I had never heard of 00 flour when I first bought it. My regular grocery store had never heard of it. Even Whole Foods seemed unfamiliar with it.
Finally, after searching The Hill, Saint Louis’s Italian neighborhood, I found a grocer who carried this Italian flour. Having tried it, I’m glad I did; it makes an extraordinary pizza crust.
As Saveur notes, 00 flour is ideal for pizza crust because it is finely ground and because it has a lower gluten content than other flours. In Italy, flour is graded from 1 to 0 to 00, with 1 describing a rough grind and 00 describing the finest grind.
Gluten is the natural protein that remains when starch is removed from wheat grains. It creates the elasticity you feel when biting Continue reading
I don’t love the magazine Food & Wine. I signed up for a subscription by cashing in some airline miles due to expire. At the time, I was willing to try six months of content at no cost.
The food in the magazine looks great. It’s exquisitely staged and photographed on glossy magazine paper. The colors pop while the copy rolls along. But there’s just something about the magazine that I don’t love. Between the advertisements for exotic cruises and high-priced jewelry, the magazine gives the impression that none of its subscribers actually cook the recipes – that the subscribers have people for that kind of stuff. Food & Wine’s recipes look great to try – but they also look like, at least most of the time, that the recipes are tried only after they are cooked by the wait staff.
In my mind, the average Food & Wine subscriber is not the apron-wearing, oil-splashed, cooking type, Continue reading
There are Belgian waffles and then there are Belgian waffles. The “Belgian” waffles we know and love are, in fact, American — an invention of the late 1950s, which were popularized during the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. The Belgian-American waffle, like other hyphenated groups, sits firmly on U.S. soil, but with a firm nod towards his past origin and history.
Belgium is famous for its waffles. But in Belgium, the most popular waffle is not the version we know (commonly referred to as the Brussels waffle), with the squared sides, light batter, and deep pockets. No, the best and most popular waffle is the heralded Liège waffle, with its caramelized colors, rounded edges, and small, hand-held beauty. It is absolutely delicious and best eaten piping hot from a street stand, unadulterated by any add-ons. Unlike the Brussels counterpart, the strawberries, syrup, and whipped cream only detract from its innate flavor.
When I attend a professional sporting event, I usually buy a pretzel from the concession stand. A hard, chewy, somewhat tasteless pretzel. That costs about $5.00. But really, what are you going to do? Try ballpark sushi? Or spend $20.00 for a hot chocolate? Stadium food rarely presents many good options, though I’m sure there are some inherent challenges in preparing food for 70,000 people.
With that in mind, I decided to make my own stadium snack for the Superbowl. With the big game on in the background, I got to work on these pretzel bites, mixing, kneading, rolling, slicing, and salting my own soft pretzels. And the outcome was delicious, even if the game itself had turned anticlimactic by the third quarter.
When I first found this recipe, I found myself Continue reading
I love baking breads. There is a unique pleasure in stirring the yeast, watching it foam, and then kneading the tough flour in and out of your hands and across the cutting board. There is a certain magic to leaving the room and, returning an hour later, discovering that the small ball of dough has doubled in size, the yeast breathing life into the round.
One of the additional pleasures of baking bread is in the anticipation, as the smell of baking break slowly fills the kitchen, before settling over the entire apartment, building a sense of eagerness in the room’s occupants.
For better or worse, there is Continue reading
A few weeks ago, my boss came into my office with questions about a case that I was working on. After I gave him the run-down, he got up to leave, at which point, I asked him to take a seat and to close the door. I was leaving the job, I said, having accepted a new position.
The news did not come as a surprise, and he offered his sincere congratulations. He also encouraged me to make the most of my time-off. There are few instances, he noted, where you are truly off the clock. In this line of work, weekends get truncated and vacations get interrupted. There is always another case to read and another motion to file. There are few moments of true respite.
That time between jobs, however, was one of those truly serene periods, where there are no unanswered emails and waiting voicemails. There are no blinking red light while you are between jobs.
During my time-off, Continue reading