Archive for June, 2009

Talk about karma.  Sleeping in ‘til noon yesterday backfired hard core last night!  Neither Kyle nor I could fall asleep, and as we watched the hours on the clock tick by, we finally decided enough was enough…so we got back up at 2 am and watched some tv.  Sleep FAIL.

At 4 am I still wasn’t tired, but I forced myself back to bed…Kyle fell asleep (lucky ^%$) while I tossed and turned until 6 am.  Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to set my alarm, so instead of sleeping ‘til noon again, I instead got a measly 3 hours of sleep.  At least I will hopefully get back on a normal sleep schedule tonight, even though I feel like a jet-lagged zombie now.

IMG_2939 That’s the good stuff!

A few more buckets of these and I was only suffering moderate eyelid drooping.

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Breakfast sugar was entirely necessary.  I think it’s safe to say I got in my daily cancer preventing antioxidants with the blueberry AND plum action 🙂

As I caught up on the blog pileup in my google reader, I started brainstorming for lunch.  I went back to some old faves:

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LightLife “turkey” + Sabra roasted red pepper hummus = sammie of my dreams

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I pimped out my english muffin sammich with a few ripped up pieces of fake “turkey” along with spinach and hummus.  Naturally, I had an apple on the side, and a NEW flavor of Kombucha.  I still like Trilogy the best, but this was good…it didn’t really taste citrus-y to me, but no harm, no foul, still fizzy yum.


D to the E – LISH!!! 


I was still hungry for some more crunch, so I made a rando little side salad consisting of raw corn OFF the cob, sliced carrots, and a GLOB ‘o roasted red pepper hummus.  I wasn’t expecting anything too great, since I threw it together in approx 2.5 seconds, but effing fantabulous is what it was!


I know you can’t tell from the photo, but this ring was a FATTY!  And I mean Kim Kardashian thick.

Speaking of huge asses curvy ba-donk-a-donks…gym time!  Not surprisingly, I was a bit sore from yesterday’s workout, so instead of running outdoors, I decided to go a little easy on myself.  Plus, I wanted to watch tennis, so the elliptical won hands down.  It wasn’t a great workout, but it was something (I’m working on getting rid of my all-or-none mentality).  I stretched for days and peaced out. 

FYI, anyone who was worried for my dwindling Alvarado Street bread stash, fear not, on the way home I found some!!! [insert huge sigh of relief here]

Post workout, I showered at lightning speed, and scarfed down on ANOTHER chobz (strawberry this time) and a pair of dried pineapple rings.

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I had to get some food in me, but I didn’t wanna ruin my appetite, since I was going to dinner at the BEST restaurant ever (aka Cafe Blossom).

My Mom’s cousin Patti (who previously guest posted) and her hubz (Larry) were in town for a food show, and so in addition to taking me and Kyle to dinner, they even smuggled us a few treats from the show.   

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I couldn’t help it, I order seitan AGAIN.  But it’s just SO good!!!  Balsamic grilled seitan in the best sauce ever (roasted red pepper “cream”), with asparagus and baby Yukon gold potatoes.  Heavenly.

Kyle got my runner-up order, which was the Southern Seitan Sandwich.  The spiced seitan came on fluffy foccacia bread, with caramelized onions, avocado and chipotle aioli, as well as a heaping stack of cajun sweet potato fries.


Kyle was the lucky recipient of Larry’s leftover Fettucini Alfredo, so his lunch is already taken care of!

We walked back home, and I quickly threw my lunch together and hit the hay.  Work tomorrow  :/


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After such a crazy day of traveling, I was looking forward to sleeping in to catch up on my zzzs.  I had NO idea that by not setting an alarm, I’d end up snoozing half the day away!  I woke up at 11:30!  I don’t think I’ve slept in that much since my post college month year of “figuring things out.”

Kyle and I stumbled out onto the couch still in a sleepy stupor…and made a huge pot of coffee to remedy that.


Clearly I’m out of practice in the frothing department.  There was a bit of an overflow when I went to pour it…but no worries, it didn’t go to waste 🙂

I spent the morning afternoon quick-flipping between Wimbledon and the FIFA soccer final.  Somewhere in there I made brunch.  Sometime after lunch, the US gave up a 2-0 lead over Brazil and lost 2-3.  Tragic with a capital T!!   

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Curry powder + tofu + spinach + tomato = “egg” scramble


With a slice of Alvarado Street bread on the side…I am dangerously low on this bread (only 2 more slices!) and I can’t find it anywhere!?  Between today and yesterday, I’ve been to 4 stores and NADA!  Grocery store FAIL.

Anyways, I snacked on some raw cow’s hide dried mango/peaches for lunch dessert.


Before my sugar high turned into a sugar crash (and depression from the US team’s loss set in), I headed to the gym.  FYI, I went exercise-less for the entire second week of vacation (no real reason, I was just enjoying doing nothing)…so I knew I was in for a rude awakening once I stepped foot in NYSC.

I know (in theory) it’s impossible to get out of shape in 7 days, but I felt like a freakin’ cripple on the elliptical.

As I walked in, I got a giddy tingly feeling all over.  It took every ounce of my being to stop myself from professing how much I missed the gym to the keychain tag scanner lady…

I think it goes without saying I had a great workout :)   8 miles later I headed home, with a few more grocery store stops on the way.

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Post workout yummies: apple + Kombucha (I am addicted to this like a junky to V juice).  Oh, did I mention, I’m all caught up on the newest eps of True Blood.   Love me some Vampires.

After I showered and rubbed my body from head to toe with fake tanner, I started to get my dinnerface on.  This salad included everything under the sun:



raw corn

broccoli slaw


shredded carrots


cherry tomatoes

1 entire avocado

clover sprouts





I think from now on I’ll just call these everything-in-the-fridge salads, because they literally contain EVERY friggin thing I can find in the fridge, no filter whatsoever.

My EITF salad was entirely raw (yes, even the broccoli!) and it was exactly what I wanted.  I seriously craved greens with mega-crunch after my vacay…it’s like my body self-detoxes itself by demanding such foods.  I love eating and eating and eating, and looking into the bowl, and having a ton of salad to still chow down.  Isn’t that just the best feeling??   😀

Fresh fruit dessert(s).


Apple count for the day = 2 (it didn’t take long for me to get back into the swing of things, huh?).  The plum was ah-maze!  The nectarine, on the other hand, didn’t slice so nice…so that’s why it looks like there was a fruit massacre.  But man-oh-man was it goooood.  It was BEYOND juicy and I slurped the plate clean after the chunks were gone.  Have I mentioned how much I love summer fruit.

Bed time!

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Aloha :( 

(that means goodbye, too, right?)

We left Maui today (tear) to head back to the real world (aka the main land).

There were more than a few blah things about these flights, but I’ll avoid going all Debbie Downer on you – and just list a couple… (1) I couldn’t bring produce with me…no fun and (2) I knew I was heading back to work, and leaving my stress free days on the beach behind.  The one positive was that I had Kyle with me for the lonnnnnng flights.


Java.  Check.  Not pictured: 8 oz bag of chocolate covered macadamia nuts eaten [in entirety] prior to boarding.  I’m actually pretty embarrassed to write this, but in the interest of full disclosure, I did it because, well, I wanted to get every last ounce of non-vegan eating out before heading back to NYC.  I’m embarrassed because this is not only an unhealthy mentality but I was already feeling like crap after abusing my body and eating foods I KNOW my body doesn’t like for the past 2 weeks…so this was just the icing on the (dairy filled) cake.  SO unlike me…and what a punishment I felt afterwards!  As if the flights weren’t miserable enough…

I was SO out of it.  All the time changes (mixed in with the random bits of shut eye)…I just wasn’t able to function…basically, this entire flight process was horrible.  I ate so much crapola, it makes me sad to just think about what’s in my body right now.  Airport FAIL.  Elise FAIL.

I did manage to down 2 green machine (or whatever they’re called…) odwalla drinks, while in Salt Lake City.  Never mind that it was technically 3 am for me at the time (or that I had an entire can of honey roasted peanuts with it).  Yes, you read that correctly, I ate half a pound of nuts a mere 4 hours after eating a bag of chocolate macadamia nuts.  I don’t think I was even conscious at this point.

Needless to say, I arrived in NYC feeling like I was run over by a truck plane.

There was next to nothing in the apartment, so a grocery trip was the first thing we did after dropping off our luggage.  I smelled like a post-marathon shoe, and probably looked worse, but I still made it to the local health foods store.  Come hell or high water, I was going to get fresh veggies!


For dinner I made mon stour salad with the works: spinach, tomato, sprouts, shredded carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, red bell pepps, and a delish seaweed/sesame mix. 

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On top I drizzled some blended chickpeas.  I literally popped chickpeas (with all the can water) in the blender and pressed liquidify.  Not too shabby on top of the salad!


I was ready for bed by 7 pm…but managed to hang on until 10.  I watched some tivo-ed Bravo crap, much to the dismay of Kyle, while snacking on an apple/banana dessert.


It’s just sliced fruit with cinnamon…clearly, the creative juices were sucked dry from my ridiculously long day.  Must’ve been the nuts – they were quite salty. 

These pretzels are making me thirsty!!

Google reader says 303.  Peace out kids. 

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Maui highlights

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I know it looks fake, but, unlike the NJ housewives, this is ALL REAL.  Why would anyone leave such a place!?

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Me and my sis (she’s not strangling me, we are just channeling our inner family Von Trapp)…sadly, this is the most normal of the 25 million dozen photos my Mom managed to get out of us. 

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My Dad sporting his “I’m the Boss” pin that he got for Father’s Day…and just in case you’re wondering, yes, that IS a fanny pack

No, we weren’t going on a hike…that’s just his general “around the apartment” wear.  Sweet!


Dates + Hawaii’s finest dessert treat = Holy YUM!

I had probz 5 of those cans of choco-maca-nuts.  Awww…SH!!! homes.  The effing Dairy Devil reeked it’s revenge later, but it was worth it 😉

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Puuurty rainbow…and the pot of gold empty containers of booze at the end.

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Whudda soopah cute couple we are! 

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And that background! Gorgy gorg.

Hike to Haleakala…my second time above 10,000 feet.  I fueled up before hand with a HUGE bag of cereal/granola (eaten with a spoon so as not to miss a single itty bitty oat crumble). 

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The crater was massive, even with the clouds covering half of it.  I felt like I was on the moon.  It was tres cool, although, I did get a bit nauseated with all the winding roads.

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But looky here!!  You see, I can hang tough through just about anything if there’s a pretty prize waiting for me at the end :)  Don’t I look proud as can be, flashing my certificate of nothingness like it’s a WF gift card. 

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After we reached the tippy top of Haleakala, we grabbed some lunch (at the only B&B within 20 miles), and then headed back to the waterfall jungle hike sitelook familiar?

Well, Kyle wasn’t with us on our last trip, and you simply can’t leave Maui with your Kombucha swamp water v-card in tact.

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I hope the video works.  As you can see, he was a bit reluctant to get in.  My Dad freaked him out by telling him not to drink the water because there was likely Cryptosporidium in it.  Naturally, big, long words scare Kyle, and so as he was getting in, he asked me if I would take care of him if he got cystic fibrosis from the water…ummm…sure Kyle, if you manage to get a genetic disease from swamp water, I will never leave your side.  Cryptosporidiosis on the other hand is a far better diagnosis…even though diarrhea isn’t fun, I’m a nurse, and I’ll get you through it.

So if you can’t make it out, his response to “how does it taste” was “cystic fibrosy.”  He’s special. 

This is still my all time fave photo of the trip.


That’s my Mom applying sunscreen to my sister.  Mature.  Real mature.

She told me not to post it, so please nobody call child services on her a$$.

She’s really a good mother, I swear 😉

And now, it’s back to the mainland (and reality) for me…tear!

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Merry times @ Merriman’s

I know I mentioned this restaurant on a previous post, but it was SO great, I thought it deserved more than 3 lines.  This quote captures the essence of Merriman’s passion: 

"We showcase the food, not a complicated preparation, so our guests authentically taste the organically grown lettuce or vine ripe tomatoes from Waimea."

–Peter Merriman

The restaurant purchases produce from the local island farmers daily. These seasonal and fresh products are used both in their menu and in the chef’s nightly specials.

This harmony between the farmer, the season, and the chef create the dining experience at Merriman’s that brings people back to the island year after year.

How brilliant is Peter Merriman?!

Anyways, our dining experience was fabulous!  First of all, the views were amazing. 

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So we enjoyed a few cocktails while watching the sunset…

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But then the wind and rain decided to join in on our little partay…so we headed inside for shelter dinner.


Even inside, the view was still pretty spectacular…


We started the meal with a bottle of Malbec (Ben Marco 2007) and some bread.  The sommelier was really nice, and helped my Dad choose something that would compliment the meal, even though our orders were all over the map(trust me, for a serious wino like my Dad, this was no small feat). 

He was very knowledgeable, and later in the meal brought out two different Cabernets for us to try, just for fun.  He didn’t tell us the vintage or varietal, so it was a blind tasting.  Kyle and my Dad liked one, and my Mom and I preferred the other…can you guess who had the more $$$ taste?  Well, the Cab that my Mom and I chose was way more expensive…so we women clearly have the more refined palettes 🙂

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Anyways, the Malbec was delicious, and the fluffy, warm bread melted in my mouth. 

To start the meal, I ordered a salad of mixed organic greens, haricot verts, and crushed macadamia nuts, topped with a vinaigrette dressing.


I scraped the plate clean, and I don’t even like nuts  :)  My parents shared a beet/citrus salad (no photo), and Kyle got the special (pictured below), which featured pan fried abalone, on a bed of organic arugula, with cherry tomatoes and several other greens.IMG_3043

Merriman’s has it’s own abalone farm, so Kyle enjoyed the succulent morsels sans guilt.

Then the entrees arrived…


Kyle ordered the Mixed Plate, which allowed him to sample their best dishes.  From left to right: Mahi Mahi, grass fed island Filet Steak, and seared Ahi.

He couldn’t stop raving about it, so it must have been amazing.  My Dad got the same, and loved it as well.

My Mom got Merriman’s Original Wok Charred Ahi, which was the full entree of the far right of Kyle’s plate.


Even my Mom, with her itty bitty stomach, polished this off (ok, she may have passed a few bites off to Kyle and my Dad)…but still, that just shows you how savory and delish her meal was.


I ordered a few different sides of veggies (the only ones that were dairy free actually), including the green beans, beets, and macadamia nut brown rice.

I basically inhaled the nutty brown rice…it was, in a word, YUM.  The beans were great, too.  You can seriously tell when products are fresh, and the difference is immeasurable.  The beets were good, too, but perhaps could have been (should have been?) complimented with another flavor? Anyways, my only complaint (and it’s hardly that) would be the lack of vegan options.


The thing I appreciated most about Merriman’s is their passion for creating food with organically grown produce and chemical-free products.  All produce is locally AND organically grown.  And aside from certain items on the wine list, everything is Hawaiian grown.

In fact, Peter Merriman was somewhat of a visionary for his ideas…the thought of growing produce other than sugar cane and pineapple, which clearly dominated the Hawaiian farming landscape, was unimaginable…and yet, that is exactly what he did. 

He (and 12 other prominent Hawaiian chefs) started encouraging farmers to produce an abundance of vegetables and fruits never grown before on the island.  Today, many other local growers, farmers and ranchers produce a variety of select items, from fresh organic mushrooms and greens, to award-winning goat cheese and range-raised, hormone free lamb and beef.  Today they work with several partners to serve the finest ingredients.

As the home of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Merriman’s honors the connection between the farmer, the cook, our community, our earth.

From their website:

“Hawaii Regional Cuisine has grown into an agricultural, economic and political movement; I often reflect upon how proud I am that Merriman’s restaurant supports local farmers and the local economy while offering fresh, authentic food at its peak flavor.

Every day, we must eat, and make choices about how to live and how to spend our money. The money we spend for food generates a large part of our economy. Choosing to patronize a restaurant founded on regionally grown products strengthens the local economy and community.”

How could you not appreciate a business with such a commitment to protecting and honoring the earth?

At Merriman’s our pledge is:

  • to continue to support the local farmers, especially farmers who are choosing sustainable agriculture methods that support the earth and nourish the earth so that it is fertile and rich for future generations;
  • to offer you the finest local interpretations of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Our menu changes daily, with you in mind;
  • to continue to promote Hawaii Regional Cuisine and raise awareness among residents and visitors alike, so we have a better understanding of good food, really good food, and how good food positively effects our families, our community and our economy.

“We hope you, too, are inspired to support local farmers and a healthy Hawaii through Hawaii Regional Cuisine.” –Peter Merriman

I could go on and on, but instead, I’ll leave you with some photos of our desserts…


Molten Chocolate something or other with vanilla bean ice cream.


Clearly, Kyle hated it.

I think this was a cheesecake?  It was my Mom’s order, but my Dad kinda hoarded the plate.


I “shared” the seasonal fruit sorbets…(mango and passion fruit).


And by “shared” I mean, tasted once, and decided nobody was getting another bite.  I know.  I’m so generous.

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Wanna see how my Maui meals have been going…well, I have about 4.7% of my eats captured on film, so I’ll let you be the judge of that.   We eat at restaurants more often than not, so I am in serious need of a detox.  Processed foods have been in abundance, despite my best attempts to minimize them.  And even with mega planning ahead of time, vegan options tend to be poor at best.  One of the things I realized here is how unavoidable processed foods is.  Sad :( 

Even with my organic-loving, health-conscious, family, I’m struggling to keep a same-ness in my diet.  The hippie lifestyle is especially hard due to location alone…the fact that Maui is an island is a huge obstacle, and much of their food is shipped from the mainland, rather than made on the island.  Hello carbon footprint!  And hello processed goods!

We have been buying local veggies and fruit as much as possible, but there’s only so much you can do.  Anyways, here are a few of my vacay nibbles.

Morning time eats:

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Organic french roast coffee, light soy milk.  Raisin Bran (x a LOT).

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More RB cereal.  Strawbz.

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Organic wilderness retreat blend coffee.  RB with EXTRA cranz thrown in.

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Self explanatory.  Delish.


Strawbz and apple slices.  RB dust drowned in leche and micro-ed – it almost tasted like oats!  Has anyone else ever tried this?

Sick of brekkie nom noms?  Ok, here’s some mid-day grubbing, captured on film.

Freshly opened Sabra.







I’m pretty sure I pounded that baby in 30 minutes flat.  No surprise there. 

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This bag of dried mangos suffered a fate similar to the hummus.  Shelf-life of dried fruit in the presence of yours truly is counted in seconds (rather than days).  16 oz?  Puh-leez.  Give me a challenge.


English muffin with hummus maximus, spinach, and apple slices.  This was a tasty lil bugger.  I think I repeated it a few more times…

At the pace I was going, a grocery trip was v. necessary to re-stock the essentials…

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Hummus tubs (yes, plural), shroomies, carrots, and strawbz.  Plus dried fruit, dates, and apples, oh my!


If you’ve never tried this Forty Spices flave, DO IT!  It’s got a nice spicy kick to it, and there are little chunks, which I love in my hummus.  I think it’s Tribe’s best kind of hummus (I’m actually not a fan of their classic), but this one was soopah good.  As a result, I had far too many crackers and felt a bit like a$$ after…typical Elise behavior. 


More vegg/apple/hummus action.


Apparently (to me), Family size = Elise size.  I know I’m on vacation and all, but that’s no reason to re-invent completely abandon the way I normally eat.  I’m not sure if Kyle even got within a few inches of the box, before I swatted his hand away.  I was like Gollum guarding his precious ring!  My precious. 

FYI, the above pomegranate fizzy juice is crazy good.  I had 3/4 of the bottle in a single sitting.

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Can’t go wrong with something as simple as vegan Boca Burgers.


Lather on some hummus, throw in some spin, and BAM!


Whoops!  How did that one sneak in there…

As for dinner, I can’t remember the names of all the restaurants we ate at, but we did sushi @ Sansei, sunset dining @ Longboards, happy hour grubbin @ Moose McGillicutty’s, and (the best of all) enjoyed some seriously gourmet bites at Merriman’s

If you aren’t familiar with Peter Merriman’s food movement, get familiar!  He’s on point with his ideas of how to showcase food…and he has been advocating eating home-grown products way before it was trendy.

‘Fresh’ and ‘local’ are the two words which guide every decision we make at Merriman’s." –Peter Merriman

I tasted every single veg on the menu 🙂

For the rest of the nights that we weren’t dining out, we BBQ-ed our din din.  Here’s a sample of some goodies:


Steamed brocc slaw, spinach salad with diced tomato, black beans, and mega avocado

From the grill, corn on the cob.  If you want to know the PERFECT way to BBQ corn, the trick is to (1) pull back the husk, (2) de-silk it, (3) cover the corn back up with the husk and (4) submerge it in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling it.  After those steps, you can’t go wrong. 

Mmmm…I love perfectly grilled corn! 


Freshly made salsa, two ways.  Cilantro-free zone on the left, with chopped mango, avocado, red onion, and just a squeeze of lemon.  It’s the perfect marinade for grilled fish, but I like it on any and every thing.


Naturally, I loaded it on my (already over-flowing) ensalada, along with (the above pictured) wild rice because I like my food to kumbaya togethah


I can’t even put into WORDS how juicy and delish this fresh fruit was.  Desserts were pretty much the same each and every night because Hawaiian pineapple is impossible to top 🙂

Another night of grilling…


Zucchini, squash, and eggplant for moi.  Meat for the boys.  Fish for my momz.


Kyle’s practicing for his second career as a hand model…

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Leftover veggies grilled to perfection, with (organic) chickpeas, avocado, tomato, and red bell pepps, on a bed of spinach & red leaf lechuga mixta (Spanish, French, Hawaiian, I’m all about the linguistic diversity).


Another day another dollar salad.  Several Triscuits were harmed in the making of this salad.  I have no moderation ability when it comes to crackers. 

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I have about 600 photos of dried fruit, dates, and strawberries, so just mentally copy the above picture times 10 and you probably have one day’s worth of my fruit intake.

Summer time and the livin’s easy…it’ll be very very 😦 to leave Maui.  One would think two weeks of hummus, dried fruit, and more hummus, and more dried fruit would get old – but clearly, they haven’t met the likes of me!

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Larry’s Famous Pizza

My mom’s cousin, Patti, is like my Southern California mom.  Since I lived in Westwood while attending UCLA, we were practically neighbors, and she and her husband, Larry, took pity on me as a poor college student.  Whether I needed a quiet getaway to study, or a home-cooked meal, they were always happy to oblige.  

And let me tell you, they are beyond handy in the kitchen.

Patti’s professional background speaks for itself, and on top of that, she even has her own food blog, which is amazing, just like her home-made goodies. 

She introduced me to the world of bread makers, slow cookers, and low sodium cooking, although I doubt she even realizes the impact all that had on me, since I was a broke teenager in those days without a kitchen, let alone the budget, to fuel my cooking experiments. 

When she and Larry went out of town, I was the lucky recipient of house-sitting duties, which came with a fully stocked kitchen (gadgets, appliances and food aplenty) at my disposal AND two adorable pugs 🙂

I could go on and on about how wonderful she is, but instead, I’ll let her guest post do all the “talking”…enjoy!

Here’s Patti Londre, blogger at www.WorthTheWhisk.com

Laura gets a gold star for being a good sport – she is cooking and blogging while Elise is on vacation.  Who doesn’t feel bad for Laura, the only family member who isn’t in Hawaii?  

Hey, wait.  I’m a family member, too!  I’m a first cousin of Melinda, the mom of Elise and Laura (and Marie).  I went to grammar school with Elise’s dad, Jeff.   Elise attended UCLA just a block from my home, we shared a number of meals together here and she pug-sat for us several times.  Elise will tell you one walk she had to carry a very heavy and stubborn pug dog back home, when Zoe decided she was done, that’s it.

Larry, my husband, is a good pizza maker; Elise has eaten some of Larry’s pizzas.   His dough is scratch-made, an adaptation of the pizza dough recipe in The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.  Recently, he discovered fresh yeast at a restaurant supply store.  Now, his pizzas are even better.  We eat a Larry Excellent Pizza practically every week. The night of the final Lakers’ win, we brought a pizza down the street to share with friends but sadly for Larry they were not Lakers fans so he kept leaving the table to check the score.
Pizza dough is not fast.  It is slow with several steps.  But all it takes is yeast, flour, water and olive oil.  Making pizza dough is a good project for a rainy day, and you end up with dough for two pizzas (freeze one for the next week).  Once you make your own, Boboli doesn’t hack it. 


Larry’s Excellent Pizza
·       1 package active dry yeast
·       About 4 ½ cups all purpose flour (you can use maybe 1 cup of whole wheat and the rest all-purpose but any more WW and it is gummy)
·       1 ½ cups water
·       Olive oil
·       1 cup thick red pasta sauce – jar or homemade
·       About 1 cup of each, one to four things or mix-and-match different areas on your pizza – black olives, green bell pepper slices, sliced mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, pineapple, fresh tomato slices, diced onion
·       If desired, a meat:  sliced pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham
·       ½ lb. shredded mozzarella cheese


Start early in the day to make the dough.  In a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, combine yeast, 2 cups flour and 1 tsp salt.  In 1-quart saucepan over low heat, heat water until very warm (120 – 130 degrees F).  With mixer at low speed, slowly blend water into dry ingredients.  Then at medium speed, beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.  Beat in ½ cup flour to make a thick batter, continue beating 2 minutes more.  Stir in about 1 ½ cups additional flour to make a soft dough.
On a floured surface, knead dough about 8 minutes, adding more flour if needed.  Shape into ball, place in a greased large bowl, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough, cut in half.  From this point you can put half the dough into an airtight container in the freezer for another time, or make two pizzas.
Place dough on greased 12-inch pizza pan or cookie sheet, cover with a towel and let sit for 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Using your fingers, press the dough half into a 13-inch circle.  Pinch up edges of dough to form a rim.  Brush lightly with olive oil.  Bake 10 minutes before adding toppings.  Then spread pasta sauce, toppings and cheese on top.  Bake 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden.  Cut into wedges. 


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