Thursday, July 29

Pasta? Pizza? What's for dinner?

Last night Marine made dinner! (That would be me, she who is writing this post, which, oddly enough, I thought referring to myself in the third person would make more sense for the reader but now I've just gone and confused myself because I don't know whether to continue the post in third person or not... though it seems I've already decided against it.) Anywho, yes, I made dinner, for once, as Shawn kindly noted.

It's not that I never cook, I just choose to do so rarely. I can cook three things really well: grilled cheese sandwiches, basic pasta, and I can make eggs any way you want them. All of my other food skills rely on fairly exact measurements and the oven. So I guess it's not really a surprise that I can make a damn good pizza every once in a while. I've just never made such a fancy one before. I give you... Chicken Alfredo Pizza.

Chicken Alfredo... pizza?? Yes, it tastes just as amazing as it sounds. The pictures don't do it justice because the pizza was very drippy while hot, but you must. try. this. pizza. Please!

It is super duper filling too, so make sure you have an appetite! And finish the meal off with some homemade chocolate chip cookies too!

P.S... did you notice Shawn cut his hair? He's going for the classic American cut, by his standards; I like it :)

Sunday, July 25

Garden Style

Last week we drove back to Jersey for a day to visit a few friends and say hello to our families. One of our stops was at this beautiful property that Shawn's friend helps maintain. They have over 30 acres of luscious land, a greenhouse filled with all sorts of orchids, and a pond-like swimming pool with a little bathroom shed at the bottom of a hill. It was a beautiful place to be for a few hours, despite getting caught in a short mid-afternoon downpour. Unfortunately I didn't think to take any pictures inside the greenhouse, but here are a few around the pool area.

Saturday, July 24

Brownies, S'mores, and Wookies, Oh My!

Normally, when it comes to brownies, I have one recipe I use and one recipe only - it's the recipe for the brownies at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco that they have so conveniently provided in their amazing cookbook. That recipe yields brownies that are so incredibly fudgey, chocolatey and rich and just all around amazing - I've never known anyone to turn one down. Thank you, Tartine Bakery, for your use of science and your generosity; your brownies make my taste buds happy.

Now, I wouldn't consider myself a brownie purist (come on, I like a little somethin' besides chocolate in there on occasion) but the Tartine brownie is definitely a brownie for purists. It's so incredibly delicious all on it's own, it would almost be blasphemous to tamper with it. Which is why, when I felt a craving for s'mores brownies come on, I decided to turn to another recipe.

Thank David Lebovitz for this one; it's similar to the Tartine brownie, but with a little less chocolate and a little more sugar so this one was perfect for what I intended to do with it. Make brownie batter as instructed, throw in some graham crackers and hershey's chocolate, top with marshmallows, and what have you got? S'mores Brownies, Chewbacca approved.

Chewy Brownies/S'mores Brownies

adapted from David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 oz semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

for s'mores brownies you'll also need:
a handful of marshmallows, cut in half
three Hershey's bars
four graham crackers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare an 8x8 pan however you prefer; either with foil, or butter, or both.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly with a spatula over very low heat until the chocolate is melted.

Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, then the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla. Stir in the flour and the salt. Beat the batter vigorously for 30 seconds, until it begins to form a smooth ball. Stir in the chocolate chips.

For brownie purists: Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 30 minutes, until the center feels just about set. Remove from the oven and let cool.

For s'mores brownies: Scrape half of the batter into your pan, lay graham crackers down in a single layer on top of the batter, then layer the hershey's bars on top of that, and spread the rest of the batter across the top. Once your batter is spread pretty evenly and covers the layers underneath, sprinkle marshmallows across the top of the batter, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once completely cool, I recommend leaving the pan in your refrigerator overnight; believe me, it makes cutting through those brownies so much cleaner.

mmmm, chocolate :)

Saturday, July 10

Our first recipe post!

Shawn and I have a go-to recipe for our pizza dough, and you're about to find out what it is! Making your own dough from scratch really isn't as complicated as you might think: the key is fresh yeast and a little patience.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

1.5 tablespoon active dried yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
pinch of sugar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cup whole wheat flour

Place yeast, water, and sugar in bowl & stir with fork to dissolve. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast.

Use a wooden spoon to mix in the olive oil, salt, and all-purpose flour. Mix in about 1/2 of the whole wheat flour, stirring until the dough forms a mass and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Sprinkle some of the remaining whole wheat flour onto a smooth work surface, and transfer the dough onto it. Begin to knead it, working in the remaining flour a little at a time. Knead 8-10 mins, or until the dough feels elastic and smooth.

Form into a ball, then place it into a lightly oiled mixing bowl and cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk; about an hour or so. (If indentations remain after the dough is poked with 2 fingers, it is ready.)

When you're ready to make your pie, punch down the dough with a fist and knead 1-2 mins. Divide dough as desired. Pat out a dough ball into a flat circle on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll it out about 3/8-1/4 inch thick. It should be about 1/4" larger than the pan you are using.

Place the dough on a lightly oiled pizza pan and fold the extra dough under to make a rim. Top with your favorite toppings, bake, and enjoy!

Bake for about 20 minutes in a 475 degree oven.

Things you've missed!

Silly business isn't all Shawn and I have been up to these days... we've been keeping busy in the kitchen, as always - trying new recipes and fine tuning old ones. This week we made two things that our kitchen has never seen before: homemade caesar dressing, and we cooked up some beautiful Chilean Sea Bass! The pictures don't do this fish justice.

Caesar salad with homemade dressing, and homemade whole wheat onion pizza.

A blurry sausage and peppers with broccoli and homemade cheese sauce.

Chilean Sea Bass from the local Farmer's Market in Ardmore; baked with lemon and butter, and served with a side of baked paprika french fries.


Enough savory! Where's the sweet stuff?


Chocolate cookie dough layer, graham cracker layer, peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough layer, and topped with marshmallows. The most awesome cookie layer bars made yet.

Fresh watermelon! Look at that color!


The newest addition to our home: two new gnome friends! One day we'll have a beautiful garden in which they can play.

Check out more photos on our Flickr!


Friday, July 2

Pancakes on my plate!

There's no substitution for real maple syrup and homemade chocolate chip pancakes...

Reader question time! How do you like your pancakes?
Fluffy and chocolatey like us? Perhaps a little fruity? Topped with whipped cream? How about tiny silver dollar pancakes versus huge plate sized ones? Flat or big and fluffy? Real maple syrup or the corn syrup loaded fake stuff? We want to know!!!

Thursday, July 1

Lazy Dinners

... a friendly game of pick-up sticks on the kitchen floor?
... or last night's dinner mishap?

That's what happens when the pasta box gets wet and you lift it from the wrong end.
No problem - we'll still eat it!

How about some black beans and rice for dinner tonight?

We're making the most of what we have on hand - the lazy-man's dinner. I've been working odd shifts so we haven't bought any meat for the week! And now it will be even longer because my car is temporarily out of commission :( but more about that in another post!
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