Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Homemade Pizza

We have some good friends who are vegetarian. When they come to visit, I am always looking for something they will enjoy. This was a big hit.  I made Alex Guamaschelli's basic pizza dough and then put out toppings from which everyone could choose.

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 package)
1/2 cup warm water about 110 degrees F)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling dough
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper ( I used black pepper) I don't mind the black flecks
1 scant tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus some additional for coating the bowl/greasing the trays
In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast and allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes.

Using a sieve or strainer, sift about 1/2 of the flour over the yeast mixture and blend until smooth with your hands. Add the salt, pepper, and honey. and mix to blend. Sift in the remaining flour and mix to blend.

Lightly flour a cutting board or flat surface. Turn the pizza dough onto the floured area and knead for 3-5 minutes. The flour should feel smooth and the ingredients fully integrated. Place the dough inside a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place, about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Press gently on the dough and turn it onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, rolling each quarter into a loose ball. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for an additional 15 minutes. Flatten each ball, 1 at a time, and roll it into a 6-inch found. Place each round in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Tip: Brushing the dough with olive oil can create a barrier that will help to prevent the topping from making the crust soggy.

Toppings I provided:
1. marinara sauce or pesto sauce
2. spinach 
3. mushrooms
4. oven roasted tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes
5. Canadian bacon
6. Cheese (mozzarella and cheddar)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Short Rib Tacos

I have put this on my blog before, but it is worth have more than once. It is really good. It is a recipe from Paula Deen

Printable Version
4 dried ancho chilies, steemed, seeded, and ribs discarded
1 medium onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
6 pounds beef short ribs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Warm corn tortillas
Mexican crema or sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
slices of avocado for garnish- optional
I used the crema recipe that I use for my fish tacos. I think if you type in fish tacos at the top of this page you will find the recipe.
Soak the ancho chilies in boiling water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and discard the liquid. Transfer the softened chiles to a blender or food processor. Add the onion, garlic, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, beef broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Puree until smooth. I only used about 2 pounds of beef short ribs so I divided the recipe by 3. Next time I will divide it in 1/2 because I think it could have used a little more liquid.
Pat ribs dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the ribs in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 7 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned ribs to a slow cooker.
Pour the sauce over the ribs (liquid should reach about 1/2 way up the sides of the meat.
Cover and cook 7 hours on high until very tender.( I used a crock pot and cooked it on high for about 4 hours) Allow the ribs to cool slightly in the sauce.
Remove the ribs from the sauce. Discard the bones and shred the meat into a large bowl. Skim the fat from the surface and discard. Mix the sauce into the meat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the meat and sauce into warm corn tortillas and serve with Mexican crema and chopped fresh cilantro. My crema recipe has cilantro in it so I did not add extra. We did add some avocado on top even though the recipe doesn't call for it.

These ribs can also be cooked in a 350 degree F oven for 3 1/2 hours.

Roast Pork Loin with Rood Vegetables

This is a recipe from ina-garten and you can find it Here
I forgot to take a picture with the root vegetables. This was what was left and I took a picture the next day so you could see it.
 As usual I cut everything down for two people.

Printable Version
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 (3pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed and tied
3 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
8 carrots, peeled, and thickly sliced 
10 small potatoes (red or white-skinned), cut in quarters
2 yellow onions, thickly sliced
4 tablespoons good olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
With a mortar and pestle, or in a food proce3ssor, fitted with a steel blade, grind together garlic, 1 tablespoon slat, and thyme leaves. Add the mustard. Spread the mixture over the loin of pork and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the fennel bulbs in thick wedges, cutting through the core. Toss the fennel, carrots, potatoes, and onions in a bowl with the olive oil, melted butter, salt and pepper to taste. Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes. Add the pork loin to the pan and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. The meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork should read exactly 138 degrees. ( I think I like mine a little more done) Remove the meat from the pan and return the vegetables to the oven to keep cooking. Cover the meat with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the strings from the meat and slice it thickly. Arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter. Sprinkle with walt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Creamy Pico de Gallo Shrimp

I got this recipe from Becky Upchurch. She found it in the May 2012 issue of Express News. Can't believe I am just now trying it.  It will be my go to shrimp dish. I used a serano pepper that we got from a friend. Thanks Bill and Becky. I cut this recipe in 1/2.

Printable Version
12 large wild-caught (16-20 count) shrimp--cleaned (I used about 8 because I was just making it for 2)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup purple onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon cilantro, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
Juice and zest of 1 lime
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
In a hot pan, melt butter and sear shrimp for 30 seconds on each side. Remove shrimp and set aside. In same pan, saute' onion, garlic, jalapeno until onion becomes soft. 4 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine. Let wine reduce by 1/2. Add tomato, cilantro, cream, lime zest, juice of lime, salt pepper and shrimp. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly. Taste for seasoning. Serve over rice.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ritz cracker crusted chicken

We had a whole sleeve of ritz crackers that were crumbs. I decided to put them in the food processor and make them into a meal to coat the chicken. It was a great success. I may just have to keep some in the pantry for just this purpose.

salt and pepper to taste
1 egg for coating chicken
ritz crackers that have been processed into a fine meal
canola oil for frying
Pound the chicken into an even pieces
Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken
Coat both sides of the chicken with an egg that has been beaten
Dredge chicken in the cracker crumbs
Fry on both sides

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Angel Biscuits

I have had this recipe for a very long time. It is pretty easy to find on the internet so I'm not sure where it originated. I love this recipe, because when I want to have homemade bread and don't have time to let bread rise, this is the way to go.  I didn't have buttermilk, so I just used the milk I had (1%) and added a little lemon juice. You can also use vinegar. Let it set long enough to curdle. 

Printable Version

1 package yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup oil (I used Canola oil)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon melted butter
Sift dry ingredients. Add yeast, that has been dissolved in warm water, oil, and buttermilk. Knead 5 times. Pat out on floured surface and cut with biscuit cutter.
Bake 400 degrees - 15 minutes.