Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stuff It! Focaccia Stuffed with Genoa Salami, Provolone, & Olives

The theme for the July Creative Cooking Crew Challenge, hosted as always by the lovely and talented Joan of Foodalogue and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks, was simply this: stuff it. As cooking themes go, it doesn't get much more wide open than that.

And so, as you see, I went with bread, and I am so glad I did. It has been ages since I worked with yeasted dough, and I had nearly forgotten how much I love everything about the process: the punky smell of the yeast as it hits the warm water, the way the flour goes from silky to sticky as it gets wet, kneading the dough until it becomes a stretchy, soft, compliant whole, the puffed-up feel of the transformed dough before it's punched down ... it's a tactile, engaging, and meditative activity.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Through a Bowl, Darkly: Garlicky Mussels with Squid Ink Linguine

I was binge watching Hannibal when I got the idea for this dish. I have always been drawn to fiction that intelligently explores the dark side of human nature and the allure of so-called "evil." Visually the show is lush and cinematic, and Mads Mikkelsen, the actor who plays Hannibal, is a brilliantly unsettling mix of charm, charisma, and creepiness.

I must admit that I take a perverse glee in the lovingly detailed shots of Hannibal cooking complicated Escoffier-style meals in his gourmet kitchen, knowing full well that the main course is more than likely composed of one or more of his victims. (Yes, Poppa Trix has told me I'm a bit crazy, but in a good way. He's not worried, so you shouldn't be either.)