Friday, May 18, 2007

Citron sorbet

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1-2 Tbsp lemon zest

Heat sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring until fully dissolved. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and zest. Cool completely. Pour into Tupperware container and put in freezer. Once it begins to freeze, break up ice crystals with a fork and stir to smooth out texture. Repeat once an hour until frozen.

Tip: If you don't have a zester, use a sharp veggie peeler, and then dice w/ sharp knife instead.

Carrot pancakes

Healthy and slightly sweet, these orange pancakes are great for a weekend brunch.
Use your favorite pancake recipe, or the one below. Once the batter has been mixed, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup cooked, pureed carrots and a pinch of cinnamon. Cook as usual and serve with maple syrup.

1 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter. Mix until smooth, then add carrots and cinnamon.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Mood-altering paprikash

I made this the other night after a long day. It looked burned, unappetizing and I was frustrated and hungry. I wanted to toss it in the trash and make PBJs instead, but the voice of reason (Jonathan) seemed to think it would be okay. Actually, it was awesome!! A definite comfort food with a kick. Perfect for a weeknight.

4 chicken legs
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1-2 crushed garlic cloves
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Hungarian paprika

In a bowl mix the onions, garlic, butter, water and paprika. Place chicken legs in a baking dish and cover with onion mixture. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees, stirring occasionally, until internal temperature of chicken reaches 175 degrees and juices run clear.

Remove the chicken legs and set aside. Pour the onion mixture into a frying pan, scrapping the dish to get all the yummy chicken bits. Add cream and milk. Heat slowly, not allowing it to boil.

Once the chicken has cooled a bit, pull meat from bone and add to sauce.

Serve over hot egg noodles.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pizza margherita

Another specialty from my Italian pizzeria days in high school.

1 batch thin crust pizza dough
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
2-3 handfuls of shredded mozzarella
6-8 basil leaves, sliced

Spread the dough out on a pizza stone or cookie sheet. Bake for 10-25 minutes in preheated oven at 425 degrees or until golden. Remove from oven and gently work a long spatula up under the dough, then flip it.

Top with sauce and cheese. Bake until cheese bubbles and browns.

Remove from oven and top with basil. Brush crust with olive oil.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Definitely the best pizza crust!

This originated in Cooking Light, but I've tweaked it repeatedly to come up with my ideal crust. This recipe makes one deep dish, two hand-tossed or three thin-crust pizzas. You can make the dough on the weekend, then freeze it after the first rise to use later in the week.

2 cups very warm water (about 120 degrees is best)
3 tsp honey
3 tsp yeast
1/2 cup wheat germ
5 cups flour (or less)
1 1/2 tsp salt

Dissolve honey in water, then add yeast. Stir once, then let sit until foam covers the water's surface.

Add wheat germ and stir. Add 2 cups flour and mix well. If you have a mixer with kneading hook, start using it now. If not, mix with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula. Keep adding flour until dough begins to pull from edges of bowl. Let dough rest 20 minutes.

Add salt, then flour 1/2 cup at a time until you can handle it easily with floured hands.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise about an hour, until doubled in size, or when it doesn't spring back when you poke it gently.

Divide the dough into halves for hand-tossed pizzas and thirds for thin-crust. (If freezing, see below *.) Begin pre-heating your oven to 425 degrees.

Spread the dough out on a pizza stone or cookie sheet. Bake for 10-25 minutes at 425 degrees or until golden. Remove from oven and gently work a long spatula up under the dough, then flip it.

Top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake until cheese bubbles and browns.

Remove from oven and brush crust with olive oil. Voila!

* If you plan on freezing the dough, punch out all the air from the dough ball. Dust with flour, then wrap in two layers of plastic wrap and put it in the freezer.

To thaw, pull it out from the freezer and put in fridge the morning before you want to make pizza. When you get home from work, pull it out of the fridge and let rise at room temperature.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Coffee ice cream (no maker!)

2 cups milk
2 cups light cream (or not so light, if you're in the mood)
1/2 cup sugar
1-2 cups whole coffee beans
1 tsp freshly ground coffee

In a large saucepan, mix all ingredients but the ground coffee. Heat til steaming, but not boiling. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into a large, flat container with a lid and refrigerate overnight.

Using a slotted spoon, remove coffee beans. Stir in ground coffee. Place container in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, pull it out and mix with hand mixer to incorporate air and break up ice crystals. For best results, do this until it reaches desired consistency.

Let freeze one to four hours to 'ripen'. Scoop and serve with sauce caramel!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Coco-ban-berry smoothie


2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 handfuls of strawberries, washed, de-stemmed and cut in half
1 cup yogurt (pineapple is good)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup milk

Spread fruit out on a cookie sheet and freeze. Also freeze yogurt and coconut milk.

Once frozen, put fruit, yogurt, coconut milk, and 1 cup milk (to taste) in a blender. Blend and serve!

Red pepper and goat cheese aperos

1 prepared pastry crust, unrolled on parchment paper (pate feuilletee in France)
3 rounds fresh goat cheese (chevre)
roasted red peppers
2-3 Tbsps basil pesto
1 clove garlic, crushed

Using a pizza cutter, cut the pastry dough into squares about 1x1 inch. Slide parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let cool completely.

Mix together goat cheese, pesto and garlic. Spread over pastry squares and top with roasted red pepper.

Chill 30 minutes, then serve to hungry guests!