Monday, February 29, 2016

mushroom & truffle studded goat cheese pizza

Heckyeahwoman purchased gifted me the Gjelina cookbook for Christmas this last December. I soon learned that Gjelina is a fancy restaurant in Venice, California. I've never been there. The food - from the recipes and pictures - appears to be gourmet, fancy, wonderful, hip, cool - everything I am not (riiiiight). The recipes look delicious and challenging. I was both chomping and champing at the bit(s) to dive into them.

That champing and chomping furiously present-tensed itself the other night, Wednesday the 25 of February. This is a review of the night in question.

We created the dish in the title: mushroom & truffle studded goat cheese pizza.

You may know that we live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. This is important because the recipe called for truffle goat cheese (what?!). Not surprisingly, they don't have it at Woodman's, well, not the one here in town anyway. So we improvised by adding truffle oil to the goat cheese. We also improvised by using a pre-made pizza crust mix. Likely blasphemy to the author of the cookbook, but week night time is not infinite and the dough making process seems to be approaching infinity. In the future I would like to try my (our) hand at doing it from scratch.

The recipe itself was simple: crust, truffle goat cheese, Fontina cheese, cremini & chantarelle mushrooms, and a little seasoning/olive oil. Also: oven, baking sheet, bowls and other utensils.

A note about the truffle part of the goat cheese. We had to make our own, and we did that by mixing (a very small drizzle of) truffle oil with the goat cheese. This gave it a better, easier-to-work-with consistency - crumbling easily, for quick breaking up and sprinkling over the pizza. Surely this was due to a chemical reaction that I am not prepared to google or explain. The Fontina cheese (taking the place of a traditional Mozzarella here) was great, though it could have likely been used even less sparingly than the recipe suggested (we are from Wisconsin).

As for the previously mentioned fancy mushrooms, they too were not found at Woodman's, so I just used the fanciest sounding I could find, can't remember the name, but they were different in texture than your white or portabella varieties. And about that crust: we used a box crust, Jiffy brand I believe. It actually turned out superb. Heckyeahwoman handled this part and created a rectangular thin crust that wound up perfectly crispy.

One thing you might notice here is a lack of food photography. Well you know what, when the pizza came out of the oven, it's status changed pretty much immediately from "uncut pizza sitting on the oven" to "fucking devoured". It was instantaneous, so I didn't have time to much more than snap a pic to My Story. That, and everybody thinks they're a goddamn photographer now. Not me. And probably not you either. Different story for a different time.

Shoot, and I forgot the Thyme leaves as garnish.

Gjelina has a bunch more pizza recipes (non-pizza too, quite expansive), but it sounds like we're gonna give this one an encore before we try something new.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

the grocery store

I was at Woodman's this past Sunday, doing a little grocery shopping - lunches for the week, a few dinners, and some other stuff. Totally nailed the curry quinoa and potato dish I would make later in the evening BTW. Anyway, while waiting in line to check out, two (2) carts up, a husband and wife were watching the cashier scan the items from their full cart. They looked weary from the soul crushing disposable day to day they live. Their faces told a story, one likely not memorable at all.

When the cashier got to the last item in the cart, it was clear she couldn't reach it: a massive jug of crappy apple cider. I don't remember the brand, probably Dole or SugarloadedShit or something. The husband, dressed slovenly in ill-fitting jeans and a one-size-too-large dirty black fleece, went ahead and reached for it. He grubbily grabbed it, lifted it maybe a foot in the air, and then he dropped it. It hit the floor, hard, and the cap immediately and forcefully popped off, and I was lucky to see this. It landed right side up on the floor, but the impact pushed a small yellow fountain of cider straight into the air, a couple inches high. Which then spilled back all over the side of the jug, as it bounced a bit and then flipped onto its side. A nice way to punctuate the jug's calamitous action. Anyway, split seconds later, a good two thirds (2/3) of the jug was spilled all over. I watched it in real time; it was surreal, almost in slow motion. The older gentleman ahead of me, just behind the couple in question here, looking unaffected, nudged himself and his cart out of the way of the approaching apple cider. Seconds later, he departed the checkout line altogether, not able to handle the crushing weight of the events that just transpired. He would later return.

His departure meant that I was next in line, as the couple had paid and were just about to exit the bagging area. I could hear the cashier on the phone, likely calling in a cleaning crew of what would eventually consist of a single middle aged, unhappy looking gentleman. I was prepared to advance forward, to step up, to have my goods scanned and bagged. Hell, if running my cart through a little apple cider is the worst thing that would happen that day (it was), then I will gladly dance around the crow's feet pattern of spilled cider on the floor, while my cart full of dudefuel powered through the yellow puddle. The cashier acknowledged that I was up, and she was ready to get me on with my day. She emerged from behind the rack of candy bars and garbage reading for garbage people, and sheepishly smiled before she spoke to me. She said