Regular readers may recall that we built a pizza oven last summer, out beside the patio. Well, we’ve worked hard to keep a pathway shoveled over to the oven all winter… and we’ve taken advantage of it a few times. It’s a bit tricky to cook pizza on cold, dark nights! Today, however, we built a fire in the morning and were ready to bake by noon, on a sunny warm (25º) day.
Because I’ve also continued to experiment with Indian cooking in our Ultrapot pressure cooker, I made some chicken tikka masala and decided to make a pizza out of it, adding shiitake mushrooms and curry leaves for extra flair. Here’s the result; pretty darn good, on a late winter’s day!
One nice thing about a having a pizza oven at home is that you make a lot more pizza… and start experimenting. We are also lucky to have a curry-leaf plant at home; its pungent leaves are commonly used in South Indian cooking. So I made a simple pizza by spreading a thin layer of curry sauce (admittedly, from a jar) and sprinkling on some fresh curry leaves. Yum!
Last weekend we held a launch party for Andy’s summer project, a Pompeii-style pizza oven. Andy has been dreaming about making a pizza oven for years, and it seemed like a good pre-college summer project. It turns out to be a lot more work than one might expect! We were fortunate to have expert advice and assistance from Doc, who has built several such ovens and whose YouTube video series has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. We chose to simplify the process a bit, by using a kit from Forno Bravo. Doc’s advice was invaluable in making sure we ordered the right kit, used the right kind of mortar, the right kind of bricks, the right methods for construction, down to the right kind of flour and tomato sauce for the pizza. The results were outstanding!
Due to a back injury in early August, I personally helped very little in the actual construction. Andy and Doc did most of it, with help from Pam and Mara. Check out the photo gallery to get a sense of the many steps involved over two and a half months of effort.
Next summer Andy will complete the project, adding tiles and a countertop on the front, tiles on the dome, and structural-skin coating on the sides of the base.