500,000 Candles in the Wind

Flags today are at half mast, as America bid farewell to a beloved icon last night.  

Leslie Knope

Ok they're not really...but they should be. Leslie Knope. We barely knew 'ye. 

It's been a devastating winter, guys. I am still reeling from Parenthood going off the air and now Parks and Recreation?! I just don't know what to do with myself anymore! I mean, get hobbies or volunteer or read books or whatever but come on: no. 

I was planning to celumourn (celebrate while mourning, duh) the P&R finale the same way I did 30 Rock (still not over that one), by gathering my nearest and dearest for a viewing party chock-o-block full of thematic foods, weird clip art and a mandatory costume requirement that NO ONE follows, so I'm the only nerd wearing fake glasses and a Liz Lemon blazer.

lizlemon.jpg

I had a whole menu and invited people and errrythang but then it turned out that NBC was airing the finale at TEN in the PM so we all had to cancel, that's just not really a humane hour to socialize on a school night. Or ANY night. 

30 is the new 90, my friends. Live it up.

Brian and I did bring a taste of Pawnee to the Hott Homestead. For dinner we indulged in a little "fast casual Italian dining," with some homemade calzones inspired by my boy Ben Wyatt. Tom Haverford may get all the best lines and Ron Swanson is and will remain an American Hero and Leslie Knope is my role model in life (and her real- life human counterpart Amy Poehler is my actual human role model) but Ben Wyatt is the unsung hero of P&R and the throbbiest of heart throbs as far as I'm concerned. I knowwww he's not real but I LOVE him. 

I mean...slim. Mathematical. Big fan of plaid shirts. 

piday

One MAY go so far as to say I have a type.

And Ben and Leslie are totally my relationship idols, too. Again, I know they're fake but they're just so dang great. They genuinely care for each other and support each other and encourage one another to be the best they can be - even if their best is a little weird. Their wedding vows of "I like you and I love you" are perfect and I KNOW I am the dorkiest of the dorks but my favorite thing about this show was the importance they placed relationships - friendships, marriages, "work proximity associates" - and though it's just a fun TV comedy it is also, to me, a genuine inspiration to nurture and foster strong relationships in real life, too. So with no shame, WWLABD (What Would Leslie And Ben Do) is my marriage motto for lyfe. 

See also, this video. Replace Leslie with me and Ben with Brian and this is basically our whole life. (Our names even start with the same letters!!!!) 

I'm so embarrassing.

We rounded out our thematic meal with friendship waffles (organic, $5 a box, I love Brooklyn) and homemade whipped cream for dessert.

friendship waffled

If you're a fellow P&R nerd, check out #wafflesacrossamerica for some fellow superfans. If you're not a fellow P&R nerd, I can't even imagine why you're still reading this! Get a life!

Ok that's my story, RIP Parks and Recreation. Bye Bye, Lil' Sebastian...and everyone else. Thanks for all the laughs and the love and inspiration!! I miss you already. 

And as a fun treat for all of you, here is a heavily improvised, wildly delicious calzone recipe that is so easy even Gerry/Garry/Larry could make it.

BEN WYATT'S CALZONES OF LOVE

ben calzones

(Low Calzone Zone image via...I have this printed and hanging on my bulletin board at work, ha) 

Total cooking time...30 minutes ish?

Serves: We used approx one pound of dough, it made 4 small calzones which served us for one dinner with one 'zone leftover

Ingredients:

  • Bunch of pizza dough, ideally purchased from your local pizzeria. Did you know you can do this? $2! And delicious!! Or you could buy some from the grocery store orrrr you could make your own and normally I'd be all in on the homemade option but I just can not bake to save my life and really can't be trusted not to make a mess with that much flour and sometimes, why bother, you know? Just buy it from an expert. But if you want to make dough, make dough.  Just do you! 
  • Tub of ricotta cheese (to be pronounced RUH-COTTA-UHH unless you are fresh off the boat, you know how I feel about this
  • Bag of shredded mozzarella (again, pronounced MOTZARELLLLA, I don't allow any of that moootttzzzarelll shit i my kitchen) 
  • One egg
  • Dried basil & dried oregano 
  • Whatever you want for filling: We did peppers, onion and mushrooms. You could add some sausage, some broccoli, spinach, shredded chicken, cat food. GO NUTS. 
  • Lil bit of flour
  • Lil bit of olive oil

Directions: 

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine a big blob (approx 1/2 a cup) the ricotta and like half a bag of the mozz with JUST the yolk from the egg. This is probably the hardest part of this whole recipe so just google search "how to separate an egg" and you'll be fine. Toss in a hefty shake of dried oregano and a hefty shake of dried basil. Set aside. 
  3. Saute up your innards. If you're using meat, cook it so it's not raw anymore, if you're vegging totally your call how cooked or fresh to make the veggies. Follow your heart. 
  4. MEANWHILE....ha! I hate when recipes say "meanwhile." Like, I am only one human with two arms and a lot of ingredients happening, how am I simultaneously doing all these things at once. But here we are. Meanwhile...in that while your fillings are lightly sauteing on the stovetop... sprinkle a SMALL amount of flour onto the counter. If you are a disaster like me, you may need a supervisor for this part unless you want flour literally all over your whole house. Roll out the dough and then separate it into four parts and then smush/roll/pull on them until they're kind of flat. I think they're supposed to be round but ours were triangular and they were great. Don't overthink it.
  5. Put a scoop of cheese mixture on top of one half of one of your dough blobs, then a scoop of toppings mixture (or vice versa. Toppings and THEN cheese. Calzones are a relaxed, easygoing food. Continue to follow your heart!), fold the other half of the dough over the top, smush the edges together with a fork and cut a tiny slit in top. You may attempt to make the slits into pretty flower shapes but it won't work and you'll just end up with weird holes in the top. Stay chill. 
  6. Brush a thin coat of olive oil on the top of each calzone.
  7. Put the 'zones onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, stage for photos, upload to instagram and DIGG INNNN. 

Yum!!! Ok if you'll excuse me I have to go daydream about Ben's booty (and Brian's!), read some more P&R tributes and, oh yes...get to work.

Happy Wednesday, nerds! xoxoxo Liz Ho