Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Carnitas- you may never go out for Mexican again

ever since traveling to Mexico for our honeymoon do-over (a long story involving my non US citizen of a brand new hubbs who did NOT update his Yugoslavian passport, and was therefore threatened with deportation at the airport the morning we were supposed to leave for Playa del Carmen, leaving us to then go to Disneyworld for a week instead, thus taking the Mexico trip on our 1 year anniversary.....) I've been OBSESSED with authentic mexican food. And 100% COMPLETELY UTTERLY BITTERLY disappointed in anything less. like the "mexican" food that has the same 3 ingredients in every dish they offer- greasy meat, some sort of tortilla, and a crap ton of nasty cheese. NOT MEXICAN FOOD, PEOPLE.

Suffice it to say, unless you spend a LOT of money here, you're not getting authentic Mexican. which is hilarious, because in Mexico, the best food is typically found on a random street corner food cart for very very cheap. We rediscovered our love for it on our 5 year anniversary trip to Cabo, where babygirl was conceived. I am convinced that is why Mexican food is her favorite.

So I decided to make it my mission to simply cook the best Mexican food in the area. And I think I do. but finding the right recipes was a bit of a challenge. I've already given you the yummiest refried bean recipe. And now, I'll share with you my findings on the best meat possibly on the planet. Pork Carnitas.

Here's what I learned after cooking this recipe twice. First, use lard. Just use it. Don't be all "but it's so fattening" about it. I can promise you that anything else you use will either a) taste like garbage b) wreak havoc on your system or c) both.

Second, the first time I made this, I simmered it on the stovetop for the hour and a half it says to, tasted it, and it was AMAZING. Then, I put it in the oven like it says to to finish it off. And it dried out a bit. It was still delicious, but just a teeny bit less so than before it was put in the oven. Which bummed me right out.

So this time, I browned all of the pieces of pork first. Then brought everything to a boil, then simmered it. I noticed it was starting to dry out a little bit (this may have had something to do with the fact that I cut the recipe in half), so I just added a little bit more lard and water and I put a cover on the pot. The crispy-ness I got on the pork from browning it first remained, and the meat was juicy and wonderful and heavenly and angels singing and unicorns and rainbows...

So moral of the story? Totally cook it this way.

And of course, you must have the accompaniments to the carnitas. So. For the bomb guacamole, here's what we do. We cut up some onion and put it in our dedicated awesome guacamole maker (it's a mortar and pestle). throw some sea salt on them and grind those bad boys up, getting the onion juice out and pulpy. then throw in some avocado and some lime juice. then start mashing. Done and done. Seriously. It's the yummiest way to make guacamole, takes about 2 seconds, and between the lime juice and sticking an avocado pit in it, it will stay green for that night and usually the next day.

that big old gray thing is obvs our guacamole bowl maker. And truth- this is the first time I made the carnitas...I didn't take a pic of the guac this past time.

And of course, no good mexican dish is complete without the tortillas. I have a hard time eating store bought tortillas anymore, because homemade are a zillion times tastier. And they're not hard to put together. A little time consuming for the actual cooking of them- one at a time in a cast iron skillet. But worth it. We make a ton, end up freezing some, and then they last for 2 or so weeks. I have no idea if they last past 2 weeks....we've never made it that long.

And more truth. I've had a specific recipe that we've used for years now. They're delicious. But we bought this tortillas press, and it simply doesn't work without also having to roll out the dough. Which is beyond frustrating. So this time, after I had already made the dough, I looked online for some tips on how to make flour tortillas and successfully use the press. And I stumbled on a recipe that calls for more lard and less flour. which totally makes sense, since the press doesn't work because the dough just shrinks back as soon as you take it out of the press. So I am including the new recipe here. And use lard, again. Crisco is disgusting. And the lard makes the difference. I have used butter in the past when I didn't have any lard and they are still yummy, but there is definitely a difference.
So you just stick each one in the press and then cook it in your cast iron skillet.
I don't think you need salsa or sour cream for these. Hubbs disagrees. He uses salsa and sour cream on all forms of his Mexican food. He's wrong, but whatevs. You do however definitely want to grate some cotija over the top. Parmesan's Mexican cousin, this cheese is amazeballs and should be the only cheese you use on Mexican food, ever. While, queso fresco is also delicious, but I really don't enjoy that sort of cheese on my tacos or burritos. Cotija it is! And this time, I put some refried beans on mine cause they came out extra yummy so I had to.

And there you have it. Carnitas for days. And it really is so simple to put it together. They tell you how you can do it in the crock pot, but I loathe those things, so I didn't use that. But if that's your jam, then you totally can do that. Any way you slice it, this is the best way to eat pork ever ever.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The quick Alfredo you've been dreaming of

I am SO not the only one who dreams about food. And sometimes, I just want me some pasta. The pasta that my daughter refers to as "mac & cheese". Technically, she's not wrong. According to the all knowing Mario Batali, this is Italy's mac & cheese, introduced to Americans during a war (I don't remember which one), and when the guys brought it back they jacked it all up and out popped little blue boxes of crap. Don't get me started.

This is the real deal. Although Batali doesn't use any milk in his at all, I do cause I'm a rebel and I'll never ever be any good. (5 points if you get that song reference. that, and, you're old).

So anyhow, this is my recipe. I have a recipe for Alfredo that takes a little bit more time, and is a little bit more like what you typically think about when you dream alfredo (a little saucier), but I actually prefer this one. So.

Cut up your sausage links into bite size-ish pieces and throw em in a medium hot skillet with some evoo. brown well on all sides. drain the fat. then add whatever veggies make your heart sing. for me, today, that was mini green peppers, cherry tomatoes, and oven roasted tomatoes. and some garlic. of course.

Then, add equal parts fat and flour. since we made about a half pound of pasta I used about 1 1/2 tbsps of each. I used butter because duh. Once you've whisked the flour and fat all together so that the flour is now a tan color and the consistency of wet sand, go ahead and add your WHOLE milk slowly, while whisking. Use whole milk. Always. All the other types of milk are over processed using chemicals and totally ruin any nutritional value your milk had before they messed with it. Plus, it tastes better. so win win. You don't need that much milk. I'd say I used about a cup. And grate in some Parmesan cheese. Like, a lot. Do not, however add salt or pepper until after you've tasted it at the end. I find that the sausage gives it enough flavor and it doesn't need it.

During this process, you should be cooking your pasta in water as salty as the sea. And do NOT put olive oil in this water. Your pasta will not soak up any of the delicious sauce, it will just slide right off and that's just stupid. Do not fully cook your pasta. Subtract about 4 minutes off of it's cook time.

Add some of the salty, starchy water to your pan. I used about a ladle and a half. Then add your undercooked pasta.

Let that goodness cook up all together until the pasta is done.

Then this happens. You're welcome.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon, & Garlic Scapes

It's raining. And cold. And we need more chicken stock. So I decided to roast a chicken tonight. And as fate would have it, I happened to actually get to watch The Chew today. And the ever glorious Michael Symon happened to roast a leg of lamb in the oven on a slotted rack, and put potatoes in a cast iron pan underneath the slotted rack, so that the juices from the meat cooked into the potatoes. HELLO WHAT!?!?!

And decision made. That is what's for dinner. Cause it can totally work with chicken too. And I must say my house smells ridiculously edible right now. Here's the recipe.

Since I used chicken, I left out the coriander and the sugar. And I didn't have fresh oregano so I used fresh parsley instead.
I also rubbed it on the inside of the chicken and between the skin and the meat. I stuck pats of butter under the skin as well. And I stuffed it with a lemon and some onion. Then put it on a slotted baking sheet.

 The potatoes. Oh the potatoes. I just cut them in big chunks, added slices of lemon, garlic scapes, rosemary, salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.
Mouthwatering, right!?!? And then I stuck it in my oven. Based on a different recipe from Chef Symon for roasted chicken, I have the oven on roast at 425 degrees. I'm checking frequently on the potatoes because the garlic scapes are pretty fragile. Oh yeah, I obviously decided to use the garlic scapes instead of just the cloves of garlic he has in the recipe.

And here's the cooking. Don't judge my oven. It's not pretty. Or clean. But it's a hard worker, so I cut it some slack...

And the results are in.
Those potatoes. THOSE POTATOES! I will say that if you would like more of a garlic flavor on your potatoes you may just want to use garlic cloves, but eating the garlic scapes is delish. I would try it if I were you.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quick Spicy Peach Grilled Chicken

This dinner came together in no time at all. Which I love. Especially on Mondays. Cause Monday.

Bobby Flay's recipe is really simple. I didn't follow it exactly because we don't buy preserves or jams of any kind anymore. The ones I make are better. So I just used the fresh peaches I had, added a little sugar, then added in the other stuff. I stopped and checked for flavor a bajillion times because I was using a lot less and because we don't make things quite as spicy as Mr. Flay. I threw everything into the Blendtec to make the sauce and here it is.

And of course, if we have corn, we're grillin it. It's unspeakably good made this way. Hubbs is the grill master of corn.

And grilled peaches? Grilled bread? All do's in my book. This took about 10 minutes to throw together, and then however long it takes to grill corn and chicken. Easy peasy Monday night dinner.

PS Should have made it spicier. It was a little on the sweet side.

Aunt Judy's Cold Broccoli Salad

My family is filled with really good cooks. Food is a passion, and it's what has made so many great memories through the years. The Longo sisters know what they're doing in a kitchen, and each aunt has their specialty dish. This happens to be one of my Aunt Judy's.

I cheated this time when I made it because I roasted the broccoli. I was already roasting beets so I just threw the broccoli in there too. She makes it by steaming the broccoli, but I'm not gonna lie. I SUCK at steaming things. I don't know why it's so difficult for me, but I'm rarely successful at it.

I cut up the broccoli, tossed it in a bowl with some evoo, salt and pepper, threw it on my stoneware roasting pan and roasted it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. I let it cool, then drizzled lemon juice and my roasted garlic over it, stir and chill. Then serve. It's so good. You could eat a pound of it. But don't. Cause broccoli farts? Just. No.

The Best Cookies you will ever eat in your life

I'm not lying when I say this. No exaggeration. I've tasted a lot of cookies, and these hands down are the best on planet earth.

Jaque Torres is world renowned, and after you taste his chocolate chip cookie recipe, you will see why.

So I did not use separate flours. I used all purpose flour for this recipe and it's still incredible. But YOU MUST SIFT. When the man tells you to sift the things, you sift them. Makes a HUGE difference.

He also just does your basic chocolate chip cookie, but I like using his recipe as a base for some of my fancy pants cookies. I usually do what I call a German chocolate cake cookie- I add coconut flakes and pecans or walnuts to the batter. This time, hubbs wanted a Nutella like cookie. And since Nutella is filled with garbage, I simply added hazelnuts to the batter. I could have made nutella, but I didn't feel like it. I love him, but not that much. (kidding. he's worth a bazillion tubs of homemade nutella but I already made him pizza dough and all the fixings so he had to just deal.)

Bonus? The recipe makes a crap ton of dough. I usually freeze at least half of it. So on any whim I can have fresh baked cookies in minutes!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Breakfast on the go! Bacon & gruyere quiche

So I'm lazy. Or a slacker. Either way, I don't like waking up an hour earlier to eat/ feed my daughter breakfast when we have places to go. That sounds awful. It is the truth.

As a teacher in Jersey, and working for Boeing, I never made time to eat breakfast. I took something on the go and ate it in the car or when I got there. This might not be the best habit, and I *may* need to break it by the time the kiddos are in school...but for now, it's how we roll. We realize the importance of a good breakfast. We simply don't make time for it.

Smoothies are an awesome answer to this a lot of times. Easily portable, delicious, healthy. However, these smoothies are designed to, ahem, get things moving in the intestinal realm. So there are times that smoothies are simply not the breakfast I'd like to eat because pooping in public is not so much fun. Neither is changing one of those diapers after little miss downs one.

And then, I discovered how much I love quiche. I never did before. Probably because I've never had a good one. But I volunteered to make them for a friend's bridal shower, and I of course looked to The Chew for recipes and HOLY CRAP HOW HAVE I BEEN MISSING THIS MY ENTIRE LIFE.

No joke. These things are amazing. So I make them and freeze them and then we heat up some quiche in the toaster oven and bring it with us. Usually to church. When she runs her greasy fingers through her hair after she eats it. You're welcome Rain City.

So here are the pics and recipes.

Quiche (Pie) Crust
Courtesy of Carla Hall. It's posted on a few different recipes of hers, but look I just gave you the recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie too, so lucky you!!

This is actually really easy. And once you try pie crust from scratch, it's REALLY hard to go back to store bought. Although Whole Foods has an organic one in the freezer section that comes in packs of 2.  And a little tip? wrap the top around the pan you're using. I started baking it and it all shrunk in. So the filling ended up coming a little higher than the crust did. Womp womp.

Carla Hall QuicheHere's the beauty of this recipe. It's a good base. I changed the ham to bacon because obviously, and added a little more than she suggested because bacon. And used scallions instead of leeks because it's what I had. Use what you like.

And delicousness.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Melon Carpaccio & Fancy Pants Bread for the Win

I'm all about Italy. All the time. When we traveled there, I knew that's how I wanted to live the rest of my life. Especially their food philosophy. Meals were a gathering. The restaurants, owned by families, opened at 7 or 8, and once their tables were filled, they kindly let people know that they would not be serving anyone else that night. Because a meal takes at least 3 hours to get through. Sure, there are a ton of different courses served, and plenty of time to rest in between. But mainly because meals were a time of communing. To relax, have some wine, catch up with your loved ones and some people you might not know, and just enjoy life. And the food was phenomenal.

So this is one of our faves. We do this about once a week- basically as often as I make baguettes, or other fancy pants bread. Because first off, there is nothing better than fresh baked baguettes right out of the oven, and why ruin that with other food? Let the bread be the star, cut up some cheese and veggies and HAVE AT IT. I might currently be in a bread coma from tonight's meal.  But so is the rest of my household so it's all good.

So let's break this bad boy down.

The bread. It's called Pain de Campagne Poilane ("Pierre & Lionel Poilane are the most celebrated of Parisian Bakers" and this is their most celebrated bread) and the recipe is in Bernard Clayton's New Complete book of breads. This recipe takes 3 days to make (make the starter, wait a day, make the sponge, wait a day, then finally make the bread on day 3). So I'm not gonna type out the recipe. Also because I have a feeling that's some kind of copyright infringement. Let's just say that if you want to ever make bread you NEED to own this book. Because it has everything. The best bagels I've ever tasted, the best hamburger buns, the best baguettes, the best sandwich bread......you get the idea. So buy it. Anyway, this is super fancy pants bread cause it takes so long, and you get 2 of those sized loaves out of it so WORTH. IT.

The other semi star in this pic is the melon carpaccio- Mario Batali's recipe, here. I stuck to the recipe written except I used prosciutto that I crisped up in a skillet instead of salami because I've had cantaloupe and prosciutto before and it's an amazing pairing. And I didn't have arugula so I used whatever greens I had in my fridge. I think the arugula would have put it over the edge so I'm kinda bummed I didn't just send the hubbs out for some, but it was still amazing. Like I could eat that salad every night amazing. And yes, I'm totally counting that as a salad. Carpaccio, by the way, is simply raw, thinly sliced whatever. There's beef carpaccio which is the bomb, there's octopus carpaccio which I will not be eating anytime soon, etc etc.

The other stuff. One is a cherry tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella salad. Also known as caprese, I just threw it in a bowl instead of making it all pretty. Throw some sea salt and evoo on it and you're good to go.

Sliced cucumbers with french feta cheese and evoo. Also yumtacular.

And then of course sliced assorted cheese and salami. Because.

And there you have it. I did not include a pasta course and an entree course the way they would have in Italy, but we'll just skip right onto dessert.  Some more of the hazelnut gelato I made.....

Lunch is served: 15 - 30 minute Veggie Orzo

Babygirl requested pasta for lunch. Alrighty then. This took me 15 minutes, but would have taken a few minutes longer if I didn't already have summer squash cut and cooked to add. I did have to cut up the mushrooms, cut the squash smaller, and cut up the oven dried tomatoes, which I did while the pasta water was boiling. So here's the recipe.

Serves 2+
1/2 cup veggie tri color orzo
handful of cremini mushrooms
handful of oven dried tomatoes
handful of summer squash
some butter
some marscarpone (homemade is best) or you can sub a splash of heavy cream
extra virgin olive oil

While waiting for the salted water to boil, I cut up the veggies. I cooked the mushrooms first- toss them in a pan with some evoo and a little butter and salt. Once they got soft and a nice brownish color I added the tomatoes and summer squash. I cheated and bought organic oven dried tomatoes at costco cause they looked (and are) delicious. Super sweet and yummy goodness. Similar to sundried to tomatoes but not as dry. And they are in a jar in olive oil.

The pasta is small and cooks really quickly. Plus you don't want to finish cooking it in the water. So after a few minutes, add the orzo WITHOUT draining all the pasta water....you want to add some of that water to your cast iron skillet, which should be about medium hot. Add some evoo and some butter and stir around until your pasta is done. Then turn off the heat and throw in the marscarpone. Stir and eat.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Spicy Peanut Butter Chicken over quinoa lime salad

I knew we needed to eat chicken. We admittedly eat a LOT more beef or pork because they just taste better and I don't tend to find exciting chicken recipes. Plus the hubbs only likes breast meat which lacks in taste and fat, and we haven't had much luck looking for breast meat that's not skinless and boneless. And due to a stint working at Boston Market when he was a teenager, he really super does not enjoy when I make a whole chicken. Regardless of how I make said chicken. Traumatic flashbacks and such.

I also defrosted chicken stock a few days ago and need to use it up before it goes bad. So I knew quinoa was on the menu because the ONLY way to make quinoa is in homemade chicken stock. So. Much. Flavor.

As always, I check my ever faithful The Chew website to see what they've got cookin. Since we cancelled cable and our antenna super sucks, I don't really get to watch it much anymore, which bums me right out. But at least I can still use their recipes and watch clips. And today, Michael Symon's recipe for pork caught my eye. The marinade uses peanut butter and siracha so YES and YES. And why not marinate chicken in it. I'm a rebel.

As usual, I had most of the ingredients. Instead of sesame oil, I used 1/2 tbsp of peanut oil and 1/2 tbsp evoo. And instead of rice vinegar I used apple cider vinegar. I'm always surprised at how well apple cider vinegar works as a replacement for the rice one. And since I'm drinking 3 tbsps of it a day (for allergies and heartburn and general good health things), I always have it on hand.

And as for the salad he makes? That looks delicious, but I have practically none of those. We just ate up all our radishes, we don't have bean sprouts, and hubbs and babygirl don't love raw jalapenos. So I just did beet leaves, celery, and cucumber with lime and evoo and mixed it in with the quinoa.

Note: I used siracha I got from whole foods which seems to be a lot stronger in flavor than the more popular brand. So I had to add a little extra peanut butter so we didn't only taste the siracha. Always taste your food in stages before it becomes unfixable!

PS- babygirl cannot eat enough quinoa.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stackers- Zucchini, Summer Squash, Tomatoes & Sausage

I love love love me some squash. My mom hands down makes the best fried zucchini parm in the world. It's amazing any of it ever made it into the parm pan because as she was frying it, I was eating all of the slices as soon as they hit the paper towel.

I digress.

An easier, and healthier, way to eat my favorite things is to skip the breading and simply cut up the squash, heat up a splash of evoo in a cast iron skillet, throw them in there, salt em, and let em brown. I can't even begin to tell you how amazingly good that is.

For this recipe, I simply did the same thing to sliced tomatoes, then I cooked up some hot italian sausage and crumbled it. Stack em up with some buffalo mozzarella in between and add a little parm on top and you have a superbly yummy summer dinner with very little mess and effort.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I heart grill- Beer Braised Short Ribs & Foccacia

Seriously. HEART. THE. GRILL. Because the heat. Oh Lord the heat. PNW doesn't usually have heat like this and no one has central air. Even stores and restaurants are lacking. LAME. So we bought 2 portable air conditioners that have been keeping our house at around 70 which is glorious. Which means that me turning on the oven is asking the hubbs to divorce me. However, I'm not a BBQ lover. There are only so many hamburgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken I can take before I go ape shit bananas.

Luckily, I have moments of sheer brilliance. Brilliance I tell you! I really wanted short ribs because YES ALWAYS YES to organic grass fed beef. And we had some in the freezer. What I did not want was to turn on my oven for 3 hours while it braised. So. I turned on the grill. Got out my dutch oven. and guess what? THE GRILL WORKS AS AN OVEN. OUTSIDE. WITH ZERO MESS (for me, anyway. Hubbs can have fun cleaning it). The dutch oven is miraculous. If you do not own one, go get one. Between that and a cast iron pan you are set to cook whatever, wherever.
Dutch Oven:

I set up the short ribs inside (although because our grill has a burner I could have done it outside but that seemed like too much carrying of ingredients outside to bother). You just have to brown them on all sides and build the braising liquid, which took about 15 minutes total. Then you move the whole thing to the grill. And deliciousness ensues.

I also made foccacia to go along with dinner because it's glorious and it has a much shorter rise time than almost any other bread I make. This recipe is the best I've ever made. Or eaten for that matter. So easy and so worth it. I'm telling you, people. Make your own bread. You will never ever ever go back. And you will not experience any awful gluten side effects as long as you are using organic flour that is not enriched and not bleached and doesn't have extra crap added to it.

I also made this in the grill. Cause if I'm gonna live dangerously, I'm gonna just do it up.

So here's Mario Batali's Beer Braised Short Ribs recipe. He does not disappoint. I followed the instructions pretty exactly, except I only had fresh rosemary, and had to use dried oregano and thyme, so I guessed a bit on those herbs.

I also made Carla Hall's radish salad, which ironically is alongside her own short ribs recipe, but I liked Mario's better. Because beer.

And here are the pretty pictures:

I know I should include more pics of me prepping the meals, but I try to make meals that I can throw together quickly, and my perfectionist self would not allow sloppy pictures, so for now, and into the foreseeable future, I will mainly just post the done pics. Unless it's absolutely necessary. It's the only way I can maintain my sanity keeping up with a blog. 

Oh, and here's a tip I learned from watching The Chew. When you are browning/ cooking meat of any kind, let it sit there. Don't flip it over right away. The meat will tell you when it's ready to be flipped. If it's sticking to the bottom of your pan, it's not ready yet. When it's browned enough, it will flip without a fight. Works like a charm everytime. You're welcome.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Spicy Plum Grilled Chicken

Summer! Grilling and chillin and all sorts of outside nonsense. And time to experiment with grill recipes. So here's one of Bobby Flay's grilled chicken recipes. It's pretty tasty. I added some frozen tart cherries because I didn't have quite enough plums and I heart a tart cherry.

And we ran out of lettuce of any sort so I used the beet greens as my salad base. Delicious and colorful. I mixed it with some purple radish, some pecans, salt and pepper and for the dressing I did a squeeze of lime juice, evoo, and some of the reserved plum sauce I made for the chicken.

I'm finding that making fruit type sauces for dinner is an excellent way to get rid of the fruit that didn't get eaten and is on it's way out the door...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Pizza

So I looooooooooooooooooooooove pizza. and pizza in Washington? Super sucks. You can get it on nearly every corner in New Jersey and it's amazing, and you can get it by the slice. But here on the west coast? They didn't get the memo. Papa Murphy's seems to be a favorite, but if I'm gonna have to bake the pizza myself, I'm gonna go ahead and make my own damned pizza. Cause duh.

So I found the greatest recipe ever for pizza dough, and make a bunch of them and freeze them in separate baggies so that whenever we feel like pizza we just have to thaw out a dough and voila! Amazingness in no time at all.

The recipe is from the book "Made In Italy" by David Rocco. I highly recommend this book. So here's his pizza recipe.

2 1/2 tsps active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup white wine at room temp
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

stir yeast into water and let it dissolve, about 10 minutes
pour flour and salt onto smooth work surface and create a well in the middle
pour water and yeast mix into well a little at a time, using a fork to stir in more flour from the sides of the well
keep it up til the water is gone. then add in the olive oil and the wine.
knead the dough until it's smooth and a little spongy. it seems like the thing will never ever come together. but trust me, it will.
divide the dough into 6 equal parts and put a damp dish cloth over them and leave at room temp for about an hour.
Punch them down and roll them out to make the pizzas, or stick em in baggies and freeze!

For this particular pizza, I took some of my favorite things and threw them on a pizza. I just cooked up some diced sweet potatoes, chorizo (I crumbled it up), cut up some scallions and some heirloom cherry tomatoes, and topped with marscarpone. I just brushed the dough with olive oil before tossing all of the goodness right on there.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Farmer's Market BLT and Grapefruit salad- Yes yes and yes

I will never make another regular BLT again.

Recipe is all Mario Batali, here. I followed it. And loved it. I also made my own bread. Here's the bread recipe:

In a mixer, combine 1 3/4 cup hot water and 2 cups flour and start to mix. While mixing, add 2 teaspoons salt and 4 1/2 tsps yeast. Add 1/4 cup of flour at a time until you reach 4 cups. Switch to dough hook and put on high speed for 25 minutes. It will sound and look like craziness. Your mixer will dance across your countertops. Continue to do this.

Once 25 minutes is up, scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 2-3 hours, at room temp, til it triples in volume.

To shape, gently scrape the dough onto a pizza stone with corn meal sprinkled on it, or a greased pan, and tuck the edges under- it's a vague football-esque shape. ish. sprinkle the dough with flour and cover with a dish towel for an hour until it's very puffy.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (350 if you're using a convection oven) 20 minutes prior to baking.

Bake on center shelf until golden brown, about 50 minutes. to be certain it's done, turn the loaf over and it should sound hollow and hard when thumped.


For the salad, I simply cut up some chard, cut up some chunks of grapefruit, and made the dressing using some fresh mint, parsley, and cilantro, lemon juice, a little grapefruit juice, evoo and salt and pepper.

And heeeeeeeere's dinner!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Authentic Refried Beans

Yum. One of my faves is to have refried beans and eggs over tortilla chips for breakfast. or just have refried bean dip always. And here is my fave recipe:

Refried Beans

She also has a link of hers to tell how to cook the dried pinto beans. DO THIS. You will not be sorry. It's quick, it doesn't require pre-soaking, and the result is probably the most delicious beans I've eaten ever.

So I didn't make quite as much at one time as she did and I played with the proportions a bit. I only used 3 cups of beans and froze the rest, along with the leftover cooking liquid. I used about a cup of cooking liquid, but that all depends on what kind of blender you have to puree. and instead of using safflower oil I used lard because YES PORK FLAVOR IN REFRIED BEANS YES.

So mine worked out to be:
3 cups beans
1/2 cup chopped onion
approx 1 cup of bean cooking liquid
3 tbsps lard
salt to taste

I cooked that all together, then after I got lazy about the mashing I stuck it in the blendtec. And added a little more cooking liquid for consistency. and the result? Ah-Mah-Zing.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

It's what's for dinner

It was brought to my attention that I should post the food that I make along with the recipes. I tried doing something like that via Pinterest in the Dear Dinner Diary section, but posting recipes on pinterest is just not that easy. So I'm going to attempt to do a blog post for each one of the meals that I make. A lot of times, it will simply send you to the recipe I got somewhere off in the interwebs- I'm creative like that. But I can include realistic cook times and some tips and tricks that I've picked up while cooking with a baby on and a toddler helping/ under me. It's a party up in this hiz-ouse.

So, without further ado, here is tonight's dinner...

PS: does this make up for the lack of blogging I've done since getting all knocked up with number 2??

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

This recipe is Michael Symon's, here. Funny enough, He has a specific recipe for Chicken and Chorizo Paella but that is not the one I used...I saw that one later. However, this one came out delish. There should be a little less chorizo and some seafood in this one, but we don't eat seafood, so I simply left it out and upped the chorizo. This one uses saffron, which is fun and exotic and freakin expensive so I had to try it. I can't say enough how yummy this was AND how much we now have leftover which rocks for packin lunch for the hubbs. And you totally don't need a paella pan. The dutch oven works just fine. I started off using my cast iron skillet and discovered that there was no way everything would fit in there....But outside of skipping the seafood I followed all the directions as stated. And I used the chicken stock I make. And it only took an hour to come together...probably less had I not had a child on me. You will not be sorry if you make this. And I used short grain brown rice. He doesn't specify but I like brown better.

 Hazlenut Gelato
Unfortunately, I'm not sure if you can bust this one out if you don't have a fancy pants blender. But if you're doing a lot of cooking from scratch than TRUST ME you need a fancy pants blender. I use it more than once a day, the cleaning of it is simple, and it's bad ass. It can blend an Iphone. AN IPHONE. That's just awesome. I digress.

1 pint heavy cream (I think you could probably use half and half as well....)
3 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup raw hazelnuts
2 cups ice
pinch of salt

The Blendtec has a setting for ice cream making. I ran it 3 times because I was playing with proportions. It started to become butter, so DO NOT DO THIS. It was still yummy, but it was yummier when I tasted it after running it only twice. But for reals people. The setting is for 45 seconds. Which included chopping up the hazlenuts. So add in like 20 seconds for dumping above ingredients in blender. Outside of Italy, this was the most amazing gelato I've ever had. And let's face it...part of Italy was just the ambience...sooooo....yeah my gelato is the best ever ever.

And that was tonight's dinner.

And in case you're all like "ummmm we see the food you're making, and dessert, every night and we don't want to be fatties so no thanks" let me just say that both the hubbs and I have lose weight, and continue to lose weight while eating this stuff. Daily. We don't diet and we don't exercise (apart from running after babygirl who NEVER EVER STOPS MOVING EVER). But because we use all organic, made from scratch ingredients, we end up eating less and the food is good for us. So win win win win win.

Hope this new series of blog posts is helpful. I hope I can remember to post them.