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Cooking Portland Uncategorized

Mozza’s Fennel Sausage, Panna, Scallions and Red Onion Pizza





I swore off making my own pizza dough for years because the results always sucked. Store bought dough was never much better but at least you didn’t have to go through the pain in the ass that is making pizza dough before you topped and baked it and turned out a lame pizza. So, it had that advantage. But, now that I am older and wiser in the kitchen, I had been thinking that it’s time to give it another go. A few weeks (months? one never knows. . .) ago I put the Mozza cookbook on my library holds list for some reason–I think it was when Mario Batali was on Real Time with Bill Maher, and Bill was lavishing the Big B with praise as he is a co-owner. So the plug worked on me to some degree, I guess. Can I just say that I find Mario Batali obnoxiously grating, and yet the man can cook. I have made some excellent recipes from his books. I have a love/hate relationship with that guy. I kinda wish he would stick to the restauranteuring and pipe down a smidge.



Nancy Silverton is the chef at Mozza, and within the cookbook is an entire chapter devoted to the pizzas they make at the Osteria, and the Pizzeria. Basically, they looked hella bomb, and I went all in on giving one of these pizzas a try. So I went out this past saturday and picked up all of the extraneous items that i would need including wheat germ, something that I don’t think I would have ever purchased without being prompted to. I couldn’t find barley malt, but then I didn’t try too hard since it stipulates that you can sub honey. Then I got back home and went at it. This dough turned out to be, unsurprisingly, an all day affair with 1 hour here, 45 minutes there type steps that ends up eating your whole day. Luckily, I have a 1 yr old who won’t bacdafucup with the her Little Red Hen book to keep me busy in the interim. To be fair, she did help me make the dough, to the extent that she was able to. (She helped me hold down my Kitchen-Aid mixture as it rocked this big ball of dough all around the bowl, for instance. Seriously, don’t walk away from it. It’s a canned earthquake.) Somehow, it was still an exciting endeavor, and my hopes remained extremely high through out the process.







I had all of my ingredients prepared and ready to go, my six balls of dough proofed as a motherfucker, the oven mad hot, ready to go. I get to kneeding my first crust out, and all kinds of holes start popping off in it. Naturally, I started to get heated, but I calmed down a bit, and went at the next one with a bit more tenderness. This dough is SUPER WET, and moves like crazy. It stretched out way faster than I was ready for, and was really sticky, but I worked it out. The top picture is the second pizza I made. It turned out damn good. The craziest thing about this pizza is that the ‘sauce’ is just whipped cream––the panna. I had my doubts when I was reading the recipe, but it turned out to be an amazing base. The crust was extremely light and airy and had a wonderful yeasty flavor that I can’t say I’ve ever truly experienced so intensely in a pizza’s flavor profile. It was a great crust, and all the more so since it came out of my janky electric oven. I might even go so far as to say it’s in my top five pizzas ever from anywhere. There is only one or two in the whole of Portland that can even hang with this as far as I’m concerned.



The second pizza pic is from some dough we froze and held over for a few days, and then defrosted. As you can see, the two pizzas are nearly identical, however, the dough lost a good deal of its complexity by not being used immediately. It was still a high quality pizza, though. Below is the upskirt photo, which is important to some people, thus it is included. I’m like, eh, it’s the bottom of a pizza, what about it?







The recipe for the dough can be found here: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/10/nancy-silvertons-pizza-dough-recipe.html

Many of the steps listed are superfluous, so don’t be daunted by the high step-count.



The toppings are as follows, listed in the order they should be applied:
–olive oil, brushed along the edge
–kosher salt, sprinkled all over the dough
–whipped cream, spread around the dough, leaving a 1″ border
–fennel sausage, 2oz per pizza par-cooked, broken into small pieces
–scallions, sliced extremely thin on an exaggerated bias
–red onion, sliced extremely thin
–low moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/2″ cubes, approx. 8 cubes per pizza

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Cooking Uncategorized

I Bought a Cookbook: Canal House Cooking Vol. 2





There’s a huge box of walnuts in my kitchen at the moment. Having gotten it into my head that it was high-time I use these walnuts, I began consulting my cookbook shelf for recipes and inspiration. I found a good number that I liked, but nothing that sent me to the moon, so i took a stroll down to the flagship Powell’s and did a browse, hoping to find the ultimate walnut blow-out recipe. Instead, I found the Canal House Cooking series. I said to myself: well look at that filthy dutch oven on the cover there, it looks just like mine doesn’t it? With all manner of crusted braises from, perhaps, years gone by. The image immediately struck a nerve, so I leaned up against the bookshelf there and started to peruse. What I discovered touched me in that special place that is responsible for me always being ravenously hungry: page after page of simple accessible recipes with gorgeous photography (helps, don’t it!?)



The authors are Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, both former editors for Saveur magazine, among other publications, and a food styling and cookbook production team. The Canal House Cooking series compiles recipes that they cook for themselves; recipes that are seasonal traditions, and heirlooms passed down from family and friends. The books publications, and indeed the trajectory of the content within each volume, follow the sequence of seasonality. This edition was published last fall, and as such features recipes celebrating the autumn harvest, and the holiday season. They run the gamut from the easy Fennel Gratin, which I’ve featured in this post, to the borderline-ridiculous Crown Roast of Pork, which is two center-cut rib roasts, tied together rib-side-out in order to resemble an immense crown. (If I could count on enough people over for dinner this Xmas, I’d promise it to the blog.) I expect to get a lot of use out of these volumes, and I urge everyone to check them out. I understand Volume 5 is due out later this month. Keep an eye out for it.







Fennel Gratin



• 2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed and halved lengthwise, the outer-most layer removed
• 2 cups of milk
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 clove of garlic
• s&p
• 3 Tbl butter, soft
• Parmigiano-reggiano
• fresh grated nutmeg



Lay the halved fennel bulbs in a medium saucepan in a single layer with the milk, bay leaf, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer on medium low, and poach the fennel, turning occasionally, until tender, about 45 minutes.







Preheat the broiler. Butter a gratin dish, then add the fennel in a single layer, cut side up. Shred some Parmigiano over the top, along with a few gratings of nutmeg, and black pepper. Dot the bulbs randomly with small pats of the butter, and add to the broiler. Broil until the cheese browns, 1-2 minutes.







http://www.thecanalhouse.com/