Friday, February 13, 2009

Pizza Night: The whole story

So I give you a pizza night in as full a glory as I could manage. This post is sort of half tribute half test run. The Pioneer Woman's blogs about cooking are just so detailed photographically that I thought I would give it a try with last night's meal. I have to tell you the hardest part is remembering to take a picture at every step. I kept recognizing after the fact that I had forgotten to take a picture at certain spots. I would love to hear your comments on this evening's pizza night. Also, can you spot the pictures I am missing.

To start last nights meal you had to be here around 9:00 am. That is when the wife put the Cha Shu in the pot on the stove. The pot is initially half full with water, fresh ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, cooking sake and salt. This then cooked most of the day on the stove or the wood burning stove. By 4:00 pm it looked like this with the water reduced to a thin layer of super flavoured sauce on the bottom of the pot.

I tried to get the wife to wait for dinner but she said if she had to wait she would end up snacking on something that wasn't healthy so I gave her permission to have some leftovers with pork drippings on top. She also had a few slices of pork.
I think it looks much better covered in the drippings. We actually cooked it a little too long and it was just the tiniest bit dry. Still amazingly good.
The dough was kneaded and set aside before 5:00 and then it was time to make the sauce. I am a big believer in generic crushed tomatoes. I would love to make my own crushed tomatoes but the volume of tomatoes necessary and the amount of work in the canning process put that out of my reach at the current time. So no name crushed tomatoes it is.I crushed two cloves of garlic that the boarder dropped off before leaving for the weekend. He in turn received it from a friend of his who grew it her garden. Oh fresh garlic grown in someone's garden. I just love the flavour. This garlic was also used as a topping but more about that later.Below are the three spices I added to my pizza sauce. There are no hard and fast measurements. I usually get about the same size pile in the middle of the pot when I am done. Spices and garlic are cooked in olive oil on a low heat and then the crushed tomatoes are added. Next I give 5-7 squirts of vinegar from our trusty vinegar bottle. This is then cooked on 6 for about 5 mins then on 4 four for about 20 mins. Of course yesterday I cooked it for an hour so we had our thickest pizza sauce ever. Next we got out our ingredients. Now you have already seen the pork for the pig and pineapple pizza. Once again not living in a tropical country we have to have our pineapple imported. I wonder what sweet fruit you use instead if you are on the hundred mile diet. I wonder.The adult toppings were all vegetarian this evening. Mushrooms, olives, red peppers, garlic, and a nicely dried chile pepper from our back porch. They hang outside the back door of our house all winter yet I forget to use them all the time. It is like they are part of the decoration. This evening was different. I ripped one off and cut it up with the kitchen scissors. I only put it on half of the adult pizzas so that the wife wouldn't be shut out. So at this point we are ready to start making. I transfer two of the four dough portions to our old pizza tins. If we are cooking in the regular oven or on the bbq I still use these bad boys but not when I am cooking in the pizza oven.After they rise a bit I toss a little more flour onto the exterior and then start throwing them in the air. I imagine this is how it is supposed to be done but I don't actually have any basis for this imagining. I really do need me some formal training.Next comes the slathering of sauce. It really was thick today.Now here we have the first adult pizza. Notice the chili peppers on one side and the garlic slices on the other. It was good and the best part of this pizza was the crust. I think I added a little too much water tonight so the dough was super moist. It barely rose in the hour I let it sit but it was awesome to work with and came off with a super crisp base and still some chewiness above. I wish I could get a real consistency with my dough but there are so many factors that make a significant difference in my dough I am resigned to doing my best and letting the sauce fall where it may.This is one of the kid's pizzas. Notice the crumbled Cha Shu on top. Not quite as sweet as regular ham. So we had a different kind of kid's pizza tonight. They still enjoyed it.Here is the second adult's pizza in mid construction. This is pre olives, chilies and pineapple.Below is the completed final pizza pre-oven. My last pizza usually looks something similar to this. Everything that is left on the counter goes on top. Now the problem this evening is that the last dough had risen some more by the time we made it and it was super thin. When I tried to transfer to the oven it did not slide well and I had to scrape up a bunch of toppings that fell on the stone and put them back on top of the pizza. I plan to try just doing the dough and sauce next time and then putting it on the stone. Then I will dress it in the oven. Hey its worth a shot.This is the first kid's pizza coming out of the oven. I have to say we had some great pizza last night. Since I was sick I didn't actually pig out too badly so there is lots left over today.Leftovers are good as now the kids and I are eating it for breakfast. We will also take some in the car as we go to see the midwife today.Finally here is a picture of the son. He was trying to get in on the picture taking action all night. Note that this picture is chronologically out of order. You can see the last pizza still on the peal on the counter behind the son.So as I went through that post I felt there were at least four pictures missing. Do you agree? What did you think I missed? What could/should I have left out? If you help me out with this then my posts will get better and hopefully you will enjoy them more. As always thanks for reading. (total time to upload and write this post, with some kid interuptions, 1:10. Definitely can't do that every day)

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