Pizza Night

An overhead of a simple red-sauce pizza with basil and thin-sliced Italian meats.

Kneading dough for two pizzas.

A round pizza with cherry tomatoes, arugula, red onions, and cheese.

Swirling marinara darkened with red wine vinegar onto pizza #1.

A side-view of a white vegetable pizza after baking, tomatoes roasted and onions charred.

Square pizza with red sauce and thin-sliced Italian meat, hot out of the oven.

Finishing pizza with a drizzle of superlative olive oil.

A damn tasty slice of pizza, glass of wine on the side.

Allie

I have been spoiled by my Mom who made homemade pizza every Friday growing up. After that I can never eat street pizza ever again, unless in Rome of course (that is entirely different!). Taking after her, Chris and I make our own pizza when we need to fulfill the craving (not every Friday, although I would love that to be a family tradition in the future). Typically we make a basic Margherita pizza with homemade sauce, basil, and mozzarella, but this past Sunday we each make our own pie.

Chris found a dough recipe from the New York Times. Making your own dough is actually much simpler than it sounds and is completely worth the extra time. I also personally enjoy the satisfaction of making pizza entirely from scratch. Once we rolled out the dough I chose a white pizza with mozzarella, arugula, cherry tomatoes, basil, and red onion. Of course no pizza is complete without garlic, so I scattered chopped garlic on top.

After cooking at 500 degrees, we uncorked a bottle of red and enjoyed. I am already looking forward to the next time. Thinking of ricotta and fig, perhaps Superbowl weekend!

Chris

Allie went white. I was more than happy to go red. Over the years I’ve learned to keep pizza simple. I’ve learned that when toppings bake they release moisture and that makes cheese hard to brown and crust hard to crisp. I’ve learned that a perfect pie doesn’t need much but the basics. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Leonardo Da Vinci. Was he referring to pizza? If not, he could have been!

Here, I started with crushed tomatoes darkened with a little red wine vinegar. Then I spread on garlic, basil, thyme, salumi, green chile flakes hauled back from Santa Fe, and as little cheese as my bottomless stomach would let me. Right before I put the pie in, I dabbed olive oil on the crust and, once the pie was done, drizzled on some olio nuovo— oil fresh from the fall harvest–as we’d learned to do when we visited A16.

The pizza came out of the oven. Steam rose from the sauce. All day, a blizzard had been swirling outside. I wedged my biggest knife down through crust. I took the first bite standing up. Someone should tell the Buddhists that nirvana isn’t found in prayer and a vegetable diet, but dough, red sauce, and cheese.

Elysian Park

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Allie in a felt fedora before brunch.

Camel-Jacket-Hunter-Boots-Snow-Outfit-5Hunter Rain boots, old cable knit sweater, Chanel bag similar here, Madewell high riser jeans

I find it difficult to dress with all the snow on the ground. Yes I do dress for comfort and warmth, but I try to vary my look, too. I did just that when venturing out into the snow last week, pairing a chunky ivory cable knit with high-waisted jeans and hunter boots. Swapping my knit hat for my felt fedora created a more sophisticated look for an afternoon brunch.

Since the sweater was on the heavier side, I was able to wear my lighter camel-colored coat, which brought the outfit together.

Speaking of outfits, I’m looking forward to getting to the mall this weekend. Right now I’m on the hunt for some transitional pieces for the next few months. Since it’s almost February, spring collections are finally here. Anyone have any good items on their spring wish list?   -Allie

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine for two with honey spoons, orange wedges, and cinnamon sticks.

Close up of star anise floating on top of mulled wine

Portrait shot of mulled wine for two people.

Overhead shot of a warm glass of spiced wine.

Welcome to Friday happy hour! On Fridays we’re going to post about adult beverages of all stripes, colors, flavors, potencies, and combinations. Wine. Beer. Spirits. Liqueurs. Bitters. Everything from A to Z, from absinthe to Zucca–and we’re going to start heady, hot, and old-school with mulled wine.

Messing around with drinks has long been a hobby of mine. This mulled wine is pretty much a potent warm sangria, potent spice-wise and booze-wise. When the polar winds blow or the flakes start to fall, put on this nice wine blanket.

Here’s what you need:

750 ml cheap Pinot Noir (Pinot is good for its smoke, but any red will work)

4 cinnamon sticks

Juice of one orange

Juice of one lemon

2 shots brandy

1 shot honey (1.5 shots if you’ve got a sharp sweet tooth like Allie!)

Pinch of nutmeg

3-4 Star Anise (optional; adds a baroque fennel-like spice)

What to do: Combine in a pot. Stir. For 15 minutes, simmer so low and slow that only an occasional lazy bubble is barely able to straggle up and break the surface. (We don’t want the alcohol to evaporate!) That’s all she wrote. Makes 4 awesome drinks.

Colorful Kismet Rug

Our colorful Persian Kismet rug by Caitlin Wilson.

Close-up of a flower decoration on a colorful Persian Kismet rug by Caitlin Wilson.

Side-angle of our colorful Persian Kismet rug by Caitlin Wilson.

Overhead of our colorful Persian Kismet rug by Caitlin Wilson.

All of a sudden I’ve been on a huge redecorating binge! I woke up one day looking to update our living room and spent countless hours on Pinterest for inspiration. Of course, everything I wanted was out of budget or not practical for our urban apartment.

After a few weeks I decided that buying a new rug could bring the room together. Instead of finding all new furniture, I was on the hunt for the perfect rug and hoping it would bring life to our current space, while keeping what furniture we had.

Immediately after coming across Caitlin Wilson’s website I knew I would find what I was looking for. Caitlin and her team seem to have a knack for incorporating color and print in designing beautiful interiors and textiles.

I ordered my Kismet rug and counted every week until it arrived. Its vibrant colors and antique Persian flare bring our little apartment together. Each day, I walk into the room with a smile, so happy I was able to incorporate pink into our space. Even Chris, who made fun of me and really didn’t understanding my excitement over a rug, now is happy with our purchase.

Hope you check out Caitlin Wilson Design and get as excited as I did!   -Allie

Chestnut Pasta

Fresh chestnut pasta with butternut squash.

Pasta is made from flour, water, and sometimes eggs. What is flour? Flour is wheat ground to powder. Flour can be ground from things other than wheat. Corn flour gives us the tortillas from below Northern Mexico (wheat-flour tortillas are bigger near the U.S.-Mexico border), and rice-flour noodles swim in soups from Southeast Asia to Japan. Back to pasta. Messing around with different flours is one way to flavor pasta. And that is how we arrive at the chestnut pappardelle in the picture above.

This pasta was made from chestnut flour mixed with wheat flour. That makes the pasta taste a little wild and sweet. The pappardelle comes from Raffetto’s, a shop that has been selling fresh pasta in New York since 1906. (I wrote an article about this place!) The place has an ancient dough-cutting machine that clatters and creaks as you wait, watching your lemon or saffron or squid-ink or chocolate noodles sliced to order.

One of the best things about living near New York is the access to a galaxy of food markets where you can find anything. To me, the city’s markets are more of a lure than its world-class restaurants.

I can get still-hot corn tortillas. I can choose from 20 kinds of rice noodle. I can walk away with chestnut pasta for $4 a pound.

If you ever have a chance to try chestnut pasta, don’t think twice. Last week I pulled a pound from my freezer, cooked the stuff, and then mixed it with pre-roasted squash, Parmesan, thyme, almonds I smashed in a bag with a wooden spoon, and a shower of good olive oil. That cost me less than $8 for a surreal meal that could serve 4 people–and would cost more than $20 a person at a restaurant in New York.

So if you’re headed to NYC soon or live in the city now, I recommend a trip to Raffetto’s with a cooler and a wide-open mind. You’ll thank me when you’ve got a freezer filled with the good stuff.   -Chris

Snowy Style

Allie

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Allie rocking a heart necklace and Kate Spade gloves on the Hudson River.

Allie looking north in an Anthropologie sweater and Illesteva sunglasses on the Hoboken waterfront.

Allie looking warm in a Coach coat and Illesteva sunglasses on the Hoboken waterfront.

Allie looking warm in a Coach coat and Illesteva sunglasses on the Hoboken waterfront.

Close-up of Allie blowing snow.

Down Coat Coach, Anthropologie sweater on sale now, Gloves Kate Spade last year similar here, boots Tory Burch

On Sunday we finally escaped our apartment after Saturday’s blizzard. Chris and I were both going a little crazy from being stuck inside. It was great to get out.

We took these photos on Hoboken’s waterfront where families flocked with their kids to play in the snow. It was nice to see so many people laughing and enjoying the sunshine, even though it was only 28 degrees.

I bundled up in my Coach down jacket, definitely one of my best purchases to date. It is the warmest coat I have ever owned. I also like the furry rim on the hood, which adds a feminine touch.

The rest of the outfit is as comfortable as you can get (short of wearing sweatpants!). I paired a bright flared hem sweater with high-waisted jeans for our walk along the Hudson River. If you live in the northeast, I hope you get back outside after the storm! The next few days are going to be wet, so be sure to wear a nice warm pair of hunters or sorrels.   -Allie

Mint Falafel

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Chris and I love to pack lunch. After you’ve had so many lunches it can be hard to think of new ideas for what to eat. For him, most of the time it has been a prosciutto sandwich, and lately we’ve both been wanting to switch things up.

This weekend I was excited to experiment with cooking falafeI as a new lunch option. We have always enjoyed Middle Eastern cuisine, and recently our taste for it has grown thanks to the amazing Ottolenghi cookbooks. They’re filled with great recipes for his fresh, bright version of modern Middle Eastern.

Making the falafel was simple. You pretty much coarsely blend chickpeas with your choice of flavorings. I added mint to enhance the falafel, providing a fresh taste and a vibrant green color. After blending together the chickpeas and herbs, you shape the falafel and bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.

When ready to serve, Chris and I made a yogurt sauce for dipping and pickled some red onions for garnishing. While Chris stuffed his in a pita, I ate mine over salad. Hope you enjoy.   -Allie