Not just a great tune by Dean Martin (one of my all time favorites) but "That's Amore" is how many people might express their sentiments about pizza. Today, Food Network Magazine announced their selection of the 50 Best Pizza Slices - one from each state - in a great pictorial review.
Without even looking I immediately decided that my favorite, a sausage and pepperoni marvel from a place in Stratford, CT called Paradise Pizza had to be on the list. The original owners of Paradise Pizza were from Greece and, to this day, I will swear hands-down that Greeks make the best pizza ever. Their pizza was like those found in New York City - fabulous dough that wasn't too yeasty, fresh, locally made meats, and scamorza. Scamorza is a type of mozzarella cheese that is harder to come by. It gets really stringy when heated and leaves a long trail when you take a bite of the pizza. Boy, their pizzas are good. I get back to the area once every couple of years and I make it a point to stop by and get a pie, savoring each bite since I know it may be years before I get it again.
Anyhow, I started going through the Food Network site to see if my beloved Paradise Pizza was selected. It wasn't. However...it listed something else that I hadn't thought of in years. White Clam Pie. Oh...let me tell you, this is a treat in itself. Thin dough with a good brushing of garlic oil, cheese, and then clams baked up nice. I LOVE this kind of pizza. The featured selection is from Pepe's, a great pizzeria in New Haven that people line up for. I've been there several times and always like whatever I got.
Anyhow, the site shows pictures of some very unique concoctions. Many look very appetizing (the Pizzaleta from Louisiana) and some look utterly strange (the Purple Pig from Indiana that has red cabbage on it). There's even a taco pizza from Kansas. To me that's cheating. Either it's a pizza or it's a taco. Pick one people! Maybe it was created in one of those places that have KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut all under one roof.
Any way you slice it (pun intended) the site presents a great look at the creativity that can be found pizza, one of America's favorite comfort foods.
Originally posted on Comfort Food Party, August 2011.
It's funny how certain foods can bring back memories. I have a lot of people around me that are trading the bounty of their summer gardens right now. Zucchini is at the top of the trading list. Whenever I think about this wonderful vegetable, I recall a particular woman that I used to work with. Her name was Lee but since she was short, older, and a bit of a pain in the neck with a rather shrill voice, we all called her Aunt Lee - you know, like Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith Show.
In the building where we worked there was a really long room. She worked at one end of it and used a big old sheet-fed printer way at the other end. My desk was in a cube in the middle. On the days when she seem to be the most irritating, I would wait for her to get within a few feet of the printer then call her phone extension. Every single time she would stop midstream, turn, huff something under her breath, and walk all the way back to her desk. I timed the call so that I always hung up just as she got to the desk. She would then start back towards the printer and just as she got close - the phone would ring again, and back she would go. My colleagues would watch and laugh like crazy as this was repeated a few times in a row.
Yes, this was a bit of a bad prank to play on somebody. Never-the-less it was tons of fun and more often than not, Aunt Lee was in a decent mood so we didn't have to get her more riled up.
At this time of year, she was often in a fantastic mood since her own garden was providing lots of goodies for her to use in her cooking. She was a really good cook and liked to bring in samples for us to try and one of my favorites was a homemade zucchini bread.
Though she called it "bread" is usually was very much flatter in shape, like a casserole, and had a heavily concentrated taste and texture. No matter - it was GOOD! Just thinking about the great flavor of this concoction of hers gets my mouth watering. I've had the recipe on a small yellow scrap of paper that I've lost, found and since cherished since the mid 1980s and make faithfully every year.
Here's the recipe for what I officially call Aunt Lee's Summer's Best Zucchini Bread:
Mix all ingredients. Bake in a greased 9 x 11 casserole at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Originally posted on Ellery's Kitchen, August, 2011
I'm April Bailey, a freelance writer and editor for hire who has been writing about various topics for many years. Most of my early print work was destroyed in a major house fire. Luckily, I was able to pull some copies from an old PC and have posted them here. Other items on this blog reflect my current articles and blog posts written for online publications and copied here so I never lose my work again!