Kenmore goes pro

Sears is a little late to the professional appliance party. Long after Wolf, Viking, Blue Star have issued pseudo-professional lines for home use, here's the Kenmore entry.

I have a Kenmore Elite electric stove in my newly re-done kitchen. Reading the announcement about the new Kenmore Pro line in the New York Times this morning made me re-visit the decision I made last summer to go with a Kenmore Elite stove.

I am reasonably satisfied with my Kenmore's oven features, including a convection mode and the warming drawer, but the stovetop has a lot to be desired. My stove's ceramic-glass top lost its show room shine after I cooked with it just one time and, though I am not the most tidy cook, I think it is difficult to keep the stove top just passably clean. It is also takes a long time to get hot.

I chose the Kenmore line because it was recommended by Consumer Reports. My mom didn't think the Sears stove was a wise move . . . and she was right.

I can't help but to be a little bit annoyed since I bet that means they aren't making my stove anymore, so my new kitchen is already starting to get outdated, but maybe I should be happy I don't have the uber-industrial look?

If professional styled appliances will now be avilalbe for everyone at Sears will the high-style kitchen crowd start to move away from the restaurant kitchen look?


Trip to the Farmer's Market for pizza toppings

After watching Wolfgang Puck make pizza on Martha Stewart's show earlier this week, I started getting excited for the weekend and my first chance to use our new Kitchen Aid mixer: pizza dough! R*, CQ and I are having our regular Sunday dinner together tonight and I thought it would be great to pick out a bunch of spring vegetable toppings.

Yesterday, after a stop at Tom's Diner for crab cakes and fried eggs, I headed out to the Grand Army Plaza Farmer's Market, between Park Slope and Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, determined to find what I would need to top four eight inch pizzas.

I was hoping for ramps, but the first thing I came across was spinach and scallions at the Phillips Farm stand. The rain-wet air had kept them looking springy crisp and green.

Next, at another stand, I found beautiful but picked-over Jersey asparagus. The one crate of asparagus, carefully wrapped in moist burlap, was definitely the star of the market: the Park Slopers were lining up to get at it, so I couldn't snap a photo of it. I don't know why people pulled all the thicker stalks out and only bought the pencil thin pieces. I think the thicker pieces of asparagrus will best stand up to the heat of the oven when I bake my pizzas. You should have seen how happy the woman behind me was when she saw I was going to leave her the last of the thin pieces.

He also had one lonely leek left. I grabbed it before anyone else could. Leek pizza? Sure, why not.

As I paid, the farmer (and this guy was the real farmer, who really grew the stuff he sold, it's great when that happens) who was running the stand said that he would have brought more asparagus, but that he thought that it would rain and close the market early, so he didn't bring too much of the good stuff with him.

I started to see that there wasn't going to be a large selection of vegetables for my pizza.

This week, the market was mostly about flowers and those apples they've been pushing all winter. (Nothing against apples, but I want the spring stuff!)

And the fish stand was out of shrimp, clams and scallops. I grabbed some potatoes -- I could use up the pesto I bought for ministrone soup a while back and make a pesto and potato pizza similar to what I discovered when I was interning in San Francisco.

I realized I needed some color, so I picked up some peppers. They aren't really a spring vegetable and they seemed a little over priced, but I went for it.

I started to head home, but then I decided I'd check the organic greens stand. I don't stop at their stand that often because I think the people who run the stand aren't friendly. Part of the fun of the farmer's market is talking to the vendors and learning from them. In the spirit of my pizza project, I thought I would give them another try.

I saw this elegant Red Russian Kale. The leaves are so finely detailed, each outlined in purple. I didn't think they would do well in the oven and the woman running the stand coldly agreed. Instead, I got some baby broccoli rabe and headed home to make the pizza dough.

Now, how best to combine these into three pizzas?

Broccoli rabe
Roast garlic
Pancetta or prosciutto?

Leek or Pesto?


Would the asparagus go better with #2 or #3 or should I make more than three pizzas? And what cheeses will work best?