Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pizza, Pizza!

Enough time has passed in my career that I can now openly admit that while waiting for acceptance and admittance to culinary school I worked as an assistant manager at a Little Caesars pizza chain. Why do I view this as a little dirty secret? Well, it's far from what an aspiring chef would be happy doing, let alone the reality that I was among the least experienced of my class in the CIA.

It wasn't until now that I can finally admit it, but the fact still remains that I actually liked working there. My co-workers were already my close friends, and back then in the mid-to-late 90's they had the best commercials (dreamt up by the company's owners, NOT ad agencies).

While it was a far cry from the wood-fired ovens that I had previous experience with, I still had an affinity for some of their products; I still crave their "Crazy Bread", especially when under baked and doughy. (!!!)

This must be why I continually gravitate to the flatbread idea, because it's an interesting twist on an iconic classic with unlimited possibilities. That, and the increasing pressure from co-owner Stacey for me to revive this delectable treat.

To keep it interesting, I first made a dough based off of my basic foccacia recipe but with a healthy dose of freshly chopped local herbs - parsley, rosemary, chives and thyme. I stretched the dough thinly over the back of baking pans and partially baked them before cutting them into into the rectangular shapes that fit my favorite wooden plates.

I chose a variety of toppings that represented the season as well as what we already do here at Table 219, like the beautiful sun-dried tomato strips that I use for the pesto on the grilled tofu dish, finely sliced, local shitaki mushrooms, Isernio's Italian sausage that makes up the gravy for our chicken fried steak and happy hour skewers, and fontina cheese used in my pancetta mac'n'cheese. 

Now that I have method down, maybe this delicious dish might make the cut for the next menu change along with a previous special favorite, wild boar enchiladas!

For the past month I have been slowly infusing white rum with a split Madagascar vanilla bean, giving me enough time to find the right inspiration.

I really wanted to have a Cuba Libre made with my own cola, but the laundry-list of essential oils that I would have to buy would be enough to make several gallons, so I instead went with a micro brewed version made by Virgil's to do it for me!


With Love,