Tasting India by Christine Manfield – ISBN: 1925791319

  • Full Title: Tasting India: Heirloom Family Recipes
  • Autor: Christine Manfield
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
  • Publication Date: January 29, 2019
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1925791319
  • ISBN-13: 978-1925791310
  • Download File Format | Size: epub | 360,08 Mb
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*Winner—International Cookbook of the Year, International Association of Culinary Professionals, New York
*Best Culinary Travel Book—IACP Awards, New York
*Best Illustrated Book—Australian Book Industry Awards

Journey through modern India with celebrated chef Christine Manfield and discover the food, spices, and culture of this diverse country with this beautifully illustrated cookbook.

“This is my story of India, a story gathered across many visits, connecting with people in various walks of life. The recipes I’ve collected along the way reflect the stories of countless mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sons of daughters, brothers, sisters and aunts, as told to me during my travels.”

Tasting India is a gastronomic odyssey through home kitchens, crowded alleyways, fine restaurants, and street carts to explore the masterful, complex, and vibrant tapestry of Indian cuisine. Along the way, this captivating country comes alive as Christine Manfield describes its food, landscape, culture, and traditions with her trademark passion, curiosity and expertise. This award-winning cookbook has been fully revised and includes three new chapters on Punjab, Gujarat and Hyderabad—plus Christine’s insider tips on where to sleep, eat, and shop throughout India.

 

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christine Manfield is one of Australia’s most celebrated chefs—a curious cook, a perfectionist inspired by the culinary melting pot of global flavors, and a writer whose successful, award winning books include, A Personal Guide to India and Bhutan, Dessert Divas, Tasting India, Fire, Spice, Stir, Paramount Cooking and Paramount Desserts have spiced up the lives of keen cooks everywhere.

 

Keywords

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The Real You Diet

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The Real You Diet

Your Personal Program for

Lasting Weight Loss

Madelyn Fernstrom,Ph.D.,CNS

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Copyright © 2010 by Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D.,CNS. All rights reserved Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey

Published simultaneously in Canada

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976

United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400,

fax (978) 646-8600, or on the web at www.copyright.com. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, (201) 748-6011, fax (201) 748-6008, or online at http://www.wiley.com/go/permissions.

Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and the author have used their best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifi cally disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fi tness for a particular purpose.

No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation.

You should consult with a professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for any loss of profi t or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

The information contained in this book is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional medical advice. Any use of the information in this book is at the reader’s discretion. The author and the publisher specifi cally disclaim any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use or application of any information contained in this book. A health care professional should be consulted regarding your specifi c situation.

Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed as trademarks.

In all instances where John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is aware of a claim, the product names appear in Initial Capital or ALL CAPITAL letters. Readers, however, should contact the appropriate companies for more complete information regarding trademarks and registration.

For general information about our other products and services, please contact our Customer Care Department within the United States at (800) 762-2974, outside the United States at (317) 572-3993 or fax (317) 572-4002.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:

Fernstrom, Madelyn H.

The real you diet : your personal program for lasting weight loss / Madelyn Fernstrom.

p. cm.

Includes index.

ISBN 978-0-470-37180-0 (cloth) 1. Weight loss—Popular works. 2. Reducing diets—

Popular works. 3. Nutrition—Popular works. 4. Physical fi tness—Popular works. I. Title.

RM222.2.F4275 2009

613.2’5—dc22

2009014012

Printed in the United States of America

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To John, Lauren, and Aaron

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Contents

Acknowledgments ix

How to Use This Book: Finding the Real You

1

1

The Real You Approach to Weight Loss

3

2

Size Yourself Up: How to Create Your BEAM Box

11

3

Behavioral Tools: Breaking Those Barriers to Success

23

4

Eating and Food Tools: Choosing What to Eat

55

5

Activity Tools: Deciding How and When to Move

93

6

Medical and Biological Tools: Addressing Your Health Issues 117

7

The Real You Plan: BEAM Your Way to Success

127

8

Power Tools: Weight-Loss Medications and Surgery

165

9

Life after Weight Loss: Body Contouring

199

The Real You Recipe File

211

Appendix A Understanding Your BMI

226

Appendix B Web Resources 230

Appendix C The Real You Tools 231

Index

235

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Acknowledgments

I am most grateful to my husband and colleague, Jo
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½ tsp thyme

2 cups cooked chicken, cubed

1-lb bag frozen stir-fry vegetables

15¼-oz can kernel corn

3 chopped scallions

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Unfold puff pastry sheet on an ungreased baking sheet. Cut into 4 equal squares. Beat egg and brush puff pastry; sprinkle with thyme.

3. Bake 12 minutes until golden. Meanwhile, heat cream of chicken soup, milk and ½ tsp thyme in a large skillet. Add cubed cooked chicken, stir-fry vegetables, drained kernel corn and chopped scallions. Simmer, covered, 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.

4. Spoon into serving bowls. Cut pastry squares in half diagonally; put 2 on each bowl.

PER SERVING: 676 cal, 33 g pro, 56 g car, 5 g fiber, 36 g fat (7 g sat fat), 126 mg chol, 1,079 mg sod

“Fried” Chicken Fingers with Vegetable Sauté

TENDERS • ASIAN • SERVES 4 • TOTAL TIME: 25 MINUTES

CHICKEN FINGERS

¼ cup panko bread crumbs (see Note) or plain dried bread crumbs

2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese

2 tsp dried instant minced onion

¼ tsp salt

1 lb chicken tenders

nonstick spray

VEGETABLE SAUTÉ

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 each medium zucchini and yellow squash, sliced

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes

1 tsp minced garlic

tsp each salt and pepper

1. CHICKEN FINGERS: Place oven rack in lowest position. Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil.

2. On a sheet of wax paper, mix crumbs, cheese, instant onion and salt. Press tenders in mixture to coat. Place on lined sheet. Coat chicken with nonstick spray.

3. Bake 7 minutes or until bottoms of tenders turn light golden. Remove baking sheet from oven; turn chicken and coat with nonstick spray. Bake 5 minutes more, until golden and cooked through.

4. VEGETABLE SAUTÉ: While chicken bakes, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add squashes and sauté 5 minutes until lightly colored and crisp-tender. Add remaining ingredients; sauté 1 minute until garlic is fragrant and tomatoes are hot.

PER SERVING: 210 cal, 29 g pro, 8 g car, 7 g net car, 1 g fiber, 7 g fat (1 g sat fat), 66 mg chol, 324 mg sod

NOTE: Coarse, white panko bread crumbs are used in Japanese cooking for coating food before frying. Look for them in the Asian or bread crumb section of your supermarket.

Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk

GROUND • ASIAN • SERVES 4 • TOTAL TIME: 20 MINUTES

1 Tbsp oil

1 each thinly sliced medium onion and red pepper

1 lb ground chicken

2 tsp curry powder

tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)

14-oz can coconut milk

½ cup frozen green peas

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add sliced onion and red pepper. Cook 1 minute. Add ground chicken. Cook, breaking up clumps, 5 minutes, or until chicken is brown and cooked through. Add curry powder and ground red pepper. Cook 30 seconds.

2. Add coconut milk and frozen green peas. Simmer 1 minute, or until thickened. Stir in cilantro and serve.

PER SERVING: 445 cal, 24 g pro, 12 g car, 2 g fiber, 35 g fat (22 g sat fat), 94 mg chol, 128 mg sod

Chicken & Rice

COOKED CHICKEN • CAJUN • SERVES 4 • TOTAL TIME: 20 MINUTES

1 Tbsp oil

1 cup each sliced pepper and medium onion

6.4-oz pkt red beans & rice and 2¼ cups water

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

6-oz bag baby spinach

sliced scallions

OPTIONAL: hot pepper sauce

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add sliced pepper and onion. Sauté 4 minutes, or until soft. Stir in red beans & rice and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 7 minutes, or until rice is tender.

2. Stir in shredded cooked chicken and baby spinach. Cook, stirring, just until spinach wilts. Top servings with sliced scallions; offer hot pepper sauce at the table.

PER SERVING: 366 cal, 27 g pro, 45 g car, 7 g fiber, 9 g fat (2 g sat fat), 62 mg chol, 634 mg sod

Rice & Chicken Hash

COOKED CHICKEN • HOMESTYLE • SERVES 4 • TOTAL TIME: 23 MINUTES

2½ cups cooked chicken, chopped

1½ cups cooked white converted rice

3 medium carrots, grated

1½ cups frozen green peas

cup each finely chopped bell pepper and minced scallions

1 cup gravy made from 1 pkt (0.87 oz) chicken gravy mix

¼ cup light mayonnaise

½ tsp each poultry seasoning and freshly ground pepper

1. Mix all ingredients in a large nonstick skillet; press down with back of a broad spatula. Place over medium-high heat.

2. Cook, stirring occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes until liquid evaporates and some crustiness forms on bottom. Turn in sections with the spatula; cook 2 minutes more.

PER SERVING: 382 cal, 30 g pro, 36 g car, 4 g fiber, 12 g fat (3 g sat fat), 83 mg chol, 592 mg sod

Meatballs Stroganoff

GROUND • RUSSIAN • SERVES 4 • TOTAL TIME: 15 MINUTES

MEATBALLS

1 lb ground chicken

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not that we’re fussy about sugar and butter. We did write The Ultimate Brownie Book, after all. Simply put, muffins aren’t cakes. They’re quick breads; they should have a breadlike texture. To that end, we’ve honored their down-home roots by using a variety of flavors, whole wheat and oat to name two of the most common in our recipes. And we’ve cut down the sugar. Don’t worry—the muffins are still sweet. Some, very sweet—just try the Fudge or Honey Muffins. But most are less sugary, more flavorful, and good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We’ve also included savory muffins, ones a tad unexpected to some. These veer farthest from the cupcake trend—Potato or Quiche Lorraine Muffins, for example. Any of these would make a nice accompaniment to a roast, a baked ham, or a Thanksgiving turkey. Think of them not just as bread, but as a side dish.

All that said, there are points where we’re less persnickety than some bakers. Some cookbooks stipulate what muffins should look like (in some cases, the exact angle of their peaks), or how they should feel when broken open. But what makes a muffin, by definition, is its shape from the tin and the quick bread technique used to create it. Just as we’re not wedded to one taste, we’re also not wedded to one texture. Muffins should be breadlike, yes—but there’s a world of latitude. So you’ll find a variety of textures in this book, just as you do when you walk into your local bake shop. Some are flat-topped; others are conical, even cracked. Some poof out like mushrooms; others widen out along the sides. Some specialty muffins—like Angel Food Muffins—don’t rise at all.

It’s a matter of which texture, or crumb, works best for what’s in the batter. Our preferences? We like a moister fruit muffin, a good platform for tart berries or sliced peaches; but we like a drier cocoa muffin, one that’s slightly heavier, denser, providing an intense taste of chocolate that’s not watered down.

And while we’re on the matter of preferences, there are a few omissions in this book. Yeast muffins, for one. We didn’t feel they had any place in a book which celebrates America’s favorite quick bread. Nor did we include a recipe simply because it could be baked or molded in a muffin tin, like meatloaf muffins or chicken salad muffins.

Omissions aside, there are hundreds of muffins here, from Lemon to Apple, Margarita to Daiquiri. You’ll find this variety presented alphabetically: Almond, Angel Food, Apple, Applesauce, Apricot, and so on.

Each recipe is followed by a series of variations, usually made with one addition to the batter, or one substitution. Here’s where we get creative—or go crazy, depending on your perspective. Pumpkin Muffins are all well and good, perfect for jam or jelly. But then there’s Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins, Marshmallow Nut Pumpkin Muffins, Orange Pecan Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Seed Pumpkin Muffins, and Spiced Pumpkin Muffins. That’s enough variety to last us all a good long while, and certainly enough muffins to make everyone we know smile.

Making Muffins

TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL MUFFINS

1. Check the weather.

Odd, yes, but quick breads suffer under high humidity, which causes the batter to turn sticky and glutinous. If the day’s particularly damp, reduce the amount of liquid in the batter just slightly. If the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of milk, fill the measuring cup to just shy of the rim, thereby reducing the amount of liquid in the batter by perhaps 1 tablespoon and giving the day’s humidity its due.

2. Preheat the oven.

Muffins need a hot oven to rise properly. Preheat yours for 15 minutes, time enough to collect the ingredients and whip up the batter.

3. Cool the melted butter.

Hot melted butter can shock both the flour’s glutens and the leavening agent, reducing the rise in the muffins. It can also lead to bits of scrambled egg in the batter. So give the melted butter about 5 minutes to cool down.

4. Let the eggs come to room temperature.

Cold eggs can shock the leavening and retard the poof of the muffin’s famous hat. If you leave the eggs in their shell on the counter for about 15 minutes, they’ll be just right. If you’re in a hurry, place them in a bowl of room temperature water for 5 minutes before cracking them.

5. If you want, beat the egg whites separately and fold them in later.

As we were testing recipes, we went back and forth on this one—should we make it a standard rule or not? We finally decided it was too much for a book about a down-home treat. Still, for some recipes, like Chocolate Chip Muffins, we’ve held to this fussier technique simply to lighten a batter weighed down with, say, chocolate chips. You can do the same for any sweet muffin. (We don’t recommend this technique for savory muffins—these should be denser and chewier.) Add the yolks where it indicates to add the eggs, then beat the egg whites separately in a medium bowl wit
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here. Join the healing tribe, and let’s right the dysfunction together. Thank you.

Joel Salatin

Polyface Farm

Acknowledgments

WITHIN HOURS OF SIGNING OFF on the first edition of this book, I posted on Facebook that I should have included something else, and a couple of people immediately chimed in that I’d have to do a second edition. I laughed at the time, but here I am putting the finishing touches on a revised and expanded edition. I am grateful for everyone at New Society Publishers who agreed that this book would be a good idea — and for all of their help in making it happen. Thanks also to my copy editor Ian le Cheminant for his keen eye and literary expertise.

I am especially grateful for all of the people who continue to comment on my blogs and Facebook pages, as well as those who ask questions and share their experiences on my Ning Nigerian Dwarf Goat group and the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts group. One person can only have so many experiences, and I have learned so much from everyone through social media and the Internet. Thanks again to canning queen Cathy Linker Lafrenz, rabbit whisperer Chris McLaughlin, and bug professor Rick Weinzierl, who contributed to the original book and whose wisdom is still within these pages.

Once again, my family deserves more thanks than I can possibly verbalize. Although both of our daughters have left home already, this book represents so much of what we all learned together as a family in our early homesteading adventures. Finally, my husband and our son deserve a huge thank you for doing chores and feeding me while I worked on this book.

Preface to the Second Edition

WHEN THE SECOND EDITION IS PROPOSED for a book, everyone wants to know why. Is there a lot of new information? Are a few things simply updated? Could a second edition help people who already read the first book?

Yes, yes, and yes.

This book includes three completely new sections: Homegrown Pork, Homegrown Sweeteners, and Homegrown Business. Even though we’d started making our own maple syrup, had been raising our own pork since 2004, and had always been selling homestead products, at the time I was writing the first edition I didn’t feel like I knew enough to educate others on those topics. Now I have six more years’ experience in all of those things, plus we got bees shortly after the first book was published so that we could produce our own honey. In addition to selling our products on the farm and online, we started attending farmers markets, and we became a licensed egg producer.

I updated a few things, such as the statistical information in the introduction about the sad state of our health, food, and farming systems in the United States. I also revised several of the recipes in the book to include gluten-free alternatives. Recipe reviews for the first edition were extremely positive, except when someone tried to make a gluten-free version, which frequently failed. Since I often say, “I make all the mistakes so you don’t have to,” that meant I needed to figure out the how to convert those recipes for you.

What can this book do for people who read the first edition? It actually seems appropriate that the first edition didn’t have the three new sections because they are more advanced homesteading undertakings. I had never considered making our own sweeteners when we first moved out here to rural Illinois. I was scared of bees, and I had no idea that there were maple trees on our property. Because of their intelligence and strength, pigs are arguably one of the more challenging animals to raise, which might explain why I didn’t feel comfortable writing about them in 2011, even though we’d been raising them for seven years at that point. Although we sold goat milk soap, meat, eggs, and milk to close friends from the beginning, there was a lot we needed to learn before we were ready to sell to a larger customer base. So, I sort of view the first book as the Homesteading 101 text and this one as a combined Homesteading 101 and 201. Regardless of whether you read the first edition, my goal for this book was to make it even more useful than the original. Hopefully I succeeded, and this book will serve as a guide, and help you avoid a few mistakes, on your homesteading journey.

Introduction

A DECADE AGO, my husband, Mike, and I attended an alternative energy conference geared towards individuals who wanted to use wind turbines and make their own biodiesel. A college professor was among the speakers, and during her talk, she suggested that we do simple things like use a clothesline instead of an electric or gas-powered dryer to reduce our energy consumption. An older man in the audience was not happy with her suggestion.

“Why would we want to go backwards? We have all these new inventions to make our lives easier — like clothes dryers. Why wou
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always make friends with the esteemed authors whose work he adapted. The film version of A Clockwork Orange was nowhere near as divergent as some of Kubrick’s other adaptations (The Shining), but it had a different tone to the book. The original novella by Anthony Burgess on which the film was based is violent, and it definitely has a point to make about the nature of morality (perhaps not the same point as the film), but it is first and foremost a dystopian science-fiction story.

In both the book and the film, Moloko Plus is served at the Korova Milkbar. The weird sort of English slang/Russian that the characters all speak is called Nadsat, and “Moloko” is the Nadsat word for milk. Moloko-Plus means milk plus something else; in the book and the movie, “something else” is various drugs. In this recipe, the something else is orange-vanilla vodka, combined with a couple of other ingredients to round it out. The vodka is a tribute to the Russian influence and the orange is, well, obvious.

It tastes like a liquified Creamsicle and will certainly sharpen you and your droogies up for some ultraviolence…which, hopefully, in this case is a game of Dungeons & Dragons. Or a knitting circle.

SERVES 1

3/4 cup (175ml) whole milk

2 tablespoons orange vanilla vodka

1 tablespoon Irish cream

1 dash of orange extract

1 Pour the milk into a serving glass and add the orange vanilla vodka, Irish cream, and orange extract.

2 Stir and serve.

INSPIRED BY A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE

HOT SPICED WINE

This little gem is perhaps the most frequently mentioned beverage in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, aside from, you know, regular wine. Mulled Wine is beloved by Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, who likes his extra spicy with dried berries and nuts, but without lemon. He considers adding lemon “southron heresy.” Mulled Wine seems to be popular among the brothers of the Night’s Watch in general, presumably because it helps fight the extreme cold of The Wall.

Mulled Wine is a real thing, of course. There is an ancient German version called Glühwein and a Nordic version called Glögg, but the concept is the same: wine heated with spices and (mostly citrus) fruits. Whether you’re a brother of the Night’s Watch or you just need something to warm you up during a cold winter night, this is the perfect solution. Brewing this rich and delicious hot beverage makes your whole house smell amazing and drinking it is like taking a warm bath with scented candles…but in your mouth.

SERVES 8–10

2 oranges

2 bottles dry red wine

1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthwise

2–3 pieces stem ginger (ginger preserves)

4 cinnamon sticks

1/4 cup (40g) whole walnuts

1/4 cup (34g) raisins

10 cloves

Nutmeg, to taste

Allspice, to taste

3/4 cup (180ml) honey, or to taste

5 black peppercorns

1 star anise

1 Remove the zest from the oranges in strips, using a knife or vegetable peeler, and set aside. Juice the oranges into a dutch oven or thick-bottomed pot.

2 Pour the red wine into the pot with the orange juice.

3 Add the orange zest, vanilla pod, ginger, cinnamon sticks, walnuts, raisins, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, honey, peppercorns, and star anise into the pot with the wine. You can also add a bit of the ginger syrup from the stem ginger, if desired.

4 Stir for about a minute to make sure everything is coming together.

5 Cover the pot and heat over medium heat until liquid is hot. Do not boil.

6 Reduce the heat to low and heat for 60–90 minutes, or until flavors are strong enough for your tastes.

7 Once the wine mixture is done, pour it into mugs using a strainer to make sure no spice pieces make it into the serving cups. Can be served with cinnamon sticks. Hodor!

INSPIRED BY DUNE

SPICE BEER

Dune, the first book in the series of the same name by Frank Herbert, which began in 1965, is the best-selling science-fiction novel of all time. Considered to be the most complex science-fiction series ever written, it has been called the sci-fi equivalent to The Lord of the Rings.

The main plotline revolves around a narcotic called Spice Melange, thought to be the most important substance in the Universe. Not like any old drug, Spice Melange grants its users a longer lifespan, heightened awareness, and, occasionally, clairvoyance. The substance only exists on one planet in the known universe, Arrakis, which is also known as Dune. This is a hostile desert planet inhabited by giant worms, and in the series, having control of this planet is tantamount to having control of the Universe.

Spice Melange is supposed to taste a bit like cinnamon and is often used in food and drink, including Spice Beer! In the first book, Spice Beer is the weakness of Duncan Idaho, a much-beloved character in the series, who describes it as the “bes’ damn stuff ever tas’ed.” This recipe combines your favorite light beer with d
basil leaves on the pizza, but if you want the basil flavor to be well distributed across the pizza, you can break up the leaves into smaller pieces. Some professionals like to tear basil by hand to prevent discoloration. We’ve found that if you sliver or snip the herbs right before putting it on the pizza, there’s minimal discoloration, and the flavor’s terrific either way. Some pizzaioli (pete-see-ó-lee), the men and women who make pizza, put the basil on after baking so that it just barely wilts, and retains its vibrant color and flavor. That’s a matter of taste, so go ahead and try it both ways and see which you prefer.

CHIFFONADE THAT BASIL? If you decide to cut fresh basil leaves for pizza, the quickest way to do it is to use the chiffonade technique. Stack four or five basil leaves, roll them into a tight cylinder, and quickly cut thin slices across the cylinder, starting at one end and working your way along. You’ll end up with evenly cut ribbons that look great on pizza.

In case you’re keeping score, Italian law specifies whole basil leaves on Neapolitan pizza (see here) but does not absolutely prohibit slivered, snipped, or torn ones. Whew.

Cheeses

When using cheese on pizza, remember that the quantities in our recipe are only an approximation. Depending on the size of the pizza you are making, you will need more (or less) cheese than we specify. We tend to use less cheese than is typical for American-style pizza—we prefer the Italian style, which is usually built on a thin crust. Plus, using less topping works better with our dough, which has lots of moisture to begin with—too much cheese (or any topping) can prevent the crust from crisping. With pizza, sometimes less is more.

If you love pizza with extra cheese, you can do it, but don’t make the crust quite so thin—try a quarter-inch thickness.

MEDIUM-SOFT CHEESES

With the exception of blue cheeses, medium-soft cheeses are generally interchangeable in our recipes. In most cases, if a pizza works with mozzarella, it will probably taste great with any other medium-soft cheese, and those subtle flavor changes are the spice of life—or at least, of pizza.

Mozzarella: Mozzarella is mild tasting but marvelous. You have three options for this most standard of pizza cheeses: commercial packaged mozzarella, or two kinds of fresh mozzarella, both of which tend to be more expensive than the commercial stuff. Let’s talk commercial first—this is what most of us grew up on. It’s drier than fresh mozzarella, and comes either as a block, or pre-shredded and tossed with starch to prevent the cheese from sticking together. Whole-milk or part-skim versions are available, and if you see “low-moisture,” that’s a good (but not essential) option (lower moisture helps pizza crusts stay crisp).

Once you’ve tried fresh mozzarella, you’re bound to fall in love with it. You’ll see what we mean once you taste it—people describe a “grassy” fresh dairy flavor, so try to imagine the sweet grasses that cows munch to fuel all that milk (OK, we don’t really do that). Two kinds of fresh mozzarella may be available in your supermarket, so check before trying a specialty cheese store:

• Cow’s milk fresh mozzarella: Mozzarella labeled as “fresh” is brighter white and has a creamy lightness. It’s packed in whey or vacuum-packed in plastic (which excludes the whey). It has less moisture than mozzarella di bufala, which makes it a bit easier to work with (though it definitely has more moisture than commercial).

• Mozzarella di bufala: This very authentic mozzarella made from the milk of Italian water buffaloes is absolutely delicious, though it doesn’t come cheap (someone really has to milk that water buffalo!). Be careful again when you put it on the pizza—use it sparingly because it is high in moisture—as the cheese melts, liquid seeps out and can soften the crust. Some of the great American pizzerias have rejected buffalo mozzarella because of this excess moisture, but we think it’s fantastic when used carefully—use about 25 percent less mozzarella di bufala than you would with ordinary fresh or commercial mozzarella. In Italy, mozzarella di bufala is required only on the deluxe version of the authentic Naples-style pizza, known as Pizza Napoletana Margherita Extra. See what you think.

Asiago: In Italy, asiago is a bit of a cheese chameleon—a wide range of varieties are available there, all produced in the Italian Alps. Dry-aged versions are reminiscent of crumbly and sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano, but the fresh version (asiago pressato)—which is the variety usually found in the United States—is smooth, soft, and tangy. It’s a nice change from mozzarella or other medium-soft non-aged cheeses. If you can find the dry-aged versions, they make a nice substitute for hard aged cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino Romano (see here).

Bl

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