Saturday, October 16, 2010

NOT Chicago style

If there is one thing I am critical of, it is pizza.  I like to think of myself as a pizza connoisseur.    Of course, there is no pizza that rivals the Chicago pizza.  I don't need to taste that NY crap to know that it does not come close to the utter breathtaking, sense invoking, glorious Chicago spinach deep dish.  There is one cook however, that knows food even more than I intimately know pizza and her name is Lisa.
Lisa introduced Holly and I to Cheese Board in Berkley California and we vowed to recreate the masterpiece. 
Recreating something by sight and taste alone nearly a month after eating it for the first time was not easy.  Holly did use some of her super spy ways and found a description written behind Lisa and I in a snap shot. 

Recipe 1: Zesty Pizza
  1. Sour Dough crust (we improvised with Better Homes and Garden's pizza dough recipe)
  2. Tomatoes (sliced thin)
  3. Mozzarella cheese 
  4. Feta cheese 
  5. Lemon zest 
  6. Lemon juice squeezed (before and after baked)...I added extra without Holly looking and it could have used more. 
  7. Cilantro 
  8. Garlic (chopped)
  9. Salt 
  10. Onions (thinly sliced)
  11. Lots of olive oil on top of crust  
  12. Take out when the cheese is slightly brown and the crust is nice and toasty. (I think our cheese could have browned a little bit more)
Recipe 2:  Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing from Food Network
This recipe was a fun one that Holly found.  It was a very good recipe that I might even make again. The only downfall was that the bacon dressing did have an obvious oily effect.  
Recipe 3:  Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler from  Whipped
Before it was baked
 After it was baked
Zesty Pizza, Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing, & Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler were all successes

It was a good week for Holly and I!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

no egg unwasted

So once upon a time, in San Francisco, over a seafood lunch that we never could have afforded by ourselves, my friend Cassie and I decided that we had far too long not known how to cook. That’s what some of these posts are going to be about. Once a week we’re going to meet and try to cook something new and from scratch that we’ve never tried to cook before. We’ve been doing it for two weeks and we’ve already experienced good, bad, and so-bad-we-threw-it-away-after-one-piece! But we’re learning, I think.

We’re planning on switching the kind of food we cook by the month. September’s been America month (because we started halfway through September and American food was the least exciting to us…)

For our first week we picked fried chicken, Caesar salad, and chocolate pie. That sounds delicious doesn’t it? Yes, it does SOUND delicious…

We started out with the chocolate pie, which was pretty easy to throw together. We even made our own crust out of the big red-checkered Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. If yanking that hunk of cookbook off the shelf doesn't make you feel like a real down home cook I don't know what will. We found the filling recipe we chose to use here on a super cute blog called Homesick Texan.

The filling tasted… decent. It should definitely be mentioned that as we were separating the eggs one of us (*ahem* cassie) kept the whites and trashed the yolks. As they were going down the drain we noticed that custard in fact needs egg yolks… not whites. We threw the whites away and beat the yolks into the custard. Eggs lost, 2.

We started making the topping (a combination of beaten egg whites, sugar and a pinch of salt) and realized that we could have saved the yolks we had just drained. Whoops. That’s another two eggs. (Eggs lost, 4.) Over the whirr of the electric mixer we tried to figure out why exactly it was taking so long for the whites to whip up.

Then we noticed the recipe strongly cautioning us to wait to add the sugar until after the whites were beaten. Whoops. (If you’re still tracking with me, that puts the total count up to 6, yes 6 eggs lost.) At least now we were laughing.

While this rampant loss was happening cassie would intermittently yell “Why don’t you WATCH me!?”

Ok, we were a little beaten down, but we moved on. Cassie started working on the Caesar salad dressing as I began cutting up the chicken (read: called Cassie’s husband Jimmy in to begin cutting up the chicken).

(This is about the closest thing to a kitchen staff we’re going to get.)

The dressing was food processing away as we cut up the French bread (for croutons) and stuck it in the oven.


We coated the chicken in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. (By the way, the recipe we’re using is also from "Homesick Texan"). We started dropping it in the oil and while it was frying we assembled the salad.

The chicken came out looking pretty great and we were all definitely starving as we sat down to dinner.

Long story short the chicken was… not the best. The coating was just seasoned with salt and pepper, which we think was our fatal flaw. Next time I'll try something with a few more of the colonel's secret spices... any suggestions??

The salad, though… ah the salad.

It’s a good thing we were able to drown our sorrows in lots of creamy Caesar dressing and homemade croutons. Seriously, it was delicious. Amazingly enough, it was also easy to put together. The dressing was great, not even comparable to the bottled stuff, and the croutons were shockingly satisfying for being so easy to make.

The chocolate pie was… similarly disappointing. Oh well, we’re 1 for 3. We did at least get one great Caesar salad recipe out of our first week, so I’ll take that.

The wonderfully amazing salad was at a blog called "Other People's Food" and you can find the recipe here if you'd like to try it. [We omitted the bacon and it was still delicious.]

Week one down. Recipe successes:1, failures:2.

unnecessary egg wasting: i don't know... 16?