Evan’s foodie background + Pizza=the blog, April 29, 2010
I am a foodie! How did I get that way? I’ve devoted a tremendous amount of thought and time to the food arena for at least 3 decades (it sounds more impressive than 30 years). It’s safe to suggest that I come from a family of foodies. My mother has always cooked a variety of proteins. In fact, her side of the family has inspired my sisters to cook as well. My sister Joyce modified Grandma’s Stuffed Cabbage by substituting Ground Turkey Meat instead of Ground Chuck. Her recipe is listed on the blog page under (oddly enough) recipes. My sister Carolyn makes everything from soup to nuts (an expression I’ve been dying to use somewhere in my writing): Proteins, Quiches, Stuffed Mushrooms, Italian Food, etc. My Grandmother (may she rest) had a few tricks up her sleeve. She used to make a killer Matzoh Ball Soup, Stuffed Cabbage, and some permutation of Chicken in a pot, etc. When I asked her for the recipe, she’d reply something along the lines of: “I don’t have the recipes written down because the knowledge is in my hands.” Naturally, I didn’t have a comeback for that. If Ace Ventura was created back then, I would have said, “all righty then.” Moving onward, my Aunt Phyllis makes an awesome “potted” meat, which is braised for a few hours. She also used to marinate Kosher Chicken Wings in French Dressing. I’m not sure of the exact trademark brand, but I do remember bottles of Milano 1890 French Dressing. Then, she would slowly barbeque (a verb as well as a noun) them because sugar tends to burn quickly when grilled over open flames. Aunt Joni cooks a hodgepodge of foods as well. Additionally, she has the fastest Microwave skills I’ve ever seen. Joni can outperform anyone with a microwave keypad—even avid “texting” aficionados. In sum, all of the aforementioned family members have inspired my cooking to a degree. Additionally, I must have had a Wayne Dyer Quantum Moment (an epiphany of drastic proportions) when I first saw a man flip Pizza Dough in the air, swirl fresh Pizza Sauce with a ladle, and sprinkle several ingredients and seasonings. When that mysterious round thing came out of the oven 10 minutes later, it was amazing. I think this crucial segment of Evan J. history occurred at the defunct Rocco’s Pizza in Greenridge Plaza, Staten Island, Circa 1979. I was so inspired that I bought Pizza Dough for a buck, rode my bike uphill via Richmond Avenue, and proceeded to make a mess in my mother’s kitchen. Her rules were simple: Clean up your mess and don’t burn the house down. After various attempts at flinging the Dough in the air, waiting for it to peel off the ceiling, and cooking a pizza on an oven rack, I decided that I wasn’t set up to create a product on par with Rocco’s. I took the Dough and moved on to Calzones—a blog for another day… However, I found a solution to making a pizza at home with whatever ingredients I want. I didn’t have luck with Pizza Stones, so I bought some Alfagres Quarry Tiles and placed them on the racks—it works like a champ!
Pictured above: 2 Alfagres Quarry Tiles, a Pizza Cutter, and some frivolous decorations…
There are recipes on my blog that you should check out… Both the Pizza Dough and Pizza Sauce recipes have been on my blog since its inception… I’ve created some crazy combinations and still working on some newer ones. One of my favorite Pizza combinations is Roasted Garlic, Oysters, and Smoked Mozzarella or Gouda (whichever is available–inspired by the infamous Clam Garlic Pizza from the Roadhouse on Staten Island, and Pagliacci’s “AGOG” Pizza from Seattle, Washington. I’m always working on Pizza Hybrids (for lack of a better term)…
Today’s hybrid consists of the following:
My Pizza Sauce
Pesto in a tube
Reduced Fat Mozzarella
Italian Seasoning, Kosher Salt, and Fresh Ground Pepper.
A Pizza Dough that mimics an “Everything Bagel.” Mix onion flakes, Kosher Salt, Poppy Seeds, Garlic Powder, Pepper, and Fennel into the dough after it has proofed. Just go lightly on the Salt and the Fennel because they can be overpowering.
In short, have a good time with the dough at first, place it on a floured Pizza Peel, swirl on your sauce, add the remaining ingredients, stick it in a 400 plus degree oven on a Pizza Stone or Tiles, cook it until it’s done, then eat.
Evan J. wanna be Gourmet