Thursday, April 2, 2009

Do It Yourself

I went on the ferry trip to the San Juan Islands recently and it was absolutely beautiful. We took a gorgeous walk in Anacortes near the ferry terminal and then had the most relaxing beautiful ferry ride far away from city noise. Ah. Peace of mind.

In Friday Harbor we ate at Front Street Ale House. I expected food in the area to be expensive because it is a tourist trap, but my goodness. If places charge a lot of money for a basic sandwich then it should really taste good. I mean, they know you pretty much have to eat there because expensive bars and steak houses is all there is in the area so why don't they have you coming back to Seattle raving about the food and the beer and the whole experience other then the ferry ride? I thought the only thing about my lunch that tasted good was the dressing on my side salad and they probably bought that from somewhere else anyway. I will say that I thought the beer was excellent and so I am glad we tried it. Good beer.

My problem with this type of situation is that frankly I don't have a lot of money to be eating out, so when I do it I want the food to be better or different then something I can make; a treat. Unless I go out for sushi or Thai or Afghan or Moroccan food then this is something that rarely happens. Even if you have to buy a sandwich out at a "nice" restaurant can't they put something other then mayonnaise on it? No imagination out there. Terrible.

Lunch during the week is something I actually obsess over. I decide on what I will eat for the week on Sunday and usually stick to the plan. If I am not organized or feeling lazy one week then I am almost always disappointed in the lunch I buy or I get a stomach ache from it. Think about all the grease and mystery meat and sugar that is packed into these places around your work. What is the point of making these lousy establishments rich?

Last weekend I was having a wild pizza craving. This happens quite a bit being that I am a Chicago girl. There are actually a couple decent pizza places in Seattle but I couldn't decide were to order from and didn't want to spend the money on the pizza and the delivery honestly. I decided to make my own. My mom makes a pizza every once in a while and it is delicious. She has acid reflux disease and so she makes it without tomato sauce.

Here you go: saute onion and garlic in good olive oil until soft. Add any combo of bell peppers you like and add plenty of herbs to it. You know, all the easy ones you probably have sitting around: oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and maybe a little thyme if you have it. Saute until soft and fragrant.

Put a thin layer of mozzarella cheese on your pizza crust. (yes I would have saved even more money if I made my own dough but come on. It was Saturday.) Add the veges to your crust. Put more cheese on top. Bake for 10 minutes. And there you have it. A fantastic pizza for $12. It was plenty of food for two and we had leftovers. Obviously if you're not into bell peppers you can do this anyway you like. I like to add tomatoes on top but my mom can't.

When I was a kid my mom packed my lunch everyday and she never let me bring cupcakes or cake or muffins to school for my birthday or any occasion. She couldn't understand why Americans allow their children to eat so much junk. There was always something going on that people brought junk for, or as my family likes to call it, "poison." My mom made me bring fruit for my birthday and for Valentine's, and St. Patrick's and all of it. I was embarrassed about it, but she insisted. A couple times when there was a holiday party my grandma made her amazing sugar cookies for me to bring in, but there was only once where my mom came to school with sweets of an unimaginable kind.

For my thirteenth birthday my mom and my grandma made rosettes. I don't know if you've ever had one but my god they are out of this world. If you make them your home will smell like deep fried for at least a week, but it's worth it.

It's just a sweet dough that you dip a hot iron into and then let go into a pan of hot oil. They cook for maybe 2 minutes or less and then you let them cool on paper towels to get rid of the grease. The iron is usually in the shape of a flower or some design. My family hasn't made these in years but I have fond memories of them. They don't end up all gooey and greasy like a funnel cake but light and crisp. All they need is a little powdered sugar and there you go. When my mom and grandma came in to school that day to give them to my class, people kept saying that they had never seen anything like that before. When my classmates started to eat them a silence went through the room. I can't imagine that my mother would have had the same satisfaction had she brought Dunkin Donuts. (yuck)

Ok so not everyone have flowered irons that they are willing to put into a bubbling pan of oil, but the point is that there is so much poison out there and sometimes the best meals and indulgences are ones you make yourself.

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