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One of those "duh!" moments.

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I bought a pizza stone from pampered chef nearly 11 years ago. Tried it a couple of times and never was pleased with the results. I'd hear people swear buy them, but I never quite got it. Mine has had little use and has mostly sat in the cupboard for the last 10 years.

We were fortunate, as when we purchased the stone we had a couple of locally owned pizza joints that made great, fresh, no processed ingredients, pizza. Until we moved to Texas.

We live in the DFW area and let me tell you, they don't understand pizza, or Italian food for that matter. I've actually stopped eating pizza because it is so awful...that is until recently. We've been fortunate tenough to find a local place that serves amazing pizza, but its a 20 minute drive to pick it up, and another 20 minutes home. And by the time we get it home it's cold.

So, I finally had it, and started researching for some good recipes for pizza dough. Tried a couple that I just tossed in the garbage, and then I came across Alton Brown's recipe. The ingredients looked fair enough, but it includes the pizza stone. I admit I was about to toss it on that principle alone. Because truthfully, I didn't even know if I had the pizza stone anymore. I found it after a lengthy search, but I grabbed my metal pizza pan just as a precaution.

So, per Alton, the stone must be heated at 500 degrees for 30 minutes before the dough touches it. I figured I'd precook it on the pizza stone and then throw it on the metal pan to get brown.And you know what? It worked. I didn't need the metal pan. I took a spatchula to check the bottom of the crust before I put the ingredients on, and it was turning a beautiful golden brown. I have to say, I turned out an amazing pizza. It was easy, fun, and oh so delicious! The crust was crunchy, not soggy, had great texture and really stood up to the ingredients.

So, after my poor pizza stone sat lifeless and unloved for years, I can honestly say that it is about to get a serious workout. I don't know what I did with it previously, maybe I never preheated it. But I get it now. I fully understand the appreciation for the stone, and so a fan has been born!

Has anyone else had this "duh!" moment with a cooking apparatus?

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  1. We.ve made home made Pizza on ours and it worked out great. I use it for baking up these frozen breads and rolls we get at Whole food too. It's also greta for reheating pizza just pre heat it throw a few sices on and it tastes as good as new.

    1. I've had an Aha moment rather than a Duh moment with my wok which hung virtually unused for about 6-ish years in the pantry......until I made the Fuchsia Dunlop COTM recipes. When I first bought it I used to make Americanized-Gioized pseudo Asian food thinking I was really onto something. Little did I know. Apart from the fact that the Dunlop books were eyeopening and the food delicious, she taught the correct way to season the wok and the proper stir-fry technique. This humble pot now gets an almost daily workout no matter what cuisine we're cooking

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gio

        The wok as steamer has been a new thing for me with this month's COTM - works wonderfully.

      2. I suppose my "duh" moment was when I finally invested in a decent chef's knife.

        I had no idea that chopping was so easy.

        It opened up new worlds for me, for real.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Metalee

          It's amazing, isn't it? I now travel with one of my knives whenever I go anywhere where I plan to cook, even if it means checking a bag. I often think that some people don't like to cook because they don't know how much easier things are with some pieces of equipment. If I had to cook with a crappy knife and a glass cutting board for the rest of my life, I'd probably give up on it pretty quickly.

          1. re: MMRuth

            lol it sounds like you've tried to cook at my Mom's! We fly east every summer to visit and lately hostess gifts have been kitchen equipment - last time it was a new hand mixer (her old one was an avocado green electrolux who's cord kept falling out). I think for Christmas she's getting a food processor :)

          2. re: Metalee

            I was JUST about to post this! I had been chopping with a serrated utility knife. mainly because I was afraid of my six inch chef's knife. I don't remember why I picked up my chef's knife, but once I got the hang of it, we became inseparable.

          3. What good pizza have you found? I agree that there's not much good pizza in DFW. The next time someone suggests Campisi's, I will have to try really hard not to guffaw.

            I guess my duh moment was when I realized I did need a real blender (not just an immersion model) to make smooth cream soups. I made so many gritty ones my husband is just about not willing to try another one of them.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Chile Pepper

              Don't you just love your immersion blender. Mine sits charging on the counter at all times.

              Best pizza in DFW is Coalvines. Campisi's is just abysmal.

              1. re: FoodChic

                Hi:

                Sorry for the interruption, but please start a thread on the Texas board if you want to discuss pizza in Dallas, as that discussion is beyond the scope of the Home Cooking board.

                Thanks.

              2. re: Chile Pepper

                I just moved from the DFW area (to Chicago, so I'm in pizza HEAVEN), but I would recommend giving Pistazzio's in Addison Circle a try if that's not too far of a trek for you. It's New York style pizza, the slices are huge, and it's pretty decent. I wouldn't suggest doing carry-out though. It loses a lot when it's allowed to cool a bit.

                1. re: Chile Pepper

                  I forgot about Cru up at Legacy and the Tollway. I had a FANTASTIC pear and gorgonzola pizza there a while back.

                2. Thanks FoodChic! I was given a Pampered Chef Pizza Stone for a wedding present nearly 8 years ago - now maybe I'll use it :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: maplesugar

                    Here is the recipe. There are some reviewers who thought it a bit salty, I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt, and didn't think the crust was salty at all, nor did my salt-phobic DH.

                    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                    1. re: FoodChic

                      Thanks FoodChic!

                  2. belief it or not, a salad spinner!
                    does a great job on greens but an even more amazing job on garden herbs
                    I probably wash & spin 90% of my daily produce/greens/herbs and wind up with super-clean, crisp results every time. Tip: If your salad greens are starting to fade...add ice cubes to the soak & spin step and they will refresh like newly purchased.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: HillJ

                      Try the spinner when making pasta shapes that trap water...no more watered-down sauces!

                      1. re: greygarious

                        Freakin brilliant, greyg!