Pizza Night!

Growing up, Friday night was always pizza night…because who doesn’t love pizza?!?  Plus nothing goes with football like pizza (hey, we’re Texans!  Also upon further reflection–aka growing older–I’ve found beer to be a better accompaniment to football, but at five years old pizza is probably the better option).

Of course, until I moved to New York City, I didn’t realize how serious pizza was.  I mean, sure, I’ve always loved it.  But here?  Here you’d better have an informed opinion about crusts and styles and toppings.   There used to be a great pizza place up the hill from my house, but they moved a couple of years after I moved here and the place became [shudder] a seasonal accountant office.

Anyway, the point is that my pizza options are now limited to Dominoes (don’t get me wrong–sometimes you just need the coolness of ordering your pizza online and watching the Pizza Tracker thingy…no, I haven’t been drinking…much…) and the Italian place up the street, who admittedly makes a mean calzone, but you have to be prepared to wait at least an hour.  At that point you could just make it yourself.

MAKE IT MYSELF?!?!?

I do need to give props to Ann for having the brilliant idea, finding a sauce, and picking up supplies at Whole Foods.

I’ve never really given much thought about making my own pizza because while the theory of making pizza dough from scratch always seems too tedious (despite assurances by April about its ease and the tastiness of her pizza).  However, enter in the age of fresh pre-made dough (not the pop open can variety)….and voilà! now homemade pizza seems a lot more reasonable.

Plus the world is your oyster when it comes to sauces and toppings.  Although I find that when you have more than 3 toppings, the pizza tends to get too heavy and thick.  Of course, if you’re a fan of Chicago-style pizza then top away! Personally, I’m not and prefer thin slices with crisp, crunchy crust (and for the record, I felt that way long before I moved a borough away from Brooklyn!).

Through trial and error, I’ve found that baking the pizza in stages ensures a crisp crust and that everything is cooked properly.  Also I like it really garlicky and spicy, if garlic or spice isn’t your thing you might just want to use 2 cloves and less pepper.

Asparagus, Avocado, & Onion Pizza

  • 1 ball of pizza dough (as I mentioned, I purchase mine–but here are a plethora of dough recipes I found on Pinterest if you’re feeling adventurous)
  • Sauce (mix together the following ingredients):
    • 1/4 c. of olive oil
    • 4 cloves of minced garlic
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp red pepper
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 12-ish stalks of asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil topped

Preheat the oven to 450F.  Lightly oil a baking stone/cookie sheet.  Slowly pull and stretch the pizza dough to the desired size and thickness.  Spread the sauce on top of the dough–I use a pastry brush to make sure that it is spread evenly.  Bake the dough for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add the onions and asparagus and bake for 10 more minutes.

Once those 10 minutes are up, add the cheese and put back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

I know all the back and forth sounds a bit tedious, but trust me–it’s really not that bad and TOTALLY worth it.  After 5 minutes add the avocado slices and bake for 5 minutes more.  At this point, the cheese should be bubbly and the crust golden brown.  If not, continue baking until it is.  Once it reaches this point, pull it out of the oven and sprinkle with the basil.  Cut the pizza into slices and enjoy!

By the way, this pizza pairs really well with hefeweizen beer and fruity, dry white wines, like viogniers and dry rieslings–okay, fine and some not-too-buttery chardonnays.  Buon appetito!

BYOBM

I feel like I have quite a few Boozy Brunch posts.  If so, this tops them all!

I luuuuuuurve me a good bloody mary, but it needs to be the right blend of spice and kick and delicious! Enter in Southernmost Beach Cafe with their Build Your Own Bloody Mary!

That’s right build your own!

BUILD. YOUR. OWN!  I don’t think ya’ll are grasping how amazing this is.  Apparently, they used to have a Bloody Mary cart that traveled from table to table.  I say BYOBM is a much better option.  Sure, table side bloody marys are cool and have a whole lot of flair.  But in my humble opinion, when it comes to booze fast is much better than flair and why should I have to wait for some dilettante to make up his/her mind while (s)he is hogging the bloody mary cart at his/her table?  It’s like getting stuck behind the newbie at your favorite coffee shop–it takes all of your concerted effort (and before coffee, mind you) not to shove them aside while yelling “if you don’t know, go to the back of line!”

La la laaaa…perhaps you see why BYOBM is the better option for me.  So how do you build your own?  Well, you pick your vodka, how spicy you want your tomato juice, your garnishes, and your rim.

EVERYONE STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND PAY ATTENTION:  Old Bay Seasoning.  Just do it.  Get the Old Bay rim.  You’ll thank yourself.  You’ll thank me.  You’ll thank everyone who ever even thought of such a wonderful accompaniment. It’s even better than (I can’t believe I’m actually saying this–and no, I’m not sick, delusional, or drunk) the Bacon rim.  That’s right.  There I said it.  Old Bay Seasoning.

So, you pick all your stuff and magically this appears:

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or this

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Or I guess other boozy brunch drinks of your choice.  I mean, I’m not going to name names **cough cough*SissyandJames*cough cough** but some at our table chose not to participate in BYOBM. Fine. Whatever.  They’re missing out.  Especially on the wonderfulness of Old Bay!  This bloody mary was sublime–nearly as good as Aunt Kathy’s (and that’s saying something!).  Although–I’m just sayin’–that if Aunt Kathy aka The Bloody Mary Queen added an Old Bay rim to her bloody marys the gap would be a lot wider (hint, hint).

Oh wait a minute before you go: let’s not forget the other (but less important part of brunch): the food!  Which of course, was very tasty.  They had several versions of eggs benedict from which to choose, but once I read the words “asparagus and cilantro hollandaise,” I just knew that i had to have the Key West eggs benedict.  They did NOT disappoint.  I mean, how can you go wrong with eggs and asparagus and cilantro hollandaise?  In a word: you can’t (okay, that’s two words, but still).

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All the other items that were ordered looked good.  James had the breakfast tacos, which looked and smelled amazing.

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I’m not sure what Sissy and TK had–I know one of them (or perhaps both) had the corned beef hash, but honestly I had my BYOBM and my Key West eggs benedict, I was a happy, happy, happy girl and off in my own little boozy brunch world!

Although a bit of warning, if you don’t like birds this is NOT the place for you, as it’s beachside and an open air restaurant, so there were pigeons everywhere.  Of course, I say just build yourself a few more bloody marys and you won’t care!

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