Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pizza for 26

Phew.  Mission accomplished.  The turn-out was a little lighter than expected, but things went well.  The cross-country district meet competitors were filled, hopefully ready for tomorrow's big state-qualifying meet.  

For me, the advance prep payed off.  I kept busy, but had no reason to get harried, and there was plenty of pizza, which was the goal.  

I'll let the photos tell most of the story from here:

Some shots of my midday work crew, who washed beverage containers, helped chop toppings, mixed up sauce, got the table set up, and helped do clean-up:                                                                                                          

An hour before the team arrived:                                                                                                                  
Table set, making good use of the beverage dispensers we
got for the weddings.

Pre-baked crusts awaiting toppings

Not fancy, but a way to serve hot, sliced pizza without
the bottoms steaming and getting soggy

They're on their way!  We left one island-full of crusts unbaked, so we could cook the first several fresh, the way we're accustomed to:

During the busiest time:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

14 team members + 4 adults (coaches & parents),
+ 8 family = 26

Our kids waited for their chance at the food!

Finishing up the last of the ingredients, and, I thought, the last 2 crusts.  But then I turned around and there were still 2 more.  That's OK.  We can mix up more sauce tomorrow, or just be lazy and use pesto.

We have 3 pizzas and the 2 bare crusts remaining.  For Saturday, there is one answer to the question I am asked several times each day, "What should I eat?"  :-)

Things learned to remember or change for next year:
  • Make 2 double batches of dough early in the week to shape into 18 to 20 pizza crusts early on Friday
  • Things I did right:  Baking crusts for 4 to 5 minutes each and prepping toppings ahead.  The sauce as we did this year, starting with six 6-ounce cans of tomato paste and 24 ounces of water, should be just the right amount.
  • Reconsider the baking method, as the pre-baked crusts were getting done before the cheese on top was bubbly and browning.  I need to choose a method with a higher percentage of top element heat, or put pizza stone on a rack at a higher position in the oven.
  • We waited too long to start the first batch, so that only 2 pizzas were done by the time kids started streaming through the front door.  It would've been better to have 4 done (sliced in 10 pieces per pie) so that each athlete could've grabbed 2 pieces without waiting.  I think I'll go ahead and pre-bake all the crusts next year, so that they all bake faster once the team arrives.
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