Monday, March 30, 2015

Recipe #63: My Deep Dish Pizza...Lou Malnatti's Style

If you asked me what my favorite style of pizza is, it would not be deep dish.  I am a true die-hard Chicagoan who loves thin crust pizza...the thinner the better.   That said, every once in awhile, I like a pizza with a little more beef to it.   I bought a cast iron pan, watched Lou Malnatti in a battle with Bobby Flay over the best deep dish pizza about a dozen times, and voila....a great knockoff.  The prep work is what takes the most time here, but once you have everything ready, it comes together very quickly....the biggest expense is a cast iron pan.


1 pkg quick rise dry yeast                              2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup tepid water, about 90 degrees           1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup canola oil                                            2 3/4 cups flour

In your mixer bowl, Kitchenaid preferably, with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast in the water.  Add the oils, cornmeal and the flour.  Beat for about 10 minutes.   Use a large rubber spatula to help it along.  Dough should be elastic and soft, but not overly soft.  Put dough in large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise until double in bulk.  I put the bowl in my oven that I heated to 180, then turn off.  Punch down and allow to rise again.  Punch down a second time and the dough is ready to make pizza.  Grease a 12" cast iron pan...if you don't have a cast iron pan, a oven-proof pan will do. 


1 lb Italian sausage, chicken Italian                 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
  sausage or other, cooked*                                1 small onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced thin                                     1 lb mozerella, sliced in 1/4" slices
1 batch marinara sauce (previously                 1/2-1 tsp dried basil
   posted on my blog)**                                       1/4 cup parmesan, grated

* I sometimes buy Italian sausage already cooked, then just slice it.  If you buy raw, you can cook and then slice it, or buy bulk and crumble it up while cooking.

**you want to make sure your sauce is nice and may want to put in a large sieve over a larger measuring cup so the excess liquid drains off.

Preheat oven to 475, and have your rack on the lowest shelf.  All of your ingredients should be ready to go.  I put each thing in a bowl.  Spray your pan with cooking spray.  Pat dough in pan and up the sides...I usually have more dough than I need and once I start going up the sides, I start cutting dough off with a kitchen shears.  Okay, the dough is in the pan.    Now place your cheese all around, and tear some pieces into little wedges so it just about all have a little left over.  Next, spread the sausage all around...then any other toppings you may have.  Okay, your toppings are done, now comes the marinara sauce.  I use the entire batch of sauce, spreading it over the whole pizza with an offset spatula.  Then sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the whole thing, and finish with the dried basil, pinching in between your fingers as you go.   Bake for about 30-35 will know as the cheese is melted and the sauce looks set.  Take pan out of the very careful..I don't have to tell you hot, not to mention, how heavy, the pan is.  Let sit for about 5-10 minutes until cutting.  When you do cut into the pizza, it will still be a "hot mess" somewhat.  I use a steak knife to cut through, then the offset spatula to get up underneath it.  It's also great cold...  Bon appetit


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Recipe #62: The Granola I Love..My "Go To" After the Chocolate Chip Waffle...

I remember growing up and on school days, having cold cereal for breakfast.   Because my dad went to the bakery every weekend, this choice seemed so bland during the week.  Nowadays, on a rare occasion I will have a craving for Rice Krispies with a banana, but that's as far as "domestic" cereal goes.  Granola is a different bird.  But you pay the same price for a large box of Rice Krispies as you would a small bag of granola.   This granola doesn't have the kitchen sink in it, but it's good, easy to make, and I like it.  Of course, you can add anything "your" heart desires when you make it...just follow this rule of thumb...all nuts and seeds when you bake, all fruit afterwards...

4 cups regular oats, not quick-cooking           1 1/4 cups sliced almonds
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds                             1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/4 cup each light and brown sugar                 1/3 cup maple syrup, the real stuff
1/3 cup canola oil                                                 2 tbsp honey
1 cup craisins, optional                                       1 cup coconut, optional
1 cup dried tart cherries, optional

Heat oven to 325 and line two large baking sheets with sides with parchment paper.  In small saucepan, heat the oil, honey and maple syrup on low just for a few minutes.  In a large bowl, add the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans and both brown sugars, (see below).  I mix with my hands.  Add warm honey, syrup and oil into dry mixture, and mix with hands until well incorporated (this also feels great on your hands).  Spread mixture between two pans, (see below) and place in oven, baking for 40-45 minutes.  If you want chunky pieces of granola, do not stir, just bake.  If you want a loose granola, stir 2-3 times during baking to make sure everything is baking evenly.  Remove from oven and cool on sheets.   For chunky granola, let cool a little on baking sheet.  Place granola in a large bowl, add fruit, and stir.  Place in a tight container.  Should be eaten within 2-3 weeks, but trust me, it goes down real easy with milk or on top of yogurt.  Bon appetit!



Friday, March 20, 2015

Recipe #61: Cinnamon Twist Sweet Rolls with Powdered Sugar Butter Glaze

I'm a sucker when it comes to any type of Danish...eating it, that is.  Making a good Danish is a tedious process at best, and sometimes the results are not worth all the ingredients, two rises and prep work.  This recipe is the longer version...I will also be posting one where I have cheated and started with one of my favorites...puff pastry dough.  I'm sure some of you will look at the recipe below, and promptly say "forget it!"  I don't blame you, but then you don't have the benefit of enjoying these wonderful delights.

1 cup milk                                                                  1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 cup vegetable shortening                                1 large egg
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar                                        1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups flour                                         2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, room temp

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until steaming, or use the microwave.  Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm (100 degrees) in mixer bowl.  Add the milk, shortening, egg, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and 3 1/2 cups flour (to start).  Mix with the dough hook until well combined.  Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead a few times until smooth, adding more four if dough is too sticky.  Transfer dough to a large bowl sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size...about 1 1/2 hours.  Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar in a small bowl.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.   Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 8"x16" rectangle, with the long side facing you.  Spread the butter over the right half of the rectangle, then sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Fold the left half over the buttered, sugared half, like closing a book.  Cut the folded dough vertically into 6 strips.  Twist a strip several times, stretching dough a little, then put one end onto the baking sheet, and holding, wind the strip around and around to form a coil, tucking the end underneath so it doesn't come apart while baking.  Repeat with the remaining strips.   All 6 should fit on the large baking sheet.  Lightly cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap sprayed with vegetable oil spray and let rolls rise until doubled in size...about 1 hour.  Heat oven to 375.   Uncover rolls and bake until lightly browned, about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven.   While they are baking, make the glaze below...


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar                                      1 tbsp butter, room temp
1/8 tsp salt                                                                1/8 cup warm milk

Beat sugar, butter and salt in a bowl with a mixer (I use a hand mixer for this).  Add the warm milk and after adding, mixture should be pourable, not spreadable.  Add more milk if you need to.  Spoon glaze over rolls a few minutes after they come out of the oven.  You can top with sanding sugar, or sprinkles, or nothing...bon appetit!

the dough right out of the mixer...

after kneading a few times...

after the rise...

I doubled my batch...that's why it looks bigger...

but the concept is the same...

for the recipe above, cut into 6 strips...

twist strip of dough, lay on cookie sheet, and wind around in a coil, tucking the bottom underneath  itself...                                                                                                                                                     

 after rising...

closeup...almost looks good enough to eat raw...



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Recipe #60: Fresh Corn Chowder with Bacon & Sweet Potato

I have always loved corn...canned corn, creamed corn, frozen corn, corn on the cob...I love it all.  That said, I also love bacon...fried bacon, bacon sandwiches, bacon and eggs.  I have made this recipe many times over, tweaking it so it was just right.  The first time around, I thought using the same proportion of bacon to corn was going to work out great, but the bacon really overpowered the corn, (how could that be?) and corn is really the star of the show.  Also, a corn chowder recipe usually calls for red potatoes.  In my recipe, I use a combination of red and sweet potatoes, and the sweet potato gives another sweetness aside from the corn.   The longer you cook this soup down, the thicker it will be.  And yes, you can absolutely use frozen corn.  I like to use fresh, because it's fresh.  That's not to say it's always the best, depending on the year.  Enjoy!

1 small onion, diced                                               2 stalks celery, diced
6 pieces bacon, fried                                              2 pieces bacon, cut into dice
2 tbsp olive oil                                                       5 cups corn
2 red potatoes, diced                                              1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 cup half and half (or whole milk)                       3 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 tsp salt                                                                 1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika                                                          1 tbsp flour
1/2 dried thyme                                                      1 tbsp fresh chives

In large dutch oven, saute onion, celery and the 2 pieces of bacon in the olive oil for about 8-10  minutes, or until softened and turning translucent.  Add corn, potatoes, stock, salt, pepper and paprika.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on medium-low for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.  In a food processor (I use my nutri-bullet) puree 1 cup of chowder with the tbsp flour.  Whisk pureed mixture back into the chowder.  Add half and half (or milk), thyme and chives.  Simmer, uncovered, for another 10-15 minutes, or until the chowder is the thickness that you like.  Crumble the 6 pieces fried bacon into the soup and give it a stir.   Bon appetite!

sauteing the bacon, celery and onion                                                                                                   
pulsing some of the soup with the flour in my nutribullet

putting the pureed mixture in the pot along with the half and half

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Recipe #59: Bridge Creek Triple Ginger & Lemon Zest Muffins

I first had these muffins at the Boardman House, a lovely B&B in Townshend, Vermont, probably 15 years ago.  Boardman House is right on the green, surrounded by a gazebo, church, general store and a few lovely houses.   The setting is, of course, Americana at its best.   Sarah runs the B&B, and is an excellent host, cook and baker.  When she had this recipe out the night before, I was rather perplexed by the use of ginger and lemon together, but the flavors really work.  I have made these again and again, as they are simple, and not overly sweet or rich.  Over the years I have stepped up the recipe a  bit by also adding ground and crystallized ginger.  You may think that's an abundance of ginger, but it doesn't overpower, and along with the lemon zest, becomes a muffin with the most delicate of flavors.   The finer you chop the crystallized ginger, the less distinct it will become. 

4 oz unpeeled fresh ginger                                                   1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped                      2 cups flour
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar                              2 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt                                                                               1 stick butter, softened
1/4 tsp baking soda                                                                2 eggs
1/4 tsp ground ginger                                                            1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
sugar for topping muffins

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease 12 cup muffin tin and an extra muffin tin (this makes 13...I tried 12 but the muffins baked over the side of the tin, making it hard to get them out) or line with cupcake liners.  Cut the fresh ginger into large chunks.  Chop fine in food processor (I use my mini Kitchenaid).  Scrape ginger out and put into a small skillet along with 1/3 cup sugar.  Cook over medium/low heat until sugar has melted and mixture is hot (a couple of minutes).  Remove from stove and let cool.  Put lemon zest, crystallized ginger and 3 tbsp sugar into ginger mixture.  Stir and set aside.  Place butter in mixing bowl and add remaining sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Add the lemon/ginger mixture, then the eggs, one at a time.  Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl.  Add alternately with the buttermilk mixture, ending with the flour.   Beat just until the whole thing comes together.   Fill 13 cupcake cups evenly (I use a scoop to start with).  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.   In a small bowl, put a few scoops of sugar.  As quickly after you get the muffins out of the oven as you can, release them from the tin and rub face-down in the sugar (this may take a few minutes depending on how much heat your fingers can stand).  Place muffins on cooling rack.  Bon appetit!

You can see a piece of the crystallized ginger here....

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Recipe #58: Morton's Caesar Salad Dressing...Look Ma, No Eggs!!!

Morton's of Chicago opened their first steakhouse in 1978 in downtown Chicago.  It is located on Rush and State Streets, and was one of "the" places to go for dinner on a special occasion.  What used to intrigue me about this place was it was known only by its front door that simply said  "Morton's".  We were lucky enough to get a Morton's here in Seattle about 13 years ago, as I went there for my 45th birthday.  An item on their menu that was "to die for" was their Caesar salad, in part due to the dressing.  I love this salad dressing for a number of reasons, the most important being it has no egg.  Also, you just throw all the ingredients in a food processor, and voila, you have a fabulous Caesar salad dressing.  This recipe also makes enough for a very large salad for many people, and if you don't use all of it, it will keep, even at room temp, covered, for another 1-2 days.  You just need to whisk as the oil will separate somewhat.  Here is the recipe...please enjoy...

3/4 cup olive oil                                                              1/4 cup red wine vinegar
6 anchovy fillets, minced*                                            2 tsp Worcestershire sauce**
4 tsp minced garlic                                                         1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard                                                     1 tsp white pepper
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese                       2 heads romaine lettuce, torn into
                                                                                                  bite-size pieces***

*  I use one tube Napoleon brand anchovy paste.  Pictured is reese, but not all grocery stores carry Napoleon.  It is, though, by far, the best anchovy paste.  Yes, you use the whole tube, as the flavor is not as sharp as anchovies themselves.

** I also add the Worcestershire which is not in the original recipe.  It is, though, part of a traditional Caesar dressing.

*** This recipe makes enough salad to use 2 heads of romaine, although the original recipe calls for only one. 

Blend all ingredients except for parmesan and romaine in a food processor or blender.  Add the parmesan and blend for another minute.  Place lettuce in a large bowl and add just enough dressing to coat the romaine.  Do not overdress.  Top salad with croutons, fresh cracked black pepper and more parmesan.  Bon appetit!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Recipe #57: Roasted Chicken Wild Rice Supreme with White Wine & Dried Cherries

One of my husband's favorite dishes was this one...only 20 years ago, I didn't use a roasted chicken, fresh mushrooms, white wine and dried cherries.  This dish is great for this time of year especially, and even though I haven't made it since my husband died, I still love it just the same.  It also freezes beautifully, as shown below.  The water chestnuts add crunch, while the dried cherries add a touch of sweetness.  And I don't think I need to convince you that a roasted chicken has so much more flavor than chicken breasts that are boiled...

1/2 lb fresh mushrooms (I used cremini                 1 1/2 sticks butter
    and Portobello)                                                         1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup flour                                                                  3 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half                                                      1/2 cup whole milk
1 whole roasted chicken, pulled apart and              2  boxes uncle ben's long grain and wild rice
    cut into chunks                                                             mix, cooked
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted in the oven            1/2 cup chopped celery
    and chopped                                                              1 oz can sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries                 1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9x13 pan or something of about the same size.  Melt 4 tbsp butter in a large skillet.  Saute the mushrooms until tender, and then put juice and all in a bowl.   In the same skillet, melt the stick of butter and saute the onion until tender.  Stir in the flour, cooking for 2-3 minutes, or until all the flour and butter are incorporated.  Slowly add the 3 cups of chicken broth into the flour/butter mixture, stirring the entire time.  Add the half and half and cook until the mixture is thickened.   I use a whisk to make sure the white sauce, which this really is, does not burn on the bottom of the pan.   After the mixture is thickened, add the white wine and stir.   If your pan is large enough, you can proceed, but I dump the whole mixture into a very large bowl.  Add the mushrooms, chicken, rice, toasted almonds, salt, water chestnuts and dried cherries.  Mix well and then pour into the prepared casserole.    Bake uncovered about 25-35 minutes, or until the top is just starting to brown.  You don't want the casserole to be dry, so if not sure, err on the side of the casserole being too creamy...everything is already cooked anyway.  Bon appetit!