Happy July 4th, my wonderful Cuisinicity fans! I hope you can finally celebrate the holiday with your family and friends. I thought of all of you because I got to try out my brand new pizza oven and just knew I had to share – what a festive and fun way to host your July 4th celebration!
Celebrating Summer with Our New Pizza Oven
This oven is just AMAZING! It literally bakes pizza in 60 seconds – I am not exaggerating! – and it tastes and looks like it just came out of one of those great big woodfire ovens in a little trattoria in Sicily. The one I bought is the Ooni Koda Outdoor Pizza Oven. Take a look for yourselves!!
Pizza Oven Recipes
Preheat the pizza oven stone for 20 minutes while you get the ingredients together. Make the pizza dough (my recipe will make 2 12-inch pizza crusts) . Divide the dough into 2 balls and when ready to ensemble, here’s a trick that will make prep easy: don’t roll it out with a roller; do it with your fingers, like so:
Once you press it out with your fingers into the flat crust, throw a little flour onto both sides of the dough with your fingers to keep it from sticking. Next comes the pizza sauce. I like to use marinara sauce. The best marinara sauces are those with no added sugar!, like one of my favorites, Rao’s Marinara Pasta Sauce.
The Sky is the Limit for Pizza Toppings!
Here are some ideas for toppings from the pizzas I made for our party:
1) Rao’s marinara sauce, raw baby spinach leaves and fresh chopped kale with a sprinkling of gruyère, goat or gorganzola cheese on top.
2) This one is a white pizza. No marinara sauce. First, put a little gruyère cheese on the dough (a little goes a long way when you use a flavorful cheese!). Slice a fresh ripe tomato and drizzle it with a little extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, a little salt and fresh ground pepper. Place it on top of the cheese, and add a 1/2 can of tuna (I like this one), then sprinkle a little more cheese, and place a few calamata olives on top.
3) Grill 2 bell peppers (yellow, orange, green, red…just so colorful and beautiful!) with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Put marinara sauce on your finger-pressed dough and spread the grilled peppers over the dough. Sprinkle some delicious shredded cashew-based vegan mozzarella cheese on top.
4) Make 1/2 cup cooked black lentils. Don’t overcook! Sauté some mushrooms with extra virgin olive oil and garlic. When the mushrooms turn golden, throw in the lentils. This combination tastes savory, almost sausage-like! Put some marinara sauce on the dough, throw a handful of raw baby spinach on top, and the lentil mix. Top it off with gruyère or any flavorful cheese that you like.
5) Grilled eggplant with Marinara sauce and fresh baby spinach. Throw grilled sliced eggplant with those gorgeous stripes on either side that you get from grilling them on a grill pan (see my trick on the little video below) onto the marinara sauce, sprinkled with fresh baby spinach :
Take a look at my grilled veggies for more ideas. The sky is the limit! Just go with it and have fun!
Of course you have to top it off by throwing on some fresh basil at the end. Otherwise its not Italian!
Some Pizza Oven Tips and Tricks I Discovered
- Use a wooden paddle to form the pizza and throw it in the oven and a metal paddle to remove the pizza from the oven. (The paddles have to be bought separately from the pizza oven).
- Sprinkle a little flour and semolina or polenta onto the wooden paddle and “massage” it in so that it coats it nicely, and the dough is able to slide right off the paddle.
- Again, its important to make sure the uncooked pizza is loose enough on the wooden paddle so that it will slide easily into the oven.
- Right before you slide into the pizza oven, check in case a little tomato sauce or cheese spills out onto the paddle and if so, lift up the dough at that spot and add a little flour underneath. If it slides easily, you are golden!
Now you are ready to bake: Slide the wooden paddle into the oven, then lift handle end of the paddle up and slide that pizza into the oven with a “cha! cha cha” move, emphasis on the first “cha!” as you swish it in there!
With this fabulous oven, it takes very little time: bake for 30 seconds, then take your metal paddle and turn the pizza 180 degrees or so. Give it 30 more seconds and you’re done! Fetch it once again with the metal paddle and put it on table while singing “O sole Mio”–Crucial!!
Whatever you do this summer, I hope you enjoy it to the fullest with friends and family, loving food that loves you back. Do you have a special pizza recipe you’d like to share with your fellow Cuisinicity fans? Put it in the comments below and maybe I’ll try it!
Coming up next month: homemade falafel and whole wheat pita, freshly baked in my pizza oven. Yum!!