Crispy lovliness
Cracking the Crust Conundrum
September 5, 2005

Well folks, I did it. I set out to achieve a goal. I slaved, I kneaded, I sweated, and I swore until finally, I made the perfect pizza crust. And, as much as I may dislike him personally, I have to admit that it's all due to Todd English.

I'm a bit of a dunce aren't I? All these months I've been babbling on about the perfect crust as invented, made, and happily ingested at Figs, but did I start there with my recipe search? Noooooo! Why? I have no idea, really. I think I just like to make things difficult on myself. Either that, or I've been suffering from a severe lack of faith that a restaurant's cookbook can actually have recipes that accurately result in the delectable fare the restaurant serves. You'd think that a cookbook editor would be less cynical about the veracity of the published word, but then again, editors tend to be the most cynical people you'll meet. Writers too, we're all as bitter as undressed dandelion greens.

Speaking of the published and written word, I am happy to announce that the result of my pain and suffering over the course of the last few years has finally made its way into a Williams-Sonoma store near you. Drop by and check out the brand, butt-spanking new Williams-Sonoma Mastering series. Beef and Veal and Soups and Stews are my particular babies, but I also did considerable development on the entire series.

Oh! And speaking of getting published and shamelessly pimping stuff, my good friend Doug Dworkin illustrated an adorable children's book called Chain Letter and it's now out in stores! I just adore Doug's quirky, round style and I can't wait to see where he next invests his considerable talents.

Bubbly goodness

Okay, back to the pizza! Seriously, if you want a thin, crispy, crunchy crust that stands up incredibly well to carefully managed toppings, check out Todd English's pizza crust in his cookbook The Figs Table. I mean, look at that toasted, bubbly goodness -- how can you resist? Now, I do understand that this may not be everyone's perfect crust. Some like it thick, some like it chewy, and some like it bready, but this? Man, THIS is my perfect crust.

You can see in the picture at the top of the page that I again forayed into the egg as pizza topping thing. This time I was bold enough to crack two farm fresh eggs over the salty, pink prosciutto, and after the heat of the oven brought them to the slightly quivering yolk stage, I threw on a few decorative fennel fronds around for good and flavorful measure. In that pizza, I can firmly attest to the fact that we reached pizza nirvana.

I did so well with my electric oven in San Diego, it's going to be interesting to see how my gas oven does now that we are back in chilly San Francisco.

In other news...

...Television Without Pity has raised over $15,000 for Katrina relief. Every $2000 gets you a specially prepared and carefully baked recap, and recappers' donations are being matched by the bosses. The Keckler-Mathra household is also giving as much as we can to the ASPCA to help out all those poor creatures that depend so heavily on their humans and can't fend for themselves.

...I continue to spout off about San Diego food locales in my reviews of Chino Farms Vegetable Stand, Bread & Cie Bakery and Cafe, and brunch at Parkhouse Eatery. Also, over at Strange Horizons I manage to smash wine and Sci-Fi together in my column A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, and ... UFOs? just to watch the sparks fly. I have to admit, I had a lot of fun with that one.

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