Thursday, August 27, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers - White Pizza with Arugula

I heart pizza. A lot. I could eat it every day, twice a day, and never get tired of it. But I have never made it at home. Until now. It took Andrea of Nummy Kitchen to pick Ina Garten's White Pizza with Arugula for this week's Barefoot Bloggers recipe for me to realize that pizza, like most everything, is better when you make it yourself. I bought a pizza stone for my Bread Baker's Apprentice baking, so I baked our pizzas directly on the stone. It made the crust nice and crisp.

Ina's crust is super easy. I substituted about 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour, and it gave the dough a wonderful flavor and texture. Ina calls for fontina, fresh mozzarella and goat cheese, but I skipped the fontina. Even though we love garlic, I left it out of the oil this time as we were going out for the evening.

This pizza was incredible. It was good with the arugula salad, but I could be just as happy leaving it off.

Give this one a try, you won't be disappointed! You'll find the recipe here.

******PLEASE NOTE: Lethally Delicious is on hiatus for the month of Ramadan. While I have a couple of posts that I completed in advance (like this one), I will be staying away from active blogging. If you leave me a comment, I will try to stop by and visit you. I'll be back around Sept. 20th, reenergized and ready to make bigger and better messes in the kitchen. Peace.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TWD - Creamiest Lime & Mango Cream Pie

This seems to be a recurring refrain here, but when will I learn?

I was lazing around before work, enjoying my coffee, and a thought snuck into my reverie:

"Why don't I make a teeny little lime cream pie. It will be fun. And easy. Let's just check the recipe and see if it's doable."

And we're off...

I have these cute mini pie pans that I've been dying to use, so I figured I'd make 1/4 of the recipe (the math was easy enough for 6 AM). It all went well until the blending part. Putting a full recipe of the lemon cream in the blender was enough of an adventure. Putting 1/4 of the lime cream...I don't think so. My brilliant (I thought) work around was to use my smoothie blender. Uh, no. The lime cream nestled at the bottom below the blade. So I went to the smallest tool in the blending arsenal, the mini chopper. I used my smallest spatula to get it all in there, and it worked! A benefit of the mini chopper was the motor is on top so it didn't heat up the cream while I blended it. The downside is you can't push a button and walk away.

1/4 of the recipe produced a lot less lime cream than I needed, so I went with Dorie's playing around suggestion of incorporating mango, but I just put it on the top. I hadn't added enough butter to my crust, so I was getting crumbs sticking to everything that touched them. Mango just jumps out of my hands and this was no exception. I had carefully measured eyeballed how much I would need to artfully cover the lime cream, but forgetting to use my knife to transfer it to the pie, it all slithered out of my hand and landed all over the board. So now you have the less than artful arrangement of mango on top of this poor little pie.

Even so, this was a huge hit. The tartness of the lime with the sweetness of the mango was perfect. M. loved it, and he requested I make the full recipe next time. I don't think I'd change a thing since it was so perfect with the mango.

This week's recipe was selected by Linda at Tender Crumb. If you'd like the recipe, she'll have it posted today.

******PLEASE NOTE: Lethally Delicious is on hiatus for the month of Ramadan. While I have a couple of posts that I completed in advance (like this one), I will be staying away from active blogging. If you leave me a comment, I will try to stop by and visit you. I'll be back around Sept. 20th, reenergized and ready to make bigger and better messes in the kitchen. Peace.

Monday, August 24, 2009

BBA - Cinnamon Rolls

When there are just the two of you and you want to make a recipe for cinnamon rolls, do you:

a). Make the recipe as written, figuring it's never hard to give away cinnamon rolls;
b). Do many calculations and halve, third, quarter or cut the recipe so it yields two rolls; or
c). Double the recipe.

You're rational, so you probably do a. or b. I'm not rational, so I do c.

There is a method to my madness. Taking six leftover cinnamon rolls into work could cause a riot in an office of 60+ people. So I often double to reduce the number of injuries from people running to the break room.

The less hydrated batch

This time, I was glad I did because doubling presented an opportunity to see how two batches of dough behaved with different levels of hydration. My KitchenAid can't handle a double batch of bread dough so I made two separate batches, and in hindsight the first one wasn't adequately hydrated. I added too much milk to the second batch and it was stickier until I mixed in a little extra flour when switching to the dough hook. It was a beautiful dough and doubled more quickly, with a silkier feel and headier aroma. The less hydrated batch did double, and they both rolled out fine, but the silkier texture of the hydrated batch made that one a breeze.

After mangling the rolled up dough with various knives while trying to slice off the rolls, I stuck the whole thing in the fridge to firm up some and that made it a snap to slice the rolls.

Since I started on these rolls at 8 PM on a Sunday night, I retarded both batches, one in the freezer and one in the fridge. The next day, I had a furlough day, so I thought I would celebrate by making cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Now I love being furloughed!

The few that I made for us (M. actually took a vacation day so we could spend my furlough day together...isn't he sweet?) I didn't make with fondant, and I liked them the best (not that I tasted one that I iced the next day, but I think they might be too sweet with the fondant). I was pinching myself, I just couldn't believe that I, the yeast phobe, had made cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Strangely, when I baked up the rest to take to work the next day, they were well received but not as well as Ina Garten's sticky buns. Those suckers cause a stampede. But these, these, with their notes of lemon and smokiness from the cinnamon, are perfectly balanced. Not too sweet, not too buttery, but heady with the yeasty dough and spicy cinnamon. Perfect.

******PLEASE NOTE: Lethally Delicious is on hiatus for the month of Ramadan. While I have a couple of posts that I completed in advance (like this one), I will be taking a break from active blogging. If you leave me a comment, I will try to stop by and visit you. I'll be back around Sept. 20th, reenergized and ready to make bigger and better messes in the kitchen. Peace.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

CEiMB - Ellie Krieger's Thai Mushroom Salad

Our Craving Ellie in My Belly selection for the week was Grilled Thai Beef Salad. I'm not a huge fan of beef, and I'm chickened out, so I decided to take this one vegetarian and make it with portobello mushrooms. I also had some corn on the cob in the fridge so I grilled that up with the mushrooms.

The marinade/dressing was incredibly flavorful, combining lime juice, soy sauce, red chili paste, garlic and ginger. This is the second Ellie dressing in the last few weeks that I have completely flipped over (the other one was the dressing for the cobb salad, and I mixed up another batch of that one just the other night). I had a huge bunch of Thai basil from my CSA box, and it added an incredibly fragrant hit of flavor to this salad.

This salad was yet another Ellie recipe that I looked at and thought it sounded rather pedestrian, but oh my, the flavor combination was amazing! This one is going into the rotation. I encourage you to try it with the mushrooms or different grilled veggies in addition to or instead of meat (or even a nice piece of swordfish). But if you like steak, try that as it sounds like it would be great.

If you'd like the recipe, check out Jen B's Cooking Carveout as Jen will have it, or you can find it on the Food Network site here.

This will likely be my last CEiMB post as I will be taking a break from active blogging for the month of Ramadan. I'm trying to get a few posts up before Saturday but arrrggghhhh I'm so behind! If you leave a comment here I'll stop by and visit, but this is a good opportunity to get my rampant blog addiction under control! I'll be back after Sept. 20th.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TWD - Applesauce Spice Bars

I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is one sentence blogging week is over. So, while I'll make an effort not to be as blabby as usual, no promises.

The good news is my back is starting to feel better. I can't thank all of you who commented enough. I can't do marathons sessions in the kitchen yet but I can put together an easy these applesauce spice bars.

And these babies are EASY. They're made from ingredients most of us have in our pantry. They smell divine while they bake. There's fruit in them so they're healthy. That's the grand slam of baking, if you ask me. I doubled the glaze and waited to apply it until the bars and the glaze had cooled. I sliced the bars before glazing. Don't do that. The glaze runs between the slices and then it looks skimpy on top. And you won't want to waste a drop of this delicious glaze. Although the bars were great without the glaze (check out Pamela's poem here), they were amazing with it.

This pick came to us from Karen of Something Sweet by Karen, and it was a hit. Thanks, Karen! If you'd like the recipe, she'll have it for you. Better yet, check out the book we're baking from, Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

TWD - Brownie Buttons My Way

Allie is modeling (but not tasting) this week's TWD pick, Brownie Buttons, chosen for us by Jayma of Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen, though I experimented by making these with the Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies recipe, resulting in perfect little morsels of brownie deliciousness, no dipping or glazing needed or desired.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

CEiMB - Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Sore back or not, a girl has to eat, so before work this morning I threw together this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly pick, stuffed turkey burgers (selected for us by Peggy at Pantry Revisited - thanks, Peggy!), substituting sun dried tomatoes for the roasted red peppers and adding capers, both of which I added in abundance, making these even more delicious.

A little more stuffing than Ellie had in mind

Monday, August 10, 2009

TWD deferred and brevity

I've got some 'splainin' to do.

I've been unusually quiet, because I'm working a gazillion hours.

To all of you who have visited and left comments, thanks, your comments make my day (and my days have needed making!) and I will get back to visit your blogs soon.

Yesterday, I screwed up my back, and now moving is difficult/painful.

The doctor gave me drugs (no, nothing for pain; I'm allergic to almost all pain meds) so hopefully I'll be able to bend and twist without whimpering soon.

But that begs a question...just how easy are the brownie buttons? Can I do them with limited twisting and bending? And are they worth it? How long does it take to throw them together (without gorgeous decorating, because you all know I don't do that)?

I planned to keep this brief, in keeping with Nancy's one line blog post week. But since I had 'splainin' to do, it took a little longer. I'm a brevity work in progress.

BBA - Ciabatta FAIL

Bread baking mojo, where have you gone??

I think I followed the recipe exactly. I bought a cloche (from Daniel's Rustic Bread in Canada) and a stone (from Amazon). I read the instructions and reread them about four times and this is what I got:

My dough was unbelievably rigid (even though it rose as it was supposed to) and the gluten just never relaxed. I was afraid it would burn out the motor in my KitchenAid because it kept jamming up. It was as dense and inedible as any of the loaves that caused my fear of yeast. When the recipe called for stretching the dough and showed how supple it was, I knew I was on the wrong track, but I didn't know how to rescue it.

Be sure to check out the other members of the Slow & Steady subgroup. Nancy will post a round up at her blog, Corner Loaf. I'll be back when my back, which I blew out over the weekend, recovers enough so I can walk upright again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

TWD - Classic Banana Bundt Cake

I am living proof that sometimes, learning does not occur.

I looked at the title of this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, I thought "how dull." I mean, I've made hundreds of banana breads, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, smoothies, etc. What did I really need with yet another recipe that starts with mashed extra ripe bananas?

Well, those other banana recipes weren't Dorie's recipes. You would think I would have learned by now that Dorie's recipes are in a class by themselves.

I have a banana bread recipe I have made since woolly mammoths roamed the earth. It's moist, easy and made entirely in the food processor. I've never shared it with you, although I have meant to.

Sharing it is now unnecessary.

Say hello to Dorie's banana bundt cake. It may be the only banana recipe you ever need.

In the interest of fair disclosure, I have to admit I added a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and I topped it with Dorie's chocolate glaze. For some unknown reason (operator error? serendipity?), the "glaze" didn't glaze at all. It became semi firm, and I was distraught that I had done that to my lovely cake. I brought it in to work, wrote a note of apology for the Glaze That Didn't, and went on with my morning.

And then the accolades started rolling in. People were wowed by the cake. They loved the chewy nature of the Glaze That Didn't. They told me not to change a thing next time. I hadn't tasted it yet, so I grabbed a taste thinking they were being kind.

It was fantastic, and I agree completely that the chewy Glaze That Didn't was perfect the way it was. For as many times as I've made banana bread, I'm very ambivalent about it. I like my bananas eaten as a piece of fruit. But this cake changed all that.

Mary of The Food Librarian picked this week's recipe, and she scored big points here. She'll have the recipe posted, but be sure to spend some time on her blog. I LOVE her photography and I think you will, too.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

CEiMB Late Edition - Cobb Salad

Work has been insane these last two weeks. Thursday night I got home around 11, Friday night 9, and last night 8:30. Today I was able to work from home. That gave me the opportunity to enjoy this week's Ellie pick for dinner.

I planned to grill the chicken before watching the finale of Next Food Network Star (what did you think, did you want Melissa or Jeffrey to win?). Surprisingly, the grill was out of gas but I was too lazy to swap out the spare tank. So I whipped out my grill pan and made the chicken on the stove. Then it was a snap to put together the delicious dressing, chop the avocado and crumble the blue cheese. I skipped the ham (don't eat it) and the hard boiled eggs (not a fan).

This was a quick and easy salad, perfect for a weeknight dinner or impressive as a weekend picnic at the beach or park. For me, the dressing was the best part.

This wonderful salad was chosen for us by Gabi at The Feast Within. If you'd like to try this one out, you can find the recipe here.