Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Welcome, baby: here's a pizza

It's baby season! Or soon-to-be-baby season; right now I'm surrounded by pregnant ladies and their anxious partners. Yesterday I heard from my oldest friend (oldest as in friendship duration, not as in age) that she's going to be having a little girl this winter; college friends are spawning all over the globe; and don't even get me started on how many friends here in San Francisco are "trying", which is a phrase that really needs to be banned. The biggest concentration of bebbes, though, has been at my office, where you can barely walk down the hallway without squeezing by an enormously pregnant lady. I almost spilled hot coffee on a belly today - serious faux pas.

I have learned so much about fetii in the last few weeks. Did you know babies hiccup in utero? It apparently helps with lung development. I watched my boss's stomach jump when her baby had the hiccups the other day. Did you know that a baby's fingers can get caught in the mother's ribs, necessitating chiropractic intervention? It happened to my coworker's wife. Did you know that a baby can kick its mother in the butthole from the inside? This happened to my coworker during a meeting last week. Her: Oop! Me: What's wrong? Her: Oh, the baby just kicked me in the butthole from the inside again. Me: THAZZ NOT OKAY.

Since I have absolutely nothing helpful to say to those expecting a child (except "Jesus, really? Wow, gross."), last night I cooked up a storm for a few coworkers who will soon be heading out on leave. I also drank most of a bottle of red wine and muttered at the radio while Malcolm Gladwell talked on NPR - I can't decide if that guy would be a delightful or infuriating dinner party guest. My kitchen wound up covered in sauce and my freezer is stuffed to the gills, but it was worth it this morning when I opened my cooler and my coworker's eyes bugged out of his head. The fastest way to get people to love you is to drown them in enchiladas, pizza dough and tomato sauce when they are most overwhelmed.
1/6 the output
I feel like I had a breakthrough on the enchilada front, so I'm going to give you the lowdown. I find canned sauce a little too thin and bitter, so I pump it up with some added ingredients. Maybe making it from scratch is next, but I'm not there yet. I started off with three cans of medium red enchilada sauce, and added them to a pot of onions and garlic cooked in oil until soft. I started reducing the sauce, then added jarred sundried tomatoes and their oil, honey, and lemon zest to taste. My handy immersion blender smoothed it all out when it was reduced to my liking. 

For the enchilada filling, I half-mooned a few different kinds of summer squash, drew out moisture by salting them for a half hour, then pan fried them for a few minutes to get some browning. On the bean front I went with canned kidney beans, but I usually prefer to go with dried beans cooked in a big batch at home with half an onion. The squash, beans, fresh corn right off the cob, and shredded cheddar went into the tortillas, into pans coated in the thickened sauce, into a final layer of sauce and cheese, into the oven at 375, and then, when the cheese on top was browned, into my belly.

I wanted the pans to cool completely before going in the freezer, so I put them out on the back porch. I wish I had a photo of them steaming into the fog.
What Mike and I did at 10 p.m. Shameful.
I also made a few batches of pizza dough and tomato sauce (which conveniently served as ice packs in the cooler today - when my boss was suffering from Pregnant Lady Overheating Syndrome I suggested she slap a pack of frozen sauce on her neck). My go-to tomato sauce recipe is simple: onions, garlic and red pepper flakes sizzled in olive oil, cans of whole tomatoes cooked down with some lemon zest (plus whatever I have on hand, usually basil, though last night I included arugula from the garden and olives), finished with some butter and whizzed together with the immersion blender.

These babies are gonna have it good.


Oh, Steph said...

You're a hero.

GGB said...

Aw, thanks. I also believe in heroism via food.