August 18, 2009

Pizza Party: Homemade Dough

On Sunday, I made pizza dough from scratch for the first time. It was E-Z. I used Jamie Oliver's recipe from Jamie at Home (which I halved), and though the texture was more airy and crisp than chewy perfection, both the pizzas I've made so far were downright delicious.

I've always liked making pizza at home—you can trace my culinary trajectory from Boboli to pre-made commercial doughs to nabbing some on the cheap from local pizzarias—because you can pile on favorite ingredients, use up fridge detritus and keep the whole affair pretty healthy.

Things I had lying around: soppresata, blue cheese, beautiful heirloom tomatoes, onions, pinolis and corn. The blue cheese really is a lovely alternative to milder cheeses—you can use less and still get a full brunt of flavor. I baked them with the help of my trusty pizza stone, and both took less than ten minutes to get perfectly crisp.

Here is Sunday's version: tomato, pinolis, onions and sliced soppresata with blue cheese. The soppresata was MVP—adding the perfect chewy crackle and salty tang. And, I only used two small deli slices for the whole darn pie.

And here is today's lunch: a personal sized pie with corn (most underrated pizza topping EVER), onions, the most exquisite red and yellow-flecked tomato, sliced soppresata, blue cheese and a sprinkling of fresh grated parmesean.
Once you start doing these things—making dough, baking bread, throwing things together—it becomes clear how simple they are. No wonder people have been at it for centuries.

August 14, 2009

Friday Lunch in Philly: Putting Some Local Figs to Good Use

At the Wednesday afternoon Farmers' Market near Schuylkill Banks, I couldn't resist the small containers of fresh figs for only $2. My favorite all-time fig flavor pairing—it's a classic—is with blue cheese. So, I picked up a small hunk, a fresh multi-grain roll from DiBruno Brothers and mixed up some honey with some balsamic vinegar to make a simple, sweet and acidic sauce.
As a side dish, I tossed some beautiful, local heirloom tomatoes (mostly yellow, with streaks of red that reminded me of the broken tulips from Botany of Desire) with some nice California olive oil, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. It was a nice time.