Friday, April 30, 2010

Pizza night, the small version

So we were lucky enough to be connected in with a monthly pizza circle in Richmond recently, and I had the chance to see some truly creative work happening with the pies. Though there were no other kids around, it proved a delightfully kid-friendly event for Buttercup, too. Good times.

Fast-forward a few days to Thursday, a night we'd sworn to go swimming after missing the past few days. Pool night means a good bit of relaxation, but it also means eating later than usual. (We've tried going to Mekong after swimming a couple times, and while it is delicious, the night can sometimes be a bit too indulgent.) In any case, we've lately come to three parameters for dinners: 1. Get dinner ready so we can eat together; 2. Eat before the kid gets too tired and/or cranky; 3. Use what we have so we do a better job of staying within the budget.

L suggested pizza. She could thaw the TJ's dough in the freezer. At ninety-nine cents a pop, Trader Joe's fresh dough is a lifesaver — high quality and easy to use. To make life for later even easier, she divided the dough into two smaller pies and pre-baked the crust.

We got back from swimming just after 8 p.m. and raided the fridge. The kid wanted pepperoni and olives. A good quality salumi was a good pepperoni substitute. Add marinara, some grated mozzarella, some feta and a few kalamata olives, and the kid's pie was ready to go. Ten minutes in the oven, and it was finished. Ours was more of a hodge-podge: the last of the artichokes and roasted peppers, some leftover fresh sage, marinara, blue cheese and mozzarella, olives, and some crushed chili. And this is what the hodge-podge looked like:

Delicious. Cheap. And it was all a matter of what we had in the fridge. What a perfect cheapicurean moment.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Continuing the evolution

A few little items of business...

  • Based on my last few posts, you may have deduced that beer-blogging will be returning here. Apparently, besides a general passion for tasting new beers, my refrigerator is an indication that I am also beginning to accumulate and collect interesting beers. Stay tuned for more on this.

  • Recent changes in life and budget priorities mean that I will be looking very closely at what we are eating and what we are spending. This probably means fewer restaurant meals — not necessarily a great loss — and more creative ways of making amazing (and cost-effective) meals at home. We have also begun to make more aggressive efforts to plan meals ahead. This week's specials: Taco Night and Bamboo Stir-fry Night.

  • Banana was informed last night that she'll be helping cook from time to time. We're all looking forward to this, and I'm quietly thinking about the challenge when she is asked to prepare a whole meal for the three of us.

  • Reilly has retired to Ohio. He is quite happy about this as it means he gets more attention and more walks on the golf courses and in the woods. We are sad to miss our greeter — and I keep reminding myself when food drops that there is no longer a dog to help clean it up.

  • If all goes well, we will be moving to a new house soon with a much-upgraded kitchen. Please keep your fingers crossed that all goes well.

  • Before the move to said-house, there will also be a trip to Italy. Prepare for profuse food blogging before, during, and after.

  • Lastly, I'm still playing with the question of whether to rename the whole venture to better reflect the direction this is taking and maybe free me up to start another for writing and photography...

Stay tuned for more, longer, and better posts soon.