|Solstice Moon from Syracuse Cultural Workers|
Celebrating the winter solstice is one of our favorite family traditions. We have a huge fire with the Yule log, eat home made pizza and sleep in front of the fire with mattresses dragged out from the bedrooms. The actual Solstice this year happened at 5am on December 22nd so we had our festivities that evening, partly because Thomas had school on the 21st. The weather almost did not cooperate - at lunch time Thursday it was 77 degrees! Luckily, it cooled off when it got dark out (or at least fell into the 60s which is cool enough for us!).
In the morning, T and I drove out to Monticello to Johnston's Meat Locker. We picked up some of their house-smoked sausage and a natural pork butt to smoke on Sunday. At 2:30 T and I made pizza dough (recipe here), then went to visit the chickens we help take care of. Back at home, we prepped our pizza toppings (fresh pineapple, mushrooms, and ham) and got the oven ready for pizza baking.
To make pizza baking more exciting, I bought us a pizza peel. T loves to do things "Big Bite" style (the way his Food Network chef Idol Guy Fieri does) and this is one of Guy's go-to tools. The way it works is you keep the pizza stone in the oven while it preheats, then slide the pizza off the peel onto the stone to bake it. Easier said than done! For the first pizza, I didn't get enough cornmeal on the peel and couldn't get the pizza to slide off. I took the stone out of the oven, set it on the stove top and from there I was able to move the pizza on to the stone and put it in the oven. Taking it out when it was done was a snap! The crust turned out nice and crisp too.
I decided not to give up and the second pizza went onto the stone much more easily. Hurray!
While the pizza was baking, C & T built the big, beautiful fire! We had a lovely evening together in front of it.
Here's to longer days and shorter nights ahead!