In The Kitchen

2009 November: Fired Up

wood fired oven

Cooking with wood has been around since the dawn of civilization, so there’s no singular revelation attached to that method of cooking. On the other hand, cooking pizza in a wood-fired oven has been going on only since the turn of the century in this country. In recent years, however, the fire has been bankedMore »

2009 November: Prep School

prep chicken

Adam Goldberg, owner of Fresh Brothers in Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach, California, was slammed — on a Monday. The restaurant’s volume was up way more than normal. The lunch rush had extended to 3:30 p.m., leaving staff only one hour to prep before dinner service. Remarkably, staff never fell behind. Goldberg doesn’t attribute itMore »

2009 September: Toss Up

2009 September: Toss Up

When I was 18, I tossed my very first pizza. It was my brother, Frank, who taught me the basics. Then I practiced every day. I noticed that customers were amazed when they came into our pizzeria — and back then I really didn’t do much … just a simple toss and catch. It hasMore »

2009 September: Italian Classics

Classic Margherita Pizza

If we do a time machine scenario and zip back to May of 1889, we find Queen Margherita and her husband, King Umberto I, being served pizza at the palazzo in Naples where they were staying. The king and queen had heard about the famous pizzas of Naples, so naturally they wanted to try them.More »

2009 September: The Original

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2009 September: The Original

The Italians take their pizzas seriously, which is why, in June of 1984, Antonio Pace put into writing the precise rules for the preparation of the “veraci” (original) pizzas. He was against the commercial industrialization of the modern day pizza. He was horrified by the ready-to-eat and frozen pizzas that he felt had very littleMore »

2009 September: Mushroom Magic

mushroom, vegetables, ingredient, topping

My father was a mushroom farmer. During my high school years, I put in more than a few hours getting acquainted with mushrooms in every way possible. Most of the mushrooms we grew (from scratch, including inserting the mushroom spawn into the compost) were sent to various markets in the Northeast, but there were alwaysMore »

2009 September: The Power of Pasta

pastas pasta bowls

Pizza and pasta is a match made in heaven. If pasta isn’t already on your menu, start up the printing press — because that’s all about to change! Not only should you be offering both, but why not create a “family feast” by combining a pasta entrée, a pizza and a salad? I’ve heard fromMore »

Dough Doctor: How does gluten affect dough?

2009 August: Dough Doctor

Gluten is the one thing that holds our dough together. Without it, the dough would be a pasty mix of ingredients, lacking the capability of being shaped, hand-tossed or slapped. Contrary to what a bag of fl our might say, flour does not contain any gluten. Instead, it contains specific wheat proteins which, when agitatedMore »

Old School Sicilian Pizza

2009 August: Old School

What makes a Sicilian pizza a Sicilian pizza? In two words: shape and thickness. A true Sicilian pizza is rectangular. A true Sicilian pizza has a crust that is almost a half-inch thick. How do I know this? I know this because next door to my boyhood home in upstate New York there was anMore »

Pasta Primer: Fettuccine

2009 August: Pasta Primer

This is the time of year that many of us (especially those of us living in the Midwest) go bananas over fresh tomatoes. If I had the time, I would write another cookbook called “101 Ways to Use Fresh Tomatoes.” So this time of year I am constantly coming up with new ways to useMore »