Sometimes all you want is a nice, simple cheese pizza without all the fancy extras. When my husband was fresh out of the hospital and still didn't have an appetite, he still wanted his customary Friday pizza, but without the tons of veggie toppings.
So out came Heart Healthy Pizza once again. I used Mark's traditional whole wheat crust recipe, because it never failed me. Yes, my Mini Zoji has failed me in the past, but never this recipe. I discovered the machine kneaded the dough a bit too well, and if I tried to use it fresh from the machine it would be tough and rubbery and hard to shape. I then dragged out my old Oster bread machine to make the dough instead, but discovered a few weeks ago that it's really starting to struggle, that the motor is finally showing its age (14 years this month) and I used the mini-Zo again this week, keeping my fingers crossed the whole time. The ladies on the Yahoogroup ABM Recipes advised me to just let it take a nice long rise, to wrap it up, toss it in the fridge, and let it relax a few hours. I lightly sprayed a ziplock bag and tossed the kneaded dough into it and let it chill for around 10 hours before taking it out. I used Mark's method:
to shape it. Mine wasn't as pliant as his, but then again, mine wasn't sitting under hot studio lights for a half hour like his, either. It came out as fine as the dough I made in the Oster! I'm so glad, because I really don't want to buy a second ABM just for pizza dough. I tried making it in my food processor once using the dough hook and it wasn't pretty.
Anyway, I used the same sauce and cheese (from this video presentation) that I made up and used the week before. When Mark was still developing his recipes he would share them on the Fat Free Vegan Yahoogroup, and when asked, he said the sauces last around a week in the refrigerator. Since I only use half for each pie, that meant one batch lasts me for 2 weeks' worth of pizzas, a fact that I really appreciate in those days caring for my recuperating husband. I put each sauce's leftovers in its own Mason jar in the fridge, and when needed, use the tomato sauce as-is and just nuke up the cheeze sauce for 30 seconds to restore it to a liquid state before pouring on the pizza.
The only extras used on this pie was a hearty shake of McCormick's Garlic Pepper seasoning. My husband made liberal use of sriracha sauce on his slices, but mine were just fine as-is.
This was the first meal he ate his entire share of since coming home from the hospital. I've been hearing from people that the tastebuds in post-op CABG patients are dulled and even deadened for up to 6 weeks, which is why most of them lose tremendous amounts of weight afterwards. I see this in my husband - he rarely wanted to eat and when he did, the food had to be really flavorful for him to taste and enjoy it. There hadn't been that many at that point, but luckily Mark's pizza was one of them.
A week later, his appetite was starting to return, and he wanted something a little more, so I made this pie.
I used the same crust, added some defrosted and pressed frozen spinach (that's now completely covered by the cheese), sliced up roasted red peppers, and a can of black olives, as well as a bunch of Italian herbs, and Mark's Chickpeas, Oats and Pimiento cheese sauce. I can't wait to use more of Mark's sauces! Each one is tastier than the one before! It's good to get out of the same-sauce rut now and then. My husband ate every slice of his share and went looking for more. I guess starting this week I'll start making 2 pizzas for the three of us and have leftovers for lunches again.