Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm still here

I've just been busy. Monday (the 25th) was my birthday. We went out for dinner on Sunday to a favorite restaurant. I got the twin lobster dinner. Lobster is my favorite, and for $25 (with soup, potato and vegetable) you can't beat it. But next time, I have to try the King Kong Shrimp. My husband got them--parmigiana style, and practically as big as lobster tails.

My two older kids were with us. The younger boys couldn't get out of work.

For the day of my birthday, we ordered takeout Chinese--my favorite! I got a gorgeous philenopsis plant (I'm sure I did not spell that correctly), money, chocolate and a gift card to put towards a Wii. Mike asked if I minded if he held off on my gift. Between Nick's tuition, property tax and $2,000 for a new fuel pump (and other stuff) for my stupid car, that was enough to spend in January. Nobody's got the Wii in stock, anyway, so I just said it would be something to look forward to.

I hope everyone's having a good year so far!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy New Year and Pizza

Most years we just hang out on the 31st. I'm more likely to be asleep when the New Year starts. Can you tell I'm not a party person?

I had the idea the other day that we'd have homemade pizza for dinner. Well, suddenly we got 3 invitations for New Year's Eve. One of them fell through--my bil and his wife and my nephew didn't want to come out in the snow. Can't blame them; the little guy is only four. We divided the night between two friends. I would have been happy if everyone cancelled due to the weather, but I ended up having a really nice time. The first party was bigger (well, about 8 people plus uncounted kids) and the second was just coffee and Bailey's with one of my best friends. (Mike did not drink, for the record. Me...a spoonful of anything in my coffee or Coke is good enough for me. I just don't 'get' people who work themselves into hangovers.)

So anyway, the pizza...we decided to make a pie and bring it as an appetizer to the first party. It was a HUGE hit, if I may say so myself. Have you ever made pizza? Soooo easy! But there are tricks!

I tip my hat to those of you who make good pizza crust. I just don't have the talent for it. We actually buy 'raw' pizza dough from one of our local pizza parlors! Did you know you can do that? For about $4 you get this ball of dough (probably cheaper elsewhere than Long Island). You have to leave it out for a bit so it is easier to work with.

I have a pizza stone I cook on, but I found I like to stretch the dough on one of those metal pizza pans--the kind with all the little holes. For some reason, the 'peel' I have isnt' big enough for a full sized pie, even though the stone is very big! So I just sort of 'flip' the stretched out dough onto the stone and try not to burn myself. The 'peel' works with the cooked pizza just fine.

Two important tips from the pizza parlor 'chef':

1. Always use low-moisture mozzarella. That doesn't mean "skim milk." It really has to say 'low moisture" on the package. We always had watery pizza until we did this!

2. Don't cook the sauce. We just take tomato puree and spoon it on the crust. It will cook along with the pizza.

Now, me, I like to cook my crust first. I know they put raw pizza into those ovens at Uncle Chef's, but I don't have that kind of oven, LOL! You want to make sure you 'dock' the dough with lots and lots of fork pricks or you will end up with a big puff ball.

The pizza cooks in a 425 degree oven, and the crust will be done in about 10 minutes--but keep an eye on it! You can make it ahead of time and even freeze it for the future, if you want. Then just build the pizza with all the goodies you like. It will be done when the cheese is melted.

Have a Happy, Healthy and Wealthy New Year, everyone!