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Homemade Pizzas of Yore


I’ve probably mentioned that one of my absolute favorite things to eat is pizza. If I really HAVE to pick a favorite food, that would be it. You can do so much with it and it just tastes SO good. I mean, do I really need to explain why I love pizza? No, I didn’t think so.

Now quite some time ago (although it was recent when I first started this post in early January), we’ve had two occasions of pizza-making gatherings at my apartment. The first time, I bought some ready-made Pillsbury pizza dough, the kind the comes in those tubes you have to break open.

We did three halves marinara and one half pesto.

We did three halves marinara and one half pesto.

 

There were two cans of dough. “Cans of dough” seems like quite a strange thing to say, don’t you think? Oh well. So, two pizzas for four people. I can’t remember if there were leftovers but considering the amount of toppings we added, there was definitely plenty to eat that night. There was chicken, chorizo, avocado, mushrooms, broccoli, cheese of course, and probably quite a few other things that I’ve forgotten by now.

 

Since one of our number was vegetarian, we made sure there were several sections without meat as we got creative with our topping combinations. As I said at the time (or something like it), one of the perks of making pizza at home is that you can do really interesting things with the toppings that would probably take fifteen minutes to fully explain if you were placing an order.

phonepics 066

 

phonepics 068

 

(The kitchen light was highly uncooperative, as is my camera, so unfortunately the pictures aren’t very good.)

The instructions say to pre-bake the crusts a little. We did not do this, but we were still satisfied with the end result. For my tastes, this crust does not make the optimal pizza. It tastes almost exactly like the crescent roll dough, which is great for crescent rolls, but not the right base for pizza in my opinion. I will be much more likely in the future to buy the pizzeria-style dough that you can usually find somewhere near the deli section when I buy premade dough again. However, this Pillsbury option would be a good choice if you wanted it to be a little faster. You don’t have to let it sit out at room temperature or spend time flattening it out–just unroll and go. In that, at least, the doughboy has the advantage.

Let's not forget the wine. This bottle was pretty tasty, if my memory serves.

Let’s not forget the wine. This bottle was pretty tasty, if my memory serves.

 

The second pizza-making occurrence yielded a much more delicious result. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have any pictures–or if I do, I can’t find them. That time, one of my roommates made challah dough and we used that for the crust. That can result in a very thick crust unless someone wants to spend ages rolling it out, so if you like thin crust this might not be the way to achieve it. However, it tasted incredible. I can’t remember what we put on it anymore, but it doesn’t matter, because I remember that it was wonderful. And the lesson is to live with someone who likes making bread.

A Fruity Seafood Party


As I posted about six months ago, my birthday plans were ruined by a giant blizzard. So I decided to give myself a half-birthday party. I just invited a few people to hang out on my porch and eat yummy food that I prepared.

This is, in fact, the first time I have ever hosted a party at my home and had to acquire all the food and stuff myself. The last time I actually prepared food for numerous people, I’m pretty sure it was at my mom’s house (therefore with her money). Ever since then, I generally plan parties as outings to restaurants I like. I didn’t realize how much money it cost to get all the food. Especially because I’m just so fancy, I wanted to make seafood. Next time… probably not. Luckily, alcohol came with the guests, or else we would have all had to be sober the whole time 😦

I don’t want to go into the details of shopping for stuff, except to say that I’m glad I didn’t try to do it all in one trip, and that I did it in advance. This is my advice to you: IF you are planning to do all the shopping in one trip for a party, make a comprehensive list and do it AT LEAST one day in advance, so that if you couldn’t find certain items you’ll have a chance to go to another store for them. I made a list, but the way things go, inevitably you’ll forget to get something and you can’t carry it all home at once anyway, so at least two trips are necessary. Technically, I think five shopping trips happened, although only three of them were me going for food.

 

So here we go: I’ve gotten myself all ready and some of the food. Care to see?

Drink station: Make your own flavored lemonade or iced tea (later with booze!)

Drink station: Make your own flavored lemonade or iced tea (later with booze!)

 

 

I was the first one to make a drink. Passion fruit lemonade, yum!

I was the first one to make a drink. Passion fruit lemonade, yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh fruit as the appetizer du jour

Fresh fruit as the appetizer du jour

 

 

Me in my party dress, serving fruit. I just couldn't help myself--I had to pinup-it-up!

Me in my party dress, serving fruit. I just couldn’t help myself–I had to pinup-it-up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what happened when I tried to take a picture of my own shoes. Does this angle make my butt look big?

This is what happened when I tried to take a picture of my own shoes. Does this angle make my butt look big?

It wasn’t a fancy party by far, really, but I hate to pass up an opportunity to dress up. Wearing a bright red dress makes me feel so fun and sexy. So why not? Heels, too. I mean, maybe they aren’t the most practical shoes to wear in the kitchen, but if we were all to go around being practical all the time, no one would ever wear heels. EVER. Except maybe really short people.

For those who might be curious: My dress was purchased from Modcloth, shoes from DSW, and my tights and apron (shown below) from Anthropologie.

In terms of plates and decorations and stuff, nothing was remotely interesting or worth mentioning where I bought it. So, moving on…

 

 

 

As it turned out, most of the guests didn’t arrive until the dinner part was mostly done. But that’s ok. So I got started on the food. Most of the work was just chopping. Then things went into the oven.

And all the chairs were on the porch at that point.

And all the chairs were on the porch at that point.

That’s a green pepper I’m slicing up there. It got mixed in with various other vegetables and shoved into the oven for roasting.

Ok, full disclosure, I'm just posing. There wasn't actually anything in the oven at this point.

Ok, full disclosure, I’m just posing. There wasn’t actually anything in the oven at this point.

It wasn't planned that my apron matched my dress, either. It's just that everything I own is red.

It wasn’t planned that my apron matched my dress, either. It’s just that everything I own is red.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As people finally started to arrive so the party could actually be a party, the dinner was just about done and I laid it out on the table. And took pictures of it.

The full dinner spread

The full dinner spread

Shrimp for all--have a skewer!

Shrimp for all–have a skewer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My plate with a bit of everything: rice, roasted veggies with olive oil and herbs, slightly baked shrimp "kabob," and fresh mango salsa.

My plate with a bit of everything: rice, roasted veggies with olive oil and herbs, slightly baked shrimp “kabob,” and fresh mango salsa.

And yes. I did make the mango salsa. Thanks for asking. Of all the things I made I actually think it was the most successful individual item. Recipes vary. For reference, this is what I used: two mangoes, five or six (maybe seven) campari tomatoes, one whole jalapeno, and cilantro. I kept the cilantro in a separate bowl because I wasn’t sure if there were people who didn’t like it. But they got mixed together when I put the leftovers away 😉

The shrimp did get a bit more dried out in the oven than I would have liked, but they weren’t badly overdone or anything. Still perfectly edible and tasty. The rice was rice, the veggies were well-roasted and not overcooked. Everyone said they really liked the food. This is definitely the largest number of people I’ve ever cooked for, so I’m pleased that the dinner was well-received. A little it of digestion time later, and it was time for dessert.

 

Chocolate raspberry cupcakes, cherries, chocolates, and champagne!

Chocolate raspberry cupcakes, cherries, chocolates, and champagne!

 

…Dessert was sponsored by Sesame Street and the letter C. Apparently.

 

YUM

YUM

 

The cupcakes and champagne were brought by one of my guests, and since I rarely ever have desserts made for me, I was very grateful to her. I requested buttercream frosting knowing that it might not hold up all the way over to my apartment. So really, it’s my fault they look like that. I am certain that, as she says, they looked very pretty in the morning. However, they were still delicious, and that’s what really counts.

 

And that’s it. We hung out a bit longer, enjoying the last of the champagne and listening to ridiculous covers of Lady Gaga. The guests trickled out, we put away the leftover food, and that was the end. I am thinking that half-birthdays might be the thing from now on. August is much more likely to give me good weather than February, don’t you think?

I think I will have to count this as my first actual adult party. And it went pretty well.

 

 

 

 

 

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