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Recipe: Spring Onion Pizza with Sweet Peppers and Fresh Sausage

29 May

I’ve begun to really appreciate pizza as a delicious way to use up veggies and meats that you otherwise might not think to use together. When in doubt, put it on a pizza! Tasty. Pizza is also an amazing dish to make with kids. My Mom used to make pizza with my siblings and I when we were young, and I remember thinking that it was so much fun to be able to choose your own toppings! The best was that we never fought about it. We were actually encouraged to split pizzas in half and slather that pizza with whatever we wanted. Homemade pizza nights were always the best!

I get a CSA box every two weeks, and this week’s box has fresh spring onion, gypsy peppers, heritage tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, apples, and rosemary. I took one look at the onions, which still had the green bits attached, and knew they belonged on a pizza. I made the pizza dough and the sauce from scratch, but toppings were chopped and topped. As most toppings are!

I am extremely pleased with the dough recipe that I used. It is very easy to handle and roll out, yet pleasingly crispy. It also has a short rise time. Totally recommended for all of your pizza dough needs!

You will need:

1 recipe for pizza dough, see below

1 recipe for pizza sauce, see below

1 fresh sweet Italian sausage, casing removed

2-3 sweet gypsy peppers (or 1 bell pepper)

1 fresh spring onion, green tops attached

8 oz mozzarella cheese

First make the dough. You’ll need to allow it to rise, which will take 1-2 hours.

Dough, recipe from epicurious.com

3/4 C warm water (105°F to 115°F)

1 envelope active dry yeast

2 C all purpose flour

1 tsp honey

3/4 tsp salt

3 TB olive oil

Mix the warm water and the yeast and allow the yeast to dissolve, approximately 5 minutes. Mix together the flour, honey and salt, then drizzle in the olive oil and the water-yeast mixture. Stir together all the ingredients until the dough forms a ball. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding flour if the dough is very sticky. Put the ball of dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for an hour. I allowed mine to rise for 2.

Pre-rise.

Post-rise.

Post-rise.

I love poking bread dough after it has risen. It satisfies the same libidinal urge that stomping on bubble wrap does! When you’re ready, roll out the dough, starting from the center and working your way out. Don’t roll over the edges; this will leave a nice crust. This dough can be rolled very thin without breaking or tearing, which is awesome.

After the dough has risen, before you roll it out, make the tomato sauce.

Sauce:

1 8oz can tomato sauce

1 tsp garlic (2-3 garlic cloves)

1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1/2  tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

a few turns of a pepper mill

Mix all ingredients together and allow to simmer for as long as it takes you to roll out the crust, 5-10 minutes.

Put the rolled out dough onto a baking sheet and smooth the sauce onto it. The best way to do this is the back of a metal spoon.

Now you get together your pizza toppings!

Put about half of the toppings sans cheese onto the crust.

Cut the mozzarella into slices and layer half of the cheese onto the first half of the toppings. Then layer more toppings and cheese, ending with cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20  minutes.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then cut and devour!

❤ Stef

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Recipe: Chicken Pho

3 Apr

I am a Pho lover. LOVER. I eat mine with hoisin, basil and lots of lime. I typically get the rare beef stuff when I get it out (because I like my meat to be nearly raw) but I make chicken pho when I’m at home.
This isn’t my recipe, sadly. It is the first one I found when I looked up “Chicken Pho Recipe” on google a few months ago. You can find the original on Food and Wine’s website.
I want to mention a few things about this recipe before I get into all the messy stuff. First, you have to be prepared to spend at least 3 hours on this recipe if you follow the instructions and make the broth from scratch. You don’t have to do it that way, in fact I usually don’t. If you decide that you are lazy, you can use regular chicken broth and simmer it with chopped boneless, skinless chicken, the roasted veggies, salt, and sugar for like 30 – 45 minutes.
Second, if you decide to go all out and make the chicken broth, you will need either a whole chicken or a whole chicken already cut into pieces. If you don’t have very good knife skills, don’t have sharp knives, or are altogether unfamiliar with chopping up whole chickens, I suggest you buy the chicken already in pieces or have your butcher chop it up for you. Eventually I’ll write a blog about knife skills, but until then, I’d prefer if no one loses a finger. Capiche?
Good.
Ingredients:
2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
3 1/2 inch thick slices of ginger, smashed
4 qt water
One 3.5 lb chicken
1 TB salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 C fish sauce (do not be afraid of fish sauce!)
1 lb dried rice noodles
Garnish (all of this stuff is optional):
mung bean sprouts
basil leaves
lime
jalapeno
chili-garlic sauce
hoisin sauce
First quarter the onion and smash the ginger, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
While the veggies are roasting, quarter the chicken (if you need to). First remove the chicken insides from the cavity. The chicken insides include the liver, heart, and neck, among other things. There they are, in the bowl in the back!
Now cut the entire chicken in half lengthwise. Yeeeah, raw chicken insides, woo!
Now cut each of these chicken halves in half again. I find it easier to flip them skin side up for this part.
There should be a picture of this, but I forgot and by the time I remembered the chicken was already boiling away. Oops.
Remember to always wash your hands when you handle poultry!
Now we are going to make a chicken insides bundle using cheesecloth and the chicken innards. This will be awesome for the chicken broth. First cut a length of cheesecloth.
Put all of the innards into the middle of the cloth. If you have any frozen innards from previous chickens, use those too. Yes, I save chicken giblets. You should, too.
Wrap the cheesecloth around the innards to make a bundle. I use thread to stitch it up very loosely, but kitchen twine or anything like that would work just as well.
Take the roasted veggies from the oven. Mmmm, don’t they look amazing?
Put all of the veggies, the chicken pieces, the innard and cheesecloth bundle, the salt, the sugar, and the water in a big soup pot and put it on the stove over medium high heat for 30 minutes. The idea is to cook the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the pot and separate the meat from the skin and the bones.
Put the skin and the bones back into the pot, and the meat in the refrigerator. Simmer the broth for 2 hours. Strain the broth using a colander and a very big bowl. This bowl was not big enough. I burned my finger. Use a very, very big bowl. And your common sense.
Return the strained broth to the soup pot and set to boil for a further 20 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce. Bubbly bubbly.
While you wait, soak the rice noodles in warm water for 15 minutes. This time may be different, depending on the noodles that you bought, so make sure you read the instructions on the box.
After the noodles are done soaking, drain the water, and add new salted water to the noodles. Bring the noodles to a boil, and then allow them to boil for about 3 minutes. Drain them.

Shred the chicken into the broth and simmer until heated.
Serve by putting a big bunch of noodles into a bowl, and then pouring the broth and the chicken over the noodles. Serve the soup with your choice of condiments listed above.
Yum! The best thing about making this recipe is that you have pho for days. Just make sure not to mix the noodles with the broth when you store it, otherwise the noodles will get all soggy.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Avoglemeno Greek Wedding Soup-Originally Posted 1.16.09

29 Jan

My first soup recipe!

I originally got this recipe from Rachel Ray-her Greek Wedding Soup. I changed it just a little, added chopped kale and I made it avoglemeno. Avoglemeno is a traditional Greek sauce made of eggs and lemon that is added to soup. Avoglemeno soup is usually made with chicken and rice (that’s how my Dad used to make it for me when I was little, anyway) but the sauce itself can be added to any soup that you like.

Ingredients:
5 cups of chicken stock (or beef, whatever you have on hand)
1/2 lb of ground beef
3/4 C orzo pasta
1 C chopped Kale (or other leafy green veggie, like spinach, chard, or collards)
2 eggs
1 lemon
1/2 C of breadcrumbs
1 tsp Parsley, dried
1 tsp Oregano, dried
2 tsp garlic
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Drizzle some olive oil (about 1 TB) into a pot large enough to hold 5 cups plus of liquid. Remove the inner stem (unless you’re using spinach) from the leafy green of your choice and chop into small pieces. Saute the greens for about 5 minutes, and add the orzo. Saute for another few minutes, until the pasta starts looking like it is toasted (5 minutes max!). Add the stock and turn the heat to high. While you wait for the liquid to boil, make the meatballs.

Meatballs:
Mix together the ground beef, breadcrumbs, 1 egg, garlic, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Once the stock is boiling, turn the heat to medium so that the liquid stays as a simmer. Form the meat mixture into balls with your hands and drop them one by one into the simmering liquid. Then, start on the avoglemeno.

Avoglemeno:
Crack the remaining egg into a medium to large sized bowl, and scramble. Add the juice of 1 lemon and scramble again. Next is the tricky part. If you have ever made egg drop soup, you will know that if you add egg to a hot liquid the egg will curdle. That is NOT what we want. So the trick is to mix the lemon and egg sauce with one hand while you carefully add little bits of hot stock, about a 1/4 cup at a time. I usually use a big soup spoon, or a small ladle. Continue to add the hot stock a little bit at a time until you have added at least a cup of stock (I prefer to add 2 cups just to be sure) to the egg mixture. Then, turn off the heat to the soup. While the heat is off, stir the soup with one hand and add the avoglemeno and hot stock mix with the other. Once the two have combined, turn the heat up again to about medium and let the soup come to a boil, stirring the entire time.

Turn the heat off and check the seasonings, adding more pepper, salt, lemon, what have you. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Recipe: Beef Stroganoff Skillet-Originally Posted 12.18.08

29 Jan

This is my favorite meal idea right now. It’s quick and super-delicious. I got the original recipe from foodnetwork.com but I don’t use the actual recipe anymore, and the one below isn’t verbatim.

Ingredients:
1/2 Lb ground beef
1 pkg (16 oz) of egg noodles
1TB olive oil
1 tsp (ish) of some kind of grill seasoning, like McCormick’s or Old Bay
1/4 C of sour cream
2 cups of beef stock
1 tsp flour, optional
1 small onion (or half of a large one)
4-5 cloves of garlic or jarred equivalent
ground pepper
parsley
This dish is made on the stovetop, and all in one pan, so make sure you grab a pan large enough to fit everything. You’ll also need either a lid or a lid-like device to cover.
Chop the onions. Pour the olive oil into the pan and set the heat to medium-high, then add the chopped onion. Sauté the onion until slightly translucent, then add the onion and the ground beef. Cook the beef until browned, but still pink.
Add the grill seasoning to the meat and stir. Add the egg noodles and the beef stock, lower the heat, and put the lid on.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the noodles have been cooked enough to be able to stir. Stir and cook until the noodles are tender. At this point, add the sour cream and stir again.
This is where the flour comes in! If the sauce looks too thin, add the flour to thicken. Simmer until the sauce is as thick as you would like. Add the parsley and stir to combine. Put the noodles into individual bowls and top with cracked pepper.

Yum!

This isn’t exactly healthy, but it is SO DELICIOUS and hey, it’s homemade! If you’re feeling especially guilty you could serve alongside some steamed veggies like broccoli or green beans (I keep frozen green beans in my freezer for just this reason).

Enjoy!