in praise of small pleasures last weekend, we spent a glorious saturday in genova: it's always 10 degrees warmer down there on the ligurian coast, and trofie al pesto is a welcome change from tajarin, tajarin, and more tajarin. salsa di noci next time, for sure. i made sure to stop by the romanengo shop where i picked up a jar of ribes (blackcurrant) preserves. sadly, they were out of their lovely flower-based syrups and were waiting for the flowers to be picked (it is only may, after all) to make the next batch. and wednesday, i went to the antony & the johnsons show at hiroshima mon amour in turin. they did most of "i am a bird now" and probably a couple from the first album, as well as covers of some moondog dude (a vagrant who used to roam manhattan in the '50s and '60s, according to antony) and leonard cohen's "the guests". antony's voice, so otherworldly -- pooling, ripply, warbly -- is arresting in itself and completely capable of bringing me to my knees. "you are my sister" made me weep. not to mention the johnsons, who are pretty fucking amazing themselves -- one of the better pop instrumental ensembles i've heard in a long while. (i am currently cultivating a crush on rob moose.) i think they've already done a round of touring in the states, but catch them whenever and wherever you can. it's a low-key but thoroughly transfixing show. (sorry, by the way, for the crap picture quality. i was battling a sea of tall, stinking-of-BO [the room was way, way too hot] italians who insisted on singing along in horrible off-the-boat-accented english. i could barely keep my hand still, as you can see.) and last sunday, i baked off a batch of whole wheat pita bread: and these came out way better than my bagels (in that they were more faithful to my conception of pita bread, while my bagels were not anywhere near my ideal bagel -- or even just a good bagel, period). and they were easy. so easy, that you should make some yourself (note: "integrale"= whole wheat. this is a mish mash of a recipe based on something i'd once jotted down and what ingredients i have available to me): Pita Bread Integrale 1.5 tsp active dry yeast 1 tsp honey 1.25 cups warm water 2 cups ‘0’ flour (or bread or high-gluten flour), plus additional for kneading 1 cup whole wheat flour 0.25 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp salt Preheat oven to just under halfway between the big flame and little flame on the gas setting. Or alternatively, 500°F. Stir yeast, honey and water together in large bowl and allow to stand 5 minutes. Combine flours and stir in 1 cup of flour mixture into yeast mixture. Cover and proof for 45 minutes at room temperature or until doubled in bulk. Add remaining flour, oil and salt and stir until dough forms. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 10 minutes. Form dough into ball and place in oiled bowl. Turn to coat and cover. Allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about one hour. Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten a ball and roll out into round, about 1cm in thickness. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake pitas, 2-4 at a time, directly on oven rack placed in lower third of oven, turning over once surface is just puffed and golden (about two minutes, each side). Remove and cool on rack. Excellent with a giant batch of hummus that you just happened to make the night before (and please, people, you don't need a recipe for that: reasonable amounts of cooked chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, salt, cumin, and lemon juice will be better than any shrinkwrapped little tub.).


Anonymous daisy said...

your pita breads look beautiful. wahoo! i tried making pita bread once in high school. it was cool (used the recipe from baking with julia), but half of them didn't open in the middle. oh well.

wish you were here to help me eat the tamales my mom brought up last week (handmade by her mexican friend).

5/06/2005 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger foo said...

oh my god! i want to make this right now. and what happened to our blog! why is it all fancy now?!?!

5/07/2005 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger winnie said...

sorry to spring this on you unannounced, but i couldn't take the no-frills aesthetic any more. i hope you don't mind too much.
and apologies for losing all our comments. those were the best part. but now we get to make more.

5/09/2005 04:31:00 AM  
Blogger fwc said...

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5/09/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger fwc said...


5/09/2005 09:18:00 AM  

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