Gay pizza?

On Monday I spent the morning listening to the 9th Circuit oral arguments for and against Prop. 8, the voter initiative that amended the California constitution to discriminate against people who wish to enter into a same-sex marriage. The history of gay marriage, or more correctly the history of the fight against gay marriage, is long and confusing. But the reason we’re writing about gay marriage on our blog is that we are one of the 18,000 couples that were lucky enough to legally wed in California during that brief window in 2008 when same-sex marriage was legal. We’ve been married now for two years and, this Friday, December 10th, we celebrate our 18th anniversary of the night we met at The Trapp (insert joke here), a gay bar in Salt Lake City.

As I’m listening to the court case I’m also thinking about, what else, food. Rummaging through the fridge, I spot a pizza dough just waiting to be transformed into something delicious. Then something one of the judges said struck me as an odd question: “What makes gay marriage gay? Isn’t marriage just marriage?”

My mind started to wander back to my college days with thoughts of late night pizza and philosophical discussions like, can a man truly be a feminist? and what makes art gay? Is it the subject matter or the artist creating the work that makes something gay? I thought about this a little more. Since I’m gay and I’m baking a pizza, am I making a gay pizza? I never really thought that pizza, or any food, could be considered gay or straight, but with the question posed about marriage, art, and life on my mind, why not food?

As I searched through the fridge for fixings to top the pizza it dawned on me that what I was selecting were things most people wouldn’t put on their pizza or even have in their fridge. What makes our pizzas different? For starters, we don’t do delivery. San Francisco is not known for it’s pizza, and we haven’t discovered a pizzeria that makes a better or faster pizza than our homemade ones. Next, the crust is always thin and whole wheat. No tomato sauce goes on top, just olive oil and garlic. Next, we’ll usually throw on some veggies (on this one, shaved fennel). And, instead of sausage, pepperoni, and ham (insert meat lover’s pun), we prefer a little prosciutto. To finish, we top with a little goat and Parmesan cheeses (or whatever we have on hand) and that’s what we call pizza. May sound sort of gay to folks in the red states, but some would argue that it’s just California cuisine.

Adding the layers.

Is our marriage or our pizza gay? We don’t think so. We view marriage and our pizzas as choices, neither gay nor straight, just our choices. We hope that the judges on the 9th Circuit will do the right thing and rule to secure for everyone the same choice we were given two years ago. We should all have the right to to marry whomever we choose just as we get to choose what we want on our pizzas, even if they both give us heartburn from time to time.

Marriage equality – and pizza – for all!

Pizza Dough

Watch those fingers.

Top the pizza however you wish, it’s your choice.

1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 – 1 ¼ cups water
¼ cup olive oil

In a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix the yeast with the flours and salt. Add the water, 1 cup to start, and olive oil and mix on medium speed for about five to seven minutes. If the dough is too dry add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time. If too wet, add a little flour, again a tablespoon at a time. Once the dough comes together cover the bowl with a damp towel and let sit for a couple of hours to relax.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Cut the dough in half at this point you can either make two pizzas or refrigerate or freeze one of the pizza dough. Using a rolling pin, lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough out until it fits the diameter of the sheet pan. Alternately, if you’ve worked in a pizzeria before you can try to stretch the dough with your hands. Top with your favorite sauce, fixings, and cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is slightly toasted.

A Bean By Any Other Name: Garbanzo, Ceci, Chickpea

Top (L to R) Garbanzo beans with kalamata olives, roasted peppers, lemon & olive oil, accompanied with roasted goat cheese stuffed figs wrapped with prosciutto. With parsley, vinegar and olive oil. Bottom (L to R): With whole wheat pasta, saute of greens, shredded cheese, and prosciutto. With brown rice, peppers, pistachios, olive oil, and vinegar.

I know I’ve been down this road with earlier posts. I’m a big fan of the legume and in our house, they’re almost always prepped and on hand for any number of uses. Our pressure cooker makes easy work of cooking dry beans. It takes a good 30 minutes to go from dry to tender. And because we don’t buy them in cans, we’re not only saving money, we’re reducing waste.

The ceci bean (or garbanzo or chickpea or Egyptian pea) cooks just as quickly as any other hard, dry bean in spite of their rough and tough exterior. I love these beans for their firm texture and their warm, nutty flavor. Never mind that they’re packed with fiber and protein as well as a host of minerals including calcium and phosphorus. Most of us know them in pureed form as hummus, but we eat them in a variety of ways – whole in salads, as an addition to brothy soups, as a spread on bruschetta and as a companion to whole wheat pastas.

After picking over the dry beans to remove dirt and rocks, give them a good rinse and then place them in a bowl and cover with plenty of water before soaking them overnight. After soaking, rinse the beans well and place them in a large stock pot, cover with fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer beans for approximately one and a half hours or until just tender. They should be completely softened. This isn’t an instance where you want ‘al dente’ centers. You can skip the soaking step if you’re using a pressure cooker. Be sure to reduce the cooking time to approximately 25 minutes. You’ll want to release the pressure after 15 minutes to check them. Adjust the remaining cooking time accordingly.

Dry Garbanzo Beans

Cooked ceci beans are fine hot, but they’re even better at room temperature. Simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh chopped parsley, course sea salt and a dash of red wine vinegar, these beauties offer up a hearty, comforting bite.

Steve & Jason