Pizza is our Friday night ritual. The biggest dinner decision we make on Fridays is whether we are going out for a pie (Speaking of going out, I'm so happy to report that we have finally found our "go to" pizza place after 9 months of searching! And, its about 4 minutes from our home! I promise to bring along David's new iPhone next time we go so I can snap a few photos and then properly share with you it's loveliness and simple style.) or whether we are staying in to make one. If we stay home, Jack gets to have his Friday pizza AND movie night, which has become a huge hit! He is completely enamored with the screen and is loving Toy Story and Thomas the Train the most, as of late. He has about an hour of screen time each week (mostly from incidental sports watching with us), so this is a BIG night for him and a fun way to kick off the weekend!
I hope that our Friday night pizza tradition will be one of Jack's family food memories when he gets all big and grown up. I love family rituals and routines that create memories, but, and I'm sure to no one's surprise, I am particularly in love with memories shaped by food. It seems that a lot of people have memories of Saturday morning family breakfasts complete with delicious breakfast breads or waffles, eggs, and crispy bacon, but we are not quite at the stage of life when this routine makes sense for our family. Jack is not a lingerer nor is he particularly patient...he wants breakfast soon after waking up and as soon as he takes his last bite of the meal, he's ready to get down and get busy playing. This makes that required time of prepping and cleaning that bookmark the yummy breakfast a time of frustration for all of us! The long, relaxing breakfast becomes something instead that hijacks our morning leaving us all more frustrated (and fuller) then before we started.
So, while we are a few years off from that food ritual, I wonder what food memories we're creating now for our little. I'm hoping he will look back and remember our house always having fresh, seasonal, and plentiful produce and jars of homemade granola. I hope his palette is spoiled for life by my instance on homemade chocolate chip cookies and homemade ice cream rather than store bought varieties. I hope he will speak of our "Sunday morning out for breakfast ritual" with fond memories and knowledge that it allowed him to explore different restaurants, different tastes, and new parts of the city. And, I, of course, hope that Friday pizza nights will bring a smile to his face for years to come.
Here's our latest homemade pizza recipe. They've been quite tasty lately, I must say.
1 package store bought pizza dough (we buy ours from Trader Joe's and usually get the herb dough) 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce (we don't like ours too saucy, so one jar will make 2 weeks of pizzas for us plus leave a bit behind for another meal) 3 slices bacon About 6 large mushrooms, sliced in quarters lengthwise 1/2 cup Kalamata olives,sliced in half Few sprigs of fesh thyme
Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface or counter and let sit for about 20 minutes. I always cook my pizza on a pizza stone, so I work directly on this.
While the dough is coming to room temperature, cook your bacon in a skillet until crispy. Drain and set aside. And, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil and press the dough down with your hands and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough from the centre out to the edges until you have the desired shape and thickness. Also use your fingertips to press and stretch the dough.
Par bake you dough to make the perfect pizza dough consistency by putting it in the oven for about 5 minutes.
Once dough is pre-cooked a bit, spread marinara sauce evenly over crust. Scatter sliced mushrooms and olives, crumble bacon slices, and sprinkle fresh thyme leaves evenly over dough. Cover with mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until dough starts to brown and cheese is bubbling.