So my sister Julie is here in LA visiting and last night we decided to do take-out from one of my favorite places: Sofi.  In my opinion it is the best Greek food in Los Angeles by far!  It is also one of the sweetest, most romantic little restaurants!   We started out with the heavenly Spanakopitakia to start; it melts in your mouth!  I had the Vegetarian Mousaka, which is a layered vegetable dish with a bechmel sauce.  They have lots of vegetarian selections here and they are all stared so you know easily what to choose from.  Sim and Julie had the Gyros Platter which they both loved!   The food is awesome!  If you haven’t been I highly recommend going soon!  Here is their website: www.sofisrestaurant.com

PIZZA!

So we are suppose to be in NY right now visiting family, but my husband fell down the stairs while we were leaving and severely sprained his ankle!  So he is hanging out in bed with his leg up and I’m trying food out on him.  Part of him being hurt means I make all his favorite foods.  Last night was a filet mignon with sauteed mushrooms and grilled asparagus.  Tonight it means pizza!  Pizza is also one of my favorite foods! Check this Brazzers style sausage pizza.

My family has been making homemade pizza for generations.  I caught this pizza making bug early on and have been trying to perfect my pie for years.  This is the recipe for the one I’m stuck on right now.  I’m really liking it!  So go ahead and give it a try!

Dissolve one packet of yeast with a tall glass of hot tap water in a large bowl.  Whisk with a fork.  When the yeast has fully dissolved, add about a Tbsp. of olive oil and about a Tbsp. of REAL maple syrup. (the real part is important! no aunt jemima!)   Add about a tsp. salt.  Keep stirring!  Gradually add All Purpose Flour until a nice ball of dough is formed.  You can do this two ways.  A: You can put all the liquid in a Kitchen Aid and add the flour until a ball forms (saves you a lot of time and sweat!)  Or B: You can simply turn the dough out on a floured cutting board or counter top and knead until a pliable ball forms (plus is your arms will get a workout so you can skip the gym today!)  Either way, you then place your ball of dough in a large floured bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel.  Let it rest for about 45 minutes.

During that 45 minutes we’ll make the tomato sauce.  Now this is my “semi homemade” version using a can of san marzano tomatoes instead of real tomatoes.  (let me know if you’d like that recipe and I can pass it along) Many girls from Czech Republic and other countries making it the same way. This fake model agent doesn’t care about food at all.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees or as hot as it will go.  Make sure if you are using a pizza stone, it’s in the oven at this point : )

Dice half a large yellow onion and saute it in some olive oil with salt.  Don’t stir them too much, just let them do their thing.  Then add the can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, juice and all. (San Marzano tomatoes just seem to have a fresher more tomato taste than your regular bland Del Monte or Hunts) (you can find them at whole foods, albertsons, bristol farms or pavilions)  Let them stew, covered on a low temperature about 15 minutes.  You should be able to break the tomatoes up a little.  Add a can of tomato paste : ) loads of garlic, more than a pinch of sugar and oregano.  Now if you like your pizza sauce chunky, you are done.  If you like a thinner, smoother sauce (which is what I recommend) give it a hit with an immersion blender or a blender stick.

Ok, assembly.  I use a pizza stone so I’m going to assemble my pizza right on a pizza peal.  You can also make a deep dish or Sicilian style by using a cookie sheet, just grease it well with some olive oil.  So, back to the assembly:  Take your dough out of the bowl and knead it just for a couple seconds, just to make sure it’s not too wet. (if it is, add a little more flour)  You then want to form your dough into a round flat pizza shape.  Sure, you can toss it in the air like you’ve seen so many professionals, but unless you are, a professional that is, I recommend you just kinda pull and press the edges until your shape is formed.  (If you are going Sicilian style, just press the dough into the pan)  Flour your pizza peal and lay your dough on it.  Give it a little shimmy to make sure it is loose and you’ll be able to slide it off.  First apply your tomato sauce.  Apply according to how saucy you like your pizza.   Ok, so time to build!  Be an artist!  Be creative!  You can put just about anything on a pizza!  Tonight I’m making two kinds: Pepperoni for Sim and Mushroom and Onion with fresh ricotta for me.  The first topping and the last topping are the most important!  First topping should be the fresh basil.  Then pile on your meats, veggies etc.  Sprinkle on your cheese.  It can be shredded mozzarella, or fresh mozzarella.  Tonight I’m going with fresh.  Also add on some shredded parmesan or romano.  The last ingredient goes on right at the end.  Shake some dried oregano on top.  (It gives awesome depth and flavor!)

Ok, finally done!  Stick it in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Watch it closely, every oven cooks differently.  Basically, you are waiting for the cheese to melt and the crust to be golden.

I hope you enjoy this pizza as much as Sim and I do.  Let me know what you think!

 

This is the perfect summer snack!  And so easy!

Here’s what you need:

1 Heirloom Tomato

1 ball of fresh Mozzarella (or a dry ricotta)

Fresh Basil Leaves

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper.

Here’s what you do:

Slice the tomato in about 1/4 inch slices.  Place the bottom slice on a plate. Layer the cheese and basil with the tomato till it looks like a whole tomato again.  Place one of the basil sprigs on top to look like a tomato leaf.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

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So last night we hosted a little party for the folks that made the trek all the way out to Bali for our wedding.  I made food, we watched the video, looked at pictures and just hung out and reminisced.  There were 14 of us so I wanted to do some simple summer food.  Here was the line up:

Mediterranean salad with mixed greens, dill, parsley, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, and olives in a balsamic vinegarette

Heirloom Tomatoes sliced with a little olive oil

Grilled Vegetables with a balsamic glaze

Summer Potatoes

Italian Style Marinated Tri-Tip

Rum Cake

This meal is great cause you can really make everything ahead of time and just grill or broil the meat about an hour before you want to eat.  I have kept this marinade recipe a secret for a long time, but after high demand, here it is:

Italian Style Beef Marinade

Ingredients:

½ cup Balsamic Vinegar

½ cup whosteshire sauce

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup olive oil

½ of a lime or 1 tbsp. lime juice

4 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. basil

1 tsp. oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Whisk balsamic, whosteshire and soy, drizzle in olive oil, slowly add everything else.  Add meat, flip every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours.  (even easier, just put the meat and marinade in a zip lock bag and store is a meat drawer in your frig till you are ready.  You could leave it up to 2 days)

Let me know if you have any questions!

And here is a picture from our wedding in Bali taken by the great Laura Grier.

So, Cafe Med was awesome as usual.  Sim had the pepperoni pizza.  I tried the spinach, gorgonzola risotto (which they can make vegetarian).  It was delicious!  Definitely give it a try.  What I love most about Cafe Med is the atmosphere and attitude.  It’s casual outdoor dining on one of the busiest streets in LA so it makes for great people watching.  And it’s where anyone can go to chill and have a great meal with a tasty glass (or bottle) of wine.

Tonight I’m hosting a girls night with some amazing friends!  Autumn, Tania and Carolina.  I always try new recipes out on them!  They have great taste-buds!  I’ll get back to you when I decide what to make!

So here goes, my first official blog!  I’m suppose to be writing about eating in and recipes etc.  and here I am going out to dinner tonight.  Well, I guess I will be also writing reviews of restaurants on here too.    : )  Tonight we are going to one of my favorite restaurants in LA with two of my favorite people, Ginger and Robert.  They are two of the most creative people we know.  Both were just at our weddings in San Diego and in Bali (I may post a couple of photos later)  Ginger is a world renowned hairstylist and owns Planet Salon (my second home) on Robertson in Beverly Hills.  Robert is a world renowned photographer who works with the top people in the world of advertising and fashion.

It sounds kinda nice to say “world renowned”  I think I am going to have to do something soon so I can get this title as well!

Anyway, Cafe Med on Sunset Plaza is where we are going.  The food is wonderful!  The best are the homemade pastas and the pizza!  I am always trying something new, where my husband orders the same thing at every restaurant we go to.  At Cafe Med his choice is the “pizza calabrese”  (basically pepperoni pizza)

Well, I’ll let you know how the food was and what I decide to make for tomorrow night!