Caccio e pepe pizza with roasted radishes

May 21, 2012 § 37 Comments

We spent this weekend in the vegetable garden.  It’s hard to imagine a better use of a weekend, I think.  You’ve got sun, you’ve got soil, water, and greenery.  Those are the four main elements of life besides the ether, right?

My mom loves to tell a story about Pavlov (yes, the same Pavlov who was into studying dogs salivating in response to bells) who at some point in his adult life became severely ill.  On the verge of death, he asked his assistant to bring him a bucket of soil from the river nearby.  He buried his hands into this dirt, playing with it, and filling his mind with the memories of playing in the dirt when he was a child.  The delight and strength this brought him helped him break his fever, and, miraculously, he recovered completely.

I’m rather fond of this story, myself, actually.  Being in touch with the earth, quite literally, through the process of digging your hands into it does feel to me like it has this power to bring an unmistakeable sense of peace and wellbeing.  I sure felt that way this weekend, crouched in the dusty, weed filled span of our garden plot, ferreting out weeds and replacing them with seedlings.

It was high time we got ourselves over there, for many reasons, not the least of which was that, because of some scheduling snafus and other everyday trivialities, we had neglected the garden right up until this weekend.  We had neither weeded nor planted anything.  I joked that we were going to leave it feral and use it as a foraging garden.

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Italian meatball stromboli

February 16, 2011 § 6 Comments

I told you I was going to make a “Stromboli absolutely packed with lots and lots of meat” didn’t I? I am a woman of my word! Not only did I make a meaty Stromboli – an Italian meatball Stromboli, if you are looking for precision – I made it in such quantities that we proceeded to eat said Stromboli for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next 3 days straight. And loved it! Even though it was originally my craving, I actually wouldn’t have served it quite so often (at least, probably not for breakfast – oh wait breakfast was my idea, well anyway) except that before each meal Joel would ask excitedly, “can we have Stromboli again?!” And I wasn’t going to argue. I’m actually a little sad now that it’s gone. I think Stromboli and I bonded over that time – I mean, think about it, you share 9 meals with someonething and how can you not bond by the end of it?

When I determined I was going to make Stromboli, I went about it as I normally would make pizza. After all, I figured, what is Stromboli but a pizza that’s been kind of folded over and wrapped up. (Versus a calzone, which seems to be a smallish pizza folded in half. One of my friends from Japan likes to say “Japan is a folding culture” (though frequently and endearingly it comes out as “fording cultule”), but if you look at Italy’s various treatments of dough and filling, they seem to be right on Japan’s heels. But, that’s neither here nor there.) I made my standard slow-rise pizza dough, which (foreshadowing!) makes enough for two not insubstantial pizzas. I had a butcher shop’s worth of assorted locally raised ground meats, so I decided that I would make a batch of little walnut sized Italian meatballs to fulfill my “packed with lots and lots of meats” requirement, as opposed to tracking down any cured meats that would have been thematically appropriate. However, if you have some good Italian cured meats, you could certainly use those instead. « Read the rest of this entry »

Hipp Hurrah for Pizza! (slow-rise pizza dough)

May 10, 2010 § 6 Comments

Overall, I don’t think I can comment on my own fashion sense.  I’m certainly not an objective party.  But, I can say that what I secretly (or not so secretly, really) aspire to, and the way I actually decorate and dress are pretty different.  I kind of wish I could attain that sleek, minimalistic Scandinavian style décor, and dress in a simple classic way.  But I can’t.  Heaven knows I’ve tried, but I somehow always come out with bright colors and bold patterns, and just a teensy bit of friendly clutter.  It turns out that’s just what I like.

And, just last week, I came to the realization that the same goes for me and pizza!  I know it’s all chic and gourmet to like pizzas with a few perfect and sparsely scattered toppings on a delicate crust.  But I like piles of toppings.  Big, gratuitously stacked, piles, I say!  A pizza, to me, is a chance to put a whole bunch of vegetables and cheeses and meats I like in various combinations together in one perfect delivery vehicle.  But, that’s just me.  I won’t force my topping opinions on anyone.  On the other hand, I do want to graciously bestow my pizza dough recipe upon everyone.  Because everyone deserves to have a wonderful, wonderful crust to put their favorite toppings on – without having to pay $0.50-$3 something for each additional topping, or tipping the delivery person!

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