thursday things

I love homemade pizza, like, love it.  We usually make it using a pizza stone and our grill, which turns this

into this

and eventually into this beautiful piece of art

instagram pizza pep

You can totally do that at home by the way (you can see my tutorial here), but now… this exists, which is going to change the game of homemade pizzas forever.

I’ve been following this baking steel since its kickstarter campaign.  I was even more convinced that I needed it when The Pizza Lab tested it out.  Now that it’s available for purchase, my feelings are a little hurt by the steep price tag, but maybe I can ask Santa for it this December…

In other food news, since the BF and I were both off on Memorial Day, I tried to be nice and make him his favorite breakfast – waffles.  Those of you who follow the Wee Eats Facebook page already saw the results…

waffle fail

Apparently our neglected waffle maker was having feelings of resentment and didn’t want me to succeed at this seemingly simple task… By round four (and our last bit of batter) I was finally able to make him something that resembled a normal waffle…  I spent at least 5 times as much time scraping waffle out of the iron than we did eating the waffles… Of course, this could always be my excuse to get a new waffle iron… right?  I think that’s how it works… Yes, let’s blame the iron…

The BF texted me today at work to let me know that this exists.

dairy queen smore

He gets me.

Some of you may be too classy for blizzards, and it’s ok, I get it.  Sometimes we all need a bit of artisan ice cream or hand-scooped gelato.

Nothing wrong with that.  But do you know the difference between ice cream and gelato?  Would you like to?  Not me, I can still get down and dirty with some DQ.

It will be like I am this cat.  And the beanbag is a s’more blizzard…

Just like that.

Speaking of cats….

This jerk(below)’s new favorite activity is preventing me from getting any sleep.  Apparently staring at me all night and attacking me every time I fall asleep is an exhausting job, because she then needs to sleep all day long.

Which is basically just a slap in the face like “look at me, I can sleep all day no matter how much light and sound there is in the house!” … What a jerk.  Anyone want a free kitty?  (Just ignore all that stuff about her not letting you sleep).

Oh, and the best part?  She leaves the BF completely alone.  She walks all over my pillow, steps on my throat, paws at my face and bites my arm – she even learned how to pull the blanket off of my arm so that she can bite my bare skin to wake me up!  But the BF?  Nope.  Won’t touch him.  Gets to sleep like a baby while I’m being assaulted.

Jerks.

Sorry, I’m probably just cranky because I’m sleep-deprived.

Time for an honorary Thursday Things half-recipe?  How about some stromboli?

It’s so easy.  You can use store-bought or home-made pizza dough or even white bread dough.  I followed this tutorial for the pretty braids, and just filled them with leftover antipasti fixins – some pesto, provolone, salami and ham.  Brush with some egg wash and sprinkle some crunchy sea salt on top.  Bake it at 375 or 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (or until it’s golden on top)

Sidenote: medium obsessed with this site at the moment.  Check it out.  Seriously.

fig and prosciutto flatbread

m4s0n501

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It’s Monday and I’ve got a treat for you.

It’s one of my favorites.

It combines creamy mascarpone cheese, sweet fig jam, salty prosciutto, and peppery arugula that satisfies any possible craving you could have all in one bite.

Usually I would make this as a crostini on sliced and toasted baguette. Unfortunately, it can become very tedious when you have to spread and layer ingredients onto a bajillion little pieces of bread.  So when I was planning Christmas Brunch, it occurred to me that I could save a lot of time if I just made one giant crostini… I briefly thought about slicing a baguette in half, toasting the halves and going from there, similar to my cheesy artichoke bread recipe.

Then, as I was scanning the fridge to find something for dinner, my eyes stopped on a package of pizza dough from Trader Joe’s.  It came to me all at once, it was so simple I couldn’t believe I hadn’t figured it out before: flatbread!

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Flatbread was the solution to my problem.  (How many people can say that?)

I could make one large flatbread and just cut it into a bunch of bite-size appetizers for people to snack on.  Just grill your pizza dough until it’s cooked through, add your toppings, slice and serve.  The result was the perfect super fast, super easy way to make my favorite appetizer.

Prosciutto Flatbread

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 pound pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup fig jam
  • 8 ounces prosciutto
  • 4 cups arugula

Divide your dough into two equal portions and roll into a ball, set on a lightly-floured surface and cover with a towel.  Bring to room temperature for about 1 hour prior to cooking.

Heat griddle or grill to high heat (or heat the oven to 500 degrees and put the rack on the lowest rung).  If you’re using the oven here, you’ll want to start pre-heating it at least 30 minutes early.

Shape your dough, I just stretched mine out into an oblong shape.  You can try for a circle or rectangle if it suits you, but don’t drive yourself crazy over it.  Sometimes I prick it with a fork to make it slightly less bubbly, but I’m not convinced that it makes a huge difference.

Grill your bread until poofed and browned on one side, then flip and cook the other side.  If you’re using the oven, it’s pretty much the same concept, you can leave it in there un-flipped just keep cooking until both sides are browned and the dough is cooked through.  You’ll have to do this twice, because there are two pieces of dough.  If you’re using the grill it only takes a few minutes per side, super easy!

Let it cool slightly, then when you can handle it comfortably, spread a layer of mascarpone on the flatbread (I find this is easier for some reason to do with the back of a spoon, maybe because the flatbread isn’t totally flat).  Then spread a layer of fig jam over the layer of mascarpone.  They’re going to mix together, it’ll be okay.  You’re halfway there.

Now you have two options, prosciutto and then arugula, or arugula and then prosciutto.  I prefer the latter, I find that putting the prosciutto on top helps to hold the arugula onto the flatbread.  If I put the arugula on top I end up chasing it around as it falls off of every bite I take.

Then, that’s it!  You’re done!  Slice it up and eat it.

Thursday Things

crepes

Monsoon season in Arizona is still going strong. Although I absolutely can’t stand the heat or humidity, I am enjoying having epic sunsets pretty much every night. It’s the one benefit of living here: pretty skies. Oh, and never having to walk through snow.

Also, IT’S AUGUST which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal until you realize that next month is September. Once we hit September, the year will quickly be lost in a spiral of planning, prepping for, and celebrating holidays. It doesn’t help that Costco already has a corner dedicated to Christmas set up… I’m going to blink and then it will be 2013 and another year is gone… but I didn’t even do anything with 2012 yet!!!

I started off the morning a little rough yesterday and needed to cheer myself up stat. I used to turn to one of my favorite bloggers: Hyperbole and a Half. Since her last post was a million years ago, I selected one at random, which totally fit my sentiment at that exact moment, further proving that she and I are one in the same. If you are in need of some laughter today, you can click the picture below to be magically teleported to Allie’s amazing comic, aptly named ‘Why I’ll Never Be An Adult’ – perhaps a more accurate name would be “Why I’ll Never Be a Responsible Adult” ;)

This week, I made the round two recipe in the collaborative quest for the ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE RECIPE with Cupcake Project and it seems pretty promising. Is it possible that we’ve achieved the ultimate chocolate cupcake in just two rounds???

The answer is: Maybe. I don’t know yet. :)

In recent news, Sophie has grown increasingly distrustful of her water dish…

 

She doesn’t trust that thing at all… not one bit… lately she’s even been chirping at it and hitting it, scooting it around the floor with her tiny little paws. BF says it’s because of the bubbles, but I’m not so sure.

Also, thanks to BF, I have a new favorite snack. A deadly combination of addictive and delicious. Thank god he purchased tiny packs so that I don’t eat pounds and pounds of them. Not all at once at least. It helps that I only allow myself to take one pack a day to work, which means I can’t just tear through pack after pack eating my way to shame.

Over the weekend BF and I enjoyed homemade pizzas from our very own grill. And then we promptly Instagram-ed the heck out of them.

  

If you’ve never made your own pizza, YOU MUST!  In fact, I have an easy to follow tutorial RIGHT HERE!!! If you’re too lazy to make your own pizza dough, many grocery stores carry pre-made dough. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can just grill one side, flip, and then add your toppings while the other side cooks. Easy peasy.

Although I did not waffleize my hashbrowns this weekend, I did, however, make crepes… and it made me wonder why I don’t make them more often. They’re pretty easy to make, and definitely delicious. As an added bonus: you can make the batter the night before! Then all you have to do is wake up, stumble into the kitchen, and heat the pan while you make your coffee.

The only downside was that it made me smell like butter, which made my morning work out exceptionally difficult. It’s hard to take your workout seriously when you are emanating the delicious aroma of butter out of your pores. Just sayin.


Crepes

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • Butter, for coating the pan

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.

Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone.

After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.

*Savory Variation Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes to the egg mixture.

*Sweet Variation Add 21/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur to the egg mixture.

[ crepe recipe from the one and only Alton Brown ]

thursday things

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We survived the 2012 solar eclipse, and even though some sensational news outlets felt the need to plaster giant headlines like “DARKNESS DESCENDS OVER PHOENIX”, this is what it actually looked like. (If you forgot to buy eclipse glasses, like some of us). You can see how my camera was super confused and projected the actual eclipse image below the sun… to the naked eye (not that I would EVER try to stare at the sun) it just seemed like the sun was extra super bright, brighter than usual. Having never observing an eclipse (except through a pinhole in a box when I was a kid), I didn’t realize that you couldn’t actually even see an eclipse at all without the glasses if you’re not in its direct path, you just see an ultra-super-bright sun… I’ll have to get better seats for 2017.

Oh, and don’t worry, I took this picture with my back to the sun to protect my beautiful eyes.

Work is still crazy, leaving me not a lot of time to write new posts, but I am still baking away, just not really finding the time to actually type new posts. Maybe I’ll just do some posts that are straight recipes, no babble. In my younger days I used to scroll through all the babble anyway. “ALL I WANT IS THE RECIPE WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE TALKING SO MUCH?!” … Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to have some recipe-only posts?

Moving on… Somehow, I ended up in Wal Mart the other day and stumbled across these beautiful things…

Unfortunately, I didn’t buy them, because I’m not 10 and it’s not OK for me to buy (or eat) that stuff anymore. I will say that if I worked at Hostess, these double chocolate donuts would’ve been around a long time ago…. it would NOT have taken until 2012 to get them on the shelves.

How does one get a job like that anyway? I would be the perfect person to sit on a board of members and come up with new flavors for things (Like, how does peanut butter pudding not exist yet? Why is this not a thing? Come on, Jell-O, get on that!) We do have a Cold Stone Creamery building out here, wonder if they create new flavors there… gotta sneak my way into that…

I got some coupon for a new burger place and dragged BF across town to try it last Friday. Of course they neglected to mention the sign was basically a banner that said “BURGERS” and it was located in a super shady strip mall, but I’m glad we went. It was super yummy.

 I got their regular cheeseburger which comes with cucumbers, pickled onions, cheddar, and thousand island… of course sweet potato tots as a side. I know cucumber on a burger sounds weird, but it’s actually pretty good. You can’t really taste the cucumber but it gives the burger a nice crunch. I liked that they did two super thin patties instead of one giant one. I know there are two deeply passionate camps on burgers, thin v thick patties, but I really enjoyed having two thin patties… just sayin’.  

Boyfriend got the beach house burger which had green chile and pico … also delicious. And super cheap. If you’re in the Phoenix area be sure to check it out. My only complaint is that they over-season their fries. I’m pretty sure the sweet potato tots were just frozen tots, nothing to write home about.

After making pizza a few weeks ago, I found myself with an abundance of pizza sauce to use. Since BF wanted a snack and I had pizza fixins and a ton of tortillas to use, I made him a tortilla pizza. I can’t believe he never had one before… Anyway, I probably shouldn’t have done that because it quickly became a go-to snack.

The first one was all fancy, because we had a lot of fancy ingredients, but as I worked my way through the large tortillas, prosciutto, basil, and ricotta they turned into tiny pepperoni pizzas. Perfect for “second dinner” :) Here’s the “recipe” (if you can really call it that). Super easy.

Tortilla “Pizzas”

  • Tortillas
  • Cheese
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Toppings (this one has turkey pepperoni, but use whatever you like)

1. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Warm tortilla until lightly browned and crisp on one side.

2. Flip tortilla and add toppings. Continue to cook until heated through – the cheese will be melted and tortilla will be crisp.

* I actually like to heat my broiler on low and finish it in the oven to make sure the top cheese gets nice and bubbly and I make sure the pizza is extra crisp – but the oven is certainly not required.

how to get pizzeria-style pizza at home

pizza

For those of you who aren’t aware, I also contribute to a food website called Foodbeast. Every once in a while I give them an “exclusive” post, one that you can only read there. And this, my friends, is one you don’t want to miss.

If you want to find out how to make delicious pizzas like this prosciutto and arugula pie (without any fancy expensive equipment), check out my most recent post on how to get pizzeria-style pizza at home over at Foodbeast.