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Chris Hennes

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Everything posted by Chris Hennes

  1. Another "grilled" pizza today, though as usual not what you normally think of for grilled pizza, since I made it in a pan. The dough is a sourdough at the end of its useful life, so not much rise but a lot of flavor. The sauce is just crushed tomatoes, topped with low-moisture mozzarella and chunks of soppressata (not homemade this time, alas). Finally, topped with baby arugula when it was done cooking, left to wilt for a minute or two before serving.
  2. This is another one directly out of American Pie: Three Cheese Pizza with Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, and Lemon. Which is kind of an odd name for a topping whose flavor is much more heavily olive than it is eggplant. I mean, yes, there's an eggplant in there, but there's also a quarter pound of olives on each pizza! You roast the eggplant, tomato, olives, and an onion, along with the zest and juice of a few lemons, then sprinkle the resulting stuff on a pizza with three cheeses (I used mozzarella, feta, and parmesan). This is put on a sourdough crust and baked. The result is delicious, but I'd say very much about the olives and the lemon, with a tip of the hat to the tomatoes.
  3. Tonight was Reinhart's Pizza con Rucola from American Pie: low-moisture mozzarella, quartered cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan, baked, and topped with arugula. His recipe calls for a chiffonade of full-grown arugula, but since what I've got on hand is baby arugula I just gave it a rough chop.
  4. My watercress was just beginning to flower today, so I pulled it all and made this: the "sauce" is just olive oil, sprinkled with an herb mix of rosemary, dried oregano, chopped watercress stems, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Olives and chèvre went on before baking, and a watercress salad dressed with lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil was put on after. The crust is the Modernist Neapolitan from Modernist Bread (so has soy lecithin for volume and polydextrose for crispness), but I wanted pizza NOW so although there is a poolish, there was no multi-day refrigeration stage. Also, I didn't use the broiler because I was worried about smoking the place up with all that olive oil.
  5. Nice, that’s a winner in my house.
  6. Modernist Brioche (p. 4•222) This is a fairly minor tweak to a standard 50% fat brioche recipe, adding pectin to increase the volume and lecithin to ensure a stable emulsion. It's pretty hard to go wrong with that much butter involved, though I waited too long to take it out of the loaf pan so it collapsed a bit. The taste and texture are perfect. And as you might expect with that much butter, it makes a pretty spectacular grilled cheese sandwich!
  7. I've reported on this pizza before, but I think this time I was much more successful. I'm using the recipe from Modernist Bread, in the toppings for the no-knead crust (which this is not, this is the Neapolitan crust), but it's effectively identical to the pizza Reinhart calls "New York Style White Pizza" in American Pie. I did a couple of things differently this time. First, I did actually make the Modernist Béchamel instead of a normal one. It uses a pressure cooked roux for convenience, and is thickened with Ultrasperse 3 and Kappa Carrageenan. The pressure cooked roux thing is probably more useful in a restaurant situation, since they claim that the technique "improves reliability," which I don't find especially problematic when making small batches at home. That said, having a jar of roux ready to go in the fridge was handy tonight, it only took a minute or two to make the béchamel. The modernist thickeners yield a gorgeous texture and the milk flavor does seem to pop a bit more than usual, so overall the flavor and texture of the sauce were excellent. Truth be told, though, I suspect the biggest improvement over last time was just me taking a bit more time to adjust the seasoning on it. I was sort of cavalier with the salt and nutmeg last time, but this time I did a couple of rounds of tasting and seasoning to get it really dialed in. Amazing what difference a little care makes! The other change I made over last time was to use air-dried mozzarella that I then blitzed in the food processor to get small grains, which I distributed more or less evenly over the pizza. In this particular pizza I find the flavor and texture to be better with an even distribution of the mozzarella and a chunkier distribution of the ricotta, rather than a chunky distribution of both. Personal preference, of course: YMMV. So, after all that, I was really happy with the end result:
  8. Normally I make two of the same pizza each night, but I'm using up a few leftover ingredients, so tonight it was two different pies... Finocchiona (homemade) and fresh mozzarella (those little Bel Gioioso "Pearls") on crushed tomatoes: And cherry tomatoes and mozzarella on crushed tomatoes: I used the Modernist Bread technique of drying the mozzarella in the fridge for a couple of days, but with the pearls you end up with a sort of weird marshmallow-like appearance, and the texture is a little rubbery. The technique works well with the whole 8oz balls, but it's a bit of a bust with the little pearls.
  9. Last night's pizza: goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, and pistachios, on the regular Neapolitan dough recipe from Modernist Bread. This dough is a bit trickier to stretch out than the Modernist version, so these pizzas are a bit smaller and not exactly round .
  10. There isn't going to be a great way to answer that, since it will depend on both personal preference and the shape of your pasta. If you look at a standard Mac & Cheese recipe that you like, look at the cheese quantity they use, and go with that as a starting point. Martha Stewart, for example, suggests 26 oz cheese to 16 oz elbow macaroni.
  11. Hey, it got cool here again! So the oven's back on: That's olives, goat cheese, and rosemary, on a pretty normal Neapolitan-style crust, and a smooth tomato sauce.
  12. Parmesan Sourdough It's been a while since I tried a new recipe from MB! I've made almost all of the other standard-hydration sourdoughs, but I had not yet tried use cheese stock as the liquid. Their sample recipe uses a parmesan cheese stock with chunks of parmesan incorporated into the dough. It smells amazing when it's baking, but the fat from the cheese tightens the crumb up a bit: it's not terrible, but it's not as good a texture as a normal sourdough, in my opinion. The flavor of the finished loaf is overwhelmingly of caramelized (Maillardized?) cheese, so this bread has sort of limited applications. It did make a good grilled cheese, of course! I might try this again without the added chunks of cheese, I don't think they were very beneficial, and they make a sort of ugly finished loaf.
  13. Low-acyl -- HA gellan yields an opaque, and usually brittle, gel.
  14. Now, to the other end of the pizza spectrum: same dough, but this time cooked in a skillet on the grill since it's starting to get a bit warm to have the oven on at 500°F for an hour and a half. Enormous quantity of Cabot extra sharp cheddar both above and below the sauce, as well as (taking a page from Reinhart's pan pizza book again) chunks put along the outside edge of the dough so it gets crispy. And olives, of course.
  15. In Modernist Bread they present a two different recipes for Neapolitan-style pizza dough: what might be called "Regular" and "Modernist" (though note that the regular still incorporates their work on modifying the dough hydration to compensate for the low baking temperature of a home oven). Neither of those recipes are quite the one from Modernist Cuisine at Home, however. The one I made, the "Modernist" variant of their dough, includes a few additional components over their regular version to enhance the crispness and rise of the crust. Here it is today, after proofing for one day (the recipe calls for 1-2):
  16. I have the 1/4" baking steel: I preheat at 500°F for an hour, then turn on the broiler, then pop the pizza in the oven. Modernist Bread wants you to wait five minutes after turning on the boiler, but with my oven that's not as effective as turning it on and loading right away. I'm using their recommended dough hydration percentage for that oven temperature, and I'm basically happy with the results. I'm 3 1/2" from the heating element, which is as close to my oven's "sweet spot" as I can get using the built-in rack positions. I've got a batch of the Modernist Neapolitan dough in the works right now, so tomorrow night I should be ready to compare those results to the current no-knead. It's a tough life, testing all this pizza.
  17. There's usually not much crossover between my day job and eGullet, but this past week I made a video about making Peter Reinhart's sticky bun recipe that is actually relevant here!
  18. This pie's for you, then -- a totally different sort of "Finocchiona"! The sauce is crushed tomatoes, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cheese is part skim mozzarella. Topping is homemade finocchiona salume.
  19. Rosemary was the main herb: it was not intended to be mildly-flavored! There was no basil or parsley. I also didn't put all that much of it on, it was not the "sauce" of that pizza, just an additional flavor component. Still, there was no mistaking the rosemary! I think the pizza in that photo was baked in a 14" pizza pan, placed on a bread stone, probably preheated to 500°F or so. The more recent pies (with the more Neapolitan look to them) are baked on a pizza steel under a broiler, following the temperature/hydration guidance from Modernist Bread.
  20. Finocchiona Pizza: the sauce is fennel, black pepper, and red pepper, toasted, tossed with crushed walnuts, and then finished/deglazed with cream. The toppings are part-skim mozzarella, sautéed scallions, and sautéed fennel bulb. Maybe a little rich, to be honest...
  21. No-knead crust (same dough as yesterday, so now three days old), crushed tomatoes, fresh rosemary, dried oregano, sliced garlic, chile flakes, olives, and chèvre.
  22. I'm feeling kind of broken-record-ish here, but this is the last of the gorgonzola, so I guess I'll move on with my life soon. Brussels sprouts, walnuts and gorgonzola, on crushed tomatoes, Modernist Bread no-knead dough, retarded in the fridge an extra day because last nights dinner plans changed at the last minute.
  23. I have a decent home stove and good ventilation, but for stir frying I still use the Big Kahuna outdoor propane burner I received as a gift about (wow...) a decade ago. I don't see how it could be adapted easily to a disposable propane tank, though. I think it's something like 60,000 BTU, which has been fine for my purposes. My meals are typically rice+cold veg+stir fry, and are for two people, so it's plenty spacious. (FYI I don't use the wok that came with the kit, I picked up an el cheapo carbon steel model with a single handle at my local Asian megamart. I prefer to physically toss the wok, rather than just use utensils, and the wok the Kahuna came with was absurdly large.)
  24. Same crust as yesterday, but a day older (so quite a bit more structure). I messed up the first pie and wound up with a calzone... The second pizza turned out as intended: crushed tomatoes, rosemary, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and part-skim mozzarella.
  25. No-knead crust, béchamel, mozzarella, ricotta, thyme. It's basically the recipe from Modernist Bread, though I didn't make a particularly Modernist béchamel, and I might have snuck some red pepper flakes under there. Really nice Neapolitan-style crust texture on this one (at least, compared to what I usually make!).
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