A Few of My Favorite Things

1 11 2008

Last night was trick or treat night and the Baby cleaned up. She went as a “Rainbow Barbie Fairy Princess,” which was absolutely adorable, despite the fact that her costume was already falling apart and this was only the second wearing (she wore it last weekend for the Halloween party at our church). We have tons of candy, which Hubs won’t let me take to work, and the Baby had a great night.

One of my Halloween traditions is that I make a pot of chili on trick or treat night. So, I tried a new recipe, Buffalo Chicken Chili, courtesy of Rachael Ray. The finishing touch is that you top it with tortilla chips and melted blue cheese:

Buffalo Chicken Chili

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
  • 1 can stewed, fire-roasted or crushed tomatoes (15 ounces)
  • 1 sack whole grain tortilla chips, lightly crushed
  • 3/4 pound Maytag Blue cheese, crumbled
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
Preparation

Place a large pot over medium-high heat with the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add the ground chicken and break it up, lightly browning it for 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, paprika and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 7-8 minutes. Add the chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot.

Add the hot sauce, tomato sauce and the stewed, fire-roasted or crushed tomatoes to the chili and bring up to a bubble. Simmer for 8-10 minutes more to let the flavors come together.

While the chili is simmering, pre-heat the broiler.

Spread the chips out on a cookie sheet. Top with the crumbled blue cheese and transfer to the oven to melt the cheese, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Top each serving of Buffalo Chicken Chili with a few blue cheese chips.

 

One of my favorite things to do is cook, especially this time of year when you get stuck inside because of miserable weather, so imagine my glee at having a Daring Bakers Challenge that combines both baking and cooking. This month, we were challenged to make pizza, which is a big favorite in my house. Although we were challenged to toss the crust, I gave it a try, but ended up rolling it anyway. Also, I stayed with the traditional tomato sauce and cheese topping, but I’m intrigued by using pumpkin puree. Would love to hear from any of my fellow DB’s who used it. What else did you use with it?

~ BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

Ingredients:
4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled – FOR Gluten Free: 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast – FOR GF use 2 tsp
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar – FOR GF use agave syrup
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

DAY ONE

Method:
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

Or

2.  FOR GF: Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.

3. Flour a work surface or counter.  Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them.  Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

DAY TWO

8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

Or

8.  FOR GF:  On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator.  Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

Or

10.  FOR GF: Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

Or

11.  FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

Or

12.  FOR GF:  Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

Or

13.  FOR GF:  Follow the notes for this step.

NOTE:

After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

REMARKS:
Tossing links:

http://www.wikihow.com/Toss-Pizza-Dough

http://www.vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?f … D=35480534

http://www.ehow.com/how_2066953_toss-pizza-dough.html

http://www.classic-hand-tossed-pizza.bl … hands.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhcTKeslAmk

http://www.ask.yahoo.com/20050222.html

***************

NOTE ON SAUCE: Your sauce (any) should not be too thick as it will thicken in the hot oven. Less is more but make the less truly more by using quality ingredients.

SAUCE IDEAS: Pestos, white or brown sauce, tomato sauce, sour cream, thick cream, Bolognese sauce, etc…
Check here for sauce recipes: http://www.tenspeedpress.com/page.php3?ftr=300

***************

TOPPING IDEAS: Seafood, fish, meat (dry, cured, smoked or ground), cheeses (Gruyère, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Provolone, Ricotta, Maroille, Munster, etc…), nuts, tofu, veggies (tomatoes, bell peppers, artichokes, hearts of palm, zucchinis, pumpkin, red onions, etc…), herbs (mixes, fresh or dried), spices (garlic, gourmet salt, pepper, curry, berbere, ras-el-hanout, za’atar, etc…), nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashew nuts, Brasil nuts, macadamia nuts, etc…)….

TOPPING LINKS:

http://www.greatpartyrecipes.com/pizzatoppings.html

http://www.correllconcepts.com/Encyclop … ppings.htm.

***************

GENERAL PIZZA LINKS: http://www.breadtopia.com/pizza-dough-recipe/

This came out okay for me (I was home by myself, which is why there are no photos of me tossing the dough, which is probably a good thing as it’s just not a skill I possess!). However, two days is a bit much for me, considering how many pizzas we go through in my house. Also, I don’t like the crust of dough that’s been handled too much, which is why this recipe, courtesy of Emeril Live, remains my recipe of choice:

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe basic pizza dough, recipe follows
  • Cornmeal, for dusting
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1-pound mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Directions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. If you have one, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.

Divide the dough in half and roll into a 12-inch circle, about 1/2-inch thick.

Dust pizza peel or baking sheet with cornmeal. Place rolled out dough on peel. Brush pizza dough with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the edges. Sprinkle 1/4 cup basil leaves on top of sauce and then top with 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Finally, top with 1/2-pound mozzarella slices. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the edges are golden brown. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 2 pizzas.

Basic Pizza Dough:1 package active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)

1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening

3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

Olive oil

In an electric mixing bowl, whisk the yeast, sugar, water and lard together to make a paste. Add the flour and salt and mix, using a dough hook, until the dough comes away from the sides and crawls up the dough hook. Remove the dough from the bowl. Grease the bowl with olive oil and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide dough in half. Roll the dough into balls, cover, and let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes. The dough is ready to be shaped.

Yield: dough for 2 (12-inch) pizzas

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