Our corner of the country is about 25 round-trip miles from the nearest pizzeria and home delivery is out of the question. So for 30+ years, it’s been make-your-own or do without. I thought I’d share my recipe, in case you’re facing a pizza shortage in this Covid-era
Our pizza starts with a very old recipe from Chez Panisse, a Berkeley restaurant that Alice Waters opened back in 1971 when I was in grad school there. Her marvelous pizza dough recipe appeared in the old Berkeley Barb not long after. I still bake from my early 1970s clipping (several times copied), but you can find Alice’s original recipe here. The photo is from the second rising. My strategy for dough risings in our air-conditioned house: put a large bowl with a cup of water into the microwave, heat it for a minute, then set the covered dough bowl into that larger bowl and close the microwave door to hold the heat. That’s about as much warmth as this dough wants.
Alice’s recipe makes enough dough for two pizzas if you like your crust thin and crispy. We like it deep-dish (thicker and softer), so I use the full recipe for one pizza. We don’t like a lot of sauce and mine is easy and uncomplicated: 1/2 can tomato paste plus about a 1/3 cup of ketchup and a half-tin of mashed anchovies, plus dried thyme, oregano, basil (if you don’t have fresh). Toppings: crumbled Italian sausage on my half; pepperoni and sausage on Bill’s. On both: onion, garlic, mushrooms (these days, I mostly use canned, since Bill goes to the store only every couple of weeks), sometimes bacon. And lots of freshly grated mozzarella.
I bake my pizza a lot slower than Alice’s recipe calls for (375) and a little longer (16-18 min)–of course, it depends on your oven. Fresh chopped basil goes on top, if I have any. (Mine got started late, from seed–it won’t be ready for a few weeks.) Slice and enjoy with a hearty red.
Book report. I’ve been working on the Dahlias’ 9th mystery, The DD’s and the Voodoo Lily. There’ve been a lot of interruptions lately (I’ve been helping with the launch of Story Circle’s new website), so progress has been slower than usual. My mysteries typically have 3-4 subplots, and when I’m pulled out of the narrative for even a day, I lose track. Coming back to the story means lots of back-tracking. I’m hoping to finish in another three weeks. Then I’ll turn the file over to Sandra, my intrepid copy editor and then to Sarah and Kerry for layout and upload. Monica’s covers are all-but-done already. My team is intelligent and hardworking and I love every one of them. If all goes well for us, you should have both digital and prints books by early November, the library edition a little later–if it’s still economically feasible. (We’ll see about that after we know what’s happened with the hardcover library edition of the omnibus Crystal Cave.) The next China Bayles? Probably late 2021.
In the meantime, there’s plenty of time for you to finish the first Pecan Springs novella trilogy (NoBODY, SomeBODY Else, Out of BODY) before the second (Deadlines, Fault Lines, Firelines) comes out in July and August, with an omnibus edition in September. These stories are all centered on Pecan Springs, with different characters (Ruby Wilcox and crime reporter Jessica Nelson) taking the lead. There will be an audio edition of these books, but I’m not sure when. Covid-19 has thrown a monkey wrench into the audio publisher’s plans and I don’t know where they are with this project.
Reading note: You can do irrefutably impossible things with the right amount of planning and support from intelligent and hardworking people and pizza. –Scott Gimple