Friday, Sept. 6, at 11:27 p.m. the launch window opens for the LADEE Mission on
Wallops Island. This is a big deal
for the East Coast as it is, to my understanding, the largest rocket ever sent
into space from our side of the country. If the Antares taught us anything, it
was that this will be quite a show and worth a late night trip to Chincoteague
to witness the spectacle in sight and sound.
we were able to take a group of kids up into the launch tower, The Gantry,
designed to emulate the underground silo in which the Minotaur ICBM (the
propulsion module for the mission) has purportedly resided for decades.
tower was massive to us at 120 feet tall, give or take. The views of Wallops
were stunning and the look on the kids’ faces when one of the girls dropped her
phoned and screamed at 120 feet? Priceless, and heart stopping at the same time
(no worries, though, as the phone only fell to her feet).
everyone was safe and sound on the ground, it was time for our next stop, the
actual LADEE Spacecraft to be launched to the moon during this mission. I guess
Star Wars got the best of me when I was a kid: I have always been fascinated
with outer space.
here we were, within 5 feet of the craft that was going to play the starring
role in the greatest space drama to date in our own backyard. The only thing
separating us was the curtain on the clean room and it was pretty awe-inspiring.
course I’m a cook, so it might not take much to numb my mind. I just make food.
And speaking of food, I need to get dinner going and get the kids ready for the
a flick of the wrist and a little mixer magic, two pizzas are out of the oven.
It might not be rocket science, but hey, everyone needs to eat, even astronaut
Make 2 pizzas
Double batch pizza dough (recipe follows)
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 can Don Pepino’s pizza sauce
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 cups fresh baby spinach
10 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms, sautéed (recipe
1/2 cup fresh basil
If you own a pizza stone, preheat the oven at
least 45 minutes before cooking to heat the pizza deck. This will give you a
nice, crispy crust.
Roll out the dough ball until it is a little
bigger than the pizza pan or stone.
Poke holes in the bottom part of the dough or
use a docker.
Spread a thin coat of olive oil and then four
heaping tablespoons of Pepino’s sauce over the dough. Coat evenly with cheese
and then top with spinach, tomato and sautéed mushrooms.
Bake at 450 degrees until the cheese is golden
Remove from the oven and sprinkle pizza with
shredded fresh basil.
Serve with crushed red pepper flakes and parmesan,
*You can usually
find five-blend cheese in the store. I typically use fresh mozzarella and the
5-cheese blend to get a chewy cheese with a nice tangy zip to it.
2 Packets Fleishmann’s Pizza Yeast*
5 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Warm water, as needed
Combine all dry ingredients in stand mixer and mix
Add about 1 1/2 cups warm water (100 degrees),
combining until a soft dough ball forms. Add more water in early stages of
mixing until you reach the right consistency—remember that soft is OK.
Mix on medium for about 4 minutes and then pull
dough out of the bowl an onto a floured surface.
Knead the dough until it is nice and springy,
and then cut it in half.
Form both halves into balls and them let rest
under a damp towel until ready to use.
*This yeast does not require any proof time so do this
as you’re ready to go.
Makes 3 cups
10 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms
Butter and extra virgin live oil, as needed
Roasted garlic, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
squeeze of lemon
Heat butter and oil in a sauté pan.
Add mushrooms and allow to cook until some
moisture has cooked out, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.
Add wine and lemon juice, then season to taste.
Set aside until ready to use on the pizza.