Routines come and go in our house, much like everything in our lives these days, ebbing and flowing with the phases and growth of our kids. I strive for some routine because simple anchors, like Pizza Night, help to ground me. And, hey, it helps to narrow down the choice for dinners! Plus, my husband and I try to use it as a in-house date night, plugging the kids in front of a show or movie and sitting at the table, slouching with fatigue or feet up on the empty chairs, sipping wine, and eating (usually spicy) pizza! Romantic, eh? Occasionally, we actually even get to have a conversation and pretend we are in a bubble at the table!
The Pieces of the Pizza Puzzle
I have a few pizza dough recipes that I cling to:
- The foccacia recipe from the Rebar cookbook, modified with a bit more olive oil and spices added to the dough, reminiscent of those Boboli crusts of the 1990s;
- This one from Smitten Kitchen – I love the overnight feature, when I remember; and,
- Whatever mucky muck I’ve experimented with in the kitchen that night! Sourdough starter versions, typo ’00’ flour versions, etc etc etc… the list goes on and I will share some here.
Ever since I received her cookbook, I have been fully committed to Aimée Wimbush-Bourque’s Mild Marinara Sauce found in Brown Eggs and Jam Jars as my pizza sauce of choice. I also like pesto: traditional basil pesto, garlic scapes pesto… All delicious. Even both is good!
For my girls, the toppings are pretty much always the same, which is easy: ham, crushed pineapple, and whatever veg we have on hand. They’re especially good with spinach if it’s grown from the garden, or grated zucchini. Pretty red flecks of bell pepper, finely chopped go over well. Olives – black or kalamata, always a salty favourite. All topped with some mozzarella.
The “adult pizza”, as we call it, is usually spicy and often contains vegetables that I haven’t quite convinced my kids to love yet, at least not displayed in all their glory (as opposed to hidden deceptively within something!), such as eggplant, fennel, and heaps of fried onions. Pizza toppings are also an excellent fridge cleanup, just sauté up whatever sad looking veg are kicking around your fridge crispers.
Depending on the recipe, the dough gets made before I go to bed or mid-afternoon. Then, about 45 minutes or so before wanting to eat, I start to preheat the oven to 450F, with our pizza stone inside. Then I get the girls’ toppings ready to go. 15 minutes before wanting to eat, I pull off a wad of dough a form a small pizza for the toddler and another slightly larger one for the preschooler. These go on pieces of parchment paper that are sitting on a baking pan. The girls then hop up in their Learning Tower and build their pizzas. The pizzas get popped in the oven, parchment slid right on to the stone, for 12-15 minutes, the girls start watching their show, then I fry up whatever I need for our pizza and repeat, in a regular/big size. Somewhere in there I crack open a bottle of wine and have a drink!
Pizza Topping Ideas
This section should be updated almost weekly with new inspiration for you. Check out my Instagram Feed (@our100acrewood), I always post pictures of our creations there, especially pizza night!
30 June 2016: The Double Fennel – onion, fennel, fennel seed, black pepper, sweet red pepper, ham, salt, marinara, garlic scapes dill basil pesto, mozzarella