March 19, 2008

Thank you, Mom

Last night a couple of college students (freshmen from the suburbs) came over for pizza. We have a tradition here that when you come for pizza you help make it. So I put them in charge of the dough. Neither one had ever really cooked or baked before - and definitely not something from scratch. I had to teach them about water temperature so yeast doesn't die and how to level off a cup of flour. One of them made the comment, "My roomate is never going to believe I did this."

So I would just like to say, "Thank You, Mom!" Thank you for teaching me how to bake and cook and to have confidence in the kitchen. Thank you for passing on your great skills in the kitchen and for enjoying creating meals and treats for your family. And thank you for raising me on homemade food - pancakes from scratch, mouth-watering meatloaf and lasagna, spaghetti sauce that didn't come from a jar and your cinnamon rolls that are more than delicious. I really appreciate it and so does Travis.

The recipe for the pizza is below. It's super duper good.

Basic Tomato Sauce

1 14ozcan crushed or diced tomatoes, undrained
2 small cans of tomato paste
1/2 large onion
Minced or fresh garlic
Olive oil
Brown sugar
1/4 C milled flax seed if you’ve got it
Spices: oregano, basil, parsley, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika…

Chop up the onion.

Heat up a large, deep skillet with enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
Add the chopped onion and at least two heaping spoonfuls of garlic.

When onions have softened some add the tomatoes and paste; mix together and turn down heat.

Add the brown sugar, 1-2 Tbsp depending on personal taste.

Add milled flax seed followed by the seasonings to taste, omitting some of the hotter ones if you prefer.

Stir occasionally as it thickens.


3 cups flour (can use 1c whole wheat)
1 package fast-acting yeast
1 cup very warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl combine 1c flour and the yeast. Add the water and stir.

Add the oil, sugar, salt and remaining flour, blending it until it forms a ball. (You may need to add more water, oil or flour depending on the texture and humidity in the air. It should moist but not sticky.)

Turn it out on a lightly floured surface and knead 8 - 10 times, form it into a ball and let it rest -preferably near something warm to help it rise some.

Brown sausage or make sauce while rising.

When the pizza is ready to assemble hold the dough up, gently pulling it in a circle, give it a couple of good tosses, catching it on your fist, and then put it on a lightly oiled, floured or corn mealed pan, working the dough to fit.

Add the Basic Tomato Sauce, cheese, any toppings wanted and top with more cheese.

Bake at 500 for 10-12 minutes.


  1. aw, what a sweet shout out to your mom. i hope my boys can say the same thing one day. did your brothers pick up on the kitchen arts, do you think? gotta love a man who can cook; i'm going to try to produce two of them. if only i wasn't so impatient with them in the kitchen...

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  3. Actually, yes, I think they can cook. They both have enough confidence to follow any recipe, I believe.

    Doug actually is really, really good with meat. He makes his own hot wings with his own sauce and they are SO good.

    And I know that Karl and Maureen cook together, too.

    I think one of the perks of having a mom who makes things from scratch is that you know the superiority of it. Pancakes we had at home were always better than anything we had at a friend's house (they all used mixes). And Mom showed us early on how to follow a recipe.