Saturday, December 4, 2010

Design your own pizza with whole wheat pizza crust and cherry tomato pizza sauce

Tonight for the big game, we made design your own pizzas. My husband and I have drastically different taste in pizza toppings, so I made personal size pizzas and we each put what we wanted on two pizzas.

First, I  made the crusts. Now, these crusts are a little bit of trouble. So, every time I make them, I go ahead and make a bunch and freeze them. I made 3 batches today for a total of 24 personal pizza crusts.

Here are the necessary ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 packets of active dry yeast
2 tsp course salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

First, in a large bowl, combine yeast and water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to bubble:

Use a whisk to stir the yeast and water, then whisk in the salt, sugar, and olive oil. Then, with a wooden spoon, stir in the flours. You may have to use your hands to get the last of the flour folded into the dough. Then, take a seperate bowl, and brush the bottom and the sides with olive oil. Put the dough in the olive oil lined bowl. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil. Cover the bowl with saran wrap:

Place the bowl in a warm dry place for about an hour (I turn the oven on and put the bowl on top of the oven), or until the dough doubles in size:

Take the dough out of the bowl, and place on a well floured surface (I just flour the heck out of my counter-top). With floured hands, knead the dough about 15 times. Then divide the dough into two balls. Out of each of those two balls, divide the dough into 4 smaller balls (you will have a total of 8 balls of dough). Using your floured hands, kneed, squeeze, and manipulate the dough into 8 inch disks. Place the disks on a cookie sheet or other hard surface with parchment or wax paper between each disk. Then put the entire thing in the freezer for at least an hour before baking. Or, freeze for up to 3 months (6 months with a deep freezer):

Next I made the pizza sauce. I took 2 weeks worth of beautiful cherry and hierloom tomatoes from the CSA, I washed and took the stems off each one, and I cut them in half:

 Then I drizzled a little olive oil over them, added 1 tsp minced garlic, and plenty of salt and pepper. Then I used my immersion blender to get the mixture going. I did not keep going until it was a puree, I wanted to keep some of the chunkiness of the tomatoes. I had plenty of this left over, so I froze several portions of it as well:

I pulled out the pizza stone, and put 4 of the whole wheat pizza crusts on it. Then I spread about 4 tbsp of the tomato sauce on top. Then we each added our own toppings:

Each of these has 4 cheese mexican mix shredded cheese on top. The pizza in the upper left hand corner has spinach, black olives, mushrooms, and goat cheese. The pizza in the upper right hand corner has sausage and black olives. the pizza in the lower left hand corner has mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheese, and the pizza in the lower right hand corner is just cheese.

I put them in the oven on the pizza stone for 20 minutes at 450:

The pizzas were delicious, and the pizza making went much better than the football game. Here is my sad little Gamecock:

Whipped Sweet Potatoes

In the last few weeks, Sweet Potatoes have been so cheap in the grocery store, I literally can not stop myself from buying them. Today, I decided to make some whipped sweet potatoes to put in the freezer for a quick side dish when I don't feel much like cooking.

First, I bought a bunch of sweet potatoes, put them on a cookie sheet, and stabbed each one a few times. Then I baked them at 350 for an hour and a half:

I let them cool for a good while, and cut a slit in them lenth-wise. Then I pinched the skins off each one and dumped the innards in a bowl:

Finally, I added about 1/2 cup apple juice, salt, pepper, and 4 tbsp melted butter. Then I used an immersion blender to whip them up. Then I put them in dinner size portions in individual containers, labeled and dated them, and put them in the freezer:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Roasted Acorn Rosemary Squash

Tonight, I simply roasted some acorn squash with butter, brown sugar and rosemary.

I started with three acorn squash, olive oil, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 stick softened butter, and a few shakes of rosemary:

Then I split these acorn squash into quarters. These suckers were tough to crack into (maybe thats why they are called acorn squash), but I managed to keep all my fingers. Just remember to use a big sharp knife if you try this one at home.

Then, with a spoon, I scooped out the seeds and stringy insides. I put the pieces in a baking dish, drizzled olive oil on them, and put salt and pepper on them.

Then I roasted them for 20 minutes at 350. In the mean time, in a small bowl, I mixed together the brown sugar, butter, and rosemary:

When the timer went off, I pulled the squash out of the oven, and spread the butter mixture over each piece. The butter mixture melted over the squash before I could put them back in the oven. I used a brush to make sure that each piece of squash was thoroughly covered:

Then, I put them back in the oven for another 30 minutes at 350. Every 10 minutes or so I used the brush to coat the squash with the melty buttery goodness that was in the bottom of the baking dishes. After 30 minutes, I had this beautiful dish:

I paired them with a cut of grilled fillet for a delicious winter meal:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

CSA Week 9

This week, we ended up with a bigger share from the CSA (long story how that happened, but yeay! more fresh veggies!). Here is what came in the box:

Big bag of cherry tomatoes
small bunch of collards
2 medium acorn squash
2 green bell peppers
red hot peppers and jalepenos
3 large kohlrabi

Last night I made the collards to go with some BBQ I pulled out of the freezer and slapped on a bun. I also added a serving of whipped sweet potatoes that I had in the freezer. Super easy quick dinner. I did not do anything fancy with the collards, just blanched them for 10 minutes in salted boiling water and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and grapeseed oil.

I never did get to post the Turkey Soup recipe. I ended up making the soup in a rush on a weeknight, and forgot to document what I was doing. However, I will share this: I hand shredded all of the left over turkey from Thanksgiving and put it in a stock pot. Then I added 3 large cans of diced tomatoes with the juice, 2 cans of corn (not drained), 2 cans of black eyed peas (not drained), 2 cans of lima beans (not drained), 1 can of chopped carrots (drained), and 3 bunches of joi choi from the CSA. I also added 3 chicken bullion cubes, salt and pepper for seasoning. I brought the soup to a boil and let it boil for about 20 minutes, then I simmered it for 2 or 3 hours. We had dinner two nights, and I froze 8 more dinners out of this pot. I would have preferred to use more fresh and less canned veggies, but I was in a hurry and had limited energy levels for cutting, washing, and peeling. I still ended up with a very nutritious quick dinner option in the freezer, which was the whole point.

Tonight I am roasting 3 acorn squash (2 from this week, 1 from last week). That recipe will be up soon.

Tomorrow night  I will make a roasted root vegetable medley with the carrots, beets, turnips, and kohlrabi.

Saturday night, while watching the big game, we are going to have make your own pizza night. So, Saturday during the day I will make whole wheat pizza crusts, and I will use the cherry tomatoes from last week and this week to make pizza sauce. I am sure I will have sauce leftover, so I will freeze some. I will document this process and let you all know how it goes.

I gave away all of the hot peppers again (I know, I am a chicken, maybe I will be more adventurous next time).

Also at some point this weekend I will make a large batch of butternut squash soup. I only have one very very small butternut squash from the CSA, but Publix has had huge butternut squash on sale, so it is time for me to make and freeze some soup!

I also have some ambitions of baking this weekend, but we will see where the energy level is by Sunday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Supper

I am a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving. So, our Thanksgiving supper was not so adventurous. However, I did use several CSA ingredients and had one adventurous dish that turned out great, so I figured you folks would want to read about it.

Thanksgiving Menu:
Sausage Apple Sage Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Caramelized Sweet Potatoes with Collards, Kale, Pecans and Goat Cheese
Deviled Eggs
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie

Before we got to the actual Thanksgiving menu, I decided to make some radish chips to munch on until the full dinner was ready.

If some of you don't know, I am with child and in my last trimester. So, swollen feet and ankles are becoming more of an issue every day. As such, I decided to just order the Turkey. I ordered a 10 pound cooked Turkey from Publix. I picked it up yesterday, and it was cooked, but cold and shrink wrapped. Today, I put it on a roaster and stuck it in the oven for 2 hours to heat it (it came with a bag to keep it in so it stayed moist). Here is what it looked like when we pulled the bag off and took it out of the oven:

Pretty right? And no work. Plus, plenty of juices to set aside for the gravy later. I tasked my husband with learning to carve the turkey. 3 internet videos later, he did a fantastic job:

I will use the leftovers this weekend to make soup and will let y'all know how that goes.

Yesterday, I did all the prep for the sausage apple sage dressing. I cut up two small bunches of scallions from the CSA and 2 large sweet onions. I put them in a saute pan with 1 package of Jimmy Dean sausage. I cooked this mixture until the sausage was cooked through and the onions were soft. Then I turned the heat down. I cut up 3 stalks of celery and 4 granny smith apples, and added them to the pan. I cooked it for another 5 minutes or so. I added a few shakes each of rosemary, thyme, and sage. Meanwhile, I cooked 2 packages of pepperidge farm cornbread dressing according to directions in chicken stock. Then I mixed the stuffing with the sausage/onion/apple/celery mixture well. I put it all in a big non-stick bake pan, covered it, and stuck it in the fridge. Today all I had to do was put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350. When it came out, I cut it into squares and served on a platter. I also had about half of this recipe leftover, so I froze it in 2 separate portions.

This is one of my favorite recipes, and one that makes me look forward to Thanksgiving the most.

The mashed potatoes were straight forward. I peeled the potatoes, boiled them for 25 minutes, then mashed them with salt, butter, and sour cream.

I made the gravy using drippings from the pan when I re-heated the Turkey. I also added some chicken stock and used flour and water at room temperature to thicken it. I had to bring it to a boil and back down 4 times to get the consistency right.

The Green Bean Casserole I make is straight off the back of the French's Fried Onions box. Delicious:

The sweet potato and greens dish was my adventurous one. I originally did not plan to have a sweet potato dish in this Thanksgiving meal. However, when I went to the grocery store, they were on sale for 39 cents. That is just too good not to pass up. So, I caramelized one inch chunks from 3 large sweet potatoes. I washed and cut into one inch strips both the collards and the kale from the CSA bag. I blanched them in salted water for 15 minutes. Then I drained them and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and a little grape seed oil. Then I mixed the greens in with the sweet potato chunks, and mixed in pecans and crumbles of goat cheese.

 Not only was this dish beautiful, but the mix of flavors were delicious. My husband declared that it would have to become part of our Thanksgiving tradition. It is also the only only dish for which he found room for seconds.

I made the deviled eggs yesterday. I can not give you the exact recipe for 2 reasons: 1) it is the only family "secret" recipe I have 2) it is not written down and the portions are by taste.  I will tell you I devil the eggs with mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, and occasionally one other mystery ingredient.

I made both of the pies yesterday. The pumpkin pie recipe is from the back of the Libby's pumpkin can.

I am not sure why it cracked. It still tasted perfect.

The pecan pie is from the back of the Karo bottle. Also perfection, no need to fix what aint broken.

I could not decide which to eat first, so I fixed a plate with a slice of each. I also made the whipped cream with heavy whipping cream, a splash of vanilla, and a little sugar. Making your own whipped cream is SO worth it, it only takes a minute.

Here are a few more shots of our beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving Supper:

This weekend I will post about what I do with some of these leftovers and the rest of this week's CSA ingredients!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CSA Week 8

This week's CSA bag contained the following:

small bag of green beans
2 roma tomatoes
large bag of cherry tomatoes
green bell pepper
1 small acorn squash
1 small butternut squash
joi choi (not pictured, I forgot it)

I also did a poor job of updating how I used last week's CSA bag. Last Friday night I made Talapia with collards and apples and a mash of turnips and fingerling potatoes and tomato and avocado salad. I forgot to take pictures.

Today, I made the stuffing for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and used both last week's and this week's scallions.

I still have radishes, the winter squash, the green bell pepper from last week's delivery.

Tomorrow, I will use the kale and collards and last week's and this week's radishes. I will probably freeze the green beans and put them with the frozen green beans from 2 weeks ago.

This weekend I am making soup with leftover turkey and veggies. I will include the joi choi in that soup. I will use the roma tomatoes on turkey sandwiches this weekend. I am not sure what I will do with the cherry tomatoes yet, maybe a relish or chutney that I can freeze.

Tomorrow, I will post our Thanksgiving supper.

Carrot Bread

I finally got around to using the carrots from CSA week 7 to make a carrot bread tonight.

Here are the ingredients:

3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 pinch salt
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

The first thing I did was peel and grate the carrots. This was a hug hassle and took 45 minutes to peel and grate 1 cup of carrots. Part of the problem may have been that these carrots are so small and thin.

Then, in a large bowl, I beat together the sugars and the oil. In a seperate bowl, I mixed together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Then I sifted the flour mixture into the sugar mixture and beat them together on a low speed a little at a time. In a seperate bowl, I beat the eggs, then slowly added them into the batter until the batter was well mixed. Next, I added the vanilla and hand mixed it into the batter with a wooden spoon. Finally, I hand mixed in the carrots and pecans. I put the batter into a 10 inch non-stick loaf pan (I did not grease it since it was a new non-stick pan), and baked it at 350 for 60 minutes. Here is the finished product:

We will have this for breakfast over the long holiday weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bacon, Scallions, and Tomatoes Rotini

Tonight's supper utilized two CSA ingredients: tomatoes (both week 6 and week 7 slicing and roma tomatoes), and scallions (from week 6).

Here are all the ingredients for the dish:

1 package bacon
1 small bunch of scallions
4 tomatoes
7 roma tomatoes
1 tsp minced garlic (not pictured, I forgot to include it)
parmeseano reggano cheese

I cut the bacon across the slices  into 1/2 inch pieces. I put it in a large non-stick skillet and cooked it over medium heat. Be careful not to fry the bacon or over cook it. You don't want it to be crunch or too darkly cooked. DO NOT DRAIN THE BACON. The bacon grease makes this sauce fantastic.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions on the box.

Then I washed and sliced the scallions:

Then I turned the heat down on the bacon to a simmer. I added the scallions and the garlic to the bacon at this point:

Then I washed all the tomatoes, cut the ends off, and cut them into one inch cubes:

Then I added the tomatoes to the skillet and turned the heat back up to medium. The heat will melt the tomatoes and create plenty of liquid. I bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer it until the pasta is ready. When I have made this dish in the past, I sometimes add spinach or a green leafy vegetable at this point. I bet bok choi or joi choi would work well.

When the pasta is cooked and drained, mix the pasta well with the tomato sauce. Then serve with the parmeasano reggano cheese grated on top: