Friday, November 14, 2008

End o' the Week Odds 'N' Ends

I didn't have much ambition today. I did melt down my trimmings from grinding my own beef in hopes of making my own tallow. At least I think I made tallow. I had ground the trimmed fat prior to running the lean meat through and then saved it. Today I put the ground fat in one of my medium sized cast iron skillets and put it in the oven at 225°F degrees. I think it took an hour or two. I poured everything off through some cheese cloth that I laid in a sieve. I bagged and froze the left over meat. Can't see anything wrong with eating it as ground beef. It's quite lean now I would think. I refrigerated the liquid fat. Interesting it separated into a think white solid on top and a thin yellowish solid on the bottom. I'm guessing the white part is the tallow. I assume that I can use it no differently than I would use lard. Maybe I'll make a candle.

I continue to practice making pizza. I'm getting pretty close to presenting I think. Today's dough was made without whole grain flour. I used unbleached all purpose flour. The crust was softer and lighter I think. I think I liked the taste of the whole grain flour crust better, but it is harder to work with. I have a pretty good supply of mill ground grain around here. I bought this last batch outside of Helen, GA, about 30 minutes from here. Instead of hand stretching the dough and baking it on the pizza stone, I used a jelly roll pan. Saved me the aggravation of my pizza peel always failing me. Dinah gave it a thumbs up and I am pleased with the results.

Apparently I had used up my supply of canned tomatoes in various forms in the pantry. All I had on hand was one can of organic diced tomatoes and one can of Mexican stewed tomatoes with green chilies and cumin. Bummer. So I made the sauce using both cans hoping the diced tomatoes would dilute the chile and cumin flavor of the stewed tomatoes. I grow my own herbs in my super-duper Aerogarden so I put in four good sized leafs of purple basil instead of the usual two. I also doubled the minced garlic. Taking a lesson from my Culinary Arts 100 course, I used my Kitchen Aid Immersion Blender to puree everything in the pot. Unfortunately by the time it was ready to cook the pizza the sauce hadn't cooked down thick enough so it was a little too thin on the pizza. BUT, I never noticed the chilies or the cumin.

I learned on the last pizza that REAL mozzarella on pizza is pretty nasty. You know the fresh kind packed in a brine, usually in small balls of cheese. Damn near flavorless on pizza. So while the bags of shredded low moisture mozzarella is the cheese to buy, I have learned that blending cheeses is the way to go. Don't use straight mozz. Tonight I put a thin layer of Parmesan on top of the sauce followed by a thin layer of shredded cheddar. Not enough cheddar to really be called a layer but enough to add depth. You can't even see it once it has melted. The top layer was a thick layer of shredded mozzarella. On one end though I used sliced mozz like you buy for sandwiches. I think that this actually tasted slightly better than the shredded mozz. It looks the same once melted but I also think there is a slight textural difference.

Almost ready to serve to others.

Being in the doldrums today I broke down and baked some brownies after dinner. I only bake and I only eat one kind, Duncan Hines. And I still lick the bowl. I've been doing it for 30 years at least and haven't gotten sick from raw eggs yet. You should have seen Rose knocking stuff down and toys out of the way scrambling to get to the kitchen to have a lick herself. And she's never had brownie batter before. That love is genetic!

I'm thinking maybe I need to research into making brownies from scratch. I agree with Dinah, Duncan Hines has it perfected but I would like to make a brownie as equally good in which I know what the ingredients actually are. Time to do some Googling and some reading.

No comments: