Friday, February 15, 2013

Eats - Valentine's Day Dinner

Hello! What do people usually think of when they plan for a Valentine's Day dinner? Making reservations for a night out? Or preparing a special meal at home - something along the lines of steak or shrimp? 

How about heart-shaped pizza? I first did this back in our married student housing days at Michigan State in the mid-1980's. A local pizzeria was advertising pizzas thus shaped; I took one look at the ad and said "I can do that at home!" And did so. 

(Note: over the years I've seen other pizzerias do the same thing for Valentine's Day; this year I saw Papa Murphy's TV commercials for heart-shaped pizzas). 

Almost 30 years and seven residences later, it's obviously a firmly-established tradition. But last night there was something new: our daughter had never been fond of pizza, but more recently has learned to like it enough to eat it on occasion. I asked her if she wanted her own heart-shaped pizza and she said sure. 

Here's her pizza:

Toppings: roasted red bell peppers, black olives and mushrooms

My husband's pizza:

Toppings: mushrooms and roasted red bell peppers

And mine:

Broccoli and red bell peppers. Normally I would have used pepperoni or ham instead of broccoli, but Lent has begun and so we don't eat meat on Fridays. Therefore, I made a pizza that would give me planned leftovers for today's lunch. 

As you can see, the pizzas aren't exactly perfectly heart-shaped, but close enough. It's not that easy to shape pizza dough into hearts, and the hearts got distorted a bit as they rose further while baking. 

I used to use some heart-shaped cake tins that I'd bought at a rummage sale. They were the perfect size, but led to soggy bottom crusts, and who wants that in a pizza? I use baking stones now. The parchment paper on the bottom of my husband's pizza and mine helped in transferring them from the pastry cloth (where the dough was rolled out and shaped) to a large baking stone. I used the pizza disk (the implement with holes in it) to place our daughter's pizza on a round baking stone. 

As you can see, they all baked up nicely - and tasted as good as they looked!

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