Monday, August 31, 2009

Pizza and Onions and Fresh Herbs...

The other night, I got a text from Bryn: she had a hankering for pizza, but the last time I went to my favorite pizza place, the bill with tip? $100 for four of us. Sure, we got some wine, a salad and some wings, but I just can't do the $100 pizza nights any longer.

So I opened the fridge. Sauce? Check. Cheese? Check. Onions (my own personal requirement)? Check. Fresh Herbs? Check (front "garden" yields basil AND rosemary).

So I quick put together pizza dough from Carol Field's Italian Baker. Bryn was babysitting and I knew I had at least an hour before she was heading home.

I had great gouda, smoked gouda and parmesan. I brushed the pizza dough with my own secret ingredient, which I share with you now: Anchovy pasted diluted with extra-virgin olive oil then brushed all over before topping. The sauce I had was actually just top-quality tomato paste (the kind in the tube; I love that). I added the cheese and the onions, baked the first pizza and then sprinkled fresh basil on it when it was done.

A word about the onions. Since I had to have Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon after seeing Julie/Julia, I also had some of the slowly braised pearl onions she has you add to the stew (page 483 of MtAoFC): saute pearl onions in butter and oil. Top with beef stock or red wine (or water), some salt, parsley, thyme and bay leaf, and cook slowly until liquid evaporates, shaking pan now and then. Mmm. Like candy, I kid you not.

Anyway, so we had the pizza (Bryn loved loved LOVED the onions and the fact that the basil went on after baking), and then I did a little focaccia (that's it in the first photo)--no sauce, the olive oil/anchovy mix, a touch of fresh rosemary (chopped), the onions, a bit of parmesan, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

And the verdict is? Yes, you CAN live by bread alone, especially if it's this focaccia.

Barb's Onion Rosemary Focaccia

Dough for 1 pizza crust
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil mixed with 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
Caramelized onions (Julia Child's Brown Braised pearl onions work well)
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Freshly grated black pepper
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Roll dough out. Brush with olive oil. Top with onions, rosemary, salt, pepper and cheese. Bake until golden brown. Eat warm (or cold for breakfast the next day. That works, too).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where I Gush About Welder's Gloves

It's been all the rage for a few years now. Silicone this and that for grabbing pots, for baking, silpats (Silpats (tm)) for lining baking sheets..but those hot pads? Never really won me over. They were bulky even though they were relatively thin. I cannot tell you how many cookies I ruined when I grabbed a tray from the oven--and because there's no real "feel" to be had when using them, I didn't realize I was mushing a cookie in the process.

I complained about this once at WineLover's Kitchen Forum run by my friend Robin Garr. Celia on the forum mentioned she discovered welder's gloves: soft, thin-enough-to-feel-through gloves that make it easy to grab just about everything. Brilliant! says me...and the next thing I knew, Celia had wrapped up a pair of gloves and popped them in the mail to ME. No mean feat when she lives ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. No, seriously. Celia, foodie friend (though we've never met), sent gloves to the states with friends who then posted them to me... (and anyone who would do that would be a GOOD GOOD friend!)-- Either way: Impressive and touching.

So imagine my delight when I see the color...orangey-red AND the tags: Celia's own : Fig Jam and Lime Codial. Such a neat little personalized touch.

And even better than all? They work. Fabulously well. These are just about all I will ever need. Ever. The photo isn't the best one of the gloves, but I wanted the tag in the picture! (That's me making Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon, which I HAD to have post Julie/Julia.)

Thanks, Celia. And for anyone reading? Go follow Celia's own foodie adventures at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. (For the post where she talks about discovering said gloves, go here.)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Scene from recent eats...

It's summer. It's still too hot to cook too much in my kitchen, although I do have designs on some great ice creams and sorbets, and ryn is asking after the saffron rosewater ice cream I made (and blogged about here) oh-so-long-ago....But in the meantime, how about an image or two...

Above and below--some treats from BLT Steak in Miami. What a fun, fabulous and delicious evening it was. I thought I made great popovers. BLT's? Well. I don't know what they do, but I have a new goal to aspire to. A bit of butter and salt made them beyond compare.

The salad below? Baby arugula, grilled ricotta salata and icy cold chunks of watermelon from Tryst in Delray Beach. What a great lunch, especially when enjoyed with a great glass of cool white wine and the company of a friend, which is exactly how I enjoyed this.