Well, the holiday season is upon us! Schedules fill up, and the days fly by with so many activities and to-dos. We hope cooking in your wood-fired oven affords you some fun, relaxing times with family, friends and neighbors. (Even if it’s too chilly for everyone else to join you outside, they’ll certainly appreciate the goodies you bring to them indoors!)
Speaking of outdoor activities, I am doing a new fundraising race on December 4 – running both the California International Marathon in Sacramento in the morning and the Las Vegas Rock-and-Roll Marathon in the evening. That’s 52.4 miles and one flight, all in one day. As always, Forno Bravo is a recognized fundraiser for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. If you’d like to support this effort, we have Team Reeves eBooks available via the Forno Bravo Store for $10 each, and Forno Bravo matches all contributions. I’ll let you know how it goes.
While many of us in the Northern Hemisphere are bundling up, our friends Down Under are enjoying their summertime. Last month, we announced a Down Under Photo Contest. We had a ton of great entries. Soon, we’ll post five finalists and open the contest up for your votes, so stay tuned on Facebook and the Forum. In the meantime, enjoy this new gallery of Down Under ovens!
I also want to take a moment to welcome Dan Compton to the FB community. Dan is a chef at Vie, one of only two restaurants in the Chicago suburbs to receive a coveted Michelin star, and he is going to be cooking in his Primavera oven, blogging and posting fun and innovative wood-fired recipes and photos every week on the FB Community Cookbook and in the FB Forum. I am really looking forward to this.
We’ve got a lot more to cover in this newsletter – a new line of ovens, a holiday gift guide, a Marinara pizza recipe from Pizza Quest – so we’ll get right to it.
On behalf of the entire Forno Bravo team, a happy and safe holiday season to you all. We recognize we have the best customers and community out there and are very thankful.
Announcing the Toscana G Oven
We are excited to introduce a new family of fully assembled ovens for the home and garden: the Toscana G Series! The Toscana G Series is a line of Casa2G-based ovens that feature an attractive walled enclosure with a gabled roof and finished chimney. These good-looking ovens are fully insulated and fully finished with a smooth, waterproof stucco exterior and a “real” brick entry arch and oven landing.
Like the popular, original Toscana igloo-shaped ovens, the new gabled ovens are available in either a warm Italian Giallo yellow exterior-grade paint with glaze, or Tuscan Siena terracotta paint with glaze. There are four sizes to choose from: 32", 36", 40" and 44".
Because all the Toscana ovens are based on the wonderful Casa2G Series, these assembled ovens offer fast heat-up time, excellent high-temperature pizza baking and outstanding heat retention for baking and roasting.
The Toscana G Series ovens are ready to fire, and are designed to be placed on either a customer-built stand or the Forno Bravo Cucina stand frame – both providing the “custom installation” look. For those interested in fully customizing an assembled oven, the Toscana G ovens are also available unpainted and without the brick arch and landing.
Community Cookbook Update & Brussels Sprouts Recipe
Several months ago, we introduced a new resource for the wood-fired cook: the Forno Bravo Community Cookbook. We’re happy to announce the online Cookbook has a new moderator, Dan Compton. Dan will be writing weekly recipes and providing regular input and advice to wood-fired cooks.
To give you a taste (sorry) of what you can expect, take a look at Dan’s roasted brussels sprouts recipe, a great addition to any menu (how about Christmas). Note that this recipe has converted even the most ardent of brussels sprouts haters.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Oranges, Olives and Currants
(From the Forno Bravo Community Cookbook)
We hope to generate more activity over on the Cookbook – so be sure to create a new (free and fast) account if you haven’t already, visit regularly and share some of your favorite recipes.
Here’s a little more about our new Cookbook moderator: Dan Compton grew up in Elgin, Ill., just outside Chicago. With romantic visions of being a writer, he attended Northwestern University, where he received a degree in journalism. After college, he moved to San Francisco. It was there, at his neighborhood farmer’s market rooting through a particularly luscious batch of tomatoes, that he was bitten by the cooking bug.
The onset of symptoms was slow but steady, with the disease eventually reaching his brain and causing him to make the decision to move back to the Midwest and attend culinary school. Dan earned his culinary arts degree at Kendall College in Chicago. He now works as a cook at Vie in Western Springs, one of only two restaurants in the Chicago suburbs to receive a coveted Michelin star.
Peter’s Corner: The Marinara Pizza by Brad English
Peter Reinhart, our superb Pizza Quest host, baking instructor and baker extraordinaire, shares a recent written instructional from Pizza Quest.
I’m excited to share this new recipe by Brad English, our "everyman" pizzaiolo. This time he tackles the challenging Marinara Pizza. Be sure to click through to view his beautiful Marinara Pizza photos.
The Marinara Pizza by Brad English
I think the Marinara Pizza may be many pizzaiolos favorite to make. It is a pizza pie with no cheese, and I think it reflects the skill and passion of a pizza maker's ability to evoke deep flavors from such simple ingredients.
The traditional Marinara Pizza has tomatoes crushed or blended, sliced fresh garlic, fresh oregano, extra virgin olive oil and maybe some sea salt to taste. Some pizzerias may use basil instead or in addition to the oregano.
The Marinara Pizza
- Dough – Central Mills 00 flour (or your favorite Napoletana dough recipe)
- Bianco DiNapoli Hand Crushed Organic Tomatoes (or your favorite brand)
- Thinly sliced fresh garlic
- Fresh oregano leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
This pizza is all about balance. Since there is nothing on top of the tomatoes, you have to layer enough sauce to ensure that the sauce doesn't dry up, or dry out in the oven. I think the longer bake times in a home oven can make this more of a dance than if it were done with a 90-second bake in a wood-fired oven. Top with the ingredients keeping balance in mind. This pizza is all about the tomatoes. The garlic, oregano and oil are there as accents.
Add your sauce – in this case simply hand crushed tomatoes. I didn't add any sea salt to any of my pizzas using these tomatoes. There was no need. There might be, however, if you use a different brand (especially since Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes are only available to a few pizzerias and not to the public – sorry!!).
Add the thin slices of garlic. I added a little olive oil prior to baking.
Into the oven! When it comes out, add the oregano leaves and drizzle with a little more oil. Cut, serve and enjoy!
See Brad’s original, longer instructional here.