Food Talk Friday: Pizza!

Delicious fresh pizza served on wooden tableGreat pizza starts with a great crust which starts with a great dough. This recipe was mentioned by my friend, Ralaine, on Monday’s post. She shared the recipe with me. Her (Italian) husband gives it his full approval, so it must be good!

Ralaine’s Pizza Dough


2 ¼ cups of all-purpose or bread flour

1 teaspoon of fine sea salt

1 cup of lukewarm water

¾ teaspoon of active dry yeast

1 teaspoon of olive oil


Combine flour and salt


In a small mixing bowl, stir together the water and the yeast. Let is sit for 5 minutes or until it blooms. Add olive oil, and then pour in to the flour mixture. Knead until well combined – about 3 minutes, let it rest of 15 minutes. Then knead the rested dough for 3 minutes more. 


Scrape out the dough on a floured surface. Oil the side of your mixing bowl before returning the dough back to the bowl. Turn the ball of dough over to coat it with the oil, cover and let it rest and rise of 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)  


Stud Muffin and I are planning a trip with friends to Italy in 2020. We’re already dreaming about the pizza we’re going to eat. Naples, which bills itself as the birthplace of pizza is definitely on the itinerary. We can’t wait!


We love all pizza. The simple margherita (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil). An obscene meatlovers. All veggies (well, maybe with a few pepperoni thrown on). Our standard go-to is pepperoni, olive, and mushroom. Something about that combo is delish. We love it.

In New York, we tried several different pizza places. John’s of Times Square (Fabulous!) A  by-the-slice, stand or sit-facing-the-wall place called Patzeria, also great and fun.

We haven’t really experienced a true Chicago deep-dish style. Hmmm … I wonder if there’s a local place … Off to do some research …

Chicago Style Deep Dish Cheese PizzaWhat is your favorite? Do you do homemade? Take out only? Chains? Local pizzeria? How about toppings? Everything? Anchovies? Cheese only?

I’m taking notes!


I got to see two food-based movies last week.

Each told a compelling story of one person’s life with food.

The Hundred-Foot Journey
The Hundred-Foot Journey

In The Hundred-Foot Journey, an Indian immigrant to France becomes the chef cook at his family’s new restaurant, Maison Mumbai, which opens across the street from a hoity-toity place serving gourmet French cuisine.

Hassan Kadem, the young Indian chef has a gift for food and spices. When the family moves to town, the first person they meet is a sous chef, Margueuite, who works for Madame Mallory the restauranteur across the road. Hassan and Marguerite forge a friendship and a love for food and freshly harvested vegetables.

Helen Mirren plays Madame Mallory who is on a quest for a second Michelin star. She does not want her ambiance affected by the high spirits, joyous music, and spicy aromas wafting across the street.

Madame Mallory is slowly won over by Hassan’s food and when she sees her petty attitudes reflected in other townspeople. She teaches Hassan until he moves to Paris to pursue culinary perfection but loses himself and forgets why and what he loves to cook.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is charming and reminiscent of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I saw it alone but will make sure to see it again with Stud Muffin. He loves food movies.

Chef with Jon Favreau

Which brings me to Chef. We did see this one together. The only thing the two movies have in common is that food is a central character.  In Chef, Carl Casper, played by Jon Favreau, is the once-upon-a-time hottest chef in Miami and LA. Carl is stymied creatively and professionally by his restaurant’s owner, played by Dustin Hoffman.

Carl also has a beautiful ex-wife played by Sofia Vergara and a young son who yearns to spend more time with his perpetually busy and distracted father. A Twitter war gets out of hand and goes viral and Carl heads back to Miami to figure out what he wants.

He ends up with a broken-down food truck that he and his son and an LA friend restore and they begin cooking Cuban food. They drive to California, cooking and eating along the way.

There’s some rough language in Chef but no sex or violence. I loved seeing an engrossing movie that takes food and the comfort it offers seriously. It neither glorifies nor condescends to its intended audience: lovers of food and cooking.

In the closing credits is a short clip of a cook teaching Favreau how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. The care and love poured into that lowly sandwich elevated it to co-star status.

Both movies are gentle love stories between a boy and his food and along the way he discovers his family and himself.

Both are highly recommended.