{Deep Dish Pizza aka More Comfort Food!}

Deep Dish Pizza

I thought you all might enjoy some inspiration for your own Sunday night dinner tonight!

Jeff and I make pizza at least once a week,  I think mostly because Jeff really enjoys playing around with making his own (usually delicious!) crust. We had just watched a Bobby Flay deep dish Chicago style pizza throwdown and though we normally make thin crust pizza, we were inspired to experiment this week with our own deep dish pizza.

I’m not going to lie, Jeff made pretty much all of this meal–I did make the salad, doesn’t it look delish? ;)–since I was passed out on the couch after a long day of hiking and eating!

Delish Salad

If you’re scared off by making your own pizza dough, don’t be–it’s actually super easy, especially if you have a kitchen aid to do all of kneading for you!

We stuck to vegetarian ingredients though this pizza would go perfectly with some sausage or pepperoni as well. Also, we used canned diced tomatoes for the added juice and sweetness but if I were to make it again, I would probably just stick to fresh tomatoes and a bit of tomato sauce as it ended up being just a touch too sweet for me.

Deep Dish Pizza Recipe

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

Dough:

1 1/4 Cups warm water
1/4 Oz. Active dry yeast
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/2 Cup cornmeal
3 1/4 Cups flour

Pizza:

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can pre-sliced black olives
1/2 large portobello mushroom, chopped
10 thinly slices of mozzarella
1/4 cup parsley

Steps:

Dough:

Rehydrate yeast in warm water in a large bowl.

Mix in sugar, salt, olive oil, cornmeal, and first cup of flour.

Add flour until dough becomes whole (i.e. no longer sticks to side of bowl).

Knead on a floured surface for 3-5 min.

Let rise in an oil-greased bowl until doubled (about 1.5 hours).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Punch down dough and spread in the bottom of a cast iron or circular baking pan.

Pull up sides of dough until they are roughly 1/2 up the side of the pan.

Pizza:

Add toppings, cheese first, then “meats” (i.e. mushrooms and olives), tomatoes/tomato sauce and toppings.

Bake until golden brown and cheese is melted (20-30 min).

The complete dinner

What’s for dinner at your house tonight?

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{The Winter Sea}

The Winter Sea

I just finished reading The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley and it was so good!! It’s historical fiction written from the perspective of a strong female narrative with more than a touch of romance–definitely my kind of book!

I’ve always loved historical fiction and Kearsley’s book was no exception. It tells the story of a modern day writer, Carrie, who travels to the coast of Scotland while researching her latest book. Of Scottish heritage herself, she decides to place one of her ancestors–Sophia–as her female protagonist. The book weaves back and forth between present day and Carrie’s novel as we learn that Carrie may be more connected to the past than she realized…

The story within the story revolves around Carrie’s ancestor, Sophia, who goes to live with a distant cousin in a castle also on the coast of Scotland. While she lives there, she not only becomes entrenched in the plot to restore exiled James I to the Scottish and subsequently, English, throne, but also falls for one of the plot’s most integral players–John Moray.

Do you want to read it yet?!

The story was beautifully written (and being an English major, I can be kind of a book snob!) and was definitely a page-turner, despite being a little over 500 pages. And although I correctly guessed the ending with about 200 pages to go, the journey to that end was still well worth it!

If you’re looking for a last bit of summer reading, I highly recommend The Winter Sea!

On a side note, I am seriously considering dying my hair red after reading this book…we shall see!

What’s been your favorite summer reading book this summer?

{Lunchtime Stir Fry}

Stir Fry

This is definitely an it’s the end of the week and I don’t have any groceries or fresh fruit or vegetables left in my house kind of meal!

Before I went grocery shopping last weekend, I had just read an article in my monthly Nutrition Action magazine about how you should buy frozen veggies to have on-hand when you’re feeling lazy, rushed, or like me, are out of fresh veggies so you don’t  to skip the nutrients in your meal. So, with the article in mind, I picked up some frozen stir fry veggies during my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s!

I love that these frozen veggies are really just that–vegetables, with no preservatives or salt added. I had also grabbed some of TJ’s frozen organic brown rice while I was at the store. It comes in meal-ready individual packets for when you don’t have the time to wait forever to cook brown rice.

Fast forward to the end of the week and you get ridiculously uncreative but easy and tasty stir fry!

Stir Fry Ingredients

Lunchtime Stir Fry Recipe

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

1 package Trader Joe’s organic brown rice
1 cup frozen Trader Joe’s stir fry vegetables (pea pods, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, soybeans, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and carrots)
1 egg
1 tb canola oil
1 tb teriyaki sauce

Steps:

Heat large non-stick pan with half of canola oil.

Heat brown rice in microwave according to package instructions.

Scramble egg in small bowl and when pan is hot, add egg and cook until slightly brown. Break egg into small, bite-size chunks and set aside in small bowl.

Add remaining canola oil to the pan with the frozen vegetables. Cook until most of the water evaporates, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add brown rice to vegetable mixture and combine.

Add teriyaki sauce.

Add egg back into the rice/vegetable mixture.

Cook for about 1 more minute, serve, and enjoy!

Stir Fry

{Friday Night}

absinthe

Unfortunately, The Broad St. Tavern has officially closed its doors :(

Last Friday night, Jeff and I went to the Broad St. Tavern, a new pub style bar in downtown SLO that we heard had an impressive beer selection. Well, they did have a great beer but, unbeknownst to us, the pub was actually known for its absinthe bar. Absinthe was just recently legalized in California, so we figured–why not? And being an English major in college, I couldn’t help feeling a little like Hemingway in Paris, as we ordered the drink for the first time.

Absinthe is around a 140 proof spirit derived from wormwood, green anise, and fennel. Although it’s often been portrayed as a dangerous, psychoactive drug, it’s really no dangerous than ordinary vodka.

The preparation process was fascinating. First, they filled a big jar with ice water. After the water reached the desired temperature, the valves were opened to slowly drip the ice water onto a sugar cube. The sugar cube would then melt into the absinthe below until the clear emerald color turned a murky lighter green.

Absinthe Process

Absinthe and Sugar Cube

It took about 10 minutes for the process to finish. Finally, we got to taste it–if you’re not a black licorice/fennel fan, the you definitely will not like absinthe! Jeff hated it but seeing as I’ve always been obsessed with black licorice, I thought it was pretty tasty!

See the difference in color between the two pictures?

Ready to Drink Absinthe

The elaborate process was definitely worth seeing for the first time but since I rarely drink hard alcohol, I don’t really see myself trying it again anytime soon. But it was fun trying something I know many great writers used to drink all the time!

This Friday night, I’m going to see my students’ talent show–definitely a much more mellow night!

What are you doing this Friday night?

Anyone else have Katy Perry stuck in their head now??