Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fricos (Page 29)

  • Date: Saturday, January 26, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Cornelia, Chuck, Lynn, Beth, Paul K, Lauren K, and Jeremy
  • Recipe Rating: B

I was looking for something easy, crowd-friendly, and vegetarian from the "Hors d'Oeuvres and First Courses" section of The Book for our dinner party last weekend and this is what I came up with. Fricos are essentially just cooked parmesan cheese. You can make them in a frying pan or in the oven -- this recipe calls for the latter. The idea is that the cheese melts, forming crispy, cheesy deliciousness. In general I like fricos a lot, but I didn't find this recipe to be a particularly good instance. Often fricos are made without the addition of any flour. This makes them very fragile, but also very crispy. This recipe called for flour to be mixed with the cheese, and the outcome was not as good as the flour-less recipes. The flour made them more chewy than crispy, and much less delicate. Fricos normally seem very sophisticated -- they are often shaped into cups and used to hold delicate green salads for instance. In this case though, they seemed very unrefined. They were thicker and chewier than usual fricos, and altogether less appealing. That said, they weren't bad. It's baked cheese. Baked cheese tastes good. I ate them and I liked them, but I wouldn't use this recipe again if I needed some fricos.

Here is the recipe.

Cooking disaster of the week: Yesterday evening, after eating way too much chocolate (and drinking too much chocolate beer!) at the Chocolate Fest, Paul and I decided we would make some non-chocolate pizza from The Book. Back in the day Paul and I used to do a lot of cooking from The Book, but it has been I don't know how long (wait, I can check: more than a year and a half) since we have cooked together. So I was excited about this culinary reunion. Paul was less excited when I told him that what we were making was potato pizza. Anyway, we made some pizza dough and let it rise while we were preheating the pizza stone in a 500 degree oven. In the meantime we were hanging out on the sofa, looking through a book of word puzzles (yes, we are nerds!). We must have been concentrating pretty hard on those puzzles, because it wasn't until I started coughing that I looked up and noticed that my apartment had filled with smoke. We ran to the oven, and flung open the door to be met with billows of smoke. Strangely though, nothing inside was burning. In fact, there wasn't anything inside. Just the pizza stone. And stone isn't really known to burn. Nonetheless, there was smoke everywhere. We turned the oven down from 500 degrees to 350, and eventually off in order to get the smoke to stop. When we turned the oven back on later to actually cook the pizza, there was no more smoke. But the damage had already been done. The air in my apartment was thick with smoke. We opened a bunch of windows (brrr....) and turned on the ceiling fan, but still we had to spend more than an hour laying on the floor in order to breathe clear air. It was another two hours before my eyes stopped burning. Eventually we shut all the windows, but even now, more than 24 hours later, my apartment is saturated with the smell of smoke. So I am sitting here with the windows open, in the middle of the winter, trying to clear the air... At least tonight I can safely sit on the sofa, rather than lying on the floor!

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