Wood Oven Pizzas & Old Friends

Saturday, some of my closest childhood friends were in dire need of escaping city life in Boston and decided to come home to spend a cozy weekend with family in Concord. We were all excited that our families were going to spend time together. Emails and texts were flying, whose house to go to, what to eat and what to do with the little precious time we had together. We kicked off our mini reunion with Paddle Tennis. Girls on one court, boys on another! 
Votes were cast by the younger set and the Wood Oven won. Pizza it is! The one problem was we played paddle far too long, and arrived home much later than expected. Unfortunately, we didn’t light the fire in the oven before we left for paddle. As this was the first time using the oven this season, the oven did not reach its proper temperature until late into the evening which meant the wine flowed and the food was scarce — oh well!
We started with orange infused Greek Sausages (loucanika) served with extra lemon which quickly disappeared. 
I fell in love with Soph’s LL Bean fisherman sweater. A true classic. 
The dough certainly had plenty of time to rise!
Prepping for the Fig, Prosciutto, Mushrooom & Gorgonzola Dolce Pizza
Pizza Dough Recipe  
(yields 2 14inch Pizza Crusts)
3 1/2- 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups water (warmed to the touch)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 packet Yeast
Step 1: Microwave water about 40 seconds until warmed through (about 110 degrees F). Add yeast and sugar. Let sit for approximately 5 minutes until foam and or small bubbles appear. 
Step 2: In bowl of KitchenAid mixer fitted with a dough hook (or Food Processor), add 3 1/2 cups flour and salt. Mix until combined. 
Step 3: Add wet ingredients and olive oil to flour mixture. Knead for approximately 5 minutes. If dough appears too wet, add additional flour. 
Step 4: Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with saran wrap or damp dish towel. Place in a warm area and allow to rise for approximately 1 hour. 
Tips: This dough is a fairly wet dough that will be quite tender and very easy to roll out after it proofs. Once you have a mixer out, it is easy to crank out tons of pizza doughs lickety split and freeze for later use. Trust me, you will be so happy to have these babies in your freezer! Also feel free to use Whole Wheat flour – I typically like a 3:1 ration of white to whole wheat. You can easily make this dough without a mixer, just good old fashioned elbow grease! 
Tomato Sauce
1 large can (28 oz) Whole Plum Tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 whole stem of basil with leaves 
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1-2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Step 1: In a saucepan, add oil, red pepper flakes and smashed garlic. Saute over low heat until garlic is lightly golden, about two minutes. 
Step 2: Add whole can of tin tomatoes, breaking up the plums with your fingers. Add basil stem, salt & pepper and simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Tips: This is a very simple, vibrant and fresh tasting sauce. You can take out basil and smashed garlic or leave in to further infuse your sauce. Fresh or dried oregano or thyme are also lovely additions. 
If you prefer a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender until desired consistency. 
Margherita Pizza
2 balls fresh Mozzarella
2 tablespoon Parmesan Reggiano 
1/2 – 2/3 cup tomatoe sauce
10 medium to large leaves of basil
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Step 1: Preheat oven to 500 F and place rack on lowest shelf. 
Step 2: Roll out dough on lightly floured surface. Shape into a circle if you have a round pizza pan or a rectangle to fit on a cookie sheet. Liberally oil the pan and place dough onto pan.
Step 3: Spread sauce on dough. Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on top. Tear apart Mozzarella balls with your hands in fairly large pieces and scatter over pizza. 
Step 4: Bake at 500 F until bottom is crisp and top is almost browned, about 12 minutes. 
Step 5: Remove pizza from oven. Tear fresh basil on top. Drizzle 1 tablespoon Olive Oil on top and return to oven for two to three minutes. 
Tip: Instead of traditional cornmeal or semolina sprinkled on a pan prior to placing pizza dough on top, we prefer a generous pour of Olive Oil. This will ensure a crispy, seared and flavorful crust with added flavor to boost. 
Fig & Prosciutto Pizza
4 thin slices prosciutto 
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle 
Balsamic to drizzle
Honey to drizzle
approx 1/2 cup Gorgonzola Dolce or Cambozola 
1/2 pint of figs quartered or 1/4 cup fig jam
1/2 cup Arugula 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 500 F and place rack on lowest shelf. 
Step 2: Roll out dough on lightly floured surface. Shape into a circle if you have a round pizza pan or a rectangle to fit on a cookie sheet. Liberally oil the pan and place dough onto pan.
Step 3: Place figs and chunks of cheese on dough leaving several open spaces. Drizzle honey over figs. Then add your arugula and gently place prosciutto on top. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic if desired. 
Step 4: Bake at 500 F until bottom is crisp and top is browned, about 15 minutes. 

Tip: Do not overcrowd this pizza. Less is better as the flavors are quite rich! If cinched for time, Trader Joe’s makes a great ready-made dough. 
Mexican Chicken Pizza
1 cup of canned black beans rinsed
1/3 – 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa 
1 jalapeño
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Mexican Combination Cheese
1 whole chicken breast poached and shredded into chunks (not too thin)
1/2 small onion sliced 
1/2 yellow, red or orange pepper sliced
1/3 cup roasted corn (Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn is great!)
1/4 cup sour cream crema (add half a lime and a dash of salt and pepper & smoked chipotle optional) 
cilantro to garnish
Step 1: Preheat oven to 500 F and place rack on lowest shelf. 
Step 2: Roll out dough on lightly floured surface. Shape into a circle if you have a round pizza pan or a rectangle to fit on a cookie sheet. Liberally oil the pan and place dough onto pan.
Step 3: Combine beans and salsa and corn together. Scatter on pizza dough. Place chicken, sliced onions and sliced peppers over. Layer with Cheese and add sliced jalapeños on top. 
Step 4: Bake at 500 F until bottom is crisp and top is browned, about 15 minutes.
Step 5: Add fresh cilantro and sour creme crema on top of the pizza. Serve with wedges of lime, more jalapeños and guacamole, if desired. 
Tip: This is a great what-to-do-with-leftovers-in-my-fridge kind of pizza. You can choose one or all of these ingredients and substitute freely. The Mexican flavors of cilantro, salsa and some form of heat are easily adaptable to just about any ingredient. This is great with leftover steak or even fish (think fish taco pizza!) or eliminate meat all together for a great vegetarian Mexican Pizza that even carnivores would love.
Margherita Pizza
Fig, Prosciutto & Gorgonzola Dolce Pizza
Sausage, Onions, Mushroom and Pepper Pizza
Vicki’s famous Kale Caesar Salad (we were all secretly hoping she would bring this!)
Outrageously delicious Mexican Chicken Pizza
A recurring theme of the evening – vino, vino, vino!
Tessa and Judy’s Apple and Pear Crisp with vanilla ice cream. Finished off in the wood oven for the perfect amount of smokiness contrasting the tartness of the apples and pears. So yummy.
In our families, competition rules. We are all currently obsessed with the app called Heads Up popularized by Ellen DeGeneres. The great thing about this game is that you can play with one person or a gaggle of folks. There are 18 categories to choose from including singing, accents, movies, ands sounds. One person holds up the phone and the rest of us act out or in our case shout out clues for the phone-holder to guess. Upon answering correctly, you tilt the phone down quickly and lift back to your head for a new card.
Hilarity ensues when you checkout the video that records all of your actions!
Zoe made her way from lap to lap and was quite smitten with Tessa.
Sadly we were missing 5 of our other siblings. Guess we will have to wait for Christmas to reunite.
The night ended as the Red Sox & Cardinals were entering the 9th inning. I am extremely thankful for the copious amounts of red wine we had throughout the evening. Our boys of summer disapointed- but ever so briefly. They always seem to rise and shine the following day!

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