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Welp, that was quick and embarrassing.

Longtime readers will remember me following along with the 2010 World Cup and Spain’s march to victory, and it was a thrilling thing to behold. La Furia Roja has played well since then, taking another Euro title in 2012 and just falling short to Brazil in the Confederations Cup last year. To suggest that expectations were high for the team would be an understatement, but I don’t know if anyone was really expecting them to take a second world title, as awesome as it would be.

Marca says it all. (via theworldsgame tumblr, link in image)

Sadly, a pair of horrible losses have put to rest any hopes of that happening, as following a perfunctory match with Australia the team will be headed back to Spain. Listen: I’m not foreign to the concept of losing. Being from the Philadelphia area, it’s a universal truth that any Philadelphia sports team* with any semblance of momentum will more likely choke instead of sealing the deal. There are a few exceptions to this, of course, but when books like this exist and your baseball team is the first to log 10,000 losses in its lifetime…well, I think you can catch my drift. What was so heartbreaking about these particular losses was the complete and utter self-destruction witnessed on the pitch; if watching the 2010 Spain squad was like observing a fine-tuned Ferrari engine at work, this was more akin to watching a Ford Pinto explode.

The final twist of the knife was watching David Villa (oh, just Spain’s highest goal-scorer for the national team but had yet to make an appearance until this match) make his final appearance for the side in the match against Australia that was meaningless other than for pride…but at least he managed a goal before he was summarily subbed off.

What a goal. (Source linked in image.)

It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks/months and then if they can get it together in time for Euro 2016, but in the meantime I’ll be over here watching 2010 WC videos on YouTube. (OK, so I’ll still be watching this World Cup too, if only to cheer on Leo Messi and some of my other FC Barcelona boys still in contention as well as the US as they face Portugal and Germany.)

At least I can comfort myself with some good food while I watch and wallow, right? Read More

White Clam Pizza, New Haven Style

How on earth are you supposed to follow up a five-course meal featuring fifteen dishes (plus appetizers!) with a homemade meal? Are you even supposed to eat? To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be all that hungry come Sunday–and neither was Michael–so we didn’t put all that much thought into dinner plans. But we knew we’d have to eat something, but none of our typical stand-bys were appealing: we had enjoyed enough tapas the night before, thank you, and we had pasta on Friday, and tacos seemed heavy, and I don’t think either of us could fathom eating another braised meat dish. And then inspiration hit: pizza. Of course. Read More

Duck Ham Pizza with Ricotta, Arugula and Grana Padano

It’s cold, it’s dry, it’s been a little while since you’ve set off the smoke alarms, so you decide to cook up some homemade pizza.

All E had said about the meals that weekend was: I want to make duck ham. Simply making a pair of cured duck breasts and just eating them, while enticing, felt like a bit of a waste. We decided a nice pizza, where our salt-cured duck breast could take the traditional place of prosciutto in a classic Emilia-Romagnan piadina recipe we had read about a few years back would be perfect. I blind-baked the crust for five minutes, then topped it with ricotta,  arugula, grana padano. I waited on adding the delicate duck until the last few minutes to ensure it didn’t cook opr worse still, dry out. [Ed.--we did put a few slices through the broiler, but having some of the fresh-cured and the broiled slices made for a nice flavor and texture combination.] Read More

Sun-dried Tomato, Cremini Mushroom and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza

[Ed.--Elizabeth found herself craving some bikini-pizza from this post, and so when Michael suggested making pizza to use up some leftover fresh mozzarella an actual pizza was born.]

With the prospect of Thanksgiving looming, we deemed our weekend ought to do without my beloved roasted chicken. One night we opted for a duck ragu, and the farthest possible go-to from that, I guess, must be two homemade pizzas.

The first, the ‘bikini-pizza’ as it were, was a bit wet once all was put upon the dough thanks to lots of fresh mozzarella, mushrooms and a twist with sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh or canned. I anticipated this and and as such did not blind-bake the crust, giving the entire assembled pizza as much time in the hot box as possible. I covered an up-turned baking sheet with foil so if too much cornmeal got into the oven and burned, I could pull the entire thing out for the second pie. The day was dry and the dough was well-behaved, disembarking the pizza peel with ease. We bailed it after about 13 minutes at 500 F with a couple of spatulas and some oven mitts, as well as a optimally placed cutting board to rest. Read More

Coca con Tomate, Calabacín y Queso Mahón

Since we haven’t had Spanish food “in a week” as Michael said to me Saturday, this weekend’s food festivities featured a lot of influence from the Iberian Peninsula, finishing with this delightful coca, or the Spanish version of pizza. The traditional coca is very minimal in ingredients–usually only one or two toppings–but I’ve read that more modern cocas do allow for some liberties in creativity, so taking some ideas from Cucinaria: Spain and Spanish Country Kitchen I decided our first Spanish coca would celebrate the height of the season: tomatoes and zucchini.

It was pretty damn awesome, but fraught with peril and some yelling. Read More

Gemelli alla Scuie Scuie with Kumatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

The heat wave that Michael complained about yesterday is finally easing up here…at least a little. It’s still so hot in the mornings that I have to hold off on applying makeup until I get to work because even a cup of tea will create a fine mist of perspiration on my face (and if I have to run to catch the bus, then I’m really SOL). The heat means that our apartment is shrouded in darkness in an effort to keep it cooler during the day and Michael has been desperate to avoid using the stove as much as possible. Read More

Pizza alla Caprese con Mascarpone e Parmigiano Reggiano

I have no idea as to how we pulled this off on TV.

–Michael on our last demo on Connecticut Style, in which we successfully completed making a pizza on air.

There’s an easy reply to this observation, of course: climate control. Air conditioning is a delightful thing in a kitchen, but alas: our small New York kitchen does not have it. This means, of course, that certain culinary activities must be curtailed when the humidity is so bad it can take hours for wet hair to dry after a shower, and this escapade a few weeks ago proved that to a fault. The smoke alarm, while a constant companion in our kitchen when the oven is on at full blast on a good day, was freaking out because we kept spilling cornmeal and rosemary onto the floor of our gas oven and things got a little smoky. Read More

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