Before anyone was up, I started preparing my kitchen. My island became pizza dough central . 5 lb bread flour - check . Extra large mixing bowl - check . Yeast Packets - check. measuring cups - check. Rolling ping and board - check.. I was ready for church .
After church, around 10:30 AM I immediately sprung into action.. I knew that I would need several hours to make the dough, and give it enough time to rise, first in a mixing bowl , and second in my pizza trays. If the dough rises in peace, the pizza crust comes out perfectly, golden on top and bottom, crunchy and full of flavor. I am always afraid of yeast quantities when making fresh dough. But I believe that I have now gotten the proportions down to where I like them: 1 package of dry yeast to every 5 cups of flour, plus one. Easy to remember, just make sure that your yeast if frozen , needs to come back to room temperature, and remember not to kill it by adding it to very hot and salty water.
After starting my dough , I immediately leap into my mise en place exercises, laying out all that was required to make toppings.. My lenten compatible, pizza topping ingredients included: assorted bell peppers, cremini mushrooms, 1/2 lb of baby spinach , a medium sized red onion, and large shallot, fresh mozzarella and low hydration mozzarella , and plenty of herbs, fresh and dry thyme, fresh marjoram , oregano, rosemary Ingredients
We had a full house today.. Mom, sisters, friends with baby, and cousin Silvia from Italy, yours truly and of course the Queen. It was a very fun filled day , with fan club and guest behaving . I was on one side of my island, directing kitchen traffic, and they were seated , orderly on the other side or at my large rustic table. At times though, I did have to become strict when they insisted on wanting to slices of some of the pizzas just as they came out of the oven . I forcefully prohibited them from touching or getting near the pies, before I was ready to cut them. Indeed as soon as I sense their conspiratorial moves, I interdicted there maneuvers, and send them right back to their seats. You see, pizza, like a good piece of roast meat, needs to rest. I got nicknamed the Pizza Nazi. I liked that. and I will keep the name for the next time too.
The secret to great pizza making lies in creating great toppings and excellent sauce. Or is the secret to great pizza the dough, a dough made from scratch, King Arthur bread flour, yeast, salt and water, nothing else? Well in my kitchen nailing great pizza requires both. Nail them both , I did indeed on this special Sunday. Take at my repertoire
Sunday Pizza Party Menu
Roasted Eggplant Caponata in a Lambrusco Fine Mint Vinaigrette
Spicy Boquerones en Vinagre
Mick's Assorted Pizze
The Ab Initio: Rosemary Tomato Focaccia
The Half and Half: Sauteed Mushroom, Sauteed Peppers
Da Bomb: Sauteed Baby Spinach, Goat Cheese Medallions, Sauteed Red Marjoram Onions and Shallots
The Classic : Margherita, Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce
The Campana : Marinara, Tomato Sauce, Extra Oregano
The Close Out; Tomato Sauce, Sauteed Red Onion, Shallot
Fruits and Salad
Brown Carrot Mixed Salad: Lemon
Pineapple Blueberry Fruit Salad
|White Roasted Eggplant Caponata Lambruso Mint Vinaigrette|
|Rosemary Tomato Focaccia|
|Half and Half: Sauteed Peppes, Sauteed Cremini|
|Da Bomb: Sauteed Spinach, Sauteed Red Onion an Shallots, Goat Cheese|
|Sauteed Red Onion and Shallot Pizzetta|
The pizzas were all a great hit. I baked then in order of flavor intensity, in an arrangement that sort of reminded me of a pyramid pattern. The most complex Da Bomb . was at the apex. It was, as expected also the day's greatest hit. Folks here's what I learned when making pizza, play with flavors that complement each other, build on them , and you will be able to make small masterpieces for your families and friends.
|Brown Carrots - Salad Preparation|
|Pineapple Blueberry Fruit Salad|
It was a good party indeed. full of fun and family joy. I keep thinking about Palm Sunday, and its significance for Christian believers and non-believers alike. Sunday's during enrich tend to enrich my spiritual life, more and more.
May peace be with you all.