Our day in Florence started out with a 90 minute bus ride, and ended with a taxi to the Ponte Vecchio. It seems that for centuries, butchers occupied the bridge but in order to connect the Palazzo Vecchio (Florence's town hall) with the Palazzo Pitti (the palace bought by the Medici family in 1549), Cosimo I de'Medici built the Vasari Corridor above it. To enforce the prestige of the bridge, in 1593 the Medici Grand Dukes prohibited butchers from selling there and their place was immediately taken by several gold merchants. The cooperative association of butchers had monopolised the shops on the bridge since 1442.
This is the view looking up the Arno on the right.
This is the Ponte Santa Trinita, west of where we were.
The view to the left.
I just love this city. Unlike Rome, it is untouched by the 20th century and not quite as crowded.
Since we had not eaten a heavy breakfast we choose to find a place to eat lunch, just steps down the Via de' Guicciardini to a small pizzeria called Pizzeria le Delizie. You have to see the handmade seats at the inside tables.
They were made by the waiter that served us and he was quite thrilled I even noticed them, let alone take a pic. If I could have shipped them home I would have bought two for our patio.
The pizza was wonderful but not a "true" margherita. It was more like a small basic NY bar pizza but with the thinnest crust I have ever eaten. It was also baked in a brick oven.
Today's weather was perfect for our own pizzeria cafe day and I used the other half of the focaccia dough to make a Pizza Margherita. This is the authentic version, which by the way is The Nudge's favorite way to eat pizza.
If you already know what Pizza Margherita is, you get a gold star and can skip to the end.
I am not being condescending, I mean it. There are lots of pizza lovers out there that have no idea what an authentic Pizza Margherita is, let alone actually eat one.
For people with diabetes, just thinking of pizza creates all kinds of turmoil. High fat foods such as pizza can cause a delay in the absorption of the carbohydrates for 2-3 hours after eating and can elevate the blood sugar for up to 8 hours. This is one of the reasons doctors are trying to warn us that the higher fat diets of children cause the pancreas to work harder, thereby depleting the amount of insulin secretes to where they will need eventually need medication to do the job.
You can make your pizza and eat it too. Just by switching to Pizza Margherita makes a HUGE difference and now a person with diabetes can eat pizza with much less worry.
Thin crust, fresh mozzarella, slices of fresh tomatoes and basil leaves can be healthy for you.
For one 14" thin crust pizza you will need 6-8 slices of fresh mozzarella (drained on a towel), 8-10 thin slices of tomato (salted and drained on a towel), 8 basil leaves, some very good olive oil and sea salt.
I use a piece of parchment paper to shape my dough on and if shrinks back every time you stretch it, let it rest for a few minutes.
On the backyard grill, make a fairly large pile of coals on half of the bottom grate. When the coals turn grey (or ashen over) and the thermometer measures 500°, place the top grate on the grill and flip the parchment with the dough directly over the coals right on the grate. As soon as you see bubbles, turn the dough in a clockwise direction until it is cooked (about 3 minutes). Try not to burn the dough. This will be the "UP" side. Remove to wood board with the cooked side up and arrange your ingredients evenly over the dough.
Tear the cheese into 1-2" pieces and space them evenly. Top that with the slices of tomato and then a drizzle of olive oil.
Once you have the dough decorated, slide it back onto the grate, but this time over the side where there are no coals, close the lid and let it "bake" for 15-20 minutes. As soon as the cheese starts to melt, move the pizza on over the coals to cook the dough and cover the grill for 5 minutes more.
When the cheese bubbles it is done. Remove to a wooden board, place the basil leaves on top and add some red pepper flakes if desired (I do) with another drizzle of olive oil or some grated Parmesan cheese (or both).
This is a Pizza Margherita. The key to a successful pizza is to make sure you have pressed as much water out of the cheese and the tomato.
The Nudge ate the whole pie, minus the quarter end piece that I ate. I discovered Reynolds parchment and foil paper and if you shape the dough directly on that and throw it on the coals raw, it will cook just enough to firm the dough so you can slide it on and off the grill with ease and allows you to grill the dough perfectly.