22 Mar 2013
in Food, Humor, Recipes
Tags: confit, cracklings, duck, Paul Prudhomme, pizza, Priscilla Presley, Spago, Wolfgang Puck
I remember when Wolfgang Puck was cooking at Spago, the original one above Tower Records on the Sunset Strip. I went there a few times as a kid, always glancing about for a Warren Beatty or Jack Nicholson sighting. Years later, I would find myself sandwiched between Priscilla Presley and Paul Prudhomme at a private Chinese New Year dinner at his second restaurant, Chinois on Main. But that’s another story. Back to Spago… it was here that in addition to star spotting, you could sample such radical and then unimaginable pizzas as goat cheese and sun-dried tomato (wow!), smoked salmon with caviar and Thai chicken.
John Huston’s table, Spago Oscars party, 1986
I’ve made a few strange pizzas in my day. Never one to extol novelty for novelty’s sake, I mostly hew near to the Neopolitan standard, sometimes getting a little creative with my toppings — fresh eggs and caramelized fennel, for example, or Kurobata pork belly and pickled red onion — or exploring different cheeses. Occasionally I’ll build a pizza around a single unique ingredient — a particular wild mushroom I’ve found highlighted in a cream reduction. But every so often, I throw convention out completely to the whim of inspiration. More
19 Feb 2013
in Food, Humor
Tags: Cherry council, crab, Crab-stuffed flounder, flounder, food, halibut, humor, National food holidays, pizza
Browsing the news items on yahoo.com, I was surprised to discover that today, February 18th, is National Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day.
Can you spot the flounder?
Not only did I not realize it was a holiday, but I’ll admit I didn’t even know people stuffed flounder with crab. Not that I’m against the idea, mind you — I’ve been known to stuff everything from sushi rolls to artichokes with crab. Why not a flounder? More
27 Dec 2011
in Cooking Tips, Recipes, Video
Tags: Bologna, Bread, Christmas, ciabatta, dough, kneading, Mario Batali, pasta, pizza, recipe
I recall when I worked in pizza joints as a pimply kid, big beachballs of pizza dough churning in cavernous steel bowls beneath a massive metal Popeye arm. Industrial mixers made quick work of enough flour, yeast and water for 100 pies. But if you’re a home cook, why deprive yourself of the meditative pleasure of kneading?
Fresh savory rustic bread, just out of the oven
I sometimes see TV chefs mixing their dough in a Cuisinart. While this works perfectly well, your dough will never have that intangible mojo the best food has — the love that comes from a human hand. More
19 Aug 2011
in Observations, Recipes, Starlets, Yoga Students & Quinoa (stories)
Tags: anchovies, antipasto, France, fruits de mer, Nice, octopus, offal, pizza, polpo, sardines, sea urchin, Sicily, stinky cheese, sweetbreads
You would think everyone at my house would be living a life of culinary bliss, eagerly anticipating the next plate placed before them. But it ain’t always so…
Everything is grand when I serve breaded chicken cutlets, hamburgers or pizza. Unless I try to slip some anchovies on top. But certain dishes elicit a blank stare from the kids — even from the wife on occasion — that says: “You expect me to eat that??” More
27 Jan 2011
in Cooking Tips, Pork, Recipes, Video
Tags: chanterelles, forno bravo, lardo, mozzerella, naples, pizza, tomato
Lately I’ve been contemplating getting a wood-burning pizza oven. Our friends have a beautiful built-in outside and they invite me over to cook in it sometimes, and I get oven envy and mope for days. I found a very nifty pre-made one from Italy online (fornobravo.com), and my wife and I are currently in negotiations… Anyway… More