The green Dodge pick-up truck slowly backed into my narrow, curved driveway with the 6 x 13 foot trailer leading. A dome shaped, brick pizza oven was mounted on the open trailer by some ingenious contraption that prevents it from being jostled and toppling off in a crumbled mess of mortar. Jeff Borofsky, chef/owner of SKINNY PINES, a portable wood fired oven catering company, was bringing the party to my home. A group of lucky CTbites contributors and other Fairfield County food producers were due to arrive in 90 minutes. I was beginning to wonder if the party would be ready for these friends with their discerning palates and voracious appetites.
In Borofsky's easy going manner and super organized style, he began to set up. He had started the fire with a few logs before he left his home (command central of this three month old business), and began his on site prep by adding a few more logs and monitoring the temperature gage until it reached the necessary range of 750-900 degrees. His very capable and friendly assistants, Sherri and Bill, quickly set up two prep tables and rolled a gleaming, stainless steel refrigeration unit and prep counter down a short ramp onto my driveway. This unit was filled with all of the fixings he had washed and prepared at his work kitchen before arriving. The contents revealed a selection of ingredients that confirmed that we were about to experience something unique. Borofsky sources his toppings from area farms with Patti Popp's Sport Hill Farm, in Easton, being one of his favorites. Popp's farm is only five miles from Borofsky's home and my place is only another five . Our feast was about to begin and all of the fresh produce had traveled about 10 miles from farm to table. Talk about LOCAL!
Once our group had gathered, tasted some wonderful wines and asked a lot of questions of Borofsky and his assistants, we gave the "ready" signal and began our feast. The pizzas came out of the oven at the perfect (that is, rapid) pace. We counted 12 pies. They ranged in size from 8-12 inches each. Lucky for us, Borofsky checked on us, regularly, to see if we needed an intermezzo as we approached each new pie from the oven as if it was our first. SKINNY PINES offers to provide the entire meal for private parties, starting with salad and finishing with home baked desserts. We started with a simple salad of Sport Hill Farms greens. Included in the mix was arugula, red leaf lettuce, baby mustard greens, spinach and tatsoi. These young greens were the stars in the bowl as the peppery flavors contrasted nicely with craisins, parmigiana reggiano cheese and fresh chives. Anything but the simple dressing of EVOO and lemon juice would have unfairly masked the melange of early spring flavors. We knew were onto something wonderful.
The pizza menu reflected the crops that were available and harvested that morning. Although the growing season is still early, it is already abundant with a wide array of greens. We were treated to many combinations of arugula and asparagus (roasted in the brick oven just before being placed on the pizza to be baked again). We loved the arugula and Kalamata olives, the asparagus and fresh goat cheese, and the asparagus roasted and finished with parmigiana cheese and a drizzle of black truffle oil. The crust is a thin, 50/50 blend of whole wheat and unbleached, unbromated white flour. The flavor was slightly nutty and provided the perfect crisp base for this blend of hormone free provolone, mozzarella and Romano cheeses. The tomatoes were canned, organic and hand crushed by one of Borofsky's (gloved) assistants.
When Borofsky can't access certain ingredients he turns to CT Farm Fresh Express to see what they are offering. Don't ask him for a menu in advance. He will definitely know what is in season each week but won't know what has been harvested on a particular day. This spontaneity and response to the harvest is all part of the fun. If you chose to host a party with Skinny Pines Pizza as the star, you don't really need to chose your toppings. Trust Borofsky to access the freshest, local ingredients and he will combine them in inventive and delicious ways. Of course, he will respect your preferences if you state them. Some toppings that he loves are onions, corn, thinly sliced potatoes, ramps, garlic, butternut squash, sage and peppers. He caramelized or roasts any and all of these in his wood burning oven, of course. The possibilities are endless. As the season heats up you may be lucky enough to find Skinny Pines pizza topped with summer's freshest bounty of sun gold tomatoes, zucchini, garlic scapes, garlic, eggplant or leeks. Imagine the number of combinations, all dependent on what is harvested within 24-48 hours.
We didn't taste his wood fired desserts but he relishes experimenting in this area, also. He has concocted such treats as chocolate, marshmallow calzones, baked apples with caramelized red onions and twix bars and baked berry jumble. Cookies and brownies are available, also, and are baked from scratch in his commissary kitchen at his home.
I invited some of our guests, who are bakers, to provide dessert that evening. We LOVED the pop in your mouth sized "cake bites" from Cake Suite. Baker/owner Michelle Klem whipped up a generous array of chocolate, passion fruit and red velvet bites, all topped with a lip smackin' swirl of butter creme. Jerri Graham provided her premium granola bars in conveniently sized 4 oz. packages, perfect for tucking into handbags. Her company, formally called BlueBelle Bars, has been renamed "NOTHING BUT...." to better represent the purity of her product. You will catch her every Saturday at the Brick Walk farmers market in Fairfield and every Thursday at the market in Westport. Her ever expanding and inventive flavors will now be identified by their ingredients like, NOTHING BUT cranberry, pecan and rosemary and NOTHING BUT chocolate, banana, pecan. YUM. Both bakers are located in Westport.
Skinny Pines Pizza truck will be firing up pizza at the Westport Farmers Market (Imperial Ave.) every Thursday for the entire season. The menu will shift to a more breakfast appropriate selection at the Weston Farmers Market (at the Historical Society) every Saturday. You may contact Jeff Borofsky at jborofsky @skinnypines.com to plan your unique pizza party. He is happy to cook for up to 100 guests but prefers groups of 50 or smaller. My suggestion is to book him now. As soon as the crowds taste this newcomer's super fresh and delicious product you may have to stand in line.
If you chose to have Skinny Pines cater your next pizza party, prices range between $20-30 per person, depending on the number of guests, selection of ingredients and if the meal is inclusive of salad and dessert.
Skinny Pines will also be providing food for a great Family Pizza Farm Event @ SportHill Farm:
This event is on Sunday June 13th, and is limited to 15 families per session. Session 1 for lunch will be from 12:00p.m.-1:30p.m.. We will also offer a secondseating for dinner if you prefer from 4:30-6:00p.m. on this day.This is a unique and special opportunity to see first hand how your pizza is made & cooked using his portable brick oven. Cost is $20 per person. A family of 4 - $75 and a family of 5 -$90-. Pre-payment & pre-registration is required. Please e-mail me at FARMGAL596@YAHOO.COM to reserve your place now. In case of inclement weather, the event may be postponed
Skinny Pines 203.727.8177 or email @ firstname.lastname@example.org