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Wednesday
Oct272010

Lots o' Mozz(arella)



Today we bring you a comparison review. Since it is still pizza month and we like to stress using fresh ingredients on pizza, we bring you a review and comparison of three hunks of mozz (muzz) from three different places.

From left to right we have pictured mozzarella from:

1. Fiore's Deli in Hoboken, NJ

2. Eataly in New York City's Flatiron District

3. Lisa's Deli in Hoboken, NJ

First, we would like to say that this is obviously not an exhaustive list of possible places to purchase fresh mozz. What about the Bronx? What about Little Italy? And so on....We will just say this: we know. We thought we'd start small. An intro, if you will, into the world of comparison tasting, with a few easily accessible candidates.

So, without further ado, here are our thoughts:

1. Fiore's: This rendition was very tasty. It was lightly salted, which gave the cheese more flavor overall. It was not overpowering, but just right. Compared to the other two, it was a denser cheese. The color was also darker, an off-white instead of a bright white. I'm not really sure what that means, but I just thought it should be noted. This would be a great cheese to put on a Margherita pizza, as you wouldn't have to add any salt. The flavor from the mozzarella would be all the seasoning you would need (excepting basil).

2. Eataly: This version was fairly bland in taste. It was unsalted. The texture was milkier, and it was definitely the softest of the bunch. This may have been because, while the other two were removed from their watery holding pens when I purchased them (many times fresh mozzarella is packed in water until it is ready to be used), this one came with its own little portable aquarium (tupperware container filled with water). We liked this softer texture, but weren't blown away by flavor. This would be an excellent cheese to use on a pizza that had flavor from other toppings - pancetta or a similar meat for example.

3. Lisa's Deli: This little one was also unsalted, and had a texutre somewhere in the middle of the other two in terms of softness....not too soft, not too firm, but juuuuuuust right. However, it didn't pack a whole lot of punch in terms of flavor. This would be a nice mozzarella to use for a Caprese salad: sliced tomatoes placed on top of slices of cheese, crowned with a few basil leaves, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

So instead of declaring a winner from these three, we feel like they all have their strengths and are appropriate for different uses. We are going to keep looking for THE mozzarella, though, so if you have a suggestion for one you would like us to try, please leave it in the comments section. Also, if any of you would like some mozzarella, I have a TON of it in my fridge right now. I think I was a little overzealous in my cheese purchasing.

* Disclaimer: The funny faces drawn on the cheeses in no way represent any real or actual person. I just thought it would be funny to give cheese faces that kind of look like gangsters. But not real gangsters. Just imaginary cheesey ones.
Tuesday
Oct262010

Pizza Making Demonstration!

John and Elana Make Pizza from John Iaciofano on Vimeo.



Every month, Elana and I are aiming to post a creative video of us and food.  Whether that be a recipe, a restaurant, a food fight... remains to be seen, but we hope to post a video with some sort of regularity.  This week, we present Pizza Making Set to Pop Music.  Special thanks to B.O.B.'s "Magic" for providing the background track.

Also, if the video moves too fast, I have attached the pizza recipe we used.  Enjoy.

Pizza dough recipe

1 envelope dried yeast
1 cup warm water
4 c all purposeflour or bread flour
¾ t salt
½ cup warm water
2T olive oil

In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of warm water…stir in ½ cup of the flour.  Cover and let stand for about 30 minutes

Then add the other ½ cup of warm water salt and olive oil.  Slowly begin to add the remaining flour.  When all of the flour is incorporated knead the dough until it is smooth.  It may take about 10 minutes….

Then dust the dough lightly all over with flour and place in a bowl – covered with a cloth  to rise for about 1 hour.

When it has doubled in size, punch down the dough and divide into 4 parts.  Form each fourth into a smooth ball and let rise covered on a floured board for 30 minutes.  In the meantime heat the oven to 500 degrees for 30 minutes….

  

Monday
Oct252010

Roman Sneak Peek - Day Two



Cooking class today in Rome! Among other things (many, many other things) we made some home made ravioli with a cannelini bean, Porcini mushroom and sage filling. It was topped with more fresh Porcini mushrooms, and Pecorino cheese, which when blended with some of the pasta water, made a light but creamy sauce for the ravioli (good tip!)



Also, I have an update on the fried artichoke process. First, the artichokes are trimmed, then boiled (I believe for about 20 minutes, but the details are pretty fuzzy). Then, they drop them in oil and fry them. No batter or anything like that – just naked, boiled artichoke in boiling oil. I am going to need to try this when I get back home. Please stand by with emergency contact numbers and fire extinguishers.

And tomorrow we have something VERY, VERY special for you. Please alert all the people you know. Alert the people you don't know too. I think they will like it especially. Am I going to tell you what it is? NO. But it's gonna be good...
Monday
Oct252010

Something Simple - Honey, Cinnamon and Clove Pizza



Today I wanted to present to you a combo – something that is both simple AND pizza. I also wanted to depart a bit from the dinner time pizza and give to you - Lo and BEHOLD! - a dessert pizza!

WHaaaaaat? Pizza for dessert? What madness is this? It's not madness, it's good sense people. Even though it's coming from me.

This is a great pizza to make for a simple dessert or even as a little appetizer for a brunch.

What You Need:

Pizza dough (made or bought)

Honey (you can use a flavored honey if you want - go nuts!)

Ground cinnamon (a healthy sprinkle)

Ground cloves (a smaller sprinkle)

What To Do:

Preheat your oven with pizza stone to 500 degrees for at least a half an hour.

While your oven is heating up, roll out your dough and place it on your pizza peel (that has been sprinkled with semolina flour or cornmeal for easy in-and-out-of-oven transfers). Drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Sprinkle with cloves.

Put it in the oven.

NOTE: This is going to smell incredible. Like cinnamon heaven. Resist the urge to open the oven door and put the piping hot pizza in your mouth. Whole. Because you will want to.

Remove pizza after about 10 minutes, or when the crusts are golden-brown and the topping is bubbling. Let it rest for a minute or two before you dive in: hot honey is HOTTTTT. Like really hot. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Prepare for amazingness.

But WAIT! To make it even more wonderful, drink this wine with it (thanks to our friends at Astor Wines for the recommendation):



It's Sparkling Blanc "Ze Bulle", Zéro Pointé – 2009, and if this appeals to you (I don't see why it wouldn't) you can find it here.
Sunday
Oct242010

Roman Sneak Peek!



Greetings from Rome! I don't know if any of you are out there on a Sunday cruisin' the blogs, but if you are, hello! Or ciao!

This is just a mini post. I'll have more info and pictures for you next week when I pull everything together. In the meantime, the above is a photo from Piazza Malta. There's a keyhole in the Piazza, and if you peek through it, you can see St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The dome of the basilica is a bit blown out in this photo, but you get the idea.

Below is part of my lunch. A fried artichoke from Roma Saporito. Crispy leaves (like artichoke potato chips) on the outside and a nice soft center. It was impressive. We got the tip to go to this particular restaurant from watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.



Also, I just may have picked up the Italian Mystery Prize today. So, post a comment on the blog to be enetered to win!