Hoover Hill Pizza Dough

Enough for 8 personal pizzas.

1 lb bread flour
1 lb freshly ground hard red winter wheat
2 tsp salt
4 tsp instant yeast
1/4 C olive oil
2 tsp agave nectar
20 oz water – room temperature or cooler

1. Combine dry ingredients in a stand mixer with a bread hook.
2. Combine water, oil and agave.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
4. Knead for about 5 minutes, adding water or flour if needed. The dough should be slightly sticky to touch but it should not stick to sides of the bowl. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Knead for another minute.
5. Cover and put dough in the refrigerator overnight or up to 3 days. (optional, but it makes better crust)
6. Take the dough out of the fridge, punch it down if necessary. Let it come to room temp.
7. Let dough rise until double in size.
8. Divide into 8 equal balls.
Note: You can store the balls in the freezer for a month or two or the the fridge for a day or two. Take them out of the freezer at least 3 hours before you want to make pizza. Take them out of the fridge for at least an hour prior to making pizza. Times depend on the room temperature.
9. Let the dough balls rest for at least 45 minutes before making pizza.

Ratios for 4 pizzas

16 oz flour
10 oz water
2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp agave nectar

For 16 pizzas

4 lbs flour
40 oz water
3 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 C olive oil
4 tsp agave nectar

Red Beans and Rice

1 lb Camillia Brand Red Beans
(These really are the best and make a huge difference. I order them from the website and they come fast. Plus everything you ever wanted know about Red Beans is on their website, including lots of recipes. Otherwise use generic red kidney beans, but it wont be the same.)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (start with less if you don’t like HOT)

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons salt (more or less)

1 yellow onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 or 3 stalks of celery, diced

6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

olive oil


  1. Rinse the beans well and add to a big pot with plenty of water.  ( Or homemade veggie stock. Don’t used canned or instant stock. Water is better. I do not soak my beans, but you can if you like.)
  2. Add the bay leaves, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper to the pot
  3. Bring the beans to a rolling boil for about 15 minutes, then turn them down to low boil for the remainder of cooking time.
  4. While the beans are cooking, saute the onion, pepper and celery in olive oil over med heat until the onion turns translucent and everything just starts to brown around the edges.
  5. Add the garlic to the veggies and saute for another minute.
  6. Add the veggies to the beans.
  7. Cook the beans until they are almost, but not quite done and add the salt. Start with 1 teaspoon and adjust to taste. (I always use 2)
  8. Keep cooking the beans til they are done. If you need to add water, add boiling water.
  9. Serve with rice that you made at some point during this process

The beans taste better the second day, so making them a day ahead is my “secret ingredient.”


Today’s Daily Bread



Gary and I made bread in the wood fired oven again today. We are still working on timing the bread and oven and ended up baking bread until after dark. The good news is we didn’t burn any bread this time!

The white bread is pain al ancienne from Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  It’s our go to party bread. It’s easy and has a wonderful flavor. It’s a little under done today, but we’ll brown it when we reheat it.

The brown bread is multigrain struan,  from Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads. We love it so much that  it’s our new daily bread. It’s 100% whole grain and  fairly high in protein. The bread is mostly whole wheat flour, but the multigrain part is up to the baker. My version includes quinoa, oats, cornmeal, chia seeds and flax seeds. Today is the first time I tried the sunflower seeds on the outside so I only did half the loaves. I was afraid of burning them, but they came out just fine.


Now THIS is an energy drink

Back in October I came down with a long lasting cold that’s been going around. Gary and Dave had already had it, so I knew what I was in for when I got the first sore throat. (There were 2 and the second one was worse.) I decided to take some immune boosting action. I stopped eating dairy products, started drinking carrot juice and began eating even more fruits and veggies.

Then I added one green smoothie a day to my diet. Wow! The smoothies made a huge difference in my energy level and general physical well being. I’ve had one almost every day for 32 days now. I started making them with an Oster blender, which works okay, but it takes a while and doesn’t pulverize the greens as well as a high powered blender.

After a month on the smoothies, we bought a Vitamix. The basic recipe I started with is:

2 Tb flax seeds
some pomegranate juice or water
a cup or so of frozen berries, usually blueberries and strawberries
one date
2 cups of greens, (lactino kale, red russian kale, collard greens, spinach, chard, dandelion greens…)
some mint from the garden
some ice

Today’s smoothie was pomegranate juice, lactino kale, a carrot, strawberries, a banana and flax seeds. I think it was too sweet with the carrot and banana and I won’t make this one again. Blend and learn.

Even though the smoothies always have greens in them, they are not always green. The basic recipe is more purple. The smoothies taste far better then they sound. If you use mild greens like spinach and chard, you really can’t taste the greens at all. I don’t always use berries or flax. Sometimes it’s an apple or orange or whatever fruit we have on hand. Raw almonds work well in place of flax and they are filling too. If you google green smoothie, you’ll find more recipes than you can make.

So, if you need an energy boost or an immune boost, try a green smoothie. You might be surprised at how good it makes you feel. I was.

Mushrooms Diabla

I’ve been leaning vegan the last few months, thanks to watching Forks Over Knives, reading Engine 2 Diet and Dr Joel Fuhrman’s Super Immunity. Our vegan-ish Thanksgiving dinner was pretty yummy – I skipped the turkey course – but today I was ready for something completely different. There were mushrooms in the fridge and after deciding not to make pasta al funghi for the 73rd time I went with this – a vegan version of shrimp diabla. I apologize for the inexact measurements. I was making it up as I went along and didn’t decide to write down the recipe until we were eating it.


olive oil
almost a pound Mushrooms – sliced (criminis, a shiitake from the logs, and a packaged chefs blend from whole foods)
7 cloves Garlic – minced
1 onion – chopped
4 jalepenos – seeded and chopped
1 serano – diced
5 roma tomatoes – seeded and chopped
some red wine
1/2 cup cilantro – destemmed and chopped
1 Tb lemon juice
1 tp oregano
1/2 tp thyme
cayenne pepper


Saute the mushrooms in olive oil with a little salt over medium heat.
Add the garlic when the mushrooms are starting to soften and have released their juices. Once the liquid cooks away, pour in a little red wine.
In another pan, saute the onion and peppers in olive oil with a little salt also over medium heat.
Once the onions are soft, add the tomatoes and herbs. Cook the tomatoes down a bit. Add the mushroom and garlic mixture. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Really, taste it! Turn the heat down to low medium and cover the pot.

Start cooking the pasta in salted water. (We used whole wheat spaghetti.)

Add a couple of tablespoons of pasta water to the sauce until it looks right. (This is why I’m not writing recipes for a living.)

Right before the pasta is done add the cilantro and lemon juice to sauce and turn off the heat.

Serve the sauce over pasta. Add a little Parmesan cheese if you want, but it’s really good without it.