The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 26, 2014

Cheryle Finley: Pizza lovers in Joplin get good news

JOPLIN, Mo. — There's big news this week on the pizza front: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who hails from New York, declared Chicago-style pizza "very tasty, but it's not pizza."

Now, I don't know if the other justices agree with him, and this opinion doesn't equal a Supreme Court ruling, but it certainly got people in Chicago riled up. While pizza is usually defined as doughy crust overlaid with a mixture of cheese, tomato sauce and toppings, there's nothing in the definition that requires the crust to be thin. I'm not a fan of all that crust, like those from Chicago seem to be, but it is crust topped with the required toppings.

Second on the pizza front: CiCi's Pizza opened this week, and I know there are lots of people who can't wait to visit them after their hiatus since the tornado. My suggestion? Go for the barbecue pizza. Yummy! I'm glad the store is back.

While we in the United States argue over what qualifies as pizza, according to Wikipedia, you can travel round the world and find regional favorites that we would probably not consider.

Visit Korea and you will find pizza more complicated than our version. It's topped with corn, potato wedges, sweet potatoes, shrimp, crab, raisins and sunflower and pumpkin seeds. India offers a spicier pizza with more veggies and oregano spice packs, instead of our traditional Mozzarella cheese. Israel's Pizza Huts and Sbarros chains let you choose kosher, while Australia puts bacon and eggs on the crust and serves it up for breakfast.

Mexico offers toppings of grilled or fried fish, hominy and avocado. For variety, choose Sweden, where some of the pizza establishments offer up to 100 different varieties on the menu. But for the true pizza lover, Sao Paulo, Brazil, should be the destination. There are reportedly more than 6,000 pizza shops there, and the residents boast eating 1.4 million pizzas each day.

For dinner over the weekend, I was preparing some chicken breasts and browned them in some Land O'Lakes Saute Express. I found it in the dairy section and chose the garlic and herb flavor. It was a wonderful garlic butter that was almost like a sauce. It smelled so good that I could have eaten it with a spoon. It was easy to drop a couple of squares into a skillet, melt, then add chicken, pork or fish. I removed the chicken and sauted some sweet peppers for a few minutes, then added chicken stock to the skillet to get all the goodies off the bottom. I poured that over the chicken and baked it until it was cooked through, although finishing it in the skillet would have been easier and faster.

A quick word to the wise when leaving your car parked in your own yard: Roll the windows up. I left a window down a mere couple of inches the other day, and when my husband, Chris, walked by, he noticed a bird hopping around on the dashboard. I'm thankful that Chris saw the little invader before it had time to roost.

Talking about pizza reminds me of the crazy crust pizza recipe shared by my aunt, Shirley Evans, of Carthage. It's always a favorite when she fixes it, and I got many positive comments about it when I first shared the recipe a few years ago. So, it's time to run it again. Aunt Shirley makes her own pizza sauce, and I have included the recipe. The cabbage dinner, from "Fix-It and Forget-It" cookbook is one of my favorite meals. I usually substitute hot links for the sausage and sprinkle some caraway seed into the mix. This is even better the second day, if you manage to have leftovers. From "The Pioneer Woman Cooks a Year of Holidays" cookbook comes a recipe for spreads that can be made with things you probably already have on hand. The book says it makes about 50 small cookies, so that means about 20 the size I make them. I don't have a mixer with a paddle attachment, so I just use my regular mixer and it works fine. Sprinkle crushed pretzels or chopped pecans over the chocolate before it sets to add a little crunch. Have a wonderful week and happy eating.


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