For the Love of Pizza

February is the Coldest Month

It’s also the month when we celebrate love. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and the chocolatiers and florists are ready. I’m devoting my blog this month to the topic of love, but lacking a romantic partner I’ll be focusing on some other areas of the emotion of attraction. The love of melted hot cheese, tomato sauce, and crispy crust for one.

I’m going to be reviewing some of the great pizza pies you can find in Santa Cruz County and I began my search at the Pizza My Heart location in Aptos, called Pizza 1. Located at 253 Center Ave in Aptos, Pizza 1 is just a few blocks from the famous Seacliff stairs, where I like to do some training. To prepare for this pizza review, I did 33 laps of the stairs with my fully loaded camera bag on my back.

Nutrition Facts

Pizza is not traditionally known as a health food. However, when you burn 2,000 calories you don’t have to worry as much about your calories or macros. Your body wants and needs sugars and the complex carbohydrates in pizza crust will do just fine.

There are 8 slices in a 12″ pie, and each slice has:

140 calories

5g of fat (3g saturated fat)

15mg cholesterol

400mg sodium

18g total carbohydrates

6 grams of proteing

If you eat the entire pizza, as I did, that adds up to 1,120 calories, 40g of fat, 144g of carbs, and 48g of protein. If I hadn’t worked out hard by doing sets of stairs, that would have been a bad dietary decision. As it was, my body burned that fuel almost immediately. The rest of my day was energetic and I went for another hike for the golden hour at sunset.

The experience of eating a whole pie to myself was good. It wasn’t filling and every bite was delicious. The crust was crispy, the tomato sauce delicious, and the cheese gave me that satisfaction I was desiring. Pizza My Heart knows what they are doing, and this pizza was a solid 9.3 out of 10.

Chocolate Chip Baguette by Companion Bakeshop

Passionate about Bread

I’ve been upping my fitness game and one of the beautiful consequences of exercising more is earning the ability to eat more of what you want. I’ve been burning 1,500-2,000 calories a day finding myself more often in a caloric deficit than not. As a result, I have been indulging in one of my favorite foods: sourdough bread.

I also recently started an Instagram account devoted to food content (you can follow me HERE: https://www.instagram.com/jakereats/,) so I took the opportunity to fuel up and get some photos. I stopped by the Companion Bakeshop in Aptos and purchased their last Chocolate Chip Baguette.

Fitness and Food

Health is wealth baby, especially when you get to eat delicious bread like this Chocolate Chip Baguette from Companion Bakeshop. I photographed the bread at the bakeshop taking advantage of the nice soft light coming in through the large windows. Then, I indulged. The tang of the sourdough and the bittersweet chocolate are perfect companions, living up to bakery’s name.

After this, I went and did 21 laps at the Seacliff stairs before walking down the beach to shoot the waves at sunset. I can’t imagine a Chocolate Chip Baguette getting better than this one, so I’m going to have to give it a solid 9.6/ 10 rating. I highly recommend stopping by and picking one up, but you might want to go early as they regularly sell out of all their bread.

The Value of Landscape Photography Part One

Exploration and Creation

The process of searching for something that you want to photograph, of looking for landscapes you want to depict, can be a mysterious process. What makes you want to make a photograph? Searching for meaning in a landscape could seem a foreign or futile process if you are uninitiated and unexperienced, but the process of looking for subjects in the environment to photograph is exciting and inherently valuable.

One of the interesting things about landscape photography is that it is very accessible. Access is not the greater challenge. Cameras exist in great abundance, and there are lots of parks with forests, mountains, streams, beaches, and other interesting things to discover. What makes it difficult is the not knowing.

To want to make a landscape photograph, you have to become accustomed to the process of exploring. Exploration already implies a lack of knowledge. It means you are looking for something hitherto unconscious. It requires going out into the world with the goal of bringing back something different.

Studying the Landscape

Through searching for subject to photograph, an artist gradually grows to know a place intimately. Hiking becomes a form of reading when you enter into this mode of searching. Any landscape is constantly changing with the seasons, and even a small park is infinitely full of potential subject matter. This means that it is virtually impossible to fully know any landscape. By paying careful attention to it, however, you can become very familiar with a space.

Only through putting in the time can an artist know a space. It is a relationship that requires work and patience. Similar to studying English Literature, or the history of Chinese Painting, this is a process that could never be complete. There is always more to learn.

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coffee Lover’s Cookie Dream

Have you ever eaten a cookie that tastes like espresso? I hadn’t either, but it’s my new favorite treat. The rich nuttiness of the browned butter creates the body of the cookie and the dark chocolate chips and espresso powder add depth and dimension. This cookie is an experience.

Ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup) of Challenge Butter (salted)

1 1/4 cups of C&H Premium Pure Cane Dark Brown Sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract

2 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flower

2 tablespoons Medaglia D’Oro Instant Espresso Coffee

1 teaspoon Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Morton’s Iodized Salt

1 1/2 cups Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate Chip Morsels

Directions:

Brown the Butter: on medium low heat constantly stir the butter until it achieves a golden brown color. The butter will froth up and the froth will recede before the butter is brown. Make sure you don’t use too hot of a temperature or you may burn the butter fats. This is like roasting a marshmallow, so practice patience to get the perfect golden color.

Mix in Brown Sugar: transfer the butter to a large mixing bowl and add the brown sugar. Mix until fully incorporated.

Add eggs and vanilla: in order to avoid getting egg shells in your cookie dough, crack your eggs into a small bowl, add the vanilla and whisk with a fork until the eggs are an even consistency. Then, add to the sugar butter mixture and mix until creamy and smooth.

Combine dry ingredients and incorporate into dough: add 2 cups of flour to measuring cup and add the salt, baking soda, and espresso powder. Mix together with espresso powder and add one cup at a time to the mixture, mixing as you go. Once the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, add another 1/4 cup of flour at a time until the dough stops sticking to the sides of the bowl.

Add chocolate chips: mix in the chocolate chips. Using your hands makes this step a little easier.

Form dough into balls: using your hands, make cookie sized balls of dough in the bowl. Cover bowl with tin foil and cool overnight, or for at least 12 hours. This step is crucial to allow the whole wheat flour to fully hydrate. This will make the cookies gooey and delicious in the center.

Preheat oven to 350. Place six balls of cookie dough on baking sheets with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies start to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and using a metal spatula place on a cooling rack.