Saturday, September 7, 2013

Watermelon Lemonade Cocktail

As the summer fades to a close, this cocktail is the perfect celebration of everything you have enjoyed these last few months.  The sweet and nostalgic taste of the watermelon pairs perfectly with the tangy lemonade, add a splash of vodka and you have a perfect and easy cocktail to serve at your end of summer party (the "mocktail" version isn't half-bad either!).  The store-bought lemonade makes this cocktail even better because of how quickly you can throw it together.  Use whatever organic lemonade you prefer.  Also we had a yellow watermelon hence the color, I think if you used a traditional melon it would turn out more pink.  Cheers!

Makes 4 cocktails

1 mini-watermelon cut into 2 cups of watermelon cubes
2 cups of Newman's Own Lemonade
1 shot of vodka per drink

1. Combine watermelon chunks and lemonade in a blender and puree until smooth (about 1 minute).
2. Let sit on the counter for 2 minutes
3. Pour into chilled martini glasses and top with vodka if serving.  Enjoy immediately.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fava Bean Pesto

I realize this is a glamor shot of pesto in a tupperware but I ate my dinner too fast and couldn't get a decent picture of this amazing pesto.  This should be a good sign if you think about it, a pesto so delicious and versatile (hello turkey sandwich!) that I instantly forgot about you.  This could also be used as a dip for veggies, on pita bread sandwiches or tossed with pasta.  It's just simply that awesome.


1 lb fava beans
8 basil leaves
1 small clove garlic
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of salt

1. To prepare the fava beans, you have to get the pods out of the larger bean.  Use a knife and carefully cut a slit in the larger bean and use your fingers to dig out the pods.  Think of it as a very large snap pea.
2. Heat a small pot of boiling water.  When boiling dump the fava beans into the water and cook five minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and let cool.
4. Now you have to remove the green fava from the outer white "shell".  Pinching one corning of the bean while squeezing from the other side seems to work best.  By the end of the pound, you will have found your method.
5. Combine all remaining ingredients with the fava beans in a small food puree system.  Blend until well combined, about 2-3 minutes.
6. Serve immediately.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Arugula with Strawberries, Basil and Goat Cheese

This salad is so perfectly balanced with sweet, salt and spice that it can stand alone as a main dish (at least for lunch).  Before all the strawberries and fresh basil are gone this summer, please promise yourself to make this at least once.  It can even be easily assembled at work if you want to bring it for a tasty and fresh lunch.

Ingredients (makes one salad)

2 handfuls arugula
5-6 strawberries, stems trimmed off
8 basil leaves
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Arrange arugula and basil leaves on a plate.
2. Top with trimmed strawberries
3. Combine goat cheese, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small tupperware or dish and stir to combine before dressing the salad.
4. Dress the salad and serve immediately!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Homemade Ginger Syrup + A Vodka Ginger cocktail

For a while now we have been making cocktails with ginger liqueur that retails for about $35 in our state.  Determined to find a better solution, I started making my own ginger simple syrup.  It still gives the same flavor as the liqueur but at a fraction of the cost.  It is non-alcoholic, so if you are having a party and there are little ones around, if you add it to club soda and add a splash of lemonade, you have yourself a handy mocktail.  We couldn't think of a name for this drink, if anyone  has a great idea, please let us know!

Ginger Syrup (adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 cups chopped ginger (don't forget to peel it first)

1. Combine sugar and water in a sauce pan on the stove.  Stir together and heat over medium heat until the sugar is well combined into the water and it is at a nice simmer.
2. Turn off the heat and add the ginger pieces
3. After 30 minutes, strain the ginger out of the liquid mix and add the liquid to an airtight container (we used an old Bon Mamon jam jar).
4. This will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Vodka Ginger Cocktail

Ingredients (makes one drink)

2 oz vodka
1/2 oz ginger syrup
3/4 oz Lillet blanc

1. Combine all components in a a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake well for about 15 seconds.  Pour into a chilled martini glass.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Strawberry Lime Popsicles

I recently waxed poetic about my nutribullet blender and I'm happy to announce it can make things better than smoothies.  It can make popsicles!  Putting these together was a fun experiment.  The only thing stopping me from adding a splash of tequila to the mixture and calling them strawberry margarita pops is that we didn't have any left!  Enjoy the last full month of summer and make these for your friends.  Popsicle molds are worth the $5 Target investment (provided you don't buy other things) and will last more than a season.


2 cups chopped strawberries
3 limes (or 10 baby key limes)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Combine chopped strawberries and sugar in the base of the blender.
2. Juice the the limes and add the lime juice to the fruit.
3. Hit the puree button and let the blender work its magic for about 1 minute.
4. Put into popsicle molds and wait about 6 hours until the liquid is frozen
5. Dunk in tequila for an extra treat

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Apricot and Walnut Granola

This was supposed to be a granola bar but I don't think I put enough butter in this to help it stick together.  Instead I've made granola which is equally as delicious and potentially more versatile (we've already had it with yogurt for breakfast and with berries for dessert).  However you want to swap the nuts and dried fruit to suit your fancy, you really can't make any mistakes (except the butter issue).  Add a tablespoon of honey and I bet this would actually turn into beautiful granola bars, if anyone tries, please let me know!


2 cups instant cooking oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg, separated
1/2 cup wheat germ (substitute 1/4 cup flour in a pinch)
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup chocolate chips (could be omitted but why spoil a good thing?)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine oats, coconut and walnuts in a bowl and mix.  Lay the mixture out on an un-greased cookie sheet and cook in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
3. Remove and let cool.
4. Meanwhile melt the butter, olive oil and brown sugar over medium heat.  When combined, turn off the heat.
5. Separate the egg, keep the yolk for another day.  Take the egg white and beat it vigorously for a minute.  Set aside.
6. Put cooled oatmeal mix in a large bowl.  Stir in wheat germ, apricots and chocolate chips.
7. Make a well in the center and add the liquids and the egg whites, stirring well to combine.
8. Place a large piece of parchment paper on your cookie sheet.
9. Use a spatula to spread the batter out over the parchment, you want it to be about 1/2 inch thick
10. Cook in the 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Let it cool completely before trying to crumble it.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Croque Bolognese

When a dinner is truly so delicious that we are sorry it is over, David and I have a little saying "I could cry over this".  This croque bolognese is one of those meals.  When we traveled in Belgium a few years ago, I would have a croque bolognese every day for lunch.  I'm sure everyone thought I was crazy, but there is nothing better than spaghetti sauce smothered on grilled cheese.  If you try this and don't like it, we can't be friends anymore.  If you make this with a homemade spaghetti sauce you will not be disappointed.  I would like to note that we ate this so quickly we forgot to put parmesan cheese sprinkles on top, don't forget yours!

Ingredients for 4 croque bolognese

8 pieces of sourdough bread
4 slides Tillamook aged white cheddar cheese
olive oil

1. Heat spaghetti sauce in a small sauce pan on the stove.
2. Meanwhile, put cheese slices in between the bread (a la grilled cheese people).
3. Heat a few swirls of olive oil in a pan, turn the pan to make sure the oil covers the bottom of the pan.
4. Place sandwiches in the hot pan, cook 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown
5. Place sandwiches on plates and drown them in delicious bolognese (aka cover in spaghetti sauce).
6. Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pesto Potato Salad

This salad is basically an Americanized version of Salad Nicoise but I can't think of a way to say Salad Nicoise and still make you interested in this post because of this recipe 2 years ago .  However, I really can't express how delicious American potato salad can be when you remove the mayonnaise.  Swapping in pesto is really a great option this time of year when you want to be more figure friendly.  You can make this without the ham if you want this to be vegetarian friendly too.  What are you waiting for?  Go make this now.

Ingredients for 4 as a light dinner

6 medium yukon gold potatoes cut into sixths (or whatever you prefer)
1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed, then cut into 2 inch pieces
1 small squash, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small onion, diced
1 cup of pesto
2-3 pieces of black forest ham, torn into pieces
1 hardboiled egg
olive oil

1. Start by making your hardboiled egg (the Rachel Ray way).  Put an egg or two in a pot of cold water, put on the stove and heat until boiling.  When boiling, turn off the heat and wait 10 minutes.  Drain in and ice bath.  You have a boiled egg.
2. Meanwhile fill another pot of water with cold water.  Add cubed potatoes and cook until water is boiling and potatoes can be pierced with a knife (about 25 minutes).  You don't want these too mushy, so keep an eye on them.
3. At the last 2 minutes of the boiling, add the chopped green beans.
4. Drain beans and potatoes and set aside
5. In the same pot, heat some olive oil.  When hot add tomatoes, onion and squash and saute about 4-5 minutes until soft.
6. Add potatoes, beans, and sauteed mixture together in a bowl and dollop pesto evenly over the veggies.  Mix carefully, using a bit of olive oil if you need to make the pesto more pliable.
7. Add crumbled hardboiled egg and evenly distribute torn pieces of the ham.
8. Salt and pepper to taste and serve while warm.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Inspired by the butternut squash enchiladas as Cactus restaurant here in Seattle, I threw together these tacos last week on a complete whim.  David was unsure about how these would turn out, but he went along with the plan (as long as I promised not to put any zucchini in as well).  These turned out to be pretty darn good and won even David's seal of approval.  Enjoy on homemade tortillas for an extra special treat.


homemade tortillas
1 shallot, diced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 medium head of broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
1 can of black beans drainer
goat cheese for sprinkling on top

1. Drizzle olive oil into a large saute pan.  When oil is hot add shallot and cook 2-3 minutes.
2. Add potatoes and stir with shallot.  Then add broccoli and combine.
3. Let the veggies cook for at least 15 minutes.
4. After 15 minutes, sprinkle salt and black pepper on top for taste.
5. Next, stir in black beans to allow them to warm up with the other veggies
6. Once heated through, you are ready to serve.
7. Fill like you would any other tortilla and top with goat cheese and salsa as an extra treat!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Banana Coconut Kale Smoothie

I'm not one of those people who likes to "juice" but ever since my parents gave me a Nutri-bullet I have been making delicious breakfast smoothies with all the extra veggies and fruits in our fridge.  I'm convinced after sampling several smoothies that a banana is a necessary ingredient.  Bananas make everything taste yummy (even kale!) at 5:30 AM, trust me.  If you don't have a Nutri-bullet you should probably go buy one because they are pretty awesome, but a regular blender would work as well.

Ingredients for 1 smoothie

1 banana
1 cup torn kale leaves
2 tablespoons coconut flakes
1/2 cup lowfat milk or almond milk

1. Combine all ingredients in Nutri-bullet and blend until smooth (about 30 seconds).  Sprinkle with a little extra coconut and serve immediately.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

We did a lemon chicken recipe a while ago, but after having some inspiring wings at a BBQ over the weekend, I decided to revisit the recipe.  There is definitely a kick to this recipe using both black pepper and cayenne pepper but the lemon mellows it out nicely.  Of course you must serve these with Bleu Cheese dip!  Make this for your 4th of July BBQ tonight!

6 medium size chicken wings
zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like spicy!)
olive oil

1. Lay chicken wings in a glass baking dish or other pan to marinate.
2. Cover evenly with lemon zest, garlic, oregano, peppers and salt
3. Drizzle again with olive oil and let marinate at least an hour
4. When ready, heat broiler or grill (depending on the weather of course).  When hot, add chicken and cook until internal temperature is 165 or juices run clear when cut
5. Serve with Bleu cheese dip

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Spinach and Bacon Crepes

One of the best things about crepes (blintz, swedish pancake, whatever you call it) is that you can fill it with almost anything you heart desires!  Traditionally we have sweet crepes filled with jam or nutella, but this morning I really wanted some protein to kick off the weekend.  Crepes can be cooked in a pan and you don't even have to flip them over if you time it just right.  These are sinfully easy but light on your waistline.

Crepe batter

1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon melted butter
splash of vanilla extract (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix well until combined, about 15 seconds.
2. Place in a bowl in the fridge and let sit at least an hour to allow the mixture to bind together, this will help later when you are cooking the crepes.
3. When you are ready to cook the crepes, heat a nonstick pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Lightly brush with butter or drizzle a hint of olive oil in the pan.
4. Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot pan and carefully swirl the batter around by tilting the pan.
5. Cook just under 2 minutes and the top will be set
6. Repeat until batter is gone.  This recipe makes about 8 crepes.

Spinach Bacon Filling

4 cups spinach
3-4 very small new potatoes or fingerling potatoes, sliced very thin
4 slices bacon
parmesan cheese

1. Heat a separate skillet over medium high heat.  Add bacon strips and let cook until desired crispiness.
2. Remove bacon from the pan, leave the bacon fat in and add the thinly sliced potatoes.  Allow them to cook until crisp and brown, about 7-8 minutes.
3. Add the spinach and use tongs to help it wilt down
4. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper and grated parmesan
5. To assemble the crepes, fill evenly with the spinach filling and roll.  Serve with hot sauce if desired.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pan Fried Fish Sandwich + Aioli

A few weeks ago I had one of the best fish sandwiches of my life.  Craving it a few nights later, David helped design this delicious fish sandwich meal that nearly matched the original.  Clearly it is a requirement to serve fish with potato crisps and I highly recommend that you do!  This dinner is easy for a weeknight and would be a hit if made for friends.  Extra napkins are a plus!

Ingredients for 4 sandwiches

1 egg white
1/2 cup beer (lighter is better)
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves chopped
2 lbs white cod fillets
4 ciabatta buns

1 cup mayonnaise
3-4 pickes finely chopped
1 lemon squeezed

1. Combine mayo, chopped pickles and lemon juice and mix well.  Set in fridge until ready to eat dinner.
2. Combine egg and white and light beer, beat until mostly combined.  Place in a shallow bowl.
3. Combine panko bread crumbs, salt, peppers and parsley and mix well.  Place in a shallow bowl or on a plate.
4. Heat deep pan on medium high. Add vegetable or olive oil about 1/2 in deep in the pan.
5. Cut fillets to size with the ciabatta bun since you will be making a sandwich.
6. When ready to eat, dip fish in egg/beer mixture and then dredge through panko mixture.  Pat the breadcrumbs around the fish to cover the entire fillet.
7. Add the fish to the hot oil and let cook until browned on each side, about 3-4 minutes.
8. Repeat with other fillets.  Transfer to a plate in a warmed oven until ready.
9. Toast the ciabatta rolls, top with fish fillet and then aioli sauce.  Serve immediately.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spinach Curry Risotto

All of the credit for this goes to my genius husband who decided that risotto needed it's place at the table without just being an afterthough for leftovers.  The best part about this dish is that it is hearty and warm (for winter) but still has the promise of spring with the chopped basil and spinach.  A splash of coconut milk would make it nice and creamy, but it is not a requirement.

Ingredients (serves 2 people)
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 cup arborio rice
2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons curry paste (green curry is preferable)
2 cups spinach
4-5 basil leaves thinly sliced

1. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat, add a few swirls of olive oil and bring to heat.  Also start heating chicken stock in a separate pot on the stove.
2. Add chopped onion and minced garlic and stir to coat.  Allow the onions to cook until soft, about 6 minutes.
3. Add arborio rice to onion mixture and coat with oil.  Let the rice "brown" slightly for 1 minute.
4. Add a ladle of chicken stock to the rice mixture and stir.  Add more liquid when it starts to be absorbed by the rice.  This happens about every 5 minutes or so.
5. When rice has been cooking for about 20-25 minutes and will not accept any more liquid.  Add curry paste and a pinch of salt.  Stir in to the rice, adding a bit of extra chicken stock if necessary.
6. Remove from the heat, stir in spinach and let cook down for a minute or two.
7. Serve in bowl and top with slivered basil leaves.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tarragon Potato Crisps

Calling these potato "chips" seemed like such a shame because they are so fantastic and really more classy than something you would get out of a bag, the bonus is that you know exactly how these are prepared so you don't have to second guess the quality or the ingredients.  Serve with mussels or burgers or anywhere else you would have delicious frites!  

Serves 2

3 medium(ish) yukon gold potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
3 sprigs tarragon, removed from stems and chopped

1. Preheat broiler on oven.  Peel potatoes.
2. Thinly slice potatoes and place in a bowl.
3. Pour olive oil over the potatoes and use tongs to evenly coat the potato slices
4. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. Evenly place potato slices on the parchment; they can overlap slightly but it is best if they are alone.
6. Place in the oven and cook until browned, this can take about 10 minutes, but check every few minutes to make sure nothing is burning.
7. Remove from oven and place in a bowl lined with a paper towel.
8. Top with tarragon and sprinkle with salt (plus pepper if you are so inclined).  Eat immediately!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Apple Yogurt Scones

This recipe developed out of the need to use up a tub of whole milk Greek yogurt.  I was so happy with the way these turned out, I made a second batch to freeze.  Scones are perfect for a lazy Sunday morning when you want to have your coffee and breakfast at home.  They come together quickly but still slow you down enough to savor the time of doing (almost) nothing.  We served these with some delicious caramel sauce made by my friend Hillary, but they would also be good with Nutella or even peanut butter!

Ingredients (6 scones)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons butter
1 small apple, peeled and cored and chopped into small pieces
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek-style is preferable but not necessary)

1. Preheat oven to 425.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor (including walnuts) and pulse to combine.
3. Cut butter into medium chunks, add to flour mixture and pulse until the flour resembles couscous or course meal texture.
4. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in apple and carrot pieces
5. Stir in yogurt to the mixture, adding 1/4 cup if the mixture is too dry.  Stir until everything is mostly combined.
6. Carefully dump onto a lightly floured surface
7. Mold the dough into a 10 in diameter circle.  Cut into six scones.
8. Place the scones on the parchment and cook 15-17 minutes in the preheated oven.  They are done with the tops are golden brown and the bottoms are also golden.
9. Remove and serve immediately with caramel sauce or nutella.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Latke Pancake

I don't know if latke and pancake are synonymous, but the best way to describe this dish is one large latke pancake.  I really couldn't believe how well this turned out but it was probably the best latke I've ever had (outside of an awesome brunch in Boston a few years back).  Serve this with sour cream and sriracha sauce for a complete treat.  You can also serve with some kosher sausage for extra protein.

Ingredients (for 12 inch pan)

1 large russet potato
2 eggs
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Peel the potato.
2. Grate the potato against a cheese grater.  When finished, transfer to a colander and drain in the sink.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan or cast iron skillet on medium high heat.  Coat the pan generously with vegetable oil.  I used almost three tablespoons.
4. While the pan is heating up, beat 2 eggs, then add bread crumbs and cheese and stir to combine.
5. Add drained potatoes and a pinch of salt and pepper to the egg and cheese mixture.  Stir to combine.
6. When oil is hot, add potato mixture to the skillet and press evenly to cover the entire pan.  Let cook undisturbed for 6-8 minutes until bottom is browned.
7. Using a solid spatula, carefully flip the pancake over and cook an additional 6-8 minutes until the other side is browned as well.
8. When finished, serve with sour cream, applesauce or sriracha!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Entertaining - Hosting a Game Day party

In honor of the Superbowl, let me present an easy and delicious game day menu that guests of all ages will enjoy!

Tips for Success

- Paper plates and napkins are your friend.  Find some cute paper plates with a sport theme like footballs and you are set!
- Three words - Red SOLO cup, these cups also come in a variety of colors so you can choose the best one for your favorite team
- Stock the fridge with beer, soda and water so everyone can find their beverage of choice

The Menu

Appetizer option #1 - Bleu Cheese Greek Yogurt
Appetizer option #2 - 

Sandwich option #1 - Poached Salmon Curry Sliders
Sandwich option #2 - Pulled Beef Sliders

Dessert - 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ginger and Soy Salmon

Full disclosure, I took this recipe from my mother in law Hilde and I am not sorry about it at all.  She made this for Christmas dinner, the dish is super gourmet but also very simple and easy to make.  You can also prep it ahead of time and keep cool in the fridge if you are worried about the timing of cooking the fish.


1 lb salmon fillet
1 chunk of fresh ginger root (about 4 inches)
1 bunch of scallions
1 lemon
1 lime
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Peel ginger root and thinly slice.  Set aside.
2. Chop scallions into less than bite sized pieces
3. Thinly slice lemon and lime.
4. Clean the salmon filet and dab with paper towels.  Place in a dish with a lip so it can go straight into the oven.
5. Top the salmon with ginger root, scallions, lemon and lime.  At this point you can put the fish in the fridge until you are ready to cook and serve.
6. When ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
7. Pour soy sauce over fish and top with salt and pepper.
8. Cook in the oven until fork on the fish is firm but not too hard.  About 12 minutes.
9. Remove fish from oven.  Heat a small sauce pan over high heat and add oil.  When nearly smoking hot, remove from stove and carefully pour over the fish.  This is dinner theater so you can do this at the table, but just be careful of the hot oil.
10. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pomegranate and Gin Martini

I know that pomegranate is super trendy, but this cocktail is a perfect example of why this juice is so popular.  Additionally, pomegranate juice is surprisingly tasty mixed with gin!  This recipe also calls for Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur and I promise it is worth the investment.  This drink is perfect for a cold winter night when you want to dream about a far away tropical beach


Makes 2 drinks

2 oz gin
2 oz ginger liquor
2 oz pomegranate juice
juice 1 one lime

1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake very well over ice.  Pour into a chilled martini glass and enjoy immediately (with a slice of lime if you have it!).

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pizza Margherita

What better way to start the New Year than with this light and healthy pizza!  Don't worry, it is still tasty and delicious like pizza should be.  There is a lot of history behind the pizza Margherita and for good reason.  The very simple ingredients make for a quick pizza and accompanied with a salad, you have a superb and timely dinner.  If you haven't made your own pizza dough yet, please try this recipe.  I know it is hard to prep before you leave for work, but this literally takes five minutes in one bowl.  You don't even have to get your hands dirty!

Makes 1 14'' thin crust pizza



2 small-medium on-the-vine tomatoes
2 medium bocconcini mozzarella balls
1 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Pizza dough:

1 teaspoon yeast
pinch of sugar
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt

1. Combine yeast and pinch of sugar in a 1/2 cup measuring cup.  Fill with warm water.  Let set for about  3-4 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine flour and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate the salt.
3. Pour yeast mixture over the flour.  Fill up another 1/2 cup of warm water and pour over the flour.
4. Using your wooden spoon vigorously stir the ingredients together.  You are basically kneeding the dough with your spoon.  Mix until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
5. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest until doubled in size or you come home from work and want to make dinner.
6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
7. Press out pizza dough onto parchment paper.  Trust me, it will not stick.
8. Thinly slice tomato and mozzarella.  I like to press the mozzarella in a paper towel first to get the excess water out.
9. Cover the pizza with the tomato and mozzarella.  Put in the oven to cook until crust is golden brown and mozzarella is bubbling and light brown.  This will take about 12-15 minutes but watch it carefully.
10. Remove from the oven and top with sliced basil, cracked pepper and sprinkle a touch of sea salt.
11. Serve immediately.