From the perspective of a misanthrope food is one of the only things that I feel I really have in common with most of humanity. It's a common denominator that we can base a connection off of. Throughout the day I've found that most of the conversations I have with people are based around food. It's mostly me bringing it up and sustaining it. I get nods of approval, disinterest and on occasion I can get someone captivated. Although I do admit that doesn't happen very often when I mention I have a blog about asparagus. It's typically less painful than idle chatter about the weather. Which here in Portland mostly consists of which varying degree of how tired you are of the rain.
I don't understand people who aren't "foodies" or who don't have an interest in food. It's such a significant part of peoples' lives that demands daily attention. Dinner parties, dates and depending on the circumstance even hanging out with friends are all socially food-centric activities that we all engage in. Your diet can be such a strong influence in your life that it can dictate who you spend time with socially. There's socially conscious vegans or vegetarians who can bring morality to the dinner table for you. There's ethnic associations with food where people connect with each other because they have the same heritage and they enjoy the same dishes that remind them of the same things. Basically what I'm getting at is food is one thing that brings people together. It has that affect on me anyway.
When I cook I need someone to cook for. If I were eating alone I would just get a burrito from a local taqueria and call it a night. This has happened before. I end up eating at the same place 4 nights out of the week. When I have someone to cook for though that's when I really want to excel. It's embarrassing but my enjoyment of the dish is based on subtle looks and gestures of the person I want to impress. If they don't enjoy the meal then I'm distraught and I end up enjoying it less. I wouldn't say I don't enjoy it, just not nearly as much.
For this next post I'm going to do pizza. Pizza is something that most people love but some of them can't enjoy anymore. The person I cook for is my girlfriend and she's gluten intolerant. She's a much better cook than I am so I'm going to be linking to her blog on this post for how to make the pizza crust. If you aren't gluten intolerant then that's alright, my post still has amazing pizza. You should feel free to try some gluten-less pizza crust though. I've worked in a few pizza kitchens and this is one of the best I've had.
|Pizza w/ salami, asparagus, shallots and bell pepper|
12 spears of asparagus
8 oz of mozzarella cheese grated
1 shallot sliced
3/4 lb of sausage
8 oz of pasta sauce or 1/2 can of tomato paste
This is a really easy recipe and you can pretty much add whatever you want to the toppings. It's pizza. You're only limited by your imagination. If you're using the pasta sauce as your pizza sauce you want to put it in a sauce pan on medium heat and let it reduce to the proper thickness. If' you're using the tomato paste then just open the can and start spreading it onto the dough. I will say, if you are using the tomato paste I like to put sliced tomato on the paste, under the cheese for texture and flavor. It's also a good idea to sprinkle some salt, pepper and basil on the tomato paste to add some flavor. As you're spreading your sauce onto your preheated dough make sure to have even amounts of it distributed through the entire thing. When I used to make pizza for a job the typical way was to ladle it into the middle and then spread it out in a circular motion, making your red circle grow in circumference with every revolution of your ladle. When this is done to your satisfaction you should spread your cheese out across the entire thing. Add other toppings. When I'm using spinach or arugula I like to put them underneath the meat and other vegetables. I like the asparagus to all point inwards towards each other. Sprinkle the shallots over the whole thing. You're getting the idea. You can add the toppings however you like. This pizza is for you, or really for whomever you're cooking it for. When the pizza is topped to your satisfaction then place it in your oven that's been preheated to 500 degrees. If you're using a cast iron pan like pictured then it will usually take 11-14 minutes to cook. If you're using a pizza stone (like one I recently got) then it should take a little less time. It took mine 9 minutes last week. When the crust has browned and looks crispy and the cheese has browned a bit, then you're good. Pull it out of the oven and let it sit for a few minutes. Then enjoy pizza!