Saturday, March 17, 2012

How Many Ounces in A Cup?

Thurday night I was in a bad mood.  Months ago, I'd bought tickets to my favorite NPR show (Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, for those who are curious); that might not mean much to you, but for me it's the equivalent of how most people would feel about going to the Oscars.  But a bad cold meant I was grounded.  As if missing the show weren't bad enough, I was also missing out on a meal at Maynard's. This is not just A Favorite Restaurant, folks, this is an amazing restaurant.  Their potato pizza alone is divine...mixed with outdoor dining next to a train stop with all the perfect restaurant details, it's unforgettable.

Fortunately, I'm terrible at being grouchy for too long.  So I decided to tackle another Pinterest Challenge and attempt the impossible: recreating a part of the Maynard's experience. The first step was to find a potato pizza recipe - and of course, that was easy.  I narrowed it down to these two:

The second step was to improvise, because I was too lazy to go to the grocery store.  Not an easy feat, when your kitchen is as ill-prepared for spontaneity as mine is.  Fortunately, I'd had great intentions of baking bread a few weeks ago...didn't happen, of course, but it meant there was yeast in neat little packets buried in the spice cabinet.

I immediately got stuck...there was math involved.  This recipe didn't follow my cups-and-teaspoons version of measurement.  Gasp.

So I did something I'm not proud of...I turned to Google.

The fact that there were countless people who had done the same thing didn't make me feel any better, but at least I got the answer...but not in dry measurements.  (Do you think the cooking gods designed things to be this difficult in order to keep out weaklings like me?)  Back to the internet, where I found's/ "cooking conversion calculator."  Thank you, cooking gods.

After conquering that could-be-done-by-my-two-year-old-nephew mathematical challenge, I was on a roll - there was no stopping me.  The dough was kneaded (I forgot how therapeutic it is to knead dough...not to mention the benefit of a forearm workout!) and I was on to the potato prep.  I turned to another recipe since it was more complicated - and I assume that in cooking, complicated is good.  (Yes, I'm sure that does have something to do with my general hatred of all things kitchen-related.)  Rather than slice the potato, I copied my mom's/sister's practice of using a potato peeler to get super-thin slices.  They're not as perfectly round or pretty, but I went with the theory that skinny was better than beautiful (oh good grief, now I sound like Hollywood).  I obediently covered them with salt, threw in some dried Italian spices for good measure, drizzled on water and put them in the fridge.  They looked like jellyfish or something equally as unappetizing.

Then came the fun part - I got to pick herbs from my garden!  Remember the rosemary Christmas tree?  It's still mostly alive, and seemed happy to contribute to my meal.  The basil doesn't look so happy but there were a few leaves that haven't turned into flowers yet, so I gathered those for the second pizza.

While the pizza parts were getting ready, the oven was steaming away.  I was nervous about the recipe's orders that I preheat the pizza stone at the oven's highest setting, but I did it anyway.

And it turns out, those recipe gurus were right: the hot pizza stone made a huge difference!  The dough started baking as soon as I put it on the stone (somehow without burning myself), so I quickly layered on pasta sauce and Monterey Jack cheese (kind of gross for a pizza, but there was no mozzarella in the fridge).  Only five minutes later, I added basil leaves and had this ready-to-eat beauty!

And then more sizzling, drizzling and baking...and voila!

I added salad and club soda in a wine glass for extra Maynards-like effect, and devoured my yummy creations.  It definitely wasn't like Maynard's pizza but it was much closer than I'd expected.  I need to use better cheese - Monterey Jack didn't do the trick - and I need green onions.  But not bad for a first try with what was on hand in the fridge!

If you haven't already, check out the success of the Pinterest Challenge hosts - it's inspiring!


  1. This is one of my favorite blogs yet - your dinner looked AMAZING! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Your pizza looks amazing! But I must say the salad with the strawberries would be a favorite in our house! There is nothing like homemade pizza! Have a wonderful week!

  3. Don't be ashamed of turning to the interwebs. I have the worst memory in the world, and I totally look up all sorts of things my useless bring can't come up with. And I'm sorry you had to miss Wait Wait. :-( I listen to it each Saturday after Car Talk.

    Your pizzas look completely tasty anyway, and thanks for sharing again in the challenge!

    Erin @ The Great Indoors