Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Urban Italian

Yesterday's storm was pretty forgiving in my neighborhood. We only got maybe a couple of inches of snow.

Today, however, the temperature has plummeted. I saw a high of 8 degrees on my drive home, and it was windy as hell. The local National Weather Circus forecast center is predicting -10 for my city tonight. Brrrr!!!

At my job, we talk a lot about regression testing; well, I think our weather is regressing back to January! :)

There was no run today, as it was a scheduled day off. So let's talk cooking.

I love collecting cookbooks. Some cookbooks I pick up for the good recipes (anything by Giada, for instance). Some have a personal attachment or sentimental value (such as my treasured copy of "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread: The Norseland Lutheran Church Cookbook"). Others are great references ("Joy of Cooking", or "The Silver Spoon"). And there are those I buy just because they are interesting, inspiring, or just pretty, even though I will probably never cook anything from them (such as “Alinea”...I mean, who has guar gum in their pantry?).

Last weekend, I bought a new cookbook called “Urban Italian” by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman. This one falls into the category of a cookbook I will use for the recipes; but it is also quite interesting, entertaining, and pretty to look at.

The authors purposefully wrote this book with the home cook in mind. It focuses on ingredients that are accessible. Some recipes are quick and easy to make, while others are elaborate and quite labor intensive. But they explain the processes in clear, concise steps, and the chef shares some rather entertaining stories. The pictures are gorgeous, too.

I want to cook everything in this book! Look for a recipe attempt from me over the coming weekend weekend.

This is not from the cookbook, but it is no doubt Italian inspired. Tonight's pizza; pepperoni, asparagus spears, artichoke hearts, and four cheeses (fresh mozzarella, asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and smoked gouda). Very nice! The asparagus gets nice and roasted on the top, and the hint of smoked gouda really adds a unique and delicious flavor element to the pizza.

A pretty pizza on a chilly March evening

Excited to cook, but still waiting for spring...

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