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.
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.
(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.
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.
There’s something so luxurious and indulgent about getting a pretty for-here latte in an actual mug, the standard leaf pattern on top, sitting in a cafe and sipping it. Knowing you’ve got time to enjoy yourself. This is one thing I think the Italians definitely have right. It’s wonderfully convenient to be able to get coffees, lattes, and anything else you want to go, in paper cups (which you should throw away in a damn trash can, people, because littering is both rude and gross). No one around here has time to sit with a latte on their way to work. Especially not me…
I unfortunately woke up much too late to try to have an enjoyable, leisurely breakfast. I had to grimly accept the fact, because it meant more sleep, and I figured I would just stop quickly at my favorite cafe on the way to work and get a latte (or regular coffee, I hadn’t decided yet). It was, therefore, unbelievably disappointing to find the huge “Cash Only” signs on the door this morning. As usual, I have no cash, and due to an issue with my debit card it’s a pain to get any. It immediately dropped my mood several points. I’m pretty much over it now, but at the time it was very sad. I’m assuming that they’re having a problem with their card scanning equipment and it will be fixed hopefully by tomorrow, because I want stuff from them, dammit.
Yesterday, I caved and ordered pizza for dinner. I have been craving buffalo chicken pizza like a maniac. The default place I order from doesn’t have that option! Can you believe it? I chose another place, and while the pizza is tasty, they really skimped on the chicken. I freaking HATE when pizzerias (or pizzerie, if you want to be technical about it) do that. I mean, I know you want to save money or whatever, but when I order toppings on a pizza, I expect some toppings. You know what I mean?
I’m not saying I won’t order from them again… just that I’ll be kind of annoyed any time I do.
Today definitely feels like fall, and that’s a wonderful thing. It was a perk to the day that I finally got to wear this lovely blue sweater I bought in July. Am I the only one that buys sweaters, boots, and coats in the spring and summer, then having to wait months before I can actually wear them? But it’s ok–just another reason to be excited when fall arrives!
To continue with the Craziest September Ever, it’s another three-day week for me. Since I did a bunch of work yesterday, it’s more like a four-day week. My plan is to work nonstop-ish until Wednesday evening, then take some work home with me to complete, but take advantage of the four-day weekend to get my own stuff done.
“My own stuff” will comprise, probably, a lot of sleeping and lying around. But at least I’ll get to watch So You Think You Can Dance in full on Thursday morning when I wake up (watching it on hulu sucks, but it’s my only option).
With a heavy sigh, I’m going to hunker down and work now, and will not resist my urge to get a Dunkin Donuts pumpkin latte later.
While distracting myself from work by wondering what I would eat for dinner, I determined that if I bought pizza dough (I know you CAN make it, but that’s way too much time spent on a pizza for me), I could make a sort of “Mexican” pizza. I put Mexican in quotes because it is in no way remotely authentic. It just had some flavors in that category…
This is now two weeks ago, or something along those lines. Might be longer. So to the best of my ability, I will try to describe what I did for you.
First, I bought dough from Whole Foods. You can buy fresh, uncooked pizza dough from most grocery stores, I’m pretty sure. You can also buy pre-made crusts, which is an option if you want it to be a bit quicker.
Having made pizza from a store-bought dough several times, I recall having lots of trouble getting it to stretch, so I turned to the internet to figure out how to stretch it. My inclination that it would have to sit out at room temperature for a while seemed correct. I covered it in flour and left it there, returning later and stretching out the dough fairly successfully. Look up how to do this: I am not the person to instruct you on the method.
Once it was fairly stretched I plunked the dough down onto a (possibly over-)greased cookie sheet. I do not own a pizza stone, sadly. I want one. And then toppings went on.
Okay, so that picture is actually after it came out of the oven. I didn’t get any before pics.
As I got the dough ready I cooked up one patty of Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burger. If that sounds kind of bad to you, I assure you, they are DELICIOUS. If you like those flavors in general you will like the burger. I actually would have made two for the topping, but I only had one left. It was very sad.
If I can remember right, the toppings went like this: first, sliced tomatoes and salsa as sauce. I tried to sauce it sparsely because I didn’t want to overpower it. I highly recommend using a SPOON to spread the salsa, as if you just pour it on you very well may end up with too much. Second, cheese. I THINK it was cheddar. I generally prefer mozzarella on pizza, but I didn’t have any. Third, diced red pepper and pieces of a chicken burger. I did my best to distribute things fairly evenly, but of course some sections of crust still ended up larger than others. if I added any other toppings or seasonings, I can’t remember.
The pizza went into a preheated oven at about 425°. I would say it cooked for around 20 minutes, but once again, I don’t really remember. Then I took it out and let it cool for a little while.
Cutting it was interesting because it might not have been cool enough yet, and also I don’t have a pizza cutter and my sharper knife wasn’t clean. But I managed.
I think I ate two servings’ worth of this pizza. You can’t blame me, it was delicious–you probably would have too.
Overall it was quite delicious. The crust was slightly crunchier than I generally like but it was still very good. I do recall wanting it to be spicier, though. Should have used more salsa.
As I commented to a friend earlier today, I have been stubbornly refusing to go grocery shopping for about two weeks now. That is not to say I haven’t been to the grocery store, but I’ve only picked up a few things while I was there. I haven’t done a full shop for quite a while. I’m going to try to force myself to do it tonight. If not, it will have to be tomorrow, because there are too many things I need.
In the meantime, I’ve been buying a lot of food out. Breakfasts, because I haven’t wanted to wake up in time for breakfast. Dinner once or twice. Otherwise, I’ve been scraping together meals from whatever’s around in my kitchen, but not too much worth posting about. I’ll update you soon on one or two of the things I’ve adventurously cooked.
Until then, I wanted to run down some of the foods I’ve been purchasing… or having purchased for me (I visited my parents last weekend, so of course they bought me food), with short reviews of the places. We’ll start with when I was in Worcester.
1. Surya – Indian restaurant – I have loved this place for a very very long time. They’ve changed a bit since we first started going there. New owners or new chef or both. Some of my favorite items there have been the Rose Milkshake, Mango Lassi, Shahi Paneer, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Nan. And my ultimate Surya dish, tandoori chicken. At other Indian restaurants, tandoori chicken is not really my top choice. But here, they do this amazing thing with the marinating or the cooking method that just makes it so incredibly flavorful and juicy. This time, I decided I wanted to try it hot. Let’s just say that was a mistake. I usually get it medium, and I can hardly feel any burn at all. Fully spicy, it was still good, but actually made my throat sore, which I have never had happen when eating spicy food before. So I won’t be doing that again. If the burn had stayed in my mouth, and out of my throat, I would have been fine with it. Not a fan of food that makes my throat hurt. It actually still hurt the next day. But PLEASE don’t take this as a negative opinion of the restaurant. They are my favorite Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to and I recommend that everyone go there.
2. Ronnie’s – Sea food and ice cream – This place was close to my childhood home, so I’ve been there many, many times. I never get to go there anymore, though. I miss it. It’s a seasonal place that is open from April to October, I believe, and they have really good, quality seafood. They also have standard burgers, chicken, etc. for people who don’t like sea food, but then why would you go to Ronnie’s? I had the expensive jumbo lobster roll, which is just the perfect item if you like lobster. The clam fritters are delicious but probably not very healthy. And if you go for ice cream, I’d suggest the chocolate-dipped soft serve.
Now back to Boston:
3. Monte Cristo Mexican grill – Ok… so, I’ve ordered from this place before, and it always takes them a while to deliver, but it took them a really long time on Cinco de Mayo. I should have expected that. But I was ordering from Eat24 with one of their weekend coupons and they’re the only mexican restaurant on there that delivers to me… at least, the only one that didn’t also serve chinese food. So I got a carnitas burrito, which was tasty, but not life-changing or anything. (I have yet to come across a life-changing burrito. If you find one, let me know, because I WANT.) The service is friendly here but a little slow. The food is good, but not great, and sometimes just ok. I did get pork enchiladas from them one time and they tasted amazing, so maybe just go with the enchiladas, or a burrito if you’re not feeling too picky. But their fajitas aren’t served with tortillas. I was really confused…
4. Caffe Aromi – I’ve only been in this place one time before, just to get a latte or a chai or something. I stopped there for breakfast one morning last week because I was in a rush (unfortunately, it didn’t help me get to work any faster, but nevermind). I got a breakfast sandwich and a latte, and I wished I’d gotten a savory croissant and regular coffee instead. What I got was good, but my sense when I’m there is that I’m overpaying. I just don’t feel like you quite get your money’s worth. Also, the decor strangely makes the room look kind of empty, which is rather unpleasant to me. The food to me seems comparable to most other independent cafes, so maybe it’s just the weird tables and chairs I don’t like.
5. Grass Fed – I went there because I had been craving a burger. After debating going for quite some time, I finally determined that I didn’t feel like cooking so I headed out. I just got a standard cheeseburger, and I was what I expected. The draw of Grass Fed is being pretty much “gourmet” fast food. They claim to use local products as much as they can, which is a nice incentive, as it’s good to support local. The best way to describe their burgers; they taste like fast food, but good. It’s not a real, big barbeque burger, but it’s not a gross McDonald’s patty either. Worth heading out there once in a while.
6. Mr. Crepe – This place in Davis Square is a nice little treat once in a while. I used to go get coffee there on occasion when I went through Davis on my way to work. Their coffee is pretty good. Unfortunately they lost my order at first, meaning I had to wait for at least 15 extra minutes for my food to be ready. Of course. It was good. I got savory crepes with spinach, basil, and tomatoes, and I was fairly satisfied. As for the crepes themselves, I’m more a fan of the ones at Cafenation. These I think would be better with the sweet fillings. But that’s just me.
That’s all for now. I’m proud to say that I managed to stop myself from ordering a pizza, but I don’t know how much longer that will last. Pizza is wonderful and when you get the craving, how long do you really expect to hold out against the amazing power of pizza?
Do you ever have random cravings for foods you don’t usually eat? Mine lately have been butternut squash ravioli and, for some reason, French Toast Crunch cereal. Which I have not eaten in years.
I ordered a Thanksgiving turkey from Whole foods. While I’ve been near many turkeys during the cooking process, I have never actually done it. If I understand my Thanksgiving plans correctly, I will not actually have to cook it myself, although I suppose I should look up cooking times for turkeys just in case it would have to be started at 6 in the morning…
Is it stupid to plan what shoes I want to wear on Thanksgiving? I mean, I’ll be inside for most of it, I don’t really need shoes.
I ruined an omelet last night. I still ate it, but it was browner on the outside than I would have liked. Apparently I didn’t rinse my pan very well just before cooking, because the thing also tasted very mildly of soap. Unfortunately, a mild taste of soap is still enough to be kind of gross. I was not about to waste three eggs and half a tomato though. I will say that the cheese was perfectly melty. Next time I will make sure my pan is rinsed better and not be talking on the phone while cooking.
Now, in the midst of my three cups of coffee with Grey’s Anatomy playing in the background (yes, I watch it, and I will not apologize for it. Principal Feeney!), I am going to talk about Yesterday’s Lunch. Read the rest of this entry