Tag Archives: pizza

Pizza and Appetizers

I made a new pizza last night. For a go-to appetizer I buy a container of pitted Kalamata olives from the olive bar, bring it home and drain the brine. Then I place them in a container (olive container or mason jar) and add garlic and herbs then cover with extra virgin olive oil and sit it out on the kitchen counter for at least a couple of days or in the frig for a few months. Make sure the olives are completely submerged in olive oil. Save the oil!

Caramelize a sweet onion or I used 1/2 of a large red onion, for the topping.

When you want to make one pizza (serves 2-3) use my regular dough recipe. Dry ingredients in food processor with steel blade include 1.5 c flour (I use Italian OO but AP is fine) and 1/2 t salt. Another thought to all-purpose is 1c AP and 1/2 c whole wheat. It’s better for you and will make it easier to roll out.

Wet ingredients include 1/2 c tepid water, 1/2 Tbsp yeast, pinch of sugar, pinch of reserved bench flour for later, and about 1t of the olive oil from the marinated olives. Mix until it makes a ball. I do 20x around, let sit five minutes, then 25x and roll it with your hands and place it in a bowl covered with a damp clean kitchen towel. It should neither be dry nor sticky. Add water by drops or flour depending upon the weather.

I place my dough in the microwave to keep it in a warm, draft-free place away from the dog and off my counter!

After 90 minutes in said bowl I knead it again with bench flour, roll it into a ball and cover it with the bowl (only one to clean) for 20 minutes, then roll out. Yesterday I used another tsp of the olive oil with a paintbrush (you don’t have to go to Williams Sonoma for these, local hardware store works for me). Just don’t let your significant other use it for woodworking or cars). I use a large cookie sheet for a thin crust. Regular cookie sheet works.

Now the fun begins. Take about a cup of olives out of your container and place them into a clean food processor bowl with a big handful of arugula and some roasted pine nuts, walnuts or hazelnuts (I used hazelnuts because they were in the freezer). I also added a few sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse and add s&p and as much olive oil as needed to make a paste. Not oily or watery. Add Parm to your taste and it’s done.

Roll out your dough and place it in a pan. Use another teaspoon olive oil to brush the top of the dough. Spread on the paste. Top with shredded mozzarella and caramelized onions. Cook at high temp. My oven can only be set to a max of 375 else a smoke detector will go off. I’m used to cooking at 450-500 degrees. Halfway through, I added four slices of proscuitto. Out of the oven I added a handful of watercress/arugula and dinner was done. My husband loved it! I may have gotten him off my signature Friday night pepperoni/mushroom pizza for a while.

With pizza one must be inventive with cheeses and toppings. We had a pizza party here one night with parents and their kids, age two and six. The older boy wanted cheese only. His little sister looked at the 19 toppings I had out on the counter, tasted some and made a creative pizza with amazingly sophisticated tastes and bravada. They rolled out their own dough I’d made earlier and made one themselves to take home. If you wish, check out caramelized onions, bbq chicken, spinach, roasted garlic, feta cheese, roasted butternut squash….. The sky’s the limit! Have your friends over. It’s a lot of prep work so count on friends to help in advance, and taste. Here’s to, cheers to… pizza! Dee


Wonder of Wonders

Miracle of miracles….. Talking with MIL M the other day I heard wind in the background but she’s already planted in Texas, it was warm and she was picking asparagus for dinner that comes up every year. We’re not so lucky, yet.

Today I didn’t take my car out. I walked to the store, dressed too warmly (I checked the weather a few moments before when I took Zoe out and changed jackets, an unwise move).

Just in case my husband does arrive hungry tomorrow night for the weekend I plan to make pizza dough and was getting the fixings while talking to this guy at the deli counter about different doughs we’ve made over the years. Interesting stuff, I know. Then I hear a woman’s voice asking how Zoe is doing. I looked over and it was our former USPS mail carrier, L. She said one of the gals said that Zoe says hello. She’s still around the neighborhood but not at our place. Because of L, Zoe goes up to everyone in blue pants with a dark stripe! Anyone who says dogs are color blind needs to have their eyes examined.

Funny and sad. My old dog Chani was abused by a deputy sheriff and left at a shelter to rot for a year. I spent time every week with her and when her health declined and she was becoming a danger to herself and others I took her home, rehabilitated her and we spent ten years together. She was afraid of any kind of uniform or hat for a while but got over it and her fear of the kids who used to throw sticks and rocks at her as a pup such that all the kids in the tot lot called out her name when we entered our park. And their moms let them pet her. Now Zoe seeks out people in uniform, something we should all do to thank our service personnel here and abroad.


I think my dinner party has blown up. No worries, it was supposed to be a cooking lesson and dinner. I’ll find out what’s happening tomorrow and will go ahead with the dinner anyway. I can always freeze cooked foods and give some away.


Did I write about diet trifle? I never said that, I’ll be taken out back by British chefs and flogged. Shhhh, not a word. I’m trying an experiment. Some folks around here are refusing dessert. I have an experiment. I usually make a multi-berry trifle with lemon curd with pound cake and whipped cream. Tomorrow I’m going to try angel food cake with nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt and berries. I’m not letting go of the lemon curd, though. Perhaps I can add lemon zest and juice as well. It’s a somewhat healthy alternative. I’ll let you know how it goes. Oh, I didn’t make the cake or the curd or the yogurt. I didn’t grow the berries because it’s still too cold here.


On my walk to the grocery store I saw a few tulips, hyacinths, and hints of buds on hedges. Also squirrels and another animal I saw for a fraction of a second and can’t identify. There were loads of birds and I was able to pick out a few male robins. No cardinals since a couple of months ago. The trees are still bare and I have to look at the lake and the flag, at half mast once again, to find out where the wind is coming from (that determines clothing and where to walk the dog).


My husband says fall is his favorite season. I think spring is mine, when everything comes to life and one can stop making winter stews and make ratatouille or chilled cucumber/yogurt soup. And eat a peach or a cantaloupe or a pint of cherries that taste as they should. Farmers’ markets will open. We’ll see watercraft on the lake. I can clean all the winter gear and wear a light jacket in the evening, or a pashmina shawl. I do love the colors of fall, though, especially in the Adirondacks.


It’s chicken wings tonight with a homemade Asian marinade/glaze. I’ve heirloom carrots in all colors and will roast them and make some sort of potato. Now I have to make lists. I don’t want my husband and me to spend the one day he has at home doing errands. Cheers and have a great weekend! Dee


Food tasting and taste memories areĀ  interesting arenas. I had a few of those memories here this weekend and tried six homemade pizzas, from dough on up.

I had a lot of toppings but some pairing ideas so that I can see what tasters want. My ideas were: mozzarella cheese (fresh Wisconsin) with tomato sauce; that with pepperoni; pissaladiere, the classic French pizza with caramelized onions and anchovies; Kale (I used cavolo nero) with feta and roasted garlic; roasted baby brussels sprouts with bechamel and crumbled pepper bacon; roasted butternut squash with fontina val d’aosta, then topped with proscuitto and arugula with my own lemon vinaigrette.

Only one did one of my suggestions, everyone else improvised in their selections. In a world of fast food, I think I hit a home run!

One of the tasters went for the plain cheese, another for sauteed onions, my marinated olives with garlic and spices in olive oil, and toasted pignoli. The rest of the guests went for the brussels sprout pie (all hand made and rolled) one cheese and pepperoni (my dear husband) and two all over the place flavor-wise.

The most interesting tasters here were our guests with plain cheese and that with olives, sauteed onions and pepperoni. See, the cheese reviewer is five years old. The other, who was sampling onions and pignoli and other items was interested in dough-making and tastes. She is three years old.

From now on no matter how much work it is for me to make 15 toppings and dough this is what I’ll do for families as a get-together activity. It is my greatest wish, inspired by the wonderful aunts L and J that kids taste. If every ingredient is out in a bowl ready to go, let them stick their fingers in and decide what to put on their pizza.

Of course the kids decided first and we did theirs, then the guests, then my husband’s then mine. It was a trial run except that there’s a smoke/heat detector right outside the kitchen by the den and as a legal bedroom it must be there. It went off four times due to heat, not smoke, and my husband’s “legacy” pizza stone he’d purchased the day before… and scared my young reviewers. Sorry!

My aunts wouldn’t let me know what was in anything until I tasted it first, and my palate is all the better for it. Thank you guest reviewers, for visiting, and thanks AL&J for making it possible. Dee

ps I usually use 2/3 AP flour and 1/3 whole wheat but as my husband bought me kilos of Italian 00 flour I’m learning its’ properties as well.

How Big is the Pizza?

A college kid (me) asked that once. “Eight slices.” I asked again, for the table, how big is the pizza? Eight slices.

Student money is hard to come by and I knew that eight slices of an eight-inch pizza was different than eight from a 20″ that would feed all of us. It all worked out.

Now I’m wondering if my dog thinks she has more food if I slice/chop it smaller, or whether she’s asking for pizza by the slice.

Think about it. Cheers from Dee and the Hip-Less Wonder Dog Zoe