Archive | April, 2013

Perfect Pizza Dough

29 Apr

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Without a doubt, pizza is the couch potato’s meal of choice. Blame it on the easy delivery, wide selection of (mediocre) pizza joints in any town, or the fact it can be eaten without a plate (insert image of a giant box on your belly while you’re watching re-runs of Sex and the City). Taking pizza to a level beyond a lazy Friday night binge-fest can be challenging, but simply devouring Domino’s with a knife and fork isn’t gonna make it classy. It all starts with good presentation (hint: ditch the cardboard box) and fresh ingredients. But the key is to have a good foundation (ie a great pizza dough). Dough to pizza is like a canvas to Monet. It just has to be right or the entire pizza will be wrong.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups bread or all purpose flour (white)
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 packet active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • Enough water to knead dough into malleable mass (be careful not to add too much, the yogurt acts as a liquid in this recipe!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 450°F.
  2. Using a large ceramic mixing bowl, or any suitable food safe bowl, add the flour, make a “well” in middle, and put in 1 teaspoon salt, stir to combine well. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the starter: In a liquid measuring cup pour in 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water, 1 teaspoon honey, and one package of active dry yeast. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes. Allow to foam up (or proof).
  4. Next, mix the starter (yeast water) and the yogurt in the bowl containing the flour with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir together using a wooden spoon or clean hands.
  5. Note: You will need additional flour to knead on the surface that you’re working on. Knead for about 8 minutes or until you get a smooth elastic rubbery dough ball.
  6. Set aside in bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil to keep the dough from drying out. Let dough sit covered lightly with plastic wrap or use a plate or damp clean towel to cover it.
  7. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes to an hour. Flatten dough and press out into a circle to fit the pan it will be baked in. Spread it out evenly, don’t be afraid to lift underneath to stretch the dough. Sprinkle baking pan with flour or simply grease the pan with olive oil using a paper towel.
  8. Top with your favorite spaghetti sauce, spreading out using the back of a spoon, then add shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese, and jack or Parmesan cheese.
  9. Layer on some cooked meats, and add pizza style vegetables, such as mushrooms, sliced peppers, and chopped onions.
  10. Bake for about 12-14 mins, but watch it!
  11. When the bottom looks slightly browned and the pizza looks bubbly, remove from oven.

Recipe from here has been modified.

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Curried Mushroom (Mushroom Sabji)

25 Apr

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Once you start to make Indian food, you quickly realize that it can be kind of repetitive. The same basic ingredients are in practically every dish: tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric. Obviously, there are exceptions, but when in doubt, these need to be on hand to make authentic Indian food. What keeps Indian food from being boring though, is the main ingredient. In this case, I used mushrooms to add a little variety to B and mine’s weeknight meal. If you toss tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin together, you’re bound to have something delectable. Even if you don’t like mushrooms, I’m sure you will after trying this :)

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz package white mushrooms, thoroughly washed and diced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • green chilli, to taste, minced
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato or spaghetti sauce
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Once warm, add the cumin seeds and fry for about 10 seconds. Add the onions, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Once onions are soft and translucent, add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt, green chilli, and garlic. Continue to cook for 3-4 mins until onions slightly brown. Add in the tomaotes and tomato sauce, mix, cover and allow it to cook down for about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent burning. Add in the mushrooms, mix and allow them to cook uncovered. Sabji is done when all ingredients are well incorporated, the sauce has thickened, and mushrooms are tender. Serve hot with yogurt and roti.

Apple Coffee Cake

24 Apr

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I love weekends, as does every other human being on this planet. But while I enjoy sleeping in on Saturdays, having pillow talk with B, and making gourmet breakfasts for him and I, I have a special appreciation for Sundays. I guess it’s my “me” day of the week. B works early Sunday mornings, which gives me the opportunity to do things that don’t interest him (like paint my nails, watch TV shows I’m behind on,  or catch up on some cooking and baking). I typically make my grocery store or mall runs early Sunday morning to beat the rush or call my mom and gab without worrying about the time. Basically, it’s a great way to close out the weekend by refocusing some energy into myself. I can only imagine how important this will be once B and I start a family (although we’re in no rush to do so). So, in the spirit of enjoying the moments you have to yourself, I have a delicious apple coffee cake that will give you a respite from the busy life you lead. Also, it’s easy to make and uses ingredients you’ll likely already have.

What do you do when you have time to yourself? I ‘d love to hear what you do in your “me” time.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt

Topping:

2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced – I used a Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9 inch round springform pan and line the bottom with waxed paper.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, then add the yogurt, and stir until smooth. Spoon the batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface.

5. Arrange the apple slices evenly over the mixture in a circular pattern, starting in the center. In a small bowl add the sugar and cinnamon, mix together. Sprinkle the apple slices with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Melt the butter and drizzle over the top.

6. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Leave in the pan for 5 minutes to cool, pop open the springform pan, cut and enjoy.