April 25, 2011
Anchovies have been on my mind lately. Probably from reading too many Italian and Southern French recipes and not enough articles about the fact the small salty creatures are over-fished. Damn. Sardines on the other hand are among the best choices for sustainable fish. Now we all know better.
But before being so enlightened I decided to make a few savory calzoni. Adapting the New York Times pizza dough, I halved the recipe and used 5 ounces whole wheat, 2 ounces white, 1 ounce semolina, only one teaspoon salt, and roughly a tablespoon of olive oil. This made three calzoni filled with roasted eggplant, roasted garlic, steamed chard, goat feta, a small squeeze of lemon, chili flakes, and anchovies. They are quite fragrant, and thus the Platonic adjective–not a date food.
Who better to share this Mediterranean hand held meal with than Archimedes, a native of Syracuse and surely not ignorant of geometry? Archimedes looks forlorn here but he was quite happy eating fishy calzone (not pictured), which vaguely reminded him of garum–a noxious paste of fermented fish intestines beloved of Greeks and Romans. Alas, the closest thing Western civilization has to this classical condiment is Worcestershire sauce (a nightmare of spelling bee participants everywhere).
Archimedes joked that he was so stuffed after eating the calzone that I would need a lever to move him. What a funny guy! After dinner we played his favorite game called “who can think of the biggest number.”
April 18, 2011
Last Sunday Thomas Jefferson came round to share croissants with me. Thank goodness he arrived circa 1791 when he was a redhead, otherwise I probably would not have recognized him. The history of croissants is somewhat murky and though Jefferson certainly relished French cuisine, he seems to have expired before the advent of this “pètit engineering marvel” (as Chad Robertson puts it in Tartine Bread). Jefferson did have a recorded fondness for English muffins, so one imagines the continental version would have piqued his interest.
I ate my croissant with both hands, tearing it into delicious buttery shreds and salvaging the crumbs with my forefinger. Jefferson was more civilized. We spoke of common interests: pasta machines, wine, and mathematics. The visit did not last long, I had an upcoming exam and Jefferson needed to start gathering American support for the French Revolution.
Thank goodness I had divided the recipe by eight. Croissants are not so good the next day, and 50 grams is enough butter for one sitting.