Newsletter No. 011
I’d like to start off by thanking everyone who has encouraged me to keep this newsletter going. Right now, despite the almost 90 degree weather all week, I’m very excited for plaid, crispy leaves, bonfires, and apple cider. The transition into a new season always brings me creativity and inspiration. This time last year we were planning our trip to Hudson Valley. It’s a great place to spend a fall weekend and I’m working on a travel guide. Look out for that soon.
Cavern Moss Flame
The mossy, piney scent of the Cavern Moss Flame candle by Prospector Co. is the perfect pairing with crisp fall air. The smell reminds me of an old bookstore crossed with a forest and creates an atmosphere that’s divinely cozy. It’s great for staying in with a classic novel and a light Malbec. Prospector Co. makes men’s grooming products (like skincare and beard stuff). They also offer a small selection of candles in addition to Cavern Moss Flame that I’m anxious to try.
The Handmaid’s Tale
This time of year I always want to start re-watching Gilmore girls for the billionth time but I’ve been resisting. Right now I’m about to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I honestly cannot believe I haven’t read it already because it’s been on my list for years. I read the introduction today and I can’t wait to jump into the story and I know I’ll be hooked once I start. And of course afterwards I’ll binge the Emmy-winning Hulu series.
Kitchen Scrap Flatbread (Makes one half-sheet pan)
One of my favorite things to do when I don’t really feeling like shopping is to cobble together a flatbread by throwing whatever vegetables I have leftover in my refrigerator onto my go-to pizza dough recipe. I feel so accomplished re-purposing things in the kitchen as I work towards my goal of zero-waste cooking. I usually start my flatbread with an herb-onion crust and top with very thinly sliced vegetables (a mandolin would be perfect for this – I just use a knife). I’ve used mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, green pepper, tomato – whatever. Cheese is optional, it’s good without it, but I usually add a light amount of fresh mozzarella. I just want the flavor but I’m not looking for something that I’d describe as cheesy. Any cheese is really fine because for me the point of this is to use up what I have laying around.
Making the dough is pretty simple but it has to be started about two hours ahead of mealtime. Another option is to just buy pizza dough. Trader Joe’s sells 1 lb for $1.19. Most pizza shops will also sell off a hunk. I find myself making it because I always have the ingredients on hand.
Dough (adapted from Chuck Williams)
2 ¾ c flour
1 c warm water
1 tbl yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbl olive oil
thinly sliced onion
any thinly sliced vegetables
3 oz cheese (optional)
Start by making the dough. In small bowl combine the water with the yeast, stir and let stand until bubbles appear on the top (about 5 minutes). In a large bowl sift the flour and salt. Make a well and slowly stir in the water and yeast mixture. Add a little olive oil. Stir until a dough forms. Scrape the dough onto a floured surface and kneed it for about 10 minutes until the dough is very smooth. I have found that it’s better to just do this by hand and forgo the Kitchenaid dough hook.
Return the dough to the bowl, brush with olive oil, cover and let it proof for at least 1 hour. On a hot day like today I let it sit outside. While the dough is proofing thinly slice up the vegetables. One of my favorite combinations is red onion, tomato, zucchini and mushroom. It’s really important to make sure everything is thin because otherwise the flat bread will be too watery. This is probably a good time to start pre-heating the oven to 425 degrees.
Once the dough has doubled in size roll it out to desired thickness and transfer into a half-sheet pan. Bush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with dried herbs, sea salt, and thinly sliced onion. Layer on the rest of the sliced vegetables. Top the flat bread with cheese and bake for about 18 minutes.