Saturday, July 30, 2011

Zucchini and Ricotta pizza

Zucchini and Ricotta Pizza

Pizza Dough
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced

Spread zucchini out over several layers of paper towels.  Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using.  In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside.

Place pizza stone on bottom rack of the oven (if you have one).  Preheat oven 500 (or the ovens highest temperature).

Shape pizza dough into desired shape and place on a floured and cornmeal dusted cookie sheet that has been flipped upside down.  Layer the toppings as follows, shredded Monterey jack cheese, sliced zucchinis, spoonful’s of ricotta cheese, and a drizzle of the garlic oil over the entire pizza.

If you don't have a pizza stone, place cookie sheet (with pizza on it) on the bottom rack of the oven and bake until crust is golden.  If you have a pizza stone, very quickly slide the pizza from the cookie sheet to the pizza stone (this is always a little bit scary for me).  Bake until crust is golden brown.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Zucchini Bread

Next spring I am going to plant my own garden.  I am 99 percent sure that I have said that before, but maybe writing it down will make it more concrete.  Thank goodness I have kind neighbors who are willing to share their garden's bounty with me and my family.  This recipe comes from my Dad's youngest sister Tricia and is a perfect way to use some of those zucchinis that may have grown just a bit too big.  I love this bread and so does my family!

Zucchini Bread

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease two 9x5 loaf pans and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

In a blender blend, 1 cup oil and enough zucchini to make 3 1/2 cups. 

In a large bowl mix 3 eggs and 2 cups of sugar.  Add zucchini oil mixture to eggs and sugar.  Mix until combined. 

Add 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the wet ingredients.  Mix until combined.  Add 2 more cups of flour and mix until smooth.

Pour batter evenly into prepared loaf pans and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

I ate the piece of bread that I took a picture of and if you can't tell already, I love butter!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

These sweet corn cakes are so delicious!

Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

Salsa Verde

2 tomatillos, chopped (remover papery skin)
1 4-ounce can mild green chilies
1 green onion
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 1/4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Southwestern sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon water
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Dash of salt
Dash of garlic powder

Sweet Corn Cakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup masa harina
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Sour cream
Avocado, chopped
Pico de Gallo

Prepare salsa verde by combining all ingredients in a food processor on high speed.  Cover and chill.

Prepare southwestern sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl.  Stir to combine.  Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 350.  In a medium bowl beat butter until it is creamy.  Add the Mexican corn flour and water and beat until well mixed.

Using a food processor, process thawed corn, but leave chunky.  Stir into the butter mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, sugar, cream, salt, and baking powder.  Add to corn flour mixture and stir to combine.  Pour batter into an ungreased 8x8 inch baking pan.  Smooth batter and cover with aluminum foil.  Place pan into a 9x13 inch baking dish that is filled a third of the way with water.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Use an ice cream scoop for easy removal from pan.

*I like to serve these with Cilantro Lime Chicken.

The Sweet Corn Cake recipe is from Allrecipes
The Salsa Verde and Southwestern Sauce recipes are from recipelink

Cilantro Lime Chicken

I love the flavors of this chicken!

Cilantro Lime Chicken

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Pico de Gallo
Sour Cream

Combine first nine ingredients.  Add chicken and marinate for 1-2 hours.  Grill until cooked through.  Serve with sour cream and Pico de Gallo.

*I like to make extra marinade and drizzle it on the chicken after it has been grilled.

This recipe is from a Nordstrom cookbook

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Roasted Corn Pizza with Leek Soubise, Bacon, and Ricotta

I started looking for a recipe like this when I had a pizza form Pizzeria 712 a few summers ago.  The pizza was a roasted summer corn pizza with leek soubise, bacon, and fresh ricotta and it was love at first bite.  The combination of crisp bacon, leeks cooked in cream, roasted summer corn, and fresh ricotta makes for a completely delicious pizza.  I dreamed about this pizza and set out to make my own roasted summer corn pizza at home.

Roasted Corn Pizza with Leek Soubise, Bacon and Ricotta

Pizza dough
Thick cut bacon, chopped and cooked until crisp
Fresh corn, shucked, grilled or roasted and removed from the cob
Leek Soubise

Leek Soubise

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium sized leeks, split sown the middle, washed, cut into 1/4-inch thick half moons
(discard most of the green parts of the leeks)
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan.  Add the leeks and cook slowly until they have wilted down a bit, 10-15 minutes.  Add the milk and cream and cook, uncovered on low heat until the milk has evaporated and the mixture is thick and creamy.  This should take about 45 minutes to an hour.  Add salt to taste.  The original recipe says to blend the leeks once cooled, but I wanted texture, so I didn't puree the leeks.

Assemble pizza:

Place pizza stone on bottom rack of the oven (if you have one).  Preheat oven to 500 (or the ovens highest temperature).

Shape pizza dough into desired shape (I go for round, but it doesn't always look that way) and place on a floured and cornmeal dusted cookie sheet that has been flipped upside down.  Spread a layer of the leek soubise on the pizza dough, next the corn, followed by spoonful’s of ricotta and last, but of course not least, the bacon.

If you don't have a pizza stone, place cookie sheet (with pizza on it) on the bottom rack of the oven and bake until crust is golden brown.  If you have a pizza stone, very quickly slide the pizza from the cookie sheet to the pizza stone (this is always a little bit scary for me).  Bake pizza until crust is golden brown.  Now eat and enjoy corn pizza deliciousness!

Monday, July 18, 2011

BL (slow-roasted) T

Stephanie and I enjoyed these lovely sandwiches for lunch when she was visiting from Hawaii.  We both agreed they were the best BLT's we had ever tasted.

BL (slow-roasted) T

8 barely ripe Roma tomatoes
Olive oil
A loaf of bread (I used a Country French loaf from Harmon's)
Bacon, cooked until crisp
1/2 cup mayo
3 tablespoons basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.  Slice tomatoes 1/4-inch thick, place on pan lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt (don't overdo it with the salt, remember the flavors will concentrate).  Place pan in oven and cook for 4 hours or until shriveled around the edges while still maintaining a bit of juice.

In a small bowl combine mayo and basil.  Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble your sandwiches.

Apply basil mayo, generously to two slices of lightly toasted bread.  Add crisp bacon, lettuce, and cooled, roasted tomatoes.  Eat and enjoy!

Recipe from Not Without Salt

Friday, July 15, 2011

Burg's French Toast (with a Traci Magleby spin)

Sunday morning breakfasts call for something special, something bordering a dessert.  This French toast definitely fits the bill.  My Aunt Traci gave me a delightful book called A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg and I love it!

Burg is Molly's dad and this recipe is her version of the French toast that he made for her growing up.  The cinnamon and sugar part of this recipe comes from my Aunt Traci and her re-creation of a delicious French toast breakfast that she had in Park City.  For me the cinnamon and sugar coating seals the deal and makes this French toast extra special.  Thanks Traci!

Burg's French Toast

3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (I use cinnamon)
Canola oil or other flavorless oil, for frying
6 to 8 slices day-old bread, cut on the diagonal, about 3/4 inch thick (I used granny bread)
Cinnamon and sugar

Break the eggs into a wide, shallow bowl.  Whisk the eggs to break up the yolks.  Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg and whisk to blend.

Place a heavy large skillet-preferably cast iron-over medium-high heat, and pour enough oil to completely coat the bottom of the skillet (about 1/4-inch deep).  Let the oil heat until you can feel warmth radiating from it when you hold your hand close over the pan.  To test the heat, dip the tip of a finger into the egg mixture-not the oil!-and flick a drop into the oil.  If it sizzles, it's ready.

Meanwhile, when the oil is almost hot enough, put 2 to 3 slices of bread into the egg mixture, allowing them to rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side.  They should feel heavy and thoroughly saturated, but they shouldn't be falling apart.  Carefully, using tongs, place the slices is the skilled.  They should sizzle upon contact, and the oil should bubble busily around the edges.  Watch carefully: with hot oil like this, the slices can burn more quickly than you would think.  Cook until the underside of each slice is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.  Once you remove the French toast from pan, immediately place in a wide shallow bowl filled with cinnamon and sugar and coat both sides with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and a fruit of your choice.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ricotta Cheese

After an experience with lasagna and ricotta cheese on a flight to Scotland when I was 14 years old, I was certain that there was no place in my life for ricotta cheese.  This all drastically changed when three years ago (give or take a few months) I had my first glimpse of how ricotta cheese should really taste.  I was eating lunch at Pizzeria 712 with my mom and sisters and had ordered a salad with beets and goat cheese.  I am a more mild cheese lover and so I had the goat cheese replaced with their homemade ricotta cheese.  Wow!  It was creamy and delicious and I couldn't get it off my mind.  I loved that cheese, but it never really occurred to me that I could actually make it.  After a little research and recipe hunting, an amazing thing happened, ricotta cheese was made in my very own kitchen and I was giddy.  I was really quite thrilled and I had that tight, excited feeling that I get when Christmas time rolls around.  There are so many ways to eat this creamy deliciousness, baked and spread on a crusty baguette, on pizza, in scrambled eggs, on toast with jam and the list goes on.  It is really simple to make and is sooooo worth it!

Ricotta Cheese

4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use 2 teaspoons Maldon salt)

Add ingredients to a 4-quart pot.  Attach a thermometer to the side of the pot (making sure that it doesn't touch the bottom of the pan).  Bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching.  (Do not stir once the temperature reaches 170, it will become grainy.)  

Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a deep bowl or pot.

Once curds begin to separate from the whey (liquid temperature will be between 175 and 200 degrees), remove from heat.  Gently spoon or ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer.  You may need to gently gather the cheesecloth at the top to help the curds drain.  

Let curds sit in cheesecloth to drain liquid 15 to 30 minutes.  Keep in mind the ricotta will thicken in the fridge, so don't drain it too much, or it will end up dry. 

Open-Faced Sandwiches with Ricotta, Arugula, and Fried Egg

The first time I made this sandwich was when I became obsessed with making my own ricotta cheese.  Most Friday nights are date night for Todd and me, but one particular weekend we decided instead of going out to eat, we would dine-in and I would make dinner.  My goal....every part of our meal had to include creamy homemade ricotta cheese.  We started with a roasted beet salad with ricotta and toasted walnuts.  Next ricotta stuffed mushroom and then our main course, opened faced ricotta, arugula and fried egg sandwiches.  It was simple and it was delicious.  This sandwich also happens to be one of Noah's all time favorite meals (minus the arugula).

Open-Faced Sandwiches with Ricotta, Arugula, and Fried Egg

4 slices country bread (I buy mine from Harmon's Artisan Bakery)
2 cups arugula
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive-oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
4 large eggs
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat broiler.  Put bread in oven and broil two minutes on each side or until lightly toasted.

Combine arugula, 2 teaspoons oil, lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss gently.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Crack eggs into pan and season with remaining salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes.  Cover and cook an additional 2 minutes or until whites are set.  Remove from heat.

Spread ricotta on toasted bread.  Divide arugula salad evenly over ricotta followed by the fried egg.  Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over sandwiches and serve immediately.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Monday, July 11, 2011

Frosted Oatmeal Cookies

My sister Stephanie loves food just as much as I do.  There have been many times that one of us has come to the other to share a recipe that was found on some random food blog only to find out that the other has already printed out the recipe.  Stephanie had told me about this oatmeal cookie recipe and I wanted to give it a try, but she wasn't home to give me the recipe and couldn't remember on what food blog she had found it.  She went on to tell me that she had searched on Google images and found a picture of an oatmeal cookie that looked really good and then went to the blog and found the recipe.  Certainly I could look through oodles of images of oatmeal cookies with browned butter frosting and pick the exact one that Stephanie had picked. With not very much confidence, I got on Google images and after a few minutes of browsing at pictures of cookies, picked one that looked like a cookie I would want to eat and called Stephanie up to read her the recipe.  To our amazement it was the exact image and recipe that she had used.  How cool it that!  I love having a sister who loves, lives for, and dreams about food like I do!

Frosted Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups uncooked quick oatmeal (I use half quick and half regular)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream butter and sugars; blend in egg and vanilla.  Mix flour, baking soda, salt; add to creamed mixture, blending well.  Stir in oats.

Shape dough into balls, place on cookie sheet, and flatten with the bottom of a glass cup dipped in sugar.  Bake 10-12 minutes in a preheated 350 oven.  Frost when cooled.

Browned Butter Frosting

1/3 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt

Brown butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Cool to lukewarm.  Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thai Chicken Pizzas

This is a quick and easy meal that is light and great for summer time.  I love that when I am finished with this meal, I don't feel totally stuffed, leaving plenty of room for a scoop or two of homemade raspberry pretzel dessert ice cream (recipe to come).

Thai Chicken Pitas

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons peanut sauce
1/2-1 teaspoon chili paste with garlic
4 (6-inch pitas
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced yellow, red, or orange peppers
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons cilantro
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 450.  Combine first 3 ingredients; stir well.  Spread 2 tablespoons sauce mixture on each pita.  Place pitas on a large baking sheet.  Top each pita with 1/2 cup chicken, 1/4 cup carrot, 1/4 cup peppers, and 1 tablespoon green onions.  Sprinkle cilantro and shredded cheese evenly over each pita.  Bake at 450 for 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated and lightly browned around the edges.

*I like to grill the chicken and slice it really thin instead of dicing it.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

My Mama's birthday is June 30th and this cake has been my present to her the past few years.  This is one of her favorite cakes and is one that I don't mind making because I don't have to frost it.  I HATE frosting cakes, especially when they are supposed to turn out nice looking.  Cake decorating is definitely not my specialty!

German Chocolate Cake

1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1/3 cup boiling water
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Coconut Pecan Filling

4 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
2 cups lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut

FOR THE CAKE:  Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease two 8 and 1 1/2-inch round cake pans with vegetable shortening and cover pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.  Grease parchment rounds, dust cake pans with flour, and tap out excess.

Mix cocoa and instant coffee in small bowl; add boiling water and mix until smooth.  Cool to room temperature, and then stir in buttermilk and vanilla.

Beat butter in bowl of electric mixer set at medium-high speed until smooth and shiny, about 30 seconds.  Gradually sprinkle in sugar; beat until mixture is fluffy and almost white, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating 1 full minute after each addition.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.  With mixer on lowest speed, add about one third of dry ingredients to batter, followed immediately by about one third of cocoa mixture; mix until ingredients are almost incorporated into batter.  Repeat process twice more.  When batter appears blended, stop mixer and scrape bowl sides with rubber spatula.  Return mixer to low speed; beat until batter looks satiny, about 15 seconds longer.

Divide batter evenly between pans.  With rubber spatula, spread batter to pan sides and smooth top.  Bake cakes until they feel firm in center when lightly pressed and skewer comes out clean or with just a crumb or two adhering, 23 to30 minutes.

Transfer pans to wire racks; cool for 10 minutes.  Run knife around perimeter of each pan, invert cakes onto racks, and peel off paper liners.  Reinvert cakes onto additional racks; cool completely before frosting.

FOR THE FILLING:  Mix egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl, beat in butter, then gradually beat in cream and vanilla into mixture.  Pour into medium, nonreactive saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is puffy and just begins to thicken, 15 to 20 minutes.  Pour mixture into a medium bowl and cool to room temperature.  Stir in pecans and coconut.

TO ASSEMBLE:  Halve each cake round to make four layers for the completed cake.  Place one of the cake bottoms on a serving plate.  Spread about 1 cup filling over cake half.  Place another halved cake round over filling.  Repeat this stacking and spreading process with remaining filling and cake, ending with a final layer of filling.

*I like to decorate the top of the cake with toasted whole pecans.
*For a friend's birthday, I baked the cake batter in a sheet pan and made mini german chocolate cakes, they turned out really fun.

Recipe from The Best Recipe (by the editors of COOK'S ILLUSTRATED magazine)

Shredded Beef Tacos

Every year my sister Stephanie and I have a Father's day dinner for my dad.  We have my dad and any of my brothers and sisters that are around come for dinner.  This year I made these shredded beef tacos and they were a hit. 

When dinner was just about finished, my dad had me break out the ketchup to put on his taco.  I would never put ketchup on these tacos because they are too tasty to ruin with ketchup.  I will however admit to putting ketchup on a hard or soft shell beef and cheese taco and on every bite of a chicken pot pie and I'm guessing that I got that from my dad.

Shredded Beef Tacos

Chuck roast
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup beef stock
Salt to taste
Queso fresco

Preheat oven to 190.  Season chuck roast with salt and pepper.  Place roast in a pot with a lid and cover pot with lid.  Place in oven and cook for 15 to 18 hours or until meat falls apart.  Remove meat from pot and shred with two forks (I use my hands once the meat has cooled down a bit.)  Remove fat from meat and discard. 

Pour the liquid from the pot through a strainer and skim fat off the top.  Use one cup of the liquid in place of the beef stock.

Once the liquid has been removed from the pot, add the shredded beef back to the pot.

Combine vegetable oil, vinegar, fresh lime, ground cumin, chili powder, garlic, and beef stock in a bowl and pour over shredded beef.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover pot with lid and put back in the oven (250 degrees) for a couple of hours.

I serve the shredded beef with small homemade flour tortillas, sour cream, guacamole, queso fresco, salsa and cilantro. Sooo good!

Adapted from