Usually my homemade pizza dough is low on flavor, so a master-bread-baker friend recommended using some sort of pre-ferment (discussion of different types). I found an online recipe linked in the preferment article. The author seemed to know what they were talking about and it turned out super well!
100 g flour
100 g/mL water
0.3 g yeast
250 g flour
120 g/mL water
8 g salt
5 g yeast
Mix poolish ingredients. Leave at room temp ~8 hours. If rising longer, can decrease yeast (0.2 g for 12 hour rise, 0.1 g for 16 hours).
Mix poolish with dough ingredients. Knead (7 min with stand mixer, 10-15 min by hand).
Divide dough into four portions and shape each into a ball. Oil and cover. Let rise 1 hour.
Flour hands, work surface, and dough balls. Press each flat, and stretch or roll into a circle 10 in in diameter.
Lightly top and bake 6 min at around 600°F.
If using a pizza stone (highly recommended), preheat the oven and stone 45 min before you baking the pizzas. The oven should be set to it’s highest temperature (around 550-600°F).
If you don’t have a pizza stone, I have a workaround that seems to work well.
Right before you want to bake the pizzas, when you start preheating the oven, heat a large cast iron skillet on the stove until very hot. Put it in the oven upside down. The thick bottom will act similarly to a pizza stone, but heating it on the stove is faster than heating in the oven.
We made this on the recent very cold day. It was 24° in the afternoon and around 10° in the morning.
For my (N’s) birthday last year, we ate at Claro, a Oaxacan restaurant in Brooklyn. I was originally interested in them because they make their own masa (and downstream products, like tortillas) from specially-sourced heirloom corn and use some amount of local produce and meat. They aren’t fully vegetarian (unlike For All Things Good) but do have a good selection and a fair amount of seafood.
J liked the idea of going to Claro because they have a Michelin star.
I don’t really remember what we got. One salad offered that we didn’t get had ground grasshoppers in the dressing.
Everything was really good! We also got to sit in the restaurant’s nice backyard garden.
This is a partner post to the bean search. I discovered recently that fancy masa is available. It can be heirloom, direct-trade, single origin, organic, etc, all those normal fancy food options.
I was inspired to search for fancy masa after J and I went to a (vegetarian!) Oaxacan restaurant in Brooklyn that makes their own masa using fancy corn. They use the masa in their food products but they also sell it fresh (I got some). Going to Brooklyn all the time for fresh masa isn’t super convenient, though. Fortunately, the company, Masienda, that supplies the fancy restaurants also sells direct to consumers!
While researching them, I came across a couple other fancy masa stores too. These are the options I found!
Masienda – dry masa in several colors, as well as several heirloom bean varieties and lots of varieties of heirloom/single origin whole corn. They have supplies for doing your own nixtamalization.
Alma Semillera – very similar to Masienda, but with smaller selection. Many if not all products are also organic, so overall a bit more expensive.
I Love Mole – even smaller selection of beans, masa harina, and whole corn. This company mostly sells mole mixes and other seasonings.
None of these companies is particularly local to me (in New York). I believe they’re all based in California, although most of the beans and corn are grown in Mexico.
Friend A who I went to grad school with (also likes cheap/free food, has been climbing with us recently) gave us some mooncakes she made! :’) They were presumably for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which happens around the autumn equinox and is coming up! The days are definitely getting shorter.
The mookcakes are actually the “snow skin” version (recipe that Friend A used), which uses a mochi-esque wrapper. Apparently snow skin mooncakes are easier to make than the traditional baked kind, so a better choice for at-home creation.
Over the weekend, we visited Russ & Daughters, a famous and fairly old (1920, continuously run by the original family and at the original location) Jewish “appetizing store“, meaning that they sell things that go with bagels, along with bagels. We went right before Rosh Hashanah, so the main shop was super busy — 45 min just to go into the store to order! We went around the corner to their café location instead. The café also had more meal-food selection.
We got blintzes (we’ve made them at home too), latkes, and a bagel with cream cheese, lox, onion, tomato, and capers.
Modified from The Joy of Cooking (1973) “quick cherry crunch”. I made this to use up some really tart apricots and old peaches with a bad texture. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it, but it was really good!
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
1/2-2/3 cup sugar (use the smaller amount if fruit is already quite sweet or has added sugar)
1/2 cup melted butter or other liquid oil
1/4 tsp baking powder
Some milk (I didn’t measure, maybe 1/3 cup?)
(Optional) 1 cup nuts (either soft/oily ones like walnuts and pecans, or thinly sliced if harder, like almonds)
3-4 cups chopped fruit (use the smaller amount if fruit is quite sour)
Mix all ingredients through baking powder. Split in half.
Mix one half with the egg, milk, and nuts. Put in the bottom of baking dish (~9″ x 9″ x 2″).
Add fruit. Top with other half of streusel mixture.
Bake 35 min at 350°F.
The original recipe just put half the streusel below and half above the fruit, no milk, egg, or nuts added.
J and I saw several arepa stands at a street fair. They didn’t look amazingly high quality (at least one stand was just heating up pre-packaged arepas), so J took it as inspiration to make our own!
Arepas are Venezuelan and Colombian, mostly. We made the simplest variety, which is a cornmeal pancake cut in half and stuffed with mild cheese. The cornmeal has to be either pre-cooked (masarepa; the traditional way) or nixtamalized (masa harina; will be slightly less fluffy) to form a dough properly. You can’t just use regular old cornmeal, but instant polenta might work.
2 cups warm water
2 cups masarepa or masa harina
If using masa harina, some baking powder to add fluffiness
Mix everything together. Let rest for 10 min. Dough should be moist and able to form balls without cracking, but not stick to your hands too much.
Form into patties (standard thickness is 1/2 in). Deep fry, OR pan fry ~3 min on each side and then bake for 15 min.