Monday, September 27, 2004

Friday night I made a cheese pizza, for Jeff, who loves tomato sauce in all forms.

I've always been under the impression that I didn't really care for tomato sauce that much. As it turns out, I don't like jarred tomato sauce. And as it turns out (thanks to the folks at Cook's Illustrated), good homemade tomato sauce (with canned tomatoes, even) is not that hard to make at all. And is delicious. All you need is some olive oil, some garlic, a can of diced tomatoes (Muir Glen will treat you right, and their fire roasted version will make a smoky sauce), and salt and pepper. Which you should have on hand anyway.

If you want to get crazy, you can puree the diced tomatoes in a food processor. I recommend it. Then heat a little oil in a saucepan, add minced garlic and cook until it sizzles, and then add the tomatoes. Simmer about 15 minutes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. And- that's it. That plus some shredded whole milk mozzarella will make you a fine, fine pizza.

Saturday we had pork chops again (when TJ's has the bone-in Niman Ranch chops for something ridiculous like $5/lb, it's hard to buy any other meat) which I brined with some sugar added to the brine and seared in the cast iron skillet (which, for those of you who are anxiously following my cast iron skillet's progress, i.e., no one, is becoming quite nicely seasoned- I made some evenly browned and delicious pancakes in it Sunday) and served with the creamy lemon risotto from Cooking For Mr. Latte. The risotto wasn't quite lemony enough for me but otherwise, it was quite delicious and ridiculously rich- Jeff had three helpings. I thought I'd like to add some onion, so I diced some onion, sauteed it before adding the arborio rice to the pan, and it was a great addition.

I am ridiculously excited for fall- the weather's cooling off significantly this week and I baked bread for the first time in months yesterday. Now that it's cool enough to turn on the oven, I think there'll be a lot more kitchen activity- I'm dying to roast a chicken.

In the meantime, though, we're having summer's last tomatoes- Marcella Hazan's garlic scented tomato salad with some gorgeous Italian tomatoes tonight, and a pizza from A Year In A Vegetarian Kitchen last night. Take pizza dough, brush with garlic/jalapeno olive oil, spread sliced Early Girl tomatoes over, and crumble some queso fresco over that. Bake. Toss some sliced avocado with lime juice and cilantro and when you take the pizza out of the oven, spread the avocado over... the avocado tastes even better than usual this way.