Tonight was the second night this week we thumped and punched and twirled and proofed and flattened and squeezed and generally manhandled some incredibly fluffy and elastic pizza dough. We’re trying to perfect a fluffy, crispy, and light crust that will rise conveniently fast but not too fast. We’re also working on perfecting cooking in the pizza oven — a feat that requires building a tepee of logs and lighting the paper beneath them ablaze while your whole torso is in the oven and making sure to remove your head quickly before your eyes melt. My mother, the pioneering woman she is, has this down pat. It also means adding logs every 10 minutes to keep the temperature up at 500 degrees, maneuvering hot cheese and dough in and out of the oven on peels with handles of 2-3 feet, and using a camping headlamp and a hat to be able to stand in the front of the oven without singeing the tip of your hair and still see at 4pm on a winter afternoon. In short: totally awesome. Anyone nearby will notice a boldness and exuberance combined with sheer giddiness and seriously flushed cheeks in themselves and their cohorts. Not to mention the heat.
Making pizzas can be chaotic. It can require endless little cups and bowls toting all sorts of pre-assembled goodies. It may mean flinging the pizza into the air first and mending the holes later. But when you’re finally amongst friends and face deep in that ooey gooey goodness, taking in that first whiff of flour and char, the herbs and acidity of the sauce, the slightly smoky toppings and all that cheese, it’s kind of hard to argue. Or to speak in complete sentences for that matter.
On such an occasion we like to have a biting bowl of good greens that can stand up to a good slice. Not just some I-did-my-duty-and-ate-a-forkful-of-romaine-withering-in-a-bowl-now-give-me-six-slices salad. But a burst of acidity, sweetness, and freshness. This salad is my new favorite of the lot. To say a bowl of greens stands up to pizza. Now that’s worth writing to mom about.
Ginger lime carrot and onion salad with toasted black sesame seeds
Marinated carrots and onion
2 large sweet carrots, washed, peeled, and cut into rough matchsticks (roughly 1 cup)
1/4 red onion, peeled, cut lengthwise, cut in half, and sliced thinly (roughly 1/2 cup)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon good maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and grated
Combine all the ingredients and marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hrs.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
Freshly ground black pepper
A sprig dried thyme, crushed
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Combine the olive oil, oregano, thyme, garlic, and some freshly ground black pepper. Whisk. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour up to a few days. Remove from fridge and add one tablespoon of juice from the marinating carrots and onions and the balsamic vinegar. Whisk. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.
1 head romaine, washed, and ripped coarsely
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
Toast the black sesame seeds in a small pan on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine the lettuce, carrots, and onions, and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Add dressing and toss to coast. Let sit for 5 minutes to marinate. Enjoy!
- Watercress salad with sesame tofu, ginger chicken, and mystery dressing
- Butter lettuce salad with stewed apples, sorrel, red onion, Gruyere, and toasted walnuts
- Watercress salad with red pepper, black olives, tomatoes in a tarragon vinaigrette
- Winter salad with tangerines, blue cheese, and toasted walnuts
- Jerk-esque grilled chicken with black bean and watercress salad