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Friday, May 25, 2001


since the unseasonable weather continues, i'm going to spend this memorial holiday weekend baking and drinking hot coffee, not iced. . .

one of the first recipes i posted for you was for my unique yellow tomato pizza sauce. so here's the pizza crust recipe to go with it, based on one by author Maggie Glezer:

3-1/3 cups (15-3/4 oz. on the scale) King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour
1/4 teaspoon instant SAF yeast
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 cups (12 oz.) lukewarm water


in a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt. mix in the water until the dough is shaggy and most of the water has been absorbed. let rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flour to fully hydrate. knead the dough in your stand mixer for 10-15 minutes, or until you see "baker's windowpane." touch dough after 5 mins. of kneading; if still very sticky, add 1 oz. flour and continue kneading.

cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and shape each piece of dough into a tight ball. roll the dough up like carpet, turn the roll around, position it seam side up, and roll the cylinder up again. roll the cylinder perpendicular to itself a third time, then turn the dough so that the seam is on the bottom, and round the dough under your palm into a tight ball. roll each rounded piece in flour and arrange in a floured baking sheet. cover with plastic wrap.

let the balls rise at room temperature until they are soft and puffy but still springy, about 5-6 hours. or refrigerate the dough just after shaping it for up to 36 hours. remove them from the refrigerator and let them finish proofing, about 7-8 hours. note that in the full summer heat, these times could be halved.

one hour before baking the pizzas, arrange a baking stone on the oven's second-to-top rack and preheat the oven to its highest possible temperature setting. you are trying for 750 degrees but 550 degrees is fine.

now flour your counter or pastry cloth and place a fully risen dough ball on it. flatten the ball with your hands and spread nto a disc. just pull it out gently between your hands, rotating the disc as each side is pulled. to perfect the shape, place one hand on the center of the dough (to prevent it from getting too thin, which it has a tendency to do) and gently tug around the edges until the dough is about 1/4-inch thick in the center and about 1/4-inch at the very edge.

place the shaped dough on a sheet of parchment paper, or directly on a floured pizza peel or flat cookie sheet. spread about 1/4-cup sauce on the pizza and scatter on 1 to 2 ounces cheese. slide pizza into oven and bake it for about 4 minutes, or until the crust has colored slightly, burning in spots and staying pale in other areas, and the cheese has melted. the baking time should be around 4 minutes if your oven is hot enough, up to 6 if it is cooler.

posted by fortune elkins | 11:46 AM | top | link to this |


Thursday, May 24, 2001


yesterday evening i took a work colleague with me to yoga, a nice mellow basics class. . .

it really brought home to me how great it was to have a yoga buddy. even if your buddy's interest in yoga is more casual (or more serious!) than your own, it just makes going so much more fun. also it gives you a place to start really seeing how a "yoga attitude" can make a difference in your life and your relationships.

obviously you're already friendly with someone who'd become a yoga buddy. . .what's interesting is to watch over time and see how yoga affects that friendship. i would hope a yoga component would add a deep element. but who can say? this is going to be my new experiment for the summer: try to employ "joyful appreciation" and see what happens with my yoga buddy. will we end up being close friends? or will we just tire of sweating in the same room?

on a less serious note, a brooklyn coffee store often mentioned here, two for the pot, was featured on the local news channel new york one today. the owner of the store, john, has delighted in being ranked number 1 by zagat's for two years running. about time he got the publicity he deserves!

posted by fortune elkins | 10:12 AM | top | link to this |


Wednesday, May 23, 2001


this morning i got some email asking me about music for yoga. let me make four recommendations. . .

perhaps the most familiar yoga music is kirtan, or sanskrit chanting. some people really enjoy singing kirtan as well as listening to it during asana practice. three singers ('kirtan-wallahs") seem particularly well known here in the USA:


  • jeff kagel, also known as krishna das, and who has recorded with yoga students madonna and sting on his triloka label;

  • christian hunter, also known as keshav, apparently yet another pal of sting's;

  • wah, a friend of krishna das' who has toured with yoga student courtney love;

  • jai uttal, a jazz musician and friend of yoga students don cherry, blondie, and bob dylan, who has toured with popular bands like yoga students phish and the beastie boys.



the reason i mention all these celebrity names is not only to attest to the quality of the kirtan-wallahs' music, but also to show how influential kirtan has become in contemporary popular music.

as for records i like, i particularly prefer krishna das' live on earth 2 cd set, esp. the first song on the second cd, "devi puja." there are quite a few people from bangalore at my job, and one woman noticed this album. i lent it to her; she waxed enthusiastic about it for a week. she found it very spiritual, which i guess shows the quality and sincerity of krishna das' music.

if you have any others to recommend, don't hesitate to email me!

posted by fortune elkins | 11:27 AM | top | link to this |


Tuesday, May 22, 2001


hope you enjoyed your long holiday memorial weekend! i certainly spent a moment remembering the veteran in my family, homer kurtz, my great-uncle, who went "over there" in the first world war. he fell in love with a french mam'selle, but she wouldn't come back to the farm in kansas with him. . .whereupon it was said that when he returned home, he threw himself from the hayloft.

on a brighter note, although dying for love has a certain romantic quality, i spent the holiday making pizza. several people have made me aware that fresh mozzarella can be hard to come by in some places, although it is plentiful in italian brownstone brooklyn. this is certainly annoying! so herewith, i offer links to a nice mozzarella recipe.

because this great recipe offers many pictures, i won't post it here. let me just say that it's easier to make than it sounds and all it really requires are supermarket supplies. . .some yogurt, buttermilk, rennet, a very large bowl, and a cooking thermometer. many people find they make a better quality cheese by crushing up a normal vitamin c pill and adding it to the milk as well! the vitamin c helps the cheese form nicely and gives it an improved texture, just as vitamin c also helps the yeast in bread. interesting, hmm?

the recipe takes about 30 minutes of real work over the course of two or three days. the rest is all waiting. without any more delay -- Dr. Fankhauser's American Mozzarella.

note that you can use a microwave to heat the water at various times. here's a nice recipe for microwave mozzarella. while making your own fresh mozzarella costs about as much as buying it -- here in new york it's often as much as $6 a pound -- you do get the absolute freshest product. and by using different kinds of milks, salting it longer, etc. you can make a mozzarella exactly to your tastes. since it's easy to make in larger batches if you have room, you can also make a lot and give it to friends! it's a tremendous thing that everyone appreciates.

posted by fortune elkins | 11:12 AM | top | link to this |


Monday, May 21, 2001


so sorry another server hiccup! but i will keep my promise on the cookie recipe modifications, and also tell you about a brooklyn store that sells antique coffee pots.

talking to a friend of mine the other day who haunts various funky areas of the city to find hip places for cool magazines. what a way to make a living! she described to me a wacky shambles on the red hook pier called General Nightmare, where an extremely eccentric character sells (if he feels like it) various weird things.

like what i asked her? she said, oh, like the ugly stuff the young kids put in their apartments, and a lot of old fashioned kitchen stuff. what kind of kitchen stuff? oh, she said, like these strange looking coffee pots, very space age with bubbles. a light bulb went off in my head. vac
pots??? she also described what seemed like old chrome electric perc pots.but she didn't pay too much attention to them, as she was mostly riveted by the extremely eccentric owner.

red hook is of course by nyc standards in the middle of absolute nowhere and requires a car or car service to get to, not that any car service would take you there without a lot of protest!

here's the info: the "store" is called General Nightmare, 196 columbia st., past halleck st. on the pier. 718-858-8659. the hours, as such, appear to be thursday through sat, around noon to whenever (very late, possibly midnite if the owner feels like it). sunday in the afternoon.

i haven't been there myself and can't vouch for this info beyond the fact that my friend is into the ultra-funky. so for what it's worth. . . .

posted by fortune elkins | 10:05 AM | top | link to this |

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