Recipes: PIZZA!!! (Pictured on pans after being baked on the pizza stone - I put them in the oven to keep them warm until dinner).
I'm not posting the recipe I use for pizza because it's not mine - it's a "secret family recipe" from a friend. But here's a really good one from the California Pizza Kitchen (note: it's only for 9"pizzas so I'd double it to make 2 good-sized pizzas).
By the way, a pizza stone makes a HUGE difference. Invest in one! And, while you're at it, get a pizza peel if you can so you can slide the pizza onto the pre-heated pizza stone in the oven. Keep the stone hot. Pre-heat at 500 F for a good 30-45 minutes before you use it. When the first pizza is done, scrape off excess cornmeal and cheese, then put the stone back in the oven for another 20 minutes if you can to bring the heat back into the stone. (careful! 500F is HOT!).
1 teaspoon yeast
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105 degrees to 110 degrees F)
1 ½ cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon for coating
Cornmeal and flour (to spread on pizza peel or pan before forming pizza dough)
Dissolve yeast in water, set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Combine all other ingredients (except 1 t. olive oil) with dissolved yeast in mixing bowl. Mix for 2-3 minutes, until dough is smooth & elastic. Lightly oil your hands & begin kneading the dough for 5 minutes. When done, dough should be slightly tacky.
Lightly oil the dough ball & interior of a 1-quart glass bowl. Place dough in bowl & seal airtight with clear food wrap. Set aside at room temperature to rise until double in bulk - about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Punch down. You can either use the dough now or wait until tomorrow! (About 2 hours prior to assembling pizza, remove dough from refrigerator. Use a sharp knife to divide dough into 2 equal portions. Let dough come to room temperature for 2 hours).
To form the dough
Generously sprinkle flour and cornmeal over a clean, smooth surface. [Form the dough on a pizza peel, large bread board or the back of a large cookie sheet so you can lift it and slide it onto the pizza stone). Carefully remove a dough ball. Flour dough liberally. Place floured dough on the floured smooth surface.
Use your hand or rolling pin to press dough down forming a flat circle about ½" thick. Pinch dough between your fingers all around edge of circle, forming a lip about ¼" above center surface of dough. Continue outward stretching motion of hands to make a 9-inch diameter pizza dough.
I've gotten sort of comfortable twirling the pizza in the air. Don't use a rolling pin - the pizza won't come off easily enough to put on the pizza stone. REMEMBER: keep lots of flour and cornmeal under the pizza dough after it's stretched/pulled/pushed into form so you can remove it.
Brush olive oil on top of pizza. This keeps pizza sauce from soaking into the dough and making a soggy pizza. Use sauce and toppings of choice. Slide onto pizza stone (if you don't have one, go ahead and bake on pizza pan or cookie sheet). Bake for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted and dough is golden.
Thai pizza variation #1: Use Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce for the pizza sauce (about 1/4 cup each pizza), mozzarella or other cheese of choice, then toppings of choice - like cooked & cubed chicken, green peppers, onions, garlic. When pizza is done, add shredded carrots, cilantro (if you like), fresh tomatoes, or whatever you like.
Thai pizza variation #2: Use Thai peanut sauce (mix in some plum sauce, too, if you like). Same cheese and toppings, but try adding at the end fresh bean sprouts.
BBQ: Use BBQ sauce, cheese, chicken, pre-cooked and crumbled bacon, onions.
Cheese: use pizza sauce and cheese. :)
Alfredo: (these are all pretty self-explanatory, aren't they?) Use alfredo sauce, cheese, chicken, onions, and broccoli.
When I was little, we always called these "Daddy's Cookies." Now that my Dad is a grandpa, and my husband is "Dad" we have to change the name. These were/are my Dad's favorite cookies. They are sooooooooo yummy. They are a drop sugar cookie, but you could roll them out and use cookie cutters if you want - just add more flour so the dough is thick enough for that.
1 C. Butter or margarine
1 C. shortening (we always use white, but I bet butter-flavored would be good, too)
1 C. powdered sugar
1 C. Granulated sugar
Beat above together until sugars are dissolved.
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
Add 4+ cups flour until desired texture. (I usually do 4 1/2).
Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Check at 8 minutes. Cookies are done when they have lightly browned edges.
Frost with whatever you like - butter, cream cheese, or shortening frostings. This is the traditional frosting my Dad likes (but I often just use a butter frosting).
3/4 C. Flour
1 C. Shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
When all is mixed thoroughly, SLOWLY add 3/4 C. cold water while continue beating. Add 3 C. powdered sugar and beat until frosting is done.
This is so not healthy, but really really tasty!
Reading: I'm back to reading Horatio Hornblower. I have now read him out of captivity and back to his crew. He just helped capture another French frigate. Good for him. (I'm enjoying the book, by the way).
Running: I did my long run yesterday (Friday) so I'd have the whole Memorial Day weekend to be lazy. It was tough, since I'd had a hard speed-work session on Thursday and had a late book-group night Thursday night, but I did it. 20.6 miles (I really want to say 21, but that's not exactly true. Dang.) all by myself. Usually my brother runs with me, but couldn't. So off I went, passed some friends going the other way and thought about joining them, but I wasn't sure if my plans were the same as theirs (and I didn't want to turn around). It was very very pretty, when it wasn't raining on me. I did kind of lose my mind after 2 hours or so, and began thinking really random thoughts.
This is what I got to see on my run - Pictured above: The farmers are preparing their fields. Way in back you can see the tractor that is plowing the furrows. My thoughts when I ran by: "Wow, potato farmers are really down-to-earth people." A few minutes later I realized what I'd thought and just laughed.
The nice thing about running early is you get to see the sunrise. (I run with my phone so I just used that for pictures).
I really do like running. I am not fast - the whole 20.6 miles took too long and would put my marathon at a 4:15 time (my best time is 3:50, but that was 2 years ago). I was very happy though with my time on Summer's Hill. It's a 3 mile-long uphill that is a beast. I did it under 25 minutes (about 8 minute miles). Maybe I just need to find a marathon that is all uphill and I'll get my best time on that...?
No ruminations right now - my head is empty.
Spring is cold this year, and cloudy, and rainy, but still pretty. My girls love the flowers at my mom's house.