes
close up of heirloom sauce done
close up of heirloom sauce done

I also made some steamed corn, I used a cooling rack with a casserole dish to hold the cobs up above the water I added to the bottom of the pan, and covered the whole thing. I steamed the corn for about 1 ½ hours in the back of the top of the rack of the oven. My husband said that the corn was the best thing he was looking forward too, and it was true, that was all he ate out of the whole meal.

I then realized that my dough was ready. I decided that I would make it into some garlic bread. I saw someone cook some the other day, on the morning show. They were making imitation “Olive Garden” garlic bread sticks, and they used store bought dough. I was furious. I thought to myself, I can make those without buying dough, and I did. I took the risen dough out of the bowl, and shaped the garlic bread sticks. I tried to make them about 6-7 inches long. Then I sprinkled some Italian seasonings on them and let them rise some more. They got big, really big, like Italian sandwich big. Then I added some garlic infused butter on them, and even added some sliced garlic unto some of them.

I made a cookie sheet of garlic sticks and still had a ball of dough. I decided to make some foccacia bread with it. I pre-shaped it and let it rise also. Then I poked a whole bunch of finger holes all over it like all my cookbooks say to do for that kind of Italian bread. I added a lot of olive oil and spread it unto the holes. Then I put Italian seasonings and a little bit of mozzarella. I baked it and we ate it so fast, I barely got any pictures. In fact, I did not get any pictures of the whole thing.

Then I baked the huge garlic bread sticks-loaves. They were beginning to look like mini loaves at his point. They baked perfect, after I baked them I brushed more garlic butter onto all of them. I loved the way the top tastes, and the loaves are so good, my son loves the crunchy crust and I am going to make something great out of the leftovers for lunch today.

I made a pizza crust out of the food bank dough, letting it also breathe and rise some before I baked it. I added some cooked country sausage, that was baked with some Italian seasonings, in the oven. And a bit of the jar of paste I found in the fridge and also added some garlic butter to the crust of it, I also added some seasonings over the top.

At this point, my son’s kindergarten teacher called and despite getting all the bad news of everything he has done in the last 3 days, I baked that pizza perfect and on time. I put it into the oven, at 500 when the phone call started, and took it out when I was off the phone, I was impressed with my cooking and not happy with the phone call.

Here are some pictures of dinner.

fuzzy pic of corn and garlic loaves
fuzzy pic of corn and garlic loaves
corn, loaves and pizza
corn, loaves and pizza
last piece of focaccia, pizza slice and a loaf
last piece of focaccia, pizza slice and a loaf

Until next time in the kitchen aka, later tonight, thanks for reading.

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