Last Friday night, we had a combination birthday & going away party for my daughter, Casey. She has headed south to start a PhD program. When asked if she had any special food she’d like to have, she immediately answered “Pizza!”, and homemade peach pie from our son and pie specialist, Peter.
I pulled out all the stops in prepping ingredients for people to choose from at our pizza party. I started with a fresh batch of the “strong” pizza dough from my favorite pizza book, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 Minutes a Day. I can’t say enough good things about the recipes and ideas in Jeff & Zoe’s book! We had 10 people to feed, so I thought a full batch was the perfect size and it worked great. We had a dozen balls of dough that people could roll or toss, then dress exactly as they liked
OK, for topping choices:
- Sauces: Red sauce (canned plum tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh garlic and basil), homemade pesto and homemade barbecue sauce
- Meats (all cooked): bacon, thin sliced pork, spicy chicken sausage
- Veggies: onions sauteed & raw, mushrooms sauteed & raw, two types of fresh tomatoes, black olives, calamata olives, orange peppers, home roasted red peppers, jalapeno peppers
- Fruits: pears, mangoes, strawberries!
- Herbs: lots of fresh basil, cilantro
- Cheese: fresh mozzarella, chevre, feta
Everyone had the opportunity to make a pizza of their choice to enjoy and share with the group. We had a couple that were worth noting, as they were a bit unusual.
We call this one “Ode to Pizza by the Pond”. We had pizza vaguely similar to this on a winter trip to LoveTree Sheep Farm’s Sunday Pizza by the Pond. It was unlike any pizza we have ever had, and quite an unusual combination of flavors. This one isn’t the same, but includes a few of the ingredients of it’s namesake: local uncured bacon and ripe pears. Our version included shiitake mushrooms, barbecue sauce, and mozzarella cheese. It was great! I especially like the combination of sweet and savory between the fruit and the barbecue.
The next one features pesto, sausage, sauteed mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, and mozzarella. Even without a traditional tomato sauce base, this pizza reminds us why these flavors are central to our typical pizza. They just taste so good together!
I had been thinking about the fruit and savory connection, and decided to give the one below a try. It’s like a nice summer salad, minus the lettuce. Balsamic vinegar reduction, raw red onion, fresh basil, strawberries, and chevre.
After the pizza came off the grill, I topped it with fresh basil, for that extra fresh flavor. Wow, was it ever good! You wouldn’t have this as your entire meal, but the flavors worked great together. Really fun!
Our son, Peter, has become a real pie expert. He uses only fresh ingredients, makes his own crusts by hand. We joke that he needs to start farming wheat next. The peach pie with peaches at their peak ripeness was a real treat with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Casey was on her way to Florida early on Saturday morning. We will miss her greatly, but we’re so happy to have been able to send her off in grand style. Good luck, Casey!