When I was in New York last week for the Your Father’s Mustache Reunion at Carnegie Hall, I couldn’t resist a slice of New York Pizza. It was just a little hole in the wall place near the hotel on 57th street, exactly like 1,000 other shops on nearly every street in Manhattan. There wasn’t even room in the store to stand and eat your slice. I had to go stand outside. But the crust was perefectly thin and crisp, the sauce was mild but distinctively tomato, the cheese was gooey with a rich milky flavor. You CANNOT duplicate this at home. And apparantly, it cannot be duplicated in any other city in the world. Viva New York Pizza.
Archive for October, 2011
PBS has launched a new site to feature all the great cooking on public television. There are blogs, clips, and tons of recipes including lots from QED COOKS! You can get to the site here http://www.pbs.org/food/ and then explore. I think the site is very cool and it demonstrates that public television was not just the first place for cooking programs but it is still the best.
We’re headed out to Ohiopyle this weekend for the Fall Buckwheat Festival at the Firehouse. They’ll be serving “all you can eat” buckwheat or regular pancakes along with whole hog sausage, home fries, applesauce and pickles all day Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15. The funds raised are plowed right back into the community to support fire and emergency services. See you there!
Serap Ozcan was good enough to send me the recipe to share for the stuffed grape leaves. So here you are:
Leaves Stuffed with Rice, Pine Nuts, and Currants
Serves 4-6 (recipe adopted from Ozcan Ozan,The Sultan’s Kitchen, A Turkish Cookbook)
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 tbsp lemon salt
2 tablespoons currants
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts (I used walnuts)
2 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1 cup medium grain white rice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh/dried dill (I used both)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh/dried mint (I prefer dried mint)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, crushed red pepper, pinch of cumin
This time of year you have to keep your car doors locked because if you don’t – there will be zucchini in the back seat when you return. Tha’t not a problem for me since I’ll take as much fresh produce as people want to send my way. This weekend my neighbor, Mrs. Trojanowski, brought me three huge bags of kale from her sister’s garden. I cooked it all up and put it in freezer bags to be combined with some beans for a cold winter’s dinner. Last week Frank Caloiero, WQED’s Emmy winning Cinematographer and editor, brought me a whole bag of veggies including, red peppers, eggplant, jalepenos and cherry peppers. I made a big batch of caponatina with most of it and strung up the remaining cherry peppers to dry next to my kitchen window. I was going to pickle them but drying is so much less labor intensive. I’ll have peppers all winter to add a splash of flavor to batches of steak pizzaiola, beans or sauces.
Here’s my basic recipe for Caponata. I eliminated the zucchini in this version and substituted more peppers. It was scrumptious! Thanks Frank.
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 celery stalk, peeled and sliced
1 medium zucchini, diced
4 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup cracked green olives
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon pignoli nuts
salt and pepper
In a large bowl, toss the diced eggplant with about one-half the olive oil. Pour into a large, non-stick skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until the eggplant starts to brown on all sides. Add a little more oil if necessary and then the diced onion, pepper and celery. Cook until the onion is tender. Add the zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes. Pit and chop the olives and add to the skillet along with the sugar, vinegar, capers and red pepper flakes, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serap Ozcan and her husband, Hasan Ozcan just came by for a visit to my office and left an enormous container of dolmas, stuffed grape leaves. Serap was one of the cooks for our Churchlady cooking II program and I’ve been enjoying events organized by the Turkish Cultural Center of Pittsburgh ever since. These are without a doubt the most delicious stuffed grape leaves I have ever eaten- and they are just beautiful! I love their fresh lemony taste and the little kick of spice. She was saying that better versions of this are distinguished by how thin a cylinder is created when you wrap the grap leaves around the rice mixture. These are pencil thin and absolutely addictive. My family will be lucky if any of them make it home. If I can get a recipe from Serap I will post. The Turkish community here in Pittsburgh works so hard to share their culture and to create an atmosphere of dialogue and understanding. Bravo to Serap and Hasan and everyone at TCCP. I can’t wait for their new cultural center to open.