Tags: eggs, En Croute, Ham, Julia Child, Michel Richard, Peppers, Puff Pastry, Spinach, Torte Milanese, Tourte Milanese
Remember when I told you about the computer crash of 2010 where I lost almost everything? It was mainly tons of photos of some of the best goodies I’ve ever made, most of them pretty labor intensive. You see, I was on this roll from September 2010 to January 2011 – a fancy shmancy crazy roll. Once or twice a week I was creating showstopping sweet and savory dishes like they were going out of style and as luck would have it, getting some good clicks of them.
It was an amazing food blog run. I had about 7 posts lined up. The posts weren’t written, but the photos were ready – tucked in and snug as a bug in a rug in my photo program waiting until I was ready to write and post. Then..the crash.
Tags: Ballotine, Chicken Ballotine, Chicken Galantine, Deboning chicken, Jacques Pepin, Red Rice Stuffing, Stuffing
Before I say one word about this challenge, a warning. Vegetarians and vegans (In my best Melissa McCarthy impersonation) LOOK AWAY! LOOK AWAY!
Make No Bones About It!
Thanks to Renee from Don’t Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys (Awesome blog name). They’re not dead – just boneless. Created by Gary Larson
Tags: Ancho Peppers, apples, Brining Turkey, Butter Pecan, Hurricane Sandy, Recipe, Stuffed Turkey Breast, Stuffing, Thanksgiving, Turkey, Whole Boneless Turkey Breast
Damn, I thought Thanksgiving was the 29th because Thanksgiving is usually the last Thursday in November. Oh, boy, this is the trick of the trick or treat for real – the ultimate “Ha ha…you better get your ass in gear!” moment. I think Hurricane Sandy left me a little off-kilter, but I’ll get to that later.
You see, for this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge, which is all about brining meat and/or vegetables, then roasting, which I’m late to as usual, I decided to brine a whole turkey breast, then layer it with more flavors – like a compound butter rub, then stuff, roll, and tie it for a lovely Thanksgiving treat for those who don’t want to roast a whole turkey.
Tags: Asiago cheese, baking, broccoli rabe, Dough, garlic, mozzarella cheese, Prosciutto, provolobe cheese, rapini, Roasted red Peppers, stromboli, Yeast
One of my favorite sandwiches in the world is prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers or in Jersey Italian – prah-joot, mootz-ar-ell and peppuhs. When I was perusing through my assigned blog, Paulchen’s Blog?!, for this month’s Secret Recipe Club..I struckstromboli, and the first thing I thought of was how perfect one of my favorite sandwiches in the world would be wrapped up and baked as a stromboli. I kept wavering back and forth between the stromboli and these butterscotch brownies...because next to being a peanut butter freak..I’m a pretty heavy butterscotch user too.
In the end, I couldn’t stop thinking how melty and gooey would work well for this sandwich combination in a stromboli – so that was it, decision made. BUT, as I thought it over, I wanted more cheese, another cheese, like provolone and definitely something green and garlicky to cut into all that rich, gooey cheese. Oh, and why not top it with yet another cheese ? Asiago, perhaps? OK, now we’ve got three cheeses, roasted red peppers and prosciutto. What about the green stuff?
Yes, I’m taking you through my actual thought process at the time.
I pondered it for a bit and then it came to me..broccoli rabe aka rapini! The slightly bitter and earthy undertones would be ideal and cut the richness of the cheese..especially sauteed in a little garlic and oil. I added some hot chili flakes to give it a kick..but that’s optional, since some don’t like food that makes their tongue burn and nose sweat.
Now..I don’t want you to confuse broccoli rabe with broccoli, because they are nothing alike. Broccoli is related to the cabbage family. Broccoli rabe is related to the turnip family, and it’s a leafy green with buds that resemble tiny heads of broccoli..hence the name broccoli rabe. BUT, plain old garlicky broccoli also works well and is fantastic in this stromboli. So if you’d rather not charter unfamiliar green territory, substitute broccoli for the broccoli rabe.
If you get a chance, pop on over to Paulchen’s Blog?! and check out all of her delicious goodies! To see what my fellow Group A SRC members chose from their assigned blogs, click on the blue frog below to see the gallery of links.
I’m also submitting this stromboli to this month’s #TwelveLoaves theme – cheese, hosted by Lora of Cake Duchess, and Yeastspotting hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast. I’m also going to submit this to Shelley’s BBD #53 -Swirly breads.
One more thing. I couldn’t get a melty, drippy, gooey cheesy photo because it was way too hot to handle (the encapsulated heat burned my fingers when I tried) and I was by myself when I made and photographed it. BUT, you should have seen all the cheesy goo dripping with each slice when I first cut it open gently, on the cutting board (It was so hot, it hurt!). It was almost seductive, especially when it started to drip/stretch to the floor! Man, If I could have gotten a photo of that…..
Three Cheese Prosciutto, Roasted Red Pepper, Broccoli Rabe Stromboli
Dough from Ultimate Bread by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno via Paulchen’s Blog
1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups water
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 bunch of broccoli rabe washed and woody stems removed (If you don’t like broccoli rabe, use broccoli instead, blanching it first))
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
hot chili flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 or 3 large red bell peppers, roasted seeded, peeled - each one sliced flat, into 3 or 4 pieces, blotted dry
12 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
8 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
8 oz thinly sliced provolone cheese
Asiago or any Italian hard grating cheese
* If you don’t like broccoli rabe, use broccolini or just broccoli.
1. Make the dough. Sprinkle yeast into 1 cup of tepid water in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center and pour in dissolved yeast and the oil. Mix in flour from sides of well. Stir in reserved water, as needed, to form a soft, sticky dough.
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, silky, and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with clean kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
4. While dough is resting..roast your peppers and prepare the broccoli rabe. Cut the cleaned and trimmed bunch of broccoli rabe in half, then boil in two inches of salted water for about 3 to 4 minutes. Strain and drop into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Strain again and blot dry. Heat the tablespoon of olive in a saute pan. Add the minced garlic and saute until soft but not browned. Add broccoli rabe a little at a time until wilted. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, salt and pepper to taste and add your desired amount of hot chili flakes, if using. Remove the rabe from the pan to a plate to cool.
5. Punch down the risen dough and place it on a floured board. Cover and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes, to relax the gluten.
6. Roll the rested dough into a 14″ x 8″ rectangle. Cover with clean towel and let rest another 10 minutes.
7. Spread the mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, provolone cheese, and broccoli rabe evenly over dough, layer by layer in the order listed.
8. Roll up the dough, starting at one of the shorter sides, but without rolling too tightly. Seal well.
9. Place on oiled baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Use a skewer or knife to pierce several holes through the dough all the way down to the baking sheet. Brush loaf with olive oil, them top with peels of asiago cheese (or any hard Italian grating cheese you prefer).
10. Bake at 400 degrees F for about an hour until golden brown. Let rest a few minutes before slicing.
Now to Part 16 of Bad Boy First Love. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, Part Ten is HERE, Part 11 is HERE, Part 12 is HERE, Part 13A is HERE, Part 13B is HERE, Part 14A is HERE, Part 14B is HERE and Part 15 is HERE.
Nothing says I spent the night with my boyfriend more than walking through the door at 7:30 am, disheveled, when your parent’s know your flight landed on time the night before. Even though I was now considered an adult – the way they looked at me as they sat at the breakfast table with their coffee and the paper, still made me cringe like a 10-year old getting caught with one hand in the cookie jar before dinner.
I managed to spit out some BS before darting up to my room.
“We stopped at Dreamboat’s house so I could say hi to his family. I fell asleep on the couch.”
I heard their disbelieving “Uh Huh’s” as I made my way up the stairs. Welcome home!
We were inseparable for the 4 days I had before I had to leave again, but it would only be one month until winter break, so I decided to break off the undefined ‘thing’ I had with hockey guy when I got back to school. I’d have a little over two weeks with Dreamboat in 4 weeks..and my love for him was stronger than ever..I didn’t want anyone else – ever again.
Easier said than done. As I looked into hockey guy’s sweet face and warm brown eyes the night I got back, after he welcomed me with a bear hug and kiss..I felt kind of sad. I liked him, but I didn’t want to lead him on, but I was so sure I going to marry Dreamboat and I told him that. He looked a tad pissed, but also slightly amused.
“You’ve only been here three months, Lisa…and you’re a kid. Making a life decision like that now, with years of college to go, is a little premature, don’t ya think?”
It was then I realized I was slowly splitting into two people. When home with Dreamboat, I was a starry-eyed teenager. At college, I had already cracked the teenage eggshell and was chipping away at adulthood – one eye and a foot peeking through the jagged edges. With hockey guy there were no intense butterflies, no walking on air, but there was a more mature kind of excitement – the kind of excitement where you get lost in a conversation and then turn a little gooey.
BUT..I stood my ground. Within two weeks, I sort of regretted it. I was back to ‘college Lisa’, where I had the uncanny ability to put Dreamboat on hold because he did not exist in my college world. I couldn’t even imagine him visiting because he didn’t fit into this other part of my life. I likened it to a lone palm tree thriving on Commonwealth Avenue in January.
I couldn’t completely understand these feelings, but somehow they made sense somewhere in my naïve and somewhat cockeyed view of life at the time.
The pull between me and hockey guy wasn’t going away anytime soon, and there were a few moments and stolen kisses when we ran into each other at various places, but I tried hard to keep those to a minimum.
I spent the rest of my freshman year studying, partying, hanging with my new friends, and packing on another 7 lbs – finally surrendering to new clothes that would fit since I busted most of my zippers.
“Survival of the Fittest” What do you call the jeans in your closet without broken zippers, Alex?
It was the first time in my life clothes shopping was not fun.
When I arrived home for summer vacation, I was determined to whittle off the weight and spend as much time with Dreamboat as possible. He was no longer going to work on the pier because the job in North Jersey paid well, plus, at 21, he felt he had outgrown it. Naturally, I was happy about that.
I got a part-time job at a makeup boutique on the second floor of an upscale mall and I was floored when I was hired. A young woman, not much older than me, who was apparently given the authority to hire people, asked if I knew how to do makeup and if I had ‘done’ makeup before. Sure!! On myself and my friends! But, a simple ‘Yes’ nabbed me the job.
I was alone all the time..closing the boutique since I worked from 4 to 9 pm. It was the best job ever, especially since I had the whole day before work to spend at my friend’s pool. Barely anyone ever came up to the second floor because it was even more pricey than the first floor, so I talked on the phone to friends, lived on diet fudge soda, and avoided the escalator at all costs, taking the stairs constantly in my quest to drop that freshman weight. My own little mall gym.
The whole time I worked there, only two people asked for makeovers. Since I had no experience doing it professionally, I ended up doing their makeup like I did my own. Thank god it was only two women because anyone who came in was going to look like me if they wanted a makeover. One of them asked for eyeshadow, which I didn’t wear. Umm..ok.
I grabbed some pink, blue, brown and green eyeshadow – glopping large amounts of all four on each lid, then blended them all together with a brush, emulating what I’d seen real makeup artists do. There – eyeshadow. She really liked it. I think she looked like a clown. I refused to let her leave until I fixed it.
Those were the exciting nights.
After closing up..I’d push open the wide glass doors to the upper deck parking lot and there he was most nights..waiting in his car. We did a lot of fun things that summer, including a Springsteen concert..well sort of.a Springsteen concert
By that time, I’d dropped some of the weight, so I went shopping on a break and chose a pretty, pale pink, cotton sleeveless dress. Not the norm for a rock concert, but I was feeling great and was in the mood to dress up a little. Dreamboat told me I looked amazing …I blushed. The blush again. He could still make me blush and remained the only person who could do so.
Well, well, well.. much to my dismay, it turned out that Dreamboat and his friends didn’t have tickets to the concert. They planned to buy from scalpers. Springsteen playing in NJ? To many NJ natives, it’s almost a religious experience. Your chances of buying a ticket, even a seat way up in the heavens, for less than the price of a small island, were about as great as wrestling an alligator and winning with nary a scratch.
So..we hung out in the parking lot, listening to the music blasting from the arena.
Another night in a damn parking lot.
The girl I was a year before would have been fine with that simply because I was with him. The girl blossoming into adulthood, not so much.
I saw a door on the side of the arena open. I started walking toward it with a strange boost of confidence, not knowing where it led to, but knowing I had to walk through it. Dreamboat tried to stop me, but I ignored him, walking faster. He started following me, repeatedly asking where I was going, but I kept walking without a response, only reaching back to grab his hand and pull him along with me.
To this day I can’t explain the feeling, but it was like I was being led by something not of this earth.
I walked right through the door, past security, past a lot of VIP suits. Nobody inside that door said a word as I kept walking, the music now deafening. Dreamboat was uttering all kinds of shit, like “You’re crazy, baby!”, but his eyes proved otherwise when we walked through a large, dark entrance with neon lights and screaming people. right into one of the aisles of the floor seats. Soon we were in the 4th row, standing in front of exactly two empty seats and Bruce.
Dreamboat couldn’t stop hugging and kissing me, beaming, yelling in my ear that he could not believe I did that and how he was shocked that no one stopped us. At that moment, the roles were reversed – he was the starry-eyed kid and I was the confident adult. We got to enjoy the last hour of the show, eradicating the disappointment I felt when we first arrived and he told me neither he nor his friends had tickets.
I could have tried walking through that door 20 more times after that and I probably would have been stopped, but there was something magical and symbolic about that particular night The door was more than a pathway to Bruce Springsteen, it was a pathway to independence, leading for once, not following, and doing something I normally wouldn’t even think of doing.
When we got back to the parking lot, his friends were frantic, but not frantic enough to drop the amusing barbs..
“Where did youse two go? We thought Bruce kidnapped you!”
I loved listening to Dreamboat tell them what I did, his eye sparkling. He was proud of me. I couldn’t help thinking – wow, he’s proud of me, but what I did was sorta criminal, wasn’t it? I stole an hour of Bruce Springsteen. Then again, the security guards didn’t do their job, right?
That was the excuse I used to dilute any feelings of wrongdoing…not that I really cared.
Although I was still completely enamored with Dreamboat, I started to notice something that bugged me just a bit. I wanted conversation, conversation outside of lovey-dovey talk and trivial stuff, like..
“Sal bought me lunch today..nice guy. I had a hero with the works, it was awesome.”
So, I’d start stretching out the conversation just to have a conversation.
“Was there mortadella on it? Ham? Salami? What kind of cheese? Oil and vinegar or garlic aioli?” TELL ME ABOUT EVERY COLD CUT ON THAT DAMN SANDWICH!. Okay, I never requested the latter, but it’s what I was thinking.
After too many moments where I would start chattering excitedly about something I saw on the news, a book I was reading, or something relating to a class I took in college, being cut short with a response from him along the lines of..
“Really? Wow, that’s great, baby.”
“Sounds pretty cool”
“Oh, that’s too bad”
..I realized as much as I loved him, he just wasn’t a deep conversationalist. He wasn’t dumb by any stretch and in fact was extremely street smart, much more than many people I knew and know to this day, but the stuff I wanted to talk about just didn’t interest him.
To me, ur relationship had always been a deep red, flawless, shiny apple, but now there was slight nick in it., almost invisible to the naked eye, but it was there if you looked closely. When he’d brush my hair back, caress my cheek and start kissing me, that nick would disappear…for the time being.
No relationship is perfect and without nicks, they’d seem almost artificial, so I let it go and just accepted the fact that I’d never be discussing the congressional hearings on White Water or composers/books I loved, with him, like I could with most of my friends at school and….hockey guy.
Hockey guy. Hmmm. I wondered how his summer was going?
My luxurious job ended unceremoniously one Monday in early August, and this is where I digress a little.
I came to work and the place was already gutted. Since there were just three of us who worked separate shifts by ourselves and barely knew each other…the word that they were closing shop hadn’t been passed on to me. ”What the….”, I thought as I surveyed the almost empty store. The owner’s daughter – dressed to the nine’s with too much makeup, her light brown hair perfectly coiffed, and her husband a kind of nondescript looking guy, were there packing up the merchandise. She had a colossal amount of chutzpah and a major attitude.
“Oh, you must be one of three who works for us. Do me a favor and go down to the Chinese place in the food court and get us two orders of chicken lo mein..NO MSG, and two large cokes.” She said, waving a 10 dollar bill at me in a talon like grip.
Umm..no intro? No please? Did she even know my name? Well, I guess I was still her employee so I did what she asked, hating myself for kowtowing to her obnoxious demand.
They sat at what was once was the makeup counter..now just a section of the formerly U-shaped block of glass and steel, and ate while she continued to bark demands at me.
“Go in back and bring out the boxes I left by the bathroom.” She demanded, while shiving long, skinny worms of lo mein between her fuschia painted lips. ”Oh, and sweep the floor while you’re back there.”
Yes, your highness…rude bitch, rather
Her husband didn’t say a word. He seemed a little afraid of her. I figured he was castrated on their wedding day.
When I finished, I came back up front. She waved me over “Hey, I have your commission” HEY?? I couldn’t ignore that one.
“MY name is LISA” I said, trying not to raise my voice, or growl.
“OK, Lisa..whatever..here’s your commission.” She muttered dismissively.
She stuck the tip of a perfectly mauve lacquered nail on the edge of a five dollar bill, as if it was something repulsive, not worthy of touching her skin, and slid it toward me. It was wet. The bitch had spilled her soda on it.
Five bucks commission? Well, if they didn’t overcharge for their crap makeup, maybe some would have actually bought some of it, I thought as I took the bill and turned to leave. She didn’t deserve a thank you. She called me back with a condescending edge to her voice, as if to say “Hey, we’re not finished with you yet..we’re going to milk every drop of you as our employee, dry!”
“Help us carry some of this stuff out to the U-Haul we rented” she said, as she smoothed her overly sprayed hair with one hand to make sure there was not a strand out-of-place. I grabbed two bags and a box, walked to the U-Haul and threw them in. I was fuming. I heard her screechy voice as I walked to my car..
“If you want to use me as a reference for another job, call me!”
I didn’t have her number, she didn’t offer it, and I didn’t care.
That night Dreamboat was treated to a huge serving of rage and potty mouth as I told him the story, still angry and completely disgusted with myself for not telling her where to shove her wet 5 dollar bill. He stroked my hair as I rambled on, his head against the seat facing me, taking in all of my ire with a cute smile. He always enjoyed my feisty side. Suddenly his smile faded a bit and his eyes softened. I asked him what was wrong.
“My girl is all grown up.” he said softly.
I didn’t get it. I looked at him quizzically.
“I dunno..you talk different, you say what’s on your mind a lot..I guess college changed you a little.”
“Is that a bad thing?” I asked timidly
“Not at all, sweetheart..everyone has to grow up sometime.”
He pulled me to him and started kissing me to signal the end of that conversation. As usual, I was putty in his arms and my horrid day evaporated into thin air.
Now that I was no longer part of the work force and he had a week vacation coming up, he asked if I wanted to go down the shore. Of course I did, especially now that I’d lost the freshman 15 and then some. I was feeling pretty good and he knew it, since I allowed him to touch my stomach again.
We had his parent’s shore house to ourselves because his younger brother was staying with his girlfriend house a few blocks away since her parents were gone for a few weeks, and P also had a job back home and could only come down on weekends. His parents were visiting relatives in Maryland. No..it wasn’t perfect timing, he chose this particular week to take off because he knew the house would be empty.
Staying alone together at the house was thrilling at first, but within a few days it sort of felt like we were a little old married couple. We did a lot of ‘couple’ things with his friend Andy and his girlfriend, now his fiancé.
“I could get used to this” He said one evening as we snuggled in front of the TV after they left.
It was weird being able to spend all day and night with him down the shore. I’d never spent prime time hours walking the boardwalk or lazing on the beach for hours during the day with him. I found myself watching groups of girls a few years or less younger than me doing what I used to do with my friends – chattering away on a big beach blanket, or hurrying down the boardwalk at night, again chattering away, heading somewhere and extremely excited to get there.
I missed my friends being there with me. I wanted it to be like it used to be – as recently as one year earlier. I wanted that excitement of going to meet him or him coming to get me after work. I wanted to feel young again. I look back and laugh now – I was just about 19, but that week..I felt old.
We went to our special beach one night, instinctively reaching for each other’s hand as we walked toward and along the shoreline in the moonlight. We talked about the night we reconnected and my almost face plant that ripped up my knee. He pulled me into the water, knee deep, recreating that first passionate kiss after being apart a year. My whole body melted as it did on that very special night, but this time tears started running down my face mid kiss. I was going back to school in two weeks, and I was going to miss him terribly, but there was a very unfamiliar feeling pulsing against the heartbreak.
I was kind of excited to get back to school.
“It’s going to harder letting you go this time, baby” He whispered in between kisses, wiping my tears
“I know” I whispered back..and left it at that.
How could I love him so deeply but want to leave him? Even though this new feeling was small change compared to the sad range of emotions of leaving him again..it bothered me.
His brother, P, came down the following Friday. Saturday morning a car pulled up in front of Dreamboat’s shore house…beeping. I ran to the couch to peer out the window.
“Geeez,you’re like the freakin’ dogs, running to the window when someone’s outside.” I heard Dreamboat say as I kept my eye on the car..the car with a girl behind the wheel. There was an eerie silence behind me, so I looked back at them.
Dreamboat remained calm, but was looking at P – not taking his eyes off of him for even a second..a glare that screamed ‘do something..now!’. P didn’t say a word – they had brain waves going on, like me and my best friend had in all the years we were close. P jumped up and ran outside, almost in a panic. I watched him lean down to the window and say something to the girl, then watch her drive away, making sure she was gone before making his way back into the house.
“Who was that?” I asked Dreamboat while still watching P walk toward the house.
“Just a friend of P’s” he answered nonchalantly
“Oh..ok” I answered, not believing him completely. I saw ‘the look’ he gave P. I knew him too well. The truth is..I didn’t want to know, just like he wouldn’t want to know about hockey guy.
Ignorance was bliss in this case, and ‘knowing’ would make me sick to my stomach.
One night back in North Jersey, two days before I was leaving for school, we sat in his car silently, gazing at the Manhattan skyline. His eyes were glistening a little in the darkness. I reached over and rubbed my fingers around the side of one and felt wetness, most definitely tears. I hugged him, trying to love away those tears..but he pulled back a little.
“There’s something I need to tell you” he said “I wasn’t honest with you about something.”. His voice sounded weird, almost quivery, and it was the first time I’d ever heard him like that..and the first time he didn’t try to mask his tears.
NO NO NO, I thought..I don’t want to know!! I knew what he was going to say and I desperately wanted to plug my ears with cement.
“Don’t” I said, shooting warning daggers at him with my eyes although my voice belied that anger via choking up.
It was like he didn’t hear me..”That girl..the one that came by the shore house that day…”
NO! I tried to say it..but it wasn’t coming out. I guess I was going to have to hear it..it was too late.
“…when we worked on Tom’s house (his boss’s house down the shore) in early November..I took her out a few times..I knew her from the neighborhood, she lives there year round.”
I heard myself shouting..but everything was spilling out uncontrollably….”WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME?? I DON’T WANT TO KNOW..WE PROMISED EACH OTHER WE WOULDN’T TELL!!!”
The tears were now running down his face. He hugged me and pressed his cheek against mine – a half-assed or desperate plea for forgiveness, neither of which I could ascertain. His tears began soaking my cheek, rolling to my jawline. Hmmm..a change of pace for once. I guess I owed him a soak or ten.
“Baby..I hated lying to you when you asked. If you hadn’t asked, I never would have said anything.”
Now I was crying. I hated that he had given me this cross to bear. I had to think of him with another woman, and now I had to know more – I wanted details.
“Did you sleep with her? Did you see her more before I came home for the summer? Are you going to see her again? And then the most important question of all;
“DO YOU LOVE HER?”
Part 17 – the final part..coming soon.
Tags: Blue Potatoes, Chevre, Corn, cream cheese, goat cheese, mozzarella cheese, Peppers, Pizza, roasted garlic, sourdough pizza, three cheese pizza, Tomatoes, vegetarian pizza
Motivation. Got some you want to lend me? I promise I’ll take good care of it and return it to you in perfect condition.
I have lacked the M word for some time now, especially when it comes to cooking, baking, photo processing and writing – outside of my BBFL memory, which is therapeutic writing for me. Writing, cooking, baking and photographing pretty much sums up a food blog, huh? I’ve made promises to people and I’ve delayed and delayed and delayed them.
It all started with everything that went on from late February through May. It continued with the crazy heat, making me not want to turn on the oven or do anything outside of lounging with a jar of peanut butter or nutella, something to dip in it, and the remote control – the AC on POLAR ICE.
Not a pretty picture.
Well..I’ve been tackling these promises one by one – and today is one I was very much looking forward to until the proverbial sh*t hit the fan, or, in my case..the AC.
Early last March, my friends Shelley of C Mom Cook, Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood, started a sourdough challeng called Sourdough Surprises after loving this Daring Bakers challenge. With their new pets in their refrigerators, they decided to continue to create all sorts of treats using it – from sourdough bagels, to sourdough pretzels, ad infinitum. I wanted in, and I discussed it with Jenni and Shelley in a 2-hour-long conversation one lazy afternoon.
You remember Herbie, don’t you? Well..right before the first challenge, I killed him again. I put him in a turned off oven to sit after feeding him, because he needed a boost before I took out what I needed and refreshed that portion for the challenge.
I forgot he was in the oven. No need to get into details..you know what happened. Herbie was literally baked. So, I decided to birth another Herbie. The new Herbie died because he wasn’t yet strong enough to miss a meal or two, and I forgot the meal or two. It was actually 10 meals, but who’s counting?
I think I might be a serial killer *cue dramatic music, then stop it and zoom in on my face* – a sourdough serial killer.
Because I don’t have the motivation to build up another starter and frankly, am not a fit sourdough mommy at this time, I was given a half cup by a friend who’s had her sourdough starter going for 2 years. She named him Butch. A little refreshing and I was ready to turn Butch into pizza dough.
This months Sourdough Surprises challenge is pizza with a sourdough crust. I’m three days late. They’ve already moved on to pie for August, any kind of pie with a flaky, sourdough crust. If you want to join in the pizza dough challenge until the end of July, check it out and link it up HERE. To join in on the August pie challenge, click HERE for the instructions and the recipe.
Having said all that, I’m eating the rainbow again and will continue to do so as much as I can this summer. To sum up this pizza pie…I took advantage of the summer bounty of vegetables, plus blue potatoes ( I could only find baby blues this time) – which I adore, and created somewhat of a rainbow pizza on top of chevre with roasted garlic mashed in, and lots of fresh mooootz -ar- elll topped with some grated Grana Padano.
Three cheeses, roasted garlic..summer corn, basil and tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions and blue potatoes. Hot diggity! And, it’s vegetarian!
You can use any kind of pizza crust you want, but of course I used the sourdough crust recipe that they provided, which is lovely. You can see the sourdough pizza linky round-up, HERE..and again, if you make a sourdough crust pizza before the end of July..link it up!
Having said all that, I want to thank a sweetheart of a girl and a fantastic baker, Uru (aka Chocolate Chip Uru), of Go Bake Yourself for two lovely awards she gave me – The Illuminating Blog Award and the Addictive Blog Award! I’m very flattered! Thank you!
Finally, I prefer a thinner crust pizza in general, but I let this one do its bubbly, puffy crust thang because the dough tasted so unbelievably good. I wanted a thicker crust so I could enjoy more of it. You can roll it thinner if you prefer it that way, and yes, I really do taste dough for flavor before shaping and baking. Try it and you’ll see why.
Sourdough Three Cheese Roasted Garlic Summer Vegetable Pizza
Yield: 1 large, 2 medium or 3 baby pizzas
I batch Sourdough Pizza Crust or use any pizza dough you like.
6 ounces chevre or cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 head of garlic, roasted
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
mozzarella cheese..sliced, some shredded for topping (the amount depending on your stringy cheese preference)
Grated Grana Padano or Asiago or Parm Reggiano etc..-whatever Italian hard cheese you like
Summer Vegetable Topping
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or kept whole (I like the burst of small roasted tomatoes, so I kept them whole)
1 small or half a medium or large orange bell pepper,seeded, ribs removed, and diced
Kernels from one ear of corn
1 small or half a medium or large green bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed and diced
1/2 a red onion, or one small red onion, diced
about 1/4 lb (4 oz) blue potatoes, slightly steamed or boiled, peeled, and cubed
Torn fresh basil
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
NOTE – You will have leftover vegetables, especially if you make one large pizza. Either make more pizza dough or make a vinaigrette and enjoy this as a cold summer vegetable medley.
1. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the head into a bowl with the chevre or cream cheese. Mix together until somewhat smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside, covered.
2. Preheat a pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven at 500 degrees F for at least 20 minutes.
3. Combine all the prepared vegetables in a bowl, and drizzle with a little olive oil..seasoning well with salt and pepper. Toss well.
3. For one large pizza…press, roll, stretch and/or toss the dough to about a 12- 14 inch round. Place on a cornmeal or semolina coated pizza peel. Lay slices of mozzarella over it..covering all the dough within 1/2 inch of the rim. Spoon dollops of the roasted garlic cheese on top of the mozzarella cheese, then grab handfuls (with your impeccably clean and sterile hands) of the vegetables and scatter them evenly over the cheese.
5. Shred some of the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle it on top of the vegetables, along with the grana padano or any Italian hard cheese you prefer.
6. Quickly slide the pizza on the hot baking stone in one quick motion (it’s in the wrist), and shut the oven door. Bake for about 8 -10 minutes for a large pizza..6- 8 minutes for the mediums, and 5 – 6 minutes for the small pizzas.
Note – You can stretch the dough on and bake this pizza in a greased and cornmeal or semolina coated sheet pan, if you don’t have a pizza/bread stone. You just won’t get the uber, crispy, crust a stone gives you.
NOTE – If you prebake your crust for 5 minutes, like the sourdough crust recipe linked above recommends, spread the roasted garlic cheese on the crust, then top with the mozzarella and vegetables and finish baking.
Now to Part 14B (We’re closing in on the end – I swear!)) of Bad Boy First Love. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, Part Ten is HERE, Part 11 is HERE, Part 12 is HERE, Part 13A is HERE, Part 13B is HERE, Part 14A is HERE, and Part 14B is HERE.
Once he was satisfied that my hair was dry enough so I wouldn’t catch a pneumonia and die, he insisted I have some of the chicken soup he brought over.
He actually ran to the Chinese take-out down the street and made it there 10 minutes before they closed so he could bring me this soup. I was flattered and grateful. It was steaming hot heaven, and I could feel my stuffy nose and head clearing with each spoonful. He put the flower in a cup of water and smiled at me.
I can still hear his accent clearly.
“I picked it out of the dorm courtyahd. Nowhere to get flowahs this time of night”
I thanked him for being so sweet and considerate.
There was no living room or couch, so we could either sit at the kitchen table and talk, or watch TV in my bedroom, but that would entail lying in bed together. So, I’d be in bed with hockey guy if that was the choice I made. I decided to keep it platonic at the kitchen table. We talked until I could barely hold my head up. I was exhausted again and I needed to lie down. Looks like I was getting in bed with the hockey player after all.
I pulled my pillows and blankets down from my top bunk, laying them over my roommate’s bedding so we could watch TV. You could barely see the TV from the top bunk.
He was a gentleman, lying next to me with his hands behind his head, while I struggled to get comfortable in such a small space without touching him, eventually ending up with the pillows propped up a little and my hands clasped and resting on my stomach. Remember, this was a bunk bed, sit up any further and you knock your head against the upper bunk.
Awkward and SO uncomfortable.
We channel surfed until we found this hokey late night movie with William Shatner in it on a network channel. We ended up laughing our asses off because the acting was so bad and soon I was sobbing, but tears of laughter, not my usual and way too frequent, sad tears. I was enjoying his sense of humor immensely.
Before I knew it..we were so comfortable we were touching elbows, then I accidentally jabbed him in the ribs with that elbow during one scene where he made a remark so funny I couldn’t help it while I laughed – an elbow jerk reaction. I’m a natural ‘touchy-feely’ person when I’m interacting with people I like, and it tends to get misconstrued if it’s a man. He gently jabbed me back. Within moments, we were play wrestling, laughing hysterically.
He finally pinned me, holding my wrists down, my arms over my head, looking down at me with a victory smile. The laughter soon started to peter off and his face became more serious while he looked into my eyes. I knew what was coming, and I knew I wasn’t going to stop it.
He leaned down and kissed me softly, runny nose and all. I told him he was going to catch my cold.
“I don’t care, it’ll be worth it” he said
Now, let’s stop here for a moment. How can any girl resist a response like that? 1-2-3….Awwww.
He smiled, then kissed me again, a little longer this time. Soon, a little passion was meshing nicely with the softness.
His kisses didn’t do to me what Dreamboat’s did, the melting factor on low, but it was nice. There were very few butterflies and no JELL_O legs, but, again, it was nice, really nice. The more we kissed, the nicer it got, and soon I was very caught up in all of the niceness. It was so strange and unfamiliar running my fingers through his super thick, coarse, dark curly hair…Dreamboat’s hair was straight, thick and silky.
Although his body was athletic perfection, it kind of hurt and I think one of his biceps left a bruise. I like a little give on a guy, you know, an inch to pinch. and there was not an inch to spare anywhere. I couldn’t really snuggle into him completely because it was like trying to snuggle the Rock of Gibraltar at certain angles.
After one man for 3 years - a new body, new hair, new lips, new smell, etc…was incredibly surreal, and, uhh, one more time – kind of nice.
After 15 minutes of kissing, a loud voice interrupted us. I turned my head to see thighs, a girl’s thighs. My bunk mate was back.
“What are you two up to?” she asked, sass oozing from her voice.
I gave her a goofy, embarrassed smile ”Nothing, how about you?”
Hockey guy rolled off of me and sat up..also with a goofy smile.
“I better get going,” he said, taking my hand in his and pulling me up He wanted me to walk him to the door. We stood and kissed a little more, and although he bent down a little, I still had to stand on my tippy-toes a bit since he was about 6’2″. Dreamboat was about 5’11″, perfect to my almost 5’7″.
It was cute how he couldn’t stop smiling as he backed away before he turned and left for good.
When I got back to the room, my bunk mate couldn’t contain her wicked smile..
“I knew you two would hook up” she said, with a touch of humor and possibly, sarcasm.
I sighed..I still wasn’t sure how I felt. ”I didn’t.” I responded. I was hoping I wouldn’t would have been a more truthful response.
I pulled my bedding off her bunk, threw it up on mine and climbed up. I was suddenly more exhausted than ever.
I didn’t replay his kisses in my head over and over like I always did with Dreamboat’s kisses, BUT, again..there was something there, I just couldn’t figure out the depth of it. If I had never met and fell in love with Dreamboat, I probably would have fallen for this guy already.
I wish I had been able to take photos of this pizza straight out of the oven so you could see all the molten,gooey cheese dripping, but I couldn’t, so here’s a snippet of formerly molten, gooey cheese.
He called the next day to see how I was. He wanted to do something if I was feeling better. I begged off, although, deep down in the dark and mushy recesses of my now scattered brain, I really wanted to. Even though Dreamboat and I had an ‘unspoken’ thing where we really couldn’t ask each other not to date anyone since we’d be apart for long blocks of time, I didn’t feel good about it.
I couldn’t believe I was the one who probably did it first. I had been absolutely, 100% sure I wouldn’t be able to do it at all.
After that weekend, he would still come by my bench on his way to practice and I’d walk with him to the arena. He knew I still loved Dreamboat and seemed happy with the teeny tiny piece of my heart I was willing to give him..maybe one valve at most. In time he was putting his arm around me as we walked, not reciprocated…or holding my hand – well, the two of my fingers I let him hold.
I stopped resisting after a while because the physical contact felt good, and just as I fretted, but expected, I was soon known as his girl. I’d try to convince everyone, most importantly myself, that we were more friends than boyfriend and girlfriend, but no one was buying it. Then the pecks goodbye when I left him at the arena made my insistence that we were ‘just friends’, sound ridiculous. I didn’t know what the hell it was, I couldn’t put a label on it no matter how hard I tried. I was completely flummoxed.
I started counting down the days to Thanksgiving. I had to get home to Dreamboat. I still ached for him, though not as fiercely as before, and I knew it was because of this little thing I couldn’t quite define with hockey guy. He was essentially waiting for me – circling like a vulture, expecting our relationship to die so he could move into the cavernous part of my heart – currently occupied by Dreamboat, rent-free. Remember, according to the experts, ..those relationships never last.
I started meeting him after practice two or three times a week. We’d go to dinner together to dine with his or my friends or just back to his dorm/apartment to eat and watch TV. This had all the makings a full-blown relationship, but a lot of the time, I felt like I was just going through the motions. Sometimes I was a walking, talking shell of myself..possibly faking it, trying to fill the space where Dreamboat lived, since it was temporarily vacated. With Dreamboat, every sense was always alive, hot and kicking, I never had a shell moment with him, not even once.
The only time I felt anything remotely close to what I felt with Dreamboat was at the hockey games. Watching him speed skate across the ice with the puck, especially when he shot it for a goal, was kind of sexy. Watching him body check an opposing player against the plexiglass, made me gasp a little – with delight.
It was confirmed, I was a FREAK. Anything tough or ‘bad’ about a guy, especially a good boy in this case – and BOOM, goosebumps and butterflies.
After one game against a rival school, in which he shot the winning goal with 2 seconds to go in the 3rd period, he looked for me as the team skated off the ice - then motioned me over so he could give me the puck. It was like a freakin’ scene in a feel good ending to a movie. Those rarely happen, but when they do, it’s kind of fun to be in the role.
He showed me around Boston one Indian summer Sunday, and speaking of movies, it was like one of those montages you see in movies – signifying the two lead characters are or might be heading towards coupledom Cue upbeat, background music.
Here we are eating ice cream cones at Fanueil Hall. I brush my ice cream against his nose, leaving a blob while I laugh maniacally!
Here we are walking hand-in-hand (well.his hand holding two of my fingers – I still couldn’t commit fully to serious hand holding) looking up at The Old North Church!
Here we are on a swan boat in the Boston Common!
Here we are at the Waterfront – watching the sunset!
…and here we are sharing a big pot of zuppa di pesce at his favorite restaurant in the North End!
This thing we had was too movie perfect, therefore somewhat artificial to me. He was trying too hard, but once again..I kind of liked it, though not quite enough to give up another valve….yet.
I was starting to feel more and more guilty every time I told him I still loved Dreamboat, when we discussed it, but I did and that’s just the way it was – I never misled him. I didn’t know what was going to happen when I saw Dreamboat for the first time after 12 weeks of being apart, but the deep love was still there, firmly implanted and waiting to be watered.
Thanksgiving break came pretty quick once I started spending more time with hockey guy. It was a brightly lit doorway to god knows what, but I was soon going to find out. I had booked the last flight out the evening after my last class, weeks before. I didn’t want to wait until the next day. I couldn’t wait until the next day.
Dreamboat was picking me up at the airport. As the plane touched down on the runway, I felt myself trembling like a skittish Chihauhau (Yo quiero, Dreamboat). I didn’t know if it was all due to the excitement of seeing him again or a little part of me was afraid he’d know I was with another man just by looking at me. I can never hide my feelings or emotions, no matter how hard I try. My eyes are like a marquee, announcing them to whomever I’m with, in big, black, bold letters.
I made my way through the tunnel and gate..walking slowly into the terminal. As always, there were limo drivers holding large white cards with the names of people they were there to pick up. My eyes quickly scanned each card – a habit, almost expecting to see Dreamboat holding one that read..
The needy bitch who couldn’t make it three months without another man.
I cringed at the thought – then looked around the terminal while walking up a slight incline. I took a deep breath, feeling the zipper on my jeans strain. I’d already gained 7 lbs of the infamous Freshman 15. This worried me too – of course he would notice. I silently cursed the late-night Domino’s deliveries and candy machine hauls I hungrily and happily took part in when spending the night at my freshman dorm – not to mention always going for seconds at the dining halls.
The food was really good. The help yourself soft-serve ice cream and cone machines, with dips and toppings, even better. We would occasionally see who could pump out the tallest swirl into their cone without it tipping over. I won a lot of those and devoured every inch of my trophy.
Suddenly he appeared in my line of vision. He was sitting on a wide ledge against the long windows where you can watch the planes take off, one leg up, one arm hanging casually over one knee. He spotted me and smiled.
My legs turned to jello..I was 15 years-old again.
I walked slowly toward him, gripping my carry-on as if it was a child’s chubby, little hand..occasionally looking down in almost shame because of hockey guy. I didn’t want him to see my eyes – like I said, they were a dead giveaway. He hopped off the ledge and I heard him say “Baby” as he reached for me – genuine love and happiness in his beautiful blue eyes taking my breath away, although my now too tight jeans might have played a part in that.
I never thought I’d be one of those people who dropped whatever they were holding and ran into the arms of their significant others at airports.
But I did just that. It just happened without thought.
I felt him lift me as I wrapped my arms around his neck..burying my face in it, breathing him in. Tears started streaming down my face – my second run-in with happy tears.
My zipper popped and broke. I didn’t care.
We stayed like that for what seemed like an eternity, or at least as long as it takes to feel your broken zipper break more. Whispers of “I missed you so much” and other corny sentiments that would make most of you hit the X in the upper right hand corner, were peppered throughout this incredible embrace. He pulled back and kissed me softly. I shivered and felt tingly..and there they were, all at once, the elusive goosebumps, butterflies and JELL-O legs.
Taking my hands, he stood back and looked at me while I looked back at him coquettishly. I had almost forgotten how beautiful he was in person. Photos just don’t cut it after a while.
I bashfully told him about my zipper breaking because of my weight gain. He smiled and said..
“More Lisa to love.”
Good answer. I couldn’t wait to be alone with him.
He picked up my carry-on…stuffed to the gills so I wouldn’t have to check any luggage. He let out a weight lifter’s grunt and then laughed as he lifted it.
“What’s in here, sweetheart? Rocks?” he jokingly asked as he continued to razz me about it.
I was giddy as I self-consciously pulled my shirt out of the waistband of my jeans and over my new muffin top and broken zipper.
“No, just shoes and clothes, baby” I squeaked. I was squeaking again..like that intoxicated 15-year old from almost four summers ago. He wrapped his arm around my shoulder, pulling me close to him..and off we went. I couldn’t help thinking how perfect we fit as I snaked my arm around his waist.
After he put my bag in the trunk and got into the car – within seconds we were kissing. I hadn’t felt this in 3 months, but it was all too familiar. I left the earth..I was completely lost in his kisses. I wanted to crawl inside of him and stay there forever.
The weight of passion a kiss from Dreamboat carried was akin to a herd of elephants to me. I couldn’t get enough of this man. Our fingers were tangled in each other’s hair in an almost ruffian way..and we barely came up for air. I remember his breath tasted like cinnamon that night – he always had great breath. It was a good thing the console with the stick shift was between us. I could only imagine what people walking by his car to their cars, were thinking…Get a room was probably in the top 3.
Hockey guy was already evanescent…our undefined ‘thing’ turning into a distant memory even though I had just said goodbye to him hours before.
We must have kissed for a half an hour before we sat back breathless…just looking into each other’s eyes, our heads resting against the top of the seats. Even though it was almost midnight..I whispered..
“Don’t take me home yet.”
“I had no plans to” he responded, sitting up and turning the key in the ignition.
…those relationships never last?? Ha! I beg to differ. I couldn’t imagine anyone ever making me feel like I was melting just by looking at me, nor could I imagine ever loving and wanting anyone this much. NO WAY, no how - never. We were predestined..he was my soulmate.
Part 16 coming soon.