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“Pity we don’t have a kiln…”

belvedereonline.jpgWhen my friend Mclean suggested that we have a pizza party using Andrew’s kiln, naturally my first thought was of Mr. Belvedere. Though I imagine I must have watched many episodes of the show when I was young, the only one I remember was when Kevin had to make the turkey for Thanksgiving. Having little to no cooking experience, Kevin did not realize how long a whole turkey takes to cook–so he cut corners to save time. The turkey was a dried-out disaster, and when Mr. Belvedere discovered that Kevin had turned the oven up from 250 to 500 degrees (thinking the turkey would cook twice as fast!), Mr. Belvedere said dryly, “Pity we don’t have a kiln, we could’ve had the turkey yesterday!” Perhaps not quite so funny on my blog, but it was so funny to me then that to this day that’s the only think I remember about the show. And my mom and sister–of course–said the exact same thing to me when I told them what I’d be doing…

img_1883.jpgHere are a few photos from tonight’s kiln pizza party. I like to think of the first one as the “spirits of the kiln,” but others might like to call it a “sweet ceramic bowl that Brian made with some tomatoes and basil in it.” Next is a picture of the lovely pizza kiln–you might notice that it doesn’t exactly look like something you’d want to put food into, but I suppose that was precisely the point. (There was talk of using the pottery wheel to throw the dough, but I don’t think anyone had enough energy to introduce that variable into the game.) The third shot is of our first pizza inside the kiln. img_1895.jpgIt was Brian’s idea to crack an egg in the middle. I think that’s pretty gross, and it actually felt like rubber when it was finished. As I’m sure you can imagine from looking at the picture, the hardest part of cooking pizza in a kiln is figuring out how to get it out when it is done without seriously injuring yourself (though I suppose this adds to the appeal?) The final picture is of one of our final products, which was actually the second pizza that we made.  Needless to say, they were delicious.

In case you are interested in trying this, here are some things we learned about baking pizzas in a kiln. First, make sure to preheat the kiln before you start baking.  Kilns certainly don’t take a long time to get hot, but we found that the pizzas cooked much more evenly after the first.  (Our biggest lesson was that kilns don’t really cook pizzas very evenly, and the bottom is really the last to cook).   Try not to peek in at the pizza while it is cooking too much, because that will affect how well the pizza bakes.  You may want to do a test pizza.  Oh, and think a little bit about how you are going to get the pizza out, because we (“we” as in not me) were just basically sticking our arms in there very carefully with a fork.  No burns, but maybe a bit of singed arm hair…img_1894.jpgimg_1902.jpg

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