Sunday, June 17, 2012

White Pizza Sauce for Lazy People

When I make pizza dough, I make the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day recipe, which usually makes enough for 4 pizzas.

Sometimes my boyfriend and I will make all four pizzas in one night, so that we'll have food for the entire weekend so we can play Skyrim without having to take time out to cook.

When we ran out of red sauce after pizza two, I said "I'll go look online for how to make white sauce".  He said "when I worked at a pizza joint we just mixed ranch and blue cheese dressing".

Problem solved.

I had some ricotta cheese to use up, mixed in some Parmesan, fresh garlic, ranch and blue cheese dressing.

No "recipe" - just mix the ingredients until it's not too runny. 

This is DELICIOUS with broccoli, probably good with asparagus or spinach too, tomatoes, basil, etc...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pop Tarts for Hippies, Homemakers and Healthy Eaters!

In my fantasy life I own and operate a food cart featuring freshly made cheeses (mozzarella, ricotta, yogurt, paneer, cream cheese and more), and "healthy" junk/comfort food - classic American junk food made from locally-sourced, seasonal, organic ingredients. 

If I were to define my life's calling, I do believe that would be it.  It's a perfect fusion of my life-long love of and addiction to junk food and my recently illuminated passion for local, healthy, sustainable, responsible, seasonal, flavorful food.

All I'd need is a commissary kitchen, a car or truck adapted with refrigeration, an up front investment of at least $10,000 (probably more), I'd have to quit my current job, hire staff, spend way more time on social media, create a side-business of retail versions of my food cart stuff for sale in local grocers, and promote the hell out of myself all over town until I'm burned out and wished for the simplicity of just having a normal full time job like I have now in my real life.

Until I can "stretch myself across like a bridge where fantasy and reality lie too far apart" (to paraphrase Fiona Apple),  I shall continue sharing with you recipes like this:

Homemade Pop Tarts - via 100 Days of Real Food
•    2 ¼ cup whole-wheat flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
•    ½ tsp salt
•    1 cup cold, unsalted butter (2 sticks)
•    ½ cup water plus ice
•    1 egg beaten with a splash of water
•    7 – 8 tablespoons jam or jelly

1.    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.    Put the flour and salt in a food processor with the dough blade and pulse it together briefly.
3.    Meanwhile fill a glass measuring cup with ½ cup water and add a few ice cubes to it.
4.    Take the cold butter straight out of the fridge and cut it into ½ inch chunks. Sprinkle the pieces of butter on top of the flour in the food processor. Be careful to spread out the butter as opposed to letting it all clump together in one piece.
5.    Turn on the food processor and blend until the mixture resembles a crumbly meal. While the food processor is still running add 1/3 cup water through the top. Watch the dough come together and add 2 – 3 more teaspoons of water as needed so a dough ball will form. If some of the dough is in a ball and some is stuck to the sides that is okay…you can fix it with your hands. At this point the dough could be stored in the fridge in plastic wrap for up to 3 days or in the freezer (in a freezer safe container) for up to 6 months.
6.    Remove the dough from the food processor and put it on a lightly floured counter or large cutting board. With a rolling pin (and another sprinkling of flour) flatten out the dough to one big rectangle or square that’s no more than a quarter inch thick. Trim any uneven ends and use those to patch other edges as necessary.
7.    Using a knife cut out 14 to 16 rectangles of dough. Actually you could make them any shape or size that you want at this point  . Lay half of your dough shapes onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Spoon about a tablespoon of jam down the middle of those bottom dough pieces.
8.    Top them with matching dough shapes and seal around the edges by pushing down with a fork. Make a few holes in the top with the fork as well. Lastly, brush the tops of the uncooked toaster pastries with the egg wash.
9.    Bake at 375 degrees F for 18 – 24 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the cooked pastries on a cooling rack (if you have one) then either eat them right away or store them in the fridge for 3 days or the freezer for several months. They can be eaten cold or reheated. Enjoy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Salt and Vinegar French Fries

This is now the FOURTH time in the last 3 weeks I have made these fries, and each of the first three times, I ate them so quickly I completely forgot to take a picture and document their glory!!!

Shown here with Cooper Burgers and Sweet Potato'au Gratasanga - links coming soon!

Vinegar-Infused Fries - inspired by Umami Girl
1. Use at least one potato per serving. I have used fingerling, russet and yukon gold, all with great success.  If I'm cooking for a munchie session with Tony, I'll do at least 4 good sized potatoes (or way more fingerlings).  For a party of 6, use at least 8 med/large potatoes (or way more fingerlings)

2. Cut them into fry shapes. I cut in half lengthwise, then cut the "tops" off each half, making four long slabs ~1/2" thick.  Then, I slice each slab in to 3 or 4 pieces for more or less equal sizes.

3. Put the fries in an appropriately large pot - cover with regular ol' white vinegar, and maybe with water too. (I have, upon running out of vinegar because of these fries, gone to a 1/2 water/vinegar ratio, or less, and they always turn out good and tangy.

4.  Bring to a boil, and boil until fork tender

5. Let the potatoes cool in the pot with the liquid until cool (or about half an hour - mine are always still warm)

6. Preheat the oven to ~425 (400-450 are good roasting temps)

7. Drain in a colander, and pour some oil on a baking sheet (safflower/sunflower is good because it has a high smoking temp.  Please don't ever use "canola" oil for anything, ever, and watch out for GMOs in soybean oil).

8. Mix around the potatoes in the oil (I use my hands) until they are all well coated.  Then, dash on your favorite seasonings - I use generous amounts of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as well as smoked paprika (or cayenne if I have a cold/allergies).  There are lots of possibilities!

9. Bake for a while - wouldn't you love it if I kept track of times?  :(  10 minutes?

10. When you decide they are "halfway" done, take out the pan, close the oven, and flip each one over so they will be golden on all sides.  Place back in the oven, and cook until almost done.

11. If needed, turn on the broiler for the last few minutes.

ENJOY!!!!  Use your favorite dips. I've been into a blue cheese dressing/Plochman's stone ground mustard blend.  THESE FRIES ARE SO GOOD!!!!!!!  I don't think I'll ever make fries any other way!