Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wine and Pizza Night

Since this was likely my last chance to hang out with my new fellow Southern buddy Josh before he moves back to DC, I decided to host an impromptu wine and pizza night. My neighbor and co-worker Ms. Goldberg is also temporarily widowed this week with her husband traveling on business, so I convinced her to bring a couple of cans of Pillsbury Pizza Crust and I'd make her dinner and the three gays would entertain her for the evening. Quite the deal for her.

Anyhoo - the pizzas were fabulous and the wine was equally tasty. The first pizza was amazing and consisted of the following:

1 Can Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Crust (it's new - try it! It's real good)
1/2 cup of 10 minute tomato sauce (spiked with minced garlic and lots of crushed red pepper - use Muir Glen fire roasted canned whole tomatoes to make the sauce smokier)
2 slices of thin-cut prosciutto - chopped
1/4 cup mixed gourmet sliced mushrooms (baby bella, shitake, oyster, etc)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a blend of smoked mozzarella and provolone)
20 slices of Turkey Pepperoni

Spread the pizza crust on a 15 X 10 in rimmed baking sheet; spread evenly with slightly cooled tomato sauce; sprinkle with half of the prosciutto, half the mushrooms and about 12 slices of pepperoni.; Sprinkle with 2/3 of the cheese; Sprinkle on the remaining ingredients finishing with the cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown around edges and cheese is bubbly.

I also made a second pizza (Josh was still hungry and demanded another round - how could I say no when the wine was only half-drunk) with regular Pillsbury pizza crust. This time, I subbed in about 4 oz of fresh grated smoked cheddar but kept the other ingredients constant. The crust was a similar depth, but not as flavorful. The new pizza was, however, more pronounced in smokey flavor as the smoked cheddar played up the smoky flavors in the sauce and pushed the cured proscuitto to the forefront.

So what about the wine - I'm still a little foggy on it, but both varieties we enjoyed were quite pleasant:

1) Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet - South Australia 2006 - slightly sweet, very drinkable and smooth table wine with a little oak, berry and cherry-chocolate - perfect for casual eating

2) Natura Syrah - Valle Colchuagua 2005 - a Chilean wine with a twist made from organically grown grapes - this one had a more adventurous dimension created by the vintner's attempt to capture and showcase the terroir of the region. Thick with a little mocha and subtle dark fruit undertones. I didn't enjoy it as much, but it gave some interesting challenges to the palate that I appreciated.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cosmos gets its due

J the BF and I love Cosmos at the Graves 601 Hotel, but we are constantly baffled on why no one else eats there. We never have trouble getting a reservation, they have a killer prix fixe deal (especially the 3-course pre-theater menu) and it is one of the most elegant and mod dining rooms in the cities. Given their need to do billboards all over town touting their experience as Manhattan in Minneapolis (how sad is that) I am always in fear of their financial health, but they keep chugging along.

Given all this, I was thrilled to look in the food section of the Star Tribune this week and see a glowing review of Cosmos that extolled the achievements of this gastronomical resource and questioned it's lack of popularity. The article also delved into the molecular gastronomy that the chef likes to throw in to keep things interesting. I'm all for better taste through chemistry! Maybe, more folks will go and discover this gem buried among the schlock of downtown Minneapolis.


A great read on the Chocolate Chip Cookie

The NYT has done a great article on J the BF's favorite food subject - the chocolate chip cookie. They start with the original Toll House to expounding on some of the more interesting variations to emerge from today's baking experts. Check it!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wet and sloppy sandwich - SF style

I used to love sloppy joes as a kid, so when I saw a sloppy joe post pop up on Food Gawker, I had to check out a "fresh" approach to the classic sandwich. The post came from "Married with Dinner" and it looks awesome. Ground beef and chorizo with anaheim chiles . . . can't wait to try it, but I'll need to invite over some friends - it looks like it makes enough to choke a horse.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

NYC Day 4 - Pooped out @ Maui Tacos

By Monday, NYC was starting to wear on me and we needed a break from the haute face-stuffing we had been doing. After wandering around the Herald Square area near our hotel and creeping in and out of Koreatown looking for something cheap and simple to eat, we settled on Maui Tacos near the Empire State Building.

It's a chain that we loved when we lived in Decatur, Ga years ago - especially their fruity salsas. I was too pooped to take my own photo, so I'm blog-filching one from flickr. While the fish tacos are great, I think I had some over-stuffed burrito covered in enchilada sauce and cheese. It wasn't very good, but I got a beer and dinner for 2 was just $25, so I wasn't complaining.

NYC Day 3 (about friggin time) - Pasta Pathos and A Return to Craft Bar

Again, I am a bad bad bad blogger - anyone offering to whip me back into shape so I stay current with my posts? Anyone?

With that, after several weeks and too many meals have passed, I'm going to try to reach back and recall what I devoured in May. The vibrancy of the memories have passed, so my apologies in advance for sketchy, poorly written posts.

Day 3 was Sunday - the first official day of the Stationery Show and I quickly had to sink into the role of sales person and whipping boy. I was a little disturbed at how quickly I started to remember the price points on the hundreds of different items. By the end of the day, I was almost ready to help that little gift shop in Toronto put together a fabulous assortment of women's accessories, travel journals and address books that would drive incremental sales and traffic. Emphasis on almost.

At the show itself, our booth was located near a food area that served pasta tossed to order with random veggies, pre-cooked meats and other toppings for outrageous prices. The pasta was being tossed by cheeky chatty dudes in chef hats that kept dropping half the pasta with each ill-timed flip of the wrist on their saute pans. I think one of the guys was drunk, high or both. When you're hungry, anything tastes okay, so I was grateful for the half-cooked pound of carbs and sauce (with a bread-stick and a butter-laden slice of pound cake). The experience just reinforces the fact that Javits is a pit.

Dinner was much better. We once again went to Tom Colicchio's CraftBar restaurant. We were joined by J the BF's parents who were giddy from an afternoon of shopping at the Armani store. We had some good wine and started with our beloved pecorino fondue with honey, hazelnuts and pepperoncini. My brain falters at remembering the entree, but I'm pretty sure I had the short-ribs. I remember enjoying it, whatever it was.

Yeah, we slept good that night.