Saturday, September 24, 2011

Teaching Teenagers to Cook: Michael's First Pizza

The other night Michael requested pizza for dinner.  I made the dough, put it out in the sun to rise for a few hours, and soon it was time to make the pizzas.

We usually make a pepperoni pizza for Michael, and then some kind of supreme or margherita pizza for Chef Reiton and I.  I started working the pepperoni pizza dough first when I looked at the time.  It was getting late, and I needed help.  I called for Michael.

"Would you please make the other pizza for me while I do this one?" I asked.

He shook his head.  "But I don't know how to do it.  I can't make a round circle!"

I laughed.  "You should have seen my first pizzas.  They looked like Wisconsin." (Remember those, dear reader?) "Don't worry, I'll show you how."

I picked up the lump of dough in front of him and showed him how to work it into a ball first, and then how to gently push it into a wider and wider circle.  I told him how to let it rest a few minutes when it didn't seem that it would stretch anymore, and then come back to it and watch it grow even more.

He watched me as I did mine, and then picked up the lump and started working.  In the middle of his dough work he said, "I think we should make each other's pizzas.  You make mine, and I'll make yours."  It was a deal.  As I made his pepperoni pizza with sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese, I told him how to make my margherita pizza: how to dice and salt the tomatoes; how to oil and gently salt the crust; how to layer on the tomatoes, the fresh mozzarella, and the fresh basil.

I wish I would have taken a before and after shot of the pizza he made, but I only took the after.  Look at this first attempt at making a pizza.  I didn't touch it once.

Not only was it beautiful, but it tasted awesome.  Perfectly salted (whereas mine I can sometimes overdo).  And it is ROUND.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Using Homegrown Hops

Aren't they beautiful???

Being only in their first year, our hop babies didn't produce much, so we decided to use the total 3/4 of an ounce that we harvested in a beer we are calling "The Kitchen Sink."  We had a bunch of grain and hops leftover from other batches, so Brewmaster Reiton thought, "Why not just put it all together in one experimental batch and see what happens?" 

We moved "The Kitchen Sink" from primary to secondary fermentation this afternoon and did a mid-fermentation taste test.  I liked it.  It's nicely hoppy. We're debating dry hopping at the end for aroma, which I'm okay with, if it doesn't change the taste.  It's a beautiful color, too.  A rich dark amber.

We'll see how it tastes at the end! My fingers are crossed!

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