Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Dayz and Deep Dish Pizza

Apologies that is has been so long since my last post! I have been enjoying my relaxing summer and have had absolutely no motivation to update. I will try to be better about this now that I have sort of settled into the new rhythm of life here in Obie-town's (sticky, humid, rainy, hot) summer.

Things I miss about WI. 
-the Java House. There is good coffee here, but nothing really compares to the Java House coffee in downtown Cedarburg
-Friends of course. No explanation needed
-the Air! in WI there is usually a breeze and it is rarely humid. In Ohio there is rarely a breeze and it is often humid, I had remembered this about Ohio but had forgotten what it actually felt like. Thankfully so far we have had mostly tolerable days, but we have had to run the AC for one full day so far...
-the Tidiness, Wisconsin is less crowded than Ohio, and Ozaukee county, being the most wealthy county in WI, is tidier to look at than Loraine county.

However despite the understandable missing of these things I am loving being back in Ohio, it is a little bit odd, I am still not sure what to say when people ask where I am from, but being back here is not as wrenching as one could expect such a far move to be.

Happenings of the weeks

There is so much going on! it is the year of transitions. We are helping Sam pack up to move out and up to Madison where he will work for Epic for a year, live in his own apartment, in short be a real person in the real world. We are also packing up my Mom's parents to move from their house of over 20 years to a new condo-type house near a retirement community (Kendal at Oberlin). This process is a little easier than moving across country because we can pack a few boxes, drive them over to Kendal and then unpack them, but still, it is a huge transition and there is alot of planning and thought involved.
assembling shelves
installing a new sink

This is all in the midst of us still settling into our new place. Clara Margaret and I had fun one afternoon spraypainting some chairs for our kitchen (I suggested we do the garage door too, something we had done in a summer long ago...but CM nixed this plan). We got as much spraypaint on our hands and feet as on the chairs, since we were using these appendages to hold the stencils. Clara claims I was not as careful as she was, but we both had about equal amounts of paint stuck to our skin for a few days.

Even with all the transitional stuff, my summer is dandy. I work about 12-15 hours a week at the local gym (perfect job, earning some pocket cash but very low time commitment, just what I was looking for for this summer). This leaves me time to run every day, workout, play with my dog, cook, bake, clean, spend time with my family, and READ! I have not really had time to pleasure read for a looooong time. I read a couple junk food books, and I plan to look in the library this coming week for some cant-put-it-down stuff as well as some more intellectual reading.


Ever since I can remember my family has always made homemade pizza. A staple of the weekends, mostly this is what we eat instead of ordered stuff, we have had it frequently enough, though I have never made one all on my own. Combining this with thinking of things Sam particularly likes, I wanted to try a deepdish recipe I saw from Foodwishes.

I think it turned out really well, I only have two modifications: I used more sauce than the recipe calls for, but really with pizzas (other than for the crust) one doesn't need a recipe, just put whatever amounts of whatever toppings/fillings you want, making sure it all fits of course! I also note that the crust around the edge particularly around the top (where one folds over the crust remnants) was too thick, I would say either that this folding up of the sides is not needed and you can cut out the extra dough altogether, or, that one should fold the sides around cheese for a stuffed crust, or serve the 'Za with extra sauce for dipping.

Anyway, there you have it! I think it is a delicious pizza, more like a pizza pie, really nothing special just a different way to cook the same stuff, but it was yummy!

Ingredients for crust:

4 1/2 cups flour (at least two of which are whole wheat)
2-3 tsp salt
at least 3 Tbsp herbs (I used alot of rosemary, some oregano and a little basil)
1 Tbsp yeast
2 cups very warm water (not hot hot but very warm)

1/4 cup olive oil

Process for crust:

Mix flour salt, herbs and yeast. Add warm water and mix, then add olive oil (don't worry it is supposed to be very sticky). Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours until doubled. Once the dough is doubled, punch it, and devide roughly half. This recipe makes two large pizzas (or one large and one deep dish). Flatten one half out into a regular round pizza, it is ready to go cover with toppings and bake at 425 F for 10-15 minutes.

Deep Dish Pizza:

The other half will be used for a deep dish. For deep dish, divide this half into two pieces, about 2/3 and 1/3. heavily flour and roll the larger piece until flat and round (thickness should be about 1/8-1/4 inch, LESS thick on the edges). Put this piece into greased springform pan with a little bit hanging over the edges (this will be folded in later to make the pie) then layer in (in this order) cheese, toppings, a little more cheese, a little sauce. Roll last 1/3 dough into circle and place on top, then fold in the edges from the bottom piece, enclosing the pie. on top put more sauce and a sprinkling of cheese. Poke holes with a fork to let steam release, otherwise you will have an exploding pizza pie! Bake at 350 F for 45 or so minutes. As soon as cool enough to handle, remove springpan and let cool for at least 15 minutes (this will set the pie making it easier to handle). Slice and enjoy!


Again, I like more sauce and less cheese, also the crust was a little too thick around the edges around the top as you can see in the picture, to remedy this, roll the edges flatter when rolling it out (as in the instructions) and if that is not working, just don't use the excess that hangs off the edges of the springform, instead make the top piece go all the way to the edges.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First week home: ANZAC Biscuits and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wow, its been a week already? Really? where does the time GO!?

Most of this week has been spent unpacking and moving into the new house, settling into the patterns of life, and working. We are getting ready to move Sam up to his apartment in Madison while also trying to get the rest of our house situated and all the boxes either stored or emptied onto shelves. We have our first ever riding lawn mower, since our yard is so big and they use about as much gas as a pushmower we caved and bought one from a friend. Since Sam will not be around much longer he showed Clara Margaret how to use was entertaining to watch from the mosquito-free safety of the house as Clara Margaret learned how to use this machinery, while still wearing her polka dot pjs. I suppose that is a sign that we are really starting to feel comfortable and at home here!

a Cheese plate we had for appetizer, YUM!

We also had a celebratory gathering with most of the Floodclan to welcome back myself and a cousin from our abroad trips, another cousin from college, celebrate our new house, and to wish Sam happy graduation. This was a fun outside picnic/barbecue and we had a great time playing horseshoes, beanbag toss (in which Clara Margaret had the best beginners luck I have ever seen), and talking about critter encounters and ghost stories. Now that we have joined the Oberlin community, it will be really great to become more a part of casual family get togethers like this since most of my family lives in this town.

I have not had much opportunity to cook as of yet, but since I myself am pretty much settled in now I hope to start this up soon. I did have the chance to bake some reg'lar ol' Chocolate Chip Cookies for some guests we had coming through from Cedarburg. I also gave a try at making ANZAC biscuits, but instead of the golden coconutty flavor they ended up tasting more like oatmeal cookies. I guess just like things from here taste not so good in Australia, things from Australia just don't do as well here. Oh well, they tasted really good, just not 'ANZAC-like'...The chocolate chip cookies turned out really well, some of the best I have ever made if I do say so myself; chewy on the inside with a crisp ring around the edge. I have posted the pictures and recipe below!

ANZAC Biscuits

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut (shredded coconut)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 125g (1 and 1/10 of a stick, so about one stick and a TBsp) butter, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons golden syrup (in the states, use 1 1/2 TBsp molasses and 1/2 TBsp water)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 2 Tablespoons boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350 F). Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in oats, coconut and sugar.
  2. Place butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until melted. Remove from heat. Combine bicarbonate of soda and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Stir into golden syrup mixture (mixture might become frothy). Add immediately to flour mixture and stir until well combined.
  3. Roll mixture, into balls. Place biscuits on each baking tray. Flatten to round, allowing room for biscuits to spread. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until biscuits are golden. Allow biscuits to cool completely. Serve.

These are crisp Anzac biscuits. If you prefer them chewy, flatten biscuits slightly less and cook for a shorter amount of time. I also recommend using more coconut and less oatmeal, I followed this recipe and the batch I made tasted more like oatmeal than anything else. Also, since we don't have golden syrup here they won't taste quite authentic, but molasses is a good substitute, just make sure you use regular or light brown sugar, not dark brown, otherwise the molasses-ness will be a little overwhelming.

In baking them I also used a slightly lower oven temperature because they didn't spread quite as fast as desired (again I think due to the molasses). How long you cook really depends on how golden brown you want them to be, it is really hard to burn them they just turn different shades of golden brown until they (eventually) turn to char.


ok not the best photography, I will try to be better about composition in the next post.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is originally the Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, however I often do my own editing because I like my cookies chewy with a few more chips than this recipe asks for, and I don't like nuts, so this is NOT completely just the recipe you find on the bag. It is DIFFERENT! The bag recipe is perfectly fine, but I find it is a little less efficient, and again I don't like nuts in my chocolate chip cookies. Also, because this recipe only makes a few cookies I ALWAYS double or at least 1 and 1/2 this recipe to make more. So, it is totally up to you how you cook them.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips (of ANY variety)

     PREHEAT oven to 375° F. 
    Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. 
    Add eggs, beat well. 
    Add flour and BEFORE MIXING, stir the baking soda and salt gently into the flour while it sits on top of the wet mix. THEN gradually mix flour mixture into the rest. 
    Stir in morsels. 
    Drop in three-inch blobs cook on ungreased baking sheets.

    BAKE for 8 to 11 minutes or until JUST golden brown around the edge, and not shiny in the center. Cool slightly then best when served warm with cold milk. 


    Perfectly round, perfectly done. Just perfect in general
    Since my sister is allergic to soy (found in Nestles chocolate chips as well as almost all chocolate) I used mini morsels of a different brand for one batch. When using mini morsels it is best to use a little bit more chips because they don't take up as much. Also, for this particular batch I used slightly less chips in the non soy-free batch because we ran out of chips so the photos are not representational of what they would look like if you used the recommended 2 and 1/2 cups.

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Back from Australia: PICTURES INCLUDED!

    As it says in the blog description, I really want to keep in touch with all of my friends across the globe now that I and they (you) and everyone are scattered to the winds. Thus I will try to continue blogging as I did in Australia, but since my life is not so adventurous right now, my posts will include more everyday stuff and some creative endeavors (hopefully) in the kitchen.

    Beginning to write I will first say that jetlag is an odd phenomenon. You really don't feel like anything is off, but then things just happen that feel funny! For example, you will be trucking along just fine when allofasudden at 3 in the afternoon you will just take a nap, or, really really really want to take a nap. I did not have any trouble with the sleeping part (I hear some people wake up at odd hours) but the waking part...I am still struggling to be awake during the normal hours of the day (for me, normal hours are between 9am and 11pm).

    That being said, I will document my return. I was picked up at the airport by Amirah, we hugged so hard for so long that we got some funny looks from the people in the airport. But we couldn't have cared less. It was really nice to see each other, it had been a long time and we had alot of catching up to do. Amirah brought me some peanut butter cups and chocolate coffee beans, and I managed to stay awake for another few hours while we talked and talked.

    The next day I went for a run, it was interesting running on jetlag, I felt disconnected from my legs most of the time, but this ended up being a good thing because I was able to run farther for some odd reason...

    I had a wonderful couple of days with the AbuLughods in Port Washington WI, before heading up to Appleton t surprise the siblings. My parents and grandparents already knew I was coming, but Sam and Clara Margaret had no idea (see exhibit A below).

    It was really fun to see facial expressions and to be welcomed into hugging arms with exclamations of "what are YOU doing here?!"

    The final leg of the surprise came when I went to LU campus the next day, I found my friends one by one and gave lots of hugs and smiles, made a couple people cry, and then enjoyed watching my friends and dear brother complete their chapters at LU with a deadfish handshake from the prez of Lawrence. I was thinking the whole time how proud I was, but also, "holy cow that will be me next year" kept creeping into my mind. But nevertheless, THIS graduation was about them, not me, CONGRATULATIONS GRADUATES! you are now old, and real people, ready to join the world!

    After saying goodbyes I had another long bit of traveling in the 10 hour car ride to Ohio...We got a little wacky around hour 7 and 9 but we made it to OUR NEW HOUSE (which I had yet to see) in one piece each. I did not get much of a look at the house since it was dark and I was tired, but I walked around the rooms and was able to approve of it before tumbling into my bed and zonking out until 9am the next morning when I had to go to work! No rest for the wicked I suppose.