Saturday, November 21, 2009

bbq chicken pizza

Because I can't eat anything that's been cooked near lobster, family vacations to Maine can be a little trying, especially if you are on a tiny island 10 miles off the coast with no cars and 2 restaurants. Maybe in light of that, but probably in its own right, The Novelty is one of my favorite places to eat, ever. A small shingled building with trivial pursuit on every table dishing up pizza that is way better than it needs to be. And microbrews. And ice cream. Amen!

So the other day, when I got hit with a fierce craving for pizza that is 48 hours of driving and an hour on a boat away

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I decided to try it myself. And it was amazing, I have some more dough rising RIGHT NOW for an encore. If this seems like too much work, try to make the dough or bbq sauce individually-- they're knock-out and well worth the effort.

(via Mark Bittman)
1 tsp instant/rapid rise yeast (although I think I used active dry and was fine, actually)
3 cups flour (2 cups white, 1 cup whole wheat is perfect)
2 tsp salt
1- 1 1/4 cup water
2 tbs olive oil

Combine half the flour with the salt and yeast. Now add olive oil and water, mix. Add the rest of the flour a little at a time. start kneading when it is too stiff to stir and keep kneading for about 10 minutes-- the dough should be moist and elastic. Let it rise for an hour or so-- if you keep the bowl covered in shrink wrap in the fridge, it can keep itself happy overnight. Cut the dough in half and use or freeze.

adapted from the molasses jar

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup vinegar (I used white but apple cider would probably be better)
1/4 cup mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne or red pepper flakes
1 tsp hot sauce

Mix in a bowl. Makes enough to store some in the fridge in a clean jar or bottle.

bbq sauce
pizza dough
grated gouda cheese (optional, but delicious)
mozzarella or 3 cheese blend (like from a plastic pack)
shredded chicken (from a rotisserie chicken, or some chicken breasts that you poached, or pre-cut-into-strips Perdue style)

---Preheat the oven to 475.
---Fry half an onion and several strips of bacon in a pan.
---Throw some cornmeal down on a baking sheet, if you have it, then toss your pizza until it has a pretty thin crust.
---Spread some bbq on, then the bacon and onion, then the shredded chicken, then a bit more bbq sauce. Then the cheeses.
---Bake at 475 for about 15 minutes: until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Huevos Rancheros

It only occurred to me last week that you can buy enchilada sauce at the store. That epiphany came pretty much at the same time as the one where I realized that enchilada sauce is "that red stuff that makes Mexican food taste like Mexican food." Which is to say outrageously delicious. My life just hasn't been the same since.

So previous huevos rancheros attempts weren't so good, and I would have to go get them at the only Mexican place in town, where they happened to be the cheapest menu item at 12 bucks. TWELVE! Gah. If you have the foresight to keep some refried beans and enchilada sauce in the house, this is the easiest, fastest, most delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Huevos Rancheros

Heat a (small corn) tortilla in a pan, spread on a layer of refried beans and some shredded cheese. In the other side of the pan, fry an egg to your liking. Plop the fried egg onto the tortilla and pour some enchilada sauce on top.

Repeat as many times as you like. Serve with salsa.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

persimmon tea cake

Well, before making this cake the only thing I knew abut persimmons was from this video:

Suffice it to say that I was skeptical. As soon as I bought some at the market and did a little online research, I became even more skeptical. How to tell if my persimmon is Fuyu or Hachiya? Was I going to poop my pants if I did chose wrong? Is this like some kind of whack-ass farmer's market Indiana Jones and the Quest for the Holy Grail? Well, anyway, I think I screwed it up and used the squat kind you're supposed to use in salads (Fuyu), the good news is that it was delicious. I ate half the loaf in one day. Seriously.

The recipe comes from Beard on Bread, kind of, except I halved the recipe but forgot to halve the sugar. I then added more flour, but make no bones about it: this is a cake. A cake that you eat for breakfast. Because you are a grown-up.

Persimmon tea cake

2 1/2 cups flour (I started with 1 3/4 but the batter was too thin because I screwed up and added some whole wheat until it looked like zucchini bread batter. 2 1/2 cups seems right. Use some whole wheat flour at your discretion)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
shake of ginger and cloves, too.
3 persimmons, chopped up (I'm pretty sure that if you're cooking them, it doesn't matter if they are the crunchy Fuyu or mushy Hachiya kind)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (one stick) melted butter
1/3 cup water (or bourbon or cognac-- I didn't have these)
Optional: some dried cranberries or raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter a loaf pan

Dump all the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix in the wet ingredients.

Cook for an hour, mine took an extra 15 minutes or so.

Curl up some tea and a good book. Or a not so good book that's due tomorrow. Any book will do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quinoa with sweet potatoes, kale and mushrooms

It's tough to the be the queen of the nerds. Sometimes I get so carried away thinking about pedagogy or writing one page response papers that they take all night and all I want to eat are Trader Joes's tamales and I am convinced I don't have 10 minutes to throw some veggies in a pan. Sad, right? But whenever I actually make myself a balanced meal I feel like a million bucks. And my In N Out burger self hates to say it, but especially a balanced vegan meal. Especially since the best laid plans of yoga, surf, and cycle classes all went down the tubes this week and I think my body is letting me know if that if I am really going to be a sedentary nerd queen, I best not be eating three tamales in a sitting.

You may be thinking...quinoa?! But actually I was informed that the secret to non-horrible quinoa is cooking it in veggie broth. So I guess my trademark secret for cooking polenta is out. Yes folks, I may be dead before I'm 40, but I'll be damned if salt isn't the most amazing thing in this whole world. Anyway, here's the first real meal I've had in about a week: it was delicious and really, not that hard. And it makes enough for crazy leftovers, so get ready.

Here we go:

1 cup quinoa
two sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
a tub of white mushrooms, cut into slices
a bunch of kale, with the gnarly stems removed and cut into smallish pieces
red pepper flakes to taste
some minced garlic, salt, and pepper

Put the quinoa in a small pot with two cups of broth or a mix of broth and water. Turn the heat on medium and let it cook.

Meanwhile toss some oil in a pan and start cooking the mushrooms and sweet potatoes. After about 10 minutes (potatoes are getting tender and mushrooms are darker), add the minced garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper, and kale. At this point, my pan was at pretty much total capacity. I threw about a cup of water in (you could use wine) and put the lid on and hoped for the best. Check on it from time to time: my quinoa and veggies were done at about the same time.

Also a piece of kale got caught outside the lid and it made me want to make kale chips; maybe more on that later.

In other moderately culinary news, we started composting! And it's totally not working! Does anyone have under-the-sink-in-an-ikea-bin vermicomposting tips? The hot hipster on youtube made it look so easy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

palak paneer

Having just read bell hooks for the last few hours, I worry that cooking all these fake-o versions of international food is just "privileged acting out for anti-racist while folks." Am I over-worrying this? Oh dear. So take this recipe with this hyper-self-conscious grad student's apologies and a grain of salt. I didn't use the right spices, and I got the basic idea from my new internet friend, Manjula. Anyway, it was delicious and you should try it; imagine the sheer joy of using homemade cheese.

A bag of frozen spinach, thawed
Frozen peas, if you have them (thawed)
Half an onion, minced
A cup or two of paneer cheese, cut into cubes and fried in oil
A small container of Greek yogurt
About 3 tsp garam masala + more cumin, if you want
Pinch of salt
Chile powder or red pepper flakes to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
About an inch of ginger, minced

--Fry your cheese and set aside.
--Now cook the onion until it is translucent, and add the spinach and spices and garlic and ginger. Cook until dark green and wilted. Taste to make sure the spices seem ok.
--Add the paneer and at the last minute, stir in the yogurt.

Chow down.