Monday, August 07, 2006

Weekend wrap-up: Gaspare's pizza, key lime pie and flame-retardant chicken

So it's been a long weekend and there's a lot to cover. There are a few food-related items to report but they're scattered and unrelated and kind-of all over the map. While I do have a recipe to post, it's one that was passed on by my friend Kate and I feel I should at least attempt to replicate it before posting it here. She warns that it really requires a hands-on demonstration, but promises that, when executed correctly, it produces absolutely delicious and amazingly flame-retardant chicken. Best of all, asked what it tastes like, she replied "orange sunshine" (and here I can only assume she means a bright, summery flavor and not LSD). I hereby commit to attempting this recipe so you have something to look forward to. Go ahead and stock up on annatto seed. I hear you're going to need plenty. So to recap, no recipe today. Nor do I have any Martha-style food pix. The only pictures that did come out of this weekend are from the Eagles of Death Metal tourbus and I suspect those would act as an appetite supressant, so let's leave those for my yet-to-be-created rock 'n roll blog. When and if it comes to pass, remind me to comment on the size of that bass player's hands. Seriously, they are freakishly Frankensteinian meat paws.

So onward to appetite-inducing items.

1. Gaspare's Pizza . Have you guys been yet? 'Cause if not, put it on the calendar. Our friends Jeff and Julie introduced us to this cozy cucina a few years back and truly, it's a gem. It's a small, unassuming joint out in the avenues, which means it's remarkably convenient for us now that we're totally B&T. Anyway, the thing about Gaspare's is this: you'll go there, you'll hear the schmaltzy Deano tunes on the juke, you'll admire the murals of Italia on the walls, you'll quaff the chianti and you'll think "I wanna spicy meat ballah." But you'll be wrong. So very wrong. When you go to Gaspare's, there's only one item on the menu you should order. And that's the margherita pizza. Sure, you can supplement it with a nice antipasto platter or some pasta to share, but really, the margherita is where it's at. Cradled in a thin crust, doused in olive oil and generously sprinkled with garlic, it's pizza pie perfection. Fini.

2. Next order of business: key lime pie. Now you're probably expecting a key lime pie recipe here and I don't have one for you. I mean, I have a couple. But they're not mine and I have yet to find the right combo of ingredients that takes it over the top. I spent a lot of time in the Keys during the college years (Jamie Gone Wild) and so I'm pretty picky about getting the flavor just right. I really feel strongly about using real, live key limes or at least key lime juice. However, those buggers are hard to find around these parts so I'm working on a recipe using regular old limes that comes close. I made one recipe that I saw on the Barefoot Contessa the other day (I know, I know–so ridiculous) and it almost did the job. But here's something I discovered that I'm willing to share. When I'm making a graham cracker crust, I want that crumbly, buttery texture, but I can't stand how even a homemade GC crust sometimes ends up tasting like a bland, boxed mix or something. So I decided to add some spicy ginger cookies to the crumb mix and voila–the crust ended up with the extra zing I'd been craving. Seriously, this one small addition makes a big difference to overall crust quality.

3. Margaritas. We've moved past the pizza and now we're on to tequila. And let me just say, it's a fine addition to my Monday night. See, I made a tex-mex dinner on Saturday night and left an unfinished pitcher of margaritas in the fridge. I don't think I have to tell you what a welcome sight it was upon arriving home after a long, chafing day at an ad agency.

Right about now, I say salt, rocks, and make it a double.


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