Friday night is homemade pizza night at the LeFort household. It's the one night of the week that I don't have to think about what's on the menu. I was recalling yesterday how our pizza making adventures have developed in the last few years. First we were ordering out, then we were buying pre-baked crusts and decorating them ourselves, then we bought raw pizza dough, and finally we've been making our own dough for well over a year. We enjoy seeing how "local" our pizza can get. Our standard pie has homemade dough (my fave recipe is from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible), home-canned sauce with local tomatoes and herbs, homemade Italian sausage from local pork, local mushrooms (this week harvested from our dining room), local mozzarella cheese, spinach or swiss chard from our garden, and black olives (we've not been able to give them up quite yet.) It took us many months and numerous attempts to get the crust just right. We tried decorating it raw, pre-baking it, cooking it at different temperatures. We've finally created a pizza that we think it just right, although the toppings are subject to change each season. I look forward to fresh arugula from our garden, which I like to lay on top of the pizza after it's been baked. I love pizza night because it's a team effort in the kitchen. Ben usually chops the olives and sautes the mushrooms, cooks down and seasons the sauce, and cooks the sausage. I roll out and dock the crust then we take turns decorating. I usually don't like to eat in front of the TV, but we relax that rule on Friday nights and enjoy a local craft beer with our 'za while watching The News Hour on PBS. It's one certainty in an otherwise unpredictable week with a young child.
Tonight Ben is bottling home-brewed beer with a friend. They brewed an English brown ale (think Newcastle) a few weeks ago and since then its gone through two fermentations. After bottling it will age for a couple of months then they have plans to take some of it on a camping trip...and you know how that story ends. I was so excited when they made plans to brew. It's something I've been interested in since tasting some delicious ales from a few talented friends who have mastered the craft. We planted Cascade hops on our wedding trellis a couple years ago, but a big wind storm threw the trellis over, ripping the hops off the trellis and finishing them for the season. They failed to come back the following spring, which is crazy since hops are so prolific. This year we plan to get a clipping from our farmer friends and replant, possibly on our living awning (stay tuned.) There is still quite a shortage of hops nationally, maybe I could turn it into a side business...or maybe not right now.