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bread, coffee, chocolate, yoga

Saturday, May 05, 2001
today's a beautiful summer day -- this year we went straight from a wet, long winter to a brilliant hot summer. perfect pizza weather. i walked back from my local funky arab-owned gourmet shop, sahadi's on brooklyn's atlantic avenue. this has been a traditionally arab neighborhood for many years, dotted with small family-run stores offering interesting and hard-to-find foodstuffs. since it's in brooklyn, the excellent herb, spice, coffee, and other stores feature stunningly low prices.

sahadi's doesn't have a lucullan selection -- no gilded squid ink pasta or other elaborate fripperies the snobby foodies rush to dean & deluca to snap up at $50 a pound -- but it does offer a nice selection of cheeses and italian foods. it's a lovely walk through brownstone brooklyn to sahadi's, where many townhouses have de-converted back to single family homes and the residents lavish care to create lush and flowering squares in their postage stamp front yards. small statements of the pleasures of urban living.

i walk over to sahadi's not only to get cheese for the pizza, but to acquire a can of D'oro yellow tomatoes, the essence of the luscious sauce that makes any pizza special. if you have a local farmers market, by all means, buy 1-3/4 pounds organic yellow tomatoes and chop them yourself! but tomato season is so short, and yellow tomatoes are often high-priced; these d'oro tomatoes are always better than the dyed styrofoam spheres passed off as tomatoes throughout the year.

i've never understood why a personal pizza with a handful of ordinary mushrooms should cost $15 and then be soggy and flavorless. so i started making them myself at home for my husband, who's a dedicated pizza maniac. everyone loves pizza, and i encourage you to make your own -- takes less than an hour's work all told, and the results are well beyond even the pies you see at the "upscale," faddish restaurants.

1 28 oz can d'oro chopped yellow tomatoes
4 oz. softened sundried red tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. red wine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1-1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
fresh ground black pepper to taste

heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and add the garlic. saute the garlic in the oil just until you can delight in the smell. add the yellow tomatoes and sundried tomatoes and wine. bring to a low boil, reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for 15 mins. add herbs and pepper, cook for another 5 mins. taste, and if you insist, add a 1/8 teaspoon salt and/or 1-3 teaspoons sugar. frankly, i find the yellow tomatoes are so sweet that i never need to add sugar, and usually the sundried tomatoes are salty enough for the whole sauce.

this makes a medium-coarse, chunky but unctuous sauce, which has great texture on the pizza. it's also great on spinach fettucine. but if you want a finer texture, feel free to run it through a food mill or give it a spin in your blender or food processor. don't over-puree it tho' -- soup won't do for pizza or pasta!

try this recipe out. if you have improvements, feel free to email me. tomorrow we'll talk more about brooklyn, coffee, and yoga.

posted by fortune elkins | 5:05 PM | top

Friday, May 04, 2001
i'm fortune. pleased to meet you.

as you can see, i'm devoted to ciabatta; cafe d'arte's firenze espresso; lindt, valrhona, and callebaut; and standing on my head. it's the headstand part that gives me the unique perspective i think you'll enjoy.

and to think i do all this in brooklyn heights! while i'll mostly chat about bread, coffee, chocolate, and yoga in the chicest borough of new york, expect to hear about politics, music, and shoes. you'll also most likely be meeting some of my wacky friends. i hope to team up on this site from time to time with different people who have unusual ideas and interesting means of expressing them. this may include the most dangerous man in new york. . . .

you'll find more out about him later. look here often for recipes, insights, and obsessive rants. in the meantime, to help you get oriented -- to help you discover where i'm coming from -- lemme give you some URLs:

abandon all other coffee! i gave up a 15-year peet's mail order habit the instant this precious nectar passed my lips: the firenze blend from caffe d'arte.

as for the chocolate, here in brooklyn we are lucky to have the incredible chocolate of world-renowned pastry chef jacques torres. his website isn't the greatest, but his candies are. located in the up-and-coming please-god-let-it-not-turn-into-soho district known as DUMBO, m. torres' tiny jewel box storefront offers the unconditional love alain de botton could only imagine in the darkened evenings while he weeps over proust: a chocolate heart filled to bursting with passion fruit. get up out of the wheat field and get back on your horse, young prince! this is the epiphany you've been waiting for.

finally, the yoga. it's become almost unbearably trendy. skip the talk show hostess and the former supermodel both: connect with the man many people claim is the best yoga teacher in the united states, erich schiffmann.

until tomorrow! when we discuss an important topic: pizza, and how to make the perfect pizza sauce.

questions? comments? flames? email me -- but i be forewarned: i may quote you here!

posted by fortune elkins | 10:33 PM | top

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