The Strangest Pizza

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

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

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Waste Not, Want Not

I have an almost cellular aversion to wasting food. I don’t know if it’s the result of the steady drumbeat of “There are children starving in China!” I heard as a kid when I wasn’t finishing a meal (and which I now use on my own children, substituting a non-specific “somewhere in the world” for China). Or whether it’s just because I hate to see things wasted.

Wilted veggies from the Skinny Girls fridge

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before — I’ve written on this subject many times already in this blog. But it’s an issue that comes up often in my life, as I remind yet another dinner host to save the bones from the chicken they’ve just served to make a homemade stock. (Recipe: throw bones in a gallon of water with an onion, salt and bay leaf, cook until reduced by half.) More