Alton Brown would be proud

When it comes right down to it, I’m really very lazy. I like food, but I enjoy eating it a whole lot more than cooking it. So there is a whole range of cooking techniques I have only a passing familiarity with, mainly because sometimes, well, I’ll just grab a pack of Ramen instead.

Today, however, I did something new. A small thing, really, but huge in terms of what it may hold in the future.

I made pizza dough. And for the first time, I weighed my ingredients instead of measuring them.

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Holy crap! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me that weighing ingredients was easier than than measuring them? Well, Alton Brown probably did try to tell me, but I don’t think I was ready to listen. Sorry, Alton.

My dad has been making homemade pizza dough for forever, and has actually made up a database where the amount of every ingredient adjusts based on how much of one ingredient you want to use. For example, if you happen to have 317 grams of flour on hand, you can type that in and the weights of all the other ingredients will change so you know how much of what to use in your recipe. It’s like magic! I’ve had the database for a while, and also the special ingredients that he uses, too, like semolina flour and dough enhancer, but I’ve never actually put it all together before.

But it’s the time of year for pizza dough, and I’ll tell you why. Travis and I leave for vacation this weekend, and last year, I made some pizza dough ahead of time, separated it into blobs, froze it, and took it with us. In addition to that, we sauteed up some Whole Foods Italian sausage, garlic, and onions together before we left and took that as well. So the first few days of camping, we ate a bunch of little pizzas – the only thing I think we did at the campsite was cut up some green peppers and make tomato sauce out of tomato paste and some spices. That was probably the best food we ate during our vacation last year (a close second would be the chicken fajitas).

So, I made 2 batches of pizza dough (1 plain, and 1 with a small amount of garlic, spices, and grated parmesan in it) using the weighing instead of measuring method, and adding in my dad’s magic ingredients. I have a horrible time getting any dough I try to make actually look and function like dough, but this time everything came out perfectly. 8 minutes of mixing with the Kitchen-Aid mixer was all it took.

Here are some pizza dough blobs, ready to be frozen:

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Besides trying to get our act together before we leave, I’ve been doing a bit of knitting. Here’s a hat I finished the other day, unblocked, obviously:

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I like the butterfly motif, but I think I need to clean up the design a little bit. Of course, the white yarn used in the hat is 80% alpaca, so everything tends to look fuzzier than it may be in another yarn. I’m going to knit it again, I think, with some modifications. I bought some Cashsoft yarn at the Needling Yarn in Granville a few weeks ago in solid colors, so I’m going to see how it looks in that. The variegated yarn in the background of the butterfly hat above is Rowan Tapestry, which is a wool/soy blend. I knit another hat out of that a while ago, and while I love the stripey effect, the yarn is actually kind of scratchy up against the skin. That’s why I used it as the background to the butterfly, because due to the colorwork, the inside of the hat is mainly the uber-soft alpaca, and it’s nice and soft on my noggin.

I also got started on a new pair of socks from the Cat Bordhi book:

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The yarn is some of Dianne’s Creatively Dyed that I got at Knitter’s Connection back in June. It’s a superwash merino/tencel blend, so it’s kind of shiny, and the colors are outrageous! I love it! When I get done with the socks, it’ll be like I’m celebrating New Year’s Eve every time I wear them. 🙂

I’m a little more worried about the pattern. I’m knitting Bartholomew’s Tantalizing Socks (and hey, that’s a heck of a name for a sock pattern – settle down, Cat) and my gauge is slightly off – 7.5 sts per inch instead of 8. Of course, I happen to fall in between two sizes, so I picked the smaller size and am just hoping for the best. I’m sensing that the patterns in this book tend to be on the large side, and I prefer my socks snug as opposed to loose, so I’m a bit nervous. Of course, the Tibetan socks came out fitting pretty well, so maybe I’m just worried for no reason. It’s just that the socks seem gigantic when they’re going through the arch expansion.

And hey, I’m giving the ‘knitting socks on 2 circular needles’ method a go. I’m using 24″ circs, but seem to have a lot of needles flopping around everywhere. Is there any reason why I couldn’t use a smaller size, like 16″ or 12″ to do this? I only got the 24″ sizes because that’s what Cat said she preferred to knit with, but, like I said, I’ve got a serious case of floppy needles going on. Flop flop flop. I’m kind of afraid I’m going to take out an eye.

Can’t end this without another look at the crazy yarn! 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Alton Brown would be proud”

  1. That is an awesome sock. Oh, and I love the pizza dough database idea too. I’ve never used semolina flour, though. I generally bastardize my all purpose bread recipe for pizza dough, but it doesn’t always work out. And 80% of the time I always forget the dough enhancer. Let us know how your pizza blobs come out. You guys are some seriously fancy campers.

    I know what you mean about the Cat socks. Mine seem to be on the large side, too. I’m working on the arch expansion that you hide on the sole, but I can’t remember what she calls that one at the moment. It’s going slowly because I’m able to dye during the day again, and I’ve been doing that instead. Love the sock colors. I totally agree that they look like New Year’s! And I knit on two circs either 16″ or 24″. I can easily do two socks on 16″ with the KnitPicks needles, because the cables are so flexible. 24″ are a bit more comfy with two socks at the same time, but are way too long doing one at a time. Ok, perhaps “way too long” is an exaggeration, but I poke myself while knitting and watching movies….and consequently I yell “ow!” at odd intervals and annoy Nick who already thinks knitting during movies with the lights on is weird.

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  2. Intoxicating, all of it! Our new thing is doing pizzas on the grill for that smoked taste, but I imagine wilderness pizzas from homemade dough are even better!

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