Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bite Club and Bittman

The current choice of the Bite Club for the January meeting, yay, it's continuing, is Healthy Eating, various books by Mark Bittman.

He's a scream, really.  After many years of cooking and writing a food column he suddenly discovered he was overweight and out of shape, and began to pay attention to healthier eating.  

Fine up to that point but then he does the classic little-kid thing: he discovered healthy eating, assumed nobody else had and therefore he had to Write Books About It!  about the sort of eating a lot of us have done all our lives...but anyway.  

It's the kind of book that appeals to people who already know all this stuff and is probably ignored by people who are not much into healthy food, figuring it's all about green salads.  Like those articles about safety tips, which only the conscientious ever bother reading.  I know about this, I used to write them for mags...

This is in fact quite a useful book, and I did make a great pizza last evening using cornmeal and my own homeground lentil flour.  But he can't resist the sort of advice where he says hot soup is dangerous to carry, gosh I'd never have guessed...but at least when he says to cover the pizza dough bowl with a cloth he refrains from saying a clean cloth. 

I often wonder what cookbook writers THINK you're going to cover your bowl with -- the doormat?  the dog's bed? Yes, I'm guessing it's their lawyers who insist on this ridiculosity, but I still retain the right to roar in annoyance.

Anyway, here's a really good pizza for one, see the book title in the upper pic, and the actual page where I got the pizza recipe in the lower one.   I used my trusty castiron skillet, a nine inch, slightly smaller than his pan, to heat the oil on top of the stove, then pour in the batter and transfer to the stove already heated to 450F.   

He suggests what I think really is dangerous, that you heat the oil in the pan in the stove, then bring it out then add the batter then put it back.  My way made one move, not two, with a hot pan and hot oil.  But that's the advantage of using cast iron rather than a pizza pan, perhaps.

All that said, this pizza is definitely going to be on my regular menu from now on.  I used rosemary, which had been bottled airtight by a friend who grew it and gave it to me, and the scent as I uncapped it was wonderful.  Winter joy.

And the toppings were a mix of tomato paste with my basil pesto, both of which I keep in the freezer, plus bits of Vienna sausage (one can of this goes to a lot of flavoring in my kitchen) and chunks of cheddar cheese.  

I didn't put it under the broiler as Bittman suggests, since it was already in a hot oven, so I just left it in for five more minutes, and that worked fine.  Last evening I had two slices, and today's lunch will be the rest of it.  For some people perhaps the whole thing would be one meal.


  1. I love a book review that makes me laugh, and the doormat did it!
    Your method of oil heated on stovetop then add batter then move to hot oven is the way I do the puffy eggy baked pancakey things...I don't need to move a hot heavy pan with hot melted butter twice if I can do it once instead!
    Never thought of making pizza this way - must read further - thanks!

  2. I love how you say he thinks he needs to write a book about what others have been doing all along. I also got a laugh out of the carrying hot soup bit.. tee hee.

    That pizza sounds very delicious and it is good to see yet another use for your cast iron pans!

    I am also glad to hear that your bite club is continuing!


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