Sometimes the best dishes are discovered and created by necessity–in this case, the Sweetydrop Pizza I made tonight was based on ingredients I had on hand–sorta like that Food Channel Chopped show where chefs compete to make dishes based on simply the ingredients provided, and usually with some oddball ingredient like…a Hershey bar alongside shrimp and whatever.

Since my wife is still recovering from my decision to shave off my beard (temporarily) immediately after my Mom passed away this week, I figured I’d better make a dish she could enjoy and succeeded beyond my expectations.

Viccolo’s Pizza is a delightful pizzeria catering to the opera crowd in San Francisco and they have a retail version of their delicious olive oil and cornmeal crust pizza dough that is fabulous–and will bake right out of the freezer. I’ve made cornmeal crust pizzas in the past but my dear one doesn’t really care for the gritty feel of the cornmeal I’d used in the past; too sharp and rough on her tender gums (“Tastes like I’ve got sand in my mouth!” to paraphrase). Needless to say, if my goal in life were to please a Legion of Angelas in a restaurant I’m well on my way to stirling success, but as ever, I need to keep her happy even as I need to recall that others tastes and preferences are not in line with hers.


She loved it…and even had a second slice. Her observations (and they are legitimate and appropriate…and personal) was that the only real issue for her were the olives in that I simply sliced them in half and the jarring salt notes in her mouth from that hemisphere of olive was too much. She would like to see the olives quartered and slivered more to reduce their potential shock to the mouth. OK, that’s doable.

Why is it called Sweetydrop Pizza? Because a few days ago I brought home these tiny little sweet, marinated peppers from the Berkeley Bowl salad bar which she fell in love with. Sweet, as tiny as a thumbnail or fingernail, and delicately marinated and imported from Peru where they are referred to as lagrima (‘tears’ in Spanish from their shape).

Along with the Sweetydrop lagrima peppers, I sautéed some pancetta and a few ounces of my frozen homemade romesco sauce which I then spread out on the pizza shell, then further decorated with slices of mozzarella, varied black olives (yes, yes…) and bits of mâché greens.

As a cook at home, its those dishes you create from scratch that are the most satisfying, even if other dishes may be delicious and from recipes which might show off one’s basic technical skills and experience.

Along with this treat was Som Tam, a Thai papaya salad which wasn’t bad, but is still a work in progress. The wine wasn’t cold enough, so we may have some a little later tonight.