Monday, March 02, 2009

A DIY cooking weekend

1. Topped with homemade crust, 2. A dream fulfilled..., 3. Homemade pizza Layer 1, 4. Homemade pizza Layer 2

If there was anyone who knew what it means to dream of pie, it would be my husband this past week- the kind of deep, profound yearning that one must not take likely. And we're not talking about just any kind of pie- no, not a sweet, syrupy apple pie nor an eggy, dessert-only custard pie. People, we're talking the kind of hearty, rich, alcohol-infused, gravy-drenched, stick-to-your-bones-because-it's-winter, feel-it-in-your-gut-the-next-day kind of meat pie. Ever since reading this article in the the NYT Magazine last week about Fergus Henderson's Guinness and Steak Pie, Jude's been dying for us to try making our own meat pie, trotter gear and all. And since the article advocates a whole large communal pie instead of insipid individual ones, we decided to make it a whole social event with Molly, Jason, Rick and Emilee. It helps too that I'm now graduating into my second trimester and am slowly picking back up my desire to cook (which I thought I had all but lost at Week 6...)

It was a little intimidating initially to think that we would be making everything from scratch, including the crust (which after my sad attempt at Thanksgiving, did not give me much confidence...). Thankfully (or not), Ann Arbor ran out of trotters this weekend (Sparrow Market sold out and the guy behind the meat counter at Whole Foods- believe it or not- had no clue what trotters are! Was everyone equally inspired to make meat pies this weekend?). And so we had no choice but to use another recipe and I settled on this one by Jamie Oliver which got plenty of good reviews. The entire process from prepping the veggies to us actually sitting down to our first bite of pie probably took a little more than 4 hours, but I think it was well worth it. The Guinness ended up smelling and tasting more like a very rich red wine, and the beef was cooked till meltingly tender. Plus, thanks to Rick's patient coaching, my second attempt at making my own crust was a veritable success- light, flaky and tasty! The pie was an all-round hit and I'm glad I helped to fulfill my husband's meat pie dream :)

Inspired by the success of the Guinness steak pie, we decided to experiment with making our own pizza for dinner tonight, although not really from scratch. We bought fresh uncooked wholewheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's, rolled it out and topped it first with a little tomato sauce, baked breaded eggplant (yum!), and fresh mozzarella. We let that bake for about 15 minutes and then added arugula, shaved Parmesan, drizzle of olive oil and sea salt and threw it back in the oven for a couple more minutes. I have to say, I could eat that pizza forever and ever, and ever- deliciously tasty from the eggplant and cheeses, light and crusty (not chewy), a little bite from the arugula, and just so fresh out of the oven that nothing store-bought or delivered even comes close. I'm not sure if it's my appetite slowly coming back after weeks of nuts- and cereal-craving, but honestly, dinner was really quite delicious :) Besides, I don't really like my pizzas heavy with too much cheese, meats, or sauce like it's typical here in the Midwest so the fact that we could choose what and how much we put on the pizza was just perfect! Jude now thinks we should totally invest in a pizza pan (we had to borrow Rick and Emilee's) so we can make the kind of pizzas we love every week :)

No comments: