Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Who doesn't love a good pizza.  Occasionally, when I chance it, I shop at Trader Joe's.  I really love the freezer section and the snacks.  Last year on a whim I picked up some of their refrigerator pizza dough.  We made our own pizza.  It was delicious.  Then I wondered if I could MAKE my own pizza dough.  Buying is easy, but have you seen the LINE AT THE 14TH STREET TRADER JOE'S!!!  Ask my sister, it's crazy.  Which is why it is a sometimes place.  So making it has to be easier than the insanity.  I pulled out my favorite trusty cookbook, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Anything seriously, if you don't have this cookbook you should get it.  It really does tell you how to cook EVERYTHING.  So I found the page with pizza dough.  And oh my goodness, I was floored by how easy it is to make your own.  It calls for rapid rise yeast, so you only need a couple of hours lead time instead of a day, like with regular bread.

So here's how to make super delicious homemade pizza. Mix:
1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast
2 cups of all-purpose or bread flour
1 teaspoon or kosher or sea salt (I've used regular salt, but I cut the amount in half)

Then add
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix until smooth.  Slowly add 1 cup of flour (this makes 3 total) until dough is stiff.  knead until the dough is smooth and moist.  Form into a ball.  Then grease a bowl with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and place the dough in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it rise for an 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  (If you didn't plan ahead you can made do with an hour - or if you did, refrigerate for up to 8 hours instead)

I added flax seed and black pepper to my dough, that's what the specks are.  You can also add herbs, garlic, flavored oil (instead of olive) or a number of other things to give the dough a little something extra.  When the dough has doubled in size knead it down and divide it into as many pieces as you like.  Leaving it as one big piece will give it more of a deep dish texture, we usually do two (see above, 2nd photo), but you could make mini pizzas also.  Roll into smaller balls, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 20 minutes (this step is important).

When the dough is ready roll into discs.  I have a pizza stone, but since the dough can be hard to transfer, I find it easiest to roll it on the baking sheet, if I use the stone it starts cooking...oops, so I either use an unheated stone or a regular cookie tray.  Now it's time to assemble.  Add tomato sauce (or paste, or a combo)
Fresh basil and chopped tomatoes.  Or pepperoni or sausage or whatever your favorite topping may be.
And top with fresh mozzarella.  Or shredded if that's all you've got.  Or even cheddar if you really forgot to plan.  But in my opinion fresh is best.
To bake I turn the oven on to whatever (usually 350 or 400) let it heat up and bake until cheese is fully melted and dough is crispy on the edges.

**side note:  for this particular pizza I tried using gluten free brown rice flour.  bad idea, it doesn't rise well, and gives the dough a really grainy texture and just doesn't taste as good because it's so heavy.  so don't try and make pizza too healthy - it isn't worth it.  next time, back to regular flour.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Saturday night Rob and I had the opportunity to attend the PSCH Gala through his work.  It was black-tie optional, which means Rob could wear his suit, but I totally needed something new.  So last weekend Rob took my shopping for and evening gown.  Saturday night we got dressed up.  The Gala was at Chelsea Piers and the room was all glass / windowed walls with views of the Hudson.  During cocktail hour was a silent auction.  We bid on some things but did not win, and that is probably ok.  Dinner and dancing followed.  Dinner was pretty good, desert was excellent.  They were a little to liberal with the wine.  I would take a sip they would fill it up.  Really people, I only wanted a half glass to start with!  We had a blast.  I hope we get more opportunities in the future.  We like getting dressed up in fancy clothes and finding new ways for philanthropy.

PSCH (Promoting Specialized Care and Health) has been providing services in New York City for 30 years.  From their website "Since 1980 PSCH has been meeting the growing challenges of developmental disabilities, mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse behaviors. Our multidisciplinary approach and centralized referral process help to insure that each person who comes under our care receives the appropriate range of services and level of care, with an individual treatment plan coordinated by highly competent and caring case management professionals."  We were glad to buy raffle tickets to support this organization.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Coney Island Film Festival

Friday was the opening night party at the Coney Island Film Festival, which takes place (obviously) at Coney Island.  What makes this festival unique is the fact that is comes with a sideshow.  Rob says it's the most fun of any festival he's attended - and we went to Cannes earlier this year! (Which was awesome in a completely different way)

As part of the party we were privileged to attend Burlesque by the Beach and get a taste of some of the different kinds of acts that take place here.  The Burlesque is in the back room of the Coney Island Museum, and there is a stage with some wooden bleachers.  It felt like a circus in the 1930's where some seats were set up in a tent.  It's part of the vibe that I love about Coney Island.  The show was hosted by the Great Fredini, who kept us going with magic tricks and illusions.  And some sword swallowing.  That was impressive.
The Great Fredini
The Great Fredini

In the first half of the show we saw Serpentina, the snake charmer (and also our bartender)
Aci, who is one member of Tokyo Delores and her ariel act.  This was also very cool.

And the first have closed with the delightful Miss Tickle.  Her Burleque was entertaining.  The feather panels on her skirt are all removable and she used them like fans. Then at the end she attached them to her arms and was like a bird flying around the stage.
Miss Tickle
Miss Tickle
After this all of the filmmakers in attendance were invited to the stage to tell about their film.  So Rob got to speak on the Burlesque stage.  He did good, he remembered to say his name, the film name, and when it was playing.  All the important details.
After an intermission which seemed to go on FOREVER because it was now 10:30 the second half started.  I didn't take pictures during the acts because I was tired.  But we saw another burlesque dancer, Bambi the Mermaid in her lobster (or was it a shrimp) costume.  It made me giggle, and the song she danced to was funny too.  We saw all three members of Tokyo Delores in their acrobatic act, and the fire eater.  She was awesome.  I can't remember her name, but she had some crazy tatoos.  And Rob got a picture with her before we left.
Serpentina, Tokyo Delores, the fire eater, Miss Tickle, Bambi the Mermaid, Fredini
the fire eater, Miss Tickle, Bambi the Mermaid (she still has on her lobster hat), Fredini
Rob and the fire eater
Rob's screening is today (Sunday) at 3.  It should be fun.  I am bowing out of attending so I can get my school stuff done.  But maybe he'll win a prize.

Coney Island = Awesome.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Morning

On Monday mornings I have quite the commute.
8:30am - 7 train
8:50am - N or Q train
9:10am - R train
9:35am - arrive at Whitehall station
9:45am - the best part of the trip...
Staten Island Ferry
...the Staten Island Ferry.  On a nice day I stand or sit on the back deck and drink my coffee and do a crossword or read.  It's relaxing.  And almost makes the rest of it worth it.

10:15am - arrive at St. George Ferry Terminal
10:15am - take the S62 bus to CSI
10:50am - the Loop Bus to the side of campus.

ALT: 10:35am - take the CSI shuttle to campus.

11:00am - arrive at the lab.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Go Mets!

Wednesday night Rob, Josh, and I had tickets to the Mets vs. Pirates game.  It was my first Mets game.  I went to a Yankees game in 2007 (I was going to link up, but I realized I wasn't blogging then).  What I learned is I like baseball.  And that I also need to go to games with people who know the rules.  Because I like to ask a lot of questions, and Rob could not answer most of them.

Also, Citi Field is nice.  It's open and clean.  And our seats were great.

The Mets won the game.  So it was a good night.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Crazy Storm

So tonight on the way home the 7 train wasn't running.  So I took the 4 uptown to the bus.  On the way I heard rumors that other trains weren't running either.  I got on the bus, the Q32 never fails me.  I was lucky, some people at the stop had been waiting for an hour.  Then the bus stopped taking new passengers because it was full.  People on the street were not happy.

At Queensboro Plaza it was crazy with people taking over the street pounding on the side of the bus.  It felt kind of like a riot.  It also reminded me of the tornado of August 2007.  That day it took me hours to get to the preschool where we were researching.  I was lucky that day because the 7 was running but nothing else.  Luckily I didn't get stuck because the rest of the researchers managed to get a cab by telling some kid that he was going share and got in the cab with him.

Tonight I come to find out it may have been another tornado. Nuts!

Check out the story in the New York Times.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Flea Market Fun

Saturday Rob and I talked our friends Bill and Jessica (who have a van) into driving up to the Stormville Flea Market with us.  We are lucky to have friends who enjoy flea markets and antiques as much as we do.  It is a pretty awesome place.  Miles of antiques and items that fall into the "what do people need with all this crap" category.  At first we were in the "street fair" section, meaning t-shirts, dresses, candles, all the stuff that you find at any street fair in the city.  Here we scored a couple of DVDs that we have been wanting to watch but not actually pay for, Space Balls ($8) and X-Men 3 ($2).  Jess picked up a kitchen strainer.  But we knew there was something better out there.  But first we had to eat.  The food was pretty good.  Standard fair food, although I think they could have done with some more fried dough and less around the world (noodles, greek, etc...) but that is just my opinion.  Then we found the fun stuff.
Everything you never knew you needed.  Lot's of jewelery and furniture and old kids toys.  I am still looking for the perfect small dresser or cabinet to store towels and sheets.  Someday.  Rob and Bill spent way to much time looking at action figures and old video games systems and games.  It was decided that you could totally start a sword collection here.  Why?  I think it's a guy thing.  I have the question, vintage kids toys: fun or deathtrap?  I mean have you seen the old metal cars, wagons, and tricycles?  (Here is when I am really wishing I had taken more pictures of the day).  Four hours and several miles later, Jess scored a pyrex casserole dish for $1 and I got some napkin rings, which I was on the lookout for.

Ever since I read this post on SouleMama's blog (read part 1 here)  I knew I needed some nice napkin rings for our table.  Rob and I do use cloth napkins always, and most days actually do eat at a table either indoors or out.  I thought that if we have unique napkin rings, we can keep track of whose napkin belong to whom. who's napkins belongs to who. (writing that sentence it seems so wrong, but saying it aloud it comes out ok) (*updated: it's great to have a former English teacher as a Mom.)  I found a set of 4 for $6 early in the day.  I bought them and kept my eyes open, because really 8 would be perfect.  I found one that was cheap looking and I just didn't like it.  The only other napkin rings were from the 50's made of some kind of resin all in the shape of animals.  They were actually very cool and there was a variety of colors and animals, but at $45 a piece, I easily passed.

The flea market was awesome,  I for sure want to go back next year.  Who knows what will be on my list then, but I will try and take pictures.  I was proud of myself for showing restraint in not buying the cute vintage table cloth that was overpriced (if it is more than I am willing to pay it is over priced, even though it was a fair price) and the one that wasn't but didn't match any of the decor I already own.  There is always next year.

And now for my napkin rings.  That will be in use until I find something I like better.

Won't they make the table look nice.