Great homemade pizza!

I found a great new pizza dough recipe.

Usually my homemade pizza dough is low on flavor, so a master-bread-baker friend recommended using some sort of pre-ferment (discussion of different types). I found an online recipe linked in the preferment article. The author seemed to know what they were talking about and it turned out super well!

Mushroom, almost-caramelized onion goo, blue cheese, mozzarella, and olive oil. Soooo good! The middle was soft without soggy, and chewy. The crust was crisp (almost cracker-like. I rolled the dough a little too thin). The toppings were well-chosen, by sibling C.

Pizza dough

Poolish (preferment)

  • 100 g flour
  • 100 g/mL water
  • 0.3 g yeast


  • 250 g flour
  • 120 g/mL water
  • 8 g salt
  • 5 g yeast
  1. Mix poolish ingredients. Leave at room temp ~8 hours. If rising longer, can decrease yeast (0.2 g for 12 hour rise, 0.1 g for 16 hours).
  2. Mix poolish with dough ingredients. Knead (7 min with stand mixer, 10-15 min by hand).
  3. Divide dough into four portions and shape each into a ball. Oil and cover. Let rise 1 hour.
  4. Flour hands, work surface, and dough balls. Press each flat, and stretch or roll into a circle 10 in in diameter.
  5. Lightly top and bake 6 min at around 600°F.

If using a pizza stone (highly recommended), preheat the oven and stone 45 min before you baking the pizzas. The oven should be set to it’s highest temperature (around 550-600°F).

If you don’t have a pizza stone, I have a workaround that seems to work well.

Right before you want to bake the pizzas, when you start preheating the oven, heat a large cast iron skillet on the stove until very hot. Put it in the oven upside down. The thick bottom will act similarly to a pizza stone, but heating it on the stove is faster than heating in the oven.

Modelled after a Marshall Farm-to-Pizza flavor, this has tomato (turns out the liquid from canned diced tomatoes works well as a “sauce”), mushroom, Brussels sprout shreds, garlic, mozzarella, and spicy pepper. Officially it was supposed to have parmesan also, but we didn’t add that.

We made this on the recent very cold day. It was 24° in the afternoon and around 10° in the morning.

Last year’s birthday dinner!

For my (N’s) birthday last year, we ate at Claro, a Oaxacan restaurant in Brooklyn. I was originally interested in them because they make their own masa (and downstream products, like tortillas) from specially-sourced heirloom corn and use some amount of local produce and meat. They aren’t fully vegetarian (unlike For All Things Good) but do have a good selection and a fair amount of seafood.

J liked the idea of going to Claro because they have a Michelin star.

I don’t really remember what we got. One salad offered that we didn’t get had ground grasshoppers in the dressing.

Claro has custom handmade ceramics.
Mushroom memela (
Rice pudding — really good!
Mole cake (spiced chocolate cake) — really really good!

Everything was really good! We also got to sit in the restaurant’s nice backyard garden.

Sources of fancy masa

This is a partner post to the bean search. I discovered recently that fancy masa is available. It can be heirloom, direct-trade, single origin, organic, etc, all those normal fancy food options.

I was inspired to search for fancy masa after J and I went to a (vegetarian!) Oaxacan restaurant in Brooklyn that makes their own masa using fancy corn. They use the masa in their food products but they also sell it fresh (I got some). Going to Brooklyn all the time for fresh masa isn’t super convenient, though. Fortunately, the company, Masienda, that supplies the fancy restaurants also sells direct to consumers!

Somewhat sad tortillas I made with the fresh masa

While researching them, I came across a couple other fancy masa stores too. These are the options I found!

  • Masienda – dry masa in several colors, as well as several heirloom bean varieties and lots of varieties of heirloom/single origin whole corn. They have supplies for doing your own nixtamalization.
  • Alma Semillera – very similar to Masienda, but with smaller selection. Many if not all products are also organic, so overall a bit more expensive.
  • I Love Mole – even smaller selection of beans, masa harina, and whole corn. This company mostly sells mole mixes and other seasonings.

None of these companies is particularly local to me (in New York). I believe they’re all based in California, although most of the beans and corn are grown in Mexico.


These are the cookies used for making tiramisu. Sibling C is going to make it as a birthday cake!

This recipe is from Joy of Cooking (1976).


  • 1/3 cup cake flour (sift before measuring)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (sift before measuring)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 whole egg, 2 eggs separated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. (Optional) Let ingredients warm to room temperature.
  2. Whip 2 egg whites until stiff. Sift sugar and salt together, and fold into egg whites. Beat mixture until it thickens again.
  3. Beat whole egg, 2 egg yolks, and vanilla until thick. Fold into egg white mixture.
  4. Resift flour a few times and fold into egg white mixture.
  5. With a pastry tube (or spoon), shape dough into strips 3.5-4 inches long by 1.25 inches wide on a cookie sheet. Or pour into greased molds.
  6. Bake at 375°F for 12 min.

Mooncakes for the fall equinox

Friend A who I went to grad school with (also likes cheap/free food, has been climbing with us recently) gave us some mooncakes she made! :’) They were presumably for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which happens around the autumn equinox and is coming up! The days are definitely getting shorter.

The mookcakes are actually the “snow skin” version (recipe that Friend A used), which uses a mochi-esque wrapper. Apparently snow skin mooncakes are easier to make than the traditional baked kind, so a better choice for at-home creation.

The inside is coconut milk , sugar, cheese, and salted egg yolk, the middle layer is coconut milk, sugar, butter, flour, egg, and salted egg yolk, and the outside is rice flour with milk.

Bagel shop (I see many in our future)

Over the weekend, we visited Russ & Daughters, a famous and fairly old (1920, continuously run by the original family and at the original location) Jewish “appetizing store“, meaning that they sell things that go with bagels, along with bagels. We went right before Rosh Hashanah, so the main shop was super busy — 45 min just to go into the store to order! We went around the corner to their café location instead. The café also had more meal-food selection.

The busy original location.

We got blintzes (we’ve made them at home too), latkes, and a bagel with cream cheese, lox, onion, tomato, and capers.

Y’all know I don’t love bagels. This one was about standard. Kinda expensive ($16!!).
The latkes were better than expected. I think I like the soft ones better than the crunchy ones.
Bit too sweet overall, but blueberry jam was really good and tart! Must’ve had a lot of lemon in it.

Garden update!

I got a melon!!! I didn’t even see it until the other day.

Really tiny melon, maybe because the plant is dying (unknown cause). I’m not sure if it’s ripe — we will see!
The sweet potatoes are super vigorous. The bushiness is convenient for keeping wind-blown trash out. Unclear if I’ll be able to leave them in the ground over the winter. The mint, broccoli, and carrots are hanging on. The remaining kajari melon (care info) is doing well, but I’m not sure if it’s set fruit yet. The tatume squash is just starting to send out vines. I hope there’s enough warm weather left for it to make some squash.

I started the garden pretty late this year, so the plants didn’t have a super long growing season and had to deal with hot weather early on in their lives.

The late start might have also made bug threats worse. The radishes mostly succumbed to some small gray bugs. I was able to harvest three bottoms but the leaves had been sucked dry.

The fence needs some shoring up, especially at the curb. Cars aren’t very careful with their doors and the fence isn’t incredibly sturdy…

Cobbler with streusel

Modified from The Joy of Cooking (1973) “quick cherry crunch”. I made this to use up some really tart apricots and old peaches with a bad texture. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it, but it was really good!

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2-2/3 cup sugar (use the smaller amount if fruit is already quite sweet or has added sugar)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or other liquid oil
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • Some milk (I didn’t measure, maybe 1/3 cup?)
  • (Optional) 1 cup nuts (either soft/oily ones like walnuts and pecans, or thinly sliced if harder, like almonds)
  • 3-4 cups chopped fruit (use the smaller amount if fruit is quite sour)
  1. Mix all ingredients through baking powder. Split in half.
  2. Mix one half with the egg, milk, and nuts. Put in the bottom of baking dish (~9″ x 9″ x 2″).
  3. Add fruit. Top with other half of streusel mixture.
  4. Bake 35 min at 350°F.

The original recipe just put half the streusel below and half above the fruit, no milk, egg, or nuts added.


J and I saw several arepa stands at a street fair. They didn’t look amazingly high quality (at least one stand was just heating up pre-packaged arepas), so J took it as inspiration to make our own!

Arepas are Venezuelan and Colombian, mostly. We made the simplest variety, which is a cornmeal pancake cut in half and stuffed with mild cheese. The cornmeal has to be either pre-cooked (masarepa; the traditional way) or nixtamalized (masa harina; will be slightly less fluffy) to form a dough properly. You can’t just use regular old cornmeal, but instant polenta might work.

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 cups masarepa or masa harina
  • If using masa harina, some baking powder to add fluffiness
  1. Mix everything together. Let rest for 10 min. Dough should be moist and able to form balls without cracking, but not stick to your hands too much.
  2. Form into patties (standard thickness is 1/2 in). Deep fry, OR pan fry ~3 min on each side and then bake for 15 min.