Summer nights

Recently we made pizza for 25 people in our outdoor stone fireplace at the lake house. It went really well—but we couldn't have done it without our friend James who is a fire-master. Over the past several years, he has developed the pizza dough recipe and perfected our outdoor cooking technique, which consists of a ceramic kiln shelf and small fire bricks placed between the hottest part of a very hot wood fire and the pie to keep the edges from singeing.

We use big metal pizza paddles to take the pizzas on and off the coals in a big river stone fireplace that looks to be from the same vintage as our 1930s house. The pies are perfectly cooked and crispy in just a couple of minutes. We made red-sauce pizzas with sausage, mushrooms and vegetables. My favorite was an herb pie with handfuls of rosemary, thyme, chives, tarragon, mint and basil from the garden with olive oil, salt and a few dollops of ricotta.

I have been experimenting with hand-holding the camera at night without a tripod—so please excuse the blurriness (which I like).


The lake cabin at night, above, and the screened front porch, below


August full moon, Sullivan County