Author Topic: Time to Try Something New?  (Read 5568 times)

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Offline giotto

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Time to Try Something New?
« on: October 23, 2006, 03:47:50 PM »
My Grandpa used to comment that he felt like he was visiting the League of Nations when we used to pick him up at a main terminal in California. A day doesn't go by in my own San Francisco suburban neighborhood where I don't hear a little Hindi, German, Arabic, Mandarin, Hebrew, or French as an example of his point regarding people's diversification in this area. But it's the transitional roots that make California relatively unique, which applies equally to its roots from within the US. Inevitably, the mentality as led by the Silicon Valley is always to seek something new, something different, with a  culture that strives to be open-minded.

Needless to say, itís difficult to find an allegiance to a single aspect within California, except maybe change. So we end up with places like Chez Panise and people like Alice Waters, who introduce a whole new way of looking at fresh food. And this of course also results in the crazy delights of CA pizza, which at any point in time represents a mix and match of cultures that either collide into a single pizza, or segregate into a host of non-conforming pizzas.     

So in my usual infinite interest to try something different, I put a Sour Dough starter together with a myriad of fresh ingredients from the Farmer's market to make my sauce, cheese and toppings:

1) Can you tell by color which one is the sourdough starter? The starter began with local grapes, a white whole wheat flour and spring water. After a few days, it was doubling in size and smelling sour through natural progression with additional unbleached flour. So while the starter was still ripening, I took some of the throw-away dough and created a dough with KA bread flour, 25% throw-away starter, a squeeze of honey (for browning), a little olive oil (for softening), about 2% sea salt, a pinch of active yeast (since the starter was still developing), and 60% filtered water. I left close to 14 oz of the dough sit for 8 hours at room temp, at which time it was rising. 


2) Next, I took some fresh green and orange Heirloom tomatoes, mixed them with fresh spinach, sea salt, and pepper and put them on the dough:


3) Then I finished it off with 3 different cheeses (a local slightly aged creamy cheese, a Trader Joe's mozzarella cheese, and a little aged cheddar cheese from the wine country), along with some grilled chicken and local sausage that I braised with a Thai sauce (Thai peppers, garlic, and a Thai variant of soy sauce). 

Hereís the result after cooking it on a 12Ē screen for 6 minutes at 550F. Let's just say that the change was welcome; but never permanent:

« Last Edit: October 23, 2006, 03:51:54 PM by giotto »

Offline bolabola

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Re: Time to Try Something New?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2006, 08:16:35 PM »
giotto.what a great post and I thank you..
my spelling isn't the best so I hope you follow me...
I was the head chef at a well know french restuarant in marin county way way before alice waters opened up chez panise..I had exceltent reviews by jack shelton at the time..I believe he passed away quite some time ago..very nice person..
at the time I didn't really know what to think of alice because I was already useing the best local ingredients..even some vegis that was brought in by local growers in marin county.. there was nothing going on with the organic or hormone craze with food at the time but over all I think what I purchased was top of the line..mostly was the incredible pacific fish at the time and abalone..
I agree that ms. waters raised the level of local quality but personally I think it was already in place when chefs such as myself came back from europe learning about local produce and quality cheese and butter and cream..it was only a matter of time..
I was at pier 39 a few weeks ago at the farmers market and to my surprise they can't sell provini milk feed veal anymore..
I guess my point is that peoples taste in food changes and animal rights come into play,even being as nitpicky as what kind of organic compost you use..I pick quality and simplisity in my food over the foo foo decorated crap I see in most up scale resturants nowadays..
with pizza we are looking at the basic..without being pretentious..just whatever you like..either bad or good
I can say I still like a greasy taco and burger if made well or enjoy a dinner at the famed french laundry but I'm not snobby or picky..pizza from a local pizza place in brooklyn with all it's faults in quality ingredients is a million time better then one I can get from any place here in SF with all the foo foo chesses and heirloom tomatoes..
if you have a chance get the starter recipe from the boulangerie bakery in SF on piner and fillmore..it is made with local grapes from sonoma but any basic starter will work just as well..
hope you know where I'm coming from..no offence..just wish things would get back to the way things were many years ago..it really wasn't all that bad..probally much better without the invention of food additives and such..

Pizza Rocks

Offline giotto

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  • Italy has DOC, we have NY standards.
Re: Time to Try Something New?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2006, 08:33:30 PM »
Like so many others, my greatest memories are served when I think back to my simplest times. I fear, however, that kids sometimes forget what an apple tastes like, or how delicious good tomatoes can taste in place of a tomato sauce that no longer has any hint of tomato.

People are always going to feel offended when someone takes credit for a certain action; but we all know it's based on marketing. My appreciation is developed when Marketing finally introduces a "wider" mass of people to a past that they never knew and can appreciate.

This doesn't dispense of the wonderful taste of a first class fried burger; but it does widen our appreciation of how good food from our soil can taste undiminished by heavy undertones. Sort of like the first time I had a messy pomegranate as a kid while sitting on a curb... no grease dripping; but my mom ended up throwing away my favorite play shirt... A simple tradition that I enthusiastically continued to follow (except for the shirt part).
« Last Edit: December 22, 2006, 08:54:48 PM by giotto »