Paulie Gee and Mary Ann (Mrs. Gee) and Jon and I do brunch double dates every so often. It’s a great time! I shot this portrait of Mr. Gee at M. Shanghai. If you go there, get the eggplant salad. If you go with Paulie, make sure to order two. He died over it.
The Akira Kurosake, Land of the Rising Dough, Greenpointzilla!, For Heaven’s Saké, etc
But he is a man who keeps his word, so don’t worry – someone is getting a damn pie!
Paulie Gee’s response:
“We are going to go with a name suggested by our busser Jake. It will be called Sake Mountain Way, a take off on the Joe Walsh song Rocky Mountain Way. Jake was inspired by whomever suggested Sake Balboa, so whomever suggested that is the winner.”
Congratulations Julie! (Email me to claim your winning pie – greenpointers at gmail.com)
And thanks for everyone who commented!
Here is another pie Paulie needs help naming, which he says “was inspired by my favorite calzone. Fresh mootz, sliced Canadian bacon, sweet Italian fennel sausage, a touch of fresh basil and post-oven ricotta dollops.”
That looks good!
Hints: Paulie is big into music and said it could start with “Ricotta Be…”
After a windy and cold shoot last night, my photo crew warmed up with a great dinner at Paulie Gee’s. When we walked in I couldn’t help but notice the delicious smell of fresh tomato sauce. Paulie said they’d just made a Vodka Sauce, but instead of vodka used Sake. Well that’s a fantastic idea. He gave us a try of the pie, that was topped with mozzarella and basil. It was delicious, less sweet and more deeply flavored and richer than his regular marinara sauce. Before he puts it on the menu he needs to come up with a name, but he needs some help.
That is where you clever readers come in! If he picks the new name of the pie from the comments, you get a free sake sauce pizza pie!
Think, japan, sake, samurai swords, dragons, etc. Good luck!
Mary Ann and I usually do ladies brunch (she’s a riot!) but last weekend we decided to invite the boys and met at Adelina’s (159 Greenpoint Ave), which was just rated a top 7 brunch by Brokelyn.
Paulie was there to try to the fried pizza, which you know I adore.
I was there to put the rice balls to the test.
Rice balls are my favorite food, I grew up eating my Nonna’s rice balls, therefore I am a tough judge.
I am used to gigantic rice balls. Rocco (dad) makes fun of Marcy (mom) because her rice balls are the size of grapefruits, but after their name Arancini should be the size of small oranges. But we are in America so everything is bigger right?
So I was surprised when the waitress said three rice balls come in one portion. Adelina’s owner, Toby gave us four so we didn’t have to share. Rice balls are not meant for sharing.
The rice balls were on the smaller size, about the size of a hand ball and perfectly breaded and fried. Not complaining; the smaller they are, the more fried surface area to enjoy! They were served with a light tomato sauce for dipping.
They were not too crunchy on the outside (which was my complaint at Arancini Brothers) and nice and creamy and flavorful on the inside, with a pinkish hue.
Unlike some rice balls that are stuffed in the center with cheese and meat, these had cheese running throughout the rice, which makes sense since these are small.
Toby and I texted rice balls knowledge (for real):
First I wanted to know about the bread crumbs, which are not panko as I had wondered but are made with bread crumbs from the whole wheat bread made in-house.
Butter? You bet! Toby makes a traditional risotto first with butter, then adds parmesan cheese at the end. The pinkish hue is from some tomato sauce added at the end, but you can also use pesto.
Toby will let us know when he has pesto rice balls on the menu and next time I am ordering all three for myself.
You know that adorable table at Paulie Gee’s where you can hang out, have a beer and show your appreciation for the amazing pizza and hospitality by writing a note and sticking it in the secret box in the table? Someone took off with all the notes that customers left over the past two and a half years.
Paulie is seriously heartbroken and wants them returned. Any information leading to the safe return of those precious notes would be greatly appreciated. If you have them, do the right thing and stick them in an envelope and mail them back anonymously (60 Greenpoint Ave). They are worth so much in sentimental value.
When I was lucky enough to attend the Paulie Gee Christmas party and have dinner with the man himself, I was able to use the skills I learned in my interviewing class to find out how he made his delicious red pasta sauce. (note: this is not the sauce he uses on his pizza.)
“Oh man! This is so good. How do you make this?”
“Are these San Marzano tomatoes?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Paulie, Come on. I need to know what kind of tomatoes these are.”
“It’s a secret.”
“You have to tell me!”
(My interview method is called: The Whiny Interrogation.)
As I rolled my eyes and grumbled and complained, he explained the simple recipe. It was the easiest sauce I’ve ever made, and maybe one of the most delicious in its simplicity.
The key here is vidalia onions, the ones that look squashed. They are so sweet and mild you can eat them raw. (Paulie can’t.)
Sautee one chopped vidalia onion with a few cloves of garlic (Paulie doesn’t use garlic, I did.) in olive oil. (I added red chili flakes, too.) Transfer to a bowl. Over that add a generous amount of fresh basil leaves, which steam from the heat and release a lot of flavor. Then add your tomatoes – I used 2 cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes, which I find to be superior to other canned tomatoes found in the grocery store. I used a food mill to crush them and remove the seeds.
Leave the bowl covered on the counter overnight, and depending on whether you want the onion and basil in there, you can put it all through the food mill again before you make your pasta.
What I love about making this sauce is all the other dishes besides pasta I can make with it.
One of the most simple dishes I make is cauliflower stewed in tomato sauce. In a pot, saute garlic and olive oil and red pepper flakes. Add enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pot, then add pieces of cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Add some tomato sauce over the cauliflower and some water to the bottom of the pot. Cover and let it steam for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. At the end, add some grated Parmesan cheese. This can be eaten on its own or, if cooked down a lot, can be used atop pasta.
Another great way to use the sauce is to stew greens with beans. I love white beans with escarole and chick peas with spinach. I like to make this even more oniony, so I saute more onions with garlic and, of course, red pepper flakes. Then I add a can of beans. Once those cook down for a few minutes add your green. Season with salt and pepper. This is one of my accidentally vegan dishes. After I cook it, I say, “and it’s vegan, too!” I’m not vegan, but I have friends who are.
The next day I love to poach an egg in tomato sauce. This is so easy. In a small pot, pour in some sauce and let it heat up a bit. Crack an egg in, season the yolk with salt and pepper and cover. Lower the heat and after 5 minutes you have a warm delicious saucy egg that is great topped with cheese and served with Italian bread. You can poke it to see how runny or firm it is.
And if you do happen to use the food mill to remove the tomato seeds and the onions bits, you can use that to top pizza or bruschetta! There are five ways to use the sauce right there!