It’s Not Delivery, It’s Homemade (Pizza!)

Bread Machine Pizza Dough

I’m having an affair with my bread machine. After mutliple breadmaking disasters, I  banished the machine to the basement where it has been collecting dust for years. Recently I had an urge to give it a try again and after doing a little research, finally turned out a successful loaf! What ended up being the secret? NOT following the manufacturers instructions. I now add the yeast to the water instead of putting it in the machine last.Three loaves later, I was compelled to kick it up a notch and try making my own pizza dough.

The important thing to keep in mind when making your own pizza dough is to allow enough time. While a bread machine will do all of the work for you, it still takes a long time. For example, the “dough setting” on my machine takes 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete, that’s not a last-minute dinner idea or you’ll be waiting for a long time to eat. Get that dough started at a reasonable hour and then go about your business! I used All Recipe’s very highly rated Bread Machine Pizza Dough recipe that is made using flat beer and it came out amazing:
homemade pizza

Here’s their recipe:


1 cup flat beer (I used Fulton’s Sweet Child of Vine)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast


  1. Put beer, butter, sugar, salt, flour, and yeast in a bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough setting, and press Start.
  2. Remove dough from bread machine when cycle is complete. Roll or press dough to cover a prepared pizza pan. Brush lightly with olive oil. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Spread sauce and toppings on top of dough. Bake until crust is lightly brown and crispy on the outside, about 24 minutes.

For the sauce, I combined diced tomatoes with the last of my slow roasted garden tomatoes in the freezer and topped it with freshly grated mozzarella cheese. Served with a simple salad on the side with a homemade vinaigrette, we declared it a culinary masterpiece:
homemade pizza and salad

Copper Hens and Farmer’s Flavors

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ll go to a restaurant just for the prospect of dessert, so my attention was peaked when I heard about The Copper Hen CAKERY & Kitchen in Minneapolis. It sounded right up my alley and after seeing the cupcake pictured on their website, I couldn’t get there fast enough.

With the Best-Good Friend at my side, we set out on our cupcake crusade. Okay, I think I was on the cupcake crusade, she was genuinely interested in the “kitchen” part of their menu. Specializing in farm-to-table food, cakes and bread, there was a lot to choose from. So why decide on one thing when you can share a few? We started with the Arugula Salad with House Vinaigrette:


arugula mix, crispy shallots, sheep’s milk ricotta, sherry vinaigrette, hemp seeds (vegetarian)

And then enjoyed the Classic Rustic Pizza:


fresh tomato sauce, pecorino, house-pulled fresh mozzarella, basil and a splash of olive oil (vegetarian)

But even the best of friends shouldn’t be expected to share a cupcake. She opted for Red Velvet and I tried the Farmer’s Flavor of the Season (Ginger and Rose Water):


To-Dye-For Red Velvet and Farmer’s Flavor of the Season

Easy Spring Pizza

Nothing says spring to me quite like asparagus. This recipe is a simple, springy pizza that can be made for the family, for one (like mine featured below) or turned into little appetizers for a party – I’m thinking smaller pieces of asparagus on a crescent roll base.
asparagus pizza

Aptly called “Spring Pizza,” this Eatingwell recipe is a snap. I made mine for one on a whole wheat pita by doing the following:

1 TBS olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives

Spread the above ingredients on 1 whole wheat pita and cover pita with asparagus spears.

Spray asparagus with olive oil (if you don’t have a spray bottle, just add it to the above mixture to coat), salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used parmesan because that’s what I had).

Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes.

Binging on Boardwalk Empire and Local Food

A migraine knocked my socks off this weekend and forced me to binge watch an entire season of Boardwalk Empire. Nothing else was done, but at least I’ll be returning the DVD to the library in a timely fashion, I’m sure the waiting list will appreciate that.

I did manage to have two phenomenal meals despite my head troubles – these two are going straight on the “favorites list.”

First up was breakfast at French Meadow Bakery and Cafe in Minneapolis. After much deliberation, I decided on the Breakfast Quesadilla and it was SO good:

breakfast quesadilla

Breakfast Quesadilla: Organic Schultz scrambled eggs, organic black beans, cheddar, organic spinach, house-made guacamole, organic sprouted tortilla, and house-made salsa (vegetarian)

The Husband is on a quest to find the best eggs benedict in town and he said that these were definitely a contender:

Eggs Benedict: Two organic Schultz poached eggs, black forest ham, hollandaise sauce, house-made English muffin, side of organic mixed greens

Eggs Benedict: Two organic Schultz poached eggs, black forest ham, hollandaise sauce, house-made English muffin, side of organic mixed greens

We met our favorite Newlyweds and their family for dinner at an old favorite, Pizzeria Lola. According to their website, Pizzeria Lola was opened by a Korean immigrant was “inspired by the pure love of food, joy and her mother’s own delicious cooking.” I love that she named her pizza place after her dog, I would love to have a place called “Danny’s.”

ANYHOO, a lot of eating commenced and what I had was delicious – and there was nothing left when we were done, which tells me that the meat-eaters were in heaven too:

Date Night (for One): Back to Basics

Sometimes when a girl is planning her solo Friday night, she has to go back to basics: Delivery. When I think about the most self-indulgent way to spend an evening, it includes delivery, television and knitting. Tonight is a return to those indulgences.

One would think that ordering a pizza is simple, but they are obviously not the pizza aficionados that I am. We also have four different DELICIOUS pizza places to choose from and all provide their own unique experience. I confess that I know personally that you can order from a different location every night and not tire of pizza. Now I try to curb my enthusiasm to dial for delivery by planning meals in advance, and aspire to only order pizza once a week (*cough*). With this in mind, I must weigh my choices very carefully when I have the opportunity to indulge.

I decided to consider my delivery options based on the television I planned on consuming. Would I feed my brain watching back episodes of NATURE on the DVR? Would I binge watch some “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix? Or would I dig deep into the DVDs and spend the evening watching personal favorites that would have The Husband scoffing? I opted for the third option. Two DVD classics: “GHOST” and “Dirty Dancing.” I would have an evening dedicated to Patrick Swayze and self-indulgence. That meant that there was only one delivery option appropriate for the evening: Fat Lorenzo’s. Hand-tossed with a spicy, chunky sauce and cheese bread oozing mozzarella in a classically Italian way (to this Minnesotan anyway). Comfort food for the soul. I found a bottle of wine simply labeled “Red Table Wine” and decided that Patrick would have approved. Sometimes simple is best.

And now as I sit with the pizza box balanced on my knees and Red Table Wine in hand enjoying my solo evening of self-indulgence, I look forward to crying at Patrick’s parting words of comfort: “The love inside? You take it with you….” Sometimes nothing beats a Friday night at home alone.

Fat Lorenzo's