All right, this is just not pizza. I mean, maybe it is pizza-like or pizza-esque or even pizza-ish, but I have a terrifically hard time calling it pizza. In fact, when I saw Giada DeLaurentis make this on her Food Network show last weekend (I seem to have broken a seal with her, no?) all I could think was “that’s not pizza!” and then hmm, that would be a fun Sunday night dinner. So, I did the only rational thing: I decided to not call it pizza. In fact, as soon as I started to think of this as a flat bread, an open panini or an assembly of some of my favorite things, the deliciousness near-overwhelmed me.
Winter Squash Archive
I warned you, didn’t I? I have a lot of fresh pumpkin puree to use up. Call it my late German grandmother communicating her values to me from the great beyond, but I hate throwing away food. It literally makes me sick to my stomach, that in this land of excess and in a city that appears at times to have run out of ways to spend money so it churns out new ones daily that I am part of this ridiculousness, so frequently throwing away old eggs, milk days before its inevitable demise, fruit and vegetables we always forget about, elaborate dishes that bored me too much to eat twice.
This pumpkin, it’s gonna get used.
I know this sounds like the tiniest of triumphs in a world of people who have respectable accomplishments to be proud of, but nonetheless, it brings me great pleasure to announce that I have found a pumpkin soup that meets my approval.
Yes, I know, who talks about pumpkin soup in November? It seems like strictly an October affair. Pumpkins crowd the markets, and the people gather round with an evil glint in their eyes, eager to carve them up and roast their innards, mwa-ha-ha. You can barely turn your head without finding another half dozen pumpkin recipes, and oh, I know, I’ve spread my share around.
As if Alex and I weren’t lucky enough to win a trip to Napa Valley for a two-day grilling class on the stunning COPIA campus in August, we also got to meet Elise of Simply Recipes fame. Not only is she as warm, kind and knowledgeable as she comes off on her site, she’s one of those types of people who reach into their bag two minutes after having met you and proffers up a homemade gift, in this case, apple butter made from the early apples grown in her own backyard. “What’s a backyard?” Alex and I asked her, wide-eyed and baffled. Elise smiled politely.
Here is a recipe that every single person should have in their arsenal, and I couldn’t be happier that it is now in mine. After a week of flan that never set and floppy, leaky quiche crusts, there are no words for the serenity brought on by a recipe with TWO steps. Heck, the entire set of instructions tops out around 50 words.
I love fall. I mean, I know how decidedly unoriginal that is to say, but I can’t help it. I just want to inhale it, take a picture of every flame-thrown tree, mull over all of its cider and crunch through all of its dried leaves. I have been fortunate enough to marry someone who feels exactly the same way, but the only problem is figuring out how to make fall longer than it is and that solution, my friends, is to drive north to catch the early show.
Among the few Food Network chefs that don’t terrify me, Michael Chiarello is high on that list; his cooking, style and not overly-aggressive healthfulness fits cleanly with the type of foods I like to make and we like to eat. But, I have yet to make a recipe of his and it is, quite frankly, because he can be such a pain in the ass. The gray salt, the extra-virgin use for cooking, the $218 Balsamic, the fifteen-step recipes and his endless gadgets put me off. Would it still taste good from the kitchen of Simple Folk? Due to some haphazard sense of principle, I never bother finding out.