Along the Natchez Trace

Thursday, February 11, 2016

National Pizza Day... New Moon... Whatever....

Our friend Memo wanted to celebrate the New Moon by having a pizza party yesterday.  My friend, Joanie, in Columbus, Ohio e-mailed me that Tuesday was also National Pizza Day, so it looks like Memo was getting vibes that more than a New Moon was happening...  maybe the moon was controlling his thoughts.

Anyway, as the invites went out, Memo said that the dough would be provided and for folks to bring their favorite toppings.
This is Judy, the chef....  she had made both flour and non-gluten dough.  She'd divided it up into "pizza-sized" portions and it was all ready to use when the party started around 4pm.
That's Chris beside her...  he and his wife Kathryn are from Iowa, and, like us, are spending the winter months here. 

Here Chris has a jar of pizza sauce in his hand....  He and Kathryn made the first pizza.  There were all kinds of toppings...  onions, mushrooms, peppers, olives, that stuff that looks like wheat germ, I think some basil...  some caramelized onions .....  several jars of salsa...  several different kinds of cheese.
While most pizzas were shared when out of the oven, I think most folks made one to suit their fancy.

And..  Now...  ready for the oven.
We learned how to spread cornmeal (or, in this case, tortillas chips that had been pulverized with a rolling pin) on that wooden pallet.  That made the pizza slide off the board into the oven...  the cornmeal acted like little rollers...  and worked quite well!

 This is Memo's friend, David.  He showed Memo how it all works...  
Memo had started the fire in the oven around noon...  it gets very hot... I think around 900 degrees!  Then it starts to cool down...  and after a few hours, it's just right to bake pizza.  Each pizza only took 3-5 minutes to bake.  The trick is to roll the crust fairly thin and not put too many toppings on.

And...  Ta Dah!  Here's Chris...  sampling his work of art.

There was a regular production line going for a while...
That's Kathryn at the sink, Judy, rolling out dough...  Memo cutting up some pizza, and other folks were were maybe waiting to make their own or just chatting .

Finally it became my turn.  Elaine, who also arrived early, hadn't had a chance to make one either...  so we decided to each "decorate" a half a pizza the way we liked.  Bill & I both like lots of hot peppers (and often, other folks don't)...  so we divided it down the middle and each topped our half.

Ours ended up being a little thicker (more toppings) than was recommended, but, you know what?  It came out really good and was done to perfection!

That's Memo, putting another pizza in the oven.  Jacque, David's wife is looking on.

That's Bill...  enjoying a slice of oven-fired pizza...  with Memo closing up the "door" with  a custom-cut piece of wood, wrapped in a water-soaked towel.

Since we shared our half of that pizza, I had the opportunity to make another.  This one was with gluten-free dough.  I've worked with it before and know it dries out quickly and also doesn't have the elasticity that gluten does...  And by this time (I think it was the last pizza in the oven) the oven temp had decreased quite a bit and baking took longer.

But no problem...  all the dough had been used and even though there were lots of left-over toppings, most folks were out in the yard visiting with each other.

Then...  along came some late-comers.  With more toppings!  Nancy had brought the fixings for a greek pizza...  spinach and feta...  but no more dough.  She solved the problem...  everyone has tortillas on hand...  she used her toppings to make Greek Tostados for her group.  Hey...  we're innovative down here!

I don't know how many folks were there...  they seemed to come and go in the time we were there...  but I can certainly say that we celebrated the New Moon...  or maybe National Pizza Day...  in style.

Thanks Memo for your hospitality!

That's All For Today!


  1. Oh crap. We love pizza. What a great idea to make a pizza and then make it in the outside oven. I can just image how delicious it must have tasted.

  2. What fun! I would love to have a pizza oven in my backyard!

  3. Where does the fire go in that oven? A wood fire? Does one reach in from the front? The pizzas look so delicious and the party looks fun.

  4. We make all our pizzas here, from the dough on up. The girls are really good at it.