Solace and joy. This is what I feel almost every night I prepare our dinner while confined during this pandemic. The relief and comfort that come from making an old family recipe or the joy from discovering a new one, along with a nightly cocktail, keeps us going.
Today, I’m highlighting just two examples of dishes from last week that sustained not only our bodies but our souls.
A Saturday night without guests for dinner offered us a chance to play with our new Breville pizza oven which I wrote about in my post last month. Rather than changing too many variables, I used the same NY Times recipe as I did the first time I used the new “toy.” However, to improve the balance between the crisp and chew factors, I made 10-inch rather than 11- or 12-inch pizzas and adjusted the amount of sauce used.
I found that making smaller pizzas gave me the perfect amount of chew without decreasing the pizzas’ crispness. I cooked one of the pizzas at the highest temperature (the “thin” setting) for 7 minutes and the second on at a slightly lower temperature (closer to the oven’s “medium” setting) for about 10 minutes.
Both pizzas were very good; but, as the second pizza was sauced a tad more heavily and had a longer cooking time, we thought it was better than the first. The extended cooking at a lower temperature allowed the sauce to develop more flavor and the edges to cook a little more evenly.
Some other variations from last month’s pizzas included using smoked mozzarella and topping one of the cooked pizzas with some wild arugula. Using the smoked cheese added a meaty flavor to the pies, which was perfectly complement by the wild arugula topping on the second.
One side note: when we purchased the oven at Williams-Sonoma a couple of weeks ago, it was $149. Last week, it went on sale for $129. We returned to the store with our emailed receipt and without any hassle they refunded the difference.