Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CEiMB post below this one: BAREFOOT BLOGGERS - White Pizza with Arugula

I'm a pizza lover. But only if it has a white sauce or a thin layer of red sauce. If it is running over with red sauce, I'll share. Otherwise, get out of my way while I cut myself the largest piece! One of my favorite pizzas is California Pizza Kitchen's club salad pizza. When I saw the recipe that Andrea of Nummy Kitchen chose for this week, that is immediately what came to my mind.
The dough was easy to mix up but I tried to halve the recipe and just make one pizza instead of the six small ones Ina suggested. And there is a reason the lemon in the above picture looks like it has already had the life squeezed out of it. Because it has. I squeezed the lemon juice and then remembered I needed a slice for the pizza!

This was delicious and will be made again at my house! Check out Andrea's and the other Barefoot Bloggers and see how theirs turned out here! That Ina Garten never fails to deliver a great recipe. At first glance, it may "sound" complicated, but it really is not.
For the dough:nocoupons
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the topping:nocoupons
3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbled
For the vinaigrette:nocoupons
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon, sliced
Mix the dough.
Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
Knead by hand.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.
Let it rise.
Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Make garlic oil.
Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)
Portion the dough.
Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Stretch the dough.
Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)
Top the dough.
Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.
Make the vinaigrette.
Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Add the greens.
When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and a slice of lemon and serve immediately.
TIP Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop.
TIP Salt inhibits the growth of yeast; add half the flour, then the salt, and then the rest of the flour.
TIP To make sure yeast is still "alive," or active, put it in water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it becomes creamy or foamy, it's active.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CEiMB - 100th Post!!!!!! Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

It seems like just yesterday that I joined my first cooking group and that was 100 posts ago! I'm excited that on my 100th post I can tell you about my trip to Italy and also, my good friend Cathy of The Tortefeasor picked this week's recipe for our group. Life just doesn't get much better than this, right?
First, let me say that cooking with Cathy has been a real encouragement to me. We have enjoyed sharing tips about recipes and many discussions about our "pick." When Cathy first came to work at my firm years ago, I was her assistant. I remember my son came to my office to visit (he was 15 or so at the time) and saw Cathy and said "Mom, who was that hottie?" I said "who, Cathy? That's my boss!" I don't think I've ever told her that story. Little did I know at that time that she had real honest to goodness writing/blogging/cooking/comedic talent as well as being attractive to teenagers! She's a rockstar for sure.
Cathy chose Sate Chicken Skewers with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce this week. I wasn't sure about making this because I am a seven ingredient or less kind of girl. Long lists of ingredients scare me. I'm always afraid I will leave something out. This recipe, however, was quick to prepare and delicious. Loved the peanut sauce. I served the skewered chicken with stir fried vegetables and corn on the cob. The only substitution I made was I used onion flakes instead of the shallot and a stainless steel skewer instead of the cute bamboo ones!

Chandler and I flew into Venice Saturday before last and immediately took the wrong vaporetto going the wrong direction. We quickly figured that out and got off and got on the correct one. We were so glad we took only two small bags since you had to drag your luggage through the streets of Venice. They have no roads and no cars! Our hotel was like a castle and I felt like a princess staying there. We really loved Venice. Then we took the fast train to Florence where we checked into yet another great hotel. Different from the one in Venice, but wonderful nonetheless. I loved the architecture, the food, the people, and especially the person I was sharing it all with. He's a pretty special guy. The yankee and I celebrated our 11th anniversary in Florence, Italy last Tuesday.

We had some wonderful food and wine. We did not get into St. Mark's Basilica due to the long waiting line. It was at least two hours long. Although we enjoyed walking around Venice and the water, I think we liked Florence more. And there was gelato - every day! We visited the museum that houses the statue David. I'm in love with that statue. Don't tell anyone, but I actually have a magnetic paper doll of him on my refrigerator. I have many different outfits I can dress him in. I wanted to take a photo of him in the museum, but it was against the rules and after the guard practically tackled me to the floor screaming at me when I made my first flash in the museum, I reluctantly put my camera away. Others, however were breaking all rules and snapping away. So then I thought, well maybe it was just no flash so I proceeded to hide behind a pole and try to figure out how to turn off my flash. While I was doing that, the guard again caught me and screamed "No camera, no photos - prohibited!" Well after the second reprimand, you don't have to tell me three times. I'm not sure why they just didn't tell us when we entered the museum that photos weren't allowed. Really, wouldn't that have made the most sense?
I think the highlight of my trip (other than seeing David) was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It took my breath away with its beauty. But it was extremely hot there. . . at least 94 degrees. And no, my camera was not crooked!

On the way home, the Paris airport was a nightmare and we literally had five minutes to make our flight after waiting on their shuttle (which never came), running through the airport, going through four security ques, etc. Once we got home, there was another one hour security line in Atlanta. So tired, we finally went to bed at 10 that night only to have to get right back up and go to the emergency room. My husband was in so much pain I thought he was having a heart attack but it turned out to be gallbladder. I guess he'll be having some surgery soon. He's looking forward to that about as much as a sharp stick in the eye.

Here is the recipe for Ellie's chicken sate:

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce (or 2 additional teaspoons low sodium soy sauce)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast pounded slightly and cut into 1-inch strips
8 (8-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked for 20 minutes
3/4 cup Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce, recipe below
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped toasted peanuts
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, coconut milk, soy sauce, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, and ginger. Add the chicken strips and marinate for 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
Spray a nonstick grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over a medium-high flame. While pan is heating, thread chicken onto skewers. Grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, until meat is cooked through and has light grill marks.
Serve chicken skewers with Peanut Dipping Sauce, and garnish with basil or cilantro and chopped peanuts.
Yield: 4 servings (2 skewers and 2 tablespoons peanut sauce per serving)
Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Sauce can be made 1 day ahead of time, and will keep 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Yield: about 1 1/4 cups

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CEiMB - Grilled Thai Beef Salad

I made this salad a week ago for our Sunday lunch because I knew I would be out of town on posting day for this. I hope you are in awe of my dedication to my group! Me, actually planning ahead! My friend Jennifer of Jen-B's Cooking Carveout chose this week's Craving Ellie challenge.

I could not find flank steak so I chose a different cut, but it was still very good. I marinated the meet overnight and then grilled it for a few minutes on each side.

I forgot to add the cilantro, but I added a few avocado slices and fresh cucumber slices.

We really enjoyed this dish and I would definitely make it again!! We ate while we watched The Elegy with Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz. A strange movie to say the least! Not awful, not great.

See you next week with news of my trip abroad. :) And the 18th (yesterday if you are reading this on the 19th) was my anniversary with the Yankee. We are celebrating in Italy! Eleven years and we hope for fifty more!!
Grilled Thai Beef Salad

1 pound top-round London broil or flank steak, about 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick
3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons red curry paste or chili-garlic sauce
1/2 head red-leaf lettuce, torn (about 6 cups)
3 shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup), divided, for garnish
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried
1 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
Rinse and pat the meat dry. Place in a sealable plastic bag or small glass dish. In a medium bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, soy sauce, canola oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and red curry paste. Pour half the mixture into the bag with the meat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice to the bag. Seal tightly, and marinate meat in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Reserve the rest of the mixture refrigerated, to dress the salad.
Spray grill or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat. Grill steak until medium-rare, about 5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. Let rest until room temperature then slice thinly against the grain.
Combine lettuce, sliced shallot, cilantro, basil and beef in a salad bowl, reserving a few shallots for garnish. Add the reserved dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates and garnish with reserved sliced shallots.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

CEiMB and Barefoot Bloggers - Stuffed Turkey Burgers and Frozen Mango Banana Daiquiris

As you read this, I am most likely roaming the streets of Venice, or perhaps enjoying gelato in Florence. Yes, okay, eat your heart out! I was trying to figure out how I could manage to cook everything before I left and I could not believe my luck when I saw Veronica of Supermarket Serenade had chosen Frozen Daiquiris for this week's Barefoot Bloggers choice!

We were having a lazy Saturday afternoon, the yankee was paying some bills, and I handed him this delicious concoction to try. We put away the checkbooks (I mean what fun is that, paying bills?) and put in our Netflix movie of the week, Confessions of a Shopaholic. While we watched, we sipped. Yum.

They were not quite as "frozen" as I would have liked, but they were delicious nonetheless. The only change I made was to use spiced rum because that is what I had on had. Thanks Veronica - I owe you one for this great pick!

Mango Banana Daiquiris
serves 4
2 cups chopped ripe mango (1 to 2 mangos, peeled and seeded)
1 ripe banana, chopped
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
1/4 cup sugar syrup*
1 1/4 cups dark rum, such as Mount Gay
Mango slices, for serving
Place the mango, banana, lime juice, sugar syrup, and rum in a blender and process until smooth. Add 2 cups of ice and process again until smooth and thick. Serve ice-cold in highball glasses with the mango slices.
*To make simple syrup, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Chill.

CEiMB - Stuffed Turkey Burgers

It was MY pick this week in our Craving Ellie in My Belly group! Woo hoo! I tried to think of something that might work for everyone! I ended up choosing Ellie's Stuffed Turkey Burgers. I'm leaving for Italy soon and time was a huge consideration.

These were so easy to prepare and a delicious meal you could fix anytime, weekend or middle of the week. First you make thin patties of ground turkey and you top with shredded mozzarella and roasted red peppers.

Then you top with another thin patty of turkey breast and crimp the two together around the edges and add salt and freshly ground pepper.

Then you sit back and enjoy a budlight with lime while you grill them. Foam, foam, go away!!

We probably overgrilled ours a bit which made them a little on the dry side. Still, very delicious!

I really hope everyone who made these enjoyed them as much as we did. And for those of you who haven't tried them yet, do. They are healthy and a fast dinner fix! I served with a tomato slice, red leafed lettuce, on a sesame bun. But there are endless possibilities with these. Next time I will add a little grated carrot and maybe use monterey jack cheese for a little more pep. With school right around the corner, you could not ask for an easier meal.

Stuffed Turkey Burgers

1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey breast
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Divide turkey into 4 equal sized rounds. Make 2 equal sized patties out of each round so you have 8 patties total. Sprinkle 4 of the patties with 2 tablespoons red peppers and cheese, and top with remaining patties, working the turkey around the edges to seal burgers closed. Season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Grill or broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.