Monday, April 29, 2013

Pizza Party

We recently hosted a pizza party for friends on a Saturday night. This was a kid-friendly event, specifically because I'd already spent a fortune on a babysitter the night before. 

With the farmer's market now in full swing, I got several items for the pizzas there. Some of it came from the cold frame, and the rest, friends brought. 

I made two batches of pizza dough the day before (it takes a day) and had that ready to go before the guests arrived. Ditto the prep on the veggies. I also made a batch of ricotta for one of the toppings. One friend is Gluten Free, and brought her own pizza crust. 

Here's what we did: 

Pizza Dough
Make one day in advance

7/12 cups all purpose flour, plus some extra
4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

Mix flour, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add three cups of warm water and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated. You may use your hands to make sure that the flour in the bottom gets added in. Cover bowl completely with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a draft-free place for at least 18 hours. 

After that time, the dough will look very bubbly and very voluminous. Punch it down to remove from the bowl and put in on a floured work surface. If it feels a little wet, sprinkle a little extra flour on it. Here, you will divide the dough into six portions of roughly the same size. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel for one hour (resting time) before baking. 

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. 

Pizza Sauce
Make four hours in advance, or use jarred sauce

3 cans diced tomatoes in tomato juice
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. majoram or thyme
1 Tbsp. olive oil (optional)

Open cans and put in a medium sized sauce pan over the lowest heat. Press the garlic, add the salt, and herbs, and stir every 1/2 hour or so. It should not come to a boil, but reduce over time. It can take three to four hours to start to thicken. Season to taste and use as sauce for pizza. 

Suggested Toppings

Spring green onions
Grape Tomatoes
Diced Bell Peppers
Pitted olives
Pepperoni or Salami
Queso Fresco
Ricotta Cheese

Participants were given a baking sheet and parchment to line it. Then, they did whatever moved them. Bake pizzas in the 500 degree oven for about 12-14 minutes until the crust is lightly brown and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and cut as you please. 

We did have toppings left over the following day, and I incorporated those into an egg strata for dinner that evening. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Fridge, Again

Mr. Jeffrey Immelt
Chief Executive Officer
General Electric Company
3135 Easton Turnpike
Fairfield, CT 06828
(via mail)

Mr. Charles Blankenship
President and CEO
GE Consumer & Industrial
Louisville, KY

GE Appliance Headquarters
AP6, Room 129
Louisville, KY 40255
(via mail)

Dear Mr. Immelt, Mr. Blankenship and other GE Appliance Professionals:

My name is Tina Engberg. I am a food blogger and a cheese maker in Atlanta. I am also the wife of a UPS executive, PTA volunteer, Scout Leader, and mother to two wild and crazy boys, ages 7 and 10. I rely on my GE Monogram refrigerator, which we purchased through the GE Appliance Store through the “friends and family” program on 12/20/2005, for a variety of things, the least of which is providing safe food storage for my family. At the time we purchased the refrigerator (along with several other appliances), my brother, Charles Brickley, was an employee of GE Capital.

We purchased the ZIS480NR, Serial number AL031077, and the ZIFI240PII Custom Panels. We even sprung for the GEN0010B48 Four year in-home Service plan. That coverage, which we never made use of, ended 1/20/2011.

We installed the appliances into our new home in May 2007, in time to move in on June 16th, 2007. While we waited for the construction of our home to be complete, the refrigerator sat, in the garage, in its original crating. A professional installer put the refrigerator in for our contractor.

Since I want to get to the meat of the matter, which incidentally, is warming right now in an IGLOO cooler, this refrigerator has been nothing but a source of contention for our family. It is the worst appliance I’ve ever owned, and I want my money back. I have spent thousands of dollars I didn’t need to spend to replace food that shouldn’t have gone bad. My next door neighbor graciously allows me to put food in her deep freezer when ours is out, which is more often than anyone should endure.

I could go on and on about the fridge itself, but it might bore you, since I have the impression that I’m not the only one who owns such a poor excuse of a refrigerator. The ice-maker stopped working within the first three months of operation; we lived without. We would experience unreasonable fluctuations in the temperature between the freezer and the refrigerator. The “chiller drawer” in the bottom went out at about a year. We have had our trusted appliance person (whose father worked at the Lynn, MA GE Plant for over 40 years) replace the motherboard, HMI Board, Touch pad, Icemaker, and Damper and the Crisper Control Panel. Nothing. Right now, it’s 62 degrees in both sections. Thank goodness our technician responds immediately to my phone calls. He doesn’t charge me for more than the parts he orders and waits to receive (three weeks for a single part to be delivered on a rush order; impressive JIT Manufacturing GE!) GE, on the other hand, charges for Home Calls (where else would this appliance be?) just to walk through my door.

At one point, in April 2012, we even tried to take advantage of what my husband called “a good factory service deal” that he learned about through one of the GE online newsletters he receives. On 5/15/12, your technician Henry Pomocnik (Tech 60) came to “Unblock the air return” and put a new stripper in the ice-maker. When we tried to reach Henry a few days later when what he fixed became unfixed again, we were not able to reach him. Successive messages to GE’s Consumer Service went unanswered. Since then, we’ve found a responsive service person to help us, but this refrigerator is beyond repair, and I want you to buy it back from us.

The IRONY of all of this is that my husband’s maternal great-grandfather, Charles Tripp, headed the refrigeration unit at GE’s Lynn, MA plant; there’s a statue outside the plant dedicated to his service to General Electric and the innovations he made in home refrigeration for your company. We wanted to buy GE products because it really meant something to the family, to support the business that provided great opportunity and prosperity for Mr. Tripp and his daughters.

I would appreciate hearing from you, especially, Mr. Blankeship. My cell is 678-xxx-xxxx.

Thank you,

Christina B. Engberg