We’ve been playing with cookies so much, I haven’t made time to talk about all the fun things we’ve been eating besides cookies-cakes-and-candies.  And there’s been plenty.  So much, in fact, that I’ve gained back five pounds.  Victor, on the other hand, has actually managed to drop a couple more. (Note to self:  Stop eating at work!)

I’m not going to worry about it or go crazy.  It’s Christmas.  I’ll be back on track after the first.  In the meantime, I shall enjoy life!

As we were getting ready to deliver cookies yesterday, our neighbor up the street rang the bell.  She asked if we wanted some lemons.  Her niece sends them up from her Florida garden and they just can’t use them fast enough.  Fresh-picked lemons?!?  You bet!  They’re beauties!  I have to think of something fun with them tomorrow…

Victor’s workload slows this time of year while mine goes crazy – so he’s cooked dinner the past couple of nights.

Last night was a chicken picatta with baked mashed potatoes with cheese and fried shallots.  Heavenly!

Very simple.  He cooked and mashed the potatoes, mixed in a bit of parmesan cheese and topped it with the fried shallots.  Into the oven for about 15 minutes.

The chicken was equally easy.  Egg-dipped and then floured chicken breast, fried in a  bit of olive oil.  When it was browned, he added white wine, lemon juice, and capers.  Delish!

Tonight, he made pizza!

This was a fun one because after he made the dough and it was rising, we lost our electricity!  Huge snowstorms, windstorms, monsoon rains… nothing.  Lights stay blazing.  Not a blip.  Perfectly clear day?!?  Electricity goes out.  Figures.

Fortunately, it was only out for about 90 minutes.  Dinner was saved!

The dough is from Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen.

L’Impasto per la Pizza

All sorts of people put all sorts of things into pizza dough. I want to give the recipe to you straight, as I had it in Naples–water, flour, yeast, and salt. This makes a soft but elastic dough that is easy to work with. Don’ be afraid to stretch the dough when you’re shaping it into pizza crusts: for something that feels so soft, it really is quite tough.

Yield: Makes enough dough for four 12-inch Margherita pizzas, two 8-inch square Sicilian pizzas, or fifteen 4-inch calzones


  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, and more as needed
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • Olive oil


Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a medium bowl and let stand until dissolved.

Toss the flour and salt together and stir into the dissolved yeast, using a wooden spoon or your fingers, until you have a stiff dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat all sides with oil, and cover with a damp cloth. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in volume, about 1½ hours.

Punch down the dough and, if necessary, divide into the number of portions called for in the recipe. Place the dough balls on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly against the dough. Refrigerate until the dough is roughly doubled in bulk. This can take from 12 to 24 hours. Punch down the dough and continue with the recipe.

I made hand-spun pizza for years and this is as close to the dough we used to make at Pirro’s that I’ve ever seen.  Flour water salt yeast oil.  It’s perfect.  And it really is tough in that you can really spin it!

Victor opted for the square pizza tonight.  He made the sauce with tomato sauce, tomato paste, a splash of red wine, garlic, and Italian herbs.  He topped it with slices of prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella and salami.  We had a couple of Cento Hot Pepper Shooters on the side.

Delish, again!

One more meal tomorrow and then we head north for Christmas.  Christmas Eve is the Seven Fish.

I’m psyched.