My mother, although multi-talented, had an aversion to the kitchen and has often said that I learned to cook at an early age “out of self-defense.” When she made chicken à l'orange by smearing a chicken with powdered Tang, I quickly developed a necessary passion for creating tasty things to eat. Somewhere in the family photograph album is a picture of me at the stove, age ten, happily stirring marinara sauce.

I developed a lifelong fascination with food; good food. There was even a foray of working as a chef’s assistant at a French restaurant during my mid twenties, just for fun. I had always loved watching Julia Child and knew that Mastering the Art of French Cooking was to be revered. It wasn’t until I read her biography (long before the Julie & Julia movie) that I really became fascinated with her work. From that book, I decided to prepare her recipe for mayonnaise.

Upon tasting it, I wept. . . .

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

Living in Chicago, we have twenty-four-seven access to the world's best pizza: Chicago-style deep dish. For those of you unfamiliar with this scrumptious item, here's a description.

A think layer of yeasty, bready dough is topped with cheese, then sauce, then toppings. That's right -- the cheese is under the sauce and the whole thing is baked in a deep pan. One slice can make a meal, believe me.

Yes, we have access to it but it ain't cheap. So, I've developed my own method of supplying it for myself and I have to say, it's just about my favorite in town.

Start with a frozen Gino's deep dish pizza.  (Gino's is one of the best Chicago-style pizza eateries here.) It's five bucks at local supermarkets.

Top it with extra sauce. (My homemade tomato sauce in this case.)
I have to have it extra saucy.

Top that with a package of frozen spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry.

Then, mushrooms browned in butter, according to Julia's recipe of course.

All that gets topped with extra-sharp cheddar cheese.

And baked.

And there you have it. Chicago-style deep dish pizza for a fraction of the cost. And just about the best in town.

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