GOAT CHEESE PIZZA WITH PORCINI SALAD

Pizza with Porcini Salad-35

What happens in our kitchen owes as much to happenstance as deliberate intention and sometimes the alignment of culinary planets all but makes a certain dish inevitable. Baby arugula arrived from Allendale Farms last week; Ben, the go-to guy for mushrooms for Rialto, came into a batch of fresh porcini. Jody and her staff paid a visit to Valley View Farm in Topsfield, Massachusetts for a close look at how artisanal goat cheese is made (and came home with lots of chevre). And finally [cue trumpet flourish] my new Baking Steel arrived. Let’s see: great ingredients + Baking Steel (the industrial steel world’s answer to a pizza stone). Was there really any choice other than to make Pizza with a Porcini Salad?

Crespelle with Lemon-Rosemary Ricotta

See the crespelle.  See Ken photograph the crespelle.  See the crespelle run away from Ken.  Run, crespelle, run. See the crespelle run all the way to Brooklyn, where Jody cooks a Thanksgiving dinner for Ken and Jody’s son Oliver and 12 of his closest friends who had to work on the actual holiday.  See Ken stuck in Boston.  See Ken get his revenge.  Ken makes a batch of crespelle with Lemon-Rosemary Ricotta and he doesn’t share.

Revenge, says Ken, is sweet.

Dandelion and Mustard Green Gnocchi with Lucky Boy Onions and Pine Nuts

This week’s Dandelion and Mustard Green Gnocchi recipe features a sauce made with wild Texas onions.  My brother Bob and his wife Monika have have a small ranch, which they call Lucky Boy, in the Hill Country a couple of hours from San Antonio.*  In one of those weird six-degrees of separation confluences friends of ours were visiting family in Texas,  who were in turn friends with my brother and his wife.  Everyone ended up at Lucky Boy for the weekend.  Our friends flew back to Boston with a Texas goodie bag filled with long slender wild onions picked from the banks of the Llano River.  We used the bulb and the pointed flower head (what locals call “the garlic”), and a few inches of tender green stem attached to each.  Most of the stem is too woody for cooking, like the tough parts of lemongrass.  If you look closely at the plate of gnocchi photographed straight down there’s a closed flower head sitting atop the dumpling in the seven o’clock position.

Saucy, with a Chance of Meatballs

You could draw a culinary Venn Diagram with two overlapping circles. Label one circle Comfort Food. Label the other Goofy Food. Where the circles overlap would be the Meatball Zone. That’s where you’d find Lamb and Pork Meatballs with Simple Tomato Sauce. Good, but funny.