In Episode 022, Taryn speaks with Samantha Ferraro from Little Ferraro Kitchen about outdoor pizza ovens! Samantha talks about things she’s learned by venturing into pizza oven cooking, gives some tips and tricks for if you’re thinking about getting an outdoor pizza oven, and goes over some really delicious recipes she’s tried out in her outdoor oven. If you’ve been debating about hopping on to the pizza oven craze, or just want to learn about outdoor ovens, be sure and give this episode a listen!
Connect with Samantha.
Bio: Samatha Ferraro is the creator at Little Ferraro Kitchen.com and author of The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen. She comes from a diverse background, showcasing flavors from her upbringing on her website and social media, including Jewish recipes, Mediterranean and Hawaiian!
Some of the following are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen cookbook
- Fontana outdoor pizza oven
- Cutting Edge Firewood
- Large cast iron skillet
- Small cast iron skillet
- Heat resistant gloves
- Calabrian chiles
These are some of the recipes mentioned by Samantha in the episode. They are on her website, Little Ferraro Kitchen, except where noted.
Taryn Solie: Hello grillers! We’ve got a really fun episode coming up today. I talk with Samantha Ferraro from Little Ferraro Kitchen about a cooking method that I feel like I’ve been seeing more and more of lately, and that’s outdoor pizza ovens! She goes over some of her lessons learned as well as some really delicous-sounding recipes that I think you’re going to want to try out.
Before we begin, if you’re enjoying this podcast I’d love for you to share it with someone who is into grilling and outdoor cooking! As a newer podcast, it helps spread the word and I would really appreciate it. Now, let’s get into the episode.
Taryn Solie: Today on the podcast, we have Samantha Ferraro. She is the creator at LittleFerraroKitchen.com and author of The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen. She comes from a diverse background, showcasing flavors from her upbringing on her website and social media, including Jewish recipes, Mediterranean and Hawaiian. Samantha, welcome to the podcast.
Samantha Ferraro: Yay. Thank you for having me.
Taryn Solie: I’m so happy to have you. I’m excited for our conversation today, which is going to be centered around pizza ovens, which I feel like are becoming really popular.
Samantha Ferraro: Yeah. I feel like they’re very trendy right now. I’m definitely noticing pizza ovens on social media and people’s backyard. So we got it last year. So I like to think I started the trend.
Taryn Solie: I mean, maybe you never know, but yeah. So we’re gonna talk about that today, but before we get into it, I would love to have you tell the listeners a little bit about your food background and your grilling background.
Samantha Ferraro: Yes. So I have a website called Little Ferraro Kitchen and like Taryn said, I do come from a diverse background. I’m originally from New York City. Then I lived in Hawaii for a few years, Southern California, and now the Pacific Northwest.
And I’ve always taken all of those areas and use them as my influence in cooking on my website and just at home. So if you ever come to my website or see me on social media, you’ll see all, you know, all types of recipes, Mediterranean, Jewish, you know, lately I’ve been really into kind of honing back, um, Hawaiian recipes from living there when I was a teenager.
And I just love to learn about different flavors and cultures and experiences from different areas of the world through food. And that’s what I love to share. And with grilling, well, you know, we live in the Pacific Northwest, so when it’s summer, we are outside.
Taryn Solie: Always.
Samantha Ferraro: As much as possible. And we have been grilling, um, pizza oven-ing and, um, we’re kind of wanting to get into smoking, but anything outdoors with fire and food is where we’re at.
Taryn Solie: Yes. I love it. And I agree. I mean, that’s, you mentioned we’re, we are both in the Pacific Northwest, mm-hmm, both in Washington state, kind of Puget Sound region, and you’re right. Whenever the sun comes out, regardless of if it’s like 55 degrees or whatever, we are outside grilling, doing something outdoors, because yeah.
Samantha Ferraro: Cause we have such a short summer, so we have to take full advantage of it. And I feel like as Pacific Northwesterners we do, you know, we’re like always outside, like let’s cook outside. Yeah. It’s great.
Taryn Solie: Good. So then did that play into your decision to get a pizza oven? Cuz you were like outdoors? Yes. We gotta get out there in the summer. What, what kinda led you to get a pizza oven?
Samantha Ferraro: Okay, so our story. So, so last year, if you remember here in Washington, it was hot last summer. Yes. It was like mid nineties and we were just like sweltering and my husband and I are sitting outside and we’ve lived in our house for a few years and we have this really odd shaped backyard and because we both love to cook so much.
We’ve always dreamt of having some sort of like outdoor kitchen, mm-hmm, and we’re sitting outside and this 95 degree day for dinner and we’re, and we’re like, we have to do something about this. So long story short, we, you know, made a deck. Well, we didn’t make a deck but we had a deck installed in a matter of weeks.
This is in the middle of summer last year mm-hmm . And we were like, well, what do we wanna do? Well, we always wanted to have an outdoor oven and that kind of started getting those wheels turning, of looking for an outdoor oven and what size we want. And do we want gas or, or wood and what do we wanna cook in the oven?
So we just started researching like crazy. And we fell into, um, it’s called Fontana. So they have a fun Instagram page and I was calling local places. I was calling out, you know, and last year, the summer was peak covid, so things were backed up. Shipments were, you know, insane. They had like six, six month waiting.
And of course, you know, my husband and I are very impatient. Yeah, we were like, but we want this now. You know, we want this now.
Taryn Solie: Yeah. You wanna use it while this weather’s nice.
Samantha Ferraro: Exactly. So we fell into this Fontana oven and we loved their Instagram page because at the time it was owned, I think it’s still kind of family owned, but it was like this mother daughter team.
And they were just producing these beautiful recipes, beautiful videos on Instagram, in these ovens. And I was like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. So I started talking with them and we started looking into the ovens and we made a decision and we were like, this is it. This is exactly what we’re looking for.
So what we chose was this Fontana oven, mm-hmm, and it’s a woodfired pizza oven, but it’s so much more than a pizza oven because it can, it’s- we got like a medium size, it’s about 34 inches wide, I believe.
Taryn Solie: Okay.
Samantha Ferraro: Inside. So you can fit a baking sheet. You can fit a roasting pan. You can fit, you know, two 12 inch pizzas in there.
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Samantha Ferraro: And we are big cooks. My husband and I, it’s just us two, but we like to have nice dinner. So we wanted something that can utilize a roast chicken or a steak or tomatoes, or a few pizzas if we had some friends over. Yeah. And it just like fit all, all the check boxes and we absolutely love it.
Taryn Solie: It sounds amazing.
Samantha Ferraro: I’m really excited about it.
Taryn Solie: Is it- so now when I think of a pizza oven, there’s kind of two types, there’s one where it’s like there, you’re literally building like a brick oven and there’s other types that I think of that are like, almost portable, but not quite. So what, what I have not heard of font it’s you said Fontana.
Samantha Ferraro: Yeah, they’re called Fontana. So we were looking at a bunch of them and we’ve seen brick ones. And I actually have a friend here where I live in Bellingham, who’s a chef for a local pizza oven maker and their ovens are made from brick and we were talking about it and she was saying how it takes up to 45 minutes to an hour to really heat up.
It’s beautiful. It’ll with- withstand, you know, it’s very rustic looking mm-hmm . But the oven that we chose and I don’t know the exact like chemical aspects or anything like that.
Taryn Solie: Sure.
Samantha Ferraro: But from what I understand is the, the stones that are in the oven that we chose, um, are already kind of like seasoned. So they get hotter a lot quicker.
And also the dome of the oven, you know, it’s this kind of like, um, half circle dome. Yeah. It’s um, insulated. So it retains heat a lot quicker.
Taryn Solie: Oh.
Samantha Ferraro: So our oven, since we did get a wood oven, it can get hot in about, you know, 20 minutes.
Taryn Solie: Wow.
Samantha Ferraro: It can get, you know, I would say up to maybe three, 400 degrees in about 20 minutes.
Taryn Solie: Okay.
Samantha Ferraro: Now, depending on what we’re cooking, we can chat about that soon, but depending what we’re cooking, you know, we want to decide what temperature we want and how long and all that stuff.
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Samantha Ferraro: But we can get it roaring in about 20 minutes.
Taryn Solie: Oh, that’s nice. Okay. So that’s not, you know, I mean, it’s gonna be longer than an oven to get going, but you’re cooking outside, it’s, again, the wood fired, which I know, uh, lends some like both ambience and flavor, you know? So-
Samantha Ferraro: Oh yeah. I mean, I can talk about that all day. And one of the reasons, I know, I’m like, I tell, I can talk. Especially about food. I can talk about this all day. If there was a Ted talk about food and, and pizza oven-ing, I’d be like, yes, me right here. Um, but one of the reasons why, well, a few reasons why we wanted to get a wood oven mm-hmm was because number one, we enjoy kind of the prep that it has, you know, it’s just my husband and I mm-hmm and we’re using that prep.
It’s kind of like our entertainment, you know, we get a drink in hand, we have some fun, we put some music on and we’re prepping the oven or the grill, whatever we’re doing, because it takes about 20 minutes. Yeah. And to see the progression of how the fire starts is really beautiful. You know, you, um, you have different sizes of wood, you know, you start small with like a kindling wood that has an igniter.
Yeah. And then you go bigger and bigger because you want to maintain that fire and that heat source. And it’s really beautiful to see how it starts from the bottom and it kind of gets bigger and that really big log gets nice and fired up. And it’s, it’s so much fun. And, I know I just love it. So we do that for, you know, about 20 minutes.
And the other reason why we wanted to have wood fire oven is because it gives like this other layer of flavor. Mm-hmm. Like we season our food with spices, salt, and pepper, whatever olive oil, but to add another depth of flavor, of smokiness, or a different kind of wood, is like night and day. So. I’ll tell you another funny story. So, last year, um, it was super windy here and a big branch from our tall tree.
I’m looking at it right now, in front of my windows as we’re talking, fell on our house and our neighbor comes over with his big chainsaw. He just starts hacking it up. He just starts you knowing up. Yeah. And now we have these beautiful logs of oak, oak wood, drying up and that’s what we’ve been using for our oven.
Taryn Solie: Oh nice!
Samantha Ferraro: So we’ve been putting oak wood in there and sometimes we’ll order some wood mm-hmm , but all those different flavors of wood like transform your recipe, you can totally tell a difference.
Taryn Solie: Yeah. Oh my gosh. Oh, that’s so funny. Yeah. How, I mean, what a bummer, obviously that-
Samantha Ferraro: No, it was great. It was a great, I mean, it was. It was a great accident, you know?
Taryn Solie: Yes.
Samantha Ferraro: I might still have pictures of it. I walk out, I’m like, okay, nothing was damaged. I think it, it destroyed our fire pit, that’s okay. And, um, you know, and there’s our neighbor, it was chainsaw. And now we have wood!
Taryn Solie: Where, where would you, if like, if somebody is thinking about, you know, a, a pizza oven or an outdoor pizza oven, it, where- if you didn’t have that Oak, where would you get the wood from?
Samantha Ferraro: That’s a good question. I should bring my husband in cuz he’s the one that orders it. So I’m sorry, I don’t have this answer for you.
Taryn Solie: No, that’s okay.
Samantha Ferraro: However, I can tell you that we have bought wood from various stores in the area. Okay. So grocery stores might have wood, Home Depot, you know, has wood. We’ve definitely gotten wood there. My husband has ordered it online and he’s been seeking out different styles of wood. Um, if you want me to come back on here and kind of tell you more details, can send you a message to share with your viewers.
Taryn Solie: Yeah. But we’ll do a little, we’ll do a little like note in the show notes page maybe.
Samantha Ferraro: Yeah. I’ll find out a little bit more. I’m sorry. I should have had that answer for you.
Taryn Solie: No, that’s okay.
Samantha Ferraro: I know that’s been definitely, kind of like a, a thing that he’s been focusing on is like different woods and different smells and different types of wood, which has been really fun.
Taryn Solie: No, that that’s good. I think, yeah, because that is one thing that I think people would be interested in is, you know, that’s a, a big thing to consider, especially if you’re considering gas versus wood.
Samantha Ferraro: Yeah. And, and there’s definitely a, um, you know, a reason to get gas versus wood, you know, for us, like I said, it’s just us two, so we’re kind of using the building of a fire as kind of like our, you know, our entertainment kind of our precursor to dinner, so to speak. Yeah. But a gas, I mean, the advantage of gas is like, hey, if you want pizza, if you wanna cook right now, you can turn that puppy on. And you’re, you know, you’re ready to go in less time and less work.
Taryn Solie: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So pros and cons to both. For sure. So I want to, I guess, first let’s talk about, um, what you have learned about cooking, like tips and tricks for cooking in a pizza oven. Cuz I would imagine it’s fairly different than cooking in a regular oven or even on a grill. So what, what are some things that you have learned from doing that?
Samantha Ferraro: So we are still learning. Okay. It’s definitely, um, an experience and we have had some fails. We’ve had some successes, but it’s been really fun. And I think the biggest learning. Um, opportunity that we have had was learning about how to maintain and understand a fire.
And how to know, you know, how big this fire is going to be, how long it’s going to be, because, you know, we’re so lucky with an oven, we set it to 400 degrees. We know that in 20 minutes we can ch- you know, make some roasted chicken breast, or chicken thighs, whatever. But with um, the oven, you have to know kind of like where your hotspots are and how much wood do you have to add to keep your fire going.
So I have a lot of great examples. So we, um, have been doing pizza, of course mm-hmm and this oven, okay. We have gotten this oven up to like, I’m not even joking, a thousand degrees. We have-
Taryn Solie: Oh my gosh!
Samantha Ferraro: -a infared thermometer. And we point it to the floor of it, because the floor can be a different temperature than just like the ambient temperature.
Taryn Solie: Yeah. Yeah.
Samantha Ferraro: And we were watching this and it was going 900, 950 and we’re like, whoa. And it, it stops at a thousand. We’re like, oh my God. And we made pizza. And it was way too hot for the pizza. My dough was too thin. Mm-hmm I had too much sauce. And what happened was the center of the pizza just absolutely opened up. So I had literally a holy pizza. It was way too hot.
Taryn Solie: Oh, interesting.
Samantha Ferraro: It was interesting. Yeah. And then, um, just recently we put in a whole chicken. And we’re like, okay, so this is different because we are so used to cranking this oven to, you know, 700 degrees for pizza, but for roast chicken. And it was like four pound bird and-
Taryn Solie: So big, that’s a, which is a pretty good bird.
Samantha Ferraro: It was a good size and this is beautiful bird. It’s from a local farm here. And anyway was really nice. And we, you know, we season it, we put it in and the top start to get brown and we put it in at about 400 degrees. Mm-hmm . Now, if you have a wood oven, depending how big your log is, that heat can go up.
And there’s a lot of other factors, too. There’s a chimney there. Yeah. You have a door and if you, you know, close the chimneys and it keep more heat in, but if you open it up, it can, you know, it brings in oxygen, so you can have more of a fire. So there’s a lot of variables and you’re just kind of like learning as you go.
So this chicken is in there and the top started to burn. I’m like, oh my gosh, here we go.
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Samantha Ferraro: But I just treat it like an oven. You know, put some tin foil on it, hoping that will, you know, help the browning, the quick browning, and then just continue cooking. And we were just maintaining that four to 500 degree level so that, you know, that’s the, the thing that you ha- you know, we’re still learning is, you know, you put it in a oven at home.
It’s gonna be 400 degrees the whole time it’s in there. But with this oven, you’re really trying to maintain to be within that 50-100 degree mark. So you’re not overcooking or under cooking. Yeah, it’s been a learning experience.
Taryn Solie: Now, when you are cooking these, you know, I’m assuming there’s like a pizza would have you have like a pizza stone. For the chicken or anything else? Are you cooking it on pans or are you just putting it on the stone as well? Or like how, like, do you, do you use any other sort of, you know, dishes or anything that go in the pizza oven?
Samantha Ferraro: Yeah, so we have dedicated one cast iron for our pizza oven. We have a few other cast irons, but I remember when I was talking with, um, the people at Fontana, they were saying, oh, you know, be careful because that dry wood, that fire can kind eat away at a seasoned cast iron. And I said, oh, okay. So we have one dedicated cast iron that we used to use for camping mm-hmm and it’s wide. It has, you know, it has like an inch lip, and that’s what we use for pork chops, for chicken, for steaks, and what we’ve been doing for smaller pieces of meat, like steak and, and pieces of chicken is that we’ll preheat the iron first.
Mm. To kind of just get it going, take it out. And then put that piece of meat right on there. So it starts that caramelization.
Taryn Solie: Yeah. Yeah. Which, and that’s a really good tip kind of, regardless of, of pizza oven or not. Right. yeah. Yeah. You can get a cooking in there. Yeah. Nice. Okay. So what would you say. For somebody who wants to, who is thinking about buying a pizza oven, an out- like an outdoor oven, I guess might be a better way to put it.
What are some things that you wish you had known or that you think somebody should consider when buying? I mean, aside from like, you know, wood versus gas, we’ve kind of talked about that a little bit, but is there anything else that you think like, oh, be sure and think about this. Maybe it’s the space of where they’re gonna put it or how long it’s gonna take or how long it might take to learn how to use it. Any of that sort of thing?
Samantha Ferraro: That’s a really good question. I like that. I mean, of course I was going to say, you know, decide if you would like gas or wood. Yeah, if you want the flavor or if you want more of a convenience, that’s usually the first question people, you know, might ask themselves. Yeah. Uh, number two, I would say, think about, yeah, the space in your yard, the thing- or in your backyard or front yard or whatever. The thing with our pizza oven is, so it’s part of, um, well, it comes with the, just the dome and then you can order a stand that the dome comes, that can be a part of.
Taryn Solie: Okay.
Samantha Ferraro: And then what we have is the stand actually has an extension table to the right. So you can do some prepping or put the dish back on, which is really nice. So if you have the space for that, I would definitely get that. Um, I would say that because it rains a lot for us yeah. That make sure that you have something that can protect your pizza oven. Mm. Because we have a lot of moisture.
We have a lot of, you know, rain, so, um, make sure you have something that can protect it to keep the inside dry.
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Samantha Ferraro: Cause you don’t want, you know, that wet inside.
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Samantha Ferraro: And we also have been storing our wood underneath the oven. There’s an area that has a shelf and that we can put our wood under there, which is very nice, but also because it’s so wet where we are mm-hmm sometimes that wood gets a little too much moisture.
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Samantha Ferraro: So if there was any kind of like storage that you can put all your wood in, like a dry storage mm-hmm and your tools, I would probably recommend that.
Taryn Solie: Yeah. And that’s the, both of those are really good points because I know like for us, for my grills that live on my deck, you know, we have covers for them because otherwise it’s just like, they get mold in them, especially over the winter.
And it’s just, it’s not fun to deal with. Um, so yeah, and I love that point about the prep, because, and that goes for like, I think any outdoor cooking, whether it’s campfire, whether it’s pizza oven, whether it’s grill. I am always looking like when I go to put something out on the grill, I’m like, where am I gonna put this platter that I just-
Samantha Ferraro: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Just like when, you know, when we always set up our mise en place before we cook, right. Mm-hmm so we always set up our prep before we cook, our chopped vegetables. So we should do the opposite for when we’re done cooking. Where am I gonna put this? Do I have a surface that can handle this really, really hot pan that’s been in the oven that 700 degrees?
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Samantha Ferraro: You know, and also. So, um, heat resistant gloves are always super helpful because you are kinda, you’re putting your arm in there to grab your pizza or to grab your, you know, cast iron skillet. So heat resistant gloves, um, an area that can handle that hot heat.
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Samantha Ferraro: Are definitely important.
Taryn Solie: Yes. No, those are all really good things to, to think about for sure. Mm-hmm so what you mentioned, the chicken, you mentioned obviously pizza. I wanna talk about some of your favorite recipes to cook in this pizza oven. So, so fill some people in on this.
Samantha Ferraro: So we have been doing a lot of different recipes and I already have like a list of different things that I wanna do. But so far what we’ve done. So I’m gonna plug myself, I have a cookbook. And my cookbook is called Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen. It’s Mediterranean recipes. And one of the most cooked recipes is my chicken shawarma. Mm. And I make it also in the pizza oven.
So I take that beautiful marinade. I rub it all over some chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on, cause I want that crispy skin personally, and I put it in that hot cast iron, and I pop that in the oven and it creates the most gorgeous chicken crust with the flavor. Ugh. It’s so, so good.
Taryn Solie: It sounds good.
Samantha Ferraro: It’s really yummy. There’s lots of flavors, lemon and garlic and turmeric and sumac. Oh, it’s lovely. And um, another recipe we did last year and I’m still dreaming about it is, okay. So kind of like a vichyssoise. So vichyssoise is normally a cold French soup that has potato and leeks in it.
Taryn Solie: Okay.
Samantha Ferraro: And you can also have it warm or hot. And I did a roasted potato leek soup. So I took some leeks, I chopped them up. Mm-hmm I took some thin skinned, yellow potatoes. Yeah. Chopped those up, uh, seasoned with salt, pepper. I threw some garlic cloves in there. Lots of fresh thyme, lots of olive oil, gave everything a good, good, good mix.
Taryn Solie: Mm-hmm.
Samantha Ferraro: Popped it on a baking sheet into the oven and it was so lovely. And then I took all those veggies. And then I blended it and I add a little marscapone cheese, just for a little creaminess. Yeah. And a little olive oil on top and some flaky sea salt. And it was this smoky, like potato leek soup. Ugh. It was so good.
Taryn Solie: That sounds so good. And I can imagine something like that too, where, would be good made in, you know, a regular oven, but that what we’ve been talking about, that smokey flavor.
Samantha Ferraro: Extra layer of flavor. It really, it, oh, I just absolutely love it. Even when we are setting up the oven and we can like smell that wood starting to ignite. Oh my gosh. It’s amazing.
Taryn Solie: So now what about pizza? What it’s originally designed for? What sort of pizza have you guys made?
Samantha Ferraro: So we are still working on our pizza game.
Taryn Solie: Okay.
Samantha Ferraro: That’s never ending. So what we have found is, so, you know, I’m originally from New York, so I like the thin crust, but because the oven gets hot, you know, we have to kind of like balance that. So yeah, we’ve been making about 12 inch pizzas, so we’ll roll the dough out. So it’s not crazy thin, but you know, it still can handle the toppings mm-hmm and we just, I’m a classic pizza person. So I do, you know, tomato sauce, mozzarella, Calabrian chilies.
Sometimes it’s like Calabrian chilies, sometimes Italian sausage. Um, I did a fun. Um, actually, you might like this. I did a fun play on chimichurri steak pizza. So what I did was I took a New York steak, cooked it in the oven, let it rest for a little bit, sliced it thin and then put some chimichurri on the pizza dough with the steak, uh, slices.
And I think I did some mozzarella cheese and maybe some like Calabrian chilies. Cause I love, I love spicy Uhhuh. We had popped that in the oven and it was so good. It was, it was really delicious.
Taryn Solie: That sounds really delicious.
Samantha Ferraro: It smokey. Yeah, it was really nice.
Taryn Solie: Well, no, that sounds amazing for sure. I hadn’t even thought about using chimichurri as like the sauce.
Samantha Ferraro: Yeah, cause it’s almost like, you know, not really a pesto, but it’s this blended herbaceous sauce with oil in it. It already has so much flavor. So I thought, oh, why not?
Taryn Solie: Yeah. Yeah, no, I’m glad you did, because that sounds amazing. yeah. So what are some of your favorite kind of just, recipe- so, okay. We’ve talked about pizza, we’ve talked a little bit about some other things. Do you have a favorite recipe you like to make in there or have you already mentioned it?
Samantha Ferraro: I mean, anything we put in the oven we’ve been really, really enjoying. I’m trying to think what we’ve done recently and what we wanna do. I, I do know. Well, I mean, I know we already talked about favorites, I guess, but what I want to do is do pita bread in there.
Cause I think a pita bread would puff up beautifully. Yes. Um, And I have. And what else do I wanna do? Okay. You know, other kind of like pizza twist, like a calzone. Yes. Um, focaccia something I wanna do. So I, I kind of would like to, to kind of play around with some bread, some simple breads. Yeah. But really, I mean, steak and chicken has been fantastic. Oh, we did do a whole fish.
Taryn Solie: Oh, you did in there.
Samantha Ferraro: And that was really, really delicious.
Taryn Solie: Did you cut it open at all or was it just like, did like slice it open and stuff it, some people do that, so.
Samantha Ferraro: Yes, exactly. Okay. So just stuffed it with some herbs, lemon, seasoned it really well, popped it in there. And fish cooks pretty quickly.
Taryn Solie: Yes mm-hmm.
Samantha Ferraro: And that’s another thing that we’re learning is that you build this beautiful, big fire and a lot of things, you know, cook, you know, relatively quickly. So sometimes we’ll like add in something at the end, like, oh, maybe I want some s’mores since the fire’s so hot.
Taryn Solie: I was gonna ask if you do smores!
Samantha Ferraro: Of course. Well, you know what we do? So because the fire is still, you know, it’s still going, even if, well, let me back up. If the fire is not going, the oven is still hot. So if we have dinner, we’re enjoying dinner. That oven is still at 300 degrees because it’s gonna take a while. For, you know, the wood to burn down, the fire to go out. So during that time I have a little small cast iron skillet, and I put some chocolate in there, little marshmallows.
And I just pop that in for a few minutes while we’re enjoying dinner and by the time we’re done, dessert’s done. It’s great.
Taryn Solie: Yes. Well, or I could see even doing, you know, if you, especially with like a small, like if you have a small cast iron, doing like a little berry crumble in there and it wouldn’t-
Samantha Ferraro: My gosh, I never thought about that.
Taryn Solie: Yeah. Do just like a little berry- Cause I, I love crisp, crips and crumbles are like my jam.
Samantha Ferraro: Me too!
Taryn Solie: So I bet that that would, because if it’s at like what 350 degrees, that’s like still a really good temperature.
Samantha Ferraro: Yes. How have I never thought about that?
Taryn Solie: I don’t know but now, you know.
Samantha Ferraro: I love a, gimme a crumble. I’m a fr- a fruit person more than a chocolate person. Mm-hmm so that’s genius. Thank you.
Taryn Solie: Yes.
Samantha Ferraro: Thank you. I can’t believe I never thought about that.
Taryn Solie: Well, there you go.
Samantha Ferraro: It’s strawberry season for us, so.
Taryn Solie: Yeah, exactly. I know berry season’s coming up and, or so finally here in the Pacific Northwest. So yes. Well, this has been so fun, Samantha. I want to thank you for coming on. I think this has got a lot of good information about pizza ovens.
I do wanna ask you one last question related to grilling. What is some, I guess one or more, if you want, of your favorite grilling recipes, either like your currently grilling or just like all time, like fallback.
Samantha Ferraro: Ooh. Okay. Well, I always gravitate towards Mediterranean flavors kind of naturally mm-hmm so I have this recipe on my website, if you wanna check it out, but, but I do a chicken tawook recipe.
So it’s basically this yogurt, marinated chicken with lots of spices, those Mediterranean spices. So there’s paprika and there’s sumac. Mm-hmm and, um, lots of lemon juice and garlic and olive oil. And it’s just a very bright, fresh chicken recipe. Yeah. And when it hits the grill that beautiful smokiness and gets all charred on the outside.
Oh baby. And I put that over hummus or some, um, like turmeric or a saffron rice. Oh my gosh. Oh, my mouth is watering.
Taryn Solie: Like are you doing full- did you say you cut up the chicken or is it like, thighs, breasts?
Samantha Ferraro: So it depends what I have, but I go in between breasts and thighs. I mean, I’m a thigh girl, like give me a boneless skinless on the grill thigh.
Like it’s juicy, like, Ugh. I’m so I love, I love thighs. Yeah. But if I only have breasts, I will definitely marinate it in yogurt cuz yogurt can also act as like a tenderizer because it has a lot of acid in it.
Taryn Solie: Yep.
Samantha Ferraro: So I will, you know, do that with a yogurt, but I love thighs. Ugh. And you skewer it on some skewers and sometimes I’ll put some red onion in between. Oh my gosh. So good.
Taryn Solie: Oh yeah. That’s a smart, that’s a really smart tip because there’s some like some vegetables. This, I know this is probably gonna be controversial because skewers look so amazing when you have the meat and the fruit or, or whatever produce, but you really should be cooking your meat separately than your veggies because things cook at different times. However- what you’re giving me a look like
Samantha Ferraro: I’m, I’m, I’m standing corrected. Thank you.
Taryn Solie: Oh, no, but no, I was just gonna say, when you have the meat with the onion like that, because the onion is flavoring the meat as it cooks. Yeah. Which is, I feel like a good exception to the rule. Right. Because that’s- you want that together in that case.
Samantha Ferraro: I agree. And I feel like onions for me. At least I feel like onions definitely need more cooking. I like them definitely more grilly and more soft.
Taryn Solie: Yes.
Samantha Ferraro: So when you’re cooking chicken, I feel like the onion has an opportunity to cook down.
Taryn Solie: Yes.
Samantha Ferraro: You know, for as long as the chicken versus I dunno. Anything else that-
Taryn Solie: Like zucchini?
Samantha Ferraro: Oh yeah, sure. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Like I probably wouldn’t put cauliflower. I mean, I guess you could.
Taryn Solie: You could, I probably, I mean, you could, but I, I probably wouldn’t. I think onion is the safest bet.
Samantha Ferraro: Yes, I, yeah. And I love red onion or purple onion, whatever we call it.
Taryn Solie: Yes. Yes. I agree. That’s actually a really good idea. I love it. Yeah. Well, this has been so fun. I wanna give, you before we sign off, I wanna give you a chance to tell people where they can connect with you. You mentioned your website, um, you mentioned a cookbook. So talk just a little bit about that.
Samantha Ferraro: Yeah, I share a lot of recipes on my website. So if you’re looking for fun, Mediterranean, and other recipes, head to my website, LittleFerraroKitchen.com and also my favorite platform is Instagram stories.
I always share our weeknight cooking. I walk you through whatever recipe we are making. It’s my absolute favorite place to be. So visit me on Instagram @ferrarokitchen.
Taryn Solie: Awesome. And then is your, um, cookbook available? I’m assuming like Amazon ,local book sellers.
Samantha Ferraro: It is. Yeah. So, uh, Weeknight Mediterranean kitchen is my cookbook. Actually. I don’t know if I should say, I’m working on my second cookbook right now.
Taryn Solie: You are, that’s exciting.
Samantha Ferraro: It’s coming out next year. Um, but you can find my cookbook at hopefully most local bookstores or ask them to bring it in, and Amazon, Barnes and Noble, all those major retailers.
Taryn Solie: Good. Great. Well, thank you so much, Samantha, for coming on. This has so, like, just such a fun conversation.
Samantha Ferraro: This is a lot of fun.
Taryn Solie: Are you wanting to try out an outdoor pizza oven now? I am so intrigued and it honestly just sounds like a lot of fun. I might have to invite myself over to Samantha’s house to see how she and her husband cook with theirs!
I’m including some links to the recipes Samantha talked about, as well as to Samantha’s cookbook and some of the other items she mentioned on the show notes page. She did send me a link to the supplier she and her husband get their firewood from, which is called Cutting Edge Firewood, so that link will be on the show notes page too.
To get to all of these links, you can either go to my main website at Hot Pan Kitchen dot com and click on podcast in the main menu, or you can click on the link provided in whatever podcast app you’re listening on.
That’s it for today, thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep grilling like a mother.