Posted by: themeanderingpathtoself | April 15, 2010

Sweet Potato Gorgonzola Pizza Bianca

One thing I really do miss from my gluten eating days is pizza. Not the American style delivered to your door in 45 minutes or less type (although Papa Johns will always hold a special place in my heart). I’m talking the real deal: The thin crusted delight I once had in a little basement pizza parlor in middle-of-nowhere Italy, the crispy grilled flatbread drowning in a mess of caramelized onions and creamy cheese (only to be consumed on a hot summer night on the back patio of my parent’s house…). I love pizza as a vessel for the most exciting flavors you can dream up.

Here’s what my crazy brain wanted this time: Gorgonzola. Gorgonzola is a star. It will take your pizza and make it the stage for its own fabulous show. Supporting actor? Let’s go with everyone’s favorite friend, the roasted sweet potato. Finally, we’ll throw a couple more roasted vegetables to the mix and a bit of pancetta for good measure.

For the crust:

For the gorgonzola sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola (both gorgonzola dolce and picante work fine)

For the toppings:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 oz. cubed pancetta
  • 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola
  • coarse salt/pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the topping:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop the sweet potato, shallots and pell peppers. Spread them out on a baking sheet and coat with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30- 35 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and the onions begin to caramelize. Set aside. In a hot pan, sauté the pancetta until crisp (2 or 3 minutes) and set aside, using a paper towel to absorb some of the drippings.

For the crust:

Prepare according to package directions. Definitely observe the pre-baking option for the crust and don’t be afraid to up the temperature a little bit. I ended up baking mine for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees.

For the gorgonzola white sauce:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the cornstarch and stir to combine. Allow the cornstarch butter mixture to cook for about a minute, stirring continually. Add the milk and continue stirring, allowing the sauce to simmer. The sauce should begin to thicken after a few minutes. Add the gorgonzola and continue cooking just until the cheese is melted and well incorporated into the sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.

Putting it all together:

Increase the heat of the oven to 450 degrees. Spread a thin layer of the gorgonzola white sauce over the pre-baked pizza crust. Distribute the roasted vegetables and pancetta evenly over the sauce and top with more crumbled gorgonzola. Put the pizza back into the oven and bake for 5-10 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pizza crust is browned.

gorgonzola vessel of my dreams….



Posted by: themeanderingpathtoself | April 11, 2010

Beeth oven.

Despite the sunny, seventy-five degree weather in Manhattan today, I spent the majority of my day indoors. I luxuriated in a lazy Sunday filled with a run through the park, pizza making and a good book… I avoided human interaction at all cost (my week has been chock-full of it and it left my head spinning and my ears ringing).

Speaking of avoiding humans: I keep thinking about a lecture my favorite professor gave on Beethoven. He gave the usual stats and list of important works, but when he got to the part about the fact that Beethoven began losing his hearing at a relatively young age and was eventually completely deaf, he approached it from an angle I’d never considered. Rather than take the usual approach to explaining the predicament: being deaf makes it spectacularly difficult to compose music, therefore Beethoven must have been essentially super-human to be able to churn out the works he did; he spoke of it defining a deaf person as an isolated person: Beethoven as an island. Now, not only can we think of the man as insanely capable, but of his works as defined by his loneliness and forced originality. We might even pinpoint the destruction of tonality on him!

Whoa. Now I keep thinking about how easy it is to exist only in the noise of our surroundings and be deaf to the noise within ourselves. Maybe at this point it’s impossible to be original, and maybe that’s okay as long as we remember to listen to ourselves every once in a while.

Listen to some Beethoven.



Posted by: themeanderingpathtoself | April 11, 2010

Fresh Pear and Blackberry Tart (gluten-free)

Food is kind of a big deal. I don’t mean just any food. I mean fresh-whole-patiently-lovingly-put-together-in-a-coherent-fashion food. Being the offspring of Argentine parents translates directly into a palate smitten with both red meat and a substantial smattering of recipes hijacked from the Italians. My relatively new aversion to gluten has generated a need for me to refashion aforementioned Italian recipes. Initially, I have to admit, it sucked. No bread? No pasta? No beer!? I convinced myself it would be a temporary predicament. They came out with a little pill for the lactose-intolerant, right? In the meantime, I got cracking on the process of re-learning how to eat, and more importantly, bake. Now, ten months later, I am starting to get the hang of it. I am, by no means, an expert (if you’re looking for one of those, please go directly here, but am back to my ‘feed everyone who comes through my kitchen’ ways. I feel infinitely better and don’t even miss gluten all that much.

For this recipe I used Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix. This mix is mana sent from heaven. Especially since I never have enough money at once to purchase all the types of gluten-free flours necessary to make something taste of gluten.

For the tart shell:

  • 1/2 package Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix (save the second half for something else…pizza? cinnamon rolls? the possibilities are endless)
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice-cold water

For the pastry cream:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 2 large, ripe D’Anjou Pears
  • 1 6 oz. package fresh blackberries
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the tart shell:

Prepare according to the package directions for “pie crust.” I found that I needed a bit more cold water than half the package of mix called for (I accounted for this in the ingredient list). Chill the dough for at least half an hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place your chilled dough in-between two pieces of parchment paper to roll out. Roll it out as thin as you can (maybe 1/8-1/16 of an inch) without it breaking. Remove one side of the parchment paper and press into a greased pie dish. If you want to be extra-fancy: use a fork to press an even, lined pattern around the circumference of the inside wall of the shell before baking (Also: I stuck the rolled out pie crust in the freezer for a couple of minutes before putting it into the oven to make sure it was still cold). Bake for about 30 minutes and let cool completely.

For the pastry cream:

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Add the cornstarch, vanilla and 2 or 3 tablespoons of milk to thin the mixture a bit. Whisk again to combine. In a saucepan, heat the rest of the milk until it begins to boil. At this point, pour about 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper it, whisking rapidly. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the hot milk and cook over medium heat, whisking rapidly the whole time. The mixture should begin to thicken rather quickly and when it becomes the consistency of a soft custard, remove it from the stove. Pour the mixture into a separate bowl immediately and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream. Put it in the refrigerator to cool.

For the topping:

Peel the pears and cut them in half, lengthwise. Remove the core and vein and slice lengthwise into thin pieces. Place the pear pieces into a bowl with the blackberries. Add the sugar, the zest of about half of the lemon and the juice of the entire lemon to the bowl and stir carefully to coat (watch those pear slices… they’re delicate little buggers). Put aside for about half an hour (or in the refrigerator) to allow the fruit to absorb the sugar.

Putting it all together!

Spread a thin layer of the chilled pastry cream onto the cooled tart shell. Arrange the fruit on top to your liking. I decided to focus on the pretty pears and arranged them in a circle near the crust, filling in the middle with a few blackberries.

Ignore the cat teapot… better yet:

Time to eat!



Posted by: themeanderingpathtoself | April 6, 2010

How did I get here?


I’m glad to be here… here in this little blog. This tangible space for escapee brainwaves. Why am I here? Good question… let’s not forget to take into account those brainwaves: they certainly need a place to live. Also: I’m finding that the deeper I delve into the career path I’ve chosen, the more people tend to overlook that little line distinguishing who I am from what I do. So! In the spirit of keeping that pesky career path out of mind, if not but for a few minutes, we’ll talk. Why the “meanderingpathtoself”, then? Well friends: I am young, I live in Manhattan, I am quite poor, and like most of the rest of the world… I’m trying to find my way home…to me. I love people, I love cooking (even with my recently diagnosed gluten allergy- which is apparently oh-so hip these days…), I love music and I try to love the whole world… all of it. At the top of my “this effin’ owns” list (as a dear friend of mine so eloquently named it) are: Hermann Hesse, sweet potatoes, bengal cats, Journey, sleeping, Costco and Anna Moffo. What a perfect little bunch of things, no? On that happy note I’ll depart… back to the other me.



p.s. I’m trying out a few new gluten-free recipes this weekend. I’ll post the winners and scorn the losers!

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