I know I am supposed to be writing a blog post about my pandemic pizza journey. And I promise I will get there. But, please indulge me for a moment as I reminisce about fish and seafood.
Growing up my only experience with fish was what my Dad caught in the river or lake, tuna (canned) salad and salmon (canned) patties! I do love good Southern fried catfish. My Mom’s tuna salad was a culinary delight with celery, hard boiled eggs, relish and Miracle Whip. (I know, the debate is on, Miracle Whip or Mayo! I keep both in my fridge.) And fried salmon patties were comfort food.
I remember the rare treat of getting to stay at a Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge one year while on vacation. (We usually stayed with family or friends or camped.) My first experience eating ‘seafood’ was at the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant, affectionately known as HoJo’s, that was connected to the Lodge. They were known for their orange roof, orange & aqua interior and fried clams.
My first real experience with seafood was when I was in college and had lobster at a Red Lobster. In graduate school, I went to a Benihana Restaurant (Japanese) in Indianapolis with friends. Japanese (Hibachi style) steakhouses are known for delicious seafood and entertaining tableside chefs. They also have an amazing dipping sauce that some call Yum-Yum sauce. My next experience was while attending a week-long seminar in New York City where I tasted fried calamari for the first time. Living in the Midwest did not afford many opportunities for fresh seafood.
When my husband and I married, my seafood experiences expanded as we often visited his parents in Florida. One year, pre-kids, we spent a lot of time on the beach. When it was happy hour, we would visit a sand bar. After a few cold beers we would slurp down a few raw oysters. (Yes, slurp, is how you eat them.)
I’m happy to say my seafood tastes are much more refined these days. I even have my Ohio ‘farm-boy’ husband eating Sushi. Although I love to cook, I confess I have not mastered cooking fresh seafood. But I have mastered the canned, Lol; tuna salad, salmon patties & clam chowder. And I did recently make some crab cakes.
We are fortunate to have several great seafood & sushi restaurants in Des Moines. And although we are landlocked seafood is flown in fresh daily. Since the pandemic began, we have not eaten out and I am missing seafood. To me seafood always marks a special occasion.
So finally, I am going to talk about pizza. This year Valentine’s Day, a special occasion, falls on Sunday. My ‘pizza creation’ day! As my creative juices started flowing, I decided to make a seafood pizza. When I think of an idea for a creative pizza, I start by doing a Google search. It is amazing to see what others have put on a pizza. As I read through recipes, I consider them to be suggestions as to what I might put on my pizza. I then begin to come up with my own ideas as to what sounds appetizing.
So, my special Valentine’s Day creation was Seafood Pizza on my pan crust. I used Yum-Yum sauce as the base. I lightly sprinkled on some Old Bay seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese. I topped that with shrimp and crabmeat. I finished it off with some parsley, shredded Parmesan and mozzarella. My guys liked it. But I have discovered they will eat anything called pizza. Lol.
This week’s Thursday Dough Day: other creative ways to use pizza dough was Stuffed Pizza...Bites-Rolls-Bombs-Snacks! Whatever you want to call them they are delicious! We stuffed rounds of dough with pepperoni, pizza sauce & mozzarella. After a second rise, brushed on melted butter & seasonings, sprinkled with grated Parmesan and baked them. Matthew took home take & bake...
My pandemic pizza journey continues...till next week!