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This is not a recipe

I made a pizza today.

It started when a friend gave me sourdough starter. We’d discussed this months ago when I was considering a sourdough habit, and a few weeks ago she informed me that she was giving me starter.

I learned that sourdough is indeed fairly involved (obvious to anyone who’s tried, perhaps not if you have not). There are fancy words for situations like “I mixed all the things together” (autolyse). I suppose it’s technically “I mixed all the things together and then I left them alone” — I don’t want to mislead you.

When you “feed” your sourdough starter (it’s alive!) you might end up with discard. And that discard may become pizza dough.

pizza crust

I don’t think I followed all the appropriate steps to get the dough to rise, but whatever. The pizza sauce is pasta sauce from a can, it works.

I put sauce on the base and then dollops of pesto made with walnuts and basil from my garden, cashew mozzarella, and sliced grape tomatoes. I tend to buy grape tomatoes because they’re usually cheaper than cherry tomatoes and I think it’s fine. Walnuts have been strangely difficult to find, for me, and I am stubborn and dislike ordering things online generally (if you can’t get it, do you actually need it? except for the multitude of exceptions I make to this stance).

This pizza is a recipe from the cookbook I Can Cook Vegan, although she (the author) tells you to buy dough (I didn’t) and to cook on a baking sheet (again, no). She also said to make the sauce, and I didn’t do that either. I did make the pesto and the cashew cheese though.

My sister and I have been cooking this cookbook together (I ordered it online, one of those exceptions). We text each other photos of the food we make and our critiques and tips on the recipes (she told me not to make the mashed potatoes from this book). My favorite recipe from the book thus far was the Green Enchilada Lasagna. But when I made the Salsa Verde, the steam from it fried our over-oven microwave (which was already kinda broken) and I was very depressed about not being able to reheat food easily for about a week.

I cooked the pizza on a baking steel a friend of mine gave me, which is exactly how I learned what a baking steel was, by watching this video. Basically you get your oven real hot and having a big ass piece of steel in it is both good for all baking times (“simply” move the 30lb slab of steel to a lower rack, and it helps prevent the bottom of whatever you’re cooking from burning).

The first time I made this pizza, I was very upset because I had trouble getting it from where I’d staged it into the oven. I was so upset that it wasn’t pretty, I didn’t take a picture for my sister. She suggested I use parchment paper and put that directly on the baking steel, which worked really well for this one.

After I took it out of the oven, I put on basil from my garden. I’ve also been very upset when things go wrong in my garden (RIP lettuce, because of slugs, and also, seriously, squirrels are the worst). The basil has survived well so far.

A slice.

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