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Help with Trader Joe's Pizza Dough

we just started pizzas with TJ dough (i've only used the plain as well) and we love it. we don't have a stone but instead use a cast iron skillet flipped upside down (so we're baking it on the underside of the pan), which gets placed on the bottom rack and preheated to around 450 for a while. since that surface is a little smaller, we usually use 1/3 or 1/4 of the dough in the bag at a time, roll/stretch as thinly as possible, then i put on a piece of parchment and put on the cast iron for 2 or 3 minutes to par bake. the crust usually bubbles up, and we get a great crust on bottom. after it par bakes its sturdy enough to handle easily, and i take it out and flip it so that we're putting sauce and toppings on the side that is crusty and browned. It goes back in the oven on parchment again with the more "raw" side on the bottom to crisp and the cheese to melt. Usually 4-5 more minutes. it seems to work well and we get a good thin crust. favorite toppings so far have been scallop and bacon (both precooked) with a little basil and mozzarella (it's good both with or without tomato sauce and even better with a really really thin schmear of barbecue sauce, believe it or not!).

the other thing i learned about it is that you really do have to use flour liberally to form your crust, so don't hesitate to use as much flour as you need. the final crust seems to be fine!

Cook the Book: 'Almost Meatless'

I've been experimenting with whole grain salads and noodles more and am having a lot of success (e.g. my boyfriend will actually eat it without prodding) with soba noodles dressed with peanut sauce. I also made a great ecuadorian quinoa soup that was so simple and surprisingly filling and comforting.

I don't have a ___ in my kitchen and I don't want one.

-a pizza stone. i found my cast iron skillet turned upside down on the lowest rack in the oven works great for making pizzas (use parchment too). sometimes i don't even bother with the oven and just preheat my skillet and its cast iron lid on the stove and make pizzas inside the covered skillet. the pizzas are on the small side, and you may not get the same browning on top (you could broil for a minute once the bottom crisps), but it works well, and i think takes less energy than heating the oven for an hour before you bake.

-an ice cream scoop. love ice cream, just don't need them to be perfect rounds. well, i take that back a little - cookie baking may be easier with one of those scoopers ...

-george foreman grill. they gross me out.


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