Tag Archives: pizza

Visiting Wine Country

26 Jul

I haven’t posted in over a week! I apologize for that but I’ve been keeping busy and having fun with life rather than updating the blog. I’ve also been slightly stressing about having to return home because I’ll have to deal with school and the real world again. I keep my mind off it by reading the great books I find at the library.

grapes soaking up the sun, upper house in the distance

One of the highlights of this trip was when I got to visit a private estate vineyard in Calistoga, CA, which is in the Napa Valley. Brian’s friend’s family owns this vineyard and we got to visit them for a relaxing weekend. They were really kind to host us and we had a beautiful weekend there. The dogs and cats had free range of the property and were adorable. We got to swim in the man made pond, relax on the hammocks, have a picnic by the pond, grill up some delicious steaks, catus, veggie kabobs, enjoy wine, be with good company and simply take in the views. There’s nothing like looking out your window to see mountain tops, looking down the hills to see fields of green grapes, or star gazing in pitch darkness.

I’m posting these pictures without naming the vineyard because it is a friend’s home so I want to respect their privacy. It’s so beautiful that I had to share.

part of their wine cave

the gorgeous pond we went swimming in

I made and brought hummingbird muffins so we would have breakfast/snacks. Hummingbird muffins have banana, coconut flakes, pineapple and walnuts. I used this recipe and substituted the oil for a cup of apple sauce and 1/4 cup olive oil. The only thing we had to make was a big pot of coffee. On Sunday, we did make whole wheat buttermilk waffles for breakfast. They were so satisfying.

hummingbird muffins

We didn’t do much touristy stuff like go on wine tastings or eat at fancy restaurants so I’ll have to go back another time for all that. On the way home we stopped at Pizzeria Tra Vigne in St. Helena, Ca for a casual linner (lunch-dinner). We ordered a Ducati pizza (mozzarella, marinara, capicola, mushrooms, spicy Italian sausage and sun dried tomatoes) and Fettuccini alla Bolognese. Both were good but I’ve had better pizza. We also had a mandarin orange Italian soda, which was so good we stopped at BevMo to get the Torani syrup and seltzer water to make our own.

We also stopped in Yountville, CA to walk around the main strip. They had amazing art exhibits. When I get a nice big house I will come back here to get paintings to decorate. We grabbed a snack of French macarons at Bouchon Bakery. They were the biggest macarons I’ve ever seen. Really freaking good.

vanilla and hazelnut macarons

A Great Saturday

28 Jun

On Saturday we got up early to go to a sailing lesson at Berkeley Marina with the Cal Sailing Club. It was great! The weather was perfect and the wind was calm. I was supposed to get a turn at the helm but the person before me went too far out into the choppy water (3′ waves) and I got really bad motion sickness. So we ended up sailing back to shore. Next time I’ll make sure to go first. Sailing requires a lot of teamwork and there’s so much to learn in terms of concepts, all the parts of the boat and how to use them (ropes galore!), and balance, which all complicated by terminology! There’s so much to learn! I’ll get pictures next time, because I didn’t want to worry about taking pictures on the first day.

After sailing, we went to the Cheeseboard Pizza Collective in Berkeley. It’s one of the best pizza places I’ve been to and that’s saying a lot since I’m from Brooklyn! They only make 1 pizza flavor a day and you can get a slice, half a pie or a whole pie. With every half or whole pie you get an extra half slice. They have interesting soft drinks for $2, wine, cookies and salad. That’s the whole menu. Luckily there was no line when I went (during lunch it’s not unusual to see at least 20 people in line). Either way they’re fast because they only make 1 flavor of pizza. They post on twitter what they have daily.

half a pie

the menu with the daily offerings

Next door is the Cheeseboard Collective, which sells tons of different cheeses, freshly baked pastries and bread, coffee and other hot drinks, as well as ready made pizza from next door to heat up at home. We picked up a corn and cherry scone and a brioche bun for breakfast the next day along with a big block of manchego for the camping trip this weekend!

cheese list at the cheeseboard collective

just some of the cheeses in the case

We walked around after lunch then went home to rest and get ready for Admob’s Memories Party. Admob got acquired by Google so this was their last company party. It was held at MacAuthor Park Restaurant in Palo Alto. The restaurant was dim so I apologize for the fuzzy pictures. There was free flowing wine and lots of delicious hor douvrs, cheese and veggie platters. The food for the sit down dinner was excellent. No complaints at all. I got the Filet Mignon and Brian got the veggie rice dish. Both had great flavor and the beef was cooked perfectly. We tried both dessert options and the mud pie was surprisingly good. It overshadowed the cheesecake, which was good by itself but not the best we’ve had.

Spinach salad with apple, cranberry, feta cheese and orange dressing

Filet Mignon with cheesy mashed potato and veggies

Grilled vegetables with pesto over rice

Cheesecake with orange glaze and berry sauce

Mud pie - chocolate and coffee ice cream pie with chocolate and caramel sauce and peanuts

The lovely outdoor cocktail area.

Afterwards we went to the after party at Nola’s. There was a cool balcony area upstairs that has an open ceiling. Only issue was that the space was way too small for all of us and the cocktail waiters did a crappy job getting the drink orders. We left after waiting over an hour for our second order of drinks.

Pizza for dinner

13 May

I made pizza again because I had leftover ricotta cheese and I wanted to try ricotta pizza. The pizza dough is olive oil dough from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day.

Pizza #1: Vegetarian Ricotta Pizza: ricotta, mozzarella cheese, gimme lean faux sausage, spinach, caramelized onions, tomato sauce

ricotta pizza

Pizza #2: Chicken pizza: chicken, tomato, red bell pepper, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce

chicken pizza

And this is what happens when you put too many liquid producing toppings.. I put a whole tomato and a whole red bell pepper onto this pizza. It got so wet in the middle that the dough underneath couldn’t cook. It was basically boiling.. it was making popping noises but the sink in the background was too loud.


Snow day pizza

27 Feb

I procrastinated a lot this week and made cookies and a delicious Korean stew instead of doing homework. The cookies are the same Momofuku cookies I made before but I made them smaller this time with a new ice cream scoop. The Korean stew was delicious but we were so hungry that I didn’t get pictures before it was eaten. I know I’ll be having Korean food tomorrow so perhaps I will post the recipe later on.

Today was another snow day. NYC got slammed with a foot or more of snow. NYU classes got canceled again at 8am this time which is still pretty late if you were a commuter and had already left home for early classes. I didn’t have classes today anyway but, lucky for me, the boss decided not to open today too! A rare event! They even worked on Christmas!


Anyways.. I took the opportunity to get barely any work done and made pizza instead. This was after shoveling the front and back of the house of course. The snow was fluffy so it wasn’t good for snowmen but snow angels were made!

pepperoni pizza
Pepperoni, red onion and red pepper pizza. The peppers on top are raw because the other ones were all hidden under the cheese!

pepperoni pizza close up
Close up of the hot oozing cheese. Since this was cooked on the pan, the crust wasn’t nearly as crisp. But we placed it on the hot stone later and it crisped up nicely.

Remember that amazing falafel pizza I had in Cali. that I had posted before? I tried to recreate it. It was not nearly as good as the restaurant’s.. don’t know their secret. I bought the falafel instead of making it myself, maybe that’s why.
falafel pizza

More free-form/rustic looking. Falafel with tomatoes and red onions.

falafel pizza slice
This one I cooked directly on the pizza stone so it was much crispier. The dough, from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is amazing! So easy and perfect for pizza. Definitely worth purchasing the book.

I halved the recipe for two small/medium pies. I suggest adding a bit more salt to the dough or having a saltier sauce.Preheat oven to 500F with pizza stone on lowest rack. Use flour when rolling out dough, you may need to stretch it out with your hands. Place dough on pan or pizza peel heavily coated with coarse corn meal or semolina. Lightly shake pan/pizza peel to test if it’s sticking, the point is to have it not stick so you can slide it onto the pizza stone*. Top with toppings of choice and immediately slide into oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese has melted and crust is browned and crisp to touch.

* OR you can place the pan directly onto the stone and then transfer the pie to the stone after 10-15 minutes and let it crisp up for 5 more minutes.

Olive Oil Dough

From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes 4-1lb loaves.

2-3/4 cups lukewarm water
1-1/2 tablespoon granulated yeast
1-1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour without kneading. I used a wooden spoon.

Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest in a warm place until dough rises, approximately 2 hours. I placed in my basement near a heater. Room temperature is fine too or you can preheat your oven to ~150-200F and then place the dough inside with the oven off.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 12 days.

Snow cake anyone? =D
snow cake