Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dough, Boy

The giant meaty lamb bone from Easter got me inspired to do something besides lamb sandwiches or lamb fried rice with the leftovers. I made a big pot of pho with the bone, using half of it in other things and freezing two quarts for later. Lamb makes a wonderful (if untraditional) pho. I've been trying to branch out with the sourdough starter- though I am overdue to make bread- and thought that gyros with fluffy, chewy sourdough pita might just work. Since the meat near the bone was still quite rare, it could handle some cooking and still remain tender. And we had a little sour cream left from the cake, and the ramps were going off in a major way, and, as if that were not enough, there was a cucumber in the fridge. See where this is going?

Linda was coming over so I could interview her before we went to her photoshoot/cooking demo down the road, so the night before I fired up the interweb and found this excellent recipe for live-starter pita. I used about 30% rye flour, so it needed a little extra flour to get the right consistency. And since our starter had been in the fridge for a couple of days since its last feeding, I let the dough sit out on the counter overnight in a covered container to rise. By morning it was big and bubbly. I divided and shaped it into six rounds, rested them, rolled them out, and rested them again, then cooked them in a medium hot iron skillet until browned and puffy.

After peeling, chopping, and seeding half the cucumber, I blended the sour cream with chopped ramps, salt, and a little lemon, then folded in the cucumber and a bunch of minced wild chives. All of this was done beforehand, and after our chat I threw some onion in a pan to sweat, then added the lamb, some pimentón, and herbes de Provence. I forgot to take a picture, but suffice it to say that these were far more about flavor than looks. And they were damn good, and kept us well-fortified while she worked all afternoon making magical treats (the article will be out on May 1.) I also forgot to serve a little bowl of the pho alongside the gyros, but I was preoccupied with doing this "job" thingy.

Last night I decided to try the same dough as pizza, so I made up a batch and put it in the laundry room to rise. It's not really a dough that likes to be rolled out super-thin, preferring instead to be gently pressed by hand into rounds that are thicker than I normally make- like pita, in other words. Tangy and chewy, they will be perfect for grilled pizza, and I'll be making those very soon now that the grill is back in business and the garden is starting up. But they did well enough in a 500˚ oven with good local mozzarella, ramp pesto, onion, and tomato purée. And the kid, as is predictable when pizza is involved, was beside himself with glee.


cook eat FRET said...

wow - perfect looking pizza

i'm not a big sourdough fan
i'm just not in love with the tangy thing in my bread. but i love anything done well and i'm sure this was...

Zoomie said...

Too hot here to contemplate pizza but I'll come back and read this again after the blessed fog rolls back in.

Zoomie said...

Okay, the fog has returned and the lamb pho now sounds like a wonderful idea!

Brooke said...

I love a little tang in my bread. Sounds wonderful. But Peter, I wanted to see pictures of the pho. And the pita.

peter said...

Claudia: It was good- you'd convert.

Zoomie: I was worried that you wouldn't come back.

Brooke: I'm mad that I forgot the pics, but I was cooking for a real live chef so I had to focus.