|They say that you eat with your eyes first. So vamp up the visuals by setting a beautiful table for your fabulous feast. With some simple strategies, you can take any tabletop from dull to decadent. Here are some of our favorite ways to doll up yourdécor. Choose one or two, or use them all together.
|A Piece on Pizza|
|If you don’t like pizza, there’s something wrong with you. It’s the perfect canvas for any culinary expression from savory to sweet, plus it’s cheap, quick, and easy to make yourself. No wonder Wolfgang Puck made a mint on it. It’s so versatile yet calls out to each of our inner child.
Ourfive year old son Lyric often talks about how nice a Pizza Tree would be and he loves to help me make the pizza dough. Lyric gets as excited as a puppy after its owner gets home when the timer goes off. Its truly like Pavlov.Here’s a simple, solid recipe that holds up well to variation. It will keep for up to three days, but if you know you won’t be using it for a while, freezes just as well. I make 3-6 dough balls at a time and that lasts about two weeks in our house, but we eat a LOT of pizza. Remember that it takes a day to rise properly.This recipe makes enough for one 16-18” pie.
11 ½ oz (by weight) all-purpose flour
6 ¼ oz warm (not hot) water
– Thoroughly mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
Serves 1-6 depending on your hunger level.
Mmmmmm…Bread. Who doesn’t drool over a toasty, crusty piece of delicious bread? It is cheap and versatile and can be put to use in so many different ways. Here are our 10 favorite things to do with a baquette:
- French toast!! In a shallow bowl whisk 3 eggs, ¼ cup of milk, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract and a dash of nutmeg. Dip slices of baguette into the mixture coating both sides thoroughly and remove allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place pieces into a hot buttered skillet, turning until both sides are beautifully brown- about 2 minutes on each side. Serve with butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit, whatever you want!
- Pizza…Cut baguette in half lengthwise and pull out some of the soft middle to make a little “boat”. Brush bottoms lightly with olive oil, spread a generous amount of tomato sauce on top of each piece of bread and cover with shredded cheese and your favorite pizza toppings. Place pizzas on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake in 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Bread Pudding. Ridiculously delicious no matter how you do it. You can make it sweet for dessert or breakfast or savory as a side dish for dinner. This is basically a baked version of French toast and the options are endless. Check out some recipes online at: http://www.epicurious.com.
- Chocolate bread. Seriously. Need we say more? Cut the baguette lengthwise and lay pieces of semisweet chocolate on top. Toast until the chocolate has melted and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a little sea salt. Warning: This is highly addictive.
- Paninis. Not as tricky as they’re made out to be. Simply grilled, pressed sandwiches and the baguette is perfect for it, you just have to turn it inside out. Slice the bread lengthwise and place your favorite sandwich meats and between the crusty outside pieces of bread. Melt butter in a large hot skillet and place the sandwiches, bready side down in the pan. Use another heavy pan or pot to weigh down the sandwich. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
- Bruschetta. There are literally a billion things you can do with this. Get creative. Slice bread into ¼ inch pieces and toast with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and toast until crispy. Cool and top with anything you like. Some of our favorites: mozzarella, tomato and basil (classic!); goat cheese, fig and balsamic; roasted eggplant, onions and peppers with hummus…the list could go on.
- Ever hear of panzanella? Well, now you have…it’s a delicious Italian bread salad and it easy and versatile. Cut bread into ¼ inch chunks and add tomato, cucumbers and onions. Dress with vinaigrette, salt and pepper. Done!
- Learn how toast was supposed to be. Cut off a piece of baguette and slice it in half. Spread with butter and toast in the toaster oven, regular oven, or on the grill. Simple.
- Make your own croutons. With day old baguette, cut into 1” squares and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper (for extra love add garlic, thyme, rosemary, parmesan, red pepper flakes, or any other tasty flavor). Place in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until crunchy and toasted. Add to salads and soups.
- Breadcrumbs. Cut stale bread into small chunks and get out the old food processor. Add a little salt and pepper, your favorite seasonings like thyme, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, etc…Whir quickly in the processor and there you have it. Homemade seasoned breadcrumbs. Keep in a Ziploc in the freezer until ready to use.