July 20, 2005

Road Rage and Buffalo Wing Pizza

I don't believe in road rage. I resent the terminology, in fact, because I think that it leads to people shrugging off inexcusable behaviour and poor self-control with a "what are you going to do?" shrug based on a faux-scientific term.

Today, on my lovely walk home across the bridge, I was startled off my stride by crazed yelling two lanes over from the sidewalk. A couple of guys had jumped out of their convertible and were screaming at the driver of another car to get out of his car, and punctuating their yells with full-shoulder punches to the roof of the car in question - whose driver was huddled over the steering wheel in a flinching posture. I suspect, based on the slight angle of the car being assaulted, that the issue may have been as simple as the convertible being cut off by the other car. The punches looked comic-book, as though they could punch through the roof to reach their target, who quite sensibly stayed put. I'm glad they weren't punching the windows.

I don't know what happened to create this situation, but I'm fairly sure that there wasn't any contact between the two cars. I was that close that I would have heard it. Traffic had stopped, snarled helplessly , while these two adult men tried to wrench open the door of the car. I screamed at them. No one else seemed to be doing anything, so I screamed. "Stop that right now!" This flew out of my mouth before I could even gauge how unwise it might be to yell at angry, aggresive men only a few feet away. "Get back in your car!" I yelled. "Get off of the bridge! Do it now! Stop that right now!" I remember the exact litany, because I repeated it twice until they retreated to their convertible and traffic started to move again. By this time, there was another woman standing beside me, also yelling "Stop it!" and she had the presence of mind to note down the license plate. I asked if she had a cell phone. She said that she was almost home and was going to report the incident, and I gave her my card in case they needed another witness.

When I got home, she had already left me a message to let me know that a number of other people had already phoned in the information from their cell phones, and that the police were dispatched to locate the car. I was relieved to know that I wasn't as alone out there as I had suddenly felt, yelling at a couple of thugs.

I got home, adrenalin still rushing through my veins, my head sort of swimming.

I shook the last of my indignation at society away and started to make dinner. I still had some lovely Tiger Blue cheese from Poplar Grove in the fridge, and my spidey-sense was telling me that it should be used, and pronto. Buffalo wing pizza seemed the easy answer of the day.

I make this pizza a little different, every time I make it. Basically, all you need is a crust (expired link removed, please see comments below for recipe), a little blue cheese dressing, some chicken breast that has been sauteed in a little hot sauce - classic style, please, this is not really the place for funky pineapple or even a nice smokey chipotle - and a good scattering of small chunks of blue cheese. Sometimes, I add a little mozzarella, just to make it pretty.

Today, I was running low on all-purpose flour, so I use half whole-wheat, giving me the pretext of it being healthy food. This is, however, without a doubt the least healthy pizza in my repertoire. No vegetables (have some celery sticks on the side to play up the "wing" factor) and a rich, rich sauce. For some reason, whole wheat never really browns nicely in my oven, unless I use an egg wash - which I was far too lazy to do here. So, if the crust looks a little pale, it is. It's also cooked through, however, and has a little colour in spots. It is delicious.

In fact, all of my buffalo wing pizza variations have been tasty. It's a killer combination of ingredients, really. Tangy, creamy, and satisfying. I like Trappey's Red Devil sauce, which you can't buy in this town (along with grits and California wine, Red Devil is my principal import from Bellingham), but any hot sauce that's good for wings will do. Frank's would probably be fine, if that's what you like. I've never tried it, but I hear it's good.

I'm feeling calmer, now. I've had a couple of slices, and a beer, and I'm no longer convinced that society is falling to shreds before my very eyes. Yet.


Ana said...

Good for you! I'm not sure I would have the guts to tell thugs to stop what they were doing.

Dawna said...

By the time I thought about what I was doing, it was already too late to reconsider. I am comforted though, by the fact that so many people stepped up to the plate - one way or another. I think that, once several people started yelling at the aggressors, they could no longer really pretend to be any sort of injured party, and so they retreated.

Just Me said...

bravo! well done!

buffalo wing pizza sounds yummy. i have been meaning to try grilled pizza on the bbq...maybe tonight. i use my breadmaker to make the dough: i think i'll get the dough ready at lunch today. thanks for the inspiration.

Dawna said...

Welp, the recipe link above has expired, so here is the recipe:

Total prep and cooking time: 45 minutes if you're quick and organized, and the dough is co-operative, 1 hour if not. The lengthy write up here makes it seem like it would take longer, but it doesn't. Well, maybe the first time...

Pizza Crust

3/4 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast or one envelope
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 - 2 cups plain flour, as needed
1 teaspoon salt I use kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried, crumbled oregano optional
1 teaspoon dried basil optional

Test the water by sticking your impeccably clean finger in it. If it's pleasantly warm, but not hot, you're good to go. If not, adjust as needed. Pour warm water into a medium sized mixing bowl. Sprinkle sugar and yeast over the water and let stand for about five minutes while you get the sauce ready (see below). The yeast will soften, and gradually start to foam up to the top of the water. This usually only takes a few minutes, but if your water is quite cool it might take a little longer. Once the yeast has gotten foamy, stir in the olive oil (or canola, if you don't have olive oil) and 1/2 cup of the flour.

Stir until combined into a sort of paste, and then beat vigorously for 100 strokes all in the same direction. It sounds silly, but this is the basis for a very smooth dough, and it doesn't actually take very long at all. A wooden spoon is ideal for the job. Once your mixture is smooth and silky-looking, add the salt and 1 cup of flour. If you are adding herbs, now is the time to do so. Stir until the flour is mostly incorporated - it gets very stiff very quickly - and then turn out onto a clean counter to knead. Add more flour if the dough seems sticky - add it a little at a time as you go along.

Knead the dough briskly for about five minutes, or until it comes together in a satiny ball and is no longer sticky. Let the dough rest on the counter while you wash out the bowl that you started it in. Wash and dry the bowl, and spritz with a little oil. Place your dough into the bowl (turn it over once so that a little oil gets on the top) and cover with a towel while you slice toppings and grate cheese. The dough doesn't need to rise double in size (although it's fine if it does) but it should show some signs of life when you get back to it - be softer and a little risen.

Prepare your toppings and turn the oven on to 450 F, with the rack placed in the middle. Prepare a pizza pan by sprinkling a generous amount of cornmeal in a thin layer over it.

Press the dough out into a flat circle. If the dough is still a bit tense, it might take a little longer, but this amount of dough will fit a full sized pizza pan. Just be patient and keep pressing it out, even if it tries to spring back, or let it rest for 5 minutes and try again. Once the dough is stretched to the full size of the pan, spread your pizza sauce over it, top judiciously, and bake for 12 - 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and delicious. Slide pizza onto cutting board and pretend you're going to share. Don't burn your mouth.