Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Homemade pizza

I was warned my love of carbs would grow with age. I've always been the kind to choose a steak over a cake, oysters and shrimp over rolls and biscuits. But that's changing ...

Owning a Kitchen Aid, procured through marriage, makes it a lot easier to produce tasty carbs in my own home.

Last night, for example, my sister and I tried to replicate our dad's famous pizza dough -- and while we missed the mark, we came closer than our past attempts. Now, my dad made his dough by hand, but Mike suggested we use our still-new-to-us silver toy, and I'll be darned if that dough hook doesn't do a beautiful job of kneading!

We kept last night's toppings simple: thinly sliced prosciutto, grated fresh Parmesan and arugula tossed with fresh lemon juice, olive oil and salt.

(Oh, and P.S. - I realize I've published two pizza posts in a row but in all fairness, they were eaten days apart!)

(Expect a post soon on whole wheat honey bread. Which I'll share and eat in moderation.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Simple Lunch: Pita Pizza

Here's another one of those simple lunchtime meals. (Only three ingredients for this healthy, light* lunch. Or five, in my case, since I used three kinds of cheese.)

Phoenicia's pita bread, vine tomatoes, a 1/2 slice of provolone, a 1/2 slice of mozzarella and a few crumbles of blue cheese. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

*You might look at all the cheese and think ... light? Well, yes. I mean it's better than any take-out, drive-through style lunch and lighter than most restaurant fare. And my Weight Watchers tracker tells me it's an 8-9 point lunch. Not too terrible for something so tasty. (Oh, and I was hungry about two hours after I ate it ... not the kind of lunch that weights you down all day.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some thoughts can belong to you and only you


According to some, those of us who have not properly paid tribute to Japan via Facebook or Twitter or on our own personal blogs are terrible, superficial twits who cannot recognize real tragedy despite 24-hour news cycles, the blogosphere and, you know, our own sense of human empathy.

I am a self-absorbed asshole because I have not ceased and desisted from food blogging, or going out to dinner, or watching a movie. In fact, why am I eating at all when people in Japan are standing in food lines? How dare I go on and on about food and the weather and the hipsters that have invaded my weird city this week when thousands of people have been devastated? I should be sure to reference war- or disaster-torn regions when making crepes and cakes. Because, by golly, people around me are suffering and it cannot go unacknowledged!

I should take the lead of those with a moral compass better than my own. Like one food blogger -- usually one of my favorites, so I'm sad to be picking on her of all people -- who recently posted a ham-and-endive recipe.

"I look at that white plate with two baked endives sitting up there and I see so much more. A hungry, black tide swallowing up everything in its path. An old man walking along a cleared path through utter devastation, weeping. Two parents kneeling in front of the muck-slicked car that held the body of their daughter at the wheel. Nuclear reactors on the precipice."
REALLY?! Where on Earth did YOUR endives come from, lady?

Her post angered and annoyed me.

It angered me because she was no doubt paranoid about food blogging and the attacks that have come with it this week. So perhaps it's those who are attacking that angered me, and it's only annoyance I feel towards this blogger.

Annoyance because she gave in. She got all torn up and guilty and gushing-with-apologies, stating that "writing about anything else, about lunch or cupcakes or Paula Deen's artichoke-spinach dip, feels deeply weird."

So then why did you do it?

I read her post, her lovely words -- and they rang hollow. I interpreted them as follows:

"I'd really like to share this ham and endives recipe, but all the other food bloggers are acknowledging the tragedy that hit Japan this week, or they're getting slammed for *not* acknowledging it. So I just want everyone to know how much I care. I'm really tortured by what's happened this week. Enjoy the ham and endives!"

Forced, fake, full of guilt.

So I'm just here to say a big EFF YOU to those people who feel that they can pounce on someone for continuing with their lives in the face of tragedy. Because, guess what, you self-righteous assholes? TRAGEDIES ARE HAPPENING EVERY MINUTE, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Why aren't you this upset every fucking day?

Most of the tragedies taking place EVERY MINUTE, EVERY SINGLE DAY are not acts of God or natural disasters or occurences beyond our control. They're tragedies that don't have to happen. Like famine, malaria, politics, HIV, murder, drug wars. Tragedies we could be doing something about.

It makes me feel a bit smug to think that the couple of folks who got under my skin this week via Twitter probably do less volunteer work in a year than I do in a month. But the fact that I feel the need to acknowledge that pisses me off. I can't even say that "what's happening in Japan is heartbreaking" without feeling like I, too, have to concede to the universe or Twitterverse, admit that I care, that I have actually thought about the tragedy and the death and the destruction even WHILE I AM BAKING A CAKE. Because if I don't say it, then I must not be thinking it. Surely I haven't had a few moments to myself -- private, non-Tweetable moments -- when I have shed a tear or experienced a pang of pain for the man who lost his wife, the hundreds of newly orphaned children, the helpless animals who were swept away in the waters. And if I haven't shared these thoughts in a forum or manner accpetable to others, then they haven't really happened and surely I'm a self-absorbed, superficial twit. But I know I'm not.

Instead, I'm going to be the jerk that says Go Fuck Yourself for making any of us feel badly.

And when you're done, please send a check to the Red Cross.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

St. Louis ooey gooey, continued

This ooey gooey cake was certainly both ooey and gooey going into the oven. It was probably even ooey and gooey most of the way through.

I'm blaming the end result on our (still new to me) oven.

Deb's recipe called for a 30-45 minute cooking time and warned of overcooking. I followed the instructions and set the oven timer for 30 minutes. I actually pulled the cake out at about 28 minutes. In retrospect, this was about 5-7 minutes too late.

The resulting cake was ... well, cake-y, to be sure. But nothing gooey, ooey or even terribly buttery about it. I was so upset I forgot to sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on the finished product and instead immediately sliced it up and delivered it to Neighbors with Superior Cooking Skills*, who might still appreciate this with their morning coffee. As of this evening's two tastings (I had to have two pieces to confirm its mediocrity), it was, as they say, not really worth the calories.

*I got to try Boxing Octopus' salt and pepper sandwich cookies today. Her post on them partially inspired me to do some baking today. I have a feeling, with today's sweets swap, she definitely got the short end of the stick!

St. Louis gooey butter cake

I'm in a rare mood.

I want to bake.

Which means I'm turning to my favorite food blogger for some inspiration. (I really wanted to make these awesome raspberry bars but that would require leaving the house for preserves.)

So I'm letting these come to room temp while I vascillate between wanting to go the productive route (laundry/cleaning) but leaning towards an It's-Spring-Forward-Sunday-gimme-a-break route (DVR).

Stay tuned. Even if this doesn't turn out well, the house should smell good for the rest of the day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Whole Foods Udon Noodle Bowl

I re-joined Weight Watchers a few weeks ago, and suffice it to say, progress has been slow. I'm down 3 pounds in 4 weeks. Not terrible, but I know I can do better.

One of the ways that'll happen is by eating healthy meals that don't taste or look or feel like diet foods.

This hot udon noodle bowl - fish broth, noodles, spinach and scallions - is one shining example. I haven't checked, but my guess is this is a three- to four-point lunch. And only $6. Not bad at all, considering I got it at Whole Paycheck.

I suspect this bowl and I will become good friends in the weeks and months to come.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ideal Meal

I'd had protein for lunch, as had Mike. So we decided on a Meatless Meal with this very filling, fast and easy bowl of goodness for dinner a couple of weeks ago.

Roasted cauliflower and potatoes in the same pan @ 400 degrees (about 20 minutes for the potatoes, solo, then throw in the cauliflower for another 20 minutes). Paired with wilted local spinach sauteed with olive oil, garlic and salt.