Maybe it’s because I have not cooked a lot during the past year due to my shoulder, which still hurts a lot, and maybe my cooking mojo has left me after this hiatus?
I am now just strong enough to lift the beautiful fire-engine red glazed stone onto the oven rack, and because space in my tiny kitchen is at a premium, that’s where it needs to live unless I’m cooking something else.
So the stone is already in the oven, making the dough was extremely easy and it was ready and waiting for me in a snug tub in the fridge, exhaling in its Demi Moore yeasty voice, “Bake me, now!”.
I already had sauce, basil and cheese, so I just ignored my baseless trepidations and gave it a go. I turned on the oven to 500 F and tried not to worry so much.
I rolled out the dough, let it relax for 5 minutes before its final shaping, and swirled on the sauce with a back of a spoon. The mozzarella was the good, bobbing in a tub of water kind of cheese from Bellweather Farms, so I let the slices drain on some paper towels while the oven heated up.
I had procrastinated for quite a while and my sprightly bunch of basil was getting rather limp and tired (like me on a Friday night) but I managed to salvage enough to snip over the top of my little pizza.
Lacking a peel I used the back of a cookie sheet and, surprisingly, I had no problem sliding the pie onto the stone.
I slammed the oven door, set the timer and said a few words of encouragement, maybe to me or maybe to the oven, I’m not really sure which, but mumbling to myself I sloshed out a glass of water from my filter jug and relaxed for 15 minutes.
I peeked at the halfway point and gave the pizza a little shove with a spatula. Hey, what do you know, it looked pretty good! And, it smelled like pizza.
Funny how the color of the stone’s glaze deepened to a dark maroon, isn’t that interesting?
After 15 minutes the crust was browned and blackened in spots and the cheese had melted and browned too.
It smelled amazing.
Using my big spatula the pizza slid right off the hot stone on to my waiting tray, like a skier coming off a run, whoosh, a perfect landing!
I had to admit I was impressed.
The new pizza cutter worked like a hot knife through butter, cutting through the crisp bottom crust while not disturbing the toppings.
I showered on some grated Parmesan and added a few spurts of sriracha sauce, and proceeded to eat the entire thing.
Pizza at home, as good as your sweetest fancy pants pie from a hipster pizza restaurant in the Mission, in 15 minutes with no dishes to wash and the only person I had to tip was me.
Now I need to buy more flour, and more cheese!
My next pizza should have some different toppings though, please share with me your favorite combinations..