Sunday, September 28, 2014

Artichoke, Arugula, and Prosciutto Pizza at Home - The Basics




I love making pizza at home. It's easy to do, doesn't require a lot of hands on time, and tastes much better than anything delivered from a restaurant chain.  It also allows me to experiment with new vegetables, cheeses and sauces. 

My local supermarket makes a great pizza dough, so that's my starting point. I have made the dough myself in the past, and it tastes just the same, so I'd rather use store bought dough and focus on really good toppings. 

Here are some tips for making a great pizza:
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plan on getting started cooking. I try to do an hour if I can. Letting it come up to room temperature will make it much easier to work with. 
  • Don't rush rolling and stretching the dough. If it starts to spring back after you roll it, leave it alone for five minutes (start prepping your other ingredients and try again. 
  • Sprinkle your work surface and the top of the dough with a little flour before rolling. This should prevent the dough from sticking to the work surface or your rolling pin. Picking up the dough and moving it will also prevent sticking. 
  • When rolling the dough, use gentle pressure. If you press down really hard, the dough will likely stick. 
  • If using vegetables, try to remove excess moisture. Squeeze frozen thawed vegetables in a clean kitchen towel or saute vegetables with a lot of moisture (zucchini, squash, onions.)
  • Break out a ruler.  If the recipe states to roll out the dough to a certain size, match that size. Otherwise your pizza may be too thin and tear, or too thick and bready. 
Here's the recipe for Artichoke, Arugula, and Prosciutto Pizza, adapted from cookinglight.com. I never had artichokes before this.  For the pesto, you can buy some already made, or see this post for a quick and easy pesto recipe. 

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 lb. pizza dough
2 tablespoons pesto
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup baby arugula leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice



Directions 
Position oven rack to lowest setting. Preheat oven to 500°

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray; sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll out dough into a 14 x 10-inch rectangle and place on baking sheet. 


Spread the pesto evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over pesto. Place baking sheet on the bottom oven rack; bake at 500° for 5 minutes. Remove pizza from oven.

Pesto and mozzarella on the dough.
Coarsely chop artichokes. Arrange artichokes on pizza; top with sliced prosciutto. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Return pizza to the bottom oven rack; bake an additional 6 minutes or until crust is browned.

Place arugula in a bowl. Drizzle juice over arugula; toss gently. Top the pizza with arugula mixture. Cut the pizza into 4 (7 x 5-inch) rectangles; cut each rectangle diagonally into 2 wedges.
Adding the artichokes, prosciutto, and parmesan.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Indian Spiced Brussels Sprouts (or Cute Curried Cabbages)

I was trying out a tandoori chicken recipe and wanted to make a vegetable to go with it. I decided to mix some of the spices used in the chcken together with some Brussels sprouts...it was a hit!

Ingredients

 1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1 Tbsp. honey
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved, with outer leaves removed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Mix together the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper. 
  3. Drizzle 2 tsp. vegetable oil and the spices from the previous step over the Brussels sprouts.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. 
  5. Mix the remaining teaspoon of vegetable oil with the honey. Drizzle over the Brussels sprouts and roast for another 4 minutes.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Zucchini and Tomato Tortellini with Cheesy Bread Crumb Topping



I planned on making a lazy dinner tonight - just some pasta and sauce. As I was putting the groceries away, I realized I had a good combination of ingredients that I could use to crate a meal with several fresh vegetables that would take only a little bit longer than my original idea. Enjoy! If you make it, leave a comment letting me know what you thought of it.

Ingredients

2 slices pancetta, diced
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, cubed
20 grape tomatoes, halved
1 package dried tortellini
1/3 c. shredded Italian blend cheese
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. fresh basil

Directions



  1. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Reserve 1/3 of the cooking water before draining. 
  2. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a broiler safe skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté for 5 minutes, until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan and let drain on paper towels. 
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  4. Add the zucchini and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Preheat broiler.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the reserved cooking water, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 
  7. Add the cooked tortellini to the pan. Mix well to combine.
  8. In a small bowl, mix the cheese, bread crumbs, and remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil sprinkle over the tortellini mixture. 
  9. Place pan under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes, until topping is golden brown. 
  10. Remove from oven and top with pancetta and torn basil. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ridiculously Easy Blended Coffee Drink

I hate to even call this a recipe...I just threw some ingredients in a blender and whirred it up, but it came out really tasty and frothy.

Ingredients

1 c. cold brewed coffee
3/4 c. milk
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. ice
nutmeg

Directions

1. Blend the first four ingredients in a blender on high for two minutes.
2. Pour into a glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cultured Butter - Less than an Hour Hands on Time

Flipping through my America's Test Kitchen DIY cookbook, I found a recipe for cultured butter that sounded intriguing. Adding yogurt into the cream introduces bacteria which gives it some tang. I was surprised how easy it was. When I make my family's Christmas cookies this year (Vanilla Kipfels) I may try using homemade butter.



Ingredients

4 c. heavy cream
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (the recipe recommends Stonyfield Farms Greek Yogurt - I used the lowfat one.
1/4 tsp. salt  (optional)


Directions

  1.  Make sure the cream and yogurt are at room temperature. Place the two in a large container, cover, and shake well. Remove the container and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave out in a location around 75 degrees for 18 to 48 hours until the mixture is thickened to the consistency of yogurt. Refrigerate for about 2 hours until the temperature of the mixtures is 60 degrees.
  2. Place 4 cups of ice water in the refrigerator (you'll need this after the cream is whipped.) Line a fine-mesh strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth and place the strainer over a large bowl. 
  3. Place the cream mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Cover the stand mixer with plastic wrap - this is to prevent splatters, and there will be some! 
  4. Whip on high speed until the cream separates into butter and buttermilk. You'll see spatters starting to hit the plastic wrap. It took about 3 minutes to get to this stage for me. 
  5. Strain the butter through the cheesecloth. Push down gently with a spatula, then gather up the ends of the cheesecloth, gather the butter into a ball, and squeeze. The goal is to get rid of as much buttermilk as possible, as it can make the butter turn rancid quicker. 
  6. Place the butter into a large bowl. Pure 1/3 c. of ice water over the butter, and use a spatula to mash the butter against the side of the bowl. Drain the liquid and repeat a few more times until the water runs clear. 
  7. Transfer to a container for storage. I split my butter into two logs. One got wrapped in parchment and stored in the freezer. The other went into the fridge.