Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday, and that's it, I'm setting fire to the Washer.

For 3 days now, I've been without my washer. This is my fancy-schmancy Whirlpool Duet front-loading washer that I got in December 2004. This will be the third visit in two days for Mr. Lee, my favourite appliance-repair guy here in town, and person that I seem to have to call and pay entirely too often. I like Mr. Lee just fine; I just don't want him coming to my house all the time! Something is caught in the pump, apparently, and is blocking the drain. When he was here yesterday, he pulled out a mostly-shredded footie sock, the inside of a pen, the pen cap, a ring with no stone, an earring, and a lot of lint. God only knows what's in there blocking it now. Suffice the rest to say this: I swear if another one of the girls walks down the hall and says "does the washer work?" I'm going to set fire to the thing.

I need baking mix, and I have a great recipe for it. As far as I'm concerned, it takes just about as much time to whip up a bucket of your own biscuit mix as it does to run to the grocery and purchase a box of Jiffy Mix or Bisquick. Plus, this makes about twice as much as comes in a box. I used it recently in a fundraiser we did to help the French Exchange, which was mixes in a jar. This one was used for the pecan pancake jar. Here's the recipe:

Best Biscuit Mix
9 cups flour
1 cup dry milk
1/2 cup
1/4 cup baking powder
1 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 lb. butter-flavored shortening

Mix this all together in your mixer with the wire whisk attachment until crumbly. You can also do it by hand by cutting in the shortening, but it takes forever. Yet another way that Kitchen-Aid of mine pays for itself yet another time over.

This recipe works with all those little Bisquick recipe books fabulously. And with a little milk, an egg, a small amount of vanilla, and a dash of nutmeg, it makes wonderful pancakes. Add some pecans and you have unbelievably delicious!

I will make my homemade pizza again tonight, because it is Friday, and Friday night is pizza night. Sometimes I can fudge and just get Little Caesar's, but not usually. Everyone around here has had mine for so long that it's just not worth all the whining to get the store-bought stuff. It's really easy, too. Here's the recipe for that:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon yeast

Put the warm water and oil into a measuring cup, and sprinkle the yeast on top. While that's getting nice and bubbly, put the following in your electric mixer bowl:

3 1/2 cups flour
A tablespoon or two of sugar
a sprinkle of minced onion
a dash of dried minced garlic
a sprinkle of italian seasoning

Now take the dough hook from your mixer, and with your hand, take it to sort of mix up the dry stuff.

Then take your dry ingredients in the bowl and attach to the mixer along with the dough hook, start your mixer going on the slowest speed, and slowly drizzle in the wet mixture. Use a rubber spatula to get all the yeast out of the measuring cup.

Let the mixer go and pull this into a nice dough for you. When it's kneaded and made a soft dough, cover the bowl and let it rise for about half an hour. Kneading takes only as long as it takes for the mixer to pull the dough together, usually about 5 minutes.

After the dough has risen, go turn on your oven to 425 degrees. Take the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface and cut it in half. Roll one half out with a rolling pin to a large circle, larger than your pizza pan (I use the huge ones with the holes in them). When your crust is about 2" larger than the pan, drizzle some olive oil over the surface and spread it out with either your hands or a paintbrush. Then lay your pizza pan on top of the dough, center it, and carefully flip the whole thing over. Now take pieces of string cheese and lay them end-to-end around the perimeter of the crust. Then fold the excess dough over the cheese (thus making your stuffed crust). I use Ragu sauce that I get either in the industrial sized cans or in the jugs (family-sized). Then top with pepperoni and shredded cheese, and your choice of toppings. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the dough. My pizza pans are HUGE, so this will make 2 huge pizzas or 3 medium-sized ones.

I will be investigating the applications of weather-stripping later this evening. First a swim meet, though, and Mr. Lee has appeared yet again and I hear him tinkering in the laundry room. Hopefully we won't lose him through the crumbling subfloor in there. More on that later!