Sunday, December 23, 2012

Easy Peezy Pizza Dough

I apologize for the title, but I just couldn't resist. It does explain it perfectly. 3.5 cups bread flour* - plus a little extra 1 tsp sugar 1 packet yeast (or 2.25 tsp yeast if you bought the mega bag at costco like me) 1-2 tsp kosher salt (depending on how you prefer to use salt) 1.25 cup water at no more than 110 degrees (this is important) 2 tbsp olive oil Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. I usually do this part by hand so that I can be sure there isn't any yeast or salt sitting at the bottom of the bowl. While the mixer is running with the dough hook attached, add the warm water slowly. Using warm water makes a big difference because it helps everything combine better, but if you put water that is too hot in there, you'll kill the yeast. Once the water is in, add the olive oil. Let the mixer do its thing for a few minutes. If the dough is super sticky start adding flour one spoonful at a time. The goal is to get the dough so that it looks smooth and elastic and only sticks to the very bottom of the mixing bowl a little bit. When you take it out it will be a little sticky, but nothing that well floured hands can't manage. Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel until it has doubled in bulk (30 minutes to an hour depending on how warm hour house is). After the dough has risen, turn out onto a well floured surface and shape. This recipe makes 6 10 inch pizzas (normal crust) or 6 6x18 inch pizzas (thin crust) or two rectangle cookie sheet pizzas. If your dough stops cooperating while you are shaping it, just give it a 10 minute timeout, or a short cat nap. Once your dough is shaped, you can top it first and then cook at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, or you can cook the dough first for about 5 minutes, put the toppings on and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Its all by eye. But it should be golden brown. *It doesn't have to be bread flour, but it tastes so much better!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This Chicken Needs a Fancy Name

So I was inspired by this recipe on Epicurious tonight, but their recipe name was uninspired and the instructions left a little to be desired. However, the combination of ingredients was fantastic and the process was oh so easy! I can't wait to make it again. I just need to come up with a fancy name for it so that when I serve it to company, it sounds more impressive than "chicken thighs with green olives" 4 bone in skin on chicken thighs 2 tbsp high heat oil like grapeseed oil 1 medium onion sliced thin 3 cloves of garlic minced 1/2 tsp cumin 3/4 cup orange juice 1/2 of a lemon, juiced 1/3 cup green olives sliced in half length wise salt and pepper to taste 1. Heat 2 tablespoons of high heat oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is the bomb) over medium high heat. Brown the chicken well (but not till cooked - we're just trying to get a crispy skin). Don't fuss over then, just put them in and let them sit while you slice the onion. 2. Once the chicken is browned, set the pieces aside on a plate. remove all but about 1 tbsp of oil from the bottom of the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and saute until limp. Add the minced garlic and saute for a few minutes more but don't let the garlic burn! Add the cumin and stir it all up. 3. Next add the orange and lemon juices and the olives and return to a simmer. Once everything is hot, add the chicken pieces and cover until the chicken thighs are cooked through (not sure how long this is, I overcooked mine at 20 minutes so it will depend on how long the thighs were browned for, how big they are and how hot you have your stove). 4. Once they are finished, arrange the thighs on a serving platter on on dinner plates and top with sauce, onions and olives and serve. A garnish of thinly sliced lemon and fresh Greek oregano would be lovely too!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scones! Tea Time with the Girls

And, this one is a family favorite...

Scones. A tradition. A delicacy. A delight... and a much requested recipe:

Preheat oven to 400
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cream (1/2 & 1/2 or whole milk will suffice)
  • 1 egg
  • Dried fruit of choice
Mix dry ingredients together in mixer. Cut in cubes of cold butter, add egg when crumbly. Keep mixing until dough ball forms. If sticky, add more flour & titch more sugar.

Pour dough ball onto sugared pastry board. You may also use counter top, if you're blessed with one that doesn't have grout. OR, lay out parchment paper, and do your kneading over the non-stick surface.

Flatten and fold dough repeatedly with the heels of your hand. Make a rectangle, and press in dried fruit of choice. My favorite right now is Craisins, but I've been known to use golden raisins, regular raisins, Calmyrna figs, or apricots.

Flatten & fold in fruit several times, until you reform your rectangle. Use biscuit cutter to cut out scones. Lay on baking sheet, and brush with a mixture of cream & a dash of sugar on top.

Bake in 400 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes. Don't go anywhere, need to catch the scent of delightful "ready" scones... sometimes it's at 12, sometimes at 18 minutes...depending on how well heated your oven is.

Enjoy with a spot of tea and honey, slathered in butter or clotted cream. Ahh... I think I'll go make some now.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

More Doggie Treats

Here are some MORE yummy dog treats we discovered...whether or not they are PERFECT doggie treats? We'll letcha know!


2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour (regular, if your pup has allergies)
1/2 c. milk (skim, 2%, whole or powdered)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 large egg, beaten
2 TBSP./Small amount of flavoring (bacon drippings, chicken or beef stock, juice from a can of tuna — your choice)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray or grease a cookie sheet. Lightly flour a surface to roll the dough out on.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

3. Add the flavoring you selected and the beaten egg to the bowl and mix well. Note: This is a pretty stiff dough. If you find it to be too stiff to work with, just add a touch more of the chicken stock (or whatever else you’re using).

4. Roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Use a pizza cutter or a few different, bone-shaped cookie cutters to cut the dough into the desired size.

5. Bake for 30 minutes and let cool before treating your happy dog to its new favorite biscuits recipe!

This One's for the Dogs: Peanut Butter Dog Treats

So, the girls wanted to go nuts at Dollar Tree, buying presents for our pooches. But, I convinced them that we could make something equally, if not more fantastic:

Here's what I found: Home Made Peanut Butter Dog Treats!

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. milk (2% or skim is just fine)
  • 2 TBSP. Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 TBSP. chicken broth or stock
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly spray or grease a baking sheet.

In a mixing bowl, add the first 6 ingredients and stir. Once you’ve gotten them mixed well, add the baking powder. Continue mixing until everything’s combined.

Using a tablespoon, drop spoonfuls of the mix onto your greased cookie sheet.

Pop them into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they’re a nice golden brown. Cool and serve!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Roasted Ratatouille with Feta

In honor of meatless Monday, I decided to make Ratatouille Crepes. That was before I realized I had about a quarter cup of milk on hand. Plan B turned out quite well though. And in spite of the initial push back on the eggplant, the only thing left on the little plates were a few pieces of pasta. All veggies had been devoured. 3/4 lb eggplant (about 4 Persian eggplants are my preference) 3 nice sized tomatoes 2 zucchini (I did one green and one yellow) 1 red bell peper 1/2 onion 2 garlic cloves Chop all vegetables coarsely. Mince garlic. Combine in a large (very large) bowl with about 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, about 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread out in a shallow baking pan (a high rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan works well) and roast in your oven at 450 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until the vegetables smell really really good. Remove from oven. While the veggies are roasting, cook 1/2 to 3/4 pound of nice chunky pasta (like penne or something). Once the pasta is drained, add veggies, 2 Tablespoons each of fresh minced basil and fresh italian parsley, about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and about 4 ounces of crumbled feta cheese. I LOVE Pastures of Eden feta from Trader Joes. It is mild and creamy and not too salty. Mix it all together and serve. I also took a package of trader joes pizza dough, spread it out in a nice shape, slathered it in olive oil and sprinkled it with garlic powder, sea salt and italian herbs. Then I cut it into 1.5 inch strips and served it like breadsticks along with a nice simple salad. Went quite well with a red Sancerre. My new fav.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

UNBELIEVABLE dessert - chocolate chip cookie dough brownies

Yield: 32 brownies

Prep Time: 30 min + cooling time

Cook Time: 25 min

These brownies are a major treat for cookie dough lovers... figuring out what wine to pair this one with... for when MAMA REALLY NEEDS A TREAT!!!


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet chips + 1 teaspoon shortening for drizzle, optional


1. Prepare the brownies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray. In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Mix in melted chocolate. Blend in flour and mix just until combined (don't over-mix). Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

2. Prepare the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix in milk and vanilla. Mix in flour just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spread cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until the dough is quite firm. It's okay to speed up the process and place it in the freezer too. The firmer the dough, the easier it will be to cut into neat squares. Use a sharp knife to cut the brownies. You may need to wipe the knife off with a paper towel in between cuts since the fudgy brownies and cookie dough will tend to stick to the knife a bit. These brownies are best to serve placed inside cupcake papers and served with a fork.

4. If you'd like to add chocolate drizzle on top, melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of shortening in the microwave; stir until smooth. Scoop the melted chocolate into a zip baggie and snip off the corner. Squeeze the bag to drizzle the chocolate on top of each brownie. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top, if desired.