Wednesday, April 30, 2008

condo living

So, we live in one of those new high-rise condos in downtown, and it turns out, it's exactly like they advertised. Who knew? (We may not have decided to live here, had we realized.) Tall, beautiful people, walking around in their bikinis. And then there's us.

eggplant and sausage pizza | salami, red pepper, and goat cheese pizza
I love how crisp the crust gets with the grilled pizzas. It's almost like a cracker crust. I tend to overload them a little because I get greedy with the toppings. I've included the pizza dough recipe here. Toppings are up to you.

Pizza Dough for Grilled Pizza
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup water (8 ounces), room temperature
- 2 cups bread flour (11 ounces), plus more for work surface
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (optional)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast

1. Combine oil and water in liquid measuring cup. In food processor fitted with plastic dough blade or metal blade, process bread flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, and yeast until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine running, slowly add liquid through feed tube; continue to process until dough forms tacky, elastic ball that clears sides of workbowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. If dough ball does not form, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time and process until dough ball forms. Spray medium bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray or rub lightly with oil. Transfer dough to bowl and press down to flatten surface; cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in draft-free spot until doubled in volume, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. When dough has doubled, press down gently to deflate; turn dough out onto work surface and divide into 4 equal-sized pieces. With cupped palm, form each piece into smooth, tight ball. Set dough balls on well-floured work surface. Press dough rounds with hand to flatten; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated magazine.

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vanilla

My friend sent me some vanilla beans from Hawaii. What better way to showcase than to make some vanilla ice cream.

vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookies
This may have been a little too creamy. I know, is there really such thing? But the mouthfeel was a little too rich, like it coated your mouth with a film. It was a 2/1 ratio of cream to milk, so maybe next time I'll do half and half. I had some chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer, so I baked some up to eat with the ice cream. Very yummy!
[ice cream: cream, milk, sugar, vanilla beans; cookies: butter, sugar, brown sugar, flour, chocolate chips, vanilla, baking powder, salt]

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

pantry burn

Ok, so there's really no such thing. But in my ongoing battle against a ridiculously stuffed pantry, I dug up some mixed dried mushrooms and some arborio rice.

pan-roasted chicken and mushroom risotto
The mushrooms made a really nice, rich risotto, and the crisp-skinned chicken was really nice against the creamy risotto. I picked up some asparagus from the market, and all was good.
[risotto: arborio rice, mushrooms, chicken stock, white wine, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper; chicken: chicken, salt, pepper; asparagus: asparagus, salt, pepper]

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

freezer burn

I realized my freezer was packed full, so in order to start making ice cream, I'd have to start emptying stuff out. This was the remains of a bag of shrimp, some of which were inedible due to severe freezer burn.

shrimp salad
Nothing particularly fancy about the preparation. Sauté the shrimp in olive oil, salt and pepper, and put on greens tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
[shrimp, greens, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper]

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

baking disaster

D insists that I share all my cooking disasters as well. This one is up there with the awful waffles.

jelly roll
I had signed up to do some recipe testing for Cook's Illustrated. With the way I made it, it's not going to make the cut. I wonder what other recipe testers ended up with. I thought it would be easier than it was, and the whole thing was so overly sweet, I couldn't really eat it. D managed to eat most of it himself, although I was going to throw it away.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

soup

I have a great fondness for potato leek soup - I used to make it all the time when I lived in Boston.

potato-leek soup with sausage and cilantro oil
This was sort of experimental, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I needed to do something will all my leftover cilantro, so I decided to puree it with some olive oil and drizzle it onto my soup. It added a nice flavor dimension, and the crispy sausage I fried up, added just that extra bit of salty, porky flavor that it needed.
[potatoes, leeks, chicken broth, cream, butter, salt, pepper, sausage, cilantro, olive oil]

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Monday, April 07, 2008

black beans

My mom handed me a small bag of snow peas from her garden. I decided that it would be perfect with some of the fish fillets D brought back from his fishing trip.

fish with snow peas in black bean sauce
My mom also makes this super spicy, black bean sauce. I used some of that, chopped together with garlic and ginger, and sauteed the fish and snow peas together. It was a nice combination of fresh and funky.
[rockfish fillets, snow peas, fermented black beans, chili, garlic, ginger, oil]

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