Archive for April, 2008

Pizza, Chicken Curry, and Absolutely No Free Time

Between the kids’ soccer practice, twice a week, and starting my MBA, it seems like I have no time.  But, eventually, it will all work out.  I’m also in the process of organizing my house, and it’s coming along very nicely, it’s just that very little blogging has been done.

Pizza!

Dough
1 c + 2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Place all ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. Select the dough cycle and press start.
Move the oven rack to the lowest position. Heat oven to 400°.  Grease two pizza stones or two cookie sheets, or some combination of the two.  Divide dough in half.  Pat each half into 12-inch circles on cooking surface with floured fingers.  Spread with favorite toppings.  Bake 18 – 20 minutes or until crust is light brown.
Makes 2 crusts

I find that the dough is very sticky and I use a lot of flour to knead it into the shape I want.

Sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
3/4 c warm water
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic paste
1 Tbsp honey
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper
salt to taste

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix together. Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend, spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired.

Since we only used red sauce on one pizza I have tons of this left over, I bottled it and stored it in the fridge.

We topped our first pizza (for the kids) with sauce, fresh mozzerella cheese slices, and pepperoni. The second pizza (for the adults) with olive oil, fresh basil, spinach, goat cheese, fresh mozzerella slices, sliced yellow onion, and strawberry tomatoes.

Chicken Curry with Pineapple

We serve this over sticky rice.

1/2 Tbsp green curry paste
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
2 Tbsp fish sauce*
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 cup chicken stock
4 chicken thighs, skin and bones intact (You can remove them later, but they add such a good flavor) – I say this everytime I use chicken thighs.
1/2 c baby carrots
1 c fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 (8 oz) can of bamboo shoots in sesame oil*
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
3/4 c crushed pineapple

In a saute pan braise the chicken in the chicken stock over medium heat for 10 minutes, covered, turning halfway through cooking time. Remove stock and set aside. Place chicken back in pan and cover, again.
In a medium saucepan combine green curry paste with coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in fish sauce, brown sugar, and chicken stock.
Place the carrots, green beans, and bamboo shoots with sesame oil in the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-hig heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked, but still crisp, about 15 minutes. Shred chicken thighs with two forks and add to the curry mixture.
Whisk together cornstarch and water. Stir into curry. Mix the pineapple into the curry and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Serves 2

* found in oriental food stores

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Meyer Lemon Night

The one thing that I love about cast iron is that it easily goes from one cooking medium to another. Tonight, it went from the stove top to the oven to the broiler.

Baked Lemon Chicken with Meyer Lemon Sauce
1/4 c unsalted butter
2 Tbsp yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 c Dry White Wine
1 c Low Sodium Chicken Broth
3 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed (or substitute regular lemons)
2 tsp Meyer Lemons zest
8 chicken thighs, skin and bones intact (It’s easy to get rid of these later, but it gives the meat such a nice flavor.)
1 lemon, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350°.  In a cast-iron skillet, melt butter. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes, over medium-high heat. Add wine, chicken stock, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Place chicken in skillet, top with lemon slices, and and transfer the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Heat broiler to high and transfer skillet to broiler for 3-5 minutes, until top has browned. Divide chicken among plates. Spoon sauce over.
Serves 8.

Meyer Lemon Risotto adapted from 101 Cookbooks
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
2 c uncooked rice (I used sushi rice)
1 c dry white wine
3 c chicken stock
3 c water
1/4 c Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Grated zest of 4 Meyer lemons
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 c sour cream
3 big handfuls of greens, chopped (I used spinach)
Handful of toasted pine nuts, for garnish*

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions, shallots, garlic, and salt and saute, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.
Add the rice to the pot and stir until coated with a nice sheen, then add the white wine and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until the rice has absorbed the liquid a bit. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle, active simmer.
In increments, add 3 cups of stock and 3 cups of water, 1 cup at a time, letting the rice absorb most of the liquid between additions; this should take around 40 minutes. Stir regularly so the grains on the bottom of the pan don’t scorch. You will know when the rice is cooked because it won’t offer up much resistance when chewing.
When the rice is tender remove the pot from heat. Stir in the lemon zest, Parmesan, and sour cream. Taste and adjust – add more salt if needed, more lemon zest. Then stir in the greens. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and a dusting of extra Parmesan before serving.
Serves 6 to 8.

* You can toast the pine nuts in a 350° oven for 5 minutes.

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Succulent Crab Salad

A while ago my local Giant Eagle had a seafood sale. There were tons of BOGO specials, including lump crabmeat, 2 lb bags of EZ-peel shrimp, tuna steaks, etc. Needless to say that I stocked up.

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Succulent Crab Salad
1 1/2 Tbsp Salted butter
2 Tbsp Shallots, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 c Lump crabmeat, pick through
pinch Cayenne
Salt and pepper
1 oz Goat cheese, crumbled
1 tsp Truffle oil or Truffle infused olive oil
Spinach

Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crabmeat, salt, pepper and cayenne and cook for one minute. Place crab mixture on a bed of spinach leaves, top with goat cheese and drizzle with truffle oil.

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Chicken Wings

We made chicken wings for dinner tonight. I prepared them two ways to compare which way I liked better. The most time consuming method was the first one, but it was the tastiest. The second method was easy and to the point. We served 4 types of dipping sauces: Thai R Cracker (from Quaker Steak and Lube), Ranch Dressing, Honey BBQ sauce, and ketchup. Thai R Cracker is nummy!

Fried/Baked Chicken Wings
These Chicken wings are egged and fried in butter, then baked.

Serves 4

3 lbs. chicken wings
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour for coating
1 cup butter
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine flour, slat and pepper. Dip the wings in egg and coat with flour. (I put the flour in a gallon sized storage bag and add the egged chicken, then seal and shake. It gives a nice, even coating.)
Heat butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Fry wings until deep brown. Place on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce.

Simple Baked Wings
A nice clean way to prepare wings, and much healthier that frying.

Serves 4

3 lbs. chicken wings

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place wings on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Serve with your favorite sauce.

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