Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pillsbury DON'T Boy (See what I did there?)

So, this is a segment that I'm hoping will become regular enough to warrant my drawing a logo for it: Chef Eli. I like to cook, and while I don't always have time to do anything fancy, sometimes I break out of my routine and try something new. Last night was one of those times.

I wanted to do a pizza, but was a little tired of making the standard pepperoni. I've recently become obsessed with goat cheese and thought that there was surely a recipe out there for a goat cheese pizza. For simplicity's sake, I settled on Rachel Ray's spinach and goat cheese pizza. There were only 5 ingredients- pizza dough, parmesan cheese, baby spinach, chopped tomato and goat cheese (I don't care for Rachel Ray the personality, but I like her cooking style). Now, normally I split my shopping between Trader Joe's and Ralph's, but this week we just didn't feel like making two stops, so TJ's was skipped. That's where the trouble begins.

See, Trader Joe's makes great pre-made pizza dough. It comes in regular, (almost) whole wheat, and garlic and herb (my favorite). The recipe called for Pillsbury pizza dough, which I've never used, but Ralph's had it. "Fine," I figured, "It may not be gourmet, but it should be easy enough to use." The time came to make the pizza last night and I opened the tube of dough. I placed it, as instructed, on to a greased pan and started to stretch it out (both by stretching and pressing, as the tube told me to). But every time I took my hands off the dough, it shrank back to its original shape. At one point, I tore a hole in the dough (which happens with regular dough sometimes, too), but no amount of squashing and kneading could make the hole disappear. This stuff, whatever it was, wanted to retain its original tubular shape no matter what I did. It was infuriating. After half an hour of stretching, rolling, and pressing, I gave up. The dough was as thin and large as it was getting (roughly 3/4 of the size it was supposed to be). I very nearly went out to Trader Joe's to buy their dough several times, but didn't want to have wasted my effort. Needless to say, I won't be bothering with the scientific abomination that Pillsbury calls "pizza dough" again. I don't know what that was, but it wasn't bread.

For a happier conclusion, the pizza turned out quite nice. The goat cheese was rich and it was a flavorful pizza for so few ingredients. The recipe called for way more spinach than was necessary, and since it had already been tossed in olive oil, I added tomato and mozzarella for a basic salad. It was a nice addition, even if it was a little too much oil (I don't know if you've ever had an "oily" feeling in you mouth, but it's not pleasant). Melissa, it turns out, doesn't care as much for the taste of cooked spinach as she does raw spinach, so I doubt we'll be retrying this one. However, I'd definitely try another goat cheese pizza (with TJ's dough, of course). Next time, I'm thinking something with pesto. Suggestions?



  1. Oh man, that pizza sounds seriously delicious. I'm a huge fan of goat cheese, I love all it's work.

    Something with pesto, huh? Hm...

  2. You probably won't try this, and I'll admit I haven't tried it on a a pizza, but what is great with goat cheese is BEETS. Hmm, that may go on my next veggie pizza! That Pillsbury dough, btw, is way to sweet for my taste. I'll be if you had just let it rest for a few minutes at room temp, it would have worked better. That works with regular dough.

  3. That hat bears the stamp of Commander Mark's Draw Squad. So NOOOOO to drugs and TV!