BBQ Lavash Pizza

October 7, 2011

I have become obsessed with this little pizza. As I have been on Weight Watchers for the last 8 months, pizza is a rare treat. However, my awesome girlfriend came across a website (skinnytaste.com) with tons of amazing on-the-healthier-side recipes. This one is one of them.

Here is the link to the original recipe:

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/09/lavash-flatbread-pizzas.html

Now, the best part about making your own pizza is that you can put whatever you want on it. Some things Ruth and I have tried out that were awesome:

Mushroom and anchovie

Prosciutto and arugula

and then, we come to what I had last night, which, in my opinion, blows both of these previous ones away:

Lavash Pizza with bacon and wine sauteed onions and mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • Lavash Flatbread (From Trader Joe’s if you happen to be lucky enough to have one nearby)
  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Turkey bacon (or regular bacon)
  • BBQ sauce
  • Sauteed Onion and Mushroom
    • 1 Onion
    • 1 c. baby bella mushrooms
    • 2 tsp veg or canola oil
    • 3 fl oz sweet red wine

Suteed onions and mushrooms:

Slice the onion in your favorite fashion (for things like this I prefer cutting it in half through the roots and then thinly perpendicular to that cut to end up with thin half rings) and slice the mushroom.

In a heavy skillet (cast iron if you got one, non stick if you don’t) heat up the oil.

When the oil is nice and hot, add the onions. Saute them till they are just turning brown and caramelized.

Throw in the the mushrooms until they are slightly softened and dump in the wine. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium, and let the veggies braise a little bit , that is, sit in the wine and boil away for a while.

after a few min, the mushrooms and onions should start soaking up some of the moisture and the amount of wine in the pan will look reduced. Open the pan and saute until the rest of the wine is reduced down and the onions and mushrooms are in a thick syrupy awesomeness.

Turn off the heat and cover.

BBQ Lavash Pizza:

I Prepare the pizza in a similar fashion to the original recipe. Usually, I cut the bread in half first so I have two “pizzas” and can make two different kinds.

Preheat oven to 450. If you have a pizza stone, put that in so it can heat up as well.

Spray the bread with oil spray and spoon on your BBQ sauce. Sprinkle on the mozzarella.

If using turkey bacon, simply rip into pieces and place on the cheese. If using regular bacon, I might cook the bacon slightly to ensure that it is fully cooked when the pizza is done or if you want really crispy bacon then definitely cook it first.

Lay out some of the sauteed mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle on some of the shredded cheddar, not a lot, just enough to have a little extra cheese on some of the onion and bacon pieces.

Once your pizza is all assembled, put your pizza on the pizza stone if using one or place on a sheet pan and put in the oven. Cook for 5 min or until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust starts to crisp and brown.

Once done, remove, let cool a bit, and enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Salad

September 16, 2011

This is sort of an addition to my previous post, the Slow Cooked Pulled Buffalo Chicken.

 

At home, my girlfriend and I have a book called “Now and Later.” It is a cookbook that has gives you a recipe and then gives a recommendation of what to do with the leftovers or has you save some of the food to use for a meal the next day. So in that same vein, here is my “Later” to the pulled buffalo chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c Salad greens
  • 1/2 medium tomato, diced or quartered (whichever you prefer)
  • 2 medium stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1/2 oz (about 2 tbsp) crumbled Gorgonzola or Blue cheese
  • 4 oz. (about 1/2 c) Slow cooked Pulled Buffalo Chicken, cold
  • Blue cheese dressing

Simple throw all ingredients in a bowl and toss together. This is a single serving of salad I bring this to lunch at work, so those are the amounts I have off the top of my head. It is a salad, however, so just adjust amounts based on taste.

Enjoy!

To those of you who in fact follow this blog (for whatever reason), I thank you and apologize or never posting. I’d like to reiterate that for the most part, I stated this to post my own recipes that I wished to remember, while at the same time giving people to find things I like. None the less, I apologize.

Now back to the food.

Pulled buffalo chicken on a whole wheat roll with greens and blue cheese dressing.

My girlfriend, Ruth, and I invested in a slow cooker a while ago and it has been one of the best items we’ve ever bought. We also started weight watchers about 7 months ago (a major reason for not posting, since most recipes are taken from W.W. or other low-fat recipe sites). And for whatever reason, not long after starting said diet, I started craving two things: cheese cake and buffalo wings.  I am still working on finding a good recipe for the former, but for the latter, I have since discovered a way to satisfy that craving. I have made regular buffalo wings, which were awesome, but this alternative make for a great, slightly lower fat (what with all the skinless chicken breast), less messy, more versatile substitute.

Ingredients

  • 1.5-2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 c cider vinegar
  • 12 oz (or larger) bottle of buffalo wing sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Blue Cheese Dressing

NOTE: This recipe basically hinges on the buffalo sauce you use for it, since it is really the only thing adding any flavor, aside from the cider vinegar. The first time I made it, I used Franks Sweet Heat BBQ Buffalo wing sauce. This sauce is sweeter and slightly smoky in flavor. If you don’t like your wings spicy, use this. The most recent endeavor (pictures shown here) used half of the Sweet heat and half Franks Original Buffalo sauce. This was hotter and less sweet, but more Buffalo-y. However, it’s really up to you. Use your favorite, just make sure you get enough.

Instructions:

Place defrosted chicken breasts into a 5 or 6 qt slow cooker.

Add vinegar and enough of the sauce to just about cover the breasts (I like my breasts only partially covered, after all). If using a 12 oz bottle and a 5 qt slow cooker, this should be about 3/4 of the bottle (or 9 oz, for those of you playing the home game).

Stir up the cider vinegar and sauce a bit in the crock pot with the chicken, just to combine a bit.

Then SET IT….AND FORGET IT! ….(6 – 7 hours on low or 3 – 3.5 hours on high)

In either case, in the last half hour, remove the chicken pieces from what will now be a veritable ocean of buffalo sauce and chicken juice, and, using two forks, pull the chicken apart into stringy little pieces (if you’ve eaten pulled anything, you’ll know what these look like).

Put the now pulled chicken back into the sauce and add the butter and mix till it is melted.

At this point it might be wise to add a bit more buffalo or hot sauce. Much of the heat from the sauce will have been cooked out ( this was my experience when using just the Frank’s Sweet Heat Sauce).

When the timer goes off, there you have it, pulled buffalo chicken.

Now your consumption options:

  • On a roll with lettuce and that blue cheese dressing
  • On a salad with some chopped celery, shredded or julienne carrots, and blue cheese dressing (and croutons if you’re into the carbs)
  • (My personal favorite) Spread some out on a pizza slice and a few drizzles hot sauce and that dressing again)

And there you have it, a spicy, comforting dish without all the napkins. If you prefer BBQ to Buffalo, sub in BBQ sauce for the buffalo sauce(I’ve done this with Jack Daniels Mesquite BBQ sauce, which was awesome). If you prefer dark meat, use the same amount of boneless skinless thighs.

Finally, if you don’t have a slow cooker, I’d imagine the same results would be attainable in a large, heavy, oven safe pot (with lid) in the oven on very low setting (200 deg or so) for a few hours.

Enjoy!

Apple Things

January 23, 2011

If there’s one thing i like more than apples, it’s apples baked with lots of butter and sugar. Or possibly apples in the form of mulled cider. Either way, I realized I have a few recipes involving apples that I don’t have written down anywhere, so here goes.

Mulled Cider

So this is going to be a quick one as I have absolutely no amounts to specify. As for ingredients:

1/2 gallon Apple Cider (I tend to use crappy ones as good ones are good enough without all the added flavor)
Whole cloves
Cardamom pods
Cinnamon Sticks
Whole Allspice
1/2 c Brown Sugar (to start)
1 or 2 apples cored and sliced into rounds
Rum or Apple Brandy or Wine (if you’re feeling frisky)

Essentially just dump everything into a big ol’ pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for a while until the spice flavors have been incorporated into the cider. Then before serving, add the liquor of choice and enjoy.

Notes:
I apologize for the lack of amounts for the spices, but it’s really as matter of taste. I probably put in about 2 or 3 tablespoons worth of whole cardamom pods, maybe a tablespoon of cloves, a 4 inch stick of cinnamon, and a tablespoon of allspice. This is really all off the top of my head, so really I would just do it yourself and if it looks/smells like it’s enough, then it’s enough.

You can leave the apples in the cider when you serve, but I remove them.

An idea I came up with last time I made this was, when serving, put into a slow cooker or “crock pot” and put it on warm or low setting. This will keep it nice and hot until it is all gone (which will not take long, I assure you).

 

Apple Crumble

This recipe is one of my mom’s that reminds me of my childhood. This stuff served fresh and warm with a scoop of ice cream is as close to heaven on earth as one could possibly get with so little work.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar (half brown, half regular)
2 cups flour
200 grams margarine or butter softened (one stick is 113 grams I believe)
6 medium apples

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine sugar, flour and butter with a hand mixer until you get crumbs a bit bigger than bread crumbs.

Peel and slice apples.

Use about 1/4 or 1/3 of the crumb mixture to cover the bottom of your baking dish (a 9×13 pyrex for a thinner crumble, an 8×8 for a nice thick crumble).  Put in apples in layers and cover with rest of the crumb mixture.

Bake for 30 – 40 min or until the top browns slightly and the filling starts to bubble though.

Remove from oven and, if possible, serve only a little while later while it’s still warm with vanilla ice cream.

Note: For storage, I recommend allowing the crumble to cool completely over night uncovered. This will allow all the steam to escape and not make your crumble go all soft when you cover it. Once cold, cover with plastic wrap or foil and put in the fridge. However, if you are prone to eating, just leave it out on the counter with a knife already in it (that’s what I do….)

 

Aren’t apples great?!

Enjoy!

 

Ginger Molasses Cookies

December 26, 2010

Wow….so March 2010 was my last post. To be fair, I didn’t know that people actually read this. And maybe I’m flattering myself, but it has recently come to my attention that people are not only reading this, but actually trying recipes! So in honor of this, and the winter season, I will post a few recipes to warm your heart’s cockles.

 

Ingredients

2 c (9 oz) Unbleached All purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1/4 tsp Ground Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves (Optional)

8 Tbsp (1 Stick butter) melted and still warm, or equivalent amount of oil
1/4 c. Unsulfured Molasses (Either strong or not, depending on your taste, I used strong)
1/2 c. (3.5 oz) Granulated Sugar
1/3 c. (2.33 oz) Packed Dark Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Fresh Grated Ginger
1 Egg

about 1/8 c. of Demarera or Turbinado (Raw) sugar or if not those then plain granulated sugar to sprinkle on top

Combine Flour, Baking Soda, spices and salt in a medium bowl. Combine with a fork or a whisk.

In a larger bowl combine the granulated and brown sugars (the demarera or turbinado is for later), butter (or oil), molasses, egg, and grated ginger. Mix by hand or hand blender until well combined.

add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a spatula until well combined. The batter will be very wet, so don’t worry.

If you have it, line a baking pan with parchment paper (If not that’s ok too).

Now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 350, then next part takes a bit.

Now here is the hard part. Roll out 1 in balls out of the dough, dab each ball in demarera (or turbinado, or regular) sugar and place in the lined baking sheet. Place balls two in apart and away from walls of the sheet, these guys spread out quite a bit.

Place in oven and bake for 10 min or until cookies have puffed up, cracked, and deflated. If you need too, rotate pans top to bottom and front to back 5 min in if you cant fit both pans on the same rack at the same time.

Remove from oven and cool on cooling rack. If you used parchment paper, remove the entire sheet of paper and place on the cooling rack. Use a knife to separate cookies if necessary.

 

Notes

So these cookies are awesome, but the rolling process takes FOREVER! I highly recommend doing this with a partner, or several…if you’re into that sort of thing. If you are a true baking nut and have different sized ice cream scoopy things, use them. Otherwise, I would periodically flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking to them.

Also, an optional step from the original recipe was to get crystalized  or candied ginger, cut them into small pieces and mix them in with the dough. This results in a VERY gingery and even a little spicy cookie.

If you’re not really into a sinus-cleansing ginger taste, feel free to cut back on the grated ginger, although the amounts listed above are really not bad, and by not bad I mean really good.

Enjoy and stay warm!!

Smokey Chili

March 3, 2010

So in my house chili is a big thing. For some reason everyone in my damn house makes chili at least once a week. Which is a pain case one of my housemates makes something like a gallon or two of the stuff every time he makes it, which takes up like half the fridge. Anyway, I decided to enter the race. So here’s my chili which, if I do say so myself, is better than all of theirs, but hey, I’m a little biased.

Ingredients
1 lb chopped meat (I used 90% lean chopped beef, feel free to be creative)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
1 can red beans
1 can Red Kidney beans
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Poblano peppers, Char grilled
2 Dried Ancho chili peppers
2-3 Chipotle peppers (either dried or canned, I used Chipotles in adobo sauce)
Cumin, Chili Powder, and salt to taste

Before you start anything else, boil some water, pour it into a bowl, and submerge the two dried Ancho cilies (and the chipotles, if you’re using them). They need to be reconstituted.

Char Grilled Peppers
Now lets start with the Poblano peppers. Char grilling vegetables is a process by which you essentially burn the outside of a vegetable which infuses the inside with a smokey, charred taste. It is used to make some kinds of Baba Ganoush (at least the one I make). There are a few ways to do it.

If you are not afraid to get your stove top a little dirty, you can simply hold the vegetable (in this case the poblano peppers) over the flame with a pair of tongs  till the outside is bunt to a crisp.

However, to get a little extra grill taste into it, I like to use my charcoal chimney with either charcoal or wood chunks. In this recipe I used mesquite wood chunks (which you can buy at most stores that sell grills, like Home Depot or Lowes).

Spray some oil (pam works) on a few sheets of newspaper, stuff them under the chimney, put a decent layer of coal or wood in the top and light that sucker up. Give the wood a few min. to really get flaming. Grab a grate from a bbq if you have it or if not, you can skewer through the peppers and just put them over the top. And if not that, then just put them straight in the fire. Either way, you want the flames to really engulf the peppers.

Let them roast for a few minutes on all sides to the skin is completely charred and black. Bring your peppers back to the kitchen and scrape off the burnt skin (carbon is not very tasty). I found it easier to slice open one side of the pepper, remove the stem and , and lay the pepper down flat with the burnt side up. Then use a knife to just scrape off the burnt bits. Once this is done, scrape away any remaining seeds from the inside, slice the peppers up into small quarter-sized pieces, and set aside.

The Chili
By this time (hopefully 20-3o min), your dried peppers should be nice and tender. Dispose of  half of the liquid, which should have a dark brownish color by this point. Remove the stems and dump out the seeds. Throw the peppers and the remaining liquid into a blender. If there are seeds in the liquid, strain them out. If you are using the canned Chipotle peppers, take out 2 or 3, depending on how hot you want the chili to be, using a fork and knife, slice open the chili and try to scrape out as much of the seeds as possible. (If you want really spicy chili, you can skip this part.) Throw the chilies into the blender with the Anchos. Blend to a liquid-y paste.

In a large pot, heat up some oil and throw in the onions and garlic. Saute a bit till they become tender. Then throw in the chopped meat and sprinkle with a bit of cumin. Saute this till the meat becomes slightly brown, but not necessarily cooked all the way through.

Now proceed to dump in everything else. The 2 cans of beans, the chili pepper slurry, can of crushed tomatoes, and the Char grilled Poblano pepper pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer. After a half hour or so, taste and a salt, cumin, and chili powder to taste. I added very little cumin after adding it to the meat. Depending on the kinds of beans you use, whether they are in salt or not, you may not even need more. As for the chili powder, it is essentially a mix of dried chili peppers, which is what you already put in the chili, so it may not need too much of this. Again though, it is up to you and your taste preferences.

Let this simmer away for a good hour or so. Or at least until the flavors all come together. The longer you let it sit, the more the flavors will have a chance to meld and the more tender the meat and beans will be.

If you like spicier chili, add more Chipotles or even some chopped fresh Jalapeno  peppers (although chipotles are Jalapenos, just smoked and dried).

Serve with cornbread or over rice or by itself. Enjoy!

Hamentashens (Ozney Haman)

February 26, 2010

I must be in a festive mood, not to mention a bloggy mood, seeing as how this is my second entry in an hour. Oh well….

These are cookies eaten on Purim (or as Americans like to call it, the Jewish Halloween). It doesn’t have anything to do with ghosts and junk, but we do dress up. If you wanna know the actual story, go look it up.

Hamentashens means “Haman’s Hat”. Haman being the villain in the Purim story. The Hebrew version, “Ozney Haman”, means Haman’s ears.  But enough of the back story, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients
3/4 c shortening (butter or margarine works too)
1 1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 1/3 c + flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Jam for filling (Strawberry, Apricot, whatever tickles your pickle)

In a bowl, beat the shortening and sugar until smooth with a hand mixer. Mix in most of the egg (leaving a tiny it to brush the tops of the cookies) and the vanilla. once smooth, stir in the dry ingredients. If the dough is not firm enough to roll into a ball, add some more flour.

Once the dough is firm enough, roll into a ball, place in a plastic bag and put into the fridge. Let chill for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Roll out the dough to about a 1/4 in. and using a circular cookie cutter or a thin lipped cup, cut circles into the dough.

Place a dollop of jam at the center of each cookie. To shape the cookies, fold up three sides and pinch together the edges, leaving a small opening at the top (See the pictures).

Put the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet (or put down some parchment paper) and brush the tops of the cookies with the leftover egg. Bake the cookies for 10-12 min, or till golden brown.

Challah

February 26, 2010

This is actually my mother’s Challah recipe. For those of you who are not as familiar with traditional Jewish food, this is a “celebratory” braided bread consumed at Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner. Blessings are said over it and junk, but I just like eating it. It’s great for french toast (see my French Toast recipe) or even bread pudding (recipe to come, hopefully).

Admittedly, this is more for me to reference when I want to make it, but you guys are welcome to give it a shot. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 cup boiling water plus 1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 package active dry yeast
2 room temp eggs (leave a little to brush on braided challot)
4 cups unbleached flour

Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl. Slowly add the liquid. You may not need all the water. Add until the dough is rubbery and not too sticky. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour.

Knead till the dough is smooth. Put back in bowl and cover with a dry kitchen towel. Let rise 2 times for 45 minutes each.  Punch down and knead after each rise.

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.

Knead on the table the 3rd time. Break into six equally sized balls and form into 6 “snakes”.  Braid in 6 strands.  Brush with egg yolk.  Sprinkle with sesame, poppy or sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until ready.

Chai

January 31, 2010

A recipe I found ages ago (not sure where) that I have since committed to memory from making it so many times. None of this powder mix junk, this is the real deal (to an extent…more on that later)

Ingredients
1 1/2 c. Water
10 Cardamom pods
7-8 Whole cloves
1-2 tsp. Fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
Roughly 1 1/2 in. Cinnamon Stick (You don’t need to whip out a ruler, just eyeball it. It won’t kill you)

2/3 c. milk (fat content of your choice)
2 tbsp. Sugar (+/- depending on your preference)

1 tbsp black tea (Darjeeling if you have it). If you just happen to have black tea bags, when it comes time to brew, just rip 2 of them open and use that.

Throw the water, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger in to a small saucepan, or if you happen to have one, one of these guys, and bring the water to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let simmer for 10 or so min (the longer you leave it, the stronger the flavors). IF your pot doesn’t come with a cover, use tin foil and poke some holes with a knife to let the steam out.

When 10 min is up, add the milk and sugar and bring back to a low simmer, stirring to make sure all the sugar is dissolved.

Once at a simmer, turn off the heat and add the tea.  Let steap for 3 min (again you can do it for more or less for stronger or weaker tea respectively).

Then just pour through a sieve and enjoy.

Now, the reason I said it is just kinda the real deal is because as my dad will remind me constantly, REAL authentic Indian Chai has whole black pepper in it. I guess I just never got adventurous enough to try it.

NOTE: You don’t have to follow this recipe exactly. If you happen to prefer the flavor of cloves over cardamom, add more cloves. If you like cinnamon, add a bigger stick. For stronger ginger taste (and I mean WAY stronger) grate the ginger instead of chopping it. This will release more of the juices and you will have a very gingery flavor. Also feel free to experiment with spices. Maybe some whole Coriander or Allspice. Nutmeg? That’s the beauty of cooking, no one is telling you what to do. It’s all just recommendations (unless of course you’re baking, in which case it’s a little different because there is a lot more chemistry involved…damn chemistry…) Anyway, you get the point.

Enjoy!

This recipe is one that I sort of put together from a combination of a bunch of recipes I saw online. It goes great with chicken or shrimp or fish or anything really… It’s a simply sweet and spicy coconut curry sauce.

Ingredients

1 Medium onion, chopped fine or just quartered, your choice.
1 Can coconut milk (light or whole fat, doesn’t really make a difference)
Curry powder or paste
Oil (Olive, vegetable, canola, whatever)
Salt
Meat of choice (Optional)
Coconut Cream or Sugar (Optional)

now, not everyone has curry powder or curry paste (which is usually curry powder with some oil and lime juice and other wet ingredients). The first time I made this, I didn’t have curry powder or paste. but i did have some other things that sorta made a mock curry powder:

Cumin
Cardamom
Cinnamon
Turmeric (which gives the curry its yellow color)
Paprika
Coriander
Chile powder
Ground Ginger
Mustard Powder
Clove

For some spicy-ness I will add some Thai garlic chili paste. If not that, some chili flakes or hot sauce works too.

All of these need to be powder or ground, of course. When I make the sauce, I typically just get all the ingredients out and start adding them one by one as I go, adding more to taste as I see fit. Even when I do have curry paste or powder, I tend to add extra spices to make it taste the way I want.

Anyway, back to the recipe:

If you are going to be cooking your meat in the sauce, use a deep pan, otherwise you can use any sauce pan or pot. Put some oil in the pan, a tbsp or two, and heat over med heat.  If you have curry paste, now is the time to add it. Mix it in with the hot oil. Throw in the onion and saute for a bit, until it just starts to brown. If you are making shrimp or chicken pieces, then add them now and cook till they are just cooked on the outside. If you’re making whole fish or fish fillets, I would make the sauce seperately from the fish and just saute the fish by itself with a little salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to med-high and dump in the whole can of coconut and mix in with the rest of the ingredients.

Once the sauce starts coming to a boil, lower the heat to low-med and start to season, tasting as you go. This part, i’m afraid, is all on you. I like mine to have a strong cinnamon and cardamom flavor and be slightly sweet (hence the coconut cream or sugar, the coconut cream also adds a little more coconut flavor) and a little bit spicy.

Once the sauce tastes the way you like, let the sauce simmer for a while (about 20 min more) till the meat is cooked all the way through or until the coconut oil starts to come to the top. The sauce will be a brown/yellow color.

There you have it, a good coconut curry sauce. Great over some jasmine or basmati rice. Enjoy!