Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Take Risks, But Use A Net

Latest lessons gleaned from my Tuesdays with Dorie bake/blog project:
  1. Be Julia-Child-fearless. I wasn’t.
  2. Make sure you’ve got the coif under control before you start. I didn’t.
I cut a few corners on the pizza with onion confit project, but it’s hard to go wrong with caramelized onions and a decent (but not great) pizza dough recipe.
Fellow bloggers: did anyone else find this unusually tough for a pizza dough, or was I just not paying enough attention to the measurements? Dough is often more art than science in my world.

The MOTH, who is a master at caramelizing onions, had already done the hard work the other day when he made onions and cauliflower for dinner. I was thrilled that the kids didn’t eat it, because, as in most great meals, the leftovers became the key ingredient and inspiration for the next meal. Thankfully the dough recipe makes two pizzas worth, so the grownups enjoyed grownup toppings and the kids chose kid toppings, and everyone was sated.

The assigned recipe calls for more of a confit, with the onions simmered in red wine, but the ones we already had were so sweet and delicious, and already laced with thyme, that it seemed silly to make more work. 

Kitchen Zinc, a fabulous restaurant in New Haven that makes gourmet pizzas in a humble bar setting, features a pizza which includes, among other things, figs, caramelized onions, balsamic reduction and arugula. Lacking in figs, arugula and reduction-making skills, I settled for the cauliflower/onion mixture and a blend of asiago, parmaggiano and pecorino cheese (notably from the same source as Kitchen Zinc’s, the indomitable Liuzzi Cheese. Here’s me singing Liuzzi's praises last year. )

Where I didn’t take a risk, and should have, was that I chickened out at the last minute and used no balsamic vinegar --reduced or otherwise. (Despite the MOTH's thoughtful recommendation earlier in the day.) This meant that the pizza ultimately tasted salty and sweet, crunchy and moist, but it was lacking in acid. When I make it again, I will definitely add vinegar, or better yet, teach myself how to make a vinegar reduction. (My one and only New Year's resolution: get better at sauces. How hard can a reduction be?)

Back to that coif issue. Here’s the thing about a home kitchen: when you’re at home on a Sunday afternoon kneading dough near kids and husband and friends who are all impatiently waiting for your attention, things can get pretty sloppy. Apparently I wasn’t quite that meticulous. So my children were the auspicious recipients of a little extra protein in their meals last night. There were not one, but two of my hairs baked right into their dinner. Lucky kids!

Perhaps it’s time for the lunch lady hairnet to make a comeback.  Where can I get my hands on one of those swanky things?

For the original pizza with onion confit recipe go to: The Boy Can Bake or go buy the book. For the amazing "Getting Figgy With It" pizza at Kitchen Zinc, go to New Haven.
Cauliflower, caramelized onion, and human hair pizza.


  1. Too funny! I made a fig, prosciutto and mixed greens pizza this week. I had already planned on making it again and adding caramelized onions. Great minds thinks alike.

    1. Can you post that gorgeous picture here?

  2. Wow, that "getting figgy with it" pizza sounds divine! I'll have to try that! Thanks for the idea!

    1. Yes, it's one of the combos we start craving if we've been away from it for too long.

  3. Human hair pizza - lol. One must do what works for them. For some reason my reductions always take longer than the time specified in a recipe. Something I need to perfect - maybe this year.

    1. And there's always less than what you started with! :)


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