Episode: Turtle Tracks (and just about every other episode)
Sometimes I wonder how long I would’ve been able to survive if I never met the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Every instance where I thought I was going to positively die of boredom, those heroes in a half shell came to my rescue. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was a huge deal for me as a little kid. Family haircuts were an excruciating three hours of flipping through the same old magazines until I discovered our hairdresser’s son had an extensive Turtle toy collection. Or whenever my parents threw parties at our local lodge, us kids would find solace in one tiny hallway with a Turtles arcade game. Even when our parents didn’t give us money to play the game, we’d still hide out in the hallway and watch it replay the same scenes again and again. And most importantly, I could find those boys on my TV, protecting me against Shredder, Krang, and bad television.
Every time I tuned into my favorite fearsome fighting team, I learned just how far a pizza could be pushed beyond the limit of simple pepperoni. I’ve eaten enough pizza throughout my life that I could easily go toe to toe with Michelangelo. My combinations aren’t as inventive as bananas and sausage, but I’ve made some masterpieces. Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner is one of my very favorites. It may be more work than ordering out, but I haven’t seen any Weird Pizza To Go locations anywhere and what Pizza Hut carries guacamole and marshmallows?
Recipe makes one large pizza
1 ¼ cups warm water (105-110 degrees F)
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast (active dry or instant both work)
3 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons instant non-fat dry milk powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
3 cups bread flour
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ small onion, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Whatever you want. I did a mashup of:
Pepperoni and Ice Cream, Jellybeans and Mushrooms, and Anchovies and Peanut Butter
Use as much or as little of:
8 ounce bag of shredded mozzarella
1 6 ounce package pepperoni
1 small pack of mushrooms
1 small can anchovies
1 small bag of jellybeans
1 heaping spoonful peanut butter
1 heaping spoonful chocolate ice cream
1 heaping spoonful vanilla ice cream
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast, sugar, and dry milk powder in the warm water. Let rest for 5-10 minutes or until foamy. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add olive oil and yeast mixture to flour. Stir to combine and form into a ball with your hands. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball again and place in a large bowl. Lightly coat dough with oil and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size. Punch down the dough and flatten and stretch it into desired pizza size and shape. Let rest for 15 minutes on a lightly floured pizza paddle.
Mash tomatoes in a small bowl. Pour olive oil into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add tomatoes and ketchup. Add oregano, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Putting It All Together:
If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven. If not, place your pizza pan in the oven while it preheats.
Preheat oven as high as it can go! Mine was at 550 degrees F.
Ladle desired amount of sauce onto crust. Add cheese. Add toppings. (Meat and mushrooms in my case.) Transfer pizza from paddle to stone or pan. Bake until crust is browned and cooked through. My pizza was in there for 15 minutes, but ovens vary, so you may have to adjust your cooking time.
Remove pizza from the oven. Let it cool slightly and add the melty ingredients. Slice it up and have at it!
Pizza is the greatest food ever! It tastes amazing, it’s portable, and you can put whatever you want on it. I’m pretty sure if you cut me open, I bleed pizza sauce. Well, if the Turtles ever need another member, I’m always free. My ninja skills are nothing to write home about, but I can always help them eat through a mountain of pizza. Oh, and I’ve been practicing this for years, so I’ve got to say it once before I go…ahem…COWABUNGA!!!!
Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!