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October 17, 2006

The Frozen Gourmet

The best way to make a Trader Joe's frozen three-cheeze pizza is to bake it at 445 degrees for 10 minutes (or till browned in the center), then liberally apply garlic powder, basil, minced onion, and red pepper flakes. Voila.

October 17, 2006 | Permalink


You forgot the dead animal flesh.


Posted by: Ryan | Oct 17, 2006 11:43:27 AM

And they are so damned good. My son wanted to get the personal pepperoni kind so I reluctantly picked them up (he habitualy likes to pick everything off the top and tries to avoid the actual pie, which is a lot harder to make him finish when he has picked off all the toppings). He wolfed them down like crazy and got very upset when I ate oe of them - he was afraid I would eat them all. He needn't worry, I keep at least a packege f them in the freezer at all times. They are great for a quick and easy dinner option, when we are running on a tight schedule.

That convinced me to try the larger pizzas and they are great. Although, I admit that we put pepperoni on our three cheese pizza, something I am guessing you don't. But we do add crushed garlic (I got a great garlick press for my lasr birthday - it crushes a bulb at a time - no peeling), red pepper and a wicked strong cilantro.

Posted by: DuWayne | Oct 17, 2006 11:54:18 AM

You poor non-New Yorkers, with your cute little frozen "pizzas." Maybe next post, Ezra, you can tell us how heat up frozen bagels.

Posted by: davidmizner | Oct 17, 2006 11:58:12 AM

445 degrees? Not 450, not 425?

I crank up the oven as high as it'll go (550). Crispier crust, not completely dried out middle. If only the oven didn't take so long to preheat. If only I had an AGA. *sigh*

Posted by: dbomp | Oct 17, 2006 12:00:11 PM

If you're going to put your own toppings on anyway, why don't you just make it from scratch? It will taste a lot better?

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Oct 17, 2006 12:23:54 PM

i'm with dbomp on the precison of the oven temp? Do you measure at the top of the oven, middle, or bottom?

do you have two oven thermometers and average their readings (they WILL be different)? or perhaps three, as a decider?

i do agree however that a 3 or 4 cheese frozen pizza is a good starting place for your own homemade pizza heaven.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Oct 17, 2006 12:27:30 PM

If you're going to put your own toppings on anyway, why don't you just make it from scratch? It will taste a lot better?

I don't know what Ezra's excuse might be but I do it because as a single dad and small business owner, I regularly run into serious time crunches and rarely have the time it takes to go from scratch. Besides, Trader Joe's pizzas are awsome. They have a great sauce, great crust and they are cheap. It would be hard to make a pizza from scratch, for their price - just a few dollars. Now if you made a few of them at once, it might be a little cheaper, but may not turn out as good - and it would take a lot of time, especialy if the four year old "helps" - which I usually let him do when I am cooking.

Posted by: DuWayne | Oct 17, 2006 12:33:03 PM

davidmizner: 35 seconds on high power. But it helps if you start with a really good bagel. I recommend House of Bagels in various locations near Palo Alto, CA. New York bagels will do in a pinch if you can't get out to the west coast.

Posted by: Beale | Oct 17, 2006 1:12:07 PM

Beale, please allow me my delusions. I need to think that there are culinary reasons that justify my obscene cost of living.

Posted by: davidmizner | Oct 17, 2006 1:30:04 PM

I actually make pizzas from scratch (well, the dough is pre-kneaded) fairly regularly, but they fill a different culinary categroy for me. I just use olive oil, cheese, and heaps of vegetables and garlic. These pizzas are when I'm in the mood for a traditional marinara experience.

Posted by: Ezra | Oct 17, 2006 1:36:20 PM

You didn't answer the question, why 445, as opposed to, say, 450. As for me, for TJ 3c pizza, I prefer 443.

Also, I was wondering whether you realize that your political views would be far more conservative if you ate meat. There's something about chewing on bloody flesh ...

Posted by: ostap | Oct 17, 2006 2:23:36 PM

Crank the oven as high as it will go and use a pizza stone pre-heated for at least 30 minutes. That will give you the best crust short of a proper wood fired pizza oven. I got my stone at Target off the sale table for $7 and it was worth every dollar, but a saltillo tile from Home Depot for $3 will do the trick, too.

Posted by: J Bean | Oct 17, 2006 2:39:16 PM

garlic POWDER?!?!

Posted by: dan | Oct 17, 2006 2:53:13 PM

Try using a kiln shelf, if you can find one that fits your oven. I have a pizza stone, too, but I use it for instapizzas. If I still lived with my old roommate who made his own from scratch, I'd plunge for the kiln shelf. He acquired one free from art school, and it really was better.

Be aware that elevation makes all the difference; even 700 feet above sea level bakes differently than ~0.

Try making your own dough. Make a bunch of it, divide it into pizza-sized increments and save it wrapped in pieces the fridge. It actually gets better for about the first week, then is acceptable for another week or two after.

Try turning up the heat. For pizza, hotter is usually better, though frozen pies do differ.

Find a good, local outlet. We may not live in New York, but in most locales there is at least one place that is acceptable, often more. I can walk from my apartment to Goat Hill, who may not be Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, but whose sourdough crust and real brick oven make a difference.

Posted by: wcw | Oct 17, 2006 6:17:50 PM

Ezra, I don't know how you do it. Intellectualy stimulating postings that generate comments and discussion - I can understand. But garnering such discussion about your recipe for frozen pizza - I'm impressed!

Posted by: molly | Oct 18, 2006 2:20:30 AM

Good luck finding a pizza stone for less than $30. And all of Home Depot's tiles (around here, at least) are glazed -- glaze is usually poison. Don't go there.

Instead, go to the garden department and get the biggest terra cotta planter base that will fit in your oven. Put it in before you turn the oven on else it will crack (same for pizza stones and tiles, incidentally).

And yes, it is amazing how much this simple action improves the pizza. The stone has a much higher specific heat than air and can consequently transfer a great deal of thermal energy to the crust very quickly.

But geez! Frozen pizza? Just make a bunch of dough on the weekend and freeze it. The rest of the process takes no time.

Posted by: pjcamp | Oct 19, 2006 12:31:29 AM

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