Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Breakfast with Enrico

This morning, a friend and I went to The Strip (in Pittsburgh) and had breakfast with Enrico. My husband was a little jealous of this rendezvous we had planned (particularly because it meant he was in charge of the kids for several hours) but it was really all his fault to begin with. He drove me into the kitchen of another man! Actually, he had heard of this "bread baking" class and signed me up and gave it to me for Christmas, knowing it is exactly the kind of thing I'd dig. Well, when they called yesterday and said "come hungry", I still had no idea what we were in for. It's 10 am and there are about 12 of us and we all sit down at a long table and Enrico starts bringing out the food! There were white beans, slow-cooked all night in a wine bottle over ashes from the brick oven, a HUGE bowl of kale and chickpeas, sausage and peppers, yummy sweet ricotta pie, pastries, ziti with mushrooms and zucchini in a white sauce, and homemade red wine. Wow! As we were eating, Enrico told us basically that all events in history can be traced to the peoples' love of bread and control over the wheat. It made sense!

Then he gave us basic instructions on how to shape a round loaf of bread to get the perfect "skin" and the cardinal rule of bread baking - NEVER add flour to the dough after it's been kneading, only more water. Oh, and never open the oven door to check on the bread, or it will do funky things to your loaf. We learned that fresh yeast and "00" flour is the best and salt is just salt. It was a great morning - and we got to bring home a little brioche loaf and big Italian loaf of bread we'd made. The movie, filmed in Pittsburgh, called something like The Bread, My Sweet with Scott Baio? can somehow be traced back to Enrico (said the movie was his idea). I'll have to check it out and let you know. In the meantime, I just might try a brioche for Easter and see if my kitchenaid oven can compete with Enrico's industrial sized handmade brick oven (now I'm jealous!). If not, I'll do as Enrico's last words to us pleaded - buy Artisanal Breads and support the small bakeries to keep a dying tradition alive! A future Friday night dinner with Enrico might be in the cards - just me and him (and 10 of my closest girlfriends). I hope my kids and husband understand...

1 comment:

  1. Ten of your closest girlfriends eh??? Count me in!!!! I told Kev all about it too...we could do a really fun couples night out...was thinking that each of our "core group" of couples could invite another couple...wouldn't that be fun???M

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