Pizza Tools For Home-Baked Pizzas
By Anne-Marie Kovacs, Chief Wife
With spring barely palpable and, in Chicago, many frosty days still in the forecast, my family instinctively turns to comfort foods. Pizza, predictably, is one of those foods. I mean, homemade pizza. Though, I admit it, I cheat. I don’t buy the whole pizza (well ok, sometimes I do) but I do buy the dough as I am still not courageous enough to make my own (neither can I plan that far out in advance to manage the whole dough rising thing…). Still, we make an event out of “Pizza Night”, one where even teenagers will be tempted to dine at home and also invite their friends.
Pizza night is an “everyone for themselves” affair, aka “make your own pizza”. That starts with each rolling the dough (to some rocking Pandora station) for their individual pizza. We set out all the accoutrements: pizza sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, peppers, olives, various cheeses, BBQ sauce & chicken, spinach, fresh garlic, artichokes, etc… (Picky eaters choose what they want) and then slide all the pizzas in the over for 20 minutes or so. A brownie mix is usually being stirred, ready to be slipped into the oven when the pizzas are done.
Here are some tools and gadgets that might well make the evening even more functional AND fun:
|Pizza Cones – Why is it that anything in a cone is always messier and way more fun to eat than the same foods in “traditional” presentations? Whether ice cream, sushi, French fries (as served in Holland with mayo!) or pizza, cones do spell F-U-N. Try making pizza in cones. This video shows you how. Buy the kit at Sur La Table or Amazon.|
|Uuni Personal Wood-Fired Pizza in Your Very Own Oven – Stay calm. This particular “gadget” is only available for pre-order at the moment, with estimated delivery in April 2013. Following a successful Kickstarter project, inventor Kristian Tapaninaho brings to market his portable wood-fired oven which allows any home with an average sized oven to bake wood-fired pizza. The lightweight oven uses wood as a fuel and reaches temperatures as high as 800 F. The order line starts here.|
|Pizza Mesh – Though really meant for frozen pizza, there is no reason you can make you fresh pizza on this pizza mesh. The reusable mesh allows air to circulate and leaves the dough crispy. At about $12, this is the most economical option to achieve “crispy” results. Washable and can be used in temperatures up to 500 degrees. Buy on Amazon.|
|Pizza Stone – Pizza stones are said to crisp the pizza just like that of a real pizzeria. That would be because the stone keeps the oven temperature high and steady and pulls the moisture from the dough, giving the pizza its crispiness. The pizza stone shown here is from Crate & Barrel has a smooth side (pizzas and tortillas) and a ribbed side (burgers, steaks, etc…). More basic versions can be found on Amazon.|
|Calzone Press – Variations on a theme are always fun and so is the calzone, a pocket pizza stuffed with mysterious and delicious filling combos. But a properly shaped calzone is not the easiest thing to achieve, which is why I like this small calzone press. It provides a nice little nook in which to place the fill ingredients and then all you have to do is flip over the empty half and seal. Perfect size for limiting portions too. Buy at Sur La Table (and remember to bake on the pizza stone!).|
|PizzaOven.com Recipes – This is a business-to-business website, so we suspect that the recipes are good. To me, they sound either delicious or interesting (chocolate pizza dough? Maybe…) From savory to sweet (S’mores pizza?) to pizza recipes inspired from every ethnicity, there will be something here to satisfy every pizza craving.|