Tag: Pizza

Coachella: A Festival for The Senses

Coachella: A Festival for The Senses

Nothing could prepare me for the 103 degree heat that slathered my skin as I got out of the air conditioned car to head into the Coachella Festival 2012.  But once my eyes feasted on my surroundings, the colorful people, the lights, the crazieness of it all… it was like an eye massage.  The heat soon dissipated to an afterthought.

Coachella truly is a festival for the senses.  You have good food, fashion, art and music all in one location.  A candy store of sorts for adults.  Even though Mazzy Star was the draw for me, everything else made the experience that much more spectacular.

Here’s a tiny photo recap of my time at Coachella:






 FYI: The Pizza was the BOMB!

Photos by Mando Lopez
Pizza making: Step 2 – Presley’s Pizza Pie!

Pizza making: Step 2 – Presley’s Pizza Pie!

My english teacher in high school asked the class to write an essay describing what type of animal best describes each of our own personalities.  Based on the mere fact that I love cheese, I quickly knew I would be a mouse and could have written an encyclopedia on it.

Since then nothing has changed in the love for cheese department, except now I am familiar with many varieties and at that time I was limited to a few.  I bring my cheese love forward when it comes to pizza-making….. and let me tell you, I’ve been to many of the pizza capitals of the world, Chicago, New York,  and all over Europe to name a few, and mine (imagine me honking my own BIG OBNOXIOUS HORN here) is SUPER FRICKEN DELICIOUS!  I enjoy mixing different types of cheese together and usually the results are FAB-TACULAR!

Ingredients for pizza:

1 – batch of dough,  click here for recipe.

8 – tablespoons olive oil

corn meal

1 1/2 – cups pizza sauce (recipe below)

1 1/2 – cups grated mozzarella cheese

1 – cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 – cup grated cotija cheese

dried salami

sliced onion


sliced black olives

An hour and a half prior to making your pizza,  rub a baking sheet lightly with olive oil.  Then pull dough out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature.  You will need to punch down dough and smooth into balls.  Then cover with plastic wrap while you wait for dough to come to room temp.

About 45 minutes before ready to bake, place a pizza stone on rack 3/4 of the way down from top of oven.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit.

Time to work the dough…  Take one of your dough balls and place on a lightly floured surfaced and shape into a disk.  Then continue to pull out into the desired size of your pie by draping it over the back of your hands, and continue to rotate dough with the back of your hands in a clockwise motion with the aid of your thumbs.



Then take your lightly olive oiled baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal then place pizza dough directly on top.  Continue to go around the edges forming a slightly raised rim with the tips of your fingers by pinching and gathering the dough.

Once the dough is ready.  Place a tablespoon of olive oil on the inside of the dough and then spread it around the inside circle avoiding the rim.


Then take 1/3 cup of pizza sauce and spread on inside of dough.

Then top with 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese,  1/4 cup cheddar cheese, and 1 tablespoon of cotija cheese.


Then top with salami, onion, basil and olives.


Then sprinkle a pinch of cheese over the top salami and veggies.

Place in oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until crust is golden!  Cook each pizza one at a time.

You could always make a vegetarian option and swap out the salami for fresh sliced tomatoes instead.  Its just as delizioso!


Ingredients for pizza sauce:

1 – 8 ounce can tomato sauce

1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 – teaspoons red wine vinegar

1/2 – teaspoon garlic powder

1 – teaspoon dried basil

1/2 – teaspoon oregano

1/4 – teaspoon black pepper

1/2 – teaspoon salt

1/3 – cup water

How to make the pizza sauce: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  There will be a little left over for those who love extra sauce or for future pizzas. 🙂


 All photos taken by: Mando Lopez and Nicole Presley

Pizza making: Step 1: How to make Rosemary Pizza Dough

Pizza making: Step 1: How to make Rosemary Pizza Dough

“Pizza Pie, Pizza Pie” is the chant that is sung in my home in a big burly voice.  It is the call that let’s the tribe know there will be pizza in the oven soon.  We will mark the day in a bite of cheesy laced crust and celebrate every morsel.  This is how I live… like a disciple committed to the art of pizza.  Let’s take the first steps towards our pie and begin with the dough.  Believe me I wasn’t always this confident in my dough making, in fact I shivered in my boots the first time the ingredients sat before me, but now I know just how easy it is…. with that being said let’s sing….. “Pizza Pie, Pizza Pie.”

Ingredients for pizza dough:

1 – packet highly active dry yeast (rapid rise)

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon warm/hot water

1 – tablespoon honey or sugar (I use honey)

2 – tablespoons olive oil

4 – cup all purpose flour or bread flour

1 1/2 – teaspoons table salt

1/2 – tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer add yeast and water and allow to dissolve. Mix it a few times until you know all yeast is dissolved. Then add in honey and mix to combine.  The water will be cloudy. This is the perfect sign.


Next add in olive oil and give another mix.  Let water mixture sit for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl mix flour, salt and rosemary.


Then add flour mixture all at once to the water mixture in the stand up mixer.

Fit a dough hook onto your stand up mixer, knead at low for 5 minutes allowing all ingredients to come together.  Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for 4 minutes the dough will comes away from the bowl with it wrapped around the the dough hook.  This is exactly what you’re looking for. Dough will be tacky but not sticky.

Remove dough from mixer and place on a clean flat surface and knead with hands for a minute.

Then lightly grease a bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil and transfer dough into lightly oiled bowl.  Once dough is placed in bowl form into a ball turning to coat the surface with oil.


Then flip bowl over on a large plate and leave dough covered in bowl for an hour and a half at room temperature allowing dough to rise.


Once dough rises uncover and knead dough for a minute or two then divide dough into 4 equal balls.


Form each ball into smooth dough by kneading for a minute or two. Then place all balls on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.


Leave them covered for another hour at room temperature. They will continue to rise.  Then refrigerate over night or up to 3 days covered in plastic wrap.  Dough will continue to rise until the cold of the refrigerator makes it go dormant.

Stay tuned for a the rest of my pizza making adventures…..

All photos taken by: Mando Lopez