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- Publié sur Amazon.com
I have long stopped buying cookbooks sight unseen after one too many disappointments, so I check them out of the library and give them a once over before deciding to purchase. After spending two weeks with this one, it is now on my list of books to buy. This cookbook provides a glimpse into the socially conscious Chicago based pizza joint that sells creatively topped pies. Nothing as pedestrian as plain pepperoni pizza exists in this universe, instead pizzas have names like French Onion Soup, Blueberry Chipotle Figs, The Stoner Kid or Jalapeno Pop `n' Lock. If this all sounds like a good time or you know someone who would love to take a trip through this culinary wonderland, this book may be a good fit.
The book contains one dough recipe, four sauce recipes and 62 pizza combinations organized within seven chapters - The Basics: Making `Za Magic, Pizzatizers, Deconstructed Diner, Comfort Cravings, Main Course Meals, Chicago Staples and Comida Caliente. Large color photographs illustrate about a third of the recipes - small gripe but if half or quarter page photos were incorporated all of the pizza varieties would have had an illustration. I like to see what I am about to prepare, especially when the combinations require imagination to fathom.
The author detailed the dough making process from beginning to end so the thin crusts used in his restaurant can be replicated with confidence. There was a genuine concern to ensure the home cook get the process right. The effort is obvious. Cooking skill required ranges from beginner to intermediate based on the recipe selected. Some recipes are time consuming to prepare, some quick.
It was difficult to select from the amazing pizza choices, but I finally picked two. I was irresistibly drawn to Ashvinlad Chicken Curry pizza, in part because I had a left-over chicken breast and some vegetables I needed to use. The resulting pie was a little strange but ultimately excellent. Did I mention I am Italian and that I should, perhaps, on some level, be outraged by the way this book completely disregards the rules? But, outrage simply does not mesh with the no-holds bared creative philosophy clearly evident in every recipe.
I next tried the Falafel Pizza. Yes, I know - crazy, right? Well somehow the whole thing just works, and that pretty much sums up the book. Depending upon the recipe selected some ingredients may already be in the pantry, or require a trip to the grocery, or occasionally, a search of a specialty store - but plenty just require basic items, only combined in an unexpected way, like Chicken `n' Waffles or Devil in Disguise (mozzarella, peanut butter, bananas, bacon and honey.)
The book is more user friendly, than not, utilizing quality paper which adds to the longevity of the book - spills, wiped up promptly, cause no damage. The font size used for the recipe text is a bit small (probably 9 point) which can be tough for people with even good vision to see, but it is all printed in black ink which goes a long way to help with reading the recipes. It is a paperback book which often means the user must wrestle with the book to keep it open to the selected page, but this one lays open with ease.
Somehow the recipes skirt but do not cross the line between creating something actually edible and trying so hard to be different that taste is a secondary consideration. Simply, what they do works. It is difficult not to support this business that is determined to be socially responsible in their employment efforts and creative in its uniquely crafted pizzas.