Friday, February 25, 2011

Pizza, from Scratch

It was a lovely, sunny afternoon. My boyfriend, Aaron, & I decided to fix a meal together... pizza! Pizza is pretty hearty, especially when it's homemade-- plus, if you start from scratch, you get the sense of accomplishment in the end. The pizza seem much more scrumptious. And... it was sweet cooking alongside the man I love.

We were at a party once, and a guy was creating these tasty rounds of dough, covered with delicious topping combinations. We attempted a couple of the common ones: BBQ Chicken & Tomato-Basil-Mozzarella.


- 7g sachet dry yeast (the rapid-acting yeast was useful, since we had to finish cooking in an hour)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp polenta (or cornmeal, the polenta worked well because it stuck to the bottom of the pizza dough)

In the kitchen, Aaron dealt with the pizza dough. He combined the yeast, salt, sugar, & a cup of warm water in a small bowl. We covered it with plastic wrap and set it inside the oven, BEFORE we turned it on. It stayed there for 10 minutes. It should look foamy, if not, leave it in for a couple more minutes.

In a large bowl, the flour was sifted, and once the yeast rose, he made a well in the center of the flour & poured the yeast mixture in. He took out the mixture and kneaded the dough on the lightly-floured kitchen counter, until it was smooth & elastic.

He created four, personal, pizza rounds and placed some polenta under it. I brushed a baking sheet with olive oil, placed the dough on top, and baked them for 10-15 minutes at 415 degrees F. 

Well, we took the dough out of the oven because we panicked about how they looked... haha!

We learned, later that night, that we were supposed to poke holes in our dough, before baking them, to keep the steam from creating pizza balloons. We made holes in them before we topped it with our sauces.


- 1 can of peeled, sliced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- finely chopped onions (it's up to you how much you would like)
- 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (my aim is to try this recipe again & use actual slices of mozzarella)

In a sauce pan, while Aaron was kneading the dough, I combined all the ingredients & put it on medium heat until it simmered. I crushed a handful of the tomato slices with my soup spoon, but left the rest intact. 

While that was sitting on the stove, I went to turn on the grill for Aaron's BBQ Chicken pizza.


- 1/2 cup hickory BBQ sauce
- 1 grilled chicken breast, diced into small pieces 
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- a pinch of hickory-smoked pepper (plain pepper works, too)

Once the chicken was grilled, Aaron & I prepared our pizza doughs...

For the Tomato-Basil-Mozzarella: 
I simply covered the dough with the sauce I put together & topped it with shredded mozzarella cheese.

For the BBQ Chicken:
Aaron covered the dough with BBQ sauce, topped it with some cheese, then the grilled chicken. Some more cheese, then some pepper to finish it off.

We threw the baking sheets, with our freshly-topped pizza doughs, back into the oven for 5-10 minutes. When we took it out, we gave each other high-fives for jobs well done. The pizza were successful! The dough was soft & chewy, at the right consistency... although, Aaron thought the dough could have been thinner. I like my pizza thick. The polenta stuck to the bottom of the pizza, which was nice. And, the toppings were tasty. Now, if I only knew how to better describe the exact taste...

Ah, simply writing about the experience makes me want to make some more! Thank you for the experience, love. :]

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy, Happy Brownies

I have a couple of recipes I'd like to post, so for archiving purposes, I'm going to go on a blog-a-thon here. Or not, depending on the time I have... hehe.

More recipes. More food. More positive feedback.

Out of all the recipes I have posted on here, this brownie recipe has been attempted many more times than usual. One, because it's the easiest to make and two, because I have seen the plate cleared a little bit faster than the other dishes.

The best feedback I have gotten: "You don't get tired of the brownie."


- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate (or white chocolate melts, you decide)
- 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1/2 cup of SPLENDA sugar blend (yes, I am still using sugar substitute)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder

I have three bowls prepared for this recipe.

Fill a saucepan with water & put it to a simmer. Find a small glass (or ceramic) bowl that can sit on top of the saucepan, without it touching the water. When the water starts to simmer, the pan is taken out of the heat & the glass bowl goes on top of the saucepan. The butter & chocolate goes there. Let them melt together into a nice chocolate-y sauce. If those instructions were confusing, find a way to melt the butter & chocolate together.

In a large bowl, I lightly beat the eggs, sugar, & vanilla together. In a mid-sized bowl, the flour & cocoa powder-- making sure these are sifted. Again, I have used a fork to sift the dry ingredients. Turn the oven on at 350 degrees, please.

Once the butter-chocolate sauce is melted, pour this into the large bowl with the eggs, sugar, & vanilla. While mixing them altogether like a witch, her cauldron, mix in the flour & cocoa powder. When it looks "edible," taste the batter then pour it into an 8x8 inch baking pan... or whichever size you prefer.

Allow it to bake for 30 minutes, then let it cool.

Frost. You decide. Happy munching!