The Perfect Pie

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! I hope that yesterday’s announcement of Ben & Taylor’s engagement helped put you in a romantic mood — it certainly did for me! We did most of our Hallmark Holiday celebration over the weekend. In addition to taking me to the DC Wine Festival, Sean took me to Ray’s the Steaks (technically, to Retro Ray’s next door which is its new walk-in only brother restaurant) and it was AMAZING. Seriously. DC-ites, Northern Virginians, and Marylanders alike: you must go. You get complimentary mashed ‘taters and creamed spinach with your entree, so the value is awesome for a steak joint (where you normally have to pay for every side individually). Get the crab bisque and the filet with brandy mushroom sauce and thank me later.

Sidebar: I also got this gorgeous Valentine’s surprise yesterday afternoon!


Aaaand we’re back! Sunday night we played it a little more low-key and made pizza! You already know how much I love putting my Christmas-given pizza stone to use, but you also know from past attempts how poor my dough-handling skills are.


Well, I’m sad to report that nothing has changed there. Misshapen pizzas still unfortunately seem to be my thing, and this margarita pizza definitely got struck with my ugly ‘za skillz. Luckily, in contrast, Sean seems to have unearthed a hidden talent for pizza shaping. Check out the perfectly circular pie he whipped up!


I was seriously jealous impressed. We determined that a factor may have been letting the dough sit OUT of the bag (we used the ready-made Trader Joe’s dough, like always) before shaping, instead of letting it sit in the plastic. We’ll have to do a strict comparison next time!


The second, perfect pie also had perfect toppings. It was like Hawaiian (my favorite) to the max: canadian bacon, bacon, mozzarella, feta (!), and pineapple. We may or may not have tucked cheese into that gorgeous crust, too. Heh. Not to worry! I exercised portion control only made it through a couple slices.


We both decided that if we did it again, we would cut the pineapple down smaller so you could get more of it in each bite. Delicious, nonetheless, and it made for the best leftovers ever!

On the docket for today is a cookie exchange that I’ve organized for my office (you better believe my disaster cookies are making an appearance, so brace yourselves for another earthquake!) It’s my first cookie exchange, so hopefully it goes smoothly. Hopefully my roommates will be happy that I’ll be bringing home a smorgasbord of sweet treats too — I’m counting on them to help me eat them so I can stay on track…ish! πŸ˜‰

What are your V-Day plans? Alternately/in addition, what’s your favorite pizza topping combination?


  1. Katesays:

    That right there is the perfect pizza, Gretchen! Oh so jealous.

    Happy V-Day! Ill be heading to Chipotle this evening since the other half is in Dirty Jersey for work. πŸ™

  2. I am going on my first EVER Valentine’s Day date tonight. I can’t believe I’ve never been out on V-Day before, but I am SO excited. We’re going to a food and beer pairing dinner at a local brewery. LOOK AT THIS MENU:

    Course One
    Raw oysters with a blood orange mignonette, frisΓ©e and chives
    *Upland Wheat*

    Course Two
    Baby arugula, asparagus, shallot, purple potato, and toasted almonds tossed in an avocado vinaigrette
    *Preservation Pilsner*

    Course Three
    Seared scallops on braised oxtail in demi-glace served over roasted garlic &creme fraiche mashed potatoes with watercress and black
    *Double Dragonfly IPA*

    Course Four
    Gingerbread with local persimmon mousse, Teddy Bear Kisses syrup
    and dark chocolate decor
    *Teddy Bear Kisses Imperial Stout*

  3. I love pineapple on pizza. I agree with you about cutting it smaller, just like shredded pepperoni trumps slices every time.

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Those flowers are beautiful.

  4. happy valentine’s day! Those pizzas look awesome!

  5. I need a pizza pan.

    For my Valentine’s this year, my roommate and I are ordering a pizza and switching rooms. Super excited. Seriously.

  6. That looks like awesome pizza…!! I’ve used the Trader Joe’s dough also and I can never shape it nicely so you’re not the only one. My brother makes homemade pizza all the time and he doesn’t even try to get his round…an old roommate told him that his pizzas have character and now he has pride in the fact that they look like amoebas. πŸ™‚

  7. ahhh Hawaiian pizza is my fav too!!!!! Also we love the dough from Trader Joe’s mmmmmmmmmmmmm. We made pizza last week πŸ™‚

    And tonight we are making Southwestern stuffed peppers.. cannot wait πŸ™‚

  8. Laurensays:

    Gah, I always have problems with that Trader Joe’s dough too! I will have to let it sit out next time. And those flowers are gorgeous!!

    My favorite pizza topping is either mushrooms or pineapple, depending on my mood.

    Tonight my boyfriend and I have reservations at Oyamel. I haven’t been in a long, long time, so I’m excited! Who wouldn’t be with such a handsome date??

  9. Yum! I want pizza now. It’s only 10 a.m. but I’m hungry. Hmm…

    Anyway, the plan for tonight is to head out to this restaurant called Z Cucina here in Columbus, but my boyfriend’s feeling a bit under the weather so I told him we can stay in too. It’s his call (he planned dinner!) so we’ll see. Either way, I’m just happy to relax and spend time with him. πŸ™‚

    My pizza of choice at my favorite pizzeria (back at home in upstate New York) is a white pizza with broccoli and tomatoes. It sounds weird, but topped with more garlic and mozzarella, it is delicious!

  10. Being Valentine-less myself, I will happily eat any sweet stuff I find. πŸ˜€ My plans for the day include grading papers… so yes, I’ll be all about the sweets.

    Ooh, and pizza toppings! Usually just five tons of cheese, but sometimes ham and pineapple!

    Happy <3 Day, roomie!

  11. I love lots of veg on my pizza.

    Your flowers are BEAUTIFUL!

  12. Elainesays:

    Beautiful flowers and evern more beautiful pizza pie!!!!

  13. I wish you’d asked me about the pineapple! As my personal favorite topping on any pizza made with my stone, chopping it into smaller pieces would have been my first piece of advice. It will also cook a little more evenly with the rest of the pizza, and will seem more like a topping when it comes out of the oven, as opposed to ‘baked pieces of pineapple on top of a pizza’. It’s kind of hard to explain the distinction there, but having already made it with the pieces too big for yourself, I’m sure you understand the difference.

  14. Wait… who is Sean? Is he your beau? Did I miss something? I have the worst short-term memory…
    And also- do you have to have a pizza paddle to cook on a stone? Or is there something else you can build the pie on and slide it onto the stone? I have a stone and no paddle. I’m just usually lazy and make pizza on naan bread or pitas, but cooking from dough is the best!

    • Haha! Yes indeed, he is my new beau. I casually mentioned him in a post a few days ago, so don’t worry, I purposefully was hoping people might gloss over it, ahahaha.

      I do have a pizza paddle/peel, but I’ve also used a flexible cutting board for the job. If you have something that won’t melt, I’m sure it’d work out perfectly. Just use lots of corn meal on the bottom of the dough so it slides easily! I bet a fairly flat plate would work just fine too!

  15. My favorite toppings are pepperoni and onions. For the past few weeks, I’ve been making homemade pizza. However, I cannot convince my boyfriend (a.k.a. my lover man dude) to try whole wheat dough. So I would appreciate any suggestions. One staple for us is to also top the pizza with dried oregano and sweet basil. Yum!

  16. Holy pizza pie, Sean looks like a dough master! My pizzas often look like yours, no shame, they’re still tasty ;P My fave toppings are lots of veggies, Hawaiian, or BBQ chicken…

  17. I cannot get a circular pizza from raw dough to save my life! Woo woo to Sean though… looking forward to hearing more about him! πŸ™‚

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