My room is comfortably small with rubber lining the walls

and there's someone always calling my name

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My good friend Colin is staying with me for a few days so he can interview for jobs in the vicinity, and today happens to be his birthday. I was overjoyed to have a houseguest I could cook for, since Colin will eat literally anything that's placed in front of him (and cooking for just one tends to be depressing).

First I made shiitake and portobello mushroom pizza with fresh thyme and tons of garlic. I made the dough from scratch and used alfredo sauce as a base instead of tomato sauce.

I offered to make Colin's favorite dessert to round out his birthday dinner.  He surprised me when he told me it was bread pudding.  I've never attempted to make bread pudding, and I think I've only eaten it a handful of times, but I'm generally up for a challenge.  I made bread pudding with croissants, dark chocolate and sour cherries.

I didn't expect it to come out as nearly as beautiful as it did.  Here's a closer look:

I finished it off with warm white chocolate sauce and homemade whipped cream

Colin ran away when I tried to take a picture of him enjoying his birthday dinner, so I don't have any action shots of the food being appreciated, but suffice it to say that the two of us polished off the pizza and devoured half the pan of pudding. 

I wish I had an excuse to cook more often.

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*drool* Recipes, please! The bread pudding looks delicious. So does the pizza...

Are you happy with your pizza dough recipe? If so, please to share? I usually cheat and buy store dough (I particularly like the Trader Joe's dough) because making it is more time consuming and I haven't been happy with the results when I've made it from scratch, the recipes I've found tend to be more on the crispy rather than chewy side and being a raised in NYC gal, I'm a big fan of good chewy pizza dough.

(hmm, I need a foody icon)

I used this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pizza-and-Flatbread-Dough-235704

I also prefer chewy crust, and I think the trick is to pre-bake the crust. I roll it out, brush it all over with olive oil, and bake it completely. I also fully cook all of the ingredients (the mushrooms on my pizza were completely reduced with some sherry prior to being applied to the pizza). I let the crust cool a little bit, assemble the pizza, and pop it back in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt, which is usually less than 5 minutes. Pre-cooking the toppings keeps the crust from getting soggy and I think the olive oil gives it a chewy texture.

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