Express Yourself Pizza

Express Yourself Pizza right out of the oven.

Pizza delivery driver can’t deliver when you need them? Don’t sweat the small stuff.

You can D-I-Y and make a take-in pizza pie in less the time it would take to place an order and wait for the driver to knock on your door.

Wanna here me step you through the recipe? Just click on this picture!

Do it yourself has never been easier. This pizza has an easy dough that doesn’t require yeast or waiting for the dough to rise. And finally you’ll be able to do more with that 32-ounce tub of unsweetened Greek yogurt sitting in your fridge than just fold it into granola and blueberries. And the toppings? Just rob them from ingredients you scrounge from your kitchen like that leftover rotisserie chicken breast or those orphan strips of bacon leftover from breakfast.

What about prepared pizza, marinara, or spaghetti sauce? You don’t need it either. A simple food hack from ingredients you probably already have in your pantry will help you create a mouthwatering, picture-perfect pizza pie that just might have you skipping a few pizza deliveries altogether.

Express Yourself Pizza plated and ready to eat!

So express yourself. Put your stamp on, put your foot in it and put your name in it. After all, it’s lovingly made by you.

Express Yourself Pizza

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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A delicious and tasty pizza pie you can make at home.

Ingredients

 Dough:
When measuring flour, spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder, optional but recommended
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or plain whole milk yogurt

Just a few ingredients robbed from my fridge.

Topping:
8 ounces tomato sauce
½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or more if ya like it cheesier)
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped tomatoes (seeded)
2 tablespoons Kalamata olives
2 strips cooked, thick smoked bacon, broken in pieces
1 cooked chicken breast, chopped (rotisserie)

Directions

How to make

This D-I-Y pizza really has no hard and fast topping ingredient list. Once you make the basic crust, it’s a blank canvas ready to be filled in with anything you want. This version of the recipe is made with ingredients I had on hand. Just go for it, exercise your imagination, throw caution to the wind and express yourself !

  1. Preheat your oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
  2. Add flour, baking powder salt and garlic powder to a large mixing bowl. Whisk all the ingredients to combine them.
  3. Add in the Greek yogurt and mix with a fork. Stir until combined. The dough may appear dry and crumbly at first, but it will come together as you mix it.
  4. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and slightly elastic, about 5 minutes. Dust with more flour as needed.
  5. Shaped the dough into a ball. Roll the dough out thin with a rolling pin or a drinking glass into a 10 to 14-inch pizza round, depending on your pan size. (I used a 14-inch perforated pizza pan.) Make sure to flour your surface and rolling pin or glass as needed.
  6. Spray your perforated pizza pan with non-stick spray. If using a baking sheet, cover it with parchment paper and dust it with semolina or coarse cornmeal.
  7. Place the dough on the baking pan and stretch out the dough to the edges of the pan.
  8. Top the dough round with tomato sauce by smoothing it all over the surface, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edge.
  9. Sprinkle dried Italian herbs over the sauce, followed by the salt then the garlic powder.
  10. Add the shredded cheese, chicken, bacon (or whatever you have), bell pepper, onions, tomatoes (or whatever veggies you have), and finally olives and mushrooms.
  11. Place pizza pan or baking sheet in the oven. Cook at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
  12. Remove from oven and serve. Top with fresh basil leaves if desired.

You can have your greens and eat them too

3 Greens Mediterranean Salad and Marinated Grill Chicken.

Those in-between-meal snacks are so comforting as we shelter in place to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. You’ve probably enjoyed just about every one of your favorite snacks since the shelter in place orders were enacted. While those crunchy, salty and sweet treats are a delight, we cannot subsist on snacks alone.

Marinated grill chicken, sliced and ready to plate.

So when your conscious says it’s time to ascend from snack heaven, try this easy Kale and Cabbage Mediterranean Salad with Kalamata Olives and Romano cheese, and pair it with a simple grilled chicken breast. The salad greens are a combination of curly and flat leaf kale and cabbage dressed in an easy and delicious homemade vinaigrette that does double duty as a marinade for the chicken breast featured in this recipe.

It’s a dinner combinhttps://collardgreensandcaviar.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/capture-the-wave-show-2.pngation that will leave you wanting more and thanking yourself for this act of self-care.

Listen to me in the kitchen on my new podcast on 94.7 The Wave.

Join me in the kitchen making this recipe on my new podcast Cooking with Collard Greens and Caviar now available on 94.7 FM The Wave. Just click on the the picture above.

  • Difficulty: Easy but lots of prep time
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A delicious salad with an Italian inspired vinaigrette.

Ingredients

2 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups kale cut in ribbons
1/3 cup Kalamata olives slice in half
¼ cup grated Romano cheese (use cheese wedge)

Directions


The best way to mix these hearty salad greens is with your hands. So get in there and make it happen.

Cabbage:

  • Rinse the cabbage under cold running water and pat the outside dry or use a salad spinner.
  • Remove outer layers of cabbage and discard any wilted or damaged outer leaves.
  • Place the cabbage on a cutting board and cut it in half, vertically through the core.
  • Remove the core with the knife.
  • Place the cabbage half face down on a cutting board.
  • Shred the cabbage by making ¼ – ½ inch slices along the vertical edge.

Kale:

  • Rinse kale and pat dry or use a salad spinner.
  • Remove stems and center ribs of kale and discard.
  • Stack kale leaves and roll into a cigar shape.
  • Cut kale crosswise into thin strips about ¼ – ½ inch wide.

Assembly

  1. Place cut kale and shredded cabbage in a serving bowl and overturn greens with your hands to mix them.
  2. Drizzle with dressing, a little goes a long way, so make sure taste so you don’t – overdress.
  3. Add half slices of Kalamata olives and Romano Cheese over salad.
  4. Mix in dressing, olives and a cheese with your hands until well incorporated. Add more dressing if needed.

Easy Italian Vinaigrette /Marinade
Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon chopped garlic
Cracked pepper

Directions

  1. A wire whisk works best to mix this recipe. But a fork will work too.
  2. In a small bowl add all ingredients.
  3. Mix well with a wire whisk.
  4. Use as a salad dressing or marinade. Can be stored 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Marinated Grilled Chicken
Serves 4
Ingredients:
2 medium-sized chicken breasts, sliced in half
Vinaigrette marinade recipe
2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil

Directions

  1. Slice 2 chicken breasts in half.
  2. Place 4 chicken breast slices into a plastic zipper bag.
  3. Add vinaigrette marinade (see recipe above).
  4. Massage marinade into the chicken breast slices. Let chicken marinate in bag 20 minutes.
  5. Add oil to a skillet or grill pan skillet set to medium heat.
  6. When oil is hot, add chicken breast to skillet two at a time.
  7. Cook for 3 minutes on each side until brown or until grill marks appear.
  8. Remove from heat and place slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
  9. Place in oven set a 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 to 10 minutes
  10. Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

A soulful hummus to warm your soul

Soulful Hummus made with black-eyed peas and red beans.

There is nothing like the dutiful humming of a well-used food processor.

I love Beatrice – that’s my faithful food processor. She’s been with me for over 10 years.

Old Beatrice got down in the kitchen the other day and at the end of her soulful solo, she whipped up the most amazing hummus I have ever had.

And her timing could not have been better. So many of us across these United States are safe at home, quarantined, and snug as a bug in a rug as we observe the directives from our local, state and federal officials to cool our heels at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19 or Coronavirus.

Listen to me in the kitchen on my new podcast on 94.7 The Wave.

With so some many of us at home, we are eating an array of in-between meals, crunchy, salty and deliciously fat filled snacks.

Well put down that bag of chips and sour cream onion dip! My tasty and Soulful Hummus recipe is not only a healthier alternative, it’s creamy and savory deliciousness will warm your soul. You will love the marriage of black-eyed peas and red or light kidney beans in this hummus remix.   The easy to make tortilla chips are a bonus (you are welcome) and they are figure friendly too.

Stay home, stay safe and be well my foodie friends.

Soulful Hummus

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: Very easy
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This recipe is not only easy to make, it will warm your soul.

You will need a food processor for this recipe. If don’t have one, try a blender but be sure to smash your peas and beans in a mixing bowl with a potato smasher before adding them to the blender.

Ingredients

1 heaping teaspoon jarred minced garlic or 2 fresh cloves finely chopped
1 (16-oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 (16-oz.) can red beans or light kidney beans, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ to 1 teaspoon salt (I used a teaspoon)
¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (use 1/4 teaspoon if you love the heat)
¼ teaspoon dried thyme (not ground thyme)
Lemon zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh chopped parsley, cilantro, chives or green onion (your choice- optional)

Directions

  1. Gather all your ingredients before you start.
  2. Add all the ingredients to a food processor.
  3. Grate a little lemon zest over the top of the mixture in the processor.
  4. Process until smooth.
  5. Spoon hummus into a lovely plate or individual sized pasta bowl.
  6. Smooth out the surface and in a circular motion, drizzle 2 tablespoon over the hummus.
  7. Lightly sprinkle top of hummus with smoked paprika or sumac.
  8. Top with fresh chopped herbs of your choice (parsley, cilantro, chives or green onion) or lemon zest.
  9. Serve with pita chips, vegetable strips like bell peppers or my easy oven tortilla chips below.

Easy Oven Tortilla Chips
You will need a parchment lined baking sheet for this recipe

Ingredients
4 tortillas
Non stick cooking spray
salt – pain, seasoned or Cajun

Directions

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Gather all your ingredients before you start.
  3. Stack tortillas on top of each other.
  4. Cut them in half, quarters then eighths.
  5. Spread the cut tortillas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Spray the tortillas with non-stick. Turn them over and spray the other side.
  7. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake 9-10 minutes.
  8. Remove when done and season with salt right on the baking sheet.

A Taste of Little Amsterdam

Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery store front. Photo credit: Little Amsterdam.

Cool.

No super cool.

That’s how many describe the vibe at Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery in mid – City, Los Angeles.

The little coffee shop that almost wasn’t is fast becoming a hot spot for those who love a cup of coffee in a joint that elicits that Amsterdam feeling of freedom, passion, art and culture.

Entrepreneur and Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery owner Josh Mock serving a repeat customer.

The once art gallery has been revived with a permanent exhibit of some of the most provocative art pieces from local artist and  imbibed with CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in marijuana touted for its inflammation and pain relieving properties.

Upon request, owner and entrepreneur Josh Mock, 40, infuses any coffee or tea drink featured on his menu with CBD, and his customers are feeling it and along with the coffee shop’s eclectic, artistic vibe.

Chai Tea Latte served at Little Amsterdam. Photo credit: Little Amsterdam.

Flat White, Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte, Piccolo, Macchiato – Mock says he’s got you. He knows his way around an espresso machine. And his mixology skills are on smooth display with his offerings of several exotic iced chai tea drinks and his concoctions of iced juice drinks he calls “LAmonade.”

“Amsterdam Latte is my favorite drink on the menu,” said Mock. It’s basically my four favorite drinks in one – chai tea latte, matcha latte, vanilla latte and caramel latté.  It’s the most popular drink on the menu.”

Mock’s journey to this watercolor canvas of latte dreams has been no crystal stairs.

Left to right: Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery owner Josh Mock and gallery curator Phree Art.

“This has been a journey. When I went into business I didn’t know a whole lot. What I learned is that compliance issues are very serious. I spend tens of thousands in dollars making building, safety and health modifications, and while making these changes I got evicted three times,” said Mock with a gaze of reflection.  “People go to college and pay a lot to learn what I experienced. I consider this my education,” Mock said adding he hopes aspiring entrepreneurs will learn from his experience.

Today the sound of success is the sweet sound of an espresso machine frothing milk for lattes. Mock couldn’t be happier because Little Amsterdam reopened in late January to a community of awaiting and endearing coffee klatchers, fans and followers who have longed to reconnect with the good vibes and cool connections that had become a part of their daily lives.

Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery exhibit and coffee shop swag.

Mock hasn’t missed a beat since he reopened or perhaps stoke is a better word. The art that lines the walls is bold and spirited, much like the coffee and tea offerings that have made Little Amsterdam the “spot.” The permanent exhibit is curated by creative director and fashion designer Phree Art (known as Phree), 29, a whimsical and audacious young artist and fashion designer who views the fusion of art and coffee as the gateway to social immersion.

“This is a very intimate space,” said Phree as his eyes moved about the coffee shop and art gallery with a sense of satisfaction.  “When Josh decided to open up the space for events, one of our first events was art an exhibit that featured fashion and jewelry designers.  The turnout was overwhelming and it allowed a lot of artists to manifest their dreams.”

March 14, 2020 flyer featuring one of the many social immersion events held at Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery.

Mock says Little Amsterdam will also be place to foster creativity in children. His future plans include holding painting, fashion, music and dance workshops.

While success has been a bumpy road for Mock one thing is clear – his quiet, indomitable spirit is unquestionable. Mock says his mother has been a great inspiration and his three children are the reason he has never given up. Having the opportunity to build something that has longevity is everything to Mock. He’s seizing this moment because he wants to make sure his children benefit from his sacrifice and hard work.

Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery on Yelp.

Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery will soon turn the page and write a new chapter. Mock is set to soon open a second location with a similar theme on La Brea Avenue and 11th Street. Not content to be a Mom and Pop shop, Mock wants to make Little Amsterdam a coveted destination spot.

Signature Amsterdam LAmonade, refreshingly good.

You may not be a barista or mixologist like Mock, but perhaps you might want to try your hand at making his Amsterdam LAmonade, which he has modified so you can make it at home.  It’s a popular drink and there’s good reason: it is refreshingly good.  The mixture of  juices combined with vanilla and a lemon and honey simple syrupy elevates this drink to something  just beyond lemonade.  Give it a try and think Little Amsterdam thoughts with each sip.

Exterior Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery.

Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery is located at 1412 S. Redondo Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019. It is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Follow them on Instagram at @little.amsterdam.coffee for upcoming events.

Little Amsterdam LAmonade

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: Very easy
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A refreshingly delicious, iced drink.

Ingredients


1/2 cup honey
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup of your favorite peach nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. To make the simple syrup, combine honey, vanilla extract and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the honey has dissolved; let cool.
  2. In a large pitcher, whisk together simple syrup, pineapple juice, peach nectar and 5 cups water.
  3. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.
  4. Serve over ice.