kung pao tacos, pizza night…

June 13, 2013 Comments Off on kung pao tacos, pizza night…

IMG_6196“Kung pao tacos?” asked O the other night after I’d told her what was for dinner.  “That sounds kinda…I don’t know…racist.”

“That sounds kinda…delicious,” I told her.  “It’s a thing.  New York is full of Korean taco trucks.”

The verdict was that corn tortillas and our new favorite Cooking Light kung pao chicken recipe were best kept separate.  And they weren’t wrong–cold kung pao for lunch today was pretty outstanding even without the trans-pacific influence.

“But it totally works,” I argued with her.  “Every culture has a taco.  America?  Hamburger.  China?  Pork bun.  Or wonton.”

“Mexico?” she asked.

“Ha,” I told her.

We’ve started doing taco night about once a week, ever since the tortilla press came into our lives.  It takes about 20 minutes to make a full stack of nine or ten corn tortillas, and they can get heated back up anytime by wrapping them in a dish towel and steaming them.  The best so far has been the pulled pork–I mean, come on–but the options seem limitless.  OK, ok, maybe the kids aren’t quite up to food truck fusion, but with pork, beef, and fish already successfully in the taco department, there’s got to be a good chicken recipe that isn’t boring.

IMG_6202Italy has a taco, too.  It’s just called a pizza.  But still–meat, sauce, and a carbohydrate delivery device.  And that, right there, is the best pizza I’ve ever made, according to O.  After two and a half years of making these, I’ve got the choreography down pretty pat.  And C’s pepperoni pizza I nailed a long time ago, at least according to him.  But O and I have been trying to replicate the potato pizza in Rome, and that’s a tough one.  A few months ago, we tried smashed potatoes, and got close.  Tonight?

“This is it,” she said.  “This is the ultimate potato pizza.”  It’s not what she had in Rome, but it is smashed Yukon golds–roasted for 45 minutes, smashed and doused in olive oil, and then roasted at high heat for 15 minutes before being introduced to the crust.  Labor-intensive?  Sure, but the oven has to heat up anyway–might as well do it in stages and use the energy to make something delicious.  They were pretty good–crispy edges and oil-soaked potato middle.  And I’m not going to lie–I figured out last year when I went back to Rome that like all good restaurant meals, salt is pretty key.

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And those potatoes went on a crust that was one of our best yet.  Pure 00 flour, super-high hydration, and (again) a fair glug of olive oil, plus a really long final rise.  Good hole structure in the cornicione, though I went with straight yeast and I missed the sourdough flavor that’s been in almost everything these last few months.  I’ll fix that next time, and maybe throw in a little sugar to get some better color.  But still, check that hole structure out, man.

The kids have spent basically the last three days at the pool–first string of nice weather we’ve had since it opened.  And while we were devouring these pies, O looked over at C and pointed out that he was slowly turing lobster-red.  “Oh, man,” he said.  “I put on sunscreen, I swear!  Every hour I went back and put on another coat!”

O was convinced that someone had secretly replaced his sunscreen with olive oil.

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