Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 41!

For some reason, people (and by people, I mean me) seem to wake up every Friday morning craving pizza. Luckily for us students (and by students, I mean me), Friday was Pizza Day! Thanks to the creative juices of many chefs around the globe, Pizza has developed into a canvas on which to paint any innumerable amount of flavor combinations. No longer only the tomato sauce & cheese scenario, pizza can be sweet or savory, eaten for breakfast or lunch or dinner or even dessert, with pretty much anything on top. My favorite ideas of the day were a pizza with cream cheese, smoked salmon, dill and capers and a pizza with grated apple and Gorgonzola. Then again, fresh tomato sauce with buffalo mozzarella and basil will never disappoint this voracious pizza eater.

The Cookery School has its own wood burning oven, which gets lit at 7 AM to be hot enough in time for lunch. Our headmistress bought it from a company called Valoriani ( in Italy, a producer of prefabricated wood burning ovens. Apparently, building a wood burning oven is a scientific art, so it might be best to buy one pre-made! Once hot, a 12 inch pizza cooks in 90 seconds. It is the ultimate fast food.

Some of my favorite pizza places in the States include Posto Pizza ( on 2nd Avenue and 18th Street in New York, The Upper Crust Pizzeria ( on Charles Street in Boston, and Christian's Pizza in Charlottesville, Virginia. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

After the morning Pizza demonstration and a feast for lunch, I got the midterm exam over with! Admittedly, it was quite a lot of build up for a rather relaxed afternoon. I identified 10 herbs and 8 salad leaves, set a table, poured a glass of wine, chopped and sweated an onion, chopped and sauteed mushrooms, finely chopped herbs, and made a paper parchment bag. I managed to win the lottery and did not have to fillet a fish or joint a chicken! Overall, I think I got off easy...

Friday's Tips!

- From Italian Cooking Master, Marcella Hazan: If you're using grated mozzarella for pizza (as opposed to hand rolled fresh mozzarella), drizzle it with olive oil to greatly enhance the flavor.

- For any type of yeast dough (for bread or pizza), use strong flour. It has more gluten and will stretch more with the rising yeast.

- Bread is made with four ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast. Think about that the next time you look at a supermarket loaf's lengthy list of ingredients!

- Try having a pizza party with friends! Before your guests arrive, make the pizza dough and roll it out into rounds (you can stack the rounds on sheets of parchment paper). Assemble various toppings in bowls out on the counter, and open a few bottles of wine. Everyone can make his own!

- Craving something sweet? Pizza with nutella, bananas, and strawberries is DE-licious.

- When chopping onions, breath through your mouth. It apparently helps with the tears! (as someone who ONLY breathes through her mouth, I cannot really comment).


  1. Binny: Reading that was torture. Your inherited your love of pizza from your father, who is part Italian, or at least wishes he were (his last name does end in a vowel). As a victim of Celiac disease, I will never be able to eat pizza again. I used to love it, especially the thin-crusted variety with the fresh ingredients that are served up in just about every trattoria in Rome. But now I have to settle for pizza made with gluten-free dough, which tastes like cardboard, and, worse, has a terrible after taste. Let me know if you come across any tasty gluten free breads or pizza crust. Love, Dad

  2. Binny,

    My favorite pizza place in sacramento. Love your blog. Will be a Ballymaloe student in April 2010!