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Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 3 months ago


Pizza Night!

20 Mar 06


My sweetie and I got invited to L & B's place (I only preserve their anonymity to protect them from flocks of food hounds stalking them after you read this) Sunday night for pizza. As an Italian, I admit I come to pizza with a traditionalist bent: thick-ish crust, tomato sauce of some sort, meat, cheese that goes stringy when heated. Still, these are a couple of friends who, although they approach food differently than I do, always have something both interesting and tasty to offer.


First difference from my approach: organically pure base ingredients. In fact, these folks buy their own organic grain, and mill it themselves at home! This leads to a whole grain crust where you can easily identify every ingredient (even to a six year old child). Good start!


Food gadget tip to share, here - while the classic books talk about using a wooden \"peel\" covered in corn meal to slide your pizza into the oven (ideally, on a baking stone), L uses parchment paper on a non-stick baking sheet. Same sliding action with less stray corn meal around the kitchen.


Pizza #1 was a variation on the "pork and fruit" combo epitomized in, say, the prosciutto and melon pairing, or even prosciutto wrapped around a fresh fig. Since fresh figs are hard to come by, this variation brought dried figs (reconstituted a bit by soaking in water) and sauteed pancetta together on the whole grain crust. The saute also include finely shredded leeks, and the cheese base was a mild Fontina.


First off, although the crust was thin, it wasn't cracker thin - had a bit of tooth to it, so I liked it in spite of my thick crust prejudice. The sweet and salty came together well, and I think the reconstituted figs came across better than fresh figs (with a more subtle, backgroundish flavour) would have.


Pizza #2 was a good, tongue warming use of leftover tandoori chicken. L sliced it up, and topped a whole wheat crust with it, accompanied by chopped scallions (sprinkled as the 'za came outta the oven) and a combo of regular and peppered Jack cheese. Here's what that one looked like out of the oven:


In keeping with the south Asian theme, some home-made mango chutney

was available for "on top" or "on the side" support.


If you like spicy, this is going to be your fave. I tried it without chutney, and the spiciness was a curry-esque "warm up on the tongue" instead of a "hot spike in the tongue" heat from, say, a jalapeno or tabasco experience. With the chutney on top, it was a very good blend of unoppressively spicy and sweet.


Pizza #3 (L, seen here in the assembly phase of that one)


wasn't as colourful as some might like, but it was a very rich combo - goat cheese, toasted walnuts (the good ones, not the cheesy, rancid ones), and marinated artichokes (from a jar, in oil).


One of the adjectives at the table was "meaty". It was very rich, with the artichokes and walnuts offering a (good) fat mouth feel, with the goat cheese adding a bit of a stronger bite in between.


All the pizzas had sesame seeds sprinkled on top. I didn't notice much impact on flavour, but it added a subtle textural note I didn't mind.


I was torn between 1 and 2 for my favourite, but they were all great.


Gratuitous product endorsement: on top of the light meringues with mango and banana we enjoyed for dessert was the best sugar-free, fat-free chocolate (flavoured) syrup I've tasted to date. It's Steel's Fat Free Chocolate Flavour Syrup. Sweetened with the sugar alcohol maltitol, it'll take the edge of the chocolate cravings if you really, really have to watch your sugar or fat intake.


Showing friendship and beyond, L & B sent us home with leftover 'za and, wait for it... Unused, but proofed dough! Didn't take long after we got home to shape it into a mini-foccacia

(thyme was the herb of choice, in addition to the usual olive oil and coarse salt), and throw it into the oven on convect bake, 400 degrees, for 20 minutes. Here's what came out


If I'd had salami, I'd have stuck it in the middle, with the heat slightly cooking the cured pork ambrosia in a sandwich that is out of this world. As it was, my sweetie and I gave the foccacia a good home right after cooking, and for breakfast.

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