Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pizza & Guests

I have already named my notional Pizza restaurant Harth*- Depending on who you ask Harth could mean Heart or Hearth, both of which are at the very core of our lives. The word hearth in Latin is focus and such expressions as "hearth and home" link heart and hearth suggesting that "home is where the heart is". To me the Harth is the place where a family cooks and communicates, where decisions are made, relationships forged, disputes resolved and where the heart beats. It is the place where love gathers in the form of a simple meal to an extravagant feast, where family and friends collect for all types of occasions. 

My dream is pure fantasy of course as I don't have the facilities to embark on such a massive enterprise... but maybe some day (wistful sigh).... For now I am content to cook for my family and friends (another wistful sigh).

Pizza Night starts with many hours of prep, it is not the most speedy family dinner but for every hour spent on preparation several more come back in appreciation. I have started to develop some techniques to reduce the workload. I let my fridge do the work when it comes to maturing my dough.I pre-make the dough and give it a long ferment. This builds flavour and develops texture. A day before I make a raw tomato sauce and again let the fridge do the work. I let the tomatoes marinate with garlic that I can remove just before saucing- the oven will cook the sauce as the Pizza is baked. Most other things can be done the day of and don't require lengthy preps.

  • at least two days before dough is made.
  • one day before sauce is made.
  • and if I am inclined onions caramelized. 
day of

  • 8:30 am Dough is set out to wake up. I have two different ones that I m trying.
  • 11 am Take the babies to play group to get "their wiggles out".
  • 12.42 pm Get home, check dough. The re-calibrated dough is rising faster than the first dough. Both have the same amount of yeast but different quantities of whole wheat flour.
  • 1 pm Feed babies, clean the kitchen.
  • 1:45 pm Onions in the oven to caramelize- no more standing over the stove keeping a watchful eye. Speaking of eye(s), give mine a rest. I have seen some pretty sweet onion goggles, I may have to invest in a pair. I am crying.
  • 3:25 pm Check the doughs- the re-calibrated dough is in the lead (I think of them as racing, very slowly).
  • 4:25 pm Onions done, husband takes over making the Hummus. Dips, dressings and bread cut.
  • 5 pm Clean kitchen.
  • 6 pm First guest arrives and then all hell breaks loose and suddenly  what I thought was so organized spirals out of control into full on madness. The mulled wine and extra bottles of red wine may have helped with that.
1cup w.w. flour1/4 cup w.w. flour
The rest of the night was making pizzas, reconnecting with friends, laughing, sharing stories and learning new things.

Photos by me.

*Disclaimer: My husband and spell checker thought it was best that I clarify that the word Harth is not a real word. Though others have used it in both Hearth and Heart's stead it is not in the english oxford dictionary. I liked it and it aptly describes what I want to say as it combines both concepts of Hearth  and Heart- besides language is constantly in flux and some times rules are meant to be broken or pushed.

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