Such a nice introduction to a new year. It’s been icy cold in the mornings, the excitement of the holidays has past (thank goodness) and the new year is … well new. A great time to sit back, relax and see what happens next.
Uh, that would be in invite from Chilebrown to an afternoon of fresh pizza made in his new wood fired oven. It’s a gift from his wife Ms. Goofy, nice huh? Interested to see more? If not, click through anyways ya foo.
Saturday started on Friday for Chilebrown. He says the best pizza dough is the kind that’s slow, it takes a day to get itself together. I think he’s right cause that’s how Mama did it and we always had great pizza. But this time we were going to get to use CB’s new oven. Wanna see it?
Ain’t that somethin’? It’s a real clay oven on a rolling steel stand. The damned thing is so well designed that it gets all the air it needs from that one opening. In fact, while the fire gets going, you can see the vortex of air it creates. The smoke goes in and comes out easy. And it only takes about 45 minutes to get the hardwood fire up to temp. Today’s wood was almond. After observing CB, it seems you build the fire in the center and towards the back. Once the coals grey and start getting small, shove it all to the back and get ready to cook!
It’s at this point you can stick in there anything you want. A whole chicken on a verticle roaster, pizza, bread, casseroles, you name it. CB did the first few pies, then handed The Turner off to me. Tending to fires and food comes second nature and it didn’t take more than one pie to start getting the hang of it. This isn’t like grilling or smoking, your pie will be done in about 5 minutes or less. So, you’re standing right there and watching every second. Fuss, fuss, fuss. And yes, some of my crusts got black and one with a little ash to it, but it tasted anyway. Oddly enough, the oven didn’t give off a crazy smoky flavor to the food. I can say though that it cooked and browned the food to absolute perfection. Sure as hell should for something that’s blasting at well over 600 degrees.
And here’s the piece of resistance, just look at that. See the toasty parts? This is a combination of leftover, marinated asparagus, mushrooms. Then fresh garlic, shallots, 2 kinds of cheese and an assortment of appropriate meats. Toss in to clay dish and put in oven! POW !!! It took a hair over 5 minutes to cook, not bad huh?
All in all it was a great afternoon spent with good people and I came home with leftovers. Thank you CB and we’ll have to do this again some time. Especially if I can find one of these myself.
Here’s CB’s recipe for the pizza dough:
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (I use Honey)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour (1 cup more as needed)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
Combine water, honey, and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until yeast starts to bloom. In a food processor combine all ingredients and mix until dough forms ball and pulls away from side of bowl. You may have to add a little more flour. Knead on a floured board for 10 minutes. Place in Ziploc bag and put in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Here’s where you can get yours! Al Fresco Imports.