My Friend, the Oven.


The next time you happen to find yourself in the kitchen wondering what to do next, take a moment. Stand back or sit down and just look at your stove. Now what. Just kick back and imagine all the things you can do with this contraption. Boil, bake, braise, stew, steam, saute, poach and roast are some of the more common and classical cooking techniques that we take for granted. Basically, you can divide these techniques into moist heat or dry heat, boiling versus baking, for example.                                                      Just like on TV, my oven is on. I want to try to resurrect my home bread baking program. Pizza fits that category as a quick bread. Except my pizza dough is made with about 20% freshly ground wheat berries and today has some left-over cooked farro mixed through the dough. I’m going to let it rise for about 6 hours. This is a short rising time for me, but who cares, it is all home made. 5 ingredients, water, flour, olive oil, yeast and salt. Six, if you count the farro, which is optional.


I confess to not having a sweet tooth and not being much of a dessert eater. I’d rather eat a square of dark chocolate, all nice and bitter. But I found the peaches in the freezer and thought peach pie. When I imagine simple cooking, I visualize more hands off than hands on, pawing and touching. So I thought of peach crostata. No picking, no poking, no turning, banging, blowing, folding or heavy sighs. Another reason to love rustic food.


it’s impossible to buy a good sesame wheat cracker. You have to make them yourself. I like to grind the wheat berries for mine. I can control how fine or coarse I want the flour to be. These will be part of my lunch-box this week if I can stop eating them.


A word to the wise…….only use unhulled sesame seeds. Personally, if I really have to have a cracker, I just make my own.


Crostata di Peche al Forno……literally……….crusted of peach from the oven. Everyone is a genius here. I sit and eat and I imagine the possibilities of this little peach pie. As a dessert , I could trade in the peaches for blueberries or apples or raspberries. I could combine peaches and blueberries. Or peaches and almonds, Amaretto included. I could also imagine a more savoury, spicier interpretation. A crostata flavored with a spice like cumin or alspice, even clove and paired with a grilled game-bird. In all disclosure, I bought the peaches, frozen food section, believe they were organic and a brand called Cascadian Farm. I know Joe Cascadian.


I realised to-day that I had not turned my oven for over two months. And I promised myself that I would try to better. The pizza was good but not great. The pizza dough needs more time to develop. Pizza is no longer fast food, it is slow food. And all I need is my friend, the oven.


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