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5 minute pizza dough

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

5 minute pizza dough

Pizza dough in 5 minutes.  Seriously, why would I buy it when it takes only five minutes to throw together?  My husband is the one who then shapes the pizza dough into rounds and he swears that our own pizza dough is better than anything we buy.  I’ve tried to trick him a few times, but he can always tell.  In the winter when it’s cold it does take a bit longer for the dough to rise, but even then I sometimes speed it up by warming up the oven and then placing the bowl near the oven or even on the hearth of the fireplace.  In the summer months, it can take as little as an hour to rise.  Here’s how we make it and it has never failed, not even once.

5 – Minute Pizza Dough

3 to 3 1/2 cups flour

1 cup warm tap water

1 package yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for bowl

Put three cups of flour into a large bowl and add the salt and mix with a spoon.  Add the package of yeast to a cup of warm water and stir with a fork to mix.  Add it to the flour and salt and mix with a spoon.  Add the olive oil and mix again.  It will be very clumpy, yes clumpy.  Pour it onto a floured surface and knead with the heel of your hand for a couple of minutes shaping it into a ball.  Place the formed ball into a bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil.  The bowl should be large enough for the dough to rise and double in size.  Place a clean dish towel over the bowl and find a warm spot.  That’s it.  Once it has doubled in size take the dough from the bowl and divide into two parts and shape by pulling and pressing it out with your hands or a rolling pin.  Then transfer it to a pizza peel that is coated with a very thin layer or sprinkling of yellow corn meal.  This makes it easier to transfer the pizza to the pizza stone in the oven.

5 minute pizza dough

5 minute pizza dough

5 minute pizza dough

happy birthday madeline

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Today is my daughter Madeline’s 18th birthday.  Like all mothers say, how can that be?  It seems like just yesterday she was two and we were getting her Piglet costume ready for Halloween.   But yes, she’s 18.  Old enough to vote in the next Presidential election. I asked her a few days ago what kind of cake she would like.  Her response was, “ooooh, remember that cake dad used to bring home from The Little Pie Company?”  So this morning I said good bye to my 18 year old and watched her drive away in her Audi, the same car I drove for five years.  A few minutes later I’m dropping my 8th grader at school just in time to make the 8:03 train to Grand Central so that I could pick up a $23 chocolate cake on West 43rd Street in Manhattan– because that’s what mothers do.  Or at least the crazy ones.  It turned out to be a wonderful morning.  I walked the city streets on one of the first brisk days of the season and was back  just as the kids arrived home.birthday cakeThe Little Pie Company in New York CityThe Little Pie Company is located on West 43rd Street between 9th and 10th avenues.  I love that they still tie up the box.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ina Garten is #39 on Gourmet’s List of 50 Women Game-Changers in Food.   Since receiving her very first book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, in 1999 and reading it cover to cover I have been a huge fan of Ina.  She is everything I embrace about cooking and entertaining.  I make so many of Ina’s dishes every week that I had a difficult time choosing a recipe.
photo:  Food Network
What I like about Ina’s recipes is that often I can come up with something wonderful to make without even making a trip to the market.  From Ina I’ve learned what to keep in my pantry and refrigerator so that I’m always prepared.  She makes everything beautiful, but not complicated.  That’s what I love.  I designed my kitchen, on smaller scale after her barn kitchen.  I loved the symmetry, the black, white and natural palette and the open shelving.  The recipe I chose to highlight is one that I made last Saturday for lunch.  It was one we had never made before, but as we were flipping through Ina’s cookbooks, we came across this recipe for Chive Risotto Cakes.  Delicious, easy…it did not disappoint.
With simple ingredients like arborio rice, panko bread crumbs, eggs, Greek yogurt, fontina cheese and fresh chives which I grow year round…Chive Risotto Cakes made for the perfect weekend lunch with a simple green salad.
Mary from One Prefect Bite started this project and I found out about it from Sue of The View From Great Island.  The following bloggers post recipes and stories every Friday.  Check out what they’ve featured for Ina Garten. 

                                                           Joanne – Eats Well With Others
                                                           Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed
                                                           Susan - The Spice Garden
                                                           Heather - girlichef
                                                           Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney
                                                           Mary – One Perfect Bite
                                                           Barbara – Movable Feasts
                                                           Jeanette – Healthy Living
                                                           Linda - Ciao Chow Linda
                                                           Linda A - There and Back Again
                                                           Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits,
                                                           Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen
                                                           Nancy – Picadillo
                                                           Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook
                                                           Kathy- Bake Away With Me 
                                                           Alyce – More Time at the Table
                                                          
Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades

Sending love & chocolate for . . .

Friday, February 10, 2012

I have a few friends that throughout the year we surprise each other with little gifts.  This time I’m sending them a box with a few things I’m loving right now.
At Christmas, my sister included a box of Tazo Wild Sweet Orange Tea.  It’s the best tea I’ve had in a long time.  The only place that I can find that has this exact flavor is Whole Foods.  And they also happen to have this candy bar.…almonds, sea salt and dark chocolate.  I try to make the bar last the entire week…or sometimes I just eat the entire bar on my way home from the market…there are those days.
I also included a little package of shortbread cookies with a lemon glaze.  These are my sons favorite cookies.  Here’s the recipe:
 Lorna’s Shortbread Cookies
3 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
Mix butter, sugar and vanilla until combined.  Add flour and mix together.  On plastic wrap, form dough into rectangles and square the edges.  It makes 3 to 4 rectangle logs.  Refrigerate for an hour or over night and slice while still cold about 1/4 inch thick and bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 10 minutes in a 350º oven.
For the glaze, add a scoop of confectioner’s sugar and a little fresh lemon juice.  Whisk together adding a little water if necessary until it is very thin.  Spoon the glaze over the cookies on a cooling rack over parchment or wax paper to collect the glaze that runs off.

I wrapped the chocolate using white paper and twine and then made little tags on card stock.  I used a red paper reinforcement and attached it to the knotted twine with a mini clothespin from the Advent Calendar project.  Since we are moving in June…I am trying hard not to buy anything.
I used supplies that I’ve had for years.  I tied the boxes of tea with strips of red and white gingham fabric.  Out and about in Laguna Beach this week we came across the most beautiful children’s shop. The entire shop is wonderfully decorated and they had these little necklaces that had a few charms on a piece of red window pane fabric.  I don’t have children young enough for this shop, but it was worth a visit just to see how the owner displayed things, worked with the space to make it a very charming shop called Hillary.
Now that these packages are in the mail I can concentrate on those living under my roof.  Growing up my mom celebrated every holiday with a special meal, beautifully wrapped presents and always an amazing dessert.  At Valentine’s Day that would most likely mean a homemade red velvet cake. I had better get going…

Thanksgving in Napa

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Just an eight hour drive North of Dana Point and the most beautiful colors of autumn that you could ever hope for awaited us in Napa, California.  It rained through the night and there was fog in the hills, but the sun came out and it was the most beautiful Thanksgiving day.
The colors were amazing . . . everywhere you looked, something was blooming.
We’ve had some memorable Thanksgivings over the years…a lot of them spent with family and friends and cooking big feasts, but others just as memorable where we’ve traveled and made it seem like Thanksgiving…even on the train from London to Paris, or this one, where it wasn’t until Thanksgiving morning when my husband had made several calls to make reservations for our Thanksgiving meal.  This time of year always reminds me of what I’m most thankful for. . . my family.  I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving. . . wherever you are.
I have so much lavender growing in my yard I don’t know why it never occurred to me to bring it inside.  They smell beautiful.  I made several little arrangements using jars I’ve been saving.  Years ago my sister said always save your dijon mustard jars to use to bring salad dressing on the go.  Brilliant….now I’m saving every jar and using them for a multitude of things.  The best way I have found to get the labels off is the Spray Gel Goo Gone.

In the bedroom…

and in Madeline’s bathroom.  When looking for something to keep make up cotton rounds and q-tips, I came across her silver baby cups.  One is engraved in script and the other block letters…love them.

Recently I sprayed all the lids black…looks better in my pantry.  I took dinner to a friend and put the home made dressing in a little jar.  All she had to do was give it good shake and toss with the salad. 

$3 tomato = lunch

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yesterday we were in Santa Monica and Wednesday is the day of their farmer’s market.  We were handed a tomato wedge with sea salt.   We bought one…it was $3, but worth every penny!

Delicious just with a little S & P . . .

. . . but even better in a bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwich.

It’s pouring rain in Southern California and with temperatures in the 60s there is no chance of the rain turning to snow.  This was the photo from our Christmas card when we lived in Connecticut in 2002.  I was still using film back then so it wasn’t until a few days later that I realized I had this shot.  I’m pretty sure this was the first photo I took that day and their instincts were of course to catch snowflakes…perfect!

I would like to think I give quite a bit of thought every year into our family Christmas cards…but this one is still our favorite.

We loved the photo so much we had it enlarged to 60 x 40 and it hangs in our stairway with our other black and white photos.

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