Friday, February 13, 2009


Last night was pizza night on The Hilltop. Thursday nights became the night for pie about two years ago when X was in a night class at law school and I’d do pizza and a DVD to occupy the troops. Since we moved in May the program has been revived – minus the DVD and plus the girlfriend – and slightly altered into the shape of a double pizza festival: one for the boys, one for us. (Yes, I make the crust with my loving hands. I knew you were wondering.) The boys have a usual customer order pie: tomato sauce, fresh sliced mozzarella, hamburger all around, black olives on half, pepperoni on half, shredded mozzarella, freshly grated parmesan, and oregano. The Eleven gets to experiment a bit with myriad vegetarian/non-meat pizza combinations that I try to change every week. Ours tends to be thinner on the crust, based on a pesto or olive oil sauce, and loaded down with all kinds of strange stuff: asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, sage, red onions, sunny-side up eggs, arugula, spinach, black beans, feta, parmesan, mozzarella, oregano, etc. Last night I did a margarita-like pie with only mozzarella, tomatoes, cream cheese and oregano. All’s well that ends well, right?

Let me take you back to February 5th, a cold night in the hills overlooking Falls Church. I’d spent the day wondering what type of magical mystery I could whip up when I got home. I started thinking about a smoked salmon pizza; but, do I cook the pie with the salmon? You might wonder. I did some research and sorted out that the poisson (and everything else) is added after the crust – lovingly brushed with olive oil – is baked and ready; sounded fab to me. I swung by TJs on the way home and grabbed a few ingredients (and wine – a chef ingredient) before settling into the kitchen to create my masterpiece. I made a batch of Greek yoghurt and dill sauce, sliced the red onions and tomatoes, and readied the capers (the capers were reserved for my portion of the pie)*. I decided to make one whole, single baking sheet pizza because both boys like smoked salmon and it would made my life a bit easier. By the way, never think for one moment that a step you might imagine making your life easier will actually make your life easier. Anyway, as I’m rolling out crust and checking my mise-en-place I get a few passing questions that can be summarized by this, “What’s for dinner?” I replied that pizza was en route and I generally felt there was joy all around. When the objet d’art was out of the oven, put together, and cool enough to serve, I rang the cow bell and the kinfolk arrived at the kitchen bar. Oh my! The horror! What in the hell is this? The crocodile tears and looks of sheer panic flooded to the fore. What is he trying to do to us? X kindly reminded me that this particular food configuration was actually a breakfast pizza. H. needed a paper bag to keep from hyperventilating. G. might have licked the edge of his piece with the tip of his lizard tongue. It did not go well. I, for one, ate away happily at my hunks of luscious smoked salmon and dill pizza. Sometimes you have to take a beating at the hands of the tribe. Don’t color outside the lines. When you say pizza, mean pizza. I’m just here to the help the team, and good Lord willing, things will work out. All that jazz.

Maybe I’ll just make them some crappy frozen pizza and call it a night.

Don’t look them in the eyes, they’ll think you want to play.

Love to all


*Okay, I’ll fess up to something here that shouldn’t actually have a serious effect on the outcome. One of my weekend breakfast menu items is bagels, cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions, capers and smoked salmon. This pizza MAY appear to be similar but the beautiful crust, olive oil, and yoghurt/dill sauce takes it all to another galaxy. Galaxy.

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