19 September 2010

Pizza Dough

While visiting my family, in my mountains, I made a pizza. It was a beautiful pizza. Until I tried to move it from the cutting board to the pizza stone. Then it got a little mushed, but it turned out looking alright and it tasted amazing.

I used a new recipe for the dough. I found it on Annie’s Eats. Pretty much anything that she posts will be amazing, so I wasn’t too worried. And following my normal pattern of reading the recipe and discarding half the instructions, I made some changes. But it turned out quite well. And it worked for breadsticks. Mmmm… pizza.

Pizza Dough

½ c Warm Water (about 110° from the tap should be fine)
1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp.) Instant Yeast
1 ¼ c Water (room temperature)
2 T Olive Oil
4 c Flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ t Salt
1-2 T Basil
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let it set while combining room temperature water, oil, salt, basil and garlic in the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. After about 5 minutes add the yeast mixture.

Add the flour 1-2 cups at a time until the dough gets thick and sticky. Switch to the hook attachment and start adding flour more slowly. When the dough is barely sticky place it in a greased bowl and cover with plastic or a damp cloth. Allow to rise in a warm place until it doubles.

Roll out into the desired crust shape, cover with your favorite pizza toppings and bake until golden.


10 September 2010

Pesto Pasta with Poached Chicken

To go with the Mushroom Bundles I made some pasta with pesto sauce and vegetables and poached chicken. I finally found some wagonwheel pasta. I have been looking for it for ages. It has been pretty elusive.

I found the inspiration for my pasta on Food.com. It used to be Recipezaar.com.

True to my usual lack of discipline I only used the recipe as a basis of what I actually did. Here’s my version of this pasta.

Pesto Pasta with Poached Chicken

2 c Wagonwheel Pasta, uncooked
1 lb Chicken Breast. I use boneless, skinless
1/2 c White Wine
1 c Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 c Pine Nuts, toasted
1/4 c Olive Oil
1 c Bell Pepper, chopped. I used a package of baby bell peppers with red, orange, and yellow and sliced them into rings
1 c Broccoli Florettes
1 Tomato, chopped

Cook pasta as directed.

When the pasta is cooking poach the chicken in about a tablespoon of olive oil and white wine. I put it in the pan, put the lid on and leave it for 10-15 minutes.

While the chicken cooks puree the basil and pine nuts in a food processor. Slowly drizzle the olive oil over the mixture until it forms the desired pesto consistency.

When the chicken is cooked through cut it into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces and return to the pan. Add the pesto, peppers, broccoli and tomato. Mix well. Add the pasta, mix and garnish with the remaining pine nuts.

09 September 2010

Mushroom Phyllo Bundles

I made some dinners for my parents while on vacay. One of them included some mushrooms bundled into some phyllo sheets. They were pretty tasty. I found them on The Pioneer Woman. She has lots of good recipes on her blog.

The mushroom bundles were relatively easy to make, the most difficult part was working with the thinner-than-paper phyllo sheets. They are so fragile, and rip at the slightest provocation.

To make it easier I pulled five sheets at a time, and didn’t butter between each. I also used olive oil for most of them, on just the last layer. I did put it on pretty generously.

Also, I forgot the parmesan and used about a tablespoon of minced garlic.

Mushroom Phyllo Bundles

1 pkg Phyllo Dough, thawed
4 T (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter
4 c Mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 c Dry White Wine
1/3 c Parmesan, grated

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until it begins to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for about a minute, until they begin to soften. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Prepare the phyllo sheets. Brush olive oil or melted butter over 5 sheets, individually or all together. (Be sure to cover unused sheets with a damp cloth so they don’t dry out.) Cut into 4 or 6 rectangles. I did 6 because I had large sheets. Place about a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture in the center of each piece. Sprinkle parmesan over the mushrooms, and then bunch the sheets together to make a little packet around the mushrooms. Place on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375*F for 15 minutes, or until the tops of the wrappers are lightly golden. Serve hot.

02 September 2010

Creme Brulee

Today I made Crème Brulee and Chocolate Mousse. But I’ll post the mousse later, when I remember to take pictures. It was light and creamy and nothing like I imagined. PS it was an experiment. Cupcake has been harassing me for ages to make it for her. And then she didn’t even come to dinner to try it.

My parents say they’re having it for breakfast tomorrow.

I even didn’t think it was too bad and I’m not a custard fan. It was probably the vanilla bean that I used. It was a first for me. They smell pretty amazing.

I did cheat and not add the crack. If you want to do that, after the cups have chilled, sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the top and melt it with a hand torch, or very carefully in the oven, set to broil.

Crème Brulee

4 c Whipping Cream
1 whole Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise (or 1 T Vanilla Extract)
10 Egg Yolks
¾ c Sugar
6 T Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pour cream into a saucepan. Add vanilla and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. While cream is simmering whip egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow and thick.

Strain cream using a fine mesh strainer.

Whip yolks while very slowly drizzling in warm cream. Go slow so the eggs don't cook!

Place ramekins onto a rimmed baking sheet. Pour custard mixture into ramekins (I had 11 small custard cups). Pour water in bottom of baking sheet until it comes halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 24 minutes, or until just set. Do not allow to get brown.

Cool ramekins on countertop, and chill for at least 2-3 hours. Cover in plastic wrap to prevent a layer to form on top.

Recipe from Pioneer Woman