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What kind of food will you try to master next?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Do you get passionate about mastering how to cook one style of food or a technique of cooking? I know I do.


Last year for me it has been pizza.

I wanted to mimic NY style "Tony's pizza", or any similar mom and pop Long Island Pizzeria.

After about 30 tries, I have mastered the dough and the sauce. Still perfecting the cheese blend, but 90% there. I also stumbled upon a fantastic Chicago deep dish along the journey.

For my next challenge, I am going to try and master stocks. chicken, beef, veggie, etc. I just bought my first pressure cooker and I don't want to buy chicken stock from the store anymore. Hopefully I can perfect this one in much less than 30 tries!
post #2 of 13
I would like to hear what you came up with for your dough and sauce seeing that Long Island style is not like anywhere else!
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #3 of 13
Yeah, I do that - obsess on something till I get it right (but not for 30 years). I've done the pizza thing and stocks, pie crusts, etc. Mostly they are still works in progress so maybe it will stretch to 30 years after all :smiles:

Jock
post #4 of 13
I've been trying to master fried chicken. It's so hard! Luckily I found a way. I use my favorite breads, croutons, or nuts, and finely chop them in the food processor with some herbs and spices. I season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper very well. I lay it next to some buttermilk whisked with some hot sauce, and dip the chicken into the buttermilk and then the bread. I usually repeat the process for extra crispiness. I dip them in hot oil- preferably peanut, because I think it gives a nice flavor. Keep trying to make that ultimate pizza, Jock! And the stocks! :D
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Meet Austin- destroyer of all picky eaters. He's watching you...
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post #5 of 13
I'm trying to learn more about Indian cooking, but also desserts and pastry with which I have little experience.
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post #6 of 13

OH OH OH!!! I'll love you forever...

I have been SO trying to figure out that gooey nasty wonderful pizza by the slice Brooklyn thing from NY.

I'm having a problem with the cheese because I don't think it's easy to come by that stuff that leave little oily dribbles and strings like crazy when you take a bite. (I've heard it's controlled by the Mafia...LOL)

April

Oh...the next food thing...oops...lemme think about it...
post #7 of 13
Oh yeah, that's me. My wife & kids still talk about my curry phase. Now I can make a good curry but nobody will eat it. (except my younger daughter, god bless her). I did the same thing with portobellos trying to perfect a portobello and roasted pepper sandwich. A case of portobellos in 3 days.

Tony
post #8 of 13
(I've heard it's controlled by the Mafia...LOL)

Not so funny- ten or so years ago there was a very large FBI case in Illinois busting dozens of Pizza joints all over the state which got their cheese from mob-controlled distributors, who also supplied bookmaking and sports-betting services distributed through the pizza places.

And don't let anybody tell you that the Mafia is a figment of J. Edgar Hoover's imagination. (Actually, I believe he denied that it existed, because he never did much about it.) His thing was bank robbers, who were a lot easier to catch.

Around 1990-1993 I served for over two years as a member of a Federal Special Grand Jury convened especially to investigate certain operations of the mob in Chicago. We heard testimony from dozens of members, turncoats, and victims. We approved dozens of indictments, which resulted in convictions.

I'm sure they're still very much in business, though. I met a very active suburban bookmaker a couple of years ago who offered someone I know a job because of his own declining health. My acquaintance didn't go for it.

Mike :eek:
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
I didn't mean 30 years, I meant 30 attempts at making dough, over a course of about 6 months.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have the same problem. I can't get that gooey, stringy, beads-of-salty-oil-on-the-paper-plate, cheesy taste. I have heard before that the secret to making NY pizza is in using tap water from NY (for the dough I assume), but I personally don't believe it.


As for my sauce, I've only repeated it once so I am not confident enough to share just yet. After 5 or 6 batches that I'm happy with I will post it up.
post #11 of 13
To be honest, I don't try to "master" any particular type/style of food because my loves change so quickly depending on my mood.

One moment I want to try and learn to do sushi right, next moment I'm all over a real good unique "all-day" kind of marinara. After that it might change from doing a personal "iron chef" routine with whatever is left in the fridge, or could just skip all that and go right to: "what should I buy for dinner"?

So I guess if anything, I'm trying to master my kitchen versatility/adaptability. heh.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

I grew up on NY pizza, here's most of the recipe

For the sauce:

http://pizzaware.com/pizzasauce2.htm

I couldn't find Furmanos brand sauce so I went with standard megamart brand.

The ingredient, "Cayenne black pepper" confused me. Is it black pepper or Cayenne pepper? Against my instinct I went with Cayenne...and am very pleased with the results. The spicyness disappears in the sauce.

I've only made this sauce once, but I was extremely pleased with the results. I'd estimate that I've tried 10 other variations to date and this one seems the closest to your typical "Umberto's Pizza" to me. I intend to repeat the recipe this weekend or next week.

As for the dough, the ingredients are really no secret. Just a typical 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour recipe, with say (I'm going from memory) 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (non kosher--the fine stuff), 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast, 1 cup water, 1 pinch of sugar.

You can make cardboard or you can make the most delicious dough with the exact same ingredients. The secret is in making the yeast happy and kneading the dough enough, but not too much.

I have the best success when I put 3 cups of flour in my metal mixer bowl and then I put the spiral dough hook on top of the flour in the same bowl and toss it all in the oven at 250 F for 5-10 minutes. The whole point of this is because my mixer is made of a lot of metal and it and the counter soaks up all of the heat really quickly. I find that I can handle the mixing bowl less than 2 minutes after mounting it in the mixer. It's really all about creating the most comfortable environment for the yeast to grow.

While that heats, I turn on my hot water for about 2 minutes and let it run in the sink until the water is at least 100 F. At first I used to measure the water temperature with a multimeter and a thermocouple but these days I go by feel. I fill 1 measuring cup with water and add the yeast. Then I sprinkle the yeast with sugar to get it going. Honey should work just as well.

Don't play with the yeast! They like to be left alone and grow best in a stable environment with a stable temperature (the same goes for brewing beer).

At that point I do nothing until I see some decent activity from the yeast in the measuring cup. I pull the flour and mixing bowl from the oven and get my KitchenAid 5 quart stand mixer going on speed 2. I add all the ingredients and then an additional 1/2 cup to 1 cup of flour until the dough cleans the side of the bowl and also "looks" right. I spray the dough "blank" with olive oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a cloth towel, and check on it in about 30 minutes. When it doubles in bulk, I punch it down and give it another 30 minutes.

This technique yielded me the most perfect pizza dough last week. Tender and delicous, I could have fooled any restaurant that it was top quality pizza dough. I will do this recipe again this weekend or next week.

As for the cheese, well I wish I knew the answer to that.
Happy pizza making!:chef:
post #13 of 13
I'm actually into the pizza thing now -- just made my first crust (:blush: all those years of Pillsbury out of the tube are OVER :bounce: ) and am anxious to perfect it. I used the recipe from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Flatbreads and Flavors, using half and half unbleached all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, and more yeast because mine is very old and slow. I heartily recommend the recipe -- very easy, very little active work time, and it tasted great!

As for the sauce, I find that even the best, thickest cooked-down tomato sauce is still too wet. So I use a very thin layer of tomato paste, either the "Italian seasoned" version, or plain that I mix with finely ground dried herbs and spices (oregano, basil, marjoram, and fennel seed). Whichever I use, I also mix in minced or pureed garlic and a little super-hot Asian chili sauce or red pepper flakes.

I also tend to use drier cheese, like fresh cheese curds, rather than mozzarella, because I don't want the gooey strings. But regular packaged mozz can give you that, as long as you don't overbake it (just until melted, not until browned). Fresh mozz is even better, if you can get it. And if you want it extra oily :suprise: you can always drizzle a little oil on top before you bake it.

Time Out NY has a whole feature on pizza this week. Enjoy! :lips:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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