Archive for February, 2010

You know how you start the weekend off with a bang?


For breakfast.

No, not that cold, congealed stuff–though that has a special place in my drunken little heart, too.

Real pizza.  Hot pizza.

“It’s pizza.

For breakfast.”

Couldn’t you just see a commercial or a full page magazine ad like that?  There’s also:

“Pizza.  That was easy.”

Oh, wait.  Staples already did that.  How about:

“Pizza for breakfast?  Way radical!” with a picture of a spiky-haired kid skateboarding past, grabbing the pizza out of his mom’s hands while she wears a half-shocked, half-bemused expression.

Nah.  Too nineties.  We could do:

“Rich.  Satisfying.  Smooth.  Pizza.”

Nope.  Sounds like a pizza-flavored cigarette.  Oh, oh, I know:

“Same great taste.  Now for breakfast!”

Didn’t McDonald’s do something like that?  Like, when they tried to market something that looked like a quadruple-pounder with cheese and three buns as a great way to start the morning?

But let’s get real.  The point of this post isn’t how to create a pizza advertisement.  It’s how to make a damn fine pizza.

“For breakfast.”

Last weekend I wanted to surprise The Boy with something special on Saturday morning.

You know.  Aside from the usual something special.

Since he’s a fiend for my homemade pizza–on the stone, but of course–I figured that was the way to do it.  You know, keep the spontaneity alive.  Well, it would’ve kept the spontaneity alive, except halfway through our movie on Friday night I lunged for the remote, paused the DVD, turned to him, pressed my face right up against his, and went, “OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, GUESS WHAT, I’M MAKING PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST TOMORROW ANDAREN’TYOUSOEXCITED?!”

I never said I could keep a secret.

I usually use Chris Bianco’s recipe for pizza crust, which is excellent, to be sure.  But seeing as how I have a sourdough starter just lounging around, I used that instead.  WHICH WAS THE GREATEST IDEA EVER.  I didn’t measure.  Didn’t weigh.  Didn’t consult any recipes.  Just went with my gut.  And my gut told me to feed and proof the sourdough starter on the counter for 8 hours, then toss in enough flour, wheat germ, and salt to make a nice, soft dough.  Then my gut instructed me to knead the dough until it was firm and elastic-y, let it rise, punch it down, and let it rise again for another half hour.  Bingo–sourdough pizza dough.  And as we all know, sourdough bread makes THE BEST toast, and therefore is perfectly suited to tangy, crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, makes you go “Mmmm” pizza.

“For breakfast.”

My gut is so smart.  And strangely specific.

Anyhow, I did all this during the afternoon on Friday.  Then I just stuck the dough in the refrigerator and prepped all the toppings so that the next morning would be effortless.  I don’t think I have to tell you how flexible pizza is, so just use whatever’s on hand, whatever appeals to you.  But in my case, I halved cherry tomatoes, snipped up a bunch of fresh sage, cooked and crumbled a few slices of applewood bacon, shredded some aged mozzarella, and painted my nails.  Oh, the nail thing was for me.  Not the pizza.  But I highly recommend it.

The next morning as I stumbled out of bed and zombied my way to the bathroom, I made a quick detour to put the oven on full blast at 500F degrees and take the dough out to rest on the counter.  About 45 minutes later, I dusted my pizza peel with cornmeal, stretched out my dough, and began piling it all on.

Mmm, piling it all on.

Ooh, this would be a good place to mention that I topped the pie with a raw egg carefully cracked on top.  I LOVE doing this.  When the pizza comes out the oven, the egg will be fully cooked with a still-runny yolk, so you can break it and spread it out all over the pizza.  Don’t give me that look, you know you want it.

Into the oven, on top of the pizza stone, it went and baked for about 8 minutes, with a brief run under the broil setting to give the cheese that…oh, you know, that golden, crusty, but still buttery and oeey-gooey quality.  When it came out, we indulged while emitting the most graphic “oohs” and “aahs,” probably causing our downstairs neighbor to think we had the other kind of Saturday morning surprise.  Nope.  Pizza.  Yum.  Of course, I had enough dough for two pies, which was one more than we could handle, so we flash froze the other one, already baked, and reheated it at 400F for dinner last night, which means it was:

Pizza.  For Breakfast.  For Dinner.

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Oh, yes, I am easy, and delicious, and you want me!  That’s the crostini talking, not me.  Cough cough.

Excerpt from an email I sent my girls a week before Valentine’s Day:

So, have you guys ever looked at the MarthaStewart.com Valentine’s crafts and bouquet ideas?  They are sooo cute, and feminine, and adorable, but what man would want to receive any of that, and furthermore, do you know any straight men who peruse MarthaStewart.com looking for ideas on crafts to make for their wives and girlfriends?  It’s all so ridiculous.  Not that The Boy isn’t fantastic and all, but I seriously doubt I’ll be getting handmade glycerin soaps with “I Love You, Genevieve” etched on them.  Even though it would complete me if I did get those soaps.  I digress.

So anyway, it made me think that so much of Valentine’s Day is just girls enjoying being girls, and indulging in red and pink and lace and those tiny Hello Kitty valentine cards and stuff, and I kinda miss enjoying those things.  Would you guys be interested in maybe getting together, just the girls, sometime before Valentine’s to indulge in the silliness?

And indulge we did!  I hosted the little shindig, which turned into a seven hour binge-drinking heart-fest.  I provided everyone’s favorite pink Champagne, “Bitch,” and those luscious-looking crab and avocado crostini.  Other girls brought delicious chili, mouthwatering cherry-almond cupcakes, cookie dough truffles, and crayons and construction paper (you know…for making each other Valentines).  The silliness was unbelievable, the food was fantastic, love was in the air, and the champagne was flowing!

Seriously.  Our ratio was 1.35 bottles of champagne per girl.

One of my gf’s, getting her champagne cocktail on.  Those are frozen cranberries floating in the Bitch.  Haha.  I just said “floating in the Bitch.”  That’s a first.  Not.

We also held a bouquet exchange: we each brought a single kind of flower and then arranged a bouquet for each girl to take home:

And of course, what girly event would be complete without mani/pedis?  I sent each girl home with a set of mani/pedi tools:

The perspective on this photo is weird.  I tried rotating it and it didn’t stick.  Whatever, you’ll look at it and you’ll like it.

A fantastic time was had by all, a pasta-making party was scheduled, and we all left having gotten the pent-up estrogen out of our systems.  Not that the Boy doesn’t satisfy my craving for gossip, it’s just that…

the Boy doesn’t satisfy my craving for gossip.

Crab and Avocado Crostini

12 ounces chunk crab meat (surimi will work)
4 green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
salt and pepper
1 baguette
1 avocado

Put the crab chunks into a bowl, breaking them up into flakes if the pieces are pretty large and throwing your voice to make it sound like there’s screaming coming from the bowl.  Thinly slice the green onions on top, and mix in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  I kept the mayo to a minimum because I didn’t want this to be creamy–just rich enough to hold together, with the crab as the real center of attention.  You can add a bit more if you like.  Just don’t tell me or I’ll be disappointed in you.  At this point, you can either refrigerate the crab mixture if you’re making it in advance, or move on to the next step.

Preheat your oven to 375F (or use your broiler setting CAREFULLY–these things burn in a flash).  Thinly slice the baguette into diagonal pieces, taking care to keep the slices around the same size and thickness for even toasting.  Place them on a cookie sheet and slip them into the oven.  Toast until the first side is evenly brown and crisp, and then remove the pan from the oven, flip the crostini over, and slip them back in until the other side is crisp and golden, too.

Now once your crostini have cooled off, arrange them on a serving platter.  Slice your avocado very thinly, so that the slices can be draped prettily and flexibly over the finished crostini.  See the photo if you’re not sure what I mean.  Now carefully (try using two spoons, like I did), heap little mountains of crab filling onto the crostini until they look generous and fragile.  (You knew you were going to get messy eating these, right?).  Lay two pieces of avocado on top of each, criss-crossing them for effect.  Et voila!  Crab and Avocado Crostini!  You saucy minx, you!

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Hey, love ain’t always pretty.

Baguette love you long time.

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