Book Club – Oct 1st, 2009 Edition

The following is a guest post by Andrew Shalit.

[flickr size=”medium” float=”center”]3987341426[/flickr]

October 1st was Superheated Cast Iron Pizza night at the Cooking for Geeks Book Club. If you’ve ever wondered how you could make a great pizza without the benefit of an oven, tonight was your night. [flickr size=”small”]3983212655[/flickr]

[flickr size=”small”]3983971648[/flickr] First, though, we had an impromptu lecture on the microbiology of cheese from guest geek Rachel. When most people think “ecosystem” they think Costa Rica, the African Savanna, or a tropical reef. When Rachel thinks “ecosystem” she thinks brie, gruyere, and camembert
With the help of Jeff’s trusty microscope, we got close up and personal with the little critters that give our favorite cheeses their wonderful flavors. Thanks, Rachel! Cheese will never be the same for me. [flickr size=”small”]3986589479[/flickr]
Then it was on to the main event. Food geeking is, above all, about experimentation, persistence, and trial-and-error. If you never want to fail, you should eat PB&J for the rest of your life. But if you’re willing to go out on a limb, you might ultimately be rewarded with a wonderful new food discovery. [flickr size=”small”]3983208713[/flickr]
That’s a long way of saying that our first attempts at stove-top pizza didn’t work out terribly well. They were certainly edible, partly because we were so hungry. But the crusts weren’t fully cooked and the toppings tasted flat. [flickr size=”small”]3983209367[/flickr]
Jeff tried to remedy the situation with a little help from the broiler, but even that didn’t get us a pizza that we’d want to have again. [flickr size=”small”]3983209731[/flickr]
Jeff kept going though, and ultimately we did find the solution: a second superheated cast-iron pan! By sandwiching the pizza between two slabs of superhot iron, we got a pizza with a thin, crispy, well-cooked crust and beautifully roasted toppings. It is a meal that we all plan on repeating. [flickr size=”small”]3983211549[/flickr]