Friday, April 14, 2006

weekend wineblogging, and a damn fine pizza

I love my Fridays off. It's my day to kick back and go nuts in the kitchen in a way I can't do most of the rest of the week. For those who don't know, I work in the evenings, Sunday through Thursday, so I don't ever get to cook dinner like a normal person anymore. Friday is my day to do that.

And living in close proximity to a Trader Joe's -- and thus having access to awesome wine bargains -- means Friday night is usually also try-a-new-wine night. I think I have a new favorite varietal: petite sirah. (I read that it's actually not related to the syrah grape, hence the "sirah" spelling, but this label spells it "syrah," so I dunno...) Anyway, if you like big, big, larger-than-life reds, try a petite sirah. I could tell just pouring it that it was going to be massive -- it was deep, deep red, violet really, almost syrupy. So fruity, you half expect to get a black tongue drinking it, as if you'd been eating licorice. It's the dark chocolate of red wine. (Actually, speaking of, I think the flavor of this one had a bit of a chocolatey note to it.) All in all, not bad at all for a $10 wine.

Anyway, it was kind of drizzly and cool here today, so I felt like baking bread. I made wild mushroom and sundried tomato focaccia:
... and what I think might be the best pizza I've ever made. Wild mushrooms, asparagus, and red onion with three cheeses (fontina, Gorgonzola and grana padano parmesan), sprinkled with sage and arugula.

The basic recipe came from Epicurious, but I added the wild mushrooms and asparagus, and I'm glad I did because it would have felt a little too insubstantial without it, I think. It would've been glorified focaccia. But don't get me wrong, the recipe is a great one. Those three cheeses together were just magic. sigh.

And right after I started the dough, I thought, "Oh crap! I was going to try the crust recipe that Melissa posted a while back." I did a search for it on the blog and, lo and behold, the recipe she linked to was the very pizza I was making. :)

Anyway, Melissa, you're right! This crust is fantastic. Crispy, but still soft inside...much as I love my old standard wheat crust, I feel my loyalty slipping. I'll be coming back to this one for sure.

Oh! and also, here's a hint for what to do with strawberries that are a little too tart. Toss them with a little sugar, balsamic vinegar and -- this is the weird part, but you can't leave it out -- black pepper. It just sort of heightens all the flavors. Trust me. Let them sit for an hour or two, and you won't taste vinegar -- just a delicious syrup. That's what we had for dessert.


Anonymous Mark said...

I know I say this after all of Tara's posts, but this dinner truly did taste as good as it looks.

9:27 AM  
Blogger lis said...

that crust is the best. I'm glad you tried it. hmmm, I think I may have to make a little pizza myself tonight.

11:03 AM  
Blogger wheresmymind said...

Man I wish the Trader Joes near me had wine/ would be nice to pick up some wine and PB Joe Joe's at the same time! :D

10:05 AM  

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