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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pizza Diet

I really think I might write a Pizza Diet book. Basically it'd be recipes and techniques, a cookbook. With before and after shots of me as the weight comes off...

Then, at the very end of the book, I'd put an afterward saying, 'By the way, I took up cycling in the second month of the diet and worked out like a fiend. Not sure if that had anything to do with it, or if eating a pizza a day actually causes the fat to just melt away.'

It's as honest as Valerie Bertinelli in those Jenny Craig ads. Dude, she works out basically full time with a trainer. It ain't Jenny Craig giving her the bikini body when she's pushing 50 with a short stick. I know, it's her full time job to look incredible and sell weight loss memberships, but it's dishonest to present it like Jenny Craig will make you look 25 years younger in board shorts.

The rub is I have to actually get on the bike enough for the weight to come off. I think my rents are going in on a trainer* for me for Christmas, so I won't be totally at the mercy of the weather. And I don't want to lose the progress I've made this summer and fall. Schedule wise, even when the weather cooperates, I don't get quite as many rides in a week as I'd like and a trainer could help with that.

Meanwhile, I made one of my faves, the pizza (more or less) I learned from Jill Santopietro at the New York Times. Well, with a crust recipe I (more or less) copped from Alton Brown.

The Crust

1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
3 tbsp. wheat gluten
2 tsp. bread machine yeast
4 cups bread flour
Run it in the Kitchen Aid for 15 minutes, form into a dough ball, coat with olive oil, cover in plastic wrap in a bowl and sock in in the fridge. A day later, divide into two dough balls and proceed to make pizza.

It's a drier, stiffer dough than I'm used to. But the super long kneading time makes it pretty hard to tear. I managed to tear it anyway, but I had to work at it.

Pie One: Prosciutto Black Olive Smiley

Newman's Own Alfredo Sauce
Black Olives
Mozzarella cheese
Go ahead, make a face.

I've also learned to be less and less reliant on a rolling pin. Good thing since mine is about ready for the landfill. But the pizza I made tonight, I didn't even touch it with the pin and it was rounder (especially the smiley one) and more uniformly distributed than I usually manage.

Pie Two: Bacon, Fig, Gorgonzola with Caramelized Onions

4 strips Bacon, cut small, crisped
1 smallish Red Onion
2 tbsp Butter
2 tsp. Fenugreek
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
about 8 oz. crumbled Gorgonzola
about a dozen Black Mission Figs, halved
Black Pepper (to taste)
Crisp the bacon. Combine diced onion, fenugreek and butter and toss, simmering until onions are transluscent and browned. Scatter onions and bacon on dough, then sprinkle on the Gorgonzola and the figs. Bake in an incredibly hot oven (550ºF in my case) on the stone for seven minutes, crack some pepper on it and try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Garnish it with a bit of fresh cilantro and some alfalfa sprouts.

*By a trainer, I mean a stationary deal you put your bike on, not the kind of trainer (probably a lean and tan 25 year old gym rat) telling Valerie to do just 30 more crunches and then get on the eliptical.

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