When I realized what was happening, I ditched the last egg (I'm often not the sharpest knife in the drawer) and finally made it over to Maria's to pick up some friends for Elvis. Meet Mozart and Tina:
Now that my oven is empty, we decided that it is time to try it out. Long story short: it works great!!!! It took a couple of fires in it to really get the hang of how hot and how long, but I think we have a system down. We invited Ricardo and Cristina over for pizza the other day and the general opinion is that we need to eat a lot more pizza so that we can really perfect the recipe and the fire! :)
Here are some pics of my brick oven endeavor!
This is Micah. He and his family came down here as missionaries for about 3 weeks. That big paddle-looking thing is the tool he made for putting pizzas in and taking them out of the oven. Very cool.
Doug and Micah had fun playing with fire, er, I mean adjusting the cooking temperature so that we could get just the right amount of crispiness to the crust but still achieve done-ness on top. A couple of the first ones came out a little toasted around the edges, but there weren't any leftovers, so I would say that we achieved success!
The men had gotten the oven so hot that after all the guests had left and lunch was cleaned up and the guys had all headed out to baseball practice, it was still hot enough to cook in. Not one to waste an opportunity, I suggested to Emily, Micah's wife, that we try our hand at empanadas.
Empanadas are the Mexican version of a poptart. Very tasty and not incredibly healthy, but when they're cooked in a brick oven they have a special "smoky" taste that makes them absolutely irresistible.
You can check out my recipe for empanadas here. Emily and I had fun baking together. Turns out she loves to work in the kitchen as much as I do. I'd never met anyone else with my particular ailment -- at least not to the same degree. We had a great afternoon baking merrily and then had to eat the evidence! Well, we didn't eat all of them, just probably more than we should have!
So, the brick oven is a success, the pizza was a hit, the empanadas were fun and tasty and the fellowship was wonderful. I'm always sad when mission teams leave, but I'm really going to miss the fun "kitchen bonding" Emily and I had. Praying that you come back soon, Emily!!!