Friday, December 27, 2013

Homemade Pizza Dough


It has been a very long time since the last time I've blogged. It got to be so long, and then it got to be longer. Then I became embarrassed about being away so long and then it just became harder and harder to get back. It's like writing thank you cards too long after Christmas (though I must say, I wrote and sent all my thank you cards today). Good for me.

I stopped blogging as much after I got my first smart phone. I didn't need to take pictures with a traditional camera anymore to share my dinners on facebook. It makes one lazy. And then I got engaged and stuff. It makes everything much more complicated to find time.

But since it is shortly after Christmas and I have the day off, I thought I"d share a great recipe for homemade pizza with you. You can put anything you want on your pizza. Mine has tomatoes, onion, mushrooms and arugula salad. With or without tomato sauce, it's fantastic.

This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting

Pizza Dough

Ingredients
  • 3.6 oz bread flour
  • 2.2 oz water
  • pinch of yeast
  • 14.6 oz bread flour
  • 10.2 oz warm water
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp yeast
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. The day before, mix 3.6 oz bread flour, 2.2 oz water and pinch of yeast. Cover and leave at room temperature until the next day.
  2. Mix bread flour, water, salt, yeast and the ferment on low speed for 3 minutes until mix comes together.
  3. Turn mixer up to medium speed and add olive oil. Mix until dough is springy and elastic. Cover with plastic and let rise in warm place for 1 hour
  4. Remove dough from bowl and stretch/fold a couple times. Cover and let rise another hour.
  5. Flour dough and stretch to cover a 16 inch pizza pan. Spread with sauce/desired toppings and bake at 425 for 12 minutes or until done.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Japanese potato salad


It's summer time. It's time for picnics and bbqs. It's time for cold beers and short shorts. Even though the cicadas will soon be out, it's still one of my favorite times of year.

I never really liked potato salad, but I always liked this style recipe. It's a slightly different take, using japanese quick pickles instead of relish, and using kewpie mayonaise. Kewpie is a slightly sweet Japanese mayonaise. (The three cultures that like mayonaise most in the world are the Dutch, Americans, and the Japanese).

Potato salad is one of those foods that you can't provide a recipe for. Everyone prefers it a particular way: more or less salt, more or less mayo, soft or firm potatoes, etc. What I give is just a suggestion of how I enjoy it.

Note: a more expensive version uses mentaiko (spicy cod roe), which is great. In that case, I would omit the bacon.


Japanese Potato Salad



Ingredients
  • 1 lb new potatoes
  • 3 carrots, cut into batons and blanched
  • 3 japanese cucumbers, sliced and salted
    1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • mayonnaise or kewpie mayo
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 4 - 6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shichimi
    Optional: thick cut bacon or ham

Ingredients
  1. Boil potatoes with skins on in salted water until tender. Blanch carrots until slightly tender but still firm.
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice cucumber and salt until biting into one tastes quite salty. This will draw the water out of the cucumbers. After 20 minutes, squeeze cucumbers in your hands. They should now be slightly salty and quite crunchy. If they are not crunchy, squeeze them again. If they are too salty, wash them and squeeze again.
  3. Gently break up cooled potatoes into large chunks, tossing gently with carrots and cucumbers. They should be more like smashed potatoes instead of cubed. Some large pieces, and some soft smashed parts
  4. Mix mayonnaise and curry powder with the vegetables and eggs. Add cubed bacon/pancetta or ham if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  5. Garnish with shichimi

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Great depression one pan Chocolate Cake - no milk, eggs or butter


I was on Pinterest and found a recipe on Sweet Little Bluebird for this cake. It was described as a "Great Depression Cake" because it has no milk, eggs or butter. I imagine coco and sugar would have also been expensive during the depression, but I figured I would give this cake a shot.

We were out of milk and eggs when I made this cake last night, but it did not disappoint. I usually don't like making vegan desserts because it involves weird ingredients like Earth Balance, soy milke or egg replacer, but this didn't have any of that. Totally my kind of vegan cake. It was very moist with a dense, almost sticky crumb. Even the frosting is vegan (and it's one of the easiest frostings I've ever made)

I'll keep this cake in my arsenal for anyone with egg allergies.



Great Depression Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cup AP flour
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened coco powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water

Ingredients for frosting
  • 4 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients in an ungreased 8 inch square pan (I used a 9 inch round pan)
  3. Make 3 small wells in the dry ingredients. Add vinegar, vanilla and oil to each well and pour water over the top. Mix well until smooth
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set in the center
  5. Meanwhile, put chocolate and peanut butter in a double boiler. Mix until smooth
  6. Pour over cake and let cool. Eat and enjoy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tomatillo Salsa: an intro to canning


I want to introduce my lovely readers to the concept of canning, which is not nearly as difficult as everyone makes it sound. All you need is a large pot, some mason jars, and a lot of something you want to preserve. It's a great way to save those end of season vegetables for use later. Even if you don't have a garden, you can get a lot of awesome things at the farmers market and make things just because they sound delicious.

First, this recipe (and most of my canning recipes) comes from the Ball Home Preserving book. It's awesome and gives really great advice



There are a few things to know about canning:

FIRST, boil the jars, lids and bands before adding anything to them. This sanitizes them and prevents the jars from breaking when you add hot liquid. The book says you don't need to fully boil them, but what can it hurt?

SECOND, pay attention to the time. It won't make much of a difference with salsa, but with jam or pickled vegetables cooking time is very important

THIRD, hot jars should never be placed directly on a surface like the kitchen counter. The temperature difference can cause the glass to break. Always place hot jars on a kitchen towel

FOURTH, if the button is still up the next day (the button that makes the popping noise on the lid) then it did not seal properly. It won't have the shelf life of normal canned goods.

The most important thing: be very careful when taking jars out of the water. I use a combination of tongs and a large spoon to put jars in and out of the pot, but I've dropped/broken jars before that way. It can be tricky, but they do sell jar lifters, if you are interested in that

And now salsa recipe


Tomatillo Salsa (makes four 8 oz jars)

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 cups chopped cored husked tomatillos
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped seeded green chili peppers
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Prepare canner lids and jars. Place jars in a pot filled with room temperature water and bring to a boil. Boil the lids and bands separately in a small pot so they are easier to remove. This prevents jars from breaking when the hot liquid is introduced. Carefully remove jars from water after your salsa has finished cooking.
  2. Combine tomatillos, onion, chili peppers, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, cumin, salt and hot pepper flakes. Bring to boil while stirring constantly, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes
  3. Carefully remove jars from the water to place on a kitchen towel (also prevents breakage) and fill with salsa, leaving half an inch of headspace at the top. Take a popsicle stick and move it along the edges of the jar to get rid of any air bubbles. Adjust headspace accordingly.
  4. Wipe rims of jars, center lids, and screw on bands until they are fingertip tight. Carefully place them back in the boiling water (I use tongs and a large spoon), making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch.  Place a lid on the pot and boil jars for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove lid and leave jars another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove jars from water and leave untouched for at least 12 hours to make sure the lids seal properly. Check the next day to make sure that button is down to know it has sealed properly.

Note: The salsa will taste very sour at first, but it mellows out given time in the jar and chilled in the refrigerator. I added a little honey and more salt while it boiled to counterbalance the sour flavor. It made a spicy, slightly sweet and sour salsa, which I really liked even though it was a little different.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Return to blogging with Chicken Picatta



It has been a very long time since the last time I've blogged. It got to be so long, and then it got to be longer. Then I became embarrassed about being away so long and then it just became harder and harder to get back. It's like writing thank you cards too long after christmas. It gets so much more difficult that way.

But I've had this photo and this recipe sitting around for a long time wanting to be uploaded. I thought there would be no better time than now to start again.


Chicken Picatta

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • flour

Directions

  1. Butterfly chicken breasts and cut in half. Season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp butter and 3 Tbsp olive oil in a pan. Add chicken and brown on both sides. Remove to plate
  3. Deglaze pan with lemon and chicken stock, scraping up the brown delicious bits. Add capers and simmer chicken in sauce another 5 minutes
  4. Remove chicken from sauce, turn to low, and whisk in another 2 Tbsp cold butter to thicken the sauce
  5. Top with parsley and serve with pasta

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