Tuesday, August 25, 2009


A simple dish to start out the morning. Looking in the refrigerator I spot a pot of leftover risotto. Leftover risotto is a wonderful thing - sticky and moist, it can stand up to a good pan fry. [Rice is always a good leftover staple, think fried rice.] The original swiss chard risotto was very basic, made with Arborio rice, swiss chard from the garden, and (store bought) vegetable stock. This morning, I formed small patties of risotto, dipped them into an egg wash, then into breadcrumbs slightly seasoned with parmigiano reggiano, salt, and pepper. The patties were then pan fried in olive oil. Slightly crunchy on the outside, warm and still moist on the inside.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer BBQ

I can’t remember where we heard of barbequing pizza - I know we didn’t invent this, yet many (most?) have never made their own, let alone tasted grilled pizza. Since I am not a baker and am fortunate to live close to Arthur Avenue, I buy my dough at Madonia Brothers Bakery. For $1.50, you can make 3 pies that fit on a Webber grill. No mess, no fuss, and absolutely delicious. Although we cheat and buy our dough, we go all out with the toppings. Often times, we BBQ for a small group of friends. The beauty of this is that everyone creates their own. It is then cut into pieces and we all get to taste each other’s masterpieces. We recently had a friend visiting from Japan. During his visit, our toppings included: fresh mozzarella cheese (from Casa Della Mozzarella on 187th); sautéed broccoli rabe, capers, fresh tomatoes, arugula, and sautéed mushrooms (all vegetables are from the Arthur Avenue Market, the capers from Fairway’s famous olive bar). This time, we rolled the dough on semolina flower (from Teitel Brothers). The result was a much crisper dough and it was easier to handle. We surprised our guest during this, as he thought that when we said we would have pizza for lunch we would be getting it delivered. I feel obligated to share pizza when guests from out of town come to visit, usually opting for Lombardi’s. However, we only had 24 hours with our dear friend. And honestly, you can’t get more authentic NYC pizza then grilling it in the backyard. Our good friend just celebrated her birthday out on the North Fork of Long Island. We were honored to be selected to cook Sunday’s lunch and assembled “Team Pizza”. A wonderful challenge, as all cooking must be done outdoors and for a large, hungry, demographically awesome crew. Part of the team made the dough, while one member rolled out the dough (with semolina flower), and one grilled up the pies. We all participated in the selection of toppings and made various combinations. Unfortunately, we were so busy cooking that we did not take any photographs. Hopefully, someone did who is reading this and will forward them to me so I can post them. In the case that we have no pictures to share, please let your imagination run wild… We cooked 24 pies for 20 people – something we have never done before! Toppings were as follows: fresh heirloom tomato slices and fresh arugula (all from Sang Lee Farms, Long Island); grilled potato slices in olive oil, garlic, and rosemary (potatoes and rosemary also from Sang Lee Farms); fresh garlic; fresh red onion slices; grilled red onion slices; capers; fresh mozzarella and ricotta salata (from The Village Cheese Shop, on Love Lane in Long Island); tomato sauce; and finally, some leftover “vegetarian sausage” from breakfast. Readers, if I am missing any toppings please let me know! This was a well-oiled pizza cooking team (pun intended)! We made too many combinations to list here. And, to my understanding, none of the omnivores complained that it was a vegetarian meal.