Monday, February 17, 2014

date night pizza

I'm proud to say that A. and I have gotten quite good at making pizza at home. We have a system going: I make the dough, he rolls it out, I put the toppings on, he puts it in the oven and watches the time (it doesn't take long at really high heat!), then I slice it and we both eat. Extra olive oil for me, and extra hot pepper flakes for him.

San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil. Simple and perfect.

I use Ina Garten's pizza dough recipe - it's pretty simple using a stand mixer with a dough hook. Although her recipe says to let the dough rest for 30 minutes before rolling, I find that the taste and texture improves the next day. When I went back to check her recipe and read that it "serves 6", I chuckled to myself. Ummmm.... not in this household. Although it does make enough for us to have leftover dough for more pizzas the following day.

We like our pizzas REALLY thin, and A. is really good at rolling it out. He wishes he could hand toss the dough the way they do in pizzerias. My rolling skills, on the other hand, leave much to be desired. I still can't roll round roti the way Indian women do - the way they let their rolling motions rotate the dough without having to lift it from the surface. I always have to lift the dough every now and then and move it a quarter-turn, the way you would for pie dough. The last time I was in India with A. and his family, his 7-year-old niece was already learning how to roll roti. I thought, "so that explains it...". There she was beside me, a little apprentice standing on a stool to reach the countertop, doing a roti-rolling throwdown with me. I always concede. But seriously, she was getting quite good. I joked to her that between the two of us, she could roll the roundest roti and I could roll out the best rectangular, square, and oddly shaped ones that resemble the map of India more than anything remotely round. 

I'm much better with a mortar and pestle.

Which is why I prefer to make basil pesto this way, rather than in a food processor (especially if it's just for the two of us). I like the rustic, unevenness of the resulting pesto when made by hand - there's just something indescribably satisfying about it. Though I doubt it makes a significant difference on the flavor - I just find it stress-relieving to do manual labor in the kitchen.

basil pesto and fresh mozzarella

So this is what we did for Valentine's day. It was perfect to just stay at home and cook something together. (Although I did make his favorite chocolate chai pots de creme in advance by myself, because it needs to chill for a few hours.)

Then on Sunday we went to see the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra at the Severance Hall. This concert hall is just stunning.
They played pieces from Mahler and Brahms. Actually, Mahler was the reason I wanted to see this performance. After my first exposure to Mahler - it was Ekaterina Gordeeva's first solo skate in 1996 as a tribute to her late husband and figure skating partner Sergei Grinkov in the "A Celebration of Life" show. The music for her program, Mahler's Symphony No. 5, was so haunting, and her skate so heartfelt that it left an indelible impression - it makes me get choked up and cry every single time. Although the Cleveland Orchestra didn't play Mahler's Fifth specifically, I still enjoyed the performance. Symphonies just amaze me, and not just because I can't play a musical instrument to save my life (I had a short-lived piano career when I It's a different kind of energy. It makes me so grateful that there are people in this world who make music.

a postcard from this sweet friend - wise words indeed

Pizza, a concert, A Valentine's day postcard, and yellow flowers to brighten up those long winter days.

Spring will be here soon.

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1 comment:

krishwala said...

we used to make lots of pizza and I love pizza nights. It's so simple and we each get to top it the way we like. mmm photos look wonderful!

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