Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Stratzeria: 10 thoughts on Making homemade pizza in Lansdale

For the third straight year I have been making pizza for friends as if it is my true calling. Maybe it is. Last night a friend said I needed a sign outside my house, The Stratzeria.

Some thoughts:

  1. Jazz is chosen randomly, counting by 7's. Last night it featured Anat Cohen, Tony Bennett, Duke Ellington, and three others. They are set before I start the dough. The other week I forgot this stage. I do turn down the volume just before guests arrive.
  2. People generally say they like all toppings, but what many really mean is they do no like olives and they think pineapple is a travesty. Personally if I could adapt to both of these I think you could as well. We love using oil-cured black olives.
  3. I do keep a running total of people have fed. The last two years I nearly fed 60 people pizza. It seems to be what we do these days for entertainment. I am mystified by how many friends I wish to have over.
  4. The best way to place greens on a pizza is to cook it in the sauce.
  5. It's ok to use straight mozzarella.
  6. It's ok to use billions and billions of other types as well. I like adding a bit of a second cheese to the mozzarella.
  7. Broccoli is best chopped into tiny bits. We like muenster cheese with broccoli.
  8. Dough. Heaping two cups of warm water, a splash of honey, two packets of yeast. One to two cups of whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup of olive oil, tsp of sea salt, and as much white flour to make if dough like. My recipe has evolved into this. It used to have a 1/4 cup of rye flour. Makes enough for two pizzas which I make on cookie sheets.
  9. Shrimp and garlic is heaven. It used to be a special Christmas Eve treat.
  10. If I am to make my own pizza sauce, then it happens in the summer by roasting tomatoes with garlic and salt. add fresh herbs from your garden at the very end.
Side note... I blogged about my Fit over here.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Stratoz, the suitcase leaves the closet

On Facebook I have friends from elementary school, high school, two colleges, years spent in MA, OR, and IL, from church, work and craft shows... but none from the time I was known as Stratoz. You see, I had to walk away. It took years to leave him behind me and yet, I called myself Stratoz when I started this blog. What you may not know is this, it was Stratoz hit rock bottom.
"After all was said and done
There was nothing left to do
The hardest mile I ever walked
Was the one I walked away from you" 
Kim Richey

But emerging was a bit of a rocky road and I fell back a few times.  Maybe luck kept me from dropping to lower levels of bedrock. OK, luck saved me many a time. But not all the time. A relationship lost. Opportunities missed.

"But I’m alright
Sacked down but I’m still standing
Yeah I’m alright
Little banged up from the fall
But I’m alright
Still shaky from the landing
Yeah I’m alright after all" 
Kim Richey

Stratoz was a young man who came close to letting go of caring for anything. I remember where not caring took me, so when students tell me that they don't care about me, my class, or an assignment; I often respond with, "That's OK with me, as long as you tell me one thing you do care about."

When a friend returned a wise comment with a wise comment, I had to ponder art by Stratoz, so I dug this dusty suitcase out of the closet. It is filled with what I would now call Stratozpheric doodles. Some are relatively recent, others stretch back closer to Stratoz. I doubt anything goes back 32 years, but one day soon, I'll open it and take a journey. I would imagine some of those old designs will ask me to take them into the realm of glass. 
"And every now and then I think about you
Oh every now and then I cross the line" 
Kim Richey

Monday, February 17, 2014

How to make lavender hot chocolate or cocoa on Valentines and beyond. Tips and Recipe

Marshmallows from the Alice Bakery
floating in my lavender hot chocolate

photo by Wayne Stratz


  • grow your own lavender, if done by seed, they germinate well in a moist paper towel placed inside a plastic bag.
  • dry lavender during the explosion of blooms in spring time... twist tie in small bunches and hang with blooms hanging down
  • feel free to forget about that dried lavender, when you discover it it in several months it will be cold and it will be a fine time for hot cocoa
  • be inspired by things you have never tried. I have placed lavender in lemon pound cakes and rice pilafs. I think I first ate lavender in a dark chocolate bar made by Dagoba. It also had blueberries in it. 
  • experiment.
  • use what you got, but I got to say having this in the house may have inspired the idea of making lavender hot chocolate.

chocolate alchemists
photo by Wayne Stratz

Recipe (for two servings)

  1. use fingers to crush a teaspoon of dried lavender and place into a tea sock thingee
  2. place two heaping tablespoons of cacao (cocoa) powder and two unheaping tablespoons of sugar in a small pot
  3. place a quater cup of water in pot 
  4. add heat to create a syrup
  5. add two heaping cups of milk into pot. 
  6. add tea sock thingee
  7. heat slowly
  8. heat slowly
  9. pour into two of you favorite mugs
  10. add marshmallows for your Valentine if she/he desires

hand crafted mugs by Pam Cummings
photo by Wayne Stratz

Monday, February 3, 2014

Trees are amazing; exploring the path of water

Negative pressures. Avoiding spontaneous boiling. Surmounting great heights. And ever wasteful but important because of the waste. Love the enthusiasm shown for the splendid nature of plants.