Sunday, October 31, 2010

An oldie but a goodie

I have been doing a lot of cooking from Mark Bittman's books lately. How to Cook Everything covers a huge range of food and delivers easy, non-fussy directions (a big plus when a hopeful cook is making something for the first time). I think my favorite Bittman recipe of all time comes from The Minimalist Cooks Dinner, however. The original title is "Pork Cutlet with Miso-Red Wine Sauce," but since the first time I cooked this dish (immortalized in this post), I've varied the fluids (white wine, sherry, beer, chicken stock, various mixtures), the miso (depending on the other ingredients, white miso may be a better choice than the red miso called for in the recipe), and the meat (turkey or chicken work equally well, though I think beef would be pushing it). Not only is it a good recipe in its original form, it lends itself well to mixing and matching different ingredients.

Last night I made it again. This time I seasoned and pan-seared three chicken cutlets in extra virgin olive oil and removed the cutlets from the pan to rest. Then I added a sliced onion and some smashed and minced garlic to the pan, following them with some sliced baby portobello mushrooms. After sauteeing all of this for a bit (until the mushrooms were sweating), I added a cup of white wine with two tablespoons of red miso dissolved in it and cooked everything down for a bit. Then I added the chicken cutlets and their juices. I was planning on serving this with spinach fettuccini, so when the pasta was done before the sauce, I just drained it and then added it to the pan too.

As usual, the end result was a rich and delicious meal that tastes like something from a fancy restaurant, but which takes so little effort to put together that it's an ideal weeknight dinner.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The joy of tomato pie

Last night The Deacon and I had dinner at De Lorenzo's Tomato Pies. Although I've had tomato pie (Trenton's contribution to the pizzaverse) before, this was my first time at De Lorenzo's, which is universally agreed to be one of the exemplars of the genre.

We ordered a large pie with sausage and mushroom for the toppings. The crust was thin, almost cracker-like. The first layer was cheese, then came the tomato-based pizza sauce, then finally our chosen toppings. Some of the pie's slices were triangular, others rectangular.

As expected, it was an excellent tomato pie. The chunks of sausage, in particular, were wonderful; they were peppery and juicy with good char. Although I initially assumed that we would be taking some home (since it was a large pie and neither The Deacon nor I are blessed with huge appetites), we managed to polish the whole thing off while we were at the restaurant. I think that this was because the pie, with its thin crust and relatively light amount of toppings, wasn't as bulky as a standard New York-style pizza (never mind one totally overloaded with cheese and toppings).

I've been experimenting with making my own pizzas lately (more about that in a future post) so enjoying a real Trenton tomato pie gave me even more ideas for my own kitchen adventures (not that De Lorenzo's has anything to worry about on that front).