Category Archives: Bread

Yarn and Yeast

I’ve spent the past few days at Quilt Market in Minneapolis, thus the blogging absence. There’s no way to describe Market, so I’m not really going to try. I’ll just say that it is as exciting as it is exhausting. By Sunday morning, my mind was a foggy blur. So when my boss suggested I work from home the next day while we ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant, I nearly cried from relief into my granola.

My flight landed at 11:30 pm on Sunday night, and shortly thereafter I poured myself into bed and I slept like there was no tomorrow to wake up for.

But wake up I did. And while editing and attending conference calls, I baked rosemary craisin wheat bread from my own recipe:

 

Amazing how stabilizing a little bread baking can be.

Speaking of stabilizing, while at Market I used my spare moments (basically, the airplane rides there and back) to work on my wonky crochet scarf:

 

Apparently, yarn and yeast keep me sane.

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Even Better than Buttons

I woke up on Saturday morning to this:

 

Kyle told me they’d had an antique show near his work where he’d bought me buttons. I love antique buttons so I was pretty thrilled—what a wonderful way to start the day! I slowly sorted through them for about 5 minutes, all the while thinking to myself, ‘it’s the little things like this that make me want to spend the rest of my life with him.’

Then I saw the box.

 

And, of course, I said yes.

 

It’s really hard to write a blog post that manages to capture the feeling you have on the day you decide to spend the rest of your life with the man you love. Kyle and I have been together for nearly eight years, but nothing could prepare me for the moment when he kneeled down before me and I knew without a single doubt that this was exactly what I wanted for the rest of my life. I can’t even begin to describe the countless ways in which he makes me so incredibly happy–but from the mundane to the extraordinary, every moment we spend together feels special. I have just as much fun traveling to exotic places and eating fancy food with him as I do watching TV in our pajamas and chowing down on sandwiches.    

Speaking of which, we celebrated with a picnic lunch:

 

And a dinner at Bistro du Midi which, of course, was full of copious amounts of incredibly good champagne, food, and wine—but none of that matters as much as the incredibly good people who met up with us afterwards to celebrate the night away.

Sisters (real and spiritual), and good friends…

 

And our honorary best (and biggest) man Brecher, who along with my beloved sister Z, organized this night of utter shenanigans and merriment.

 

Let’s just say, we didn’t go home until the city started to shut down around us.

 

Waking up on Sunday morning was a slow and gradual process. Kyle and I said farewell to those who had spent the night on our sofa, then had a recovery breakfast of pancake truffles (adapted from Caitlin’s brilliant recipe—thank you!), served with maple syrup from a white elephant teapot that my mom recently gave me.

The rest of our Sunday was gloriously slow-paced and low key. After the whirlwind of excitement, it felt really good to engage in my usual, calming activities. I baked some bread (simple honey wheat hamburger buns):

And, of course, did some sewing—turns out, this is even more fun when you have a gorgeous diamond ring to admire while cutting and stitching (I always thought I wasn’t really into diamonds, but it turns out I’m more traditional than I thought—for the past 48 hours, I’ve been that girl who can’t stop holding out her hand to look at her engagement ring. I absolutely love it.)

Anyway, remember my idea of making a kickass patchwork bag out of my hand-dyed fabrics? I decided to model it off of one of my favorite totes which has a nice big slouchy shape and round base.

 

It went together surprisingly quickly:

 

I decided a brown base on the outside would be a nice contrast with the colorful patchwork, so I threw in a fun base on the inside instead:

 

I’m incredibly pleased with how it’s turned out but I don’t think it’s entirely done just yet. I went back and forth with the idea of adding buttons and I think I’m going to give it a go. In fact, some of those antique buttons match the fabrics beautifully—if that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.

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Tuesday Night Injenuity

The thing about working fulltime, even at a job you absolutely love, is that it sometimes feels like you have to save up the real quality you-time for the weekends. That’s not to say that I don’t thoroughly enjoy my weekday evenings. I wake up isanely early so I can leave the office by 4 and therefore have plenty of ‘real life’ time—I’m someone who needs a lot of this to feel like an actual human being. Still, by the time I get home, pack my lunch for the next day, kiss my bunny hello, empty the dishwasher, etc., it can sometimes feel like the evening flies by before I’ve had a chance to savor any real downtime. Often, the most I am able to accomplish is some knitting (or crocheting these days) and hand stitching.

This was case on Monday night. I squeezed in about an hour of work on my Kandinsky quilt before heading to Ole with Kyle for dinner. I mean, I’m not complaining. What’s better than a massive Monday night margarita and fresh guacamole?

 

Well, a couple of things. For one, the fact that Monday is taco day at Ole and you can choose from dozens of delectable flavors (the duck mole won by far):

 

And secondly, the fried plantains covered in cheese that I can’t help but order every single time we come here:

 

Good food and quality time with my good man: not a bad way to start of the week. But last night was marvelous in a very different way. Kyle was out of town so I decided to indulge in the type of activities that I generally reserve for weekends. I came home, put on the grungiest clothes I could find (sorry, Kyle!), sacrificed a few Tupperware containers to the cause, and within a couple of hours, had produced this:

 

Yes, I finally dyed my own fabric—and actually like love the results! I kept this very simple and used powdered dyes and a low-water immersion method and, as you can see, I stuck to solids for this go around. I have plenty more dye and plan on experimenting soon with marbling, but I have to admit I’m very into solids these days—having a simple, bold palette lets the design speak for itself.

I’ve discovered that there’s nothing quite like the high you get from dyeing your own yarn and fabric. It’s beyond gratifying. Having that type of ownership over the materials you use and being involved in every step of the creative process is very empowering.

The fabric is actually from old pillowcases so it’s  a very nice, soft, flannel. I’m imagining a kickass patchwork bag for the spring and summer. Like I said, there will be lots of fabric dyeing in my future (er, tonight?). In fact, I could barely stop myself last night and in my fabric dyeing frenzy, I even tore up a few more pillowcases:

 

But suddenly realized it was 7:30 and I was starving, having foregone my usual pre-dinner munchies (I decided that eating cheese and sweet potato chips while working with powdered dye would be a bad call). So I restrained myself from continuing, and instead whipped up a little pre-meal snack:

 

That would be my own (even tastier!) fried plantain. I’ve actually tried making these before using various different methods and ingredients, but I’ve discovered that this very sophisticated, complex technique is actually the best: melt a big old hunk of salted butter in a skillet and sauté away until the plantains are lightly browned on both sides. Yes, it’s that simple (I also recently learned that plantains aren’t truly ripe until they look all gross and black-skinned, and it’s worth waiting).

I enjoyed these with a side of sour cream, leftover guac, and feta cheese while I prepared my main course, a very different type of cuisine. I’m not one to give up and I just couldn’t let go of Saturday night’s mishap. Enter injera, round two:

 

Apparently, you can win them all—you just have to cheat 😉 This injera involved no fermenting, just the following simple ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole grain teff flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ¾ cup club soda

I did save some of the batter to act as a sourdough starter for my next batch which I suppose will be more ‘authentic’, but I have to say: this simplified version turned out absolutely fabulous. Just look at that moist, spongy goodness:

 

Injera, it turns out, is alarmingly easy to eat in absurd quantities. It just rolls and folds and squishes so nicely—which means one whole piece can be consumed in a single bite. In my defense, I wasn’t sure if injera would save well so I felt I might as well eat as much as possible—but I did manage to set aside three pieces for lunch the rest of the week so hopefully it does.

Don’t worry, I ate more than a plantain and bread for dinner. The rest of my meal included, big surprise, sweet potato, cheese, and eggs (and my homemade ice cream, naturally)—but who cares? Injera was definitely the star of this meal.

Gosh, I need more weekday nights like this. Turns out, I have more than enough time to feed my creative muse (and my belly). I just have to go for it. I’m quite simply in the best mood ever this morning. I even caught myself belting out Elton John lyrics at the top of my lungs on the drive to work. Hey, don’t judge; there’s a Tiny Dancer in all of us.

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When It Works

I’m not even sure how to begin describing the bliss of the past 48 hours. To say I had a ‘good’ weekend doesn’t quite capture it—but I also wouldn’t use the word ‘perfect,’ since it’s not really about perfection. ‘Productive’ isn’t right because it implies discipline, whereas I enjoyed every little ounce of the past two days, doing exactly what I felt like doing every step of the way.

That being said, I accomplished a lot—too much, in fact, for a single post. So I won’t be sharing the highlight of the weekend for a couple of days (a decision that will become clear when I do post it). How’s that for some incentive to check back soon? 🙂

So, where to begin? I guess from the top. After a long Friday night, Kyle and I decided to unwind with absurdly large margaritas:

 

Then something strange happened. We went home with every intention of crashing, but I got the sudden urge to bake cookies. Now, I hardly ever bake cookies—in fact, I don’t bake much at all aside from bread since I’m really more of an ice-cream-for-dessert kind of girl. Apparently, margaritas put me in the baking mood. I followed this super simple recipe for peanut butter cookies, broke out a tub of strawberry ice cream, and made peanut butter and jelly ice cream cookie sandwiches:

 

So you see, even when I do bake, I’m creating a vehicle for ice cream.

After a wonderful, long run on Saturday morning, I decided I needed to shake things up in the breakfast department. Since I usually eat breakfast in a hurry at work, I have the same thing 95% of the time: Greek yogurt, a banana, and instant oatmeal. It’s fairly nutritious (though I recently learned that the instant stuff really isn’t all that great for you due to the abundance of folic acid), but also a tad redundant. So I decided to break out my jar of old fashioned oats and make oatmeal pancakes:

 

Each pancake consisted of: ¾ cup of oats, 1 egg, a splash of milk, 1 heaping teaspoon of brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Kyle is more of a berry man, but I stuck with my usual banana as a topping (and yes, I still had my Greek yogurt on the side—baby steps, people), and I topped both pancakes with a drizzle of syrup.

I spent the rest of my morning finishing up my latest sewing project. There are no words, no real way to explain this one, so I’ll let the picture speak for itself:

 

Yes, I made a giant flannel patchwork elephant (Flannelphant?) I wish I could explain this one with some clever story or other type of justification, but I’m still not entirely sure what inspired me. All I know is, he brings me immense joy. I guess it makes sense: I love patchwork and I love elephants. There you have it.

I love to cook, but I’m not always in the mood to spend hours preparing a meal—however, for some reason, I couldn’t get enough kitchen time in this weekend. Saturday night, I decided to make my own noodles following this very unintimidating recipe from Sugarlaws (I recently discovered this blog and I love it!) The noodles came out a tad thick, but that wasn’t such a bad thing since it meant they had a gnocchi-like consistency: hearty and satisfying.

 

I covered them with a sauce made of: full-fat yogurt (leftover from last weekend’s naan), garlic, spinach, salt, and a few roasted tomatoes.

 

The original Saturday night plan was to lay low and get to sleep early since I really wanted to go to Emily Shea’s Sunday morning class at Baron Baptiste. No offense to the other Baptiste teachers, but Emily is by far my favorite. I don’t go to yoga for a lifestyle lecture or spiritual awakening—Emily makes me laugh even while my thighs are burning from the inside out, and I appreciate that.

Well, the laying low didn’t really work out: Kyle and I ended up meeting friends for drinks at Sagra, where I made it my mission to try out as many different mojitos as possible. The champagne mojito won out in the flavor-department, but the blueberry mojito was the prettiest:

 

I was fairly certain this would mean no yoga for me, but I mysteriously woke up about half an hour before yoga class started, so I sucked it up and went. Emily is also the kind of teacher who tells you that it’s perfectly acceptable to spend the entire 90 minutes in child’s pose if need be, and really seems to mean it—I haven’t had to do this yet, but it’s a nice back up. I half expected to be sweating blue, but no such luck. In fact, it was a surprisingly awesome class considering my Saturday night escapades. Like I said, it was just one of those weekends where nothing could get me down.

Afterwards, I made myself baked banana oatmeal consisting of: ¾ cups oatmeal, ¼ cup of mashed banana, ¼ cup whole milk, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. I topped it off with some sliced banana, and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

 

 While not drastically different then my weekday routine, there was something so nice about taking a little extra time at breakfast to revel in the leisurely pace that my weekend mornings afford.

The rest of my day was a haze of crafting bliss, but this is the post that I’ll be sharing in a couple of days. Fast forward to Sunday evening: I was back in the kitchen making Sugarlaws whole wheat parmesan bread.

 

I was a little skeptical about this recipe since you don’t proof the yeast first, but combine it with the flour, salt, and sugar, then add hot water. Of course, this made me nervous and I had my usual bread-baking self-doubts, but yet again, the yeast didn’t let me down. This is a fabulous bread: very crusty on the outside,  yet soft and moist on the inside. However, I would add more parmesan next time since it really was a very subtle flavor.

I couldn’t subject Kyle to two meatless dinners in a row, so I used this bread to make meatball subs (the recipe makes 8″ mini loaves which are just the right size):

 

We topped them off with Provel cheese that my grandmother sent a while back (I froze a few slices for special occasions such as this). This is a fabulous cheese that is a St. Louis specialty. It’s a combination of Swiss, Cheddar, and Provolone, and has a soft, butter-like texture. Thank you, Grandma!

After dinner, I finished up the most painful part of the sweater-making process: the seaming. I mean, does anyone like doing this? It took 3-4 hours (I tried not to watch the clock since I really should have been sleeping at this point), but the patchwork cardigan is fini:

 

 It fits!

 

And I love it.

Whether you’re a chef, baker, knitter, sewer…or anyone who make things, you know that you are bound to have disappointments. I can’t tell you how many subpar sweaters I’ve knit, or how many bland dinners I’ve produced. But I honestly do love the processes—whether cooking, sewing, or knitting—enough to not be bothered. That being said, it’s really nice when these endeavors work, when you experience a sense of accomplishment and pride in what you’ve created. It’s not about perfection (like I said, my noodles were super thick, and I wouldn’t encourage anyone to look too closely at my cardigan’s shoulder seams), but it is about setting expectations, striving for your best, and taking the time to do it right.

I don’t mean to be preachy, and I try to avoid getting overly sappy on the blog as well—but I can’t end this post without noting that one of the most important things about a weekend like this is the person you share it with. All my crazy crafting and cooking escapades wouldn’t be as fun if it weren’t for the man who is ever-so-patiently by my side through them all, who doesn’t blink (too much) when I present him with a giant patchwork elephant, who happily eats whatever I happen to feel like making, who snoars waits patiently on the sofa instead of going to bed without me when I announce that I will not sleep until my sweater is finished (and who then takes pictures of said sweater for the blog). Kyle and I have been together for more than seven years, so it probably goes without saying that I’m more than a little fond of him, but weekends like this really remind me that I snagged a good one—and he deserves a thank you.

When you see how I spent my Sunday afternoon, you’ll really understand what I’m talking about.

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Filed under Bread, clothing, cooking, knitting, Pasta, sewing

NYC and Naan!

As I had suspected, a little foray into the city was just what I needed to reawaken my muse. I feel rejuvenated and relaxed at the same time (if not a tad underslept—but I’ll make up for that soon enough).

Our plans to lay low on Friday night fell through and after a fun evening at Ole, Kyle and I weren’t really up for catching the Saturday morning bus at 9:30. Instead, we decided to drive to the city—and by ‘we,’ I mean Kyle drove and I was a happy passenger:

 

I finished the first sleeve of my cardigan and about half of the second one. I probably would have finished both but I passed out slept on the way back. Driving (er, being driven) is a much more pleasant way to commute to the city. We rolled down the windows, soaked in some sunshine, and stopped for snacks whenever we felt like it. The only downside is that Kyle thinks this is music…and I beg to differ.

Let’s just say that Saturday night was one of those epic nights in the city. Kyle and I wandered around in the warm weather and got pre-dinner drinks at an outdoors bar, then met up with my college friends at Angon. There’s nothing like a reunion.

I took a few random pictures here and there, but mainly I was having too much of a good time to stop and shoot every two seconds. However, for some reason, I did snag a picture of this glorious pizza which I inhaled at the wee hours of Sunday morning (at this point, I can’t explain how I was deciding what was and was not worth recording but I have an interesting collection of images from this final stretch of the night):

There’s nothing like NYC pizza, especially when it’s consumed at ungodly hours after a long night in the city. It has to be done.

Several hours before this, I do recall eating lots of good Indian food—naan, in particular. Though our waiter kindly informed us that one bread basket would be more than enough for the table, we ordered 3 or 4 more throughout the course of the evening. Naturally, this awakened the interest of my inner bread baker.

Another perk to driving to the city is that Kyle is a very ‘efficient’ driver, so we were back in Boston with enough time for me to take a leisurely bike ride to the grocery store where I bought the makings for homemade naan (I needed whole milk yogurt which was surprisingly difficult to find!) I followed this recipe quite closely, but added minced garlic to the dough and brushed homemade garlic and oregano butter over each piece as soon as it came out of the oven.

 

 Nearly every time I try out a new bread recipe, I have a moment of doubt where I’m convinced that I’ve messed something up. Bread is a little finicky, after all. Usually, at some point during the process, I announce to Kyle that “this might not work.” He’s used to my yeast-related insecurities and every time he dutifully replies, “of course it will.” (This time, I panicked a bit when the recipe started calling for “baker’s peels” and “quarry tiles,” and when I realized I don’t own a rolling pin! But I improvised.)

Truth is, I haven’t had any major inedible disasters, and my bread baking always ‘works’ but some attempts are far more successful than others and I’ve made my fair share of mediocre loaves. Well, to be perfectly honest, I can easily say that this is one of my most successful bread-baking endeavors thus far—perhaps the most successful. Maybe it was the addition of yogurt, or the way each piece is baked individually (of course, I used Le Creuset), but this bread was soft, fluffy, moist…heaven:

 

I’m a whole wheat fiend, but I have to admit that getting a nice moist bread using only whole wheat flour can be challenging. For some reason, this one just worked. And, of course, you can never have too much garlic.

I only made one mistake. Since I have an aversion to excess leftovers and hate wasting food (and since homemade bread seems to go bad more quickly than most), I halved the recipe so that I only had three 6″ x 10″ rectangles. Never again. I gave Kyle a pre-dinner taste test and he quickly informed that I should only make naan from now on. He then announced that he would like an entire rectangle with his meal. I started with half of one, but let’s just say that by the end of the night, we only had one rectangle left 😦 Don’t worry, we did get our far share of healthy (and beautifully colorful!) produce as well with this lovely vegetable stir fry  (steak was added post-photo but it looked prettier with just the veggies):

 

Even though we had freshly-baked bread, Kyle does not believe in stir fry without rice, so we got our far share of carbs last night, but after an evening of shenanigans in the city, nothing feels better in your belly.

Not only I am thrilled to have found a new favorite bread recipe, but I’m also pleased to announce that my sewing inspiration has returned. Of course, it returned on Friday afternoon when I had precious little time to respond. I was stitching up until when we departed on Saturday, and literally left my project in this state:

 

Not only does it feel good to be sewing again, it feels good to want to be sewing again. Last night was more of a pajamas-and-TV kind of night, but I’m looking forward to my nearly plan-free week and many hours of evening stitching.  What am I making exactly? Well, it’s not quite like anything I’ve done before. You’ll have to wait and see.

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Chicken feet, pretzels, and one big pillow

I had one of those really good, really random weekends. First and foremost, one of my favorite people ever came to visit! Sally and I were roommates for all four years of college but she moved back to New York to study design at Pratt so I’ve been missing her badly. If anyone was happier to see her than I, it was Shuffle:

 

They’ve always had a special bond.

Anyway, we had a far too brief reunion weekend. This involved some delicious Dim Sum at Windsor Cafe—which inspired me to add another item to my ever-expanding list of things to create: those miraculously cloud-like dumplings. Oh. So. Good. Sorry, I was too busy inhaling them to take a picture.

We also tried chicken feet:

 

Turns out, chicken feet are pretty much just bone and skin. They’re actually not bad, but, well, kind of what you would expect when eating a foot.

Saturday night involved drinks at Upstairs on the Square, a Harvard classic that apparently serves delicious egg white cocktails, with my sister Charlie (who, by the way, is in the midst of creating her own blog! If you are a runner/fitness enthusiast or admirer of those who are, you are in for a treat. I’ll post the link as soon as it’s up.)

 

(Charlie took the picture which is why she isn’t actually in it.)

Let’s just say that the rest of the evening involved more friends and fabulous, college-like behavior which I either 1. Didn’t photograph or 2. Am not going to post pictures of. Let’s just say bacon burgers were enjoyed, 40s were imbibed, and good friends got even friendlier than normal.

Somehow, amidst all this, I managed to finish up a project that you probably thought I’d forgotten about. Actually, I kind of had—or, at least, I’d temporarily lost interest. But shortly after starting my red and blue quilt, I felt a pang of guilt for having abandoned my Mexican napkin project. So I decided to finish this up before it devolved into UFO territory.

First off, I realized that too much wonkiness really is possible, and I wanted my stitching lines to be somewhat straight, so I decided to place strips of masking tape as guides. Several hours of hand stitching (running, zigaag, cross stitch) later, and the napkins were complete.

But, as I mentioned before, I only bought nine which amount to about 60″ x 60″, an odd in-between size. This is too small for a quilt, but I decided it was just right for a giant pillow:

Oh yes, I went there. And I felt legit insane the whole time I was putting this together, but it has made me happier than any of my creations have in a long time. I mean, think about it. What is more glorious than a giant, bed-like pillow? It’s basically a doggy bed for human beings.

I stuffed it with a grand total of eight bags of polyester fiber fill ($2 a pop at Sewfisticated, but don’t try to get your own any time soon since I depleted their supply.) I was so excited when I finished it, I emailed my brother a picture (he’s away at Princeton but has always had a strange understanding of my wacky crafty ways). His reply pretty much sums this one up:

So I first read this email a couple days ago. I’m napping in my bed, my phone makes its little notification tone, I wake up and semi-consciously read about a human-sized, Mexican napkin pillow. At the time I was sure I’d misunderstood something, so I went back to sleep. But no, it seems I understood clearly. Ironically, I’m surprised by how little surprised I was to see this. Pippa makes a Mexican napkin pillow? Yeah, it happens. Right on. – Gordon

Sunday night’s dinner was the perfect combination of fun and comfort. After what feels like a too-long break from yeasty bread baking, I decided to try something a little different: soft pretzels. I followed this recipe pretty closely (but substituted whole wheat flour) since this was my first attempt and experimenting would  have been unwise.

The first stage is not so different from other breads—and oh how I’ve missed the delicious smell of rising dough as it doubles in size and transforms into a big, soft, spongy mass.

But then things get a little tricky, and I had to really psych myself up for the next part. After rolling the dough into ropes, then pretzel-like shapes (incidentally, I had to do a Google Image search for pretzels to make sure I got the right shape and this turned up some very odd images, including a pretzel-legged merman, worth checking out if you have some spare time), you plop each pretzel into a sauce pan of boiling water + baking soda for 30 seconds. I was very, very dubious that this was going to be a successful operation. But, thanks to my mother’s superb kitchen setup skills, I happen to own a large, flat spatula-like object that was perfect for this procedure. Turns out, pretzels really do float:

 

Once boiled, the pretzels have to bake for about 10-12 minutes (12-14 according to the recipe but I think I have a hotter-than-average oven). And voila:

 

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I am super proud of these! Baking or cooking something that you were fairly convinced was out of your league is a very gratifying endeavor. Fresh, warm pretzels dipped in homemade butternut squash and bacon soup (which was really more like mashed squash since I like uber-thick soups):

 

Pretty much the best possible way to end the weekend. Well, maybe second best. This felt pretty darn good, too:

 

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Me Time

Even though Boston had been bracing itself for the worst, we got effectively no snow in the end. Schools were let out early or canceled altogether—my boss even insisted that I leave around 1 pm when the flurries started coming down, but by the time I was home, the flurries had stopped and not much more came along.

It’s kind of odd to have all that anticipation and, in the end, no heaping piles of snow to show for it. I have mixed feelings since:

  1. I love the snow! It’s beautiful and a good excuse to stay huddled indoors (read: sew), but
  2. Snow makes for treacherous driving and I have a Prius (an older model that hasn’t been recalled but I still don’t trust it in bad weather) and I’ve been enjoying my outdoor runs these days.

Anyway, this storm-that-wasn’t did mean that I found myself home early. Kyle had a business dinner to attend to, so I cozied up with my Onion Quilt (running stitch is flowing from fingers uncontrollably) and had the time to make myself a leisurely dinner.

Now, I love my boyfriend, but I also love those evenings all to myself where I can indulge in my SSB: secret single behavior (I hope at least some of you get the Sex and the City reference—incidentally, watching Sex and the City is one of my secret single behaviors, but it’s the least strange of them all …)

I also love making dinner for one. You get to eat exactly what you want and sometimes enjoy the leftovers for days to come. On the other hand, I don’t always want leftovers, especially if I know I’ll be out for a few days. I experience enormous guilt when food goes bad. So last night I came up with a wonderful solo dining solution that was delicious, fun, easy to make, and leftovers-free.

Pizza for One

  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ T baking powder
  • Pinch of salt*
  • Pinch of oregano
  • ¼ cup room temperature water
  • Dollop of EVOO

Combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and oregano in a medium bowl. Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the water and EVOO. Fold in the flour until you have a kneadable dough (you may need slightly more water; add just a bit at a time).

Knead the dough for about 4-6 minutes (yes, this is slightly tricky since it’s such a small amount, but you can still press it with the heel of your hand, rotate, etc.). Allow the dough to rest in an airtight plastic bag for about an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare your ingredients. For this pizza, I steamed a few broccoli florets and roasted some butternut squash.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease a pizza stone (I use the bottom of my La Cloche) or baking sheet. Press the dough into an approximately 8″ circle (or larger if you prefer a thinner crust). Cover with your toppings. I topped mine with tomato sauce, the broccoli and butternut squash, chopped dates, feta cheese, and sharp cheddar.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the crust starts to brown slightly and the cheese has melted.

*It used to drive me crazy when recipes had vague terms like “pinch” and “dollop” in them—but honestly, that’s how real cooking happens. You’ll get the feel for these amounts soon enough, and then you’ll really be enjoying the process.

So I was a happy lady last night with homemade pizza and hand sewing to keep me company. On the other hand, I’m also looking forward to another dinner at EVOO tonight. Maybe this time I’ll remember to snag a snapshot of my glorious, favorite chocolate cake in the world before I polish it off.

The one thing about lots of hand sewing is my fingers get a bit tender after a couple of hours, which is when I switch over to a more finger-friendly activity: knitting. Check out these scrappy socks that I’m working on with all my little bits of Cascade:

 

I have no pattern or plan for these babies; it’s just one stripe at a time. Improvisation seems to be my working method of choice these days. It’s making these socks such fun to work on, and it keeps me on my toes, so to speak!

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Filed under Bread, clothing, cooking, knitting, quilting