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Entries in pizza (4)


Pizza...not of the Papa John's variety

Yet another night of not really wanting to cook.....Pasta and Provisions to the rescue!!!  I ran by the little place on Providence Road and picked up a fresh ball of pizza dough, fresh pomodoro sauce,  and a grated three cheese blend.  All I really had to do was to mash down (punch down) the pizza dough a couple of times and then spread it out onto a greased sheet pan.  I did go to a little more effort than that!!!  I sliced a red onion very thin and placed it on top of the pomodoro sauce.  And, I browned a little spicy sausage and layered it on the pizza.  Finally, when the pizza was out of the oven (in like - 10 minutes), I sprinkled a little flat leaf parsley on top to give it a little freshness and finished it off with a drizzle of finishing olive oil (also picked up at Pasta and Provisions).

Now, about the sausage.  Recently, I have been reading books on sustainable agriculture, the need to support our local farmers, eating with the seasons, and the benefits of 100% grass fed meat (along with no antibiotics and no hormones).  I bought asparagus the other day at the grocery store and guess where it came from??  PERU.  Now, really folks - how can asparagus that ripened in a cargo hold of a plane really taste good and have all the vitamins and minerals in it that asparagus just picked has in it??? Therefore,  I decided that I am going to purchase as much of our food as I can from the farmers' market here in Charlotte.  I'm able to buy fresh vegies and fruit (mostly cultivated within a 100 mile radius of Charlotte) and I'm also able to buy beef, lamb, chicken, goat, and pork. I'm able to buy free range chicken and eggs.  I, however, had not yet had the guts to buy goat.  But, I have bought the pork.  On several occasions.  I cannot even begin to describe the difference in the taste of country ham that is grass fed and sugar/salt cured.  The sausage is never frozen and the farmer can tell you when the sausage was errrr - 'created'.  I have to believe that this way of eating is so much better for us - no preservatives, no hormones - who knows what this was/is doing to our bodies.  So I'm standing on my little soap box in my little part of Charlotte and trying to bring a healthier way of life to Michael (and myself).  Diseases be gone!!!!  I thought I'd share a few pictures of the Farmer's Market so you can see what kind of goodies are available there.

OK - so off the soap box.  Check out the pizza.  It was as good as it looks!


p.s. - I'll be in New York City next week, so I should have some juicy restaurant reviews for you.  I'll be sure to take a lot of pictures!


My journey to Al Forno

Providence redeemed itself last Wednesday night.  BC had recommended her favorite restaurant in Providence and I jumped!  Well, leaped is more like it.  BC has never steered me wrong, and I knew she wouldn't here either.  Before I describe the restaurant and the most yummy food I've had, let me tell you about the little adventure I had getting to Al Forno.

I stopped by the hotel concierge to ask how far Al Forno was located from the hotel in downtown Providence and could I walk or should I take a cab (and was it safe to walk).  The concierge (still wet behind the ears) made me aware that Al Forno does not take reservations, and then he printed directions to the restaurant, saw that it was 0.8 miles away, read the directions and said " this is an easy walk - you should have no problems".  Dumb me - I listened to him.  The walk started out pleasant enough, and I told myself that this was prime exercise.  I walked along the river (don't know the name of it - just know that several ships were burned here during the Revoluntionary War) and it was very pleasant outside and the stroll (I mean the fast hardy walk) was very nice. 

The restaurant is located at 577 S. Main Street.  I'm walking and I'm walking and I'm watching the street numbers.  I get to 385 S. Main Street and....nothing.  South Main Street ends.  Well almost.  Across the street, there is an old dilapidated house with weeds up to armpits! So I ask some smarmy looking guy just hangin' out on the street corner.  He has no clue - big surprise.  Now, big dilemma.  I really want to eat at Al Forno since it's BC's fav and I think I'm already half way there but I have no clue where it's located!  So, standing on the street corner (luckily dressed in nothing 'fancy') I pull out the blackberry and track down Al Forno's restaurant.  I call the restaurant and talk to 3 different people - each time trying to explain where I'm standing (as it turns out, cross streets in Providence do not have street signs - so all I can say is that I'm at 385 S. Main - Fun times).  Marie finally takes pity on me and stays on the phone for approximately 20 - 25 minutes and slowly directs me to the restaurant.  I have to cross an off ramp from I-95 and cross a 6 lane busy highway (Marie said PLEASE PLEASE be careful crossing this road!!).  I'm walking, crossing the highway,  talking into the blackberry - so you can imagine the curious glances that I'm getting from passerby's (probably cruising to Al Forno to get ahead of me in the line).  Finally!!!  I make it to Al Forno and wait about 30 minutes for a table.  BTW, all the while, I'm cursing the little boy at the hotel front desk and dreaming of his demise once I get back to the hotel. 

But Al Forno!!!  AHHHHHHHHHH!  BC did not steer me wrong.

It's very Hampton-ish, if you know what I mean.  I waited for my table at the dark bar while nursing my DiSaranno Sour and watched the kitchen thru the half glass.  There were, perhaps, 12 chefs in the kitchen.  All wearing white chef's coats and black beret-like hats.  They were extremely busy but the kitchen had a sense of calm to it.  Amazing.  The dining room that I sat in had white-washed brick walls where some of the red brick was poking thru; the tables had tan tableclothes and then white tableclothes on top of the tan but the tan was poking out on the sides; the chairs are made of beech wood and have a faded giraffe print on the seat; fresh flowers on all the tables; and the chandeliers!  You know the hot pink lacquered candelabras that I picked up in NYC?  Well, these chandeliers are the exact same style but they are painted a very shiny white lacquer.  Loved them!!!

The food - OMG - the food!  I had a coal-fired margharitta pizza for the main course.  Very thin dough, melted cheese, pomadoro sauce in splotches rather than tomatoes, chiffonades of basil, a hint of garlic and a finishing of olive oil on top and scallions that had been put thru a mandoline and shaved so thinly that it curled (can't wait to try that trick).  I had to taste several of the scallions and do the momma taste test where you kind of pat your tongue on the roof of your mouth so that I could figure out that they were, in fact, scallions.  DELISH.  My dessert was a rhubarb tart for 2.  The tart was an island in a sea of vanilla bean sauce.  The crust was sweet and crisp.  The rhubarb was soft and tart.  The combination of the three was heaven in my mouth.  I tried but I'm sorry to say, I could not eat the entire tart.  Believe me, I tried.    

(I took a cab back to hotel and I can say, Mr. Concierge boy is still alive today!!  But only because I was too full and too satiated to be bothered.)


Dinner was a hit!

The pizza I created for dinner had the homemade pasta sauce, red onion, fresh on-the-vine tomato, garlic, fresh and grated mozzarella.  It had a very light and clean taste to it; it tasted homemade...and delish.  Michael said it was tasty, so that's a plus.  He ate 4 pieces - the little pig (heeeheeeheee). He is now rubbing his tummy.  Below is a picture of the final pasta sauce.  It has quite a kick - I dropped in lots of red pepper flakes.  There's also a shot of the pizza.


Testing...is this thing on?

What's happening:  Making homemade pizza for dinner

Ok, so this is my first post.  I'm experimenting with this page, so bear with me.  Tonight my husband and I are taking it easy after a long week at work, so I thought I'd make us a homemade pizza to eat while we veg out.  There is a little place down the road from our apartment called Pasta & Provisions that sells fresh pizza dough and pasta, so I thought I'd try my hand at homemade pizza.  There's a Papa Johns right next to our apt, but why buy that when I can make something better?  I also picked up a pound of freshly made garlic and rosemary spaghetti.   I'll be hitting the road tomorrow morning going to San Jose, so I'm actually making him enough sauce to last a few meals.  Between the pizza and the spaghetti, he should be good to go.  I thought I'd share some pictures of the ingredients.  Once I get everything made, I'll post the results and ingredients.  Here's a couple of pics to tide you over.  For now, I've got to run back to the kitchen...