Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jan 24, 2006 at 5:04pm

Here’s Suz, cooking chili today, she invited me over for lunch. Woo hoo! It was delicious and so cozy. With biscuits, and lots of coffee (of course). A little chat for dessert. I had – what else? – polenta (!) to contribute, so we had that too, and it was nice with the chili, even day-old polenta. Susie and I have a few items in common that we love that no one else in our families can/will eat – beans, squash, beets, bread pudding. This chili was full of beans and it and they were perfect on a cloudy, blustery day (recipe in comments, below). Sullivan came home from preschool and had a biscuit – and chat – too. He’s sooo cute! Cory came home for a bite to eat too (no chili, he doesn’t do the beans…), but I forgot to take his picture! How ironic, I forgot to take the photographer’s picture. Next time, in a few weeks, when he and I collaborate on a few food photos (I’ll cook, he’ll take the pics, I’ll post them here; and, they’ll be WAY better than the food pics I’ve been posting, which will be fun). I flew out of their house – I can’t stop talking, of course, and time just flies by – to pick up Nathan at school. We stopped at Carter’s on the way home to let out puppy McCoy, Nathan’s other dog, 8 months old, adorable, and full of LOTS of energy (below).

And now I’m home, preparing a few recipes to send to Chef Andrew Zimmern, host of Chowhounds on FM107. Why? Because I’m going to be ON his radio show this coming Saturday, January 28, around 1:45 p.m. I’m so excited! I’ll be talking about starting a food blog. I hope you’ll listen, either on the radio here in the Twin Cities, or at Chowhounds FM107 (to listen online, click the “listen online” button at the upper left; there’s a quick form to fill out).

Tonight, Nathan has requested pizza for dinner. Since he doesn’t have a basketball game, I think I’ll take the time to make the real deal. A good, homemade, chewy crust. He can have pepperoni, his fav, I’ll try to come up with something a little veggier for John and me. I’ll check back in when I figure out what the hell I’m doing.

Well, pizza turned out nicely. We ate a bit late (!), but it was worth it. I’ll post the recipe for a basic crust (in comments), not a big mystery, it produces a thin, crispy crust (which is my favorite). Trick is to line the baking sheet with parchment, bake for half the time on the sheet, then slide the pizza-on-parchment directly onto the rack. Works like a charm without fussing with a pizza stone. For a topping I caramelized some onion slices, stirred in a few sliced mushrooms, some chopped orange bell pepper, a few minced Kalamata olives, some chopped fresh tomato, and off heat, chopped scallions. Because that’s what I had around – like pasta, I tend to make pizza up as I go, using what’s available. I did top with some mozzarella, but not much. I just don’t need tons of cheese on pizza. Oh, I’ll happily eat pizza with tons of cheese. Bring it on! But on a regular basis, I want to enjoy pizza without feeling SO incredibly guilty when I’m done – a super-thin crust, lots of veggies, and just a bit of cheese do the trick. Bit of good olive oil, sprinkle of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, sooooo good! And moderate-yet-decadent-seeming, way to go! I also made a simple salad, just chopped romaine and sweet onion tossed with good olive oil, little vinegar, salt, and pepper. I like easy little salads like that, tasty, and don’t require loads of chopping. As long as the greens are good and fresh, a simple salad can really hit the spot. (The best? Fresh-from-the-garden greens, but whatever, that’s a long time off, not worth thinking about right now…)

Now, time to wash some dishes. That’s the only part of cooking I do NOT enjoy. Can’t have it all…damn!

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Older Comments

  1. By Stephanie on January 31, 2006 at 11:06AM

    From Susie:

    (My grandma from New Jersey! Ha!)

    This recipe is a little of this and a little of that (depending on how spicy you like your chili!)

    1 green pepper, diced
    1 onion, diced
    1 lb ground beef
    1 can chili beans in gravy
    1 can of diced tomatoes
    1 can tomato sauce
    chili powder
    Tabasco sauce

    Fry green pepper and onion in a little oil until just soft. Add ground beef and brown. Add beans with the gravy, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Add chili powder, salt and a few shakes of Tabasco to taste. (I just kind of throw stuff in at this point!) Simmer for 3/4 of an hour. This recipe says it's for 2, but that would be a very generous 2.

  2. By Anonymous on January 29, 2006 at 3:05PM

    cute dog!

  3. By Stephanie on January 24, 2006 at 11:09PM

    Thin Crispy Pizza Crust
    Stephanie Levy
    Serves 2-3

    Can be easily doubled.

    1 tsp. dry active yeast
    ¼ c. warm (not hot) water
    1 c. bread flour
    ½ tsp. salt
    ½ tsp. sugar
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    more warm water as needed

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Stir yeast into the warm water. Put flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer; attach dough hook. Stir sugar and olive oil into yeast mixture. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the yeast mixture into the flour. Slowly add more warm water, a little at a time, until the dough just comes together into a ball and all the flour is incorporated (up to another ¼ c. but probably less). Run mixer for a few more minutes until the dough is smooth. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for another 5 minutes. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough, and cover with plastic. Set in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Punch down, lift dough out of the bowl and stretch it a bit, then lay dough out onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Using your fingers, press dough evenly across the pan. (If the dough starts “bouncing back” too much, let it rest for 5 minutes and continue).

    Top as desired (with sauce, meats, vegetables, and/or cheese), sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and bake for 5 minutes. Open the oven and with a spatula guide the pizza and parchment off the pan, directly onto the rack. Bake for another 3-5 minutes or until crust is crisp and cheese is bubbling.

    Note: to work ahead a bit, prepare the dough and spread it in the pan, but don’t add toppings, just par-bake the plain crust for about 5 minutes (you’ll have to check it and pop any big air bubbles that arise with a knife to keep the crust relatively even). The crust should be “set” but not browned. Cool on a rack. At this point the crust can be set aside for a few hours, covered. Or even frozen for a period of time, pulled out and topped, and baked directly on the rack at 400 (not 450, the par-baked crust will brown/crisp faster than the raw).