I hadn’t been to Jones Food Center in Vermillion since the college days at the U. Didn’t even know they’d become world famous since I left (‘O,’ The Oprah Magazine called Mister Smith’s Bakery in Jones Food Center home of “the best bread in the world” in 2002). Back then, it was the local grocery store. And it still is today, but much more chic. They even sell organic ginseng cola. How more chic can you be?
I was in V-town today working on a project with my wise architect friend Tom. He’s “the other architect from Vermillion” (there are only two). Along with Lindsey from the RLC, Tom and I camped out in his dining room, overlooking Nebraska and his aspiring vineyard, with Jim the cat. I’m allergic to Jim the cat. And Jim likes to pounce on my lap. Tom had benedril close by.
He also showed me his basement “lab,” where he’s been building a scale model of a giant sun dial. Very awesome. We call his place Chez Bernadette, after his wonderful English-born wife. Don’t worry, her parents live in France–it’s OK to use a fancy French word. Bernadette makes a walloping English tea, and Tom doesn’t do too bad with it either. Always a fun place to work for a day.
So, back to Jones Food Center…Being oblivious to the fame of Mr. Smith, I was a bit surprised that Tom drug us to a grocery store deli for lunch. After all, Tom is the guy who’s always looking for a wine list at the bowling alley in the tiny rural towns we work together in. So, it was a pleasant surprise to find the wonderful sandwiches and at least 12 different kinds of soup. I had some sort of vegetarian portobello mushroom and pepper grilled sandwich that was fabulous. Tom bought me a world famous Mr. Smith baguette for the road. We ate it tonight with our supper.
A Pizza Experiment
Speaking of supper, I used up the last of the experimental bread dough. It became a multi-tool–dressed up as a pizza crust. I bought a bunch of fresh veggies at Jones today, and loaded the crust up with those, along with a bit of grilled chicken, some alfredo sauce (yes–I know there’s cheese in it–I’m only human) and a touch of Fat Boy Haugwash sprinkled on top just before the oven (our favorite barbecue sauce). The veggie list: red onion, bell pepper, jalepeno pepper (only on one corner–just to clear out my sinuses), fresh spinach leaves, artichoke hearts, zucchini, roma tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms (seems so much more friendly to call it veggie instead of fungus), some herbs, and lots of crushed garlic cloves. I tried to slide the whole thing onto a stone in the 500 degree oven, but that was a disaster waiting to happen. So, I ended up just baking it on the cookie sheet I was using as a substitute pizza peel. Worked out just fine.
At least one lesson learned though: don’t sprinkle the corn meal on the super hot stone until the dough is ready to go right on top of it. We had smoke alarms going postal on us…