Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Inheritatnce

Hello there. Long time no blog:) So awhile ago I inherited some friends' back issues of Cooks Illustrated. I knew that they were supposedly awesome but honestly I'd never really looked at them because they didn't have big, beautiful colored pictures which is the most important quality to me in a cook book/magazine. But, the other day I actually found myself with nothing pressing to do so I sat down with a cup of tea and the magazines. What seemed like a few minutes later was actually about an hour that I had been pouring over these magazines. It was like reading a novel. Each recipe has a "story" and explanation about how the recipe had been tested to make sure that they were giving out the best version. I found myself wanting to make the recipe even without seeing the big, beautiful colored picture (until I turned the magazine over and saw that it had pictures on the back:). Anyway all that to say it made me want to cook. So, I chose a recipe that I had all the ingredients for. Say hello to the best beef stew ever. Don't be scared of the anchovy paste. Or the unflavored gelatin. Just push through! It's worth it!

Best Beef Stew
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated Feb 2010
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 anchovy fillets or 2t anchovy paste (I use the paste. You can get it in a tube and it lasts for a long time. It's also great to use in caesar salad!)
  • 1 T tomato paste (also sold in a tube!)
  • 1 boneless chuck roast (about 4 lbs) trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 in pieces. You could also use beef stew meat.
  • 2T vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1in pieces
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 1/2 C frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 2 t unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1/2 C water
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat to 300 degrees. Combine garlic and anchovy paste in small bowl; press with back of fork to form paste. Stir in tomato paste and set mixture aside.
  2. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Do not season. Heat 1 T veg oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add only enough beef as not to crowd the pan and brown on all sides. Transfer beef to a plate and repeat until all meat is browned.
  3. Place all meat back into pan and reduce heat to medium. Add onion and carrots to Dutch oven and stir to combine with beef. Cook, scraping botton of pan to loosen any browned bits, until onion is softened, 1-2 minutes. Add garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until no dry flour remains, about 30 seconds.
  4. Slowly add wine, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits. Increase to high heat and allow wine to simmer until thickened and slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to simmer, cover and transfer to oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Remove pot from oven; remove and discard bay leaves. Stir in potatoes and mushrooms, cover, return to oven, and cook until potatoes are almost tender, about 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and stir in pearl onions. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender and onions are cooked through and meat has little resistance when poked with a fork, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over water in small bowl and allow to soften for 5 minutes.
  7. Increase heat to high, stir in softened gelatin mixture; simmer until gelatin is fully dissolved and stew is thickened about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve.
Ok, so maybe you're overwhelmed. It does seem like a lot of steps but it's totally worth it. The meat comes out so tender and flavorful and the broth/sauce is thick and rich. Make it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Homeade Granola

Here's a quick and easy recipe for homemade granola. This was the first attempt I made at granola and it turned out really good! Granola is so expensive in the store and this is definitely less expensive. It also uses applesauce as a binder so it is healthier also. But don't worry, it doesn't taste healthy:) I don't like a lot of fruit and extra stuff in my granola so I adapted the recipe which you can do too. Add cranberries or raisins at the end or switch up the type of nut. Enjoy getting crunchy with your granola.

Applesauce Granola
adapted from Fake Ginger
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 300.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, nuts, sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, warm the applesauce with the honey and oil over low heat.

Mix the applesauce mixture into the oat mixture and stir to coat everything. Spread the mixture onto a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is a deep brown. Remove from oven and stir in fruit if using. Cool completely before enjoying.

With this delicious granola I made a parfait with greek yogurt, honey and raspberries. mmmm good!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Everything Pumpkin

Finally! My pictures are uploaded and I can talk about some of this food I've been making.

October= pumpkin everything. I've been going a little crazy with the pumpkin over the last few weeks. In all honesty pumpkin isn't my very favorite flavor in the world but I do enjoy it when it's cloudy outside, the leaves are falling and the heater's on. It just seems right. Here are a few of the pumpkiny things I've been making. (yes, I know pumpkiny isn't a word but I like it)

First is a really delicious moist pumpkin bread with a surprise layer in the middle that makes it pretty darn ridiculous.

Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon Cheesecake Layer

Cheesecake Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
Scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon (approximately) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
1 large egg

Pumpkin Bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan or you can use 3 smaller loaf pans (great for gifts!)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the cheesecake ingredients; beat until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

Place pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat for about 1 minute, until fully combined. Add flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and mix just until combined.

Pour half of the pumpkin bread batter into the loaf pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of pumpkin batter layer and then pour on the remaining pumpkin batter.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes for large loaf pan and 35-45 minutes for small loaf pans, or until a wooden skewer inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pans for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature or cool.

Okay, this next recipe is definitely a keeper. You know that certain fall drink from that certain coffee chain that starts with an S and rhymes with schmarbucks. Well, I've come pretty close (thanks to the recipe I discovered) to making a replica.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup for Pumpkin Spice Lattes
adapted from

Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin purée

-In a small pot over medium heat, dissolve sugar in water.
-Once sugar is dissolved, add remaining ingredients. Allow to cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not boil.
-Strain mixture using cheesecloth or a tea towel.
-Pour into a small (8-10 ounce) bottle and store in the refrigerator.
-To make a pumpkin spice latte, simply add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of syrup for each shot of espresso.
-For an iced latte, stir together syrup and espresso before adding desired amount of cold milk.
-For a hot latte, add frothed milk and stir to combine. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

This is so good. I tried it hot and iced and both were great. You're welcome for the money you're gonna save not going to schmarbucks.

Ok, ok one more and then I promise I'm done with the pumpkin overload. These pancakes are pretty much amazing. Really moist and creamy and the syrup, oh the brown butter syrup! It is so good you will drink it. No seriously, you'll drink it.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Br
own Butter
taste of home magazine, october 2010
brown butter
1/2 C butter, cubed
1/4 C maple syrup
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg

1-1/2 C flour
2 T packed brown sugar
2t baking powder
1 t salt
2 eggs
1-1/3 C 2% milk
3/4 C canned pumpkin
1/2 C ricotta cheese

For brown butter
In a small heavy saucepan, cook butter over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. Remove from heat.

For pancakes
In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, pumpkin and cheese. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown. Serve with brown butter.
Enjoy the pumpkiny goodness while you can! Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Things I'm Loving . . .

I've been cooking and baking a lot in the last few weeks and have some great recipes to share, but my camera and/or computer is freaking out and won't let me upload my pictures. So, while I wait for the repair man (Ryan, hopefully tonight!) to fix this problem here are some things I'm loving right now . . .

I don't know where I've been cause apparently every one knows about this delicious tea, but in case you've been on a different planet like me this is Good Earth original tea. It really is like fall in a cup. It's really spicy (like herb spicy not hot sauce spicy) and really sweet. Not sure how they do it cause I don't think it has sugar in it and it says it has zero calories. In my book that's a miracle!

And I've been drinking it out of this non-paper travel mug from Cost Plus. It's so cute and that's the reason I got it cause in truth it doesn't keep liquid hot for very long.

The other thing I'm loving is the San Francisco Giants! It's kinda funny cause I've never been a huge baseball follower and definitely wouldn't sit down and watch a whole game. But over the last few weeks something's come over me (it's called the play offs). Since I haven't played soccer in many moons I guess I'm finally needing an outlet for my competitiveness. I also think Ryan's prayers for me to become I Giants are finally coming true.

One more thing I'm loving is 2 Corinthians. I'm studying it in Sisters in Scripture this semester and it's totally rocking my world. It's amazing to see Paul's example of someone willing to walk through anything in order to preach the Gospel and see people's lives changed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Salted Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yep you read that right. This recipe caught my eye on foodgawker and I had to make it. Anything salted chocolate or salted caramel makes my heart sing these days. So, you must try this recipe immediately. You can thank me later via gifts, money, compliments, etc.:)

Salted Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: about 24 cookies

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. fleur de sel (sea salt), or Maldon sea salt plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Combine the 8 ounces chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and heat until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, heat in the microwave in 25-second intervals, stirring in between.) In another mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the melted chocolate mixture, blending until incorporated. Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in the remaining chopped chocolate with a spatula. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-3 inches apart.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the cookies are just slightly soft in the center and crackly on top, about 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with additional salt and let cool on the baking sheets 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peanut Butter + Chocolate = Love

I came across this recipe while browsing on and it pretty much screamed at me "make me! make me! you have all my ingredients!" So I happily obliged.

Let's back up a second. I guess I'm assuming that you know what the miracle of foodgawker is, but in case your life isn't consumed by food blogs let me fill you in. Foodgawker is a site that is a collection of posts from various foodbloggers who submit a recent post and picture of a delicious looking food. It's basically a place where you can go, scan pictures and recipes, and then realize that you've been scanning for hours. It's basically a miracle.

Anyway, back to the recipe that caught my eye the other day. They're called Reese's Bars and the have totally rocked my world. They're a combination of a Reese's peanut butter cup, a brownie, and kind of remind me of muddy buddies. Best of all, it's like 5 ingredients and you don't have to bake them. Definitely one of my new fave's!

Reese's Bars

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup butter, melted
1 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a 9" x 12" baking dish with foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and peanut butter. Mix well. Blend in melted butter until well combined.

Press mixture evenly into pan. In a microwave proof bowl, heat chocolate chips at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Spread evenly over top of peanut butter mixture.

Refrigerate just until chocolate is set. Cut into bars.

You might need to ask someone to keep you accountable when you make these. It's not safe to be left alone with them.

Monday, August 16, 2010


What’s a NOG you ask. Well, I’m a proud member as well as a group of some of my closest friends. We’ve been doing an amazing Bible study this summer entitled No Other God’s (hence the NOG). It’s all about recognizing the idols in our lives, those things/people/activities that we put in the place of God. Well I’ve definitely recently recognized an idol that’s taking over my life . . .

It’s my new ice cream maker.

Since getting it about a month ago (35$ at Costco!!), all I can think about is ice cream. I’ve never been one to just sit down to a big bowl of ice cream, or choose it as a dessert . . . until now. It’s definitely affecting my waistline and is breaking my food budget which is all going to half and half and heavy cream. Despite these factors, I just can’t seem to stop. And really, I’m not that sad about it.

So far I’ve made vanilla, cookies and cream, chocolate peanut butter, double chocolate chip cookie dough and mint chip. Obsessed, right?

Ok, so here’s the classic vanilla recipe which is delicious by itself and a great starting point.


1 C whole milk

2 C heavy cream

¾ C sugar

1-2 t vanilla


3 C half and half

¾ C sugar

1-2 t vanilla

Mix and pour into your ice cream maker according to it’s directions. I actually prefer the half and half version, no cause it’s less fattening cause that’s just silly, but I think it has a better consistency. But that’s just me. Try it both ways and see what you like better.

Mint Chip

Follow the recipe for vanilla only omit the vanilla and replace with 1-1 ½ t pure peppermint extract. Chop up your favorite chocolate bar into tiny pieces and add during the last 5 minutes of mixing

So, just pretend it’s warm outside and make some ice cream! In most cases I would ask for accountability with an idol in my life, but in this case I think I’ll keep it:)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Can't figure it out

So I can't figure this blog thing out. I love having a place to share recipes that I make and love and having pictures to go with it, but the problem is that I'm lazy (shocker!:) I always forget to take pictures of what I make cause I'm rushing to get food on the table/shove it in my kids' face so they stop whining. And then I can't seem to find time to sit down and blog about it. AND I feel like since most of you I see every other day I can just tell you about what I made. Well, except for Erin all the way in Simi Valley who comments on my posts even when I haven't posted:) So this one's for you Erin while I figure out what to do about this little blogspot.

I roasted beets.

Is that weird?

Ryan and I went to a date night cooking class for valentine's day and made an amazing salad with roasted beets, goat cheese (the love of my life), and the best caramelized walnuts I've ever had. So I decided to make it for our annual Lake Pillsbury trip with the crew and the came out pretty darn good for beets.

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Candied Walnuts
makes 6 servings

4 trimmed medium red beets, scrubbed
1 T cider vinegar
1t lemon zest
2 1/2 t fresh lemon juice
1t fresh thyme leaves
1/4 t dry mustard
1/2 t kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 T walnut oil ( i left this out cause it costs like a million dollars)
2 T olive oil (I doubled this to make up for the walnut oil that costs a million dollars)
2 4-ounce logs fresh goat cheese, very cold
2 Cups mixed baby greens
1 Cup candied walnuts

preheat oven to 450 with rack in middle. Wrap beets in foil and roast until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Measure all the ingredients except oils into a small bowl. While whisking, drizzle in the oils until an emulsion forms. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, remove skins and slice crosswise into rounds and then into strips.

Toss vinaigrette with baby greens. Crumble in goat cheese and toss with beets and candied walnuts.

Candied Walnuts
yield 3 cups

1/3 C granulated sugar
2 1/2 T brown sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t ground cinnamon
pinch cayenne
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/2 pound walnut pieces

Heat the oven to 300. In a small bowl, mix both sugars with the salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy; whisk in 1 T water until combined. Add the walnuts and stir to coat. Sprinkle on the sugar mixture and stir to evenly distribute.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment. Spread the sugared nuts in a single layer on the sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stir the nuts, and continue baking until the nuts smell toasted and the sugar coating is caramelized, about another 10 minutes.

Let the nuts cool on the pan, separating them as they cool. When completely cool, transfer them to an airtight container.

You'll thank me later!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumble Topping

Oh yeah, I have a sort of food blog. I kinda forgot after these long weeks of sickness after sickness. So glad to be back. I made these a couple weeks ago and they were literally gone in a day. (I also live in a house with 7 other people, so maybe they weren't that good) But seriously, everyone raved about them and they were really simple. Got the recipe from Molly's blog so I knew they pretty much had to be good. Only change I made is that I did mini muffins instead of loaves.

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble Topping
Adapted from Bakesale Betty and Bon Appétit, September 2008

For bread:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)2 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil¼ cup honey
¼ cup water

For topping:
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 ½ Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9- x 5-inch metal loaf pan. (Alternatively, you can spray the pan lightly with cooking spray and then line it with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the sides. That’s what I did, and it made it very easy to remove the finished bread from the pan; I just grabbed the parchment and lifted. Also, because I don’t have a 9- x 5-inch pan - and because an 8 ½- x 4 ½-inch is a little too small - I used a 10- x 3-inch pan that I found once at a flea market.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the banana, eggs, oil, honey, and water. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir well. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle them evenly over the batter.

Bake the bread until a tester inserted into its center comes out clean, about 1 hour, give or take a little. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then carefully remove the bread from the pan, taking care not to dislodge the topping. Cool completely before slicing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Italian Meatball Soup

Blue skies this morning = didn't bring any type of rain gear with me when I took the kids out for a play date. Driving home = hail + rain = crap how do I get my kids in the house? Cold + wet = soup!

My dad is a math teacher, can you tell?

So I didn't actually make this soup today but I was wishing I had all the ingredients cause it's just a soup kind of day.

This soup is really hearty and delicious with the perfect amount of tiny meatballs and veggies. Only tip I would give is that it takes awhile to make since you have to form the meatballs and brown them before you can get the soup started.

Italian Meatball Soup

  • Meatballs:
  • ¾ pounds Ground Beef
  • ½ cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • SOUP
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 7 cups Low Sodium Beef Stock
  • 2 cups Water
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • ¾ cups Onion, Chopped
  • ¾ cups Carrots, Chopped
  • ¾ cups Celery, Chopped
  • 1 cup Russet Potato, Chopped (do Not Peel)
  • ½ pounds Cabbage Chopped
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese To Serve
  • 4 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • 2 whole Bay Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Peppercorns
Preparation Instructions

To make meatballs, combine all meatball ingredients and mix well. Shape into small balls and chill for 30 minutes.

Gather 4 tablespoons parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a cheesecloth bundle. Tie to secure.

After chilling, heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a heavy pot. Briefly brown meatballs, then remove to a plate. To pot, add beef stock, water, salt, tomato paste, and herb bag. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30 minutes.

Add onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Simmer 15 more minutes. Remove herb bag.

Add cabbage and meatballs. Bring to a boil, then simmer 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fresh Baked Bread

No, I'm not kidding! I've always been scared and intimidated at the thought of making bread. All the yeast and rising and kneading and waiting. But when I saw this recipe on one of my new favorite blogs, honey & jam, I was curiously interested because the title said "No Knead Bread", it looked absolutely amazing, and it only had 4 ingredients. I took the challenge and it came out so good. It was crusty, chewy, and had a really great flavor for only using flour, yeast, salt and water. And we ate it straight out of the oven which pretty much is the best thing ever. Try this bread! It's awesome! Did I sell you on it yet?:)

No Knead French Bread
From Artisian Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
via: www.honeyandjam.comRecipe notes: It might seem difficult to incorporate all of the flour into the yeast mixture, but just keep mixing. You can add just a little bit of water at a time to help, if needed. The recipe calls for a pizza stone, but I don’t have one, so I just used a cast iron skillet instead. Also, my second rise took a bit longer than the 40 minutes suggested, probably about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the size I wanted.

3 cups of lukewarm water

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt

6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Grab a very large mixing bowl, or a large container that you can cover. In it, mix the water, yeast, and salt. You don’t have to heat up the water to a precise optimal temperature for the yeast. I’ve even used just regular tap water, and it’s worked well for me. Just let that sit together for a while (you don’t have to wait for the yeast to dissolve completely), then dump the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. You don’t need to knead this, and you’re not looking to make it come together into a dough ball. You just want everything mixed well, with no streaks of flour left, and you’re done.

Leave it in your container, covered (but not airtight, or it’ll pop), for a few hours. When it has risen and then deflated a bit, your dough is done. It’s ready to be used or stored in the refrigerator.

To bake the bread, just grab a chunk of dough, about the size of a grapefruit. Dust your hands with flour to help prevent sticking, and gently pull the sides of the dough toward the bottom, rotating the dough, until you get a roundish shape with a smooth surface. It should only take you about a minute or less to do this. The dough won’t be entirely in the bottom, where it may look bunched up, but don’t worry about it.

Put it on a cutting board that’s been dusted with cornmeal to prevent sticking, and let it rest for at least 40 minutes. No need to cover it. If the dough has been refrigerated, it helps to let it rest a little more, until it’s no longer chilled.

Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake, put a cast iron skillet (or a pizza stone) in the middle rack of your oven, and put a broiler pan (I used a cookie sheet) in the bottom rack. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Dust some flour on the top of your loaf, and slash the top, about 1/4-inch deep.

After twenty minutes of preheating, it’s time to bake. (You can put the bread in after 20 minutes, even if your oven hasn’t reached 450 degrees yet.) Slide the loaf onto the baking stone, and then quickly pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan. Then quickly shut the oven door to keep the steam inside.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until you get a nice brown crust. Remove and let cool completely, if you can wait that long.See, that doesn't sound so hard, does it? Even if it does, try it anyway! The only suggestion I would make is that if you wanted to you could probably just make one big loaf out of the dough just watch the time in the oven. Oh yeah, don't use a glass pyrex pan in the bottom of the oven for the hot water. It might explode. I may or may not have a friend who gave me that info;)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pizza . . . WHAT!?

Yeah that's right. Everything you love about buffalo wings only on a pizza crust. There's not much more to say about that.
Warning: Not really a recipe
Warning: It's really easy
Warning: You may eat the entire thing by yourself

I used Trader Joes whole wheat pizza crust and just followed the instructions on the bag. I poached a boneless skinless chicken breast and shredded the meat but you could use leftover bbq chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken. Whatever tickles your fancy. Once your meat is shredded you must bathe it in this . . .
This my friends is Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wing sauce. Not the actual hot sauce but specifically to use on wings. So pour enough of this on your chicken to coat it. Trust me on this.

For the sauce I used bottled blue cheese dressing but you could use ranch if you're not into blue cheese. But if you're not into blue cheese you probably should stop reading my blog because I really heart blue cheese. Well, really any cheese. But that's another subject.

Back to the pizza, I topped the blue cheese dressing with shredded mozarella and topped that with red onions and the chicken. If I would've had crumbled blue cheese on hand I would've put that on too.

I pre-bake the pizza crust for about 3-5 minutes before I top it just to make sure the crust gets cooked all the way through. And to give it a crispier crust on the bottom I put it straight onto the oven rack for the last 5 minutes or so.

I'm pretty sure Adria liked it and you will too.

If you like pizza, and buffalo wings, and blue cheese.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Is January over yet?

So I'm on day 20 of a month long commitment not to eat sugar or white flour. No, I haven't gone crazy, any more than normal, I just wanted to see if I could stick to it with the hopes that it would make me feel better and help jump start my goal to loose a few pounds. I've done pretty good and haven't had too many cravings, but I definitely haven't been baking as much which I do miss. So I'm gonna post a recipe I made a few months ago and just pretend like I made it this morning and am currently eating it (I'm pretending my carrot sticks are a muffin. Maybe I am going crazy) with a nice cup of hot coffee. Dream with me.

I really, really loved these muffins. They were very moist and doughnut-like with a great flavor. Not to mention they're rolled in butter and powdered sugar. Again I ask, Is January over yet?

Nutmeg Doughnut Muffins

For muffins:
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Scant 1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
¾ cup plus 1 Tbs whole milk
2 Tbs buttermilk
1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 Tbs granulated sugar
2 large eggs

For topping:
4 - 6 Tbs unsalted butter
1 ½ - 2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and set a rack to the middle position. Spray a standard-size muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg, and whisk to mix them thoroughly. Set aside.

Combine the milk and the buttermilk in a measuring cup, and set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or, alternatively, in a large mixing bowl with electric beaters nearby), and beat on medium speed for a few seconds, until the butter is soft and creamy. With the motor running, add the sugar in a steady stream. Continue beating, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, until the mixture increases in volume and lightens to pale yellow. It should look light, fluffy, and wonderfully creamy, like frosting. This could take a couple of minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are just combined.

With a wooden spoon, mix ¼ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture. Continue to add the dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dries. Mix until the dough is smooth and well combined, but do not overmix.

Divide the batter between the cups of the muffin tin. Bake until the muffins are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-32 minutes.

When the muffins are cool enough to handle, prepare the topping: melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop, and pour the powdered sugar into a deep bowl. Using a pastry brush and working one muffin at a time, lightly brush the entire outside of the muffin with butter, and then roll it in the powdered sugar. Shake off any excess, and place the finished muffins on a rack or serving platter. Serve.

Note: These muffins are best on the day that they’re made, but they’re still awfully good on the second day—much better than the usual day-old muffin or stale doughnut. And for those who like advance planning, also note that this batter keeps, covered and chilled, for up to three days.

Yield: 12 muffins

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Favorite Day of the Year

No, it's not my birthday, Valentine's day, my anniversary (don't tell Ryan), or even President's Day (hard to believe, I know). My favorite day of the year is a day when I wait all day long, anticipating and fasting for what is now known as The Winter Solstice dinner. It used to be The Christmas Dinner for the last few years, but with Christmas and babies being born all over the place it's been pushed towards the beginning of January, hence Winter Solstice. But really, why get tripped up on the name. It's really all about the food and fellowship! But mostly the food.

Hillary and Kevin do an amazing job of putting on this dinner, prepping for it for months ahead of time and giving a lot of time and energy to make it, well, my favorite night of the year. The decor this year was beautiful with hanging tea lights and an amazing planter box the length of the table filled with Gerber daises.

I anticipate all year long what the menu will consist of (I know, get a life) and this year definitely didn't dissapoint!
The night started with a Bleeding Orange Martini, rimmed with winter spiced sugar.

4 Types of Salt

the menu in order of the courses
Salmon Tartare

Hominy tortillas with avacado butter

Farmers market greens with smoked trout and apple

Lobster risotto with dungeness crab
Definitely my favorite!!

The three little pigs
pork/prosciutto three ways

Butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage

Lilmoncello granitas
to cleanse the pallet and to rock my world

Pork confit with braised leeks and crispy potatoes
So tender and delicious! The only one my flash worked on?
Trio of panna cotta: pomegranate, 50/50 and

some of the crazy people who were there:)

Already counting down the days till next year!