Thursday, February 14, 2008

Local as We Wanna Be

Make Pizza

Pizza, yes pizza again, but before I get into the pizza let me tell you about dinner on Tuesday night. It exemplified local, winter eating, in Chicagoland. Something old, something new, something frozen and something...argh, I wished I garnished our salads with Maytag blue. In other words, a mix of stuff from storage, stuff preserved, and stuff still growing.

To wit: take about ten fingerling potatoes from the attic; quarter, douse with homemade rosemary oil (local green house rosemary) and roast at 400o. Those will take about forty-five minutes, enough time to prepare the rest of dinner. Take a portion of bacon off your Nueske slab (every localvore has a slab of Nueske bacon laying around, if not they should!) and cube. Render the fat in a cast iron pan, reserve the crispy parts for later. Dice a keeper red onion and sweat in the bacon grease. Add a package of thawed asparagus spears. Cook long enough to beat six or eight or more eggs in a bowel. Add eggs, with bacon, to pan. A bit of shredded local Fontina cheese would not hurt (it did not hurt us). The pan should be at medium heat or less. Let the eggs cook just enough to firm up the bottoms. Then stick in the oven. The eggs and potatoes should be ready at the same time (roughly). Serve with green salad.

OK, getting back to the pizza. Pizza again. Grammy night. While others might call in, our family was fortunate enough to have it made in. Something to eat in front of the TV until Amy Winehouse would or would not destruct. (Just for the record, who is Ray-Ray?)

I cannot figure out if these are our most local pizzas yet. On one hand, the tomatoes for the sauce came from Italy; on the other hand, the crusts were made entirely of Wisconsin wheat, a mixture of hard and soft wheat. The top pizza uses hand made mozzarella from Caputo's Cheese of Melrose Park, the bottom is potato and shredded Fontina (local).

My wife was a bit concerned that the wheat flour would be too grainy for the pizzas. It turned out to be the opposite, at least on the bottom pizza. The heartier wheat really set up the potatoes. These fingerlings, the La Ratte we got in Wisconsin are about the most potato-y potato out there. If I remember my old high school chemistry right, I would say they had a much higher molarity count of potato molecules. Which, I think I am saying means, there was a hell of a large amount of potato flavor crammed into these potatoes. It needed the balance of a strong crust.

Tonight's local mushrooms with local pasta, tomorrow's cholent with short ribs from our cow. It's good to be a localvore.

1 comment:

sdritz said...

Terrific photo of your daughter! I continue to be inspired by the descriptions (and photos) of your meals.