Sunday, September 26, 2010

Buttermilk Syrup

Latley, I have been praying for patience.  Lucky for me, when I pray for patience, I am inevitably given reasons to be patient.  Over the last 24 hours I have been woken up 4 times, cleaned up 7 nasty messes, and went through church, husbandless, with a screaming, teething baby.  And I didn't yell once.  I even still want to make this sweet treat for my family, because even though I do need to pray for patience, I love them.

Buttermilk Syrup

1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon baking soda

In large saucepan (make sure it is big enough to accommodate the syrup foaming when the baking soda is added), combine butter, buttermilk, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly.
Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and baking soda (it will foam up at this point.) It is now ready to serve over pancakes, waffles, or ice cream.
Keeps for at least a couple weeks if you can manage to not use it all up quicker.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Need something to do with that second ball of pizza dough in your freezer from the calzones?  Look no further.  This is the most delicious pizza I have ever made - no exaggeration.  This would be fantastic for a football party and is a great alternative to hot wings.  It made my husband happy, and I thought it was awesome too.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

2 chicken breasts sauteed with some pam, salt and pepper
Red hot sauce, such as Tobasco (2-4 tablespoons depending on heat preference)
1-2 tablespoons melted butter (depending on how much red hot sauce you use)
Blue cheese salad dressing
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Dice chicken and put in small mixing bowl. Pour red hot sauce and melted butter over top. Stir to combine. Set aside.
Roll out the pizza dough to desired thickness and top with blue cheese dressing.  Evenly top with 3/4 of the chicken mixture, then top with the cheese.  Sprinkle the rest of the chicken mixture over the top.  Bake at 450 on pizza stone in bottom of oven until browned nicely all over (crust and topping). (To be honest, I forgot how long this took.  You'll have to watch it, although I'd say 10-20 minutes.)
Remove from oven and sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles if desired then cool for about 10 minutes before cutting (to prevent cheese and sauce from running all over stone and you).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sausage and Artichoke Calzones

Calzones are so much easier to make than I expected them to be.  And these turned out beautifully.  My only regret is that I forgot to use the cool calzone maker that my husband got me for my birthday.  Drat!  But I will next time.  I'm sure they would have turned out even prettier if I had, but oh well.  I'm sure that I will be making these again soon.  Bring them on a picnic since they are pretty clean and can be eaten with your hands!

Sausage and Artichoke Calzones
from Pizza and Other Savory Pies
Makes 2 calzones

1/2 lb sweet or hot Italian sausage, casing removed (I used chicken sausage)
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
Flour, for dusting
1 ball Thin Crust Pizza Dough, at room temperature (recipe follows)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 jar (6.5  oz) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 oz Parmesan, finely grated, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
2 oz Italian fontina or smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used regular mozzarella)
6-8 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup pizza sauce

Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 450.  Let the pizza stone heat for 45-60 minutes.
In a frying pan over medium-low heat, saute the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon, until no trace of pink remains, 5-7 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and set aside.  In a bowl, lightly beat together the egg and milk.
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough in half and shape each half into a ball.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on the work surface and set the first ball of dough in the center.  Cover the second dough ball with a clean kitchen towel and set aside.  Dust the top of the dough with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out to a 7-inch round of even thickness.  Repeat with the second ball of dough.  Cover both rounds with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 5 minutes.
Season the first dough round lightly with salt and pepper.  Spoon 1/2 of the artichokes over one half of the dough round, leaving a 3/4-inch border uncovered.  Top the artichokes with 1/2 each of the cooked sausage, Parmesan, fontina and basil.  Make sure the filling isn't mounded too high in the center; it should evenly half of the dough round.  Gently fold the uncovered half over the covered half to enclose the filling.  Firmly pinch and crimp the edges to seal.  Repeat with the second dough round.  Brush the tops of the calzones with the egg mixture and sprinkle each with 1/2 tablespoon of the remaining Parmesan.  Cut a small steam vent in the top of each calzone.  Using a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet, carefully slide the calzone-topped parchment paper sheets onto the hot pizza stone.  Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Using the pizza peel or rimless baking sheet, remove the calzones from the oven and transfer to a cutting board.  Let stand for 15-20 minutes, then cut into halves and serve warm.  If desired, serve the tomato sauce on the side.

Thin-Crust Pizza Dough
from Pizza and Other Savory Pies
Makes 2 balls of dough

3 1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (I've made it with just regular flour too, and it works fine)
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) quick-rise yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 F), plus more as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra as needed

In a food processor, combine the flours, yeast, sugar and salt.  Pulse to mix the ingredients.  With the motor running, add the water and olive oil in a steady stream, and then pulse until the dough comes together in a rough mass, about 12 seconds.  If the dough doesn't  form into a ball, sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of water and pulse again until a rough mass forms.  Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes  Process again for 25-30 seconds, steadying the top of the food processor with one hand.  The dough should be tacky to the touch but not sticky.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form it into a smooth ball.  Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk and spongy, about 1 1/2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down, and shape into a smooth cylinder.  Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a smooth ball, dusting with flour only if the dough becomes sticky.  Cover both balls of dough with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes before proceeding with your chosen pizza recipe.  If you are using only one ball of dough, place the second ball in a gallon-size zipper-lock bag and freeze for up to 2 months.  (When ready to use, thaw the frozen dough for 3-4 hours at room temperature.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Polynesian Pineapple Meatballs

Sticky, sweet and perfect over rice.  Have a Polynesian staycation at home with these meatballs for dinner and some coconut gelato (recipe posted soon!) for dessert, and, if you wish, escape the rainy fall days.

Polynesian Pineapple Meatballs

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
20 oz can pineapple chunks
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350. Cover a baking sheet with foil and lightly spritz with cooking spray.

Combine turkey with next 5 ingredients (egg through mustard) in a bowl and mix well. Using a disher or your hands, roll into balls, about 1 1/2 tablespoons each, or your desired size.
Brown meatballs in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned on all sides. Move meatballs to baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until they are cooked through (center should be 165 degrees – residual heat will continue to cook them to 170).
While meatballs are baking, In same pan you used for the meat, heat pineapple with juice over medium-high heat until just boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, water, brown sugar and cornstarch and mix well. Add to pineapple and stir to combine. Boil and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
Add meatballs back into pan and toss to coat. Serve over hot rice.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Caesar Salad & Garlic Bread

And yes, those croutons are homemade too.  This meal is so light and delicious, but definitely fills you up.  I'm so glad that I finally made a Caesar salad from scratch.  I found a recipe that doesn't call for mayonnaise because generally, I hate the stuff.  The dressing really turned out perfectly, but it only will if you aren't afraid of the anchovy!  That is the distinctive flavor in Caesar dressing.  Don't let it gross you out.  Embrace it.  It really makes a wonderful salad.  The croutons were crunchy and amazing, and the garlic bread had an awesome flavor.  This whole meal took almost no time at all, which means you should make it very soon.

Caesar Salad
dressing recipe from Once Upon A Plate

Romaine lettuce
1 medium garlic clove
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, packed (I omitted this, but I would put it in next time)
3 canned anchovy fillets or 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste (I used the paste)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream

With machine running, drop garlic through feed tube of food processor and mince (if you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender).  Add Parmesan, parsley, anchovies and lemon juice.  Process into a paste.  Transfer to a bowl and fold in the sour cream.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Toss with romaine lettuce and top with freshly ground black pepper and a little Parmesan cheese.  Serve with croutons (recipe follows).


1/2 loaf day old French bread
Olive oil (approximately 1/4 cup)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional: Parmesan cheese, dried herbs, garlic powder (I left mine plain)

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut bread into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch cubes.  You can make them bigger or smaller, just try to make them the same size so that they cook evenly.  In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with enough olive oil to lightly coat.  Add salt, pepper and any seasonings you prefer.  Pour bread onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bread is golden and very crunchy.  Toss cubes several times during baking.

Garlic Bread

1 loaf French bread
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (I omitted this, but would add it next time)
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400.  If using a food processor, combine the garlic (cloves can be whole) and olive oil. Process until the garlic is minced. Next add the softened butter and process for another 30 seconds. Add fresh parsley and process once more until the parsley is in small pieces. Add a pinch of salt, taste and adjust to your liking.

If you are not using a food processor, mince the garlic with a knife. In a bowl combine the garlic and softened butter. Stir in the olive oil. Mince the parsley and stir it into garlic/butter/oil mixture. Add a pinch of salt, taste and adjust to your liking.
Slice the baguette in half lengthwise and open it so that both cut sides are facing up. Spread the butter/garlic mixture evenly over the cut surface. Bake the bread for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Every oven is different so keep a close eye on it. Take the bread out when it is a deep golden brown on the edges.
Cut the bread into 2-inch wide pieces and serve with a saucy Italian meal!
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