Sunday, April 4, 2010

We ate beans and weenies.

Winter came and I had to move it back indoors. I would preheat the oven and enjoy the radiant heat coming off the oven as I prepared my next pizza. It was now about 3 successes to every mistake as I kept learning. Mostly it had been my own fault for not following my own rules. Don't take shortcuts and don't assume you are in control and that you couldn't possibly screw up. Don't carry on conversations or have the TV going when you have to measure, count, adjust or change techniques. Be consciously aware of every change you make. If you don't then that's when the mistakes most assuredly will happen.
The other thing that happens is you are anxious to entertain and the process is easy so you say to yourself that I'm a multi tasker, I know what I'm doing, I'm no rookie anymore. I can carry on a conversation, greet guests, show them the house, take their coats and catch up on their lives, pour them a glass of wine and all while I'm prepping the next pizza for the oven. Sure enough you'll discover that you didn't spread cornmeal down on the peel prior to laying the sauce, cheese and toppings on it. The dough sticks to the peel as everyone is watching in excitement while you are trying to cover your mistake. Or you will be sharing a glass of wine while you are working and before you realize it the guest is asking you if the pizza gets cheese on it before it goes in the oven. It happens, silly mistakes that can ruin the evening or embarrass you especially if you don't have any extra dough in case of a disaster. There's nothing like the shrill wailing of numerous smoke alarms warning you like an asteroid is about to hit and alerting the neighbors in the tri-county area while cold air pours in one open window and door so that the smoke can flow through the house and pour out the front door. This has happened and what a great impression it makes! The fact of the matter is that I'm used to shoving casseroles in the oven and setting the timer for 45 minutes and get involved in a conversation and pretty much forgetting about dinner until the timer goes off. With pizza you'd better not leave the kitchen. In most cases a NY style pizza will cook in anywhere from 8 to 11 minutes. A Napoletana thin crust pizza that bakes at 750º to 900º in the BBQ can be done in anywhere from 90 seconds to 3 minutes. Hardly enough time to open a bottle of wine and pour another round. The best way to learn anything though is to do it wrong in front of company and you probably will never make that same mistake again.
By now it's been over a year since I started this journey. I make a pizza about 2 times a week and several more that week if we are entertaining. I have just been informed by my wife who tried to cook dinner tonight that there is nothing in the fridge but pizza food. Yes, I have four doughs proofing in the fridge right now, I have sauces in zip-loc bags, more bags of pepperoni, italian sausages, mozzarella, vintage cheddar, parmesan, plus numerous tubs of 4-cheese blends of parmesan, romano, asiago and provolone, a bag of sharp cheddar, 10 tubs of mozzarella di bufala not to mention all the appropriate veggies one needs to top the pizza as well. We just came back from Modesto today with over a case of fresh canned tomatoes that are only sold to restaurants. We have 4 different types of extra virgin olive oil that we picked up as well. I keep telling her, "I'm on a journey, I'm not obsessed!" We ate hot dogs and beans for dinner. It was all she could find.

1 comment:

  1. But they tasted great! Lots of onions and we ate the leftover sourdough cornbread I had baked with the weenies. Sheri