I tried a new pizza dough recipe this past weekend – mostly due to my lack of planning. I oftentimes start putting the dough together the night before to allow the yeast to essentially knead the dough with a long fermentation. However I forgot to do this so woke up on Sunday realizing I needed a quicker recipe. I have done my usual same-day bread recipe for pizza dough but was wondering if there was another option. After some google searching, I settled on a recipe that sounded fairly simple yet good. This recipe is adapted from Roberta’s (a well-known pizzeria in Brooklyn, NY). I didn’t have any 00 flour so just used AP flour for the entire recipe.
306 g AP flour
8 g fine sea salt
2 g active dry yeast
4 g olive oil
200 g warm tap water
I combined the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. In my measuring cup, I combined the warm water, olive oil and dry yeast. I allowed the yeast to bloom for a few minutes before mixing it with the flour/salt mixture. I kneaded/mixed the dough in the bowl for 3 minutes.
I then covered the bowl with a towel and let it sit for 15 minutes.
I proceeded to knead the dough again for 3 minutes within the bowl. I was a bit surprised how much the dough had formed up into a cohesive ball.
Earlier in the day I had made some pasta so had a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter that was floured.
So I just took the dough and placed it on the parchment paper, divided the dough in half, and formed two balls.
I let the dough rest under a towel (I used my water bottle sprayer to mist the top to maintain moisture) for about 3 hours. The dough continued to rise.
I preheated my oven to 545F. I took one ball of dough and on a well-floured countertop flattened the dough out into a pizza shape. I then topped it with marinara, mozzarella, mushrooms, zucchini.
About 1-2 minutes before the pizza was done, I removed it and topped it with some prosciutto.
The above recipe makes 2 good-sized pizzas. I did like this recipe because the dough seemed sturdier than ones I’ve made in the past. It was easy to create the pizza shape and didn’t rip/tear like some of the ones I’ve created. Overall I thought the taste was decent.
Last week during our holiday week off, the wife and I took a quick trip to “The City.” It’s funny because I only learned, in the last year or so, that if you live in this area, “The City” refers to San Francisco. I know the same is said about Manhattan if you live in the outskirts or outer Burroughs of NYC. We like to take quick trips to the City since it is so close.
There’s a hotel that we like in Berkeley because it is dog friendly. They have recently made some changes (paid parking instead of free self parking) that made the stay not as great – mostly because their machine that lets you in and out wasn’t working properly with the room key. Nevertheless it is a great location for us.
We had never been to Stinson beach, which is north of the City near the Muir Woods on the upper peninsula above San Francisco. We had previously been to Muir Woods and had a wonderful hike through the majestic trees. D didn’t realize to get to Stinson beach you had to take the windy, twisty mountainous roads with sheer cliff drop offs. Nevertheless, we made it after a bit of a drive. I think the dog got a little nauseous with the drive (normally she’s a trooper in the car). We grabbed some food at the Parkside Cafe snackbar. The snackbar is window-service small things like hot dogs, sandwiches, etc. I had a hot dog and a cup of their clam chowder. The chowder actually was decent though there was a little bit of grit, which hopefully means they actually make it from real ingredients. The beach that was right behind the cafe did not allow dogs so we drove into the neighborhood just north of this area, parked, and hiked to a beach that allows dogs (and even off-leash dogs). At first I was a bit hesitant to let Sophie (the dog) off-leash because she’s not always the nicest with other dogs – she likes to bark at them and sometimes growl. Eventually we made it to an area void of dogs so let her off leash. Luckily she mostly just stays near us and doesn’t wander more than ~10 feet from us. We spent some time just enjoying the ocean and waves and then headed to the hotel before D and I went into the city for dinner.
We figured by going during the middle of the week (between Christmas and New Years), it may be easier to get a reservation and not be so busy in SF. We booked a reservation at Tosca Cafe, which is just near the SF Chinatown.
After ordering drinks at the bar we were seated in their private room (their main area was full along with the bar area). It felt more intimate. The walls were covered with a mixture of older movie posters as well as pictures of celebrities and such that had eaten at Tosca. My first cocktail was their House “Cappuccino” 1919 (Marie Duffau Bas Armagnac, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Dandelion Chocolate Ganache, Organic Milk). It was delicious. We started off with the cheese plate, which was a combination of hard and soft cheeses. I had the crispy pig tail. This was a crunchy/sticky mixture of the tail skin and gelatinous subcutaneous fat with the small amount of lean meat on the bone. For my main, I had the octopus. I really enjoyed it as they prepared the meat well. Many times octopus can be a bit chewy and rubbery. This was not. It had a nice snap and then the inner part was tender. The Spanish octopus was paired with Black Garbanzo Beans, Tomato, Farro, Parsley Mayonnaise. Overall a nice dish.
My second cocktail was the Dolomite Bounty (Bourbon, Cocchi Rosa, Yellow Chartreuse, Lemon, Honey, Bitters). This was refreshing (different than the richness of the House Cappuccino).
We tried their Tiramisu for dessert. Honestly, it was too soft overall – lacked variation in texture that I’d expect from a good Tiramisu.
After dinner we walked across the street to City Lights Bookstore, which D knew about and I guess is famous. Right next to the bookstore is Jack Kerouac Alley, which had some quotes in the large pavers on the ground. Since we were in the Chinatown area, it was neat that some of them had both Chinese and English.
D was still hungry so we stopped at Hunan Homes (D’s favorite chinese place in SF) and picked up some food to bring back to our hotel.
The next morning we stopped in Berkeley and had breakfast at Cafe M. Then we took Sophie to Cesar Chavez Park right next to our hotel. On a clear day you get a beautiful view of the City and the Golden Gate bridge in the distance. After this we headed home. A nice quick visit.
The first run of 2017 is in the books. I made it out for 4.3 miles and some short(ish) intervals mixed in. I happily accomplished by 2016 goal and thought I’d set some modest goals for this coming year.
Goal 1: Stay Healthy
This will probably always be my goal each year with regards to both fitness as well as life in general. I’ve now been running for 7 years consistently and the first 6 years have been plagued with various injuries.
Goal 2: Finish Marathon #4
I’m signed up for the Big Sur International Marathon. Everything you read about running a race often involves having multiple goals for the race. This way you have a fall-back goal if it isn’t your day. So typically people will set up a Goal A, Goal B, Goal C. My A Goal would be a PR (which isn’t that ambitious considering that’s anything less than 5 hours). It is a little ambitious because of the hilly nature of the race. For Big Sur, everyone says not to even try for a PR and just enjoy the beauty that surrounds you, which I do plan on doing (that’s why it is my A Goal). My B goal is to finish feeling good (each of my first 3 marathons ended with me walking – I suspect I know why too). Finally, my C goal is to finish before the 6 hour cutoff.
I suspect that the reason I’ve not had good luck with finishing any of my prior marathons in a satisfying way is because of my lack of training volume. I haven’t really ever followed a strict training plan for my marathons. I know that this probably has had a significant impact on me on race day. So I’m going to try to stick to an actual marathon training plan this time.
The one difficulty I will run into with this race is that I’ll be traveling the 3-4 weeks prior to the race. This potentially impacts my long run (20 miler?) and the timing of it. I will most likely need to make an adjustment and do the longest run prior to the trip and just maintain my fitness on my trip.
I’ve started to break in some new kicks as I start my marathon training program. I’m returning to the original brand that I used to run in almost exclusively: Saucony. I have enjoyed the Guide series and so have started putting in mileage on the Saucony Guide 8. So far just one run but I like them and the green in them.
I finished off 2016 with a nice 4.5 mile run. Honestly it felt like the best run I’ve done in the last week or so.
The end of 2016 is upon us. It’s been a good running year for me. I managed to go the entire year without any major injuries. I definitely chalk this up to my newer rotation of shoes – 3 different shoes of all different types – and no aggressive changes to my mileage. My goal going into the year was to hit 70 miles per month (an arbitrary goal but one that was more ambitious compared to anything I’d done previously). A few years ago I had attempted to do 50 miles per month but that was derailed with injury about 4-5 months into the year.
I’m happy to report that I hit my 70 miles/month goal and also have a new PR for total yearly mileage. The breakdown of my monthly totals is as follows:
January – 75.87
February – 71.24
March – 77.05
April – 74.36
May – 70.45
June – 72.08
July – 71.56
August – 71.74
September – 70.89
October – 71.43
November – 70.16
December – 75.8
Total yearly mileage – 872.6 (183 runs)
My previous highest yearly mileage came in 2013 with 718.7 miles. I chalk up the previous few years of much fewer miles (500-600) due to injuries. This past year I only ran 2 races. My goal was to have an injury-free year of running, which I accomplished. I’m pretty proud of the 70 miles/month goal. I’ll admit there were a few months where I had concerns about not making it.
This year I also added a GPS running watch to my aresenal. I bought the Garmin Forerunner 225 in January and have been using it consistently for most of my runs. I don’t obsessively look at it on every run as I know many running coaches suggest having at least a few runs with no GPS watches/phones/etc to just enjoy the run. I, luckily, am able to do those runs even with my watch on without looking to see how far I’ve gone or how fast I’m running. My phone GPS also hadn’t been terribly accurate so I was glad to have something a little more reliable.
Runner’s World magazine had an article talking about decluttering as it pertains to running gear (clothes, shoes, hats, accessories, etc). Growing up I was in an environment where we kept things. By things I mean “everything.” You never know when you’re going to need something. My wife is the complete opposite and tries to keep material things to a minimum. I have slowly been trying to be more minimalist as the years have gone by. After reading the article, in which the author professes to having way too much running gear, I thought I should probably join in this movement and start slowly culling running shirts. I have collected quite a few tech t shirts from various races. I profess to never having actually purchased a tech t-shirt since I have obtained them all through race registrations. My cubby that I keep my shirts in was over-stuffed and some of the shirts I have are 6 years old. So far I’m retiring the following two shirts (my wife looked into places where I can actually recycle these shirts rather than going into a landfill somewhere).
The meteor martian was my first and only 10K race to date. I still can’t believe I ran it as quickly as I did (52.75 minutes). The AFC 5K was my first race in SD, which culminated in the RnR SD Marathon in 2011. Both shirts served me well in many many runs in the last 6 years.