Margherita Pizza

There is nothing quite as wonderful as a good looking, tasty, home-made pizza. This pizza is a Margherita Pizza, named after an Italian queen from long ago. The toppings are simply Mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes and basil (or pesto, as I’ve used here since basil is out of season). The cheese was home-made, as well!

From Wikipedia (

A popular urban legend holds that the archetypal pizza, Pizza Margherita, was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen strongly preferred a pie swathed in the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella). Supposedly, this kind of pizza was then named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita, though recent research disproves this legend.

Rio Maggiore – Tunnel Mosaic

Rio Maggiore, part of the Italian resort of Cinque Terre, is a lovely place.  When you get off the train, you walk through a railway tunnel to get to the town.  In this tunnel is a large, beautiful mosaic depicting the local area mountains and Mediterranean Sea.  I wished that we could have turned off the fluorescent lighting and used something else, as these photos barely do the work justice.

Cheese and ME!

CHEESE!  What could be better? It tantalizes and teases the taste buds. It blooms on the palate with wonderful spirit and soul. It ages graciously, and becomes richer, smoother, surprising.
And now, brought to you by the “birthday gift”, I will be making CHEESE!
First things first: Getting appropriate milk. It can’t be ultra-pasteurized, and therefore, purchasing directly from the farmers is going to be the solution.
farmer clip

I will get some farm direct milk TODAY!
Second things second: Pasteurize the milk. WHAT?

Didn’t I go to a bunch of trouble to buy RAW MILK?

Well, yes, but it must still be pasteurized…just not too high a temp, or for too long…doing it myself, yeah!





Pasteurization:  Water Bath – 30 mins at 145 degrees – 145 degrees, no hotter, no cooler, 30 minutes, no more, no less.

beautiful farm fresh milk

You need stuff…


Reality is much different than the texts.   It took a long time to heat the water, after 20 minutes later, on “med+1”, water is officially LUKEWARM!  Sigh…I don’t suppose this is going to be quick.  Twenty minutes more, and the water is 140, tiny bubbles have formed on the pan insert.

The milk is at about 120 degrees. Water at 150, so I’ll turn the heat down to “med”.  Now “med-1”.

Russ came in at this point and remarked that I’d been at it an hour now…. 🙂  

hot water bath

4, 8, 12, 16, 20 – the marks on the thermometer. 144 degrees will do.  Heat down another notch to “Med -2”.    Five more minutes, HOLY COW!  The milk is 148; water is 160, I have to turn down the heat! “Low +2” with 10 minutes to go and 50 ICE CUBES later, the water is at 140, and the milk is holding at 144 to 148.


quick cool


Viola! The milk is in a cold water bath (50 degrees) and cooled to 120 – yeah, another 10 minutes.

Done!   Finally, the refrigerator!



Le fontane di Italia