Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chevre, Rosemary and Shamia

I guess it is kind of normal to go around and look at blogs and think, hey, I wish I had that. I wish I had that many readers. I wish I could bake, cook or decorate like that. I wish I lived there. I wish I had those people in my life. Kind of like a child, "mine, mine, mine" and "gimme, gimme, gimme". Well, this all came into a new light for me as I was reading this book by Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture. The book has really helped me to take a look at my life and look at what dreams I have realized. While I may have known while I was in those moments that they were my dreams come true, I think I may have forgotten. Looking back I realize how blessed I am. I am filled with gratitude and I like that feeling a lot better than feeling jealous of what other people have.

When I was growing up I had a dream that I would own a horse some day. In my dream, I would partake in all the activities of owning a horse, cleaning the stable, brushing, and of course riding and training and all of that. This dream lasted for quite a while. I took riding lessons when I was in my early twenties. For a college level English class, I interviewed an owner of a horse farm. I learned about how she started her business and how she ran it. I loved it.

Fast forward a few years to my late twenties, I found myself living in Tennessee with my brother for a while. I was trying to find a job. I had recently relocated from Phoenix and did not want to go back to NY. While I was there, my brother and sister in law, who owned horses had me do chores around the barn to earn my keep. I cleaned out the stables and such. One of the horses did not really have anyone paying attention to her. She was a beautiful Arabian horse who was as nervous and loud as all get out. Her named was Shamia (Okay, like long before Shania got big). Shamia was also plump like me. Okay, I am nervous and loud (I have quieted down a bit) too. So we were like soul mates. My sister in law asked me if I wanted to have Shamia as my horse, train her, take care of her, etc. Oh yes, I was all over that.

I remember walking around on the farm with her and teaching her some signals. Each time she did the signal correctly she would get a carrot. Sometimes as we would walk she would spot a stump of a tree and get all nervous and jerky which would just totally cracked me up. As the horse learns the commands you begin to take away the treats. So each time she stopped when I said whoa she did not get a treat. But that did not stop her from looking around to my back pocket to see if I had a treat. That just made me giggle so.

Anyone that knows horses knows that this is normal. But for me, it was magical. So magical that it made me smile, all-the-way-deep-inside, happy to be alive, magical. Why? Because really it had been my dream while I was growing up. Posters plastered in my bedroom of horses, lessons, dreams, interviews... the whole shabang.

I wish I could have brought her back to NY with me but I was an undergraduate at the time and getting ready to go back for my Master's when I returned to NY. I couldn't find the kind of job I wanted in TN mainly because I did not have my Master's.

I am so grateful for having that opportunity in my life. I learned quite a bit from it. I actually learned that I would never want a horse farm. Ha. Oh my God- too much work and lots of money!

So what does all of this have to do with Chevre, Rosemary and Roasted Onion Pizza? Absolutely nothing. But hey, it's my blog- I just felt like sharing with y'awl.
Pizza Dough (my old stand by)

My old stand by pizza dough recipe

3 1/2 cups ap flour or bread flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (or 2 packages)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

I find that I do not need to proof the yeast. I make it in a stand mixer. First add flour and salt. I start the mixer at this point at about 3 then add the yeast and then the water and olive oil. Depending on humidity you add more water or more flour. You want the dough to clean the sides of the mixer bowl and kind of climb up the dough mixing attachment. Slide dough off attachment and make sure it is uniformally mixed by just kneading it by hand a few times. Place in a bowl with a little olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot or if it is cool in your house I would use a "makeshift" proofer. Easy to do. Place a cup of water in your microwave and heat for about a minute and half. Move the cup over and place your dough bowl in the microwave. The remaining heat and moisture from the water lends a helping hand to the yeast. Let rise until double in size. Deflate by folding. Cut in half to make two pizzas. Work dough onto cooking sheet. You can use just about anything. The most crispy crusts come from baking stones. Heat the stone in the oven place dough on cornmeal on peel or baking sheet. Bake in a 425 degree oven.

I topped this little pretty with a little olive oil, freshly pressed garlic then onions that I had roasted in my iron skillet, fresh Chevre (about two ounces for a small personal size pizza) and rosemary leaves.

Drool, drool, drool. This was one of the best pizzas of my life. Really.


kat said...

Its so healthy to learn to be grateful for what you have & had in your life instead of always regretting what you don't

Katy ~ said...

I haven't read Randy Pausch's book, but I did see a tape of him on U-Tube of a presentation that he gave. Wonderful human being and a powerful speaker.

That pizza looks fabulous!

Chow and Chatter said...

perfect pizza and lovely story

Lynn said...

Doesn't this loook delicious! And I enjoyed your story about your horse dreams. It was good to find out how much work it would be before you actually wholeheartedly pursued a horse farm.

I'm making your light brioche buns today, by the way. I cheat and use a bread machine, but the dough is in there as we write this. I'm looking forward to dinner tonight :) Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Grace said...

horses are so incredibly smart, and so are you for combining those ingredients in pizza form. stellar.

Lucy said...

Lori, your pizza looks so mouth-watering... perfect topping!

You're lucky to have had a chance of a test drive before making a commitment of owning a horse of your own. ;-)

Ali said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is true that once you learn to "count your blessings" as my mother always told me, you realize how much you have to be thankful for.

This pizza looks amazing. Drool. Drool. Drool, is right!


Murasaki Shikibu said...

Lori this pizza really does look good. The photograph is captivating!

Also love what you said:
"The book has really helped me to take a look at my life and look at what dreams I have realized."

I mean there are dreams that never came true but some have and you tend to forget them sometimes. For example, I've always wanted to live near the sea and although I gave-up a lot to do this (like my career and financial security) - I have been living in a coastal town now for 6 years. :)

I was also a horse crazy girl but I think I grew out of this in my later years as you don't even get to see horses much in Tokyo.

I do get to see Andalusian horses prance by my apartment everyday though now or grazing in the fields near by and although I tend to forget this was something I wished for too. :)

Susan said...

That pizza looks spectacular! What a great trio of toppings. Yum!

isabelle said...

I made your pizza yesterday, it was very easy to make and delicous!
Thanks for sharing the recipe!