Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Apparently, I don't cook after all.

At least, not when I only have myself to make dinner for.
My last grocery trip included pizza rolls, chips and salsa, and milk. Always milk. But the pizza rolls and salsa are getting much use. That package of goat chevre I bought a couple of weeks ago? Not so much.
Mainly, I've been falling back on my lazy man's risotto - recipe was my first post. Last night, I finally broke down and made pasta sauce - I was too lazy to even throw stuff in a can of tomato sauce and put it on top of pasta. Ridiculous.
I think it stems mainly from the fact that I'm only cooking for myself. JF is now having to fix all meals for his grandmother while is mom is in France, and so he might as well eat over there too. Therefore, I've regressed to eating like a 12 year old.
The other reason I'm not cooking is that I don't have anyone to do my dishes for me if the boyfriend isn't eating my food. It makes perfect sense.
Hell, I haven't even gone out to eat anywhere extraordinary. Arby's, Taco Bell. Ridiculous.
I suppose I could blog about the weird and sometimes wonderful campus food options, but I will spare you most of the details. Sbarro, anyone? Bleh. And I don't know why OOB (the closest thing to my office) always smells like 3 week old hot dog water.
So...wait another week, maybe, and I'll have something to write about. If not...I may fall back on the campus food after all.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Did I just quote a Yellowcard song in the title? Yes, I did. Sad.
Anyway, last week was my last Spring Break ever as an undergrad. Maybe my last Spring Break ever, but I don't know.
My mom and I and her friend went to wine country. We heard (and told) our share of Sideways jokes, and visited the Mumm's winery, where of course, I tried to buy a whole bunch of Mumms. Considering that I had to take it back on the plane, though, I ended up with only one bottle. It's from Francis Coppola's winery, it is a blanc de blanc called Sofia, and it was created for Sofia Coppola's wedding in 2007. The Francis Coppola winery is currently under construction, and the finish date keeps getting pushed back, because according to the employees, Francis keeps coming down and changing his mind about the plans.
But it was pretty cool, he had a bunch of his awards up there. Not Oscars or anything, but still, awards and some props. I took pictures and I will post them up here. Hopefully.
We went to another winery that had sheep as a natural weed-eating device. They were funny.
As far as food, well, I was disappointed, personally. I didn't find the sushi I was looking for.
However, I ate at four places that should be mentioned.
1. Sam's Chowder House, Half Moon Bay
Excellent chowder. Although, I have to say, not as good as the chowder served at Daddy Jack's, a local Indianapolis restaurant. But, Sam's had great views of the bay and an interesting smoked salmon appetizer, as well as Manhattan Chowder, which had tomato sauce in it, I believe.
2. Villa Romano, Napa Valley CA
(Click to view menu)
This was good, despite that we had just spent a looooooooong day getting lost repeatedly and I spent most of the day listening to people talk nonstop without the aid of my iPod. Despite this, I had a great risotto, which is one of my favorite foods in the world. It had mushrooms, but that's ok. Mmm. I want risotto again now.
3. Rutherford Grill, St. Helena
This was nice, a casual upscale restaurant with a varied menu. Unfortunately, due to my semi-drunken state because of our cave tour at the Del Dotto caves, I don't remember a lot of the experience. I do know that I had a chicken and spinach enchilada, with steamed vegetables and fried rice, and blue cheese chips, and apple pie a la mode for dessert. The enchilada was great. I wished they gave me two.
4. In N Out burger
Glorious fast food. Honestly, their fries leave something to be desired, but their very limited menu plus the (optional) presence of good onions on the burger makes this place unbeatable in my opinion. Why do I need to choose between 15 different types of cheeseburger? It's a freaking cheeseburger. Just let me eat it. With onion.

So, pictures later, I hope.
This month, I will probably post more about restaurants I have been to, and less about cooking, because I plan to cook less and eat more grilled cheese. Long story.

Oh! But I did find a jar of Zahtar spice blend at a farmer's market, so I'll do something with that. Later.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Did I forget about the pizza?

I did! I forgot to blog about the pizza.
You see, I have been craving pizza and nothing but pizza for awhile. Well, pizza and onions.
So I found a recipe for deep dish pizza. One might say, Chicago style pizza. I had immediate flashbacks to the last time I was in Chicago and stopped at Gino's East.
Gino's East is clearly the best pizzeria in Chicago. I dare you to challenge that. I heard it was put up as a wager against the mayor of Indianapolis on the outcome of the Colts/Bears superbowl. I hope he enjoyed it. Yes, I'm still gloating.
Anyway, the point is, Gino's is amazing and I wanted some of that immediately. But of course I can't just drive to Chicago and bring one home. (Can I?)
So I found a recipe online, as I do. It was for whole wheat crust, but what can you do. I just used regular flour, and it was fine.
Also, I was very impatient and didn't let the dough rise for the required amount of time. Screw it. The parts covered in toppings turned out just fine, if the crust sticking out over the top was a bit...crispy. And by crispy, I mean rock solid.  Oh well.  My boyfriend ate three slices in one sitting.



1 envelope quick-rise yeast 
1/2 tsp. sugar 
1 C. water 
Approx. 1 lb. whole wheat flour (added in small increments until mixture reaches dough-like consistency) 

1 6-oz. can tomato sauce 
1 Tbs. oregano 
3 Tbs. parsley flakes 
1 tsp. dried basil 
4 tsp. onion flakes 
1 tbs. minced garlic
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2-3 Tbs. tomato paste or enough to thicken (I didn't have tomato paste, I used flour.)

1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced 
1 pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese 
sauteed mushrooms (or toppings of your choice)


To Prepare Crust:

In a small cup or bowl, mix together yeast, sugar and water. Let stand 10 minutes to allow the mixture to react and bubble. Add the yeast mixture to a large mixing bowl. In small increments, add whole wheat flour until the mixture reaches desired dough consistency (should be thick and not too squishy).

Dump dough onto floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Once the texture feels right, roll into a ball. Grease an oven-safe bowl with shortening. Drop ball of dough into greased bowl, making sure the dough gets greased with the shortening as well. Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a 170-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Prepare Sauce, mix and set aside.

Assemble Pizza:

Saute mushrooms for pizza and set aside. Cut brick of fresh mozzarella cheese into thick slices and set aside. Remove pizza crust from the oven. Grease a 9-inch round pizza pan with 
cooking spray or butter. Spread crust out over bottom and sides of pizza pan, making sure the crust is thick along the sides.

Place slices of mozzarella cheese at the bottom of the pizza. Layer with sauteed mushrooms (or topping of your choice) and shredded mozzarella cheese. Continue with another layer of sliced mozzarella cheese. Spread pizza sauce to your liking over the top.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Slide the pizza out of the pan onto a cookie sheet with a spatula and let cool.


I didn't use any mushrooms, of course, because I HATE them.  So I just used cheese and pepperoni.  Also, I made it in a pie pan, because I don't have a deep dish pizza pan.  I don't even know where you would get one.

Anyway, it was really good.  You should make it!  And put whatever toppings you want in it.