From the Bar, from the kitchen etc – Naan, beers and pizza

tasty naan
tasty naan

Snow day today, thanks to the current snow storm moving across Pennsylvania.  A fair amount of  snow and it is getting windy. My coming home from work after dark could have been a bit dicey.  So I’m happily typing here on my couch, sipping a bit of tea from Republic of Tea and hang out with my husband who also had an early dismissal from work.

This weekend I finally found a naan recipe that replicates the soft chewy naan that we get at the local Indian restaurant.  Weirdly enough, I found it in a newer copy of The Joy of Cooking.  I had bought this copy for a friend of mine at work, a younger fellow who didn’t have any cookbooks of his own and wanted to know more.  I of course had to page through this new copy since it is a *book* (I have been known to read cereal boxes, laundry soap bottles etc in my addiction).

We had it with the murgh korma (aka chicken with yogurt cashew curry sauce) that I have already blogged about.  Delicious stuff!

2 c Bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 c yogurt or  buttermilk, room temp
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp to 1Tbsp water, as needed

Set rack in the lowest level of oven and place a pizza stone there.  Set oven temp to 475 degrees and heat the stone for 45 minutes. Add all ingredients to bowl.  Mix by hand or on low speed until a soft ball of dough is formed. Knead for about 10 mins by hand or with mixer, until dough is smooth and elastic, Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 1 1/2hrs.  Meanwhile, punch down dough and divide equally into 4 pieces. Roll into balls, cover, and let rest for 10 mins. Roll out each ball of dough on a floured surface to 1/4″ thick and brush with butter. Place as many dough ovals will fit on the stone and bake until each oval is puffy and beginning to turn golden 6-7 minutes. Brush again with melted butter.  Fold naan in half and place in cloth lined basket and keep covered.  You can also put minced garlic, minced ginger, various seeds on this when you initially put the butter on it to go into the oven.

Bread flour is essential in this.  You use all-purpose for fluff and bread flour (or even high gluten flour) for chew.  This reminded me also of the wonderful noni bread at a long gone Afghan restaurant, Skewers, that we used to go to.  They also had the most fabulous red lentil soup.  Any hints on how to make *that* would be appreciated. 🙂

We also had some new beers this weekend.

Southern Tier 2X Milk Stout – a strong stout at 7.5% ABV.  The alcohol level and hops are well blended and don’t overwhelm the toasty notes.   We do love the Crème Brulee Stout from there and this is not nearly that sweet.

Flying Dog In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen – Classic hefe.  Nice notes  of banana and spice.

Weyerbacher Verboten Belgian Pale Ale – this is definitely Belgian style with the characteristic fruity funk but with the American fascination with hops.  Wanted to get one of these to see how it is.  We’re going to be brewing a BPA from Northern Brewer’s Assaazin  BPA kit in the near future.

Harpoon Chocolate Stout – Good chocolate flavor balanced by the slight bitter toastiness of the malt.

Leinenkugel Snowdrift Vanilla Porter – Not new but one of my favorite vanilla flavored porters.  Smooth and tasty without being too sweet.

Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ –  I do like hops, more than my husband necessarily does. This is nicely hopped beer with a good mouthfeel.  Some hop monsters tend to be a little thin to me.  And I always like pin-up art, as does, of course, my husband. 🙂

sisco pizzaWith these beers, we had an excellent pizza from one of the local places, Sisco’s in Harrisburg.  Best foldable pizza in the ‘burg.

Eat and drink well!

From the Bar and Kitchen – Pizza break

PizzaA pizza break to get away from the stultifying theist nonsense and give my poor eyes a rest.  

This weekend’s meal and a movie is homemade pizza and “The Spirit”. 

The movie, “The Spirit” is from 2008.  It was a riff on what made Sin City popular, stylized graphics, hyperviolence and a distinctly noir feel.  My husband loves Sin City, I find it just a little too damn depressing. I will admit that I do love the SC storyline with Dwight and the hookers in “The Big Fat Kill”.  

The Spirit is played much more tongue in cheek, with Samuel L. Jackson having a grand time chewing the scenery as a supervillian counter to the superhero, Gabriel Macht, a nice looking fellow who can play the noir tough guy who can’t die.  Stana Katic, as Morgenstern the smart rookie cop with the BFG, is grand fun.  And it has a very sweet cat in it (who perishes, alas), so of course I like it. The hero does do a good job in avenging the kitty.

On the menu is homemade pizza.  I used this recipe from King Arthur Flour. It was good, crunchy, but more Chef Boyardee pizza kit and not so much foldable slice (the next recipe I’m going to try) as I like. I may have to get some bread (high-gluten) flour so I can get the appropriate stretch and windowpane.  I so do want a wood fired brick oven out in my garden.

The sauce is canned, I must admit.  Both the husband and I like Don Pepinos. It’s simple and basic.  And I like the rather retro can design.  I’m a gal who likes a lot of sauce, so about 2/3 of the can goes on the ‘za. 

For an approximately 14” pizza (as big as my wood peel would handle – get a cheap one at a restaurant supply place), I used two cups of shredded mozzarella.  On top of this, I shook some grated parmesan, about a half cup finely chopped parcooked (nuked for 20 seconds) onions, and sliced pepperoni. 

Everything was constructed on the wood peel and popped into a 475 degree F oven on my pizza stone.  About 20 minutes later, time to eat!

With this, we had a very nice bottle of Bogle 2010 cabernet sauvignon. Well, we had at least half the bottle.  I managed to spill half of it and made a dramatic mess.  The very dark but clear wine (a candle shines with a crimson hue through it) has a very strong blackberry / black raspberry scent and taste, reminding me intensely of my grandmother’s pies that she made from the many quarts of berries my grandfather picked on the hill behind their house.  The tannins are well-behaved and balanced by the acid.  Definitely one for us to get again.

 We also picked up an odd port wine this time, Croft Pink Port (website annoyingly launches with sound, kill it with the speaker icon lower right). It is truly *pink*.  The flavor is very reminiscent of grenadine and cotton candy with a hint of cassis overlying the classic port taste. I think it would be a good ingredient in a summer sangria. 

Finally, we found some homemade red wine that we made about 8 months ago and bottled.  It’s from the recipe here, and this is not quite so “fresh”. It’s actually pretty good, tasting like a Chianti but still smelling like the concord grapes it came from.

Eat well!