Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mar's Ribbon Cake

My family has a pretty inflexible Christmas routine. First, we wake up at my parents' house; we "do" Christmas there, opening presents, eating the kringle that my dad's college roommate gives us every year, taking embarrassing unkempt photos. Then we go to my dad's mother's. He is the oldest of six, and we are the oldest cousins by at least 8 years, so there are usually lots of little kids running around and being excited about Santa Claus. We eat breakfast there (again? really?) which usually consists of some sort of danish, coffee, orange juice and cake (it's Christmas, this is not a day to ask questions about food). Then we trek off to my other grandmother's house, where my brothers and I enjoy only-grandchildren status. We eat (I don't want to talk about it) lunch there, open presents, eat dessert and eventually waddle home. I never realized how much I actually liked this banal routine until it was almost taken away. My brother and his wife are in Spain this year (I don't want to talk about that either!), and we were going to go see them for Christmas. Awesome, trip to Spain, what's not to love? Yet I was unhappy, and I realized that that was because I didn't want to miss Christmas at home, especially with my grandmothers getting older. We have compromised; we're going the day after Christmas, which suits me much better...

Anyway, I digress...

I want to talk about one of the many food traditions that we have on Christmas - the mysterious presence of cake for breakfast. And before you even think coffee cake or banana cake let me assure you that there is nothing at all breakfasty about this cake. It's a cake; it's not a quick bread, it's not a muffin, it's cake. With icing. Chocolate icing. And layers - three of them. I have no idea why we serve it for breakfast, but I'm going to ask this year for sure! I do know, however, that it is my great-grandmother Mar's (pronounced Mah or /ma/ if you are IPA-inclined) recipe. [Quick aside, my great grandmother's name was Marvel; how cool is that?] This cake is a sight to behold for sure, after you cut into it anyway. Pre-cut it looks like a cake, but when you take out a slice you reveal 3 colorful layers - brown, red and green (really more like tan, pink and mint depending on how dye-happy you get) - hence "ribbon cake". Each layer has a different flavor (spice, almond and mint), but nothing is overpowering; it really just tastes like cake. I don't know why I like it that much; I guess it is because it's a tradition and, well, it's pretty. I'll snag some photos of it this year, but for now, here's the recipe:

Mar's Ribbon Cake
(I'm reproducing it exactly the way my great-grandmother had it except downsized. The original makes 3 cakes; I've cut it down to size for you guys, but you'll have to do some weighing or seriously skilled eye-balling.)

1 box of Pillsbury white cake mix
Make the batter according to the directions and then divide into 3 equal portions. Add the following ingredients to make each layer:

For the green:
1/3 t peppermint oil + green food coloring

For the red:
1/3 t almond extract + red food coloring

For the brown:
1/6 t cloves
1/6 t allspice
1/6 t cinnamon
2/3 T molasses

Now bake off each layer in an 8 or 9 inch cake pan according to the directions on the box. I think I would go 8 inch since you are dividing one cake mix into 3 pans.

Here is the chocolate icing recipe. Again, reproduced just like she had it:

3 c white sugar
1 c milk (I assume whole)
4 oz unsweet chocolate
1/4 c corn syrup
1 dash salt

5 T butter
1 t vanilla

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a sauce pan on the stove.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir often until it reaches the soft ball stage (238 °F).
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the butter and the vanilla.
  5. DO NOT STIR.
  6. Cool for one full hour.
  7. Beat until creamy.
How curious is step number 5? Do not stir...really?

Assemble your (fully cooled) cake by stacking the layers with icing in between each layer and then ice the whole thing. I don't remember if there is any order you have to go in, and I don't think there is. I'll look into that this year as well!

I hope you've enjoyed this tiny glimpse, albeit photo-less (for now), into one of my family's strange food traditions. Please let me know if you try out the recipe!

**Edit** We didn't HAVE it this year! What?! I was really sad. So, no picture; I guess I'll have to make it sometime - maybe next Christmas!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Amazing Quote

My friend has this quote on his desk in a little frame. It is really quite wonderful:

It is truly strange how long it takes to get to know oneself. I am now sixty two years old, yet just one moment ago I realised that I absolutely love lightly toasted bread. Simultaneously, I also realised that I loathe bread when it is heavily toasted. For almost sixty years, and quite unconsciously, I have been experiencing inner joy or total despair at my relationship with grilled bread.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Cambridge, 27 April 1951


Monday, November 9, 2009

My favorite soups (1 of 2)



It was cold today, finally, so to honor that I'm making soup.

I love thick soup. I love soup that you put in the fridge as a liquid and come back to find it in a solid state. My favorite way to achieve that is pureeing beans. I have two favorite bean-based soups: one is chickpea, the other is black bean.

Today I'm making the black bean one because celery was on sale this morning. I got the recipe from my favorite en masse recipe website recipezaar. It's a Panera Bread Co. copycat recipe. We don't have Paneras down here, so I can't say how close it is to the original, but it is really really delicious.

Here's the recipe as it appears on recipezaar.


Ingredients:

Here's how I make it:


  • 1-2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • Tiny bit of vegetable oil (1-3 teaspoons)
  • 2-5 garlic cloves, hacked at a little
  • 2 celery ribs, like I ever have celery in my house, also hacked at
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped into at least 12 pieces
  • tomatoes, carrots, petit pois, anything else vegetable-like in the house
  • 2 small chicken bouillon cubes, I prefer the veggie ones but my store quit carrying them
  • 1-1 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, undrained
  • salt
  • cumin
  • healthy dash of lemon out of the bottle, or the juice of half a lemon, if I don't forget it
  • spoonful of cornstarch
  • food processor or, better yet, emersion blender

This recipe is really versatile. I usually don't have celery or red peppers on hand, but it doesn't matter. As long as you've got an onion, some garlic, cumin, salt, and beans you're off to a good start.

1. First thing's first. Get chopping. Cut up anything that looks like you can (onion, garlic, pepper, carrots, tomatoes, celery, etc), but don't worry about mincing or finely chopping anything.


2. About halfway through the chopping, heat up a splash of oil in a (preferably nonstick) pan. When you're done chopping, add the veggies to the heated oil and let them get some color.

3. Move things around in there every so often.

4. After the onions and garlic look goldenish add about 1.5 cups of water and the bouillon cubes and let it come to a boil. Turn the stove down and let this simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

5. Add 1.5 cans of beans, a good pinch of salt and a couple of heavy shakes of cumin. Stir all of this together and then get out the emersion blender.

6. Liquify your heart out.

7. Now it's time to add the cornstarch. But first, a word about cornstarch. Think back to grade school, do you remember making paste? Yes? Ah, that white powdery stuff was cornstarch. It turns into a non-Newtonian fluid (very exciting) when you mix it with water. And it forms nasty clumps when you mix it with hot water! Let me tell you, it is tremendously unpleasant to bite into a clump of glue. You should sift your cornstarch into a small dish and mix it with cold water. Make sure there aren't any big clumps, then pour it into the soup. Blend in with the emersion blender.


8. Add a splash of lemon juice (which I almost always forget and it's still great) and do a taste test. Need anything else? Salt maybe? Black pepper? I don't know, it's up to you. Let it cook for a few minutes longer so that it will thicken up from the cornstarch.

9. Go to town on that stuff. It's great!

It's particularly good with a slice of toasted bread and a drizzle of yogurt.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

About linguistics

So, this blog claims to be linguisticky, but I never talk about linguistics. Well, folks, heres a tasty morsel.

I edited the last post like 5 times because my spelling is bad. My spelling wasn't always bad, and it has ironically gotten worse since I started studying linguistics. I don't care too much; orthography, especially English orthography, is kind of arbitrary anyway. Then again, it can make you look like an uneducated idiot if you can't spell.

Anyway, like I said, I blame linguistics.
  • First, it has instilled in me the idea that orthography is arbitrary.
  • Second, and more importantly, it has taught me about voicing. A lot of my spelling mistakes involve mis-voiced consonants. Consonants are either voiced or voiceless (all vowels are voiced) and a lot of them come in pairs. Try it - /f/ & /v/, /k/ & /g/, /p/ & /b/, /t/ & /d/, /s/ & /z/, /θ/ & /ð/ (as in "thanks" & "these"). The first one in each of those examples is voiceless, the second is voiced. Put you hand on your throat as you sound them, you will feel a vibration for the voiced ones and nothing for the voiceless.
I must sound out words as I type, and my fingers, attempting to hit the right key, occasionally pick the oppositely voiced consonant. A minute ago I wrote "stable" instead of "staple"...go figure.

I aboloshise now for any mizzbellinks.

Something successful!

In happier news (not failed reupholstery news), I have made a Christmas ornament for my mother. I found the tutorial over at Retro Mama. Super cute - and free! My mother has a masters degree in home economics with an emphasis in textiles and fibers...so she knows a thing or two about sewing, or at least she used to. Thus, our Christmas tree is lousy with handmade ornaments. In fact, at some point, my parents decided that the ornaments on our tree had to be handmade. No plasticky kitsch; it's wonderful. Anyway, when I saw this tutorial I realized that it was my time to contribute to the tree. So here's what I've made:

So cute

I'm really pleased with the results! I didn't do it exactly like retro mama did, but this suits me just fine. I did have to learn how to do a blanket stitch, iron on interfacing and use Fray Check; not that any of that's hard, I've just never done it before. Regardless, this was super easy to do. I think I'm going to make a flock! I also think I'm going to make my own pattern for a whole slew of animals and things...why not?

Upholstery

I think I want to be an upholsterer. OK, maybe not really, but I am completely intrigued. This grad school thing is really cramping my creative muscles. I picked up a nice straight-back chair at an estate sale for $10. (They were asking $30, but I'm good...and it was the end of the day.)

It's the one on the left
It had OK fabric covering the box cushion (light blue, scalloped, stained), but I thought this would be a perfect time to test out my reupholstering mettle. It took me hours and hours (8+) of sewing. Well, that's not true, it took me hours of staring and measuring and staring and measuring and then finally a little sewing. There were lots of firsts. I cut my first bias strips to make my first piping/cording. I put in stripes/panels (they are straight and centered!). I sewed in piping/cording in for the first time. I've never done any kind of upholstery, and even though this is lightweight, I'm really proud of what I ended up with:



Looks pretty good...

...except it doesn't fit!!!

Arrrrrrrrrrrg.

I didn't see that I needed to ease the fabric on the side panels because the bottom of the cushion is wider than the top. Actually, it's not a full cushion; there's a piece of plywood on the bottom; the fabric goes over the wood so it doesn't show and then you just staple it to the bottom of the wood. Nice, except the wood is kind of big and, obviously, much less forgiving than foam. I haven't worked on it in about a week, too much work and too frustrating. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do either. I will try to sand down the corners on the front just a little bit. If that doesn't help, I will have to do some serious un-sewing. I'll have to take out most of the side fabric, ease it at the corners and re-sew it. Totally doable, totally time-consuming. When it's not way too tight, I have to then add piping to the bottom and staple. That won't be too hard. I can see the light at the end of this treacherous path, but with my workload as it is...it may be another 2 weeks before I can mess with it further.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Drawing with a sewing machine part the second

she was a really beautiful model


Well, I had so much fun last time, that I decided to have another go. This time I used some unbleached cotton fabric that I picked up in the remnant section - it's very pretty - and some brown thread. I figured it would be the exact opposite of the other one that I did. This one took much less time because of the color of the fabric...I could see the lines that I had drawn. I also did almost one continuous line for this go around (instead of about a billion on the last). I love it. I actually finished this one too - it has realized its destiny as a pillow!


LOVE

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Color Acuity

Fun! I found this link on apartment therapy. It's a test of your color/hue discrimination. Basically you have a selection of the spectrum and you put all the little color blocks in between in the right order. The lower the score the better. I got a 3, which I think is decent, but, apparently, I'm not so good with blue/red/purple discrimination...which I believe, since I'm always calling things blue that everyone else says are purple!

Drawing with a sewing machine

I found this tutorial by clutterpunk today, and may I just say, ladies and gentlemen, it is so cool. I got home at about one this morning and have been 'drawing' for about 2 hours now. It's not that hard, but it's taking me awhile to figure out. I'm also not super familiar with my (newish) sewing machine yet.


It's not that great, but it's a nice first go.

This is based off of a continuous line drawing that I did a few years ago while I was taking life drawing classes. Who knew that stuff would come in useful. The 'drawing' is made with off-white thread on chocolate brown canvas. I plan on turning it into a pillow, but I may add some more lines first. We'll see - I don't want to lose the image.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Some things I love and am DYING to make

I've really been scouring the internet for cool stuff lately (what else is a girl to do, right?). I've stumbled upon several really beautiful things that I would love to make myself. (I didn't actually stumbleupon them though...that's a different beast altogether folks). Check them out:

The corsage tee - cute, very J. Crew
Corsage - really cute, but I'm not sure that they're me...but I do like them
Ruffle collar - I don't have the right shirt for this, but if I did...bam!
Felt Flowers - OK. I love these; they're stunning. I've been trying to figure them out for like 2 hours now...
Sweet Headboard - oh Martha...I love it.

We'll see how much of that I get around to! But aren't they pretty??

Projects!

So, I'm moving...don't ask. I've never really had my own furniture before, so now I'm gathering things (lamps, chairs, dressers, throws, tables, anyone wanna give me a couch?). When you're doing this on the cheap, it's hard to find stuff that you like as-is. Take these lamps for example:



They've both got this cool art deco architectural thing (maybe?) going on. I like the shapes, but I hate the gold and green paint jobs. So, I decided to change the colors. I'm not sure what color I'm going to paint them yet; I think I'll wait until I get into the new place and check the wall color. Until then, I'll be satisfied with just a coat of primer.


They look better already!

Swiffer update

I made it! I made 2 actually. I was going to give one of them to my friend, but turns out he has an older Swiffer that doesn't have those pads on it. Oh well - the more for me.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Next project

Look Ma, no patterns! has this sweet little tutorial on how to make your Swiffer Wet Jet slightly less evil. I acquired one because my dear friend had an extra (I think it was a 'gift' from someone. I say 'gift' because, really, a Swiffer Wet Jet?). Anyway, it is pretty darn convenient, but I hate throwing those pads away. ... .... consequently, I use them several times. (ew). Problem solved. I bought a cheap hand towel from the store and I think I'll make this later today. Should be relatively easy to whip up!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I made a pillow. It's wonky.

All kinds of wonky, and I love it!
Behold the bulgy goodness

Ok, I wish it wasn't wonky, but I'm proud of it. I'm trying to get over my perfectionistic tendency to not do anything unless I think it will work out great.

Mood lighting helps...a little


So, here's my pillow; I made most of it today between my classes. I finished it up except for one edge + stuffing. Fiberfill sucks. I wish I had a pillow form. Also, slip stitching on jersey is no good.

Point in case...

Monday, September 28, 2009

I reserve the right to change,

So, I started this blog as a cooking blog, but I've started getting rather crafty lately (oddly this is directly and positively correlated with the arrival of and my going to the new Goodwill store in town). Here are some of my finds from yesterday:


Aren't they hideous?! Brass. Yuck.

Yesterday, I saw a tutorial about spray-painting brass, and I decided a little spray paint therapy was just what I needed. I set out to Goodwill, knowing I would find something brassy and wonderful. Sure enough, I settled on the above; I particularly like the little bowl with the cutouts. I think the three cost less than $4. After lots of cleaning, priming, drying, painting, drying, painting and maybe some more painting, here's what I ended up with:


I kind of love them! I'm not sure where they will live yet though...

I also found this old sewing box. It was $3.99, which is really too much for Goodwill, but it was taped shut, treasure-chest style, so I decided the money was worth the surprise.


Treasure!

It had tons of buttons, which are actually really expensive, so I've decided it was worth it. There is also some bias tape, ric-rac, 2 zippers, needles, pins and all kinds of snaps, rivets and clasps. What a fun little find; must have been someone's mother's or grandmother's.


Pretty little ceramic (?) buttons

Oh, aaaand, I found this amazing sewing book. An oldie but a goodie:

Keeping it real with Singer.
It has all kinds of things about sewing clothes and home-decor-things. It even has a section on tailoring (a bit advanced at the moment, who knows, maybe some day!)

I also bought 2 pillows to use as pillow forms for, perhaps, this pillow (only with one or 2 rows of ruffles kind of off-centered, not the whole shebang).

All-in-all, a good day at Goodwill!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This is clearly a good idea


Cheesy cover - delicious cookies

Ah baking cookies. The measuring, the melting, the mixing, the mess... Not that I don't love baking - I do. However, let's be honest, sometimes a girl just needs a cookie..or maybe two. Am I right? You know I am. I know I am.

Half a batch

My dear friend Blake gave me this book - Small Batch Baking - over the summer; I haven't used it until now. People - awesome. Imagine the possibilities. Here, I'll give you a second to think about the ability to make two cookies, two brownies, a personal-size cake with the perfect amount of icing.
.
..
...
Yeah, that's what I thought. Oh, and the cookies are very good.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tea Shelf



I love my new tea shelf. I made it with my dad a few weekends ago, but he held it hostage for like a month. I finally retrieved it this past weekend and I've already hung it. It's centered above my sink, which is way better than the weird grape/muscat/fruit print that was up there (thanks Mom).

mmmmmm...I love tea!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nugget of Hope

Barn's burnt down.
Now
I can see the moon.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I am no good at blogging.



In case you haven't noticed, I'm not very good at this. But, since no one reads it and it's my blog anyway, I'm going way out there and posting THESE. A Goodwill store opened in my town today; I went to the grand opening; I see, I like, I take (well, I pay 14.99).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What I've been making

Blueberry and Leinie's Sorbet
Dot's Tea Cakes
Pizza Margherita
Carmelized Onion and Feta Pizza
My everyday white whole wheat bread
Beignets and Cafe du Monde coffee
Spanish Tortilla
Black pepper butter cookies
Black pepper butter cookie dough!
Ghetto-roasted-red-pepper. Where are you gas burners?

July has been a bit insane for me. I've been teaching a class for two hours everyday and I've been taking a class for two hours...everyday. I'm also working on an independent study class. This is the first time I've taught; it's horrifying, but I've learned a lot. So, no recipe or instructions today, but lots of pictures!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bread





How have I not done a post about bread yet? I make at least one loaf of bread every week and occasionally some kind of pita bread, tortilla, pizza dough, etc. I swear by King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour. If I'm going to be eating bread, it had better be at least mostly whole wheat, and this flour makes that possible and delicious.

More to come...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Let's talk about brownies for a minute

Well, only one kind of brownie really, Wuollet's Brownies Enourmous. Wuollet's has several locations in and around the Twin Cities; neither I nor my boyfriend had ever heard of them, so I was surprised when I came across them on the internet. I plan on seeking one out next time I'm up there.

I was looking for a chocolaty dessert for the beer and wine tasting dinner that the boyfriend and I hosted in Minneapolis when I ran across this recipe. I found it on the Food Network website, which directed me to Wuollet's website. They have the recipe right there on the webpage; how could they give away gold like that‽ Needless to say, I loved these. In fact, these may be my go-to brownies, like the brownie recipe that I pull out 30 years from now. I'm excited. 

I've made them twice. I haven't even gotten them right yet, and I still feel this way about them. I overcooked them the first time I made them; they were pretty hard, delicious, but hard. The second time I undercooked them; they were gooey, but not in that good way (well, still good, but not perfect). I'll post an update and pictures next time I make them (hopefully third time's a charm). 

OK, without further ado, Wuollet's Brownies Enormous:

• 3/4 cup butter
• 4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
• 2 cups sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1 t vanilla
• 1 cup flour
• 1 cup large walnut pieces and chunks of premium-grade bar chocolate 

  1. preheat oven to 350∘ F
  2. either microwave (on high for about 2 minutes) or melt in a double boiler the chocolate and butter
  3. mix in the next four ingredients - add each ingredient slowly and incorporate as much as possible before adding the next
  4. when the batter is well mixed, fold in the walnuts and chocolate (I prefer leaving the walnuts out and using all chocolate - Cadbury's dark chocolate bar is pretty killer here)
  5. pour into a 9x13 inch pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with "fudgy crumbs" not clean. if it comes out clean, the brownies will be over cooked
  6. cool and enjoy (or you know, just enjoy)
Wuollet recommends serving the brownies warm (nuked) with a dollop and/or giant scoop of vanilla ice cream with fresh raspberries or other seasonal fruit.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

M-I-N-N-E-A-P-O-L-I-S




I just returned from a swank two week vacation in Minneapolis, MN, which is a super cool city, and my boyfriend lives there, so that ups the appeal significantly. I was supposed to be doing research for one of my professors while I was there, but that kind of fell through last minute. So I decided to take advantage of the boyfriend-at-work time and the nearby grocery store with the most amazing bulk section (I can't believe I didn't take pictures of it). The rest of the store is average, but that bulk section, man...I think there was one week day that I didn't go to the grocery store...I cooked A LOT.

Besides my favorite bulk section in a regular grocery store, Minneapolis has some neat food, not to mention BEER, options. Though I cooked a ton, we did go out a couple of times. My favorite outings were to ice cream shops. I loved both Izzy's and The Pumphouse Creamery. Izzy's gives you an 'izzy' scoop to let you try a new flavor (they also give samples, but this allows you a more complete taste experience, which is good because some of their flavors are so intense that getting an izzy lets you know that a whole scoop might send you into hyperglycemic shock).

Izzy's. I adore the izzy scoop on top!
(praline pecan with a norwegian chai izzy and cherries jubilee with a licorice izzy)

Yum

We also went on the (free) Surly Brewery Tour. It's super fun and you get 5 free samples (probably about 1/3 a pint each). You have to make reservations a good bit ahead of time, but if you have the forethought to do it, it's pretty great. Make sure to eat before hand or designate a driver...I recommend eating before! Surly makes some delicious beer that you can only get in the midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin and apparently Chicago). Jealous. I particularly love the Coffee Bender.

That brings me to another beloved location in the cities. I found this while I was walking around the neighborhood. Actually, I had changed neighborhoods; I found myself in St. Anthony Village staring at a store that had 'gourmet' in the name. I wanted to go in. And I did. And I'm glad. Annona Gourmet is a cute, bright little store that packs a punch. It's filled with kegs (tanks?) of olive oils and vinegars. Jeanie (I think that's how you spell her name) is super friendly and really knows her stuff. You can sample anything you want (with bread) and she will help you mix oils and vinegars (black cherry and picholine? pomegranate and garlic? [better than it sounds]). They are kind of expensive, but they are delicious, and you can buy smaller sizes in the store than you can get online. They make a great gift for the culinarily minded in your life. They also carry flavored pastas, flavored salts and flavored sugars (try the green chile sugar - whoa!).

Annona Gourmet. Row upon row of fancy oils and vinegars.

The Twin Cities offer plenty of opportunities for good eating and drinking. These are just a drop in the bucket. There are so many bars, so many great great bars that I haven't even talked about.

Anyway, if you have the opportunity to go, you should check it out for yourself. The summer is especially nice. Minnesotans are so excited that it's not frigid out; everyone is outside enjoying the weather and the lakes. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nemesis part one: Pizza

Over the past few years I've become pretty comfortable with cooking almost anything. Challah? No problem. Chutney? Sure. Chana Masala, Granola, Creme Brulee, Hamburgers? Obviously. But one of the things I just can't master is pizza - specifically pizza crust. I've made it plenty of times, but it never seems to work out - dry and crunchy on the edge, soggy in the middle, raw the whole way through, you name it, and as long as it's not good I've made it. It's usually not a disaster, and certainly edible, but making a really good pizza crust would make me feel pretty darn accomplished.

I did make a grilled pizza last week that was perhaps my best attempt so far. The crust was pretty tasty. It had a full cup of beer in it...maybe that has something to do with it. The best part about it was that it wasn't soggy in the middle. Hoorah!

Grilled pizza is really appealing, especially during the summer when, while it's too hot to be outside, it's way too hot to heat up my whole apartment by cranking my oven to the max.

I got the recipe out of He Said Beer, She Said Wine by Sam Calagione, owner of the Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware; he credits Chef Marcel Lavalée from Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats for the recipe. I definitely recommend the book - it's superbly interesting, and helps you purposefully pair beers and wines with food. 

Boozy Pizza Crusts
serves 4-6
  • 1 cup of Pale Ale (no pale ale in sight, I used a Belgian and I think that was fine)
  • 1 T yeast (I usually use instant yeast, more on that later, but I wasn't in my own kitchen so regular rapid rise yeast was all that I had on hand)
  • 2.5 cups high-gluten bread flour (I used part white part whole wheat)
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 t canola oil
  1. warm the beer in a saucepan on low. you just want to bring it up to a little above room temperature (lukewarm)
  2. pour beer into a mixing bowl and whisk in yeast
  3. slowly add the flour and sugar, stirring as you go (or use a stand mixer with a dough hook on low)
  4. mix this well before adding the salt and then the oil
  5. knead or mix until smooth and then cover (tightly) with plastic wrap
  6. let this proof for about 45 minutes - until it doubles in size
  7. somewhere in here heat up your grill to medium-high. if you're using a charcoal grill heat it with the charcoal heaped in the middle but distribute it to the edges before putting the pizza on.
  8. divide dough into 2 equal parts (or leave it whole for one large pizza or into 4 for individual pizzas). shape the halves into balls.
  9. flatten the dough balls with your palm and roll them out with a rolling pin (or you know, a wine bottle...classy!)
  10. through the discs on the grill for a few minutes (3-6) until they set up a little. flip them once during this time.
  11. take them off and top pizzas
  12. return them to the grill, which has preferably cooled a little at this point, and cover.
  13. check periodically. remove when the cheese has melted and the bottom is golden brown (make sure the bottom doesn't burn; if it's getting a too dark slide some aluminum foil underneath).
  14. let the pizza rest a few minutes if you can stand it and dig in!
If you have any tips for me in the pizza dough making department (or in any department really) please let me know. These pizza recipes seems promising: