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Commentary link Photo I Like Yinzerism/Pittsburgh Advocacy

Is Pittsburgh The New Austin?

pittsburgh

Clickhole poses the question, making a compelling argument:

http://www.clickhole.com/article/pittsburgh-new-austin-austin-we-hoped-and-dreamed–1227

…but no, gentle readers, Pittsburgh is neither the new Austin nor next Portland.  Those places were just plain old rough drafts for the final, perfected product.

http://www.pinterest.com/chuckjunk9/pittsburgh-king-of-cities/

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The Twelve Days of Halloween 2014: Score!

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The Twelve Days of Halloween 2014: Day 11& Counting

No freaking lords a leapin’ here–but we’re working on the ladies dancing.

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The Twelve Days of Halloween Day 10: Marker Jack-O-Lantern

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The Twelve Days of Halloween 2014: Day 9 & Counting

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Photo I Like

The Twelve Days of Halloween 2014: Day 8 & Counting

The Skull-headed dude really freaks me out.  I made certain to follow the scariest vintage Halloween image yet with the most benign, reassuring, traditional, warm image I could find, but as kind and warm as the apple-bobbing lady seems, I think I’m going to see Skull-head in my nightmares.

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bobbing

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Pizza Night! Post Your Pizza Pictures Here

Let’s see what you’ve got.  Post a link to your pizza pictures in the comments section.  Ours were perfect, even if the toppings were not particularly inspired–two pies with pepperoni on half and just cheese on half.  One of the better crusts I’ve made in a while.  Sorry the post is late–couldn’t take my eyes off of that Steelers game, and then it took me twenty minutes to find the damned cord to connect the camera to the computer.

Here’s mine:

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Commentary Recipe

Make A Pizza Night–Cooking Yer Pie

The Make a Pizza Night Post will appear Sunday around 7pm–at which point this sentence will turn into a link

Okay, so you’ve got your ingredients and you’re ready to go.  Here are a few final notes.

20120129-cheesypizza1. Preheat your oven a little longer than you think is necessary.

2. If you’re using a pan, make sure to oil the pan when you squeeze the dough out to the edge.

3. If you poke a hole in the middle, just tear a little extra off the edge and patch it!

4. A pizza peel and stone will raise your game considerably–the stone is just what it implies, a piece of porous rock-ish material that sits on your oven rack and provides a pizza-peelbaking surface.  When you put your pizza on the hot stone, moisture is drawn from the crust into the stone, making your pizza lighter and crisper on the outside.  It’s like magic.  The peel is like a giant pancake flipper with which you slide your pizza onto the stone.  To use a peel correctly, dust the surface of the peel with cornmeal, which allows the pie to slide off and on easily. Its like magic.

5. A pizza will cook faster on the pre-heated stone than on a metal pan.  Keep an eye on that bad boy so you don’t burn it.

6. Remember, that necessity is the mother of invention–you don’t need anything fancy to do this.  Pizza is descended from a way to use leftovers–glopping stuff onto collegehumor.b0bf821e82f23ae124e5ad2d73c17e83slices of flatbread.  An old Italian man I knew as a kid–a guy who fled Mussolini by stowing away on a ship, with no money and no documents, and jumping off the ship to swim ashore when it reached New York–wouldn’t have dreamt of eating pizza after he established himself in this country.  He owned a bar and two houses.  Pizza was poor peoples’ food and beneath him.  Enjoy it accordingly.

Oh, yeh–don’t sleep in your pizza.  It’s not done in the best of families.

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Commentary

And The Home Team Makes The Playoffs

Indiana vs Hollidaysburg Football Photo by: Scoopbug http://news.scoopbug.com/index.php
http://news.scoopbug.com/index.php

Friday night, the local high school team, which we follow more closely than usual of late, owing to our familiarity with many of the players, pulled out another big win, and I’d be remiss not to mention it.  We live in a small town–about 30,000 folks in the two municipalities that, together, form our community, a university town surrounded by rolling foothills, agricultural land, spent coal mines and natural gas wells.  We’ve known a lot of these young men since preschool and kindergarten, and have watched them grow from awkward kids into accomplished athletes, students, and gentlemen.

http://www.indianagazette.com/news/endzoneextra/unsung-players-usher-indiana-into-playoffs,20821395/

It’s a down year, numbers-wise, for a school that’s not the biggest in it’s class to begin with.  Our school district is fortunate to offer kids a lot of opportunities–and the number of participants is down in general, although this year’s success should help.  The quality of play is not down, however.  The quarterback and receivers are arguably the best group of skill players ever put together locally, all time, and while not just a small in number, but physically smaller than many other teams, these kids never stop putting up a fight.  Perhaps more importantly, the guys I know are good, polite, academically accomplished students who don’t fit the usual stereotypes of high school jocks, particularly football players. I’m sure they’ve got their secrets–I know I did–but I have to say I’ve been honored to have them represent our community.

Of course, the pair of them who date my daughters better not take this praise for granted, and would still be wise to fear me.

 

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Commentary Recipe Uncategorized

I Dare You To Make A Pizza Night–Sauce

The Make a Pizza Night Post will appear Sunday around 7pm–at which point this sentence will turn into a link

I’m serious, man.   Make a pizza tonight.

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Picture stolen from some chick on tumblr

 

Sauce.  You can get some damn fine sauce at the store, but part of the joy of pizza is the path you take to get there, so I offer this.

Get a 28oz can of the best damn tomatoes you can buy.  San Marzano tomatoes.  Or, if you’re like us, get some frozen tomatoes from the deep freeze or a jar of self-canned tomatoes from the pantry shelf–if using the latter, a small can of good quality tomato past speeds the process.  In a pinch, you can use puree, but that’s cheating.  Of course, we’ll be cheating ourselves tonight on one of our pies–I’ve got a jar of locally made sauce from Labriolla’s Italian Deli & Grocery–and cheating is perfectly acceptable.  Abandon any recipe that calls for adding sugar.

While your crust is rising….

28oz tomatoes, fresh or canned, or puree
tomato paste if you want
olive oil
1 head of garlic
salt, pepper,
parsley, basil, oregano as desired
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium low heat in a large skillet, being careful not to scorch or burn the oil (you’ll smell it if you do, in which case just wash out the pan and start again being more careful and using less heat.)

Roughly mince about 4 cloves of garlic (or more if you’re feeling it, or less if you’re–well, there’s no need for insults) and toss it into the olive oil.  Cook it just long enough that the garlic releases its scent–I don’t know how else to explain it, because I’m not a trained cook, but sauteed garlic reaches a point where it releases a puff of sweet, garlicky goodness–pay attention and you’ll notice for yourself.  That scent means that it is perfectly done, and another 30 seconds will ruin it.  Get it off the heat, or get your tomatoes in there.

Put your tomatoes into the skillet and stir to mix in the olive oil and garlic.  Add an optional half cup of a hearty, clean wine–whatever you’ve got handy or open.  Then settle in, and stir every few minutes, until the sauce is reduced.  It will turn darker as you cook–that’s the sugars in the tomatoes changing.  I have an old Italian sauce recipe that calls for cooking all day until it turns brownish, the sugars partially carmelized, but we don’t need that for a nice, wholesome tomato sauce.  If the sauce does get too thick, simply add water a teaspoon at a time until you get a good consistency.  When you’re nearly done, add a tablespoon each of fresh finely chopped parsley, basil, and two teaspoons of oregano, a pinch of black pepper, and a scant teaspoon of salt–and cook it for about 5 more minutes–you’ll get a much better, fresher taste from your herbs this way than if you cooked them all along with the sauce. If you’re using dried oregano, leave it out of the sauce and just sprinkle it very lightly over the cooked pizza when you’re done.  Some people cook onions or peppers in their sauce–don’t.  Better to dice them and add them as a topping.