Monthly Archives: May 2014

Beer Pizza, Honey


More hunny, Rabbit?

More hunny, Rabbit?

Another beer pizza, one that also has honey it. I’ve only recently started putting sugar 0r in this case, honey, in my pizza doughs. Not enough to alter the flavor so much, but to encourage better browning, which also makes it a little crisper.

Beer Pizza Dough with Honey

1 (¼-oz.) package active dry yeast
¾ cup warm beer with 1/4 cup water (the liquid should equal a cup – depending on your beer it could be 1/2 and 1/2 or even all beer)

1 tsp. honey

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil plus more for the bowl

1 tsp.  salt

3 cups bread flour, plus more as needed

12 minutes at 500

  1. Mix the yeast with the beer in a small bowl. Let get all good and frothy – 5-15 minutes.
  2. Add the honey, the olive oil and the salt.
  3. Put the flour in a large bowl. Add the liquid mixture. Mix it all together until it’s dough.
  4. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until it’s tight and as as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
  5. Wash out and oil the bowl, put the dough back in and turn so all sides are slick and less likely to get crusty (crusty – good in pizza, bad in dough).
  6. Let rise 1-2 hours  OR
  7. Put in the fridge overnight and up to 2 days. Bring to room temp (1 -2 hours depending on your room) before continuing. Whatever works for your schedule.
  8. Preheat the oven to 500° F.
  9. Divide the dough into 4 parts for 4 12″ pizzas ( or more or fewer, depending on your final product. I’ve been making fewer, smaller pizzas and keeping the ‘leftover’ dough in the freezer for the next pizza meal.)
  10. Roll the dough or stretch or pat it – you should be developing a technique all your own by now….
  11. Top and bake Here’s the link to the Six Onion Pizza from Saveur that the dough came from.

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Filed under Influencers, Pizza, Recipe

Muffings (English implied)

Wicked Way-Back Wednesday

English muffings from the 18th century.

For version for a 21st century cook, see Paula Marcoux’s Cooking with Fire

Cooking with Fire by Paula Marcoux

Cooking with Fire by Paula Marcoux

To make Muffings and Oat-Cakes.

To a buſhel of Hertfordſhire white flour, take a Pint and a half of good Ale-yeaſt, from pale Malt, if you can get it, becauſe it is whiteſt ; let the Yeaſt lie in Water all Night, the next Day pour off the Water clear, make two Gallons of Water juſt Milk warm, not to ſcald your Yeaſt, and two Ounces of Salt ; mix your Water, Yeaſt, and Salt well together for about a quarter of an Hour, then ſtrain it and mix up your Dough as light as poſſible, and let it lie in your Trough an Hour to riſe, then with your Hand roll it and pull it into little Pieces about as big as a large Walnut, roll them with your Hand like a Ball, lay them on your Table, and as faſt as you do them lay a Piece of Flannel over them, and be ſure to keep your Dough cover’d with Flannel ; when you have rolled out all your Dough begin to bake the firſt, and by that Time they will be ſpread out in the right Form ; lay them on your Iron ; as one Side begins to change Colour turn the other, and take great Care they don’t burn, or be too much diſcolour’d, but that you will be a Judge off in two or three Makings. Take care the middle of the iron is not too hot, as it will be, but then you may put a Brick-bat or two in the middle of the Fire to ſlacken the Heat. The Thing you bake on muſt be made thus:
Build a Place juſt as if you was going to ſet a Copper, and in the ſtead of a Copper, a Piece of Iron all over the Top fix’d in Form juſt the ſame as the Bottom of an Iron Pot, and make your fire underneath with Coal as in a Copper: obſerve, Muffings are made the ſame Way ; only this, when you pull them to Pieces roll them in a good deal of Flour, and with a Rolling-pin roll them thin, cover them with a Piece of Flannel, and they will riſe a proper Thickneſs ; and if you find them too big or too little, you muſt roll Dough accordingly. Theſe muſt not be the leaſt diſcoloured.
And when you eat them, toaſt them with a Fork criſp on both Sides, then with your Hand pull them open, and they will be like a Honey-Comb ; lay in as much butter as you intend to uſe, then clap them together again, and ſet it by the Fire. When you think the Butter is melted turn them, that both Sides may be butter’d alike, but don’t touch them with a Knife, either to spread or cut them open, if you do they will be as heavy as Lead, only when they are quite buttered and done, you may cut them acroſs with a knife.
Note, Some Flour will ſoak up a Quart or three Pints more water than other Flour ; then you muſt add more Water, or ſhake in more Flour in making up, for the Dough muſt be as light as poſſible.

(The intial transcript came from Celtnet – then I added the random caps and italics from the Prospect Books edition.

Read more at Celtnet:
Copyright © celtnet)

“First Catch Your Hare…” The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. A Lady (Hannah Glasse). Facsimile of the first edition, 1747. Prospect Books, 1995. p. 151.


Filed under Books, Bread, Recipe

Muffin Woman

Do you know the Muffin Man?

thomas_muffins_lgThe Muffin Man?

Muffin Man from 1759

Muffin Man from 1759

The Muffin Man?

Muffin Man 18

Muffin Man 18

Do you know the Muffin Man who lives in Drury Lane?

I can’t remember when I didn’t love English muffins. They were my absolute favorite breakfast for years.

English muffin pizza? Been there, done that.Thomas_recipe_PizzaMuffinEM

But making English muffins, the actual bread stuff, proved more problematical.

First, there was the ring or not to ring conundrum.

You can buy these, OR save tuna cans, which was easier before their shaped changed ever so slightly OR you can improvise with canning jar lids or tin foil....

You can buy these, OR save tuna cans, which was easier before their shaped changed ever so slightly OR you can improvise with canning jar lids or tin foil….

After a few attempts, I decided to go ringless….right around the same time I discovered Laurel’s Kitchen.

Laurel does not use rings.

This is the 1976 edition. For reasons I can no longer even imagine, I tossed it out when I got the NEW edition, along with my margin notes and inserts....

This is the 1976 edition. For reasons I can no longer even imagine, I tossed it out when I got the NEW edition, along with my margin notes and inserts….I probably got this at Paperback Booksmith at the Hanover Mall.

This is the NEW Laurel's Kitchen, from 1989, a copy of which now lives in my kitchen and has since  1991. Ummmm - I had a baby in 1991....suddenly the stupid has a  context

This is the NEW Laurel’s Kitchen, from 1989, a copy of which now lives in my kitchen and has since 1991. Ummmm – I had a baby in 1991….suddenly the stupid has a context

Laurel’s English Muffins

1 packet yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup buttermilk
5 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt

  1. This is also her basic buttermilk bread recipe. Hers also call for honey, which makes the muffins too easily overbrowned in the cooking, so I save it to put ON the muffins, not in them.
  2. Mix. Knead. Rise.
  3. Divide in half. At this point you can make 2 loaves of bread OR bread and muffins or LOTS of muffins.
  4. FOR MUFFINS: Take 1/2 the total dough and add 1 cup warm water. You are now making a slack, somewhat overworked dough. This is  were the nooks and crannies come from.
  5. Let it rise again.
  6. Sprinkle a surface with cornmeal (you can use plain flour if you don’t have cornmeal…)
  7. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape into droopy rounds and plop them on the corn meal.
  8. Heat a griddle or skillet as hot as for pancakes.
  9. Use a spatulas to transfer the dough blobs to the pan  . I can fit 4 at a time on my skillet. Cook until the bottom browns, flip and then brown some more. It will probably take about 10 minutes a side. The side of the muffins  should loose their dough look and just seem pale. Flip over again if it all seems too squishy,if you want to split one open to see how it’s doing, just remember to fork split so you can toast it and serve it later.
  10. Repeat until they are all brown on the outside and cooked on the inside.
  11. Split with a fork and toast and serve with butter and honey or whatever….

from The New Laurel’s Kitchen. Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders,and Brian Rupperthal. Ten Speed Press, 1986 pp. 74-5, 65.

Laurel, Carol and Brown

Laurel, Carol and Bronwen



Filed under Books, Influencers, Recipe

Naked Children in the Grass

It’s time to start thinking of salads…

and not just any salads

Summertime Salads

Salads that can be the meal, salads that amuse and delight, salads that have what it takes to be front and center, the star of the show.

Salad with a little more heft then a handful of leafy green, salad with substance, salad with body.

A salad called

Naked Children in the Grass

French cut beansIt starts with French cut beans. I have no idea how they got be called French cut, unless it’s because the cut makes ordinary green beans look more Haricots verts, which is French for ‘green beans’. The whole thing becomes a little circular…

Haricot vert - French green beans - notice that although they don't diet, they are thinner then plain ole American Green Beans

Haricot vert – French green beans – notice that although they don’t diet, they are thinner then plain ole American Green Beans

green beans, not French

green beans, not French

The torture device that turns plain green beans into "Frenched"  - why I buy a frozen box and just be done with it

The torture device that turns plain green beans into “Frenched” – why I buy a frozen box and just be done with it

Since the beans are the grass part,they need to be skinny.

The naked children part is being played by chickpeas.


Admit it – you ‘re seeing how these could resemble naked children

Chick peas have aliases in many languages – in Spanish, they’re garbanzos,  grão de bico in Portuguese; pois chiches in French, channa in India and ceci in Italian.

Ceci is not to be confused with

"This is not a pipe" The Treachery of Images, Rene Magritte

“This is not a pipe” The Treachery of Images, Rene Magritte

As the image of the pipe is not the pipe, it is not also true the the recipe for the salad is not the salad, but rather the image of the salad?

If that’s not meta enough for you

“The chickpea is neither a chick nor a pea. Discuss.”

Coffee Talk - Saturday Night Live

Coffee Talk – Saturday Night Live

Talk amongst yourselves.

“Does the name of this recipe give you a flash of an old-fashioned, hot summer evening, romping children, and a band playing Sousa in the park? We hope it does, for this recipe, too, belongs behind that nostalgic scrim. It’s wedded to a July evening when all anyone wanted was a refreshing, but satisfying, accompaniment for butter corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes with fresh basil, and chunks of wholegrain bread. We once heard of a Dutch recipe called ‘Naked Children in the Grass’. We don’t remember its makings, but when you prepare this one you’ll see why we named it as we have.”
Manners and Manners, p. 98.


3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained

1 small red onion, thinly sliced, (soaked in cold water for 10 minutes takes out the bite and makes them easier to eat)

¼ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (there used to be only kind of mushrooms….pick a fave)

1 cup French cut green beans, cooked and drained (or however much green bean is in a box of frozen French cut beans – canned is too mushy here and just about anywhere else, except 3 bean salad)

1/2 cup bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 small head leaf lettuce torn into bits (leafy greens of your choice – there didn’t used to be choice….enough to provide cover for the chickpeas)
Lebanese Salad Dressing (p. 104)

1/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of lemon juice (2 lemons, more or less)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
5 or 6 grinds of black pepper
4 or 5 fresh sage leaves, chopped fine
Ruth Ann Manners & William Manners. The Quick and Easy Vegetarian Cook Book.1978. M. Evans and Co. NY pp.98-9.

Manners Quick and easy


Filed under Books, Recipe

The Mason Fixin’ Line

Mason-Dixon Line divides the North from the South


The Mason Fixin’ Line has been drawn in recent years by the trend to prepare and serve food in Mason Jars.

The Mason Fixin’ Line has officially been crossed.

Not too long ago (sometime in April, actually) I reached my limit to food served in Mason Jars , especially food served in Mason Jars for no good reason except twee, I mean fashionable hipster cred.

The thing is, there is nothing fashionable nor hip nor credible  about a jar per se , especially one that is not used honestly.

Pickles in a jar? Honest.home-made-pickles-jar-12003596

The lid of said pickle jar nailed to a board over the workbench to hold little nails? Total honesty.

nails in a jar

Dessert served in a mason jar? If it’s not jelly……not so honest.

Special jar lids with straws poking through them to sip Cardamon/Thai Basil /organically grown Green Tea sweetened with Fair Trade Agave? Not so honest. mason jars - twee

So when I saw oatmeal to go packed  in mason jars at the food section of Marshall’s….huge sigh. Where does the insanity end????????

But the name of the company that was packaging oats to go?

Haulin’ Oats…..which would be a great name for a rock band….haulin oats banner…..wait a minute….

Hall& Oates

Hall & Oates

They're still around...

They’re still around…

But it was this:


Haulin' Oats oatmeal

Haulin’ Oats oatmeal


I have to admit, the name is great. But $4 for a little jar of oatmeal? As the Mark Down Price??? No thank you.

A box of Old fashioned oats  - under $3 - multiple servings

A box of Old fashioned oats – under $3 – multiple servings

But a week later it was marked down to $2…..and the flavor was “Chai a Little Tenderness”…..the other flavors are Cinnamon Girl, Date in the Life,  and Lavender Blue. I must have been hungry –  I bought it.

The directions are uber-simple – add hot water, put the lid back on and wait 5 minutes.

Besides rolled oats, the little jar also had almond butter and coconut oil (it had a very rich and creamy texture), brown sugar, ground flaxseed, pecans, raisins, crystallized ginger, vanilla extract and cinnamon, ginger, cardomnon and nutmeg.

One taste and I realize I’d been under-seasoning my oats – these were fantastic! The almond butter was also a nice touch. BUT… the little pint jar contains 2 servings. Two spoons? Half for now and half for tomorrow? Of course, I hadn’t read the label until I had eaten it all……

SO – lessons learned:

  1. $4 is too much for a serving of oatmeal.
  2. 548 is too many calories for breakfast.
  3. You can prepare oatmeal in a mason jar, just by pouring boiling water over the oats and putting the lid on.
  4. Hall & Oates should record Cinnamon Girl





Filed under Eating, Perception ways

Beer Pizza Pronto

Pizza and Beer are a pretty good combination.

Grolsch Beer  - Dutch beer from a brewery founded in 1615 - a little history in a little bottle

Grolsch Beer – Dutch beer from a brewery founded in 1615 – a little bottle of history.

Pizza without sauce...sometimes known as white pizza or pizza bianca

Pizza without sauce…sometimes known as white pizza or pizza bianc0

So beer IN the pizza….pure genius!

This is a dough that can be made in a hurry, mostly with pantry/fridge ingredients, so also easy to do on the spur of the moment.


3 cups AP flour, plus more for the board
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 12 oz beer, bottle or can, light or dark, whatever your purse and palate allow in the house
Olive oil
3 cups grated mozzarella cheese (not the fresh; the supermarket kind. Even the pre-grated packaged stuff would work here; depending on your topping, the pre-grated ‘cheddar’ stuff could also be good – let your taste buds decide)
Assorted toppings – you know what you like – or what you have…
1. Pre heat oven to 450°
2. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with olive oil; put aside.
3. Spread flour on your work surface – give yourself enough swing room if you’re using a rolling pin.
4. Open the beer (If it’s been a rough day, open 2 – one for the pizza and one for the cook. Put the Cook beer out of swing range of the pizza dough prep – if you spill it, angels will weep. They just don’t like messy kitchens)
5. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder. I use a whisk.
6. Pour in the beer, mix well. This will form a sticky lump.
7. Dump it out on the floured work surface. Roll it in the flour until it’s not so sticky and knead it a time or two to form a ball. A Bench knife is your friend. Divide to make 2 balls.
8. Place one ball on each greased baking sheet and pat, pull and otherwise coax with your impeccably clean hands the dough into a 11-12” circle (oil your hands if the dough gets sticky ) OR
9. Roll each ball to an 11-12” circle and place on the greased baking sheet.
10. Sprinkle 1 ½ cups of the grated cheese on top of each, and top with topping – remember, this is quick and easy, so don’t over load. Make a salad or an antipasto to serve WITH the pizza with all the cool stuff you’ve found kicking around your fridge and pantry instead of piling it all on this pizza. This is a quick dough, not a sturdy one. Cheese, one topping. IF you need some tomato sauce, very little, merest, tiniest  smidge – or use the sauce to dip……you are eating outside the box, after all!
11. Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown top and bottom.

Adapted from Jeanne Lemlin. Simple Vegetarian Pleasures. Quill. 1998. p. 137.

Simple Veg Pleasures

Jeanne Lemlin

Jeanne Lemlin




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Filed under Pizza, Recipe, Uncategorized

Month of May

Robert May, that is.

RobertMayTheAccomplishtCookFrontispieceI somehow thought that I could write about food and not write about the 17th century….not true. The 17th century kitchen spends too much time in my brain for me to ignore.

Since I spend many of my waking hours in 1627…..dressed in a burlap suit doing menial labor, as it were, and get paid to play with fire….Wednesdays will have a Wicked-WayBack feature. Take that Throwback Thursdays!


Robert May’s bill of fare for the month of May:

A Bill of Fare for May.

1 Scotch Pottage or Skink.
2 Scotch collops of mutton
3 A Loin of Veal.
4 An oline, or a Pallat pye.
5 Three Capons, 1 larded.
6 Custards.

A Second Course.

1 Lamb.
2 A Tart Royal, or Quince Pye
3 A Gammon of Bacon Pie.
4 A Jole of Sturgeon.
5 Artichock Pie hot.
6 Bolonia Sausage.

To make a Tansie the best way.

Take twenty eggs, and take away five whites, strain them with a
quart of good thick sweet cream, and put to it grated nutmeg, a race
of ginger grated, as much cinamon beaten fine, and a penny white
loaf grated also, mix them all together with a little salt, then
stamp some green wheat with some tansie herbs, strain it into the
cream and eggs, and stir all together; then take a clean frying-pan,
and a quarter of a pound of butter, melt it, and put in the tansie,
and stir it continually over the fire with a slice, ladle, or
saucer, chop it, and break it as it thickens, and being well
incorporated put it out of the pan into a dish, and chop it very
fine; then make the frying pan very clean, and put in some more
butter, melt it, and fry it whole or in spoonfuls; being finely
fried on both sides, dish it up, and sprinkle it with rose-vinegar,
grape-verjuyce, elder-vinegar, couslip-vinegar, or the juyce of
three or four oranges, and strew on good store of fine sugar.


Take a little tansie, featherfew, parsley, and violets stamp and
strain them with eight or ten eggs and salt, fry them in sweet
butter, and serve them on a plate and dish with some sugar.

Tansy the best way is a whole lotta tansy…..but otherways, take 8 eggs, beat them;  a handful of parsley and put it in an old dishtowel and squeeze the juice out of it and add it to the eggs. Add some salt. Fry it up in butter. Slide it out onto a dish and flip it back in to cook both sides.

Sprinkle a little sugar on top and serve,either hot or at room temp.

17th century cooking ion a 21st century kitchen.

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Filed under Books, Influencers, The 17th century