And it works, essentially as advertised.
A friend of mine shared one of those time-lapse cooking videos on social media this week. It was called “Fajita Pizza Twists”. Here’s the original link. It originates from a site featuring a whole bunch of stuff that looks like it’s taken from the Cheesecake Factory or Applebee’s. That’s not my usual venue for culinary inspiration, but hey… The geometry of it appealed to me. It was wheel-like. And twisty. And had melty cheese. (I do like fried cheese. Or baked cheese. Or soft cheese.)
My cooking process goes something like this: if I have time to think about making something moderately unusual (meaning not pasta, burritos or stirfry), I consider what’s in the house. I consider whether my kids will actually eat it. That’s not dispositive because if it’s not burritos or pasta (or white rice with soy sauce) their preferences are highly erratic. For example, as I was explaining to my mom the other day, at any given time, 2 of the 3 of them will eat beans. One of them will be like “Beans?! Outrageous, I despise beans! You’re trying to kill me.” The next times beans are served, that one will say, “No beans for me? You hate me!” and another will be affronted. We do actually tell the kids that they’re lucky to have food and explain about food insecurity and famine. But as one might suppose, I frequently try stuff without really caring whether the kids will like it.
The things I had in the house yesterday included: leftover breakfast sausage, leftover sauteed kale, Frozen kale (the last of the winter crop), leftover ground beef and roast peppers served with the last round of pasta. I’ll leave it to your imagination how long any of these had been sitting on the table. I was pretty confident I had cheese in the fridge and at least part of a jar of pasta sauce. And I almost always have flour.
I made dough. This generally involves putting some sugar in hot water in the stand mixer bowl, hopefully not forgetting to add yeast before it cools completely, then adding flour and liquids in an irregular ratio at irregular intervals. Yesterday that meant wandering in from doing yard work and poking and mixing it, and adding more flour until it looked alright. Oh, and I had about a pat of butter and a cup of sweet soy milk that had curdled in the cartoon. (You think I’m joking? It’s vegan buttermilk, basically)
Along about the time I had a good lump of risen dough and reheated greens and meat, my kids got home. This meant the youngest was seized with an implacable mandate to help cook. That means when I omit her from any step, she screams. When I include her, she dips her sleeves in the food, picks her nose and spills things. Did I mention that I preheated the oven to 400?
When I make pizza, I usually bake the crust a bit first, but this time, because the crust was going to be super thin, I decided not to. I managed to get it rolled completely round, and put it on a silicon sheet, on top of a perforated baking pan that I inherited from my father. It is very robust. I think he used it for gardening, in the 70s. Then I followed the steps from the video: distribute ingredients in a ring, add second layer of pasta, cut wedges, and twist. The twisting actually worked! Nothing fell apart. There is a bit of tugging and expanding you have to do.
The original, with the Fajita flavor/theme, contemplates putting sour cream and salsa in the center, so leaves a blank spot, using a glass as a placeholder. (who are are these people, that they don’t include guacamole?) I wasn’t planning to do that, but the extra dough in the center helps it hang together.
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Lots of kale, enough sausage that there’s some in every piece, mozzarella cheese. A bit of canned spaghetti sauce. And the kids ate it!