We've been doing a lot of socializing lately - we've had pizza parties and a combined birthday party and even pizza combined with a birthday party. We even broke out the nose cups - real classy way to drink ice wine, tip it just a little higher Elaine!
So when you have a double birthday party, you get to have two different cakes - a dreamy cheesecake for Elaine, and a peanut butter work of art for me, both complements of Goldfish.
Max tried his hand at topping a pizza . . . I think he had three or four layers of pepperoni. Nice job Max!
So I used to make these deep dish pizza creations, with lots of crab and other toppings, the whole thing having to cook for an hour or more. I've been taking things in another direction lately, auditioning a half dozen crust recipes to get a thin crust pie that will bake in less than 10 minutes. Currently I'm favoring an Alton Brown crust (except I like to sub maple syrup for some of the sugar - sorry Alton, and 25 minutes with a dough hook - really??) with a Martha Stewart pizza sauce. Toppings vary widely depending on requests and available ingredients - we all love this certain Potato Leek pizza from Pioneer Woman Cooks, but finding leeks on this island is amazingly hit or miss, so I have altered the recipe so much, it barely resembles the original, but everyone still likes it. It has no sauce, you lay a thin layer of potatoes sliced very thin on a mandolin right on the crust. It is quite unexpectedly delicious. I went through a brief period of insanity where I thought it would be fun having pizzas at our Halloween party this year, but Goldfish reminded me my chicken costume tends to shed on pretty much everything, and I'd be sweating like rancid pork in that thing for 3 or 4 hours to feed everyone . . . .
The other thing I've found with cooking these 10 minute pizzas made from dough assembled the day before, it it sets the pace for a gathering. Everyone stands around and talks and socializes, and I chat and work on pizzas, and every 15 minutes or so there is something different to try. It works with everyone standing around the kitchen island drinking wine and being involved in the process, and it works with everyone seated at the table, talking among themselves. I still haven't found the ideal marriage of dough and toppings, but it is fun trying and everyone leaves with a full belly. I've come to realize there will eventually have to be a wood fired pizza oven in my yard, and I'm slowly come to accept the eventuality this passing idea will be a full-grown obsession, temporarily displacing everything until it get built or the next nutty idea comes along. Currently, I am working at jacking up an old shed, replacing the floor joists and attaching skids and moving it, so I can built another shed slightly longer, all so I can built an Aleutian style kayak for which I purchased the wood 2 years ago. So you see, I really don't let go of ideas . . . I still carry an idea for a sculpture titled "The Dichotomy of Man" in my head from maybe 8 years ago. Might be a good project to work on in the new shed . . . . .
And finally, berry picking has completely taken over the household with gallons of blueberries in the freezer. Goldfish's Mom has been out here this week, picking her heart out. It has been a joy having her here - it is always great having company - but you have to see these two in action running all over the island picking berries. I'm not complaining, mind you, I eat berries at least 300 days a year, and they don't get in the freezer on their own - I love to reach that Zen-like state of berry picking nirvana myself when I get a chance. Okay, I've got to get off to bed, cheers everyone!