Saturday, September 17, 2011

That's Amore

It’s FINALLY the weekend and I couldn’t be more relieved. This week dragged on for me and I felt like Friday was never going to end. For the first time in months though, my boyfriend and I had a free night last night and he was just as happy as I was. E moved here from Italy 5 years ago, and I think he sometimes misses the slower paced lifestyle he grew up with.  Even though he is very social, he also enjoys the nights where we don’t have to rush out the door to some birthday event or dinner party. I love having an Italian boyfriend; I love his laid-back attitude, his accent, but most of all… his cooking. On last night’s menu: Pizza made from scratch with fresh vegetables, goat cheese, homemade pizza sauce and mozzarella (I will post my recipe below). Now I know… I have a wedding coming up, but in the same way soup makes T feel warm in the fall, pizza is my favorite comfort food. I could probably eat it every day and never get sick of it. Well, let me be more specific: I could eat the pizza my boyfriend and I make and never get sick of it. It isn’t the greasy, soggy mess that arrives at your door from most pizza delivery places in our city. Instead it has a thin crispy crust, a light tomato sauce, and the perfect amount of toppings. My favorite part of cooking is when we have ample amounts of time to drink wine, listen to music and really take the time to properly prepare our meal. During the week we often throw something together (for E that still means cooking… never mac and cheese, but it is rushed) and eat it in front of the TV. On the weekends though, the TV doesn’t get turned on around dinnertime. We rarely get a night where we don’t have something, especially recently with a family wedding coming up, so I cherish the ones when it’s just the two of us. We opened a bottle of red wine, made the dough, cut up the vegetables and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was so nice. Even though I do love cooking… I am looking forward to having a week off while we are down in the Bahamas. Not having to worry about what you are going to make for breakfast/lunch/dinner for a whole week is one of the things I am looking forward to while on vacation. The resort we are going to for my sister’s wedding has a few different restaurants, all of which we will get to go to while down there, and I am excited to try each of them. Since I don’t have much on today, and I’m working tomorrow, I put together a few outfits to try on for the dinners. I took some pictures for opinions. The sun was pouring in the windows though, making the colors on the dresses look a bit different… but you get the idea. I have a lot of dresses, but I think these ones will definitely be making it into the suitcase. We don’t leave for another week, so I am sure I will change my mind over and over and I will mix and match and move things around… but I always like to get opinions. I better run because I have plans tonight and need to start getting ready. Happy weekend!

Recipe for homemade pizza:

-1 pack of instant yeast

-4 1/2 cups of flower (plus 1/2 cup for dusting)

-1 3/4 cups of warm water

-3 tablespoons of salt (you can put more if you prefer it a bit saltier)

-1/4 cup of olive oil

-semolina (optional)

Put a small amount of warm water into a bowl and open the pack of yeast into it. Put it aside for 10-15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt in a bowl and mix it arount. Once you have let the yeast absorb into the water, pour it into the 1 3/4 cups of warm water and mix the oil in with it. Flour your hands, and then slowly mix the wet and dry ingredients. Start kneeding the dough and add flour if you find the dough too sticky. Continue to kneed with your hands until it stops sticking. Take a cloth that has been run under hot water and place it over the dough so it is covered. Let it sit for 30 minutes (more if you want a fluffier crust) and it is then ready to be rolled out. Turn oven to 450, flour the counter and roll out the dough until it is less than an inch thick. Now, many people prefer to use a pizza stone... but I use disposable alluminum pans because I find them easier to work with. *TIP if you have trouble getting the base of your pizza crispy, sprinkle semolina (available in most grocery stores) on the pan before putting the dough onto it. I love this tip. Make a few holes in the dough with a fork, spread the tomato sauce and apply your favorite toppings. The pizza takes 15-20 minutes in the oven and then it is ready! Buon appetito!

With love,