Sunday, May 28, 2006

Finally, a day off

Well between traveling to a graduation and three jobs, a day off feels great. Last night my friend at the pizza shop threw a celebratory one-week party. His sisters' mother-in-law, or some similar barely-family member, donated five hundred dollars towards a wine purchase as a gift. Since the shop has yet to obtain a cabaret license, we had 6 cases of wine to ourselves (ourselves being the staff). I, knowing that today was a day off, was indulgent in the goods. The vino was flowing, and it was a great time. I was able to change into my street clothes and hop back behind the counter to make pizzas as we needed them. The calls from the counter were my influence.

"Do something with feta!" turned into a feta, roasted red pepper, and sweet Italian sausage pizza with a red base.

"Prosciutto...prosciutto sounds good!" became a prosciutto, roma, sweet basil, ricotta pizza with a white base.

As the um...grown up grape juice became more influential on my brainwaves, the ideas kept flowing. The ensuing discussions with the owner included talks of stuffed whole striped bass wrapped in prosciutto, seared in a cast iron container we would keep in the oven, and then finished on the stone. What about stuffed calamari tubes that would then be themselves stuffed into similar sized morels? That would be good. My defining moment was also my final pizza of the evening. A bleu cheese, pear, apple, candied pecan pizza topped with white raisins re-hydrated in red wine and sugar. One of the waitresses friends said the pizza 'changed her life'.

So I spent this morning dealing with the headache that I knew would be coming. It included a walk to Starbucks, and lunch at a newly built mission burrito place by our house. This is the third location for this local company, and with good reason. Today I had two soft shell fish tacos with salsa fresca, cabbage, and baja sauce. Did I mention they were two dollars a piece? Great deal...and the dirtier the floor, the better the food.

Tonight I will go to a friends house I haven't been to in quite some time. I will probably drink more wine, and celebrate the change seasons with a last grasp on the wintry foods. I am making:

Cracked peppercorn pasta with prosciutto, corn, Vidalia onion and basil - $0
Roasted root vegetable soup with organic beets, parsnips, turnips, and Vidalia onions - $0
Home-made bread sticks with garlic butter and ground pecans - $0

Using good food to celebrate with your friends - $Priceless

I couldn't resist. Can you tell I purchased a bag of Vidalia onions? So good...but they go bad so fast I need to use them up. I'm off now to finish the purchases for dinner.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sitting far, far away

As I write this I sit in a very little town in Eastern Montana. There are three things to do here. Drink coffee, talk about cattle, and drink more coffee. In truth, though, it is nice to sit back and recharge my batteries. I have picked up a third that I've started to commit to the culinary world I cant stop myself. When a new found friend asked for help to start up a stone fired pizza and sandwhich shop, I couldn't resist. More on that later. For now, I have some coffee to drink.