As the temperature drops and darkness settles in like a tired old mutt after circling the block three times I find myself back in the kitchen, beer or wine in hand, cooking food for friends. It's like shrugging on that well-worn robe you forgot on the back of your closet door all summer.
Last night I wanted to caramelize onions. So I decided to make pizza and invite over my friend Hooman, thinking he would likely ask his roommate, my friend Emrah, along with. I arrive home to a funny coincidence: my roommate Meredith is cooking dinner for Susan, Emrah's girlfriend, and told her to invite both boys along. Ahhh, Serendipity ... not just a delicious restaurant in NYC.
I like to use Whole Food's 365 brand GF pizza crust. It's very difficult to screw up and can be spread to your desired thickness (that's right, you don't knead or roll out GF dough, you spread it.) I threw in a generous helping of Italian seasoning to the dry mix for an extra flavor boost.
For toppings I skipped the sauce and threw on some hunks of fresh Gouda plus a heaping amount of aged Gruyere (one of my all time favorite cheeses.) Piled on top of that were the onions I'd caramelized and some trumpet mushrooms I sauteed in evoo, butter, and some Adobo seasoning. A sprinkling of fresh, hand-torn sage followed by 20ish minutes in the oven and viola!
All of my friends were genuinely surprised at how tasty it turned out. So tasty, in fact, that I didn't take the above picture until after work today when I reheated a slice (the beer, as you can see, is Bard's sorghum beer.)
Tonight I spent some time with another dear friend, Alisa. I had a craving for bruschetta which she was only too happy to help make and then consume. Bruschetta is an easy one with some wiggle room for fun ingredient manipulation. This time being my first, however, I played it simple: chopped tomatoes heated in evoo (about 1 Tbsp oil per pound of tomato) with a sprinkle of salt and hand-torn fresh basil tossed in at the end, just long enough to release some flavor and aroma.
The bread is Against the Grain baguettes, halved and split lengthwise, then fried in evoo and some butter. And then before piling the thick, slightly crunchy, slightly chewy slices with tomatoey basily goodness I rubbed them over with a garlic clove half. YUM.
If it's your thing, you could also drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top. Or add more salt. I'm not really a salt person.