Death by Pizza

Mesa Pizza!
Image by .Bala via Flickr

Yesterday was a glorious day as my two kids were finally starting to a full week-full day-sports camp. They went to camp earlier in the summer however, it was only for 1/2 day, just enough time for me to drop them off, run errands, clean the house, shower and pick them up again by noon. Then the rest of the day was “Camp Mommy”, whereas yours truly, would be head counselor to my 2 boys and their various other friends. “Mom, I am hungry, Mom, I am thirsty, Mom, I am itchy, Mom, Can we have a playdate, Mom can we go to Chuck E Cheese’s, Mom he hit me, Mom he won’t share, Mom, he is hogging the video games, etc, etc”. I hope you get my drift.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOOOOVVVVVE my boys. I would walk across burning coals, broken glass, covered in leeches with my hair on fire til the ends of the earth to be with them but sometimes a little “mommy time” is nice to have.

So, when the bus came at 8:15 yesterday morning, they were all ready to go, with lunches prepared, swimsuits and towels packed and an extra pair of clothes (just in case) and off they were. I would not see my off-spring again until 4:30pm.

What to do with all of this time on my hands? First, I tried going right back to sleep. I tossed and turned in bed for 1/2 hr but could not fall asleep because my husband insisted on doing some house chores. Every time he would walk in and out of the house, our dog Scooter – 1/2 chihuahua and 1/2 Jack Russel terrier mutt that we adopted over 10 years ago, would bark furiously thus, disturbing my well deserved slumber.

So I decided to get up and eat.

At this point, I was getting slightly sick of eggs. I dug around the leftovers in my fridge and came up with a small piece of steak and some sautéed brocoli rabe from the previous night. Grilled up the steak, popped the veggies in the microwave and dug in. Why can’t I eat steak and veges for breakfast? Why can’t I eat whatever I want, whenever I want? May I remind you all that this is the purpose of my I LOVE FOOD DIET. Eat whatever you want, whenever you want, as much as you want AND lose weight.

Now for those of you who want to know the “secret” to my diet, it’s basically to avoid most carbs. I am not suggesting that you eat NO carbs, au contraire,  I am simply suggesting that when the opportunity strikes between a choice of french fries or bacon, that you choose the bacon. If it is a choice between chocolate layer cake or fresh berries with real whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, you select the latter.

To completely eliminate all carbs from your diet is simply not realistic. I know and, I know that you know, that the Atkins and the South Beach diets do work BUT who among us can remain on these strict restrictive diets for longer than 4-5 days.

I became so bitchy and cranky the last time I did the Atkins diet that after 3 days, my entire family was begging me to eat a french fry under threat of excommunication.

The last time I tried the South Beach diet, I became so sick of eating dried cardboard  (i.e. -plain grilled chicken breast) that I was thinking that throwing myself under the nearest truck was a better option.

When I tried a “juice fast” it became very obvious to me why people lose weight. NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD WANT TO DRINK BROCOLI OR KALE JUICE ALL DAY LONG!!! I became so nauseous after tasting one sip of those crazy fruit and vegetable juice concoctions that my hunger “magically” disappeared.

The “Master Cleanse”, has got to be the stupidest thing I ever heard of. For those who have not heard of the Master Cleanse basically its an internal “cleansing regime” whereas one is forbidden to eat or drink ANYTHING except the magic potion of water, honey, lemon juice and cayenne pepper for 1 week. After one week and multiple trips to the bathroom, those extra couple of pounds “magically disappear”. Obviously,  if one starved themselves for 7 full days, one would lose weight. Duh???? Why try to make it sound like a new age miracle diet? Call it what it is – STARVATION.

Around lunchtime, we decided to take a walk into town. We decided to stop for coffee and this is when the dreaded, however, unavoidable happened. There is a tiny new specialty pizzeria that just opened strangely enough  in the rear of the coffee shop. A curious looking white stone dome, fired by real wood was emanating the most delicious smells this side of Italy. I jealously eyed the amazing looking individuals pizzas that the hungry crowds were enjoying. Suddenly 2 imaginary figures appeared on my shoulders. On my right, was a little devil coaxing me to “just try a little bit, its sooooo good and you have been a very good girl. Go ahead, eat a little pizza. It wont kill you”.

On the opposite shoulder, the imaginary little angel scolded me, “No, don’t give in! You have been so strong, keep it up, just say NO to the pizza.”

After a nano-second of thought and another glimpse of those beauteous specialty pies coming out of that custom-built wood fired pizza oven, I quickly dismissed the angel on my left shoulder and ordered a “pizza bianca“.

What arrived a few minutes later was the most delicious gourmet authentic pizza I have had ever. John, the owner proudly boasted that “the oven was custom-made by hand in Rome”. This particular of oven is unlike any other pizza oven I have ever seen. It was dome-shaped with a relatively small opening to accommodate the pizzas that were lovingly prepared by the owner himself and his assistant.

The oven was heated by “kiln dried” wood and can get to up to 900%F. It’s important to have the wood “kiln dried” explained John the owner ,so that the moisture from the wood wouldn’t adversely affect the taste of the pizza. This is how the crust came our light, crispy and delicious. The flour to make the home-made crust came from a specialty distributer from Italy. These people take their pizzas seriously and it shows in every pie that comes out of that little oven.

Needless to say, I throughly enjoyed the pizza and have no regrets. I ate 2 slices and took the other 2 home to enjoy another day.

For dinner, my husband volunteered to break out the BBQ and grill some steaks, burgers, fish and veges. Now as it is almost mid August, and we have not grilled since last summer, we were a little rusty, to say the least, about the fine points of grilling. The first conundrum was to decide how many charcoal briquets to put in the BBQ. My husband poured out a bunch of the coals from the super-sized bag of Matchlight coals I got on sale and asked me “Do you think that is enough?” To which I dutifully walked over to the BBQ, looked down at the briquets in the BBQ and replied, “I have no idea. What do you think?” He thoughtfully paused and then asked “Well, I am not sure either. Why don’t you count them?” This seemed to be a legitimate request as I stood over the coals and tried to count each and every charcoal briquet piled in the BBQ. I stopped counting after 75 as we mutually decided that there was enough coals to cook dinner.

The steaks and burgers came out as well as expected, however it was the grilled eggplant and zucchini that were exceptional. The veggies were marinated in a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped garlic and one packet of sweet and low. Its took awhile to grill  the vegetables, especially the eggplant however it was well worth the wait. When they were done, they were delicious, rich, flavorful with a slight smoky crust. Between the 2 of us (my kids refuse to eat ANY vegetables) , we polished off 3 lbs of grilled eggplant and 1.5 lbs of zucchini.

The last dish we tried was grilled fish. As you recall from my earlier post “Fishheads and too tight bikinis”, we would be eating fish all week as I have ALOT of it to cook. I carefully sliced the fish into this filets, dredged them in egg, Gluten-Free flour and chopped almonds.  We never grilled fish on the BBQ before but I recall seeing some chef on TV putting the fillets on aluminum foil (to avoid the fish from falling into between the grill grating). Ten minutes later, we pulled the fish off the grill, squeezed a little lime and dug in. The fish was good and tasty however in all honestly we preferred the pecan crusted fish pan-fried from the previous night. The grilled fish was good but it did not “crust-up” the way it did the day before. It was definitely a more healthy method of preparation, however I am not here to write about health and fitness. I am here to write about food….food that I LOVE, and while I like the “grilled version”, I preferred the “pan-fried version”.

Chow for now.