Last year, we decided to take our love for that most delicious, transcendental of summer vegetables to new heights. We built a 100 square foot, raised redwood garden bed to be the incubator and home for our tomato seedlings. If you’ve ever grown a tomato yourself, watching it’s transformation from a tiny seedling to a jungle of branches and fruits and waited with near-indecent anticipation for that first succulent, juicy fruit to be ready; and then taken the first bite of a fresh-off-the-vine tomato (washing optional)), you can understand our passion (and perhaps financially irrational act. After all, financially speaking, the breakeven point for that garden bed will be about 20 years, but it will be twenty years of tomato indulgence. I think eating a home-grown tomato under the summer sun, it’s juice and seeds running down your face, should be a pleasure enjoyed by everyone. It is the simplest and most sublime of culinary pleasures and puts to shame those red imposters to tomato-ness that you find in your local grocery store. I’m not saying I hear the Hallelujah Chorus when I take that first bite, but I have heard faint strains of Puccini (I swear)
For the past two months, we’ve been hosting weekly pizza parties. Well, truth be told, they have been competitive throw downs where our friends are invited to say goodbye to the week that was and bring their best recipes to battle it out for the pizza crown. We’ve had some pretty fantastic creations. After 8 weeks though, inspiration begins to wane. So we were quite excited to hear of the tastespotting.com Johnsonville Italian Sausage competition. Inspiration, the chance to get our pizza on our favorite food porn site AND the likelihood (albeit remote) of winning a food making competition. How could we not be excited?
Anders had this one on his mind for a whole week and came up with this creation: Johnsonville Italian Sausage Pizza with roasted garlic, Portobello mushrooms and topped with parmesan crisps and toasted pine nuts. Does it get any crazier than this? We hope you like it, and if you do please vote for us when the time comes.
When I was growing up, I had this thing with my mom where she would wake up around midnight, wake me up, sneak in the kitchen and eat a sandwich. This was undoubtedly quite unhealthy, since she had a weakness for fat-sandwiches… No, I don’t mean ‘sandwiches that are fattening’, I mean literally bread with fat and salt on it. If you have good fat, like duck fat, this can be quite delicious. In any case, I shed the habit many years ago. Last week however I was working late and got hungry and I know my mom would approve; I went and made a sandwich. Thanks mom for all the fun midnight sandwiches and good chats.
Last summer we went on vacation to Greece, to the island of Lesvos. We were prepared to taste amazing foods, local delicacies and great tasting salads. Our friends have told us enough stories about the Greek islands that we were rather excited to taste the cuisine. Honestly though, it was a bit of a letdown. The island seems to have gotten a bit ‘touristy’, and the food was usually bland. It wasn’t bad per se, it was just not very interesting. After two weeks eating all over the island, we did find a restaurant on the last day of our trip which was actually great, but that was the exception. Given the less-than-satisfying culinary experiences, we did find one simple dish we kept returning to; The greek salad. It is a salad with a simple dressing, topped with a gigantic block of feta cheese. We decided to combine this a little with the pan seared feta dish called saganaki. We roasted a slice of feta in the oven, and placed it on top of a simple salad on toast. The result was amazing, and here is the recipe.
I don’t know how it’s possible to cut prosciutto as thin as they do, but it’s truly amazing that any knife can do it. My theory is they cut it frozen, but I’m not sure. I wish I could buy prosciutto in thicker pieces as I think that would work wonders on pizzas and sandwiches. But, alas, one can only dream on and work with what one is given. So, this pizza is made from wafer-thin prosciutto slices (vaguely reminiscent of wafer-thin mints). This is essentially a very basic pizza with just a few key ingredients, and it works like a charm. Goat cheese is fantastic on pizzas, and doesn’t overpower the prosciutto at all.
One of the pizzas from Wendie’s surprise birthday party, this one has some grilled chicken (with a very nice spice blend including smoked paprika), two cheeses, olives, tomatoes, green peppers and onions. The dough is a pizza dough with honey I sort-of invented (based loosely on our Lavash crackers recipe), and the tomato sauce has a wide range of spices, most noticeably a hint of fennel. We had 13 guests and I made a total of 9 pizzas and I was stunned that there were almost no leftovers. I really had expects to fill the freezer too, but at least everyone had a great time. Next time I’ll make more!
After a night of excess featuring Alton Brown’s “Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?” ribs, we were lucky enough to have a few leftover. Neither myself nor Wendie have ever has a rib-pizza, so we thought we would give it a try. We cleaned the meat of the ribs, and basically used it as one of the ingredients. This pizza was one of 9 we made for Wendie’s 39 years birthday (Surprise!!). That was the last big cooking day in the old kitchen (notice the brown tiles – all gone now), and one day we can’t wait to reconstruct in the new kitchen when it’s ready in a few weeks. For now we will struggle on without a kitchen, dust all over, and a hole in the floor where the drain will connect our island to the ‘mainland.’ Sigh, life’s hard with no kitchen.