TheLoneRider
a seeker in search of Easter Eggs
Peoplescape Pizza

Thailand     Canada

Pizza Nites (Canada)

What is Pizza Nite?
Friends BYOI (Bring Your Own Ingredients - crust, sauce, cheese, toppings...and drinks) and take individual turns making their "prize winning" pizza for sharing. Everyone helps out on clean-up. It's a gathering of friends for fun, laughs and pizza.
How to make pizza dough

Pizza Dough

Three ways to bring your pizza dough to Pizza Nite:
  1. buy a ready-made uncooked pizza dough from a pizza joint (easy and fun)
  2. buy a ready-made cooked pizza crust from the grocery (easy but not fun)
  3. make your own pizza dough from scratch, as follows: (challenging and most fun)

    Ingredients:

    • 3 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 cup warm water (between 85° and 115° F)
    • 2 tbsp yeast (I like my dough a little yeasty. You can use less)
    • 2 tbsp sugar or honey (I use Muscovado sugar)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt

    Preparation:

    1. Making the sponge/poolish
      Mix water, sugar, yeast and 1 cup regular flour in a bowl. Cover until it starts to bubble (first rising, around 45 mins). This can now be used. However, if you want a more flavorful pizza dough, keep this covered in the fridge overnight or a full 24 hours.
    2. Kneading
      Mix the rest of the ingredients (flour, salt and oil) and start kneading (tip: press on with your body weight, not just your arm power). The dough should be soft without being sticky. Too sticky, add flour. Too hard, add water. You're done when the dough bounces back when you poke your finger onto it. Cover until double in size (2nd rising, around 45 mins).
    3. Scaling and shaping
      Punch the dough to take the air out. You can cut it up and use only what you need. You can cut it up into 3 and shape them into balls - one of those balls should be good to make one 13" regular pizza. You can freeze the 2. Flatten one ball into a circular shape. I usually flatten it on the same tray I will bake on so I don't have to make a transfer - I just apply a little oil on the tray before flattening. Using both hands, one on top of the other, press from the center outwards to stretch it in all directions. You can flatten it more by using a rolling pin (or wine bottle). Take a fork and put puncture holes all over the dough to keep it from bubbling up while cooking (which also holds the sauce in place). Wait until double in size (3rd and last rising).
    4. the dough is now ready for baking

For a more complicated pizza dough but much better, here's a video by Vito Iacopelli

How to make pizza sauce

Pizza Sauce

Two ways to bring your pizza sauce to Pizza Nite:
  1. buy a ready-made pizza sauce from a pizza joint or from the grocery
  2. make your own pizza sauce from scratch, as follows: (challenging and most fun)

    Basic Pizza Sauce

    Ingredients:

    1. ripe fresh tomatoes (use just enough for sauce consistency)
    2. fresh peeled crushed garlic (according to taste)
    3. bunch of fresh basil (in Thailand, there are 3 types...use the sweet basil with green stem, not purple) or oregano
    4. 1 small can, tomato paste (great thickener and holds the sauce together)
    5. teaspoon of sugar (not to sweeten, but to reduce acidity)
    6. pinch of salt
    7. fresh ground pepper
    8. generous amount of olive oil (quarter cup? really, up to you for consistency)

    Preparation:

    1. puree the fresh tomatoes in a blender and strain on a sieve. Keep the liquid and the pulp.
    2. combine basil leaves, garlic and the tomato liquid in a blender and liquify. Transfer all to a pot and heat up. Remove immediately the moment it boils. Strain the liquid and discard the pulp
    3. add the liquid, sugar, the tomato pulp, salt, pepper and tomato paste in a blender and puree again
    4. on slowest blender setting, start pouring small amount of olive oil into the sauce until well blended. Adding oil last prevents the oil from separating
    5. sauce is ready. Pack in serving size containers and freeze



Pizza Nite with Friends Jan 25, 2003

Pizza Nite with Friends

Location Google Map: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Pizza Nite
Pizza nite is a celebration of food and friendship. This nite is one such! I was in my usual state of natural high. Why not? The people who mattered were there (and then some who couldn't make it).

Pizza Nite with Friends

Fr. Terry Gallagher
My holy man, Fr. Terry Gallagher, whom I've not seen in ages has graced the occasion. He is a man well-loved and sought-after for the wisdom of his counsel and his warmth. His heart is in the right place. I am but one amongst many who seek the same thing. His influence on my life warrants its own Peoplescape entry...when the words begin to reveal themselves.

Emylee and Jen
Emylee and Jen made it this time. Woohoo! All red and all purple respectively, they added color to the evening...literally and figuratively.

They welcomed me into their rave tribe as we bonded and partied with their friends - at OM Summer Solstice Festival I, OM Summer Solstice Festival II and several outings. With them, I was da dude, dancing my heart out in pure bliss.

Danny and Mon
Danny and Mon were generous in providing a lift to some of my guests (again, many thanks!). That generosity was equaled only by the sumptuousness of the smoked salmon pizza they whipped up.

Angela
The evening would not have been complete without culinary authority and paella guru, Angela, who's also a long-time friend. Her knack to blend diverse ingredients in perfect harmony was evident with her pizza: fresh salmon, capers, onions, roasted red pimento, crumbled roquefort cheese and cracked pepper.

Carrie and Brian
Likewise, it was great seeing Carrie again and meeting Brian. Their Bulgarian goat cheese with Casalingo Salami pizza had that 'hard to place' tangy edge. Definitely not your average pizza.

Orlana and Craig
My good Samaritan, Orlana, was there with Craig. Their stuffed-edge pizza added a new twist to a meat lover's delight.

Ending Thoughts
Pizza served and presented that evening couldn't be had in the best pizza places in town. They were inspired epicurean works of art meticulously handcrafted with pride and attention to details. I was a Pavlovian dog that night.

Pizza Nites are special to me. It's a pause from the journey...when individual links gather collectively to form a chain in celebration of friendship, food and wine. The sharing of the pizza slices to all is no different from a tribal passing of the proverbial peace pipe...when goodwill overflows...when everything is positive...when perspective is regained...when all is good.

...until the next gathering!

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider



Reader Comments:

Carrie
(Jan 30, 2003) Thanks for inviting Brian and I -- what a lovely evening! I had such a wonderful time :-)


Jen
(Jan 29, 2003) Thank you very much for inviting me! I had a great time, despite the fact that we had to leave so quickly! We will have plenty of time to talk in the future, I assure you! Take care. I hope to see you again soon. *Mwah!*

Raymond
(Jan 28, 2003) Thank you for the gracious host that you are and always have been. As usual, we had a great time!

Orlana
(Jan 28, 2003) Thanks for inviting Craig and myself to your Pizza Nite! We had a great time and really enjoyed your company, your friends' company, eating pizza, making pizza and for me - your wine! I just visited your site and WOW! That was really cool what you did!

Emylee
(Jan 28, 2003) It really was an amazing time...thank you, thank you, thank you! My weekend would not have been the same without your event! You're a top notch host in my book! Take a bow!!!!

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