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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Not Everything Works

I just want to make one thing clear.  For all the cooking victories I have, and for all the really delicious meals I make, there are at least an equal number of clunkers.  Sometimes the chicken doesn't cook.  Sometimes the sauce is lumpy.  Sometimes it just doesn't come together.  What can I say?  I'm human.

Such was the case today.

This morning I was very excited to receive an email from Smitten Kitchen, one of my very favorite cooking blogs.  Today's recipe was for ramp pizza.  I was thrilled.

I am fortunate to live in ramp country.  They grow in the northeast, (the one time Pittsburgh is an advantageous place to live), and they're only in season for a very short time.  I have made them in the past with mussels but I loved the idea of a pizza topped with the sweet, garlicly ramps.

Hit with inspiration, or at least a good recipe, I set off for the grocery store, where I was sure they would have ramps.  They had them last year around now, so I assumed (big mistake), that the ramps would be there waiting for me.  "Hi Nadine.  We're over here, just waiting for you."  This was not the case.  In fact, not only was there no ramp welcoming committee, there wasn't a ramp to be found.  When I asked the produce manager about the availability of ramps, he looked at me in complete confusion.  Clearly he had never tasted, or for that matter, heard of ramps.

Before I left for the grocery store, I whipped up some pizza dough.  I have a foolproof recipe, which I would give you here, except this time it wasn't so foolproof.  It didn't rise.  At all.  Not even a little.  I checked the date on the yeast and it appeared to be fresh enough, but it was a no-go with the rising.  I have no idea why.  Maybe the water was too hot.  Or too cold.  Or maybe I did something else wrong.  Who knows?  All I know is that when I returned from the grocery store, rampless, I was faced with a large bowl of flabby dough.  True, I could have Googled "unrisen dough" and come up with a recipe, but I was defeated.  Sometimes you just have to cut your losses.

So, here I was, late afternoon, with a big bowl of unrisen dough and some green spring onions, my sorry stand in for the ramps.  There was no pizza to be had, and the spring onions found their way into the salad.  Which I served with my old standby Crusty Beef Casserole.

At least that worked.

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