February 18, 2010

Homemade Pizza Pie


It's a finger food.
It's warm.
It's gooey.

I know my kids will eat it.
I know my kids will make it.

'Cause it's easy.

You can make your dough, all it takes is a little bit of time and a few ingredients which more likely than not you have at your disposal already. The Pioneer Woman just posted a nice post about her pizza dough here. Actually it's a post about her favorite pizza, which looks mighty tasty.

My kids, they're not big eggplant eaters so I go a different route.

When I don't have the time to make a pizza dough (with running here and there) I will often just buy the prepackaged dough that is available at my local Winco or Trader Joe's.

The kid's decided on Pesto Pizza and I wanted to attempt to recreate my favorite from a local Pizzeria, The Napoli.

Pesto Pizza - with mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, olives and prosciutto

Pull the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle a little corn meal on your work table surface.

Grab a hold of the dough ball and start stretching it from the center, pulling at the edges to make a pizza shape. I make mine large enough to fit on my pizza stone. When I'm finished I set it down upon the corn meal covered surface and let it rest for a few minutes. I restretch the edges if needed.

Spread about 3-4 tablespoons of pesto over the rolled out dough. I added a little more olive oil to my pre-made pesto.

Cut thin slices from the mozzarella and space evenly about the pizza.

Scatter some sliced olives over the top.

Cut up some artichoke hearts and sprinkle these as well.

Top with some prosciutto bits here and there.

Finally, sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top.

I usually roll the edges of the crust just prior to popping it in the oven.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Pull out of the oven, slice and eat.

Next - The Napoli.
I have raved about this pizza before here.

My local market doesn't carry San Marzano tomatoes, so I bought a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. I drained the can while I was making the pesto pizza above. I used the remaining mozzarella slices and a bit more prosciutto. I also added a bit of fresh basil.

While this pizza was tasty it in no way compares to Christo's.

The best part of making pizza at home is that you control the ingredients.

Go wild.
Make a pizza.

February 16, 2010

Secret Pleasures

Daphne smells good.

I wanted to be Daphne when we played Scooby Doo as children.

February 15, 2010

Wilco for the middle one

I came down with a touch of something icky last week.
It was not pleasant.
It was not fun.

It caused me to miss out on a Wilco show.

So... I sent my middle child in my stead.
His first concert.

Here are a few blurry snaps from his adventure.

He had fun and enjoyed the late night out. I suspect he had more fun on the adventure than at the actual show.

February 11, 2010

Beach shots

I love the beach.

Oh look. Seals.

Watch out for big waves.

Forts are fun.

And Hefe is my friend. With lemon.

February 5, 2010

Book Review: 100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson

Another book review by ~S

This time I thought I would be reviewing an adult novel, but what I'm working on just isn't that interesting. In fact, it's just sitting in The Stack waiting for me to get back to it. Instead, I zipped through 100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson. Some might speculate it's the large print and only 320 pages but I think it's because--once the action got going--I wanted to find out what was in all of the cupboards.

In 100 Cupboards, Henry York is sent to stay with his Aunt Dotty, Uncle Frank, and three girl cousins (Penelope, Henrietta, and Anastasia) when his parents are kidnapped while biking in Columbia. He moves into an attic room and discovers one of his walls is covered with cupboards when a bit of the plaster comes loose revealing the first of the doors. Once Henry removes the plaster, he sets out to open the doors. He is only sort of successful. One of the cupboards he opens emits a pleasant, earthy smell and sounds of rain and wind. A different cupboard opens into a mailbox. There's also the black door which makes Henry sick when opened by his partner in hi-jinks, Henrietta. What finally happens with the cupboards kept me turning pages right up to the end. Ultimately, the cupboards deliver fantasy and terror as well as some violence. . . everything you could hope for from a tale of magic.

While the magic cupboards are clearly front and center, I also got a good slice of Henry's life. I learned about Henry's relationship to his parents and with his Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. I developed a sense of how a small town functions. The flavor really comes through in the exchanges between Uncle Frank and Billy regarding the locked door to Grandpa's bedroom and the problems with pride in whether or not to pay someone for something as simple as opening a locked door. I also enjoyed Henry leaning to play baseball, getting his first taste of soda, and owning his first (and probably only if his parents have anything to say about it) pocket knife. Finally, I really liked the relationship between Henry and Uncle Frank. I thought quite a bit about buying tumbleweeds off the internet (well, I actually wondered what Oregon item I could easily collect and bundle to sell on the internet). It's these quiet intrusions of real life which made the story so complete, and the contrast makes the magical bits that much more alluring.

The downside. . . well, you don't get to find out what's in all of the cupboards or possibly where they all go. The bits and pieces-especially the ruined ballroom-hint at what might be found. I was also a little disappointed by how lacking in imagination Henry and Henrietta were. They got mysterious mail but didn't seem able to speculate on what the letters were discussing. I found that weird since-in my experience-even children from very sheltered homes are able to imagine what things mean and don't just dismiss them as nonsensical. My final complaint is that you only meet TBE (The Big Evil) at the end of the book. For someone plotting destruction and domination, there's not much to her until she's suddenly in the house and knows all about the family and town―even Henry who has only been there a short time. Additionally, characters aware of TBE just fall before her without much resistance. I think I would have preferred a little more building up of TBE and a better sense of her evil tendrils slowly escaping her cupboard prison.

Once again, I am looking forward to the next book, Dandelion Fire: Book 2 of the 100 Cupboards. I assume I'll also really want the third book which was just released January 26, 2010 (The Chestnut King: Book 3 of the 100 Cupboards). 

So many books yet so much time taken away from reading by work and sleep. . . what's a girl to do?

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