SPELLING BEE Time
BY BEA WESTERBERG
“You can’t buy happiness. But you can buy pizza, and that’s kind of the same thing”. Anonymous The tomato probably has as much written about it as all the books in a large library. My “leg up” time has really expanded my tomato information. Last week we covered some “tomato rules”. And of course rules seem made to be broken. So if you are having any guilt about putting your tomatoes in the refrigerator, I think we can work through it. Some “don’t put in the refrigerator” people say it’s only if they are not ripe as all the ripening stops once the tomato feels the refrigerator chill. Tomatoes are climacteric, which means they will continue to ripen off the vine. They reach a peak of perfection and then it’s downhill to rot. You can slow down the ripening process at about 50 degrees. If you put your tomatoes in the refrigerator at their peak you can get a few more days of goodness but don’t wrap them in plastic and put them where they can be surrounded by air. Our taste buds register sweet flavors better at warmer temperatures so it may be that our tomato taster is working better once the tomato warms up to room temperature. Also remember that this is about whole, fresh tomatoes. Once you make them into things like salsa, you will either be using that right now, canning or refrigerating the results.
Many families say discussing politics and religion are off limits in gatherings but a lot of them should also include PIZZA. To really get the discussion going, ask if pineapple should be considered legal to put on pizza. And then go even farther with fresh or canned, chunks or whole rings. There has been another one of our kitchen staples that is kicking the pizza can – the PICKLE! I think that it is an official food as I see they have it at the State Fair and that is as good as seeing it on the internet. The tomato sauce is left for other pizzas as the pickle pizza is usually served on a white ranch type sauce. This combination is said to “provide a nice sweet, acidic, tangy bite”. Sometimes the pickles are on the pizza pie as it goes in the oven and other times applied after it is done or almost done. One business searched far and wide to find a type of pickle that came out of the 500 degree oven trip and still had crunch and good taste. What does on put on top of just out of the oven pizza? It can be as simple as crunchy iceberg lettuce, thin onion slices, maybe a splash more of the underneath sauce, or maybe introduce a drizzle of chili oil. Of course there is always the option of adding more PICKLES.
History lesson. One the early inventors that is acknowledged is Dennis Schneeklooth, the owner of QC Pizza which has 2 locations in MINNESOTA! One of his hits was a garlic and dill accented white sauce, layered with pickles, mozzarella and strips of Canadian bacon that had been smoked for 48 hours. (I will have do research to see just what is the standard time for smoking Canadian bacon.) I also did not realize there is a big deal as where you put the cheese. On the top or if you put it in with the other ingredients. Another biggy is how you slice the pizza and some places have very firm rules on that. Wedges, strips, squares and no cuts at all are possibilities. With the “no cut” version, you get to cut and/or tear it yourself. It is said that this way you don’t have the sauce or cheese drips that happen when the hot pizza is cut. I always thought that was a bonus if the neighboring pieces of sausage just happened to want to come over and join the sausage on my piece.
I think that I recall that Duff’s in Vermilion had this on their menu a few years back and may to this day. We had friends that ordered it and said it was very good and as I recall it had pickles on top for sure. Husband Larry and I always ordered the biggest Duff’s Choice so we would have probably 2 more pizza meals out of it. This was always enjoyed watching the car races or car rebuilds on the big screen TV. I bet I could do that again and maybe have 5 more meals or order a smaller pizza!