Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Day 28, 2017: My Apartment (Hell's Kitchen, NYC)

Hi, I'm Sean

Interior of my apartment

With every pizza my heart

DAY 28: OCTOBER 28th, 2017

LOCATION: My Apartment (Hell's Kitchen NYC 10036)

GUEST(S): Robin Rothman, Tony Carnevale, Maddy Mako, Dot McMillan, Paul Ryan, Steve Slate, Greg Turner, Michael McLarnon, Habiba Waziruddin, Bianca Casusol

ORDER: 1 slice of Four Cheese and Mushroom, 1 slice of Pepperoni, 1 slice of Hot Soppressata, 1 slice of Hot Soppressata and Smoked Mozzarella, 2 slices of Mushroom and Prosciutto

DIY pizza day. One of my New Years' resolutions for this year was to learn how to make pizza from scratch. I began doing a lot of research online about how to make the perfect dough and sauce - and when I was ready, I began inviting friends over for pizza tastings about once a month (except for a hiatus over the Summer when it's simply too hot to turn on the oven.) There was a lot of trial and error involved, but after a lot of practice, it has been getting increasingly better! That being said, I have plenty of room for improvement. One fact I have not yet dealt well with is that our oven does not get to the desired temperature. It doesn't even get to 550 like the gauge says it does. Still, I have witnessed pizziaoli do better with less so my next goal is to find the dough and cooking technique that works best for my oven. Nonetheless, I love eating my own pizza and the positive feedback I get from my friends is icing on the cake (or cheese on the pie!) That said, I'd encourage everyone to grab up some great ingredients and give their own pizza recipe a try. Especially if you've got a more powerful oven!

For fellow at home pizza makers, here are a few things I did at my pizza night that you might like to try.

The Dough: The dough was '00' fermented for ~50 hours (I typically prefer to ferment it closer to 100 hours) and was about a 65% hydration. When I add more water than that, the dough sticks to the peel when I attempt to slip it into the oven. Fortunately, I made six dough balls and that rendered six pies.

The sauce: My sauce was comprised of crushed whole peeled tomatoes (minus the stem) and sea salt. The cans of tomatoes were purchased at Whole Foods the day of to ensure freshness.

The toppings: For the meats, I selected pre-sliced hot soppressata, pepperoni and prosciutto. All tasted amazing straight out of the package. I applied the hot soppressata and pepperoni before the bake which yielded a nice crispness on some of the edges. I applied the prosciutto after the bake as a final step before presenting the pizza to my guests. The heat radiating off of the pie fresh out of the oven is enough to warm the meat without cooking it. I have also found that applying the prosciutto in smaller pieces makes for a less messy bite. For the cheeses, I purchased fresh mozzarella, smoked fresh mozzarella, a brick of whole milk low moisture mozzarella, a small wedge of imported parmigiana reggiano (aged two years) and a small wedge of Pecorino Romano. I switched back and forth between the smoked and fresh mozzarella, experimenting with various meat and cheese combinations. For example, the smoked mozzarella was a great compliment to the spicy soppressata. A final addition to a couple non-meat pies for my vegetarian guests was a mushroom medley of white button, shitake, crimini and chanterelle. I found that a fine crumble of these various mushrooms over the pie was the best way to ensure that they would bake evenly into the pie. They also added another delicious layer of flavor when paired with the meat. If you want more specifics on my process or have advice of your own to impart, please drop me a line at 31daysofpizza.com

Mushroom (and post oven prosciutto - not pictured)
Hot Soppressata and smoked mozzarella
Robin "the mushroom gal"
Hot Soppressata

Four Cheese and mushroom

Mushroom and smoked mozzarella

Day 28


Bianca, Paul, Dot, Habiba, Michael, Maddy, Tony, Robin
1. Bianca Casusol teaches improv at the Magnet Theater and performs with an improv comedy team called She Wolf and the Friday Night Show.

2. Habiba Waziruddin and Michael McLarnon were the first people in New York City to invite me over for a do-it-from-scratch pizza night in their apartment.  About 8 attempts later, I recognize that I have tons to learn.
Dot, Michael, Maddy, Tony, Robin
3. This was Dot McMillan and her husband's (Paul Ryan) first time at our apartment. Paul makes his own pizza too and plays the guitar.  Dot is an actor and works at the Magnet Theater and is expecting something more amazing than pizza.

4. Tony Carnevale has great taste in soda.  He left a couple of cream sodas and a ginger beer in our fridge when he left and they were delicious. #burp
5. Maddy Mako was the first person to arrive in costume.  She went as a table in a pizzeria complete with checkerboard tablecloth, place setting, napkin, and a sixer of Peroni.

6. Robin Rothman took leftover ingredients and made an impromptu Caprese salad for our guests.
Steve, Robin, Greg
7. Steve Slate and Greg Turner arrived later but both had on costumes.
Pizza eating pizza
8. Robin had a lot of fun in the pizza slice costume.

MaryLoo made an appearance
9. Our cat, MaryLoo made an appearance but chose not to eat any pizza.

 5/5 - for the experience

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