Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pizza Crust Heaven

There are two things in our house that are constant, and one of them is pizza. Pizza is a constant around here because we love it, and because we REALLY love it. (The other constant is superheroes, but that's a conversation for another day.)

Our weekend dinner schedule is this:
Friday-Cafe Rio

It's been like this since 2004. And pre-2004 it was the same, just nix the Cafe Rio. That's our lives: predictable and cozy. Just how we like it.

Back in the pre-historic days I made pizza on a sourdough loaf. Then I moved on to crust mixes. Then I moved on to crust made with actual yeast mixed by my bread machine, which is where I have remained for the last 8 or so years.

It's like I said; our lives are predictable.

A few weeks ago I felt adventurous, and also was tired of my bread machine which is worn out and needs to be thrown out a high window, so I looked in one of my trusty cook books for a pizza crust recipe. I found one in The Best of Cooking Light. And this is what came out:

Puffy, fluffy, yummy crust. TC declared his love for the crust and ever since we have dedicated our lives/weekend dinners to this crust.

The recipe is for Herbed Cheese Pizza, but really I just use the dough recipe and skip the rest which calls for crazy stuff like kasseri cheese and paprika.

Here it is:

2 cups bread flour, divided (I don't actually have bread flour in the house due to space constraints and laziness, so I just use regular old all-puprose flour)
1 teaspoon sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 cups warm water, divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

Combine 1 cup flour (bread flour if you have it) with 1 cup warm water, sugar and yeast. Let it stand for 15 minutes until it's all bubbly and alive.

Then, combine 3 cups of flour, salt, olive oil, the other 1 cup of warm water and yeast mixture. Stir until combined.

Then, turn dough out to a floured surface and knead, adding the remaining 1/2 cup of flour (or more if needed) until the dough is smooth and elastic (this usually takes me about 5 minutes).

Place dough in a bowl coated in olive oil (I usually pour in a little bit, like maybe a 1/2 teaspoon, then take a pastry brush and spread it all around). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. (I turn on the oven to the lowest temperature, which for my oven is 170F, and place the bowl on the stove top.) Let it rise for about 45 minutes, until it has doubled in size. Then punch it, divide into two and let it rest for 20 minutes.

While your dough is resting, grate your cheese (we love plain old low-moisture mozzarella), make your pizza sauce (pop whatever tomatoes you have on hand in the blender with a teaspoon of sugar, some salt, oregano, garlic and whatever other seasonings you like), and preheat oven to 425F.

Now here's the fun part, spread cornmeal on a flat cookie sheet. Spread dough on cookie sheet over cornmeal (the cornmeal makes it so the dough doesn't stick), working it until you have a roughly round shape and the dough is fairly evenly spread out.

This recipe makes two crusts. Now, for us, one pizza is perfect for two hungry people for dinner, so I usually just store the other dough portion in the fridge until the next day (which explains why we have pizza two days in a row). I just keep the dough in the bowl that it rose in, covered with plastic wrap.

You can see that my crust is, um, NOT round. It's more rectangular with a hint of oblongness.

Top dough with sauce and cheese and whatever else you'd like. Then pop it in the oven (on a middle rack with nothing below it obstructing the heat from baking the bottom of the dough completely) for 15 minutes or so until the cheese is bubbly. Then voila! Magically, or by the power of leavening, the dough puffs and huffs and rises and congeals. It's beautiful, and I find myself frequently staring into the oven to see the progress.

And this is what you get: crusty, lovely goodness. It smells spectacular and tastes even better.

And if you want to turn up the yum factor, instead of using cornmeal on the cookie sheet, brush on olive oil and brush some olive oil on the crust. It's crazy good.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I covered my trials and travails of Vogue 1169 ad nauseam and somehow still left out that I did finally finish those covered buttons, and have not been able to wear the suit for two reasons:

  1. The fabric sucks. It sticks out in the most inopportune places and generally makes me crazy with its non-hangy-ness. It looks ridiculous. Really. 
  2. The fabric REALLY sucks.
But I love the pattern. I love the design. And if it were not for the poor fabric choice I made, I would wear that suit every other day. Or something like that. 

So, I'm doing a do-over. 

In my 13 lb box of fabric, was a beautiful worsted wool. I don't know how it got there. Ha ha. Ha. 

Okay seriously, I ordered it. Because I figured this suit deserved to be made up in a proper suiting fabric.

The fabric is an odd color. It's not quite brown, it's not quite grey, and it's not quite green. I didn't notice until I went to the fabric store the other day with a swatch to match a zipper, thread, and embroidery floss for the pick stitching. That got complicated. But I eventually found colors that work okay.

And here it is with the pattern.

Progress so far is as follows: wool jacket cut. I'm holding off on the skirt because I had some major fit issues with the skirt last time, so I'm holding off until I figure out how to fix those issues. I bought the interfacing, and will cut that today. I also need to cut out the lining. 


It was a lengthy project the first time, and I'm a bit surprised at myself that I'm going through all this trouble for a second time. I think it will be worth it though.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I have yet another pair of shoes to share with you. TC's dear mother bought these for me in the mother land, and brought them all the way here just for me. I can't thank her enough.

They are Topper Durbans.

Most of my dear readers have probably never heard of Topper. Topper is a company founded in Argentina that sells all sorts of sports clothing and shoes.

You may notice the the shoes already have signs of wear. That's because no sooner did I receive these shoes was I wearing them all over the place. I'm not usually much of a sneaker person; I typically never wear sneakers outside of exercise and perhaps long walks. But these. These really won me over.

I love the pink on pink. I love the soles. I love everything about these shoes.

I adore the details. Already these shoes are worn and loved.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New (to me) Patterns

I bought some new/old patterns from Deseret Industries (a local thrift store). I could have purchased at least triple the number I ended up buying, but something vague about avoiding excess stopped me. So here's my loot.

1. Bunny Suit.

Because let's face it: at some point in my life I am going to NEED a child's bunny suit. It was so cute that I didn't have a chance at passing it up. (Copyright 1970)

 2-5. Toys
(Copyright 1964)

(Copyright unknown)

(Copyright 1968)

(Copyright unknown)

I'm a sucker for stuffed toys, and an even bigger sucker for vintage stuffed toys.

6. PJs

Nightgown AND panties! What grown woman doesn't need bloomers? (Copyright 1971)

7. Bow Top

I love the polka dot top best. (Copyright unknown)

8. Dress

 The navy blue version is my favorite, although pink ruffles are adorable too. (Copyright 1964)

9. Man Pants
If I sewed these for Mr. Compensator, do you think he'd wear them? (Copyright unknown, but I'm thinking 1974 or so.)

10. Toddler Romper

Um, yeah, so this was too cute to pass up. So I didn't pass it up. (Copyright 1965)

The only problem with discovering such a plentiful source of old patterns is that now I want to go back and buy every single one that tickles my fancy. Self control Gordita. Self control.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Remember I mentioned some fantastic shoes that TC bought for me? Well, here they are, in all of their majesty.

Okay, so I kind of tricked you. Here is the box. Even the box is beautiful. Oh so. Here's the story:

Several weeks back TC and I ventured to a real-life mall, the indoor kind with department stores and Claire's and a food court. The closest mall to us is not like that, and we tend to only venture within a 5 mile radius of our house, so going to a "real" mall is different, and rare.

With that in mind, we went to a mall with a specific purpose and ended up wandering around, and eventually wandering to a Macy's. Naturally I gravitated to the shoes. And one of the first pairs I saw were these:

Vince Camuto Misty's Heels. They took my breath away, literally, for a moment, when I gasped audibly.  The Huz didn't gasp, but he was equally impressed. I took a photo with my phone so I could remember them always.

We walked around and looked at other shoes, but I found myself back at the Vince display at least three times. In the end I walked out of the store empty handed because of the whole "I don't need new shoes," and "Aren't we saving money for things other than my shoe collection," and "I am completely out of room in my closet," thing.

Fast forward to a week later when I decided to research the shoes and found that they are impossible to find anywhere. Naturally I panicked. Naturally. And naturally I talked nonstop about the shoes for several days, mentioning at least a couple of times that the shoes had basically disappeared from off the face of the planet, until TC suggested that we go get them.

I held off. For a day, until I was out and about and saw a lovely and fashionable woman wearing these very shoes. I did a double take and probably looked like a creepy stalker woman staring at her for so long as I walked by her.

So then the incessant talking about the shoes began again. And again the Huz suggested buying the shoes. So we drove out to the mall, outside of our 5 mile radius, and guess what? They only had two pairs left, and one was in my size. It was fate, meant to be, an aligning of the cosmos... or coincidence.

At any rate, I took it as a message from said cosmos that I needed to buy them immediately. And I did. Or rather TC did.

Look at the rosettes. And let me tell you that the leather is buttery soft and smells fantastic.

I am obsessed with these shoes. I love them more than I've ever loved a shoe. So thanks for letting me share them. In the meantime I take these out of the box every day just to admire them and smell them, and try to invent reasons to wear my fancy new shoes.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The new man in my life and more newness

I've been absent for a while. So here's a rundown of what's going on.

  • TC and I dressed up for Halloween for the first time in our entire 10 year tenure as a married couple. TC was an Argentine soccer player, and I was Harley Quinn in her outfit from the Arkham Asylum game. Specific, no?
  • We bought a big bag of Halloween candy from Costco and did not end up giving any away. I may have had to set a 10 pieces per day limit for myself. I may or may not have been able to stick to that limit. And in the end, I may have asked TC to take the candy to work.
  • TC's mom is visiting TC's sister an hour away from here, but she stopped by our place for a while on Sunday. It was great seeing her and talking to her. And also, she brought me new shoes from Argentina. They are adorable and deserve their own post.
  • TC bought me new shoes as well. They are spectacular and also deserve their own post.
  • The weather is unseasonably warm, and I'm happy about that.
  • The Utes lost today against TCU, and I'm sad about that.
  • I haven't sewn in weeks, and I'm beginning to experience symptoms of withdrawal.
  • I misspelled two words in that last sentence and had to look them up. I worry that my spelling skills are going down the tubes.
  • There is a new man in my life, and TC's life. Well, he's not new, but we have gotten serious about him recently. It's Tony Horton. We started P90X this week, and it's kicking our butts in the best, and most painful, way. We were bored with our old Power 90 routine, and that was preventing us from getting serious about it again (we kept flitting between doing it and not doing it). So, we decided to kick it up a notch and do P90X, extreme! Making all this even more extreme is that due to TC's schedule we have found that 5am is the only time that we have time to exercise. 5am is extreme people. 
  • I mentioned two projects that I was working on in anticipation of my 13 lb fabric box arriving. I have decided to ditch the skirt until I get a smaller waist (or for the rest of my days, whichever comes first) and the shirt I haven't worked on, although I have cut it out. (Update: umm, I'm kind of thick-headed. I actually did finish the shirt. I already showed it to you in my Spooky Halloween Outfit post. Where is my head?)
  • My 13 lb box of fabric arrived and I am tickled to start working on the many items of clothing I have ahead of me. It's just exciting.
  • I dropped by Deseret Industries (a thrift store) a few weeks back and hit their pattern section. I bought 10 awesome vintage patterns, including one pants pattern for TC. It's in his size and everything. The patterns deserve their own post.
  • Remember I entered my dress design in the Shabby Apple Dare to Design contest? I wasn't chosen as a finalist, but check out the dress designs that were chosen. I LOVE numbers 2, 7, and 14. Adorable! (Another update: Umm, I forgot to include a link so you can check out the finalists. Here it is.)
  • I have been struggling with the whole "How do you spend your time now that you aren't working?" thing. Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm not working and that I have free time. And sometimes other people's comments elicit those guilty feelings. I'm pretty susceptible to guilt though, so you can hardly blame other people. But just a hint: asking the question "What DO you DO. ALL. DAY??" isn't really all that polite, especially when said in a very incredulous tone of voice and followed with, "Don't you get bored?" and "How do I get THAT gig?" I wrote a very embittered blog post about this very subject last week, but thought better of posting. It's sitting in my posts list as a draft. I will likely never post it because it's pretty dang bitter and goes on and on and on, and really does nothing more than show how defensive I am. Defensiveness usually indicates guilt. But I've already admitted that I feel guilty so... At any rate, be polite to others.
  • I found the best BEST pizza crust recipe. It's so fluffy and delicious and wonderful. That also deserves its own post.
  • And I made cinnamon rolls from this recipe and they turned out fan-frigging-tastic. I highly recommend them. I even made a change to the recipe and they still turned out (I made a butter cream frosting instead of cream cheese frosting). Yumness to the maximum.
I think that's all I've got for now. I'll see if I can work on those items that deserve their own posts.

Rest assured that I've been keeping up to date with all of you my friends and I'm glad you're doing well.