Saturday, March 21, 2015

You say "Tomato", she says "Tomahto", I say "Criollo".

The tomato may have originated in México (or in the Andes), but among tomato connoisseurs, the Mexican grown fruit/berry of the nightshade Solanum lycopersicum  has gotten a bad rep. I add, justifiably so. The common jitomates saladets or huajes (essentially the same as a Roma tomato, but nowhere as much flavor.), abundantly available in mercados  and supermercados are too often underripe fruits with little flavor. It has been argued by some that the saladet is best for purposes other than eating out of hand; as in salsas and cooked foods.

It's true that these fleshy but insipid fruits perform best when broiled, for example, before adding their mild flavor to a picante chile salsa. But for fans of juicy, ripe, raw tomatoes, better tomatoes are essential: for eating out of hand, in salads, for tomato sandwiches, and, for the World's Greatest Sandwich, yes; the BLT! Glory to Blessed Tonantzín for Her gifts!

Blesséd Lycopene Loaded Tomato sandwich.
Summers, when we visit our family in New Jersey, a great pleasure are the red ripe, fragrant tomatoes available there. Back in our Arkansaw years, we would revel in the fresh, ripe tomatoes grown and harvested not far from our home (often by Mexican field workers.)

What does México offer us tomato lovers in recompense for the pallid saladets? Well, there are great rewards, but  they are ephemeral.

For barely more than a week in 2012, Frutería Dany's in Pátzcuaro had "black" globe tomatoes; juicy and of superior taste. But they were never offered again at Dany's.

Black Prince Heirloom Tomato. (Not quite as "black" as Dany's)

Around the same time, we were in Zihuatanejo, where I was delighted to find Tomates Criollos, and colorful Tomates Cherrys.

Don't judge a good tomato by the color of its skin. Even still green, the tomate criollo  beats the saladet in the flavor stakes.

Still green, but these tomates criollos will quickly ripen 
More robust tomates criollos
For the purpose of illustration, let's have a photo of Tomates Cherrys.

Tomates cherrys tend to be tarter than the criollos.
Their lifespan is short.
It was this past January, in Oaxaca,Oaxaca, that we truly hit the Tomates Criollos jackpot. The Mercado  de la Merced, across the avenue from our hotel, had the precious criollos almost everyday. I won't swear to it, but I think that they were $12 pesos a kilo.

Clockwise, from L-R : Tomates "Criollos" bolas, Tomates Criollos,
Jitomates saladets or huajes; chiles de agua.
While in Oaxaca we'd eat Tomates Criollos nearly every day. We improvised a tomato washing and disinfecting rig in the bathroom sink from a plastic bag filled with tap water and a few drops of Microdyn.

How about a close up shot of those glorious tomatoes?

Glory, glory, glory! The tomates bolas, L, are pretty good two, but second in flavor to the "creased" criollos on the right.

How to derive maximum pleasure when eating Tomates Criollos and Tomates Cherrys. A few suggested ways:

Here, Tomates Cherrys offset the salt tang of anchovies and capers
of a Pizza Napoletana, from the, alas! now closed Café Santina in Zihua.

Torta Casera Vegetariana, featuring Tomates Criollos and organic lettuces.
(All ingredients from the Mercado de La Merced, Oaxaca 2015)

Our former neighbors, Geni and Larry, returned recently from a short visit to Zihuatanejo. They brought back both Tomates Cherrys  and Tomates Criollos. We quickly made good use of them.

Salad of Pepinos Persas, Tomates Cherrys y Cebolla. Homemade Croutons.

Tomate Criollos sliced, fresh basil, olive oil and coarse salt

"Cemita" sandwich of Tomate Criollo and basil
I encourage you tomato lovers out there that if you see Tomates Criollos for sale (and Tomates Cherrys, to a lesser degree), grab all you can.

This concludes today's program.

Just to be a nice guy, I won't post a video of the highly annoying song, "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off." But if you cahn't live without hearing it, just click here, and you can get your fill of tomahtos, and potahtos.

Late Breaking News:
Cristina Potter, the noted blogger of Mexico Cooks! (probably the most authoritative blog on Mexican cooking) mentions tomates criollos as one aspect of her post yesterday, "Food Wanderings in Mexico: Memories of 2014". In it, she identifies the tomates criollos as "tomates riñon",or, "kidney tomato". 
You can read it here.
Most fascinating, she writes that the tomate riñon is an icon in France, where it is known as Coeur de Boeuf, nearly identical in all but size to its Mexican progenitors.
Thanks to Mexico Cooks!, our knowledge of our favorite tomato has increased.

Don Cuevas

Saturday, March 14, 2015

El Rincón de Las Delicias Morelia

Back in the '70s, when we lived in Springfield, MO , the Vegetarian Wave was sweeping ashore with the counter-culture movement. So it wasn't a big surprise that even in far Southwestern Missouri that a vegetarian restaurant would open.

You can get an immediate sense of the place from its name: "Earthwonder Is ...". It was a righteous hippy place, infused with patchouli and dedicated to the proposition that every mouthful should be chewed 32 times. The tables had printed paper placemats (I wonder why they weren't made by Third World artisans from hand made paper using all natural vegetable dyes.) listing rules for healthier eating. The most unforgettable rule was to avoid mucus-producing foods, specifically dairy products. Yuck. How unappetizing a thought, as we awaited our food.

That food was slow to come from the kitchen, for they had to cook the brown rice to a glutinous glop while over seasoning the vegetables with excessive curry powder. ( A mark of truly righteous vegetarian cooking back then was the abuse of curry powder.)

Our sole visit to Earthwonder Is ... put vegetarian cuisine on my blacklist for years afterward.

I had, over the years eventually come to appreciate well prepared vegetarian cooking, as exemplified in the one of my favorite cookbooks, The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two, by Anna Thomas. Its emphasis is on fresh ingredients to make good tasting food that almost anyone would enjoy. Best of all, it's free of self righteous proselytizing.

Not long ago, our Morelia friend, Ms RedShoes, told us of a small restaurant in the colonia of Lomas de Santa María, Morelia, where the chef offered an inexpensive set menu Monday through Friday. The food was balanced, healthy, locally sourced organic ingredients and professionally prepared with creative flair.

We had an opportunity to have comida  at this restaurant, El Rincon de Las Delicias last Thursday. The location is off the beaten track, a house in a residential area. No sign nor house number announces its existence. Only we, the cognoscenti know. ;-)

Inside the white fronted house
There's a pleasant patio and garden with a large, umbrella shaded table. Inside, the dining room has three large tables, although another could be deployed if the need arose. Classical music softly plays, enhancing the air of tranquility. The kitchen is open to view and you may see the food being prepared by the Chef and the one assistant. I liked what I saw of this kitchen.

La cocina
Chef and owner Cecilia Solis greeted us and told us the menu of the day. We were brought glasses of a very good agua fresca de guayaba. Refills were freely offered.

The salad had a choice of three dressings. We all chose yoghurt with dill dressing. The salad was modest in size but flavorful. The dressing was applied with a very light hand. There were neither bread nor tortillas, nor did we request any.

Salad with yoghurt-dill dressing
There were two soup choices: an oatmeal soup (don't snicker; I've made this myself, with fresh peas.) or a clear soup of huitlacoche, nopal, tomate y frijoles. All of us chose the latter. It was simple but clean tasting and enjoyable. Again, seconds were offered.

Soup of huitlacoche, nopalitos and frijoles
For the plato fuerte that day, there were two options. One was a tart of chard, and I think setas (shelf mushrooms) plus requesón, a Mexican version of ricotta. The other option was a calabacita rellena de setas, tomate y romeritos sobre mole casero con arroz integral y arroz silvestre. (A zucchini "boat" filled with setas, tomato, romeritos on mole of the house, with a mound of brown rice mixed with wild rice.) The mole was so good that Doña Cuevas asked for more and her wish was immediately fulfilled.

The calabacita rellena was a very nice dish and the presentation artful.
The zucchini was perfectly cooked al dente.

Calabacita rellena
We requested some salsa picante and were immediately brought a small dish of thick green sauce, compounded of chiles jalapeños, oil, salt, and I think, green pumpkin seeds.

Cecilia cheerfully answered our questions when we asked her about the food and other related topics. She described her low key restaurant as a "comedor familiar". A family style dining place.

Dessert was offered, again with two choices: gelatina con chile  or compota de melón. We unanimously chose the compote. A good choice, served warm, with perfectly cooked spheres of honeydew melon, naturally sweet.

Compote of honeydew melon
The price for this excellent meal was $60 pesos.

Food: ****
Service: *****
Cost: $ Bargain!
Ambience: Tranquil simplicity.
Hygiene: Impeccable.
Rest rooms: Impeccable also.
Other foods, such as wraps, vegeburguers, and pizzas are offered, besides the menú del día.
Key words: "Balanced, light, organic, healthy, nice, creative."
We will return.

Hours: M-F 11:00 -4:30
Menú del día from 1:30 to 3:30

Calle Antonio Plaza s/n between #425 and #437
Lomas de Santa María,
Morelia, Michoacán, México
Tel: 4433-30-10-77 or 4432-39-68-08

View Larger Map

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

XIII Encuentro de Las Cocineras Tradicionales de Michoacán

Two Fish In A Bowl
What can I say? I was wrong. After attending one of the first of these affairs in Pátzcuaro, back around 2005 or '06, I'd sworn off going to any more. My reasons were based on my negative impressions of that earlier event. It was colorful but poorly organized. The food lines tended to be long. The dishes we sampled were often pretty bad, bony, tough, tepid and unappealing. Maybe it was just our bad luck to have chosen those particular puestos. But I shouldn't have judged subsequent Encuentros based on that early unappealing experience.

Over the last few years, we heard encouraging reports from sources both close and distant to us that the Cocineras event had greatly improved since it had moved to a new location. The Centro de Convenciones y Exposiciones in Morelia has hosted it in recent years. This year, we decided to attend. After all, with 12 previous events under its belt, it surely must be better than ever.

With Ms RedShoes driving, we arrived Saturday at about 11:30 a.m. Parking was a challenge, in spite of the vast Convention Center parking lots. (Some areas had been closed off for some other event.). We turned ourselves around and crossed Calzada Ventura Puente then entered the ServiPlus Bazar parking lot, (ServiPlus is a large collection of small shops under a hangar like roof.) worth a visit if you are a shopaholic.)

After some negotiation with the parking attendant/guard, and the passing of a $50 peso bill, we were allowed to leave Ms Shoe's car there for a couple of hours.

Entrance to the Happy Eating Grounds
I was very pleasantly surprised by the organization and well thought out logistics of the event. But even more pleasing were the Cocineras and their comida casera. Some of the dishes were familiar but others were new to me.

Smoke gets in your eyes ... and lungs.
Because the stoves were wood burning, there was a lot of smoke, especially along the right hand side of the pavilion closest to Calzada Ventura Puente. While somewhat unpleasant, we managed to evade it when possible, and figure that it's a small annoyance for such a wonderful event.

Tortillas baked on a comal over a wood burning stove
We bought our funny money (boletos) at one of two ticket booths. It is generous of the organizers to allow attendees to cash in any extra tickets at the end of their visit. We started with $200 pesos of tickets but had to return later for supplementary tickets. We ran out of tickets twice. Later in the day, some vendors would accept cash or a combination of cash and tickets.

Ticket booth
The main challenge is first walk to around and review the possibilities. It's difficult to do the entire paseo without succumbing to the siren song of the Cocineras and their gustatory, visual and olfactory temptations. I only made it as far as Puesto # 5 where I immediately knew that I had to return there. They were offering platillos of La Tierra Caliente, from the area of Apatzingán.

Puesto # 5: Comida de Apatzingán. Note the toqueras on the comal.
It was torture to only give each stand a quick look, take a few pictures and walk on. I got a small taste of the Encuentro during my once over lightly visit. Next time, I hope to attend two days in a row.

About five booths along, I succumbed to food lust at Puesto #5. Sra. Cuevas and Ms Shoes were ahead, on the other side of the pavilion. I caught up with them near a puesto featuring Caldo de Trucha and Hueva de Trucha (trout roe). We established ourselves at a tablecloth clad table, with comfortable chairs, under a shady roof festooned with papel picado. There were napkins in holders, and a container of actual metal eating utensils!

Well set tables were very welcome
I then returned to Puesto # 5. I saw that they were cooking toqueras on the comal. There was a waiting line for the toqueras,  so I got some Cecina de Res en Chile Rojo, con arroz blanco y frijoles. I could come back for toqueras after I ate the cecina.

Cecina En Chile Rojo
Sra. Cuevas went to one of the nearby beverage stations to get me a green drink, which I think was agua fresca de alfalfa y limón. Horchata, and I think, agua de Jamaica were also offered. The level of hygiene was at its highest at these drink stations. The servers were clad in hair coverings and wore plastic gloves. At the puestos themselves, hygiene was quite high for the most part, yet a friend got very sick the night after eating some food left too long at ambient (very warm) temperature.

The Cecina en Chile Rojo was very simple but very satisfying. Cecina, as many of  my readers know, is a thin sheet of lightly salted, sun dried beef. In the dish I had, it had been cooked in a medium picante salsa de chile rojo, and served on blessed plain, white rice, with small brown beans on the side.

Meanwhile, Sra. Cuevas had a hearty bowl of Pozolillo, a non-nixtamalized, vegetarian version of pozole, made with dried corn, I was told.

Ms Shoes had a Taco de Chiles Capones. The Chiles Capones at the event were much more caseros y rústicos than those at  Restaurante La Mesa de Blanca in Ziracuaretiro. But I didn't try the rustic but rough looking Chiles Capones from fear of, um, digestive problems.

Chiles Capones del Encuento
Chiles Capones de La Mesa de Blanca 

Cristina Potter, the notable México Cooks! blogger and Mexican food expert came and sat down across the table from us. She was a featured speaker that day on la Comida Michoacana, but, unfortunately, we could not stay to hear her speech.

Cristina was eating a bowl of Caldo de Chile Relleno, a clear soup containing a small, cheese stuffed chile and a spicier Chile Güero. A young cocinera, dressed in traditional traje (outfit) came by and gave Cristina a gift of three tamales de la milpa, filled with diced vegetables, one of which was topped with hueva. (trout roe). Cristina invited us to taste the tamales, which I did, bypassing the scarce hueva. It was very nice.
Tamales de la Milpa
Although near satiated, I still had to have some toqueras.  We'd had a good version of these fresh corn griddlecakes at the venerable Fonda Marceva restaurant in Morelia Centro.

Those at Stand # 5 were more rustic and even better than Fonda Marceva's. Cooks were cutting the kernels from ears of white corn, while another cook passed the kernels through a hand cranked meat grinder. Yet another cook patted the ground corn into ovals and loosely wrapped the masa in fresh, green corn husks.

The woman at the comal then baked the packages until the outside had browned and the masa was cooked.

What I hadn't realized in my earlier stop was that the toqueras  served as a sturdy base for a white sauce/soup of white cheese cubes laced with rajas (strips) of mild Chile Poblano. When I asked what it was, I was told "Minguichi". I immediately recalled the legendary  minguichi of Michoacán, of which I'd read recipes, but none were like this.


I asked for three plain toqueras and two with minguichi packed into two of several Tupperware type containers we'd brought with us.

Toqueras with Minguichi on them
Inevitably, I had to seek the Men's Room. At one end of the pavilion were a very large truck trailer elevated above ground level, and another, more permanent looking building. Up the few steps to the traler and through the heavy, spring loaded door revealed a surprisingly classy "sanitary facility". It was finished in nice woods with granite-like sinks and splash panels. The interior was immaculate. What a relief to have such a high quality rest room, a striking difference from the anticipated nasty, smelly Port-a-Potties.

A restroom worthy of Don Cuevas.
More here
On the way back to our table, I stopped at a stand selling products of Michoacán. I bought a large chunk of Queso Cotija, which ranks worldwide among the finer aged strong cheeses.

Queso Cotija. What's the jarred version like?
On a final pass on the way out, I stopped and got some Mole de Pollo con Arroz to go. I wasn't to eat this until the following morning, and my instincts proved correct. It was a very good dark mole, emphatically more picante than dulce, as I prefer it.

The experience was further enhanced by the presence of attractive women, both in traditional traje, below ...
Beauty through the ages.

... and, wearing contemporary clothing
Free Tequila samples, served by a pretty girl
At the end, I was tired but greatly satisfied. The Encuentro was a wonderful event, and I hope to be able to attend again. Ms Shoes told us that there will be another in October.

Before picking up the car, we did an quick tour of the labyrinthine interior of the ServiPlus Bazar. If you are to enter, carry a a big ball of string to unreel as you thread your way into the complex, or have a guide.

Encuentros de Las Cocineras tips: wear sunblock and a broad brimmed hat. We always have with us hand sanitizer moist towelettes.

Carry a few Tupperware type containers in order to have reliable carry home containers. Disposable styro foam containers are sold on the site, but they are expensive.

Park nearby, for example at the Plaza Camelinas shopping center, on Avenida Camelinas at Calzada Ventura Puente.


View Larger Map

It would be unwieldy to post all the photos I took, but you can, if you wish,see them as a slideshow (below) or click through and see them in larger format.

Don Cuevas

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Six Days Stoveless in Michoacán

In the last two years or so I'd become more and more dissatisfied with our old, GE (made by Mabe, México) stove and oven. The oven was especially underpowered for baking pizzas and hearth style breads. It couldn't get up over a temperature of around 410º F.

The Old Stove huddles nervously in its corner
Then, the range burners started to falter. Some gave out yellow instead of blue flames. Carbon was accumulating on the bottom of my cookware.

Part of that we attribute to the overzealous cleaning methods and overly lavish application of cleansing agents applied by our energetic but often insouciant house cleaning girl, Srta. M. (The younger half of our house cleaning team.) Many times after a cleaning, the burners would not light until thoroughly dried and regularly reamed with a wire to reopen the orifices. The piezoelectric spark plugs were failing. One large burner lost its spark plug when it irretrievably fell down inside the burner plate as my wife was cleaning it.

But we could get by, if necessary with the rangetop. We could light it with a butane torch. What I couldn't tolerate was the wimpy oven. It was good for baking cookies, but not much else. I was badly wanting a new stove and oven. After a year or two of searching, reading and reviewing the possibilities, I'd decided on the following requisites.

1. Heavy range burners.
2. Heavy, well built construction.
3. Oven with two racks.
4. Stainless steel finish.
5. Electronic ignition.
6. Brand: Probably IO Mabe or GE.
7. "Estufa de piso"; that is, on legs, not a built in.
8. Runs on LP gas, not electric.

What I didn't want, deeming as unnecessary: a "capelo", or hinged glass cover; digital controls, "auto slide oven racks." Nor did I want to spend over $10,000 pesos, tops. ¡JA JA JA JA JA!

It was on a Tuesday 3 weeks ago, while visiting Ms RedShoes in Morelia, that we went to Sears at Paseo Altozano to "just look over" stove prospects. There was a substantial array of stoves, many of which met some of my criteria but not all. One in particular was very attractive. A GE (made by Mabe in México). Heavy burner grids. Sturdy construction.Electronic ignition. Stainless steel cladding. Oven with two racks,  auto slide could be enabled or disabled by the user. Capelo. Seemingly a useless frill, but almost impossible to avoid having. Comal thrown in. "Deli drawer" under the upper burners, which at first seemed to be a broiler. Wishful thinking. It was truthfully described by the salesman as a "cheese melter" or food or plate warmer. At the time we were unaware that this feature was electrically powered. I should have known by the digital control panel. But that was not a deal breaker.

The real gasper was the list price. Over $19,000 pesos. But lucky us! There was a sale on in February. We could save 20 % on any stove, including this one. After a few more pass by in review of the other ranges, I took a deep breath and ordered the top model. Final price was about $14, 500 pesos. You know that you wanted to ask ...

After much paperwork and getting 6 months' free maintenance coverage, we determined that it would be delivered in "about" a week. There would be a delivery charge of $500 pesos, payable to the transportistas.

The stove arrived on the Wednesday of the following week. The transport guys unpacked it and placed it in front of the stove recess in the kitchen, but not in it. The reason became apparent. The "Técnico" would have to come and set it up. After all, this is a sophisticated piece of kitchen equipment. Ms M helped by calling the Sears Technical Services Department, and we expected that the Tec would come on Friday. But that was not to be. On Friday afternoon, I called again, and learned that the next Tuesday would be The Day.

Beautiful, tantalizing but inútil.
We'd sold our old stove to Sra. Salud for a token amount, and the transportistas had kindly hauled it down the street to her house. So now we were without a working stove.

Que te vaya bien, mi vieja estufa
We hunkered own to survive without it. That wasn't very difficult, for we have a freezer full of prepared thaw 'n heat food, and a microwave oven. But of course, I wanted to cook and bake. Although I was impatient to get going to work with the new equipment, its unavailability helped also to calm me down a little.

On Tuesday I was enjoying breakfast with my mates at Restaurant El Camino Real when Sra. Cuevas called from home. ""Better get here soon. The Tec is here!"

Hot little red Sears truck
I actually left a third of my breakfast uneaten and hotfooted it back to el Rancho.

When I arrive, the Tec had finished the challenging task of leveling the new stove on an uneven floor, and was ready to continue the setup.

At this point, we watched raptly as he setup and explained various parts and functions. Rather than bore you with further verbiage, I'll let the photo slideshow illustrate it for me.


After an hour or more of preheating the oven in order to burn off Factory Odors", I was ready to cook. I cooked and baked so much in the next few days that I've forgotten most of what it was.

I've had the new stove now for a week. I love it. A highlight was baking two batches of Danish Pastries on two separate days. I've made soups, stir fries and baked heavy, Five Grain Bread for 2 1/2 hours. I got to like the auto slide oven racks. I learned that the Triple Burner wasn't for higher heat but for incremental nuances of lower heat levels. I used the comal once or twice for rewarming tortillas. I haven't used the Deli drawer "gratinator/ plate/food warmer yet.

The new stove has been placed Strictly Off Limits to our house cleaning duo by my edict. I cover it with a large black plastic before they arrive. I think we understand each other. (I hope.)

Burning Pizza On Your Grill

A Pizza Margherita (Nice topping, poor crust, baked in my feeble old oven)
YES! You can do it, by reading my description of how I fumbled through it.

I'd read much about cooking pizza on a gas or charcoal grill. In fact, with the help of fellow blogger Tancho, we'd played with this concept a few years ago, with tentative results. I was also chafing under the constraint of not having a working stove or oven for almost a week. More about that later.

The essence of baking pizza on the grill is to first quickly bake a crust directly on the grids above the burning coals. The grill marked dough piece is then removed, turned over, and a very light amount of pizza sauce and of toppings is applied to the baked side. The pizza is then placed back on the grill, the cover is lowered, and the toppings heat up as the cheese melts, say, 3 minutes in all.

The moment of truth
A nice, browned bottom is important
It's essential to have all your ingredients "mise-en-place".
One of the challenges of this approach is the series of movements onto and off the grill. Care must be taken that the dough doesn't stick. Toppings must be pre-cooked and of minimal quantity. These movements must be deft and confident. And, in the end, it's not classic pizza, but a sort of grill baked flat bread with pizza type toppings.

About a year ago, I hit upon the idea of preheating a clay comal in the charcoal grill, then peeling the already topped pizza onto the comal. In theory, this is a workable solution, but there were snags in practice.

The principle snag was sliding the raw pizza off the improvised cookie sheet "peel", although dusted with cornmeal. I got a little better at this during the recent Sunday cookout, but never expert. To further test this concept, we invited a neighbor lady and her daughter to be our guests. They were pleased, I know, but I was not totally satisfied. More practice will be required.

Here's the meal we had:
Sra. Salud brought her specialty, Caldo de Pollo, for a starter.

Caldo de Pollo (iPad photo)
I was feeling very ambitious, so two days before I made a biga  of a very small amount of yeast, water and flour, refreshing it twice at about 12 hour intervals. Then the dough was mixed the day before, and after one full rising at room temperature, formed into balls and refrigerated overnight. This made a definite improvement in crust flavor, but was somewhat hard to work with until it had completely warmed back up.

Dough balls resting prior to extending
I was out of mozzarella, and had unfortunately substituted an inferior Queso estilo Oaxaca, plus some grated Asiago and Parmesan Reggianito. So I think that was why the cheeses barely melted. Since then, I bought some Precious™ 5- Cheese Blend at Costco in Morelia. It's very good, but expensive, at over $90 pesos for 907 grams. Costco also has their Kirkland brand shredded mozzarella, but it comes in 5 pound bags, which is too much for me to use at once. It runs about $200 pesos.

The first pizza was a Pizza Vegetariana of grilled seasoned eggplant slices, sweet colored peppers and onion.

Pizza Vegetariana. 
Next, a Pizza of Spinach and cheese. The spinach should have been precooked more before placing on the pizza.

Spinach Pizza. A bit stringy.
Next up, a pizza of homemade Italian style sausage and purchased Italian style salami.

Pizza Mixta. Note the browner than usual crust. Good.
Overall, I think these pizzas passed the Taste Test. But although they came close, they did not fully pass my Browned Crust Test. When I do it again, I'll have the moves down better.

Approved by Inspector # 4
An ideal crust bottom.
 (browned in a cast iron skillet on another occasion.)