pizza Tag

CHI SPACCA’S FOCACCIA DI RECCO, OR THE CLOSEST YOU’LL GET TO IT AT HOME

DOLLOPS OF FRESH COW’S MILK CHEESE COCOONING IN BETWEEN TWO PAPER-THIN FILMS OF UNYEASTED DOUGH, AND BAKED INTO A BALLOONED AND BLISTERED PIE WITH CHEESE-FILLED UNDERGROUND CHAMBERS.

What is obsession?  When is it helpful and when does it get silly?

Ever since that episode of Chef’s Table on Nancy Silverton, I’ve been dwelling, not upon, but inside this subject.

The episode, of course, celebrates a chef’s willingness to spend an inexhaustible amount of effort to close that last short climb between what is already a great dish to a conceivably perfect one.  A distance too short and steep no doubt, for most to commit.  But to Silverton, especially when it comes to breads, being obsessed is not a question of should or shouldn’t, but do you have what it takes?  I am, however, at least not today, talking about the theoretical aspect of obsessions.  Instead, I’d like to bring forth the physical one that I was sent into after watching her episode.

During that show, there was about a 30-seconds scene showcasing a flatbread-looking pie, a glowing golden-brown mirage.  Captivated by that glimpse, nothing but a glimpse, without even knowing what “it” actually was, I plunged into a months-long pursuit from grasping what I saw to realizing it in my own kitchen.   First, it took me a considerable amount of Googling to find out what I initially thought was a “thin double-sided pizza stuffed with mozzarella?”, to be something actually called focaccia di recco from her restaurant Chi Spacca, an extremely crispy-edged, flatbread-like creature that has nothing to do with either pizza nor mozzarella, or the typical focaccia for that matter.  The dish is essentially dollops of fresh cow’s milk cheese cocooning in between two stretched, unyeasted, paper-thin films of dough, and baked into a ballooned and blistered pie with cheese-filled underground chambers.  Mostly cracker-like crispy, partially soft and stretchy, all in all and bona fide gastronomic wonder unlike anything I have ever seen.

It, allegedly, took her two whole years to perfect.

Since then, I bled over bringing it into my reality.  I don’t have anything else to elaborate other than the every words already written in the instructions, each summarizing hours and hours of theorizing, testings, failings, staring, and re-testings, presented to you, as shortly and concisely as I think what a normal human being has patience for.  The result rewarded and justified every last drop of sweat and tears spent, and whatever difference there may be from the real deal, I confide in my belief to be a result of hardware issues (commercial oven VS. home electric oven).  Except, maybe, whatever experience I cannot transcribe through words.  And if so, then that my friend, is where only your obsession can take you.  But it’s worth it, let me tell you.  It’s all worth it.

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SPRING CREAM PIZZA

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DOLLOPS OF SAVORY WHIPPED CREAM HELPLESSLY DESTABILIZE UNDER THE BLAZING HEAT OF THE OVEN, RENDERING INTO A PUDDLE OF SALTY, OILY, HERBY AND CREAMY MAGMA

You know, I try not to make pizzas nowadays.

Off carbs?  I wish.  Gluten-free?  Is there any other diet more torturous by design?  How about an oven that shuts down in the middle of nowhere for no reasons whatsoever?  OK, yeah I have that.  But, no.  No, not for any of those things.  In fact, the reason is a simple and straightforward one, in fact, one that deals with our most basic instinctual fear which drives, I believe, most human behaviors… the fear of dying alone.

Wait, pizza can do that?  Yes, pizza can do that.  How?  By making me fat.

 

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THE INCREDIBLE LAHMACUN AND AYRAN

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THE FOOD-EQUIVALENT OF BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BRANGELINA OF ICONIC TURKISH EATS

  

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AS some of you may have noticed from this particular announcement, that I am now officially divorced… from the commitment of owning a stand-mixer (easy, gentlemen…).  More accurately, a surprised appliancewidow if you may, still deeply hurt by the concealed unhappiness my stand-mixer had apparently suffered from in the past 4 years, which finally led to his jump off the kitchen counter on a cloudy Oct 24th, decapitating himself in his last, escapist act.  The lumpy splatter of an unfinished pizza-dough over the black pavement, was his first and last, silent yet loudest protest, before declaring eternal freedom… from me.  Looking back, devastated, I don’t think he has ever loved me…

Now, mid 30’s, dumped, and less equipped…

I know at times like this, I’m suppose to resort to less labour-intensive tasks in the kitchen, a pasta-salad perhaps, or a one-bowl-pancake mix with added sparkles, maybe even the unthinkable salad, to hide the scars from this tragic embarrassment, and more importantly, look really hot while doing it.  But no.  In an counter-protest to the irresponsibility of a suicidal stand-mixer, giving up making doughs is admitting defeat.  With bare hands, I’m gonna prove that without him, I’m still highly desirable in the dough-market and totally dough-able.  Not just the same dough down the sad memory lane, but I’m gonna make something awsome-er, something super-er.

I’m gonna make the incredible, lamahcun and ayran.READ MORE

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Eggplant parmesan pizza w/ crispy capers

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NOT feeling particular talky today so let’s just eat.

Last night, armed with the perfect excuse of utilizing the abundance of eggplants, we had a pizza-rized eggplant parmesan.  Paper-thin slices of eggplants pre-toasted under an airy web of grated Parmigiano cheese until curly crispy and golden browned, scattered in between two layers of tangy tomato sauce and bubbling moazzarella cheese.  Then, topped with what acted as bursting land-mines of brininess and salt, my new BFF crispy-fried capers that makes it.  Just another evidence that I must drop any perfectly wholesome and healthy idea onto a throbbing field of carbs.

May or may not have something to do with my mind-paralysis today… and even if it did, the best kind there is.

” … BURSTING LAND-MINES OF BRININESS AND SALT… “

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pizza alla carbonara

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You’d think that for someone who weeped slightly while watching SATC the-Village-wet-dream in her Vancouver apartment 15 years ago, and now replays movies like You’ve Got Mail the-Upper-West-Side-porn to ease her New-York-home-sickness, if now given the chance to move back to the city, would of course choose Manhattan in a heart beat. Well, almost.

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Deathly Scalloped Potato Pizza

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It’s barely spring and the apartment isn’t even warm yet, but these days every root vegetables in my kitchen seems to be in a hurry to grow up.  There’s a pot that my cleaning lady set by the window with green stalks surging so high that I almost thought she was bribing me back (aww, you shouldn’t have…).  No, the bottom lies the shallots I bought a few weeks back.  And there’s those deceiving heads of garlic cloves each hiding inside its white jacket, only to be exposed when smashed open that they were secretly stretching out mini antennas to listen in on my conversations with my doughs (puff now, my little one… hush hush).  Then there’re these baby potatoes.  Oh my potato-babies… how it hurts me that they are in such hurry to grow up and leave my loving nest.

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    The Way Rome Intended…

    EVERYTHING… IMPECCABLY CRAFTED.  NOTHING REFINED.

    I opened my eyes and stared into a rustic, antique wooden-ceiling.  It’s an unusually early hour for me to wake up to but both the street-washing vehicle just outside the window and my jetlag demanded it.  This was a morning as routine as any.  We woke up, cleaned ourselves and got dressed.  But instead of a solitary morning of me courting my coffee machine, we walked down one flight of antique stone-steps into another world and strolled to the piazza-next-door for a cup of cappuccino with anticipations of company.  People were there as promised, gathering in front of the cafe bar chatting.  We funneled through the cappuccino crowd as you would in a big family getting through the morning in an orderly chaos.  Two cappuccinos, one cornetto.  As usual.

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