Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mise en Place

I am very committed to the idea of mise en place while cooking. Mise en place is a French phrase that literally means "put in place" and is used in the culinary world as having everything in place ready for cooking. It also requires cleaning as you cook, so you don't end up with a huge mess at the end. My mother will cite this as the biggest difference in my pre and post culinary school cooking habits.

However, I have noticed a significant decrease in my mise en place as a result of having a toddler in the kitchen. Ainslie really loves to help out. The other day she helped by combining the contents of all the cansiters on my table. So now my flour and sugar have oatmeal sprinkled in which adds an unexcepted texture to any dish.

At a resturant in Rome in the pre-canister mixing days.

Tonight we had California Pizza Kitchen style pizza for dinner. I love how pizza has become this dynamic new forum for creative combinations. I was very inspired by some of the pizza combination we had in Rome. My favorite was this amazing arugula topped pizza. Arugula is a salad green that looks a lot like the leaves that grow on a dandy lion. It has a wonderful nutty/peppery taste. I'm not really sure where to buy it but I just read online that it is easy to grow at home so I might just give that a try.

This is what I did tonight:

Make a simple dough

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 2 Tbs yeast

  • pinch sugar

Combine and allow yeast to grow for a few minutes, then add

  • pinch salt

  • 1/2 oil

  • addd flour until it forms a nice dough

Roll out the pizza and cook,

  • Add sauce, cheese and bacon,

Broil until toasted

I topped the pizza with a salad I made with spinach, tomates, cumcumber, red onion, fresh basil and tossed with ranch dressing. It was very yummy.