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Posts Tagged ‘Alton Brown’

Where have I been, you ask? Well, I’m not talking about being physically gone on vacation, like we were to New England a week ago. For the last month or so, my usual verve for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen has been totally out to lunch. This is evidenced by the lack of yummy food pics I’ve shared with you recently. It seemed that coming up with even the most basic ideas for dinner was an impossible chore, and I lacked any motivation for the few inspirations I had for meals or projects. Thankfully, easy ground beef meals, scrambled eggs, and tasty burnt meat on the Big Green Egg with halfheartedly steamed broccoli have saved the day on more than one occasion. But as far as preparing varied, tasty, and healthy meals for us, I have felt lacking for a while.

However, there were some glimmers of hope before we left for New England, and ever since we’ve returned I can say that I’m also back in the kitchen with at least a small helping of my usual culinary energy. I’ve actually had plenty of dinner ideas in the past week and also the verve to tackle them after getting home from work.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally made an Alton Brown recipe I’d been eying out of a Food Network magazine: quiche-filled crêpe cups. The recipe was somewhat involved–I had to whip up a batch of crêpes first, which isn’t trivial, then cook some bacon, which also takes time, and finally whip up eggs and bake them, which wasn’t hard but took a while–so it was no wonder I’d been putting it off. But I finally couldn’t resist trying to recreate a little taste of Paris at home (I was just reminiscing and missing Paris this morning…le sigh). They tasted yummy and looked very snazzy.

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This weekend, Bart and I made attempt #3 at grilling a pizza in the BGE. You would think that carbs and cheese is a home run no matter what, but historically we haven’t had luck with pizza at home even in the oven. Soggy, bready pizza crust has usually been the culprit; we’ve never really been pleased with the dough recipes we’ve tried. But we’d heard that pizza on the Egg is phenomenal, so we had to try it.

The first attempt on the BGE was sort of a long fly ball that the center fielder caught on the warning track…just almost awesome, but not quite. I already had a pizza stone, requisite for the Egg, so we started off strong there. I used the generic recipe from my bread machine cookbook. It’s really convenient to dump all the ingredients in the machine and let it do all the work, but I think it kneads the dough for way too long, making the texture a little too tough. We successfully assembled the pizza on an inverted baking sheet and got it on the pizza stone, but removing it was almost a disaster. The baking sheet wasn’t thin enough to slip under it, and despite the pizza stone, the crust was still soft and floppy. Evidently, we didn’t preheat it for long enough beforehand to achieve a solid, crispy foundation. Fortunately, we didn’t lose more than a few square inches of pizza into the fire–it could have been much worse.

The second attempt was like a routine ground-out to the short stop who threw you out five whole steps before you reached first. Not even close. We did purchase a pizza peel, which definitely aided in getting the pizza on. We also tried preheating the stone in the grill for longer, but we still didn’t get a crispy crust, and even with the peel, getting a limp pizza off the grill was challenging. Plus, I think that dough rose for too long before we cooked it, resulting in a soft, bready, and almost tasteless crust. It was very disappointing.

Being burned twice on the pizza made us a little hesitant on a successive attempt, but after scouring the internet for recipes and tips, we finally felt ready to tackle it with a new dough and a new strategy. I made the dough in the mixer, which didn’t over knead it and make it tough. It looked beautiful…just the right texture and springiness when I formed the crust. We got the stone roaring hot for 30 minutes before we added the pizza, resulting it a perfectly browned crust and downright easy transfer back onto the peel.

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It’s just beautiful! The crust had crunch and integrity and didn’t flop at all, and the toppings were perfectly browned. Our only comment was that we might prefer a slightly thinner crust, but as far as taste we were finally satisfied. Maybe attempt number four will produce The Perfect Pizza!

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