16 March 2012

Updates

It's been well over a month since I updated the blog. I have been cooking and I've thought about blogging, but for the few readers I have who don't know what's been happening in my life, I'll provide a quick update.
Sadly, on Valentine's Day this year, my brother suddenly passed away. He was 35 years old. It's been quite a shock to me and my family as we were all very close. We're dealing the best that can be expected it's certainly caused me to stock of my life. I am so grateful for the years we had together, especially the last ten, which have definitely been the highlight of our relationship. I'm so very very glad now that we were able to get together when my uncle was in town to have one last meal together. As I mentioned in that post, the goals in my life are to live, laugh and love...before I even knew what was ahead of me, I already considered one of the best nights I had had in years.

Last weekend, we had a friend over for dinner for a long overdue Sunday dinner. I decided to make homemade pizzas as I had seen a recipe in Bon Appetit for no knead pizza dough. Being a fan of the no knead bread from the NY Times, it seemed like a fun and easy way to get dinner on the table. I also anticipated a long meal since we hadn't seen our friend for three months (far too long a break in my opinion). It gave us a chance to chat and have some wine between each pizza "course." I accompanied our pizza with a Mediterranean chopped salad, care of America's Test Kitchen. I added red bell pepper only because I had forgotten to use it the week before (recipe at bottom).
My lone egg on the pizza...no one else was adventurous enough, but it was dang good
The dough itself turned out beautifully--bubbly on top and very tender, but chewy. I had worried a bit when I saw there was no olive oil involved, but there was no need (ha ha...I've been around my uncles too much lately). Do handle it with care, though, as it is very loose and can tear easily.

I did four different combinations: margerhita, three cheese of smoked fontina, parmesan, and gruyere, a prosciutto, potato and smoked fontina, and a caramelized onion base with bacon and gruyere, with an egg on top for my slice (pictured above). My only comment on the recipe is that I wouldn't follow the broiler cooking method unless your broiler runs on the cool side. The first three we did in that manner and while the bottom crust was cooked, thanks to a well pre-heated pizza stone, it wasn't browned. Using a 500 degree oven and adding about two minutes of cooking time provided us with the best all around crust. It was, of course, also our last pizza and the stone was nice and hot by then.

I know time heals all wounds and I will never stop missing my brother. However, I am comforted by the many memories we have together...especially of him enjoying my food, which he did often when I'd make ham or any kind of apple dessert! I'd also like to note that my new Blogger/Google picture is care of my brother, who took that picture of me and my homemade pickles last year on my birthday.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad
Cook's Illustrated

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
Table salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 small minced red onion (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
1 romaine heart, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Ground black pepper

1. Combine cucumber, tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon salt in colander set over bowl and let stand 15 minutes.
2. Whisk oil, vinegar, and garlic together in large bowl. Add drained cucumber and tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, onion, and parsley; toss and let stand at room temperature to blend flavors, 5 minutes.
3. Add romaine and feta; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

4 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear that. Doing what you love is a wonderful way to get through tragedy, and I think it's great that you acknowledged the situation in this space. Your sweet memories will help you everyday.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Sacha.

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  2. I was thinking of you just yesterday Carmel. Wondering how you, and your family, are managing and hoping that your memories of your brother are helping you as you face the future. As always, take care.

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    1. Thanks Gillian. We're doing the best we can. It'll take more time than we realize, but we're doing a lot of sharing of memories and that's been very healing.

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