Pizza, Pizza

I don't think there's a better way to ring in the New Year than homemade pizza.

It's seriously not hard. Recipe from Pioneer Woman, so you KNOW it's good.

Pizza - selfie. 

1 teaspoon Instant or Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 cup of warm water (warm, not lukewarm)
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm water. Let stand for a few minutes.
In a stand mixer* with a paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low, drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour.
Pour in yeast/ water and mix until combined -- the dough will come together into a sticky mass.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and make the dough into a ball. Toss to coat in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for 1-2 hours.
PW Note: it’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.
When you are ready to make the pizza, grab HALF the pizza dough (recipe makes 2 crusts) and squeeze the dough toward the bottom to form a nice, tight, pulled ball. You can roll out the pizza with a rolling pin if you’d like, but sometimes it’s just as easy to throw it around and pull and stretch till it feels right. And when the crust is nice and thin, lay it on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and spread it with your fingers. Very lightly sprinkle some salt on the crust.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Top your crust with your toppings of choice. Then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.

I found mushrooms, mozzarella  Boar's Head Pepperonis and some pre-made pizza sauce. It was to die for. And so easy! 
*Before I got married and had kitchen presents galore, I tried to make this with a $8 hand-mixer. I do not recommend this strategy. The dough is still up in that motor, may it rest in peace. 
Bon app├ętit and Happy New Year! \o/ 

When is that in season?

If you're like me, you probably don't have a farm, maybe not even a garden. And you may not have the pleasure of scouring the farmers market every other day for ingredients that still have dirt on them.

Chin up! You can still shop like a farmer! Check out this infographic to see when your favorite things are in season:

The Bountiful Year: A Guide to Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
by Column Five Media.
Beautiful infographic via Visually.

I had no idea sweet potatoes were so short lived. And I still can't believe that grapefruits are winter fruits!

What do you find surprising?

Thanksgiving Breakfast: Blueberry Stuffed French Toast

Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday. It means family, friends, road trips and excellent food. It also means spending-as much-time-around-the-table-as-possible and complete-disregard-of-caloric-intake. And it doesn't have to stop at the turkey!

My mom and MeeMee usually make this incredible breakfast feast after Thanksgiving. Is a bit labor intensive, but completely worth it.

You will need to begin the process the night before as it should chill overnight. (Sounds intense, but trust me: this is so completely worth it. I promise.) 

For the French toast:  
12 slices French Bread cut into 1-inch cubes
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes (I usually just use one package) 
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
12 large eggs 
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 cups milk

For the blueberry syrup:
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp unsalted butter 

Day 1: 
Grease a 13x9 baking pan
Place half of the bread cubes evenly in the prepared pan
Scatter cream cheese cubes over bread
Sprinkle with 1 cup blueberries
Arrange remaining bread cubes over blueberries

In a large bowl, combine all 12 eggs, syrup and milk and whisk to blend.
Pour evenly over reserved bread mixture. 
Cover with foil and chill overnight.

So many eggs. 


Day 2: 
The next morning, make yourself a cup of coffee and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake -- covered with foil in the middle of the oven -- for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue baking 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan:
Combine sugar, cornstarch and water over medium-high heat.
Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until thickened. 
Stir in 1 cup blueberries and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until most berries burst. 
Add butter and stir until melted. 
Transfer to serving bowl.

Blueberries have not yet burst. 

Now they're bursting. I love this color. 

Serve on individual plates and top with blueberry syrup. Make yourself an extra large serving because you've earned it. 

Note: The syrup can be prepared up to 1 day in advance -- chill and reheat gently. 

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