Sunday, March 29, 2009

Starving Artist's Recipe: Pizza San Antonio

I hope you'll visit my Etsy store and check out my Spring Sale.  For less than the cost of a cheap pizza, you can find a nice gift for someone special. I love pizza and a movie, but why spend your hard-earned money on greasy pizza, when you can make it so much better and healthier at home? Homemade is pretty easy and fun to make. I have a recipe for delicious crust, and you have control over the quality of the toppings. 

Use the best cheese you can afford, fresh veggies and anything else you love. Always, always lightly bake the crust for about five minutes in a very hot oven before you top the pizza, that's the secret to getting a homemade crust that you can pick up in your fingers without it wilting.  (If you have a brick oven, you can forget that step, but most of us are stuck with the usual electric or gas range.)

Before you sit down eat your pizza, don't forget to thank Saint Anthony, the Abbot, patron saint of Naples, and the original pizza, which originated there! Saint Anthony is pictured at the left, preparing a fire on which make a pizza al fresco.  The barnyard animals are encouraging him to make it vegetarian style. 

Though I admire his campfire skills, I won't be making an altar to San Antonio any time soon. I will be making my own delicious pizza and eating it while I watch a DVD from the good old Multnomah County Public Library!  Dinner and a Movie on the cheap!  Monday I begin a whole series of altars to the wise women. Maybe you're becoming wiser when you try this new recipe.

Clarita's Pizza Recipe:
4 cups unbleached flour 
(or you can mix 1 cup semolina flour, or half whole wheat - half unbleached, but I suggest that it's best if there's some unbleached for good texture)
3 Tablespoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 large can good quality canned petite diced or crused tomatoes (drain diced tomatoes, not necessary to drain crushed.)
fresh or dry basil
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
Toppings: your call! 
  1. In large bowl measure flour, make a nice little crater in the middle, add yeast and 1/2 cup warm water.
  2. Let yeast dissolve for a few minutes, then gently mix into dough with salt and olive oil.
  3. Add 1 cup warm water.
  4. Stir until well mixed.
  5. Knead till smooth on floured board. (Kneading involves folding the dough and pushing down on the mouth of the fold. After each knead, turn dough and repeat fold and push-press, until dough is smooth and elastic, about ten minutes of good arm exercise. Scrape the bowl clean with a strong rubber spatula and add all those little crumples to the dough as part of the kneading process.)
  6. Oil the mixing bowl with olive oil and roll ball of dough in bowl and cover with clean towel.  Leave dough in warm but not hot place to rise until doubled.  This might take 45 minutes to an hour. 
  7. Flour your hands, punch dough down and remove it from bowl. 
  8. Oil your pizza pan and sprinkle with cornmeal.
  9. Stretch the dough gently by hand onto large pizza pan, or two, depending on size and thickness preferred. You use more dough per pan for thick pizza, use rolling pin if you like the crust cracker thin. 
  10. Brush the crust with a tiny bit of olive oil in which you have crushed a clove of fresh garlic.
  11. In very hot oven (450-500 degrees) pre-bake pizza crust for five minutes until lightly golden.
  12. Drain some lovely petite diced tomatoes and spread thinly on crust, along with fresh or dried basil and lovely grated or thinly sliced mozzarella cheese. If you have the $$ for other stretchy Italian cheeses, such as Provolone, or accent cheeses, such as Romano, Parmesan and Asiago, sprinkle to your heart's content. Save a little to sprinkle lightly over your topping veggies .
  13. Top with whatever else your little heart desires. I love marinated and broiled eggplant, olives, mushrooms and artichoke hearts. 
  14. Bake for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees until cheese is bubbly and golden. Let cool a bit before slicing: maybe 5-10 minutes. ENJOY.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Etsy Going to the Dogs? May be, but it's a good thing!

Beautiful hemp items available at Earth Moon Beam's Etsy Store and website.
This dog looks so proud in her handsome Celtic collar.
And the prices are reasonable, too.

Hi Etsy Fanatics,

Have you found everything you needed on Etsy, the premier site for artisan made items?  Well, maybe not everything for your pet, eh? These handsome Hippie dogs in spiffy handmade hemp collars delight me.  

The collars and leashes should last forever and be a lot more comfortable than a lot of the collars around, especially more comfortable than those choke chains.  You can custom order a collar and have your dogs name beaded into the macrame design.  Check out Earth Moonbeams art while you're there.  What a versatile artist!

Amazing: all the beautiful things at Earth Moon Beam's groovy store!

That's all for today,
Your roving reporter, 
Clarita de Heartspace

Cooking From Scratch Part Two: Spanish Lentils

The saints love lentils. Why? I am not sure, but it must have something to do with the cheapness and ease of cooking the versatile little legumes. maybe it's because because lentils are mentioned in the Bible. In the story of Jacob and Esau: a story of extreme sibling rivalry. Esau traded his birthright as the eldest son to his brother Jacob for a "pottage of lentils."

I once watched a movie about a troupe of Spanish actors visiting early Nazi Germany.  They were starving for lentils, so they ended up in a Jewish restaurant on Kristalnacht, a night when Nazi brown shirts attacked Jewish businesses.  Though the experience horrified and frightened them, the actors didn't regret having enjoyed the thick brown stew. Lentils reminded them of home.

You can make such a homey stew, one will stir the passions of a gourmet, and meet the approval of the most saintly vegetarian, all for pennies.  A pottage for a pittance: what I mean is this recipe is good and cheap!

Lentil Stew:
(serves starving masses)
NEEDED: one very large heavy stock pot.

2 cups lentils
3 or more stalks celery
1 onion
4-6 carrots
1 large can diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded green cabbage
olive oil
rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil (or whatever preferred herbs: I often use Herbs Provence)
Options: Add cubed red potatoes or macaroni with the vegetables for a more hefty stew.
  1. Wash and sort lentils carefully.
  2. Put lentils in stock pot with six cups water and bring to boil.  Boil about 3 minutes.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, two tablespoons olive oil and tomatoes, simmer 1/2 hour.
  4. While simmering chop vegetables into spoon sized bites, shred cabbage & add to lentils. 
  5. Add herbs if dried; if fresh wait till last fifteen minutes or so to add herbs
  6. Simmer until vegetables and lentils are soft, stirring occasionally. This should take about 1/2 hour to 40 minutes.  
  7. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread for a satisfying meal. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kreative Blog Awards

Here are the rules [I must follow]: List 7 things you love and then pass the award on to 7 people tagging them and letting them know they've won.  You can copy the picture of the awar and put it on your sideboard letting the blogger world know you're a KREATIV BLOGGER [their spelling not mine].  Here are some things I love"
  1. Color: couldn't live without it every day in massive doses. Especially Blue, green and yellow...
  2. Sesame Seeds and almonds, also in massive doses.  Very healing.
  3. The herbs lavender and rosemary have cheered me all my life.
  4. Birds: Hummingbirds, meadowlarks, mockingbirds and mourning doves.
  5. The sea, the sea! Oh my, it is my favorite location.  
  6. Sailboats: the way to go nowhere with joy.
  7. Cats, (especially my cat Xochitl) horses, dogs, and just about any creature.
Now friends here are some blogs you shouldn't miss. I give them all the Kreativ Blogger award: