Liza Hawkins, As Seen In…. "Woman’s World" Magazine!

Woman’s World magazine emailed me about a month ago. 

Ironically, said email came from an editor at Woman’s World just moments after a co-worker and I settled down at lunchtime to peruse a copy of the magazine she bought at lunchtime. I glanced at my phone, snickered and then said to her, “Look at this. Really. This can’t truly be a Woman’s World editor. I mean, I’m a little food blogger in Maryland.”
So what’d we do? We flipped to the front of her copy of Woman’s World, and looked down the list of editors to see if the woman’s name was listed. And, gasp! It was the real deal.
They wanted MY opinion on frozen pizza for their “Shop Smart! You deserve the best…” section of the magazine. Since my issue is finally on the stands, I am now allowed to share it with you!
Let me remind you, just because I call myself a “foodie” doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy things like hot dogs, cheeseburgers and American cheese! Yes, folks. I appreciate just about every kind and quality of food there is to offer.
Including frozen pizza.

New York Style Pizza Dough – Perfect For The Grill

When you’re on vacation, there’s always one meal you look forward to – right? My side of the family goes away late-July/early-August every year, and regardless of whether or not we’re at the beach or the lake my absolute favorite meal is when my sister’s boyfriend makes grilled pizza.

Homemade crust and sauce, lots of veggies and fresh mozzarella – but that crust; it’s what makes the pizza. A little char on the outside, and a thin chewy bite to the inside. Perfection.

So, I asked Shawn for his recipe – and he was kind enough to share it. Lucky you!

Just remember, although Shawn doesn’t mention it here, this dough works fabulously on a grill – just crank it up good and hot, rub some oil on the grill grate, then cook the dough for a couple of minutes on each side. Add your toppings, then back on the grill until the cheese is nice and melted.

Shawn’s New York Style Pizza Dough

[Print this recipe]

1-1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoon of sugar
2-1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast


Combine water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and let sit for five minutes or until the yeast start to bubble.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add the remaining ingredients and then slowly stir in the water/yeast/sugar mixture. Kneed by hand for 6-10 minutes, until dough is smooth. form into a ball, grease will a little bit of olive oil, put in a large mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for two hours.

Once the two hours has finished, punch down your dough and then cut it into three equal size pieces (or two equal size pieces if you want extra-large size pizzas).

The next step is, for some reason, very important: you want to proof the dough in a ball shape (as this makes it much easier to shape the pizza later on). In order to do this, take each piece of dough and gently turn it inside out, pushing its outer edges into its center.

Do this a few times, pushing the outer edges on the dough inwards to form a concaved back. Once you have a nice ball shape, pull the seam together and give it a little twist. Now, with the twisted seam on the bottom, put the dough down somewhere warm to proof for four hours (it should be covered so it doesn’t dry out). Alternately, you can wrap it in plastic and let it proof in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The rule seems to be that the longer you let the dough proof in the refrigerator the better it tastes – though I’ve never gone longer then a few days.

To shape the pizza, I push the ball down so that it’s flat and then slowly push out from the center. You can also stretch it out by putting it over you knuckles and slowly pulling outward. The trick seems to be to stretch it slowly and evenly and not to force it.

I always preheat the stone for at least an hour and usually cook the pie at somewhere between 450-500°F for about 5-9 minutes, rotating it once halfway through.

I Love Brewer’s Alley For Their Pizza And Beer.

There are certain restaurants considered to be staples in a town like Frederick. Privately owned, with a local devoted following, they are never empty. Ever.
Brewer’s Alley is one of those restaurants; I’ve written about it once or twice here. And for me, when you go to Brewer’s, you go for one of two things (or both together): 
Pizza or Beer.
Sure, Brewer’s has a lengthy menu, which includes “lobster Thursday” and a macaroni and cheese that’s pretty awesome, but nothing matches their wood-fired pizza. And their self-brewed beer.

And, as beloved as Brewer’s is among locals, I hear grumblings from people now and again. I do.
But never about their beer and pizza. Seriously. You can order a large pizza, and even go halvsies on toppings, picking two completely different styles and combining them into one amazing creation. It’s more than enough for two people.
That lovely up there? It’s half Margherita Pizza and half California Dreamin’ (which, by the way, uses a kick-butt Tzatziki sauce in place of marinara).
Sit outside in the courtyard, sip a pale ale, and nosh on wood-fired pizza. Life is good.

Out and About: Olives

The other day a friend of mine said, “If you’ve never tried the pizza at Olives, then you’re missing out. Their pizza rocks!”  So, on Saturday, my sister and I decided to try it out – and yes, it was awesome.

Tomato, Basil, Fresh Mozzarella
This 10″ round of hand-tossed gooey deliciousness melted in our mouths, with fresh doughy crust – crispy on the outside as though it was wood-fired. I’m so glad the leftovers made it into MY fridge last night. Lunch leftovers are sounding pretty good….

But we figured since the pizza only cost $10 we could afford to add a few accouterments to our order, in the form of calamari and gnocchi.

Olives’ calamari might very well be the best I’ve ever had. Seriously. Crispy on the outside, smooth and buttery on the inside, and just the right amount of lemon and salt. In fact, instead of a marinara, it was served with a creamy lemon sauce, drizzled over top.
The gnocchi was good too, but not as exciting as the rest of the meal. Between the yumminess of the calamari, and the anticipation of the pizza (which we left until last), the gnocchi was kind of like overkill. Would be nice to try it again on a night when we aren’t eating platefuls of other things.
Oh, and instead of bread at the beginning, our server brought us crunchy bread sticks and marinated olives to snack on.

A confession: I’m not a big fan of olives by themselves. I want desperately to love olives because there aren’t too many foods out there that I don’t like, and they look so fun to snack on. So, I try them every chance I get. And the olives at Olives? 

They were pretty good! Milder than some others I’ve had, and with a little bit of spice from some red pepper flakes, I think I can say I actually liked them!
Lastly – I started with my go-to glass of pinot grigio, but instead of a second glass, we went outside of the box and ordered a Cosmo because they just looked, well, good. Being that our liquor tolerance isn’t what it was in our heyday, we did wuss out and ask for it to be “weak.” The waiter looked at us funny, almost offended or embarrassed for us, but whatever.
Delicious – albeit weak!
So, yeah. We may miss the Bombay Grill which used to inhabit the space in which Olives now resides, but the quality of the food hasn’t changed (and neither has the owner). Worth a visit!

Photos from Olives courtesy of Josie Johnson

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