Tag Archives: not un-healthy

Focaccia with Rosemary, Tomato, and Caramelized Onions

23 Nov

Rosemary Focaccia-5Focaccia is as thick as dough can be while still remaining a flatbread. It can be topped with nearly anything, but traditional toppings include herbs, onion and other vegetables, cheese, and meat. Focaccia also has a high olive oil content, which keeps it moist and adds flavor – and sets it apart from pizza dough. A sprinkle of salt tops it off! I love having focaccia available for snacking – I think the small amount of salt is satisfying. And when you slice off small pieces, the calories don’t count, right?

Ingredients:
– 1 package dry yeast
– 1 cup warm water, 100-110 degrees
– 1 tsp honey
– 3.5 c all-purpose flour
– 1/2 c (plus a little more) extra virgin olive oil (divided – you will use it at a few different times)
– kosher salt
– 1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
– 2 medium vine-ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4″ slices
– 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles removed from stem
– 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

How do I make it?

  • In a medium bowl, stir together yeast, warm water, and honey. Let rest until bubbles form on top and you can smell the yeast, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in 3 c flour, 1/4 c olive oil and 1 t kosher salt.
  • Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until dough is smooth (see photo below), 5 to 10 minutes. Add flour if the dough gets sticky {it’s ok if you don’t use the full 3.5 c!}.
  • Rosemary FocacciaPlace dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour. Don’t worry if it doesn’t completely double! Not a big deal.
  • While the dough is rising, Heat a large heavy skillet or pan over medium heat. When warm, add 1 T olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion slices, separating as you drop them into the skillet, and cover. Cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. The longer the onion cooks, the sweeter it will get!
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and lightly oil a 9″ x 13″ rimmed baking sheet, or metal baking pan.
  • Remove dough from bowl and press it into the pan until it touches the edges. Using your fingers, make dimples all over the dough (see photo below).
    Rosemary Focaccia-2
  • Drizzle the dough with 1 – 2 T olive oil and spread it around using your fingers or a pastry brush.
  • Let the dough rest 20-30 minutes, until it becomes a little puffy.
  • Top the dough with tomato slices, caramelized onions, rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and a bit more salt, to your tastes. Drizzle with 1 T olive oil.Rosemary Focaccia-3
  • Bake until the focaccia is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool before cutting into pieces and serving!

Rosemary FocacciaMore info please?

If you plan to serve as finger food for a party, try smaller tomatoes, and line them up in rows and columns so that when you slice with a serrated knife, the tomatoes stay pretty and intact.

Original link: http://www.cookincanuck.com/2011/02/focaccia-with-caramelized-onion-tomato/

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Brownie Bark

15 Oct

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When you have a homemade brownie, do you go for a center piece, or an edge piece? I mix it up. I love the fudgy center, but the crispy edge has its own allure.

What is Brownie Bark (aka Brownie Brittle)? It is a thin layer of that crispy brownie edge – no soft center, just a crunchy cookie. It satisfies a sweet tooth without inducing a sugar overload. Brownie Bark goes really well with coffee as a dunker, and would be delicious crumbled over (or under) ice cream. I am always in search of baked goods to bring to work meetings that have quick preparation (because I usually remember at the last minute) and are easy to transport (for the commute); this recipe works well for that purpose. {Insert furlough joke here – but I am sure one day I will have another work meeting!}

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Ingredients:
– 2 egg whites
– 1/2 c sugar (heaping – a little more than 1/2 c is totally fine)
– 1.5 T dark cocoa powder
– 1/4 c vegetable oil
– 1/4 t vanilla
– 1/4 t salt
– 1/4 t baking powder
– 1/2 c flour
– 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
– a few additional Tablespoons of mini or regular-sized dark chocolate chips

How do I make it?

  • Preheat oven to 325 with a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a heavy duty 13×18 inch jelly roll pan with a silpat (preferred), or parchment paper.
  • Whisk the egg whites until foamy (a minute or two). Gradually whisk in the sugar, then whisk in the cocoa powder, oil, and vanilla until smooth. Finally, whisk in the salt and baking powder.
  • Add the flour and stir until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the brownie batter onto the lined cookie sheet and spread as thinly as possible using a silicone spatula. Sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on top.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven; using a pizza cutter or knife, cut it into pieces, without separating. You can do triangular pieces, long strips, or rectangles or squares. Endless possibilities!
  • Return the pan to the oven for 5 more minutes.
  • During these 5 minutes, prepare a glass of milk.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely. Once it is cool, break the pieces apart.

More info please?
If you are using parchment paper, you need to hold it down pretty firmly to make sure it doesn’t slip around while you are spreading the batter – silpats are made for moments like this. You may find it helpful to not mix the chips in to the batter, and instead add them after you spread the batter out – it will spread more smoothly using this method. I think it tastes a little better when they are in the batter as well as on top. But it’s pretty similar – whatever works for you!

Original link: http://www.cookiemadness.net/2012/10/brownie-bark/

If you like this, you may also like:

Brownie ThinsGraham Cracker GranolaChocolate Chip Mandel Bread

Pumpkin – Gruyere Focaccia {Repost – Pictures Added}

12 Oct

 

I am often asked, “What is your favorite thing to make?” I hem and haw and say I can’t pick just one thing … but this Pumpkin – Gruyere Focaccia recipe may be it. I originally posted the recipe, without pictures, in March, but now that we are in full-pumpkin-season-swing, I made a batch this week and wanted to post the pictures. I thought I would also repost the original entry from March here, in case you missed it then or just were not in pumpkin mode. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Gruyere Focaccia-1

This recipe is a Cooking Club Classic (Hostess: TK; Theme: Pumpkin; Date: 10.15.06). I look forward to each fall, when I buy a sugar pumpkin or two, and prepare pumpkin puree to have on hand and bake a few dishes. Although the recipe is titled “focaccia,” it is not at all like a traditional focaccia with herbs and tomatoes and fingerprint indentations. I would describe it more as a sweet bread, and the gruyère adds a savory tang. This bread gets rave reviews and friends often ask me for my secret.

It is so satisfying to make bread from scratch – give it a try!

Pumpkin Gruyere Focaccia-3

Ingredients:

– 3/4 c warm water (100° to 110° – I measure temp with a standard meat thermometer)
– 1/3 c brown sugar (measure when packed)
– 1 package dry yeast (about 2 + 1/4 tsp)
– 3 + 1/2 c flour, divided
– 3 T butter, melted
– 1 c pumpkin puree*
– 1 t salt
– 1/4 t ground nutmeg
– 3/4 c grated gruyère cheese (or more)
– cooking spray
– 1 t cornmeal

How do I make it?

  • Combine water, brown sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 cup flour and the melted butter to yeast mixture; stir just until combined. Cover and let rise in a warm place**, free from drafts, for 30 minutes.
  • Add pumpkin, salt, and nutmeg to flour mixture; stir until well combined. Add 2 1/4 cups flour and half of cheese; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes), or mix in stand mixer with dough hook for a few minutes; add enough of remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking (dough will feel just a little tacky).
  • Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, and spray the top of the dough as well. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide dough in half; shape each half into an 8-inch circle. You can also make smaller loaves, or dinner roll size portions. Place dough circles on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over dough circles and press lightly to adhere. Lightly coat dough circles with cooking spray; cover and let rise 20 minutes (dough will not double in size). Don’t put it back in the oven for this last 20 minutes.
  • While the dough is resting, preheat oven to 400°.
  • Uncover dough; bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until loaves are browned on the bottom and cheese melts (loosely place foil over the loaves to prevent overbrowning, if necessary). Cool on a wire rack.

* To make my own pumpkin puree, I cut a sugar pumpkin (the small ones) into chunks. I remove the seeds, and place it flesh-side up on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 8-10 minutes. The skin will remove easily, and the flesh will puree nicely in a food processor (I add a little water while pureeing if it seems too thick). {Also see this recent post on How to Make Pumpkin Puree}

** To create this magical place to let the bread rise, I set a rack on the lowest track in the oven – which is OFF. I set a glass baking dish on the rack, and pour a kettle full of boiling water into the dish. It is pretty fool-proof: the steam helps the dough rise and I do not worry about drafts.

Original link: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/best-pumpkin-recipes-00400000058808/page6.html

Gyros

15 Sep

Gyros-2

While some food makes for a memorable meal based on the taste alone, other dishes are favorites in large part due to the memories associated with them. For me, Gyros falls in this second category, and the memories take me back to the local Gyros joint in my home town. I used to love watching the cylinder of meat turn around the rotisserie spit, disappearing for just a moment to allow the magic to happen, appearing again darker and crispy after the rotation, just in time to be sliced off in thin strips by a man in a red shirt wearing a paper hat, wielding an aggressively-sized knife. It could have been a sword for all I knew – I was smaller then, it seemed enormous.

Gyros is one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t have it often, but when I do, I look forward to the rich flavors and texture of the crispy edges of the meat, wrapped in a doughy pita. I can’t imagine that the gyros served at a hole-in-the-wall (where gyros is at its best) is very healthy, so I am thrilled that I have found a workable recipe that tastes just right with a mix of lamb and extra-lean ground beef.

I am not even 1% Greek, so while I offer you no authenticity, I do offer you a home method that makes a great make-ahead meal. No rotisserie spit required! As you will see, the recipe is made in two stages: first, a loaf is baked (about easy as baking any meatloaf); then, slices from the loaf are sauteed in a pan to both crisp them up and pull some moisture to the surface. You can make the loaf on the weekend and then slice and heat it on a Monday or Tuesday for a quick weeknight meal, or if you wrap it well, you can even freeze the loaf, defrost it in the fridge for a day, and saute it that night {I have not had opportunity to freeze a loaf for more than a few days, so have no suggestions as to how long the loaf can be frozen, but I would assume you would be safe at a month – but how could you wait that long?!}. Here is another tip: It slices better when it is cold!

Serve as pictured here with thinly sliced kirby cucumbers, grape tomatoes and red onions, and crumbled feta on a pita; or use as a protein on a Greek- (or any-) style salad. I don’t naturally gravitate toward sauces, but a traditional tzatziki would be great with this Gyros recipe.

Gyros-3

Ingredients:
– one medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
– 1 lb extra lean ground beef
– 1 lb ground lamb
– 1 t dried marjoram
– 1 t dried oregano
– 1 t dried rosemary
– 1 t dried thyme
– 1 t cumin
– 1 t garlic powder
– 1 t kosher salt
– freshly ground pepper, to taste

How do I make it?
  • Preheat the oven to 325 and spray a loaf pan with olive oil spray. Set the pan aside. You will also need a larger pan or casserole dish, to set the loaf pan in when you are baking the meat. There is no need to spray the larger pan.
  • Process the onion in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer it to a fine mesh strainer, and press out and discard the liquid. Set the onion aside for just a minute.
  • My food processor is not big enough to process two pounds of meat with no liquid, so I mix the meats and spices in a bowl until evenly distributed.
  • Then, in two batches, process the meat and the onion (using half of the processed onion each time) until it looks less like ground meat and more like a smooth spread. Stop the processor as needed to scrape down sides of bowl and make sure all of the meat gets near the blade.
  • Press the mixture in to the prepared pan.
  • Place the loaf pan into the larger pan or dish and place in the oven. Carefully fill the larger pan with water.Trust me, do this once it is already in the oven. Use a tea kettle or pitcher.
  • Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 to 170.
  • Remove from the oven and drain off any fat.
  • Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack, and now comes the interesting part. The original recipe calls for a brick wrapped in aluminum foil to be placed directly on the surface of the meat. I do not have a brick in my small apartment {nor do I have a tarp, which is unrelated but came up recently}, but I recovered thusly: cover the cooked meat with aluminum foil, and then place a second loaf pan on top of the cooked meat (which is hiding under the tin foil). Place a heavy pan on top (it will balance well on the broad base of the loaf pan). Let this structure sit for 15 to 20 minutes. The temperature will raise during this time, and more fat will probably rise to the surface – drain that off as well.
  • At this point, you can wrap and refrigerate the loaf. If you plan to freeze it, wait to do so until it is no longer warm.
  • When you are ready to serve, slice pieces from the loaf as thin as you can, and heat them in a large pan sprayed with oil. Don’t crowd the pan, or else the slices won’t brown as nicely. Once they have browned, flip and repeat. You won’t need to add more oil, the meat should make enough liquid to cook the next batch with. Transfer to a plate covered in paper towel, and repeat the browning process as needed.

Original links: Some combination of these two – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/gyro-meat-with-tzatziki-sauce-recipe/index.html and http://galleydoor.blogspot.com/2012/11/gyro-flies-pepsi-gyro-flies-pepsi.html

Serve with:

Food_013_

Caprese Skewers

16 Aug

Caprese Skewer-1

How about a no-cook, easy, crowd-pleasing appetizer? How about another way to serve and eat cheese?

Yes, please?

These Caprese Skewers are great for cocktail parties – for any party really. When entertaining, I like to have a few things prepped in advance (and one fragrant dish in the oven as guests arrive so it smells inviting). This dish takes just a bit of assembling, but you can make the skewers in advance and pull them out of the fridge at the last minute as your guests start arriving. Or do you have a trusted friend who always arrives early and asks how they can help you in the kitchen? This is the perfect task for them.

For MMH’s bachelorette party, we had wine, cheese, and cheese-themed snacks laid out as people arrived at the house. Everyone had a skewer in her hand within minutes (and because we had made a trip to Costco for the weekend, we all had skewers in our hands all weekend.

Ingredients:
– grape tomatoes
– small mozzarella balls (approx 1″ diameter), in marinade (called bocconcini)
– small basil leaves

How do I make it?

  • On each skewer, layer: tomato, basil, cheese; tomato, basil, cheese. You can do another round if you want, but it becomes more of a commitment after two rotations.

Skewer Sunset

More information please?

One pint-sized carton of grape tomatoes will match up pretty well in number with a small bucket of marinated bocconcini (try Trader Joe’s if it is convenient for you). And if you are having a larger gathering, one Costco-sized carton of grape tomatoes will match up with a Costco-sized bucket of marinated bocconcini.

I recommend using small basil leaves rather than cutting or ripping larger basil leaves, because the exposed cut edges will brown and not look as appetizing as small full leaves.

Present the skewers on a plate, or in a vase or pitcher (cheese side up!).

As the assembler from MMH’s bachelorette bash, bridesmaid NB, noted, the oil in that bucket does wonders for your cuticles. Always looking at the bright side.

Spinach – Walnut Pesto

28 Jul

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Traditional pesto is made with basil, garlic, parmesan reggiano, olive oil, and pine nuts – but there is nothing that says we can’t mix that up a bit. I find that pesto made with all basil is just a bit too basil-y for me – and pine nuts are disproportionately expensive recently.

That brings us to Spinach – Walnut Pesto. Equal parts basil and baby spinach, and a handful of toasted walnuts. I am sure I will offend someone with this, but it tastes the same to me! And I like the added health benefits (no matter how small) of spinach and walnuts.

Ingredients:
– 1/4 c walnuts, chopped, and toasted in a pan or in the oven until they smell fragrant
– 40 basil leaves (about 1 c)
– equal amount of baby spinach {just measure the piles if your baby spinach leaves are very different in size from the basil}
– 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
– extra virgin olive oil
– 1/4 – 1/2 c parmesan or parmesan reggiano cheese, grated or shaved

How do I make it?

  • Place the toasted (cooled) walnuts, basil, baby spinach, and garlic in a food processor, and pulse until the walnuts and garlic are chopped very finely.
  • Add some olive oil, streaming it in if you can, while you pulse the food processor.
  • You can either process the cheese, or stir it in, depending on your tastes. There is not much difference, really, but it is up to you.
  • Use as much or as little oil and cheese as you would like! It can be thick or thin – there is no wrong way to make a pesto.

More info please?

Spread this pesto on any sandwich or burger; serve as a dip with crackers or veggies; or heat a pan with some oil over medium heat and add spaghetti squash, using two forks to separate the spaghetti strands and incorporate the pesto (a little pesto goes a long way on this one!). Or use as a pizza topping with some ricotta cheese and roasted vegetables!

Spaghetti Squash w Spinach Pesto

Roasted Garlic + Rosemary Beer Bread

13 Jul

Roasted Garlic + Rosemary Beer Bread

Do you love fresh-baked bread … but fear the thought of working with yeast? I recommend starting with a delicious baby-step: Beer bread! Beer bread is just what it sounds like – bread that is made with beer. What kind of beer? Any kind, really, and the bread will take on a subtle taste of the beer you choose. For this recipe, all you do is mix together the ingredients, and bake! No proofing or rising – just one hour till your kitchen smells like freshly-baked bread.

Roast the garlic in advance and keep it in your fridge for a few days in the tin foil you used to roast it – and you will be ready to make this bread at a moment’s notice.

Beer bread will generally not be sturdy enough to use in a sandwich, but would be perfect for a snack, or served with queso or cheese fondue spooned on top, or toasted and spread with a whipped butter.

Ingredients:
– 2 roasted heads of garlic
– 2 c whole wheat flour
– 1 c flour
– 2 T sugar
– 2 T extra virgin olive oil
– 1 T baking powder
– 1 T chopped fresh rosemary
– 3/4 t kosher salt
– 1 bottle beer (I used Corona, but try any lager or pilsner – or other!)

How do I make it?

  • Preheat the oven to 375, and spray a 9 x 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients except the beer. To remove the roasted garlic from the bulb, just pinch at the root end, and work your fingers (and the garlic) toward the open ends – it will squeeze right out. Stir the ingredients, separating the garlic cloves and coating them with flour.
  • Pour in the beer and only stir until the ingredients are moistened – do not overmix!
  • This will need to bake for almost an hour, but check on it at 50 and 55 minutes. The top will turn golden brown, and a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle will come out without crumbs clinging to it.
  • Let it cool before removing from the pan and slicing.

Roasted Garlic + Rosemary - squareOriginal link: http://recipes.womenshealthmag.com/Recipe/roasted-garlic-beer-bread.aspx

Grilled Flatbreads

7 Jul

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July 4 weekend has come to a close, but grilling season is still in full swing!

You may recall from my Homemade Grilled Bread post that at a recent Cooking Club (Hostess: AWP; Theme: Grilling; Date: 06.09.13), I tried my hand at making fresh bread dough – and grilling it. The bread was delicious – my guess is it was the sour cream that made it so special. With toppings, the resulting flatbreads would make a memorable appetizer … or even main course, if you can resist not throwing a steak on the grill.

Each of the 8 portions from the Homemade Grilled Bread recipe will make a flatbread that is about 6″ in diameter, give or take. The original recipe indicates that the dough should be rolled to 1/4″ thick – mine was so elastic that I could not get mine anywhere near that thin. If you manage to, your flatbread will be much larger than 6″ round. I like my dough a little thicker though.

{I do not want to mislead you either way, but I am in a bit of a quandary here … I  realize that the thick dough may make this recipe something other than a “flat” bread. But I am a bit hesitant to call this a “grilled pizza” based on how mine turned out – it does not seem to fall in to either category, so I pick “flatbread.” I think there is just a little more leniency with that term.}

If you are hosting a gathering, having a family picnic in the backyard, or, like me, just want some variety, set out a number of prepared toppings (cooked, if necessary, like for sausage or tough vegetables), allow your guests to select which they want on their flatbread, and assemble fresh on the spot. The leftover toppings will be perfect to add to an egg scramble or egg muffin cup in the morning, or a pasta toss – so don’t skimp on the selection!

Ingredients:
– one batch of Homemade Grilled Bread dough
– toppings! … Here are some ideas: Pictured above are pesto, Fresh Ricotta Cheese, Roasted Red Peppers, and sweet Italian bison sausage (in the background).  Other choices: sweet onions sauteed with balsamic vinegar, sauteed sliced portabello or cremini mushrooms, sauteed spinach, and fresh mozzarella.

How do I make it?

  • Take a look at (and follow) the instructions for Homemade Grilled Bread. Once you have the gotten to the stage where you are ready to cook, start here:
    • Heat a gas grill to high. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill dough until lightly charred on one side and no longer sticking to grill, 2–3 minutes. It may help you to close the lid while you are cooking. Using a spatula, flip dough and grill until cooked through, 1–2 minutes longer.
      • Add toppings, sauce or spread first (then cheese and vegetables, depending how you like it). Cook until toppings are heated through, 2-3 minutes; place on the top rack of the grill to cook the inside with indirect heat if the dough is cooking too fast and starting to burn (in a bad way).
    • -OR- Heat your oven to 450. Place the dough on a floured heavy baking sheet, and cook until browned (about 10 minutes). Flip, and repeat (it will be less time for the second side).
      • Add toppings, sauce or spread first (then cheese and vegetables, depending how you like it). Cook until toppings are heated through, 5 minutes or less. Because the heat is indirect in the oven, you should not have to worry about the dough burning before the toppings are heated through.
  • I recommend serving in stick-shaped slices. Cut by placing the completed flatbread on a large cutting board and slicing into strips, with a chef’s knife or santuko knife, pressing down firmly in one motion rather than sawing or using a pizza cutter (and risking the toppings falling off).

Original link: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2012/07/grilled-flatbread

Homemade Grilled Bread

23 Jun

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At this month’s Cooking Club, I acquainted myself with a propane grill at a good old-fashioned barbecue in AWP’s backyard. My apartment building has a community grill on the roof, and I had not made much use of it – until now. Yes, the success of this bread has made me want to grill.

For Cooking Club, I selected to make Grilled Flatbreads; we will talk about them later. The toppings for the Grilled Flatbread were just gilding the lily – this bread is wonderful on its own and deserves its own post. It is thick and moist and, if I may, it tastes kind of like Papa John’s breadsticks. No joke. It puffs up a satisfying amount on the grill – I started my dough at about 1″ thick and after grilling it ended up 2″ or 3″ high (and it is not just a 2″ – 3″ high bubble inside!). Serve on its own or with a garlic dipping oil, or with any dipping sauce really, and enjoy.

Ingredients:
1 package active dry yeast
– 4 3/4 cups white flour plus more for dusting
– 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 T kosher salt
– 1/2 c low-fat sour cream
– vegetable oil (like canola, for brushing)

How do I make it?

  • Dissolve yeast in 3 c warm water (100-110 degrees) in a large bowl (I use an enormous bowl with a snap-on lid) until it gets a little bubbly and/or foamy.
  • Add the flours, and mix with your fingertips until a shaggy dough forms.
  • What is a shaggy dough? I wondered myself, until I made the recipe the first time and the dough was … well … shaggy! Kind of stringy, I guess. I will tell you what it’s not: pretty.

Dough_004_

  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap (or lid) and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  • Sprinkle salt over dough, then add sour cream. Knead with your hands until well incorporated – the dough should pull away from sides of bowl and hold together in a loose, wet ball (about 5 minutes). The dough will be very soft and wet.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap (or lid) and let dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Knead dough a few times to deflate. At this point, you can either:
    • Cover and chill for up to 2 days. The dough will develop in flavor and continue to rise slowly in refrigerator. I have been using this method; even if it is just shifting the hours to another day, it is less burdensome to think of this as a one-hour recipe (that is ready to bake the next day).
    • -OR- Let the dough stand at room temperature until doubled in volume, 3–4 hours. The warmer and more humid your kitchen is, the faster it will rise. Chill for 1 hour before grilling to make it easier to handle.
  • Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Generously flour a work surface. Working with 1 or 2 portions at a time (depending on how many flatbreads will fit on your grill), roll out dough or press with your hands. My dough was so elastic that I just used my hands and pulled it as thin as I could get it, which was a bit less than an inch. It does not have to be, and will likely not be, perfectly round.
  • To bake:
    • Heat a gas grill to high. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill dough until lightly charred on one side and no longer sticking to grill, 2–3 minutes. It may help you to close the lid while you are cooking. Using a spatula, flip dough and grill until cooked through, 1–2 minutes longer. If it seems like the outside is done and the inside is not, put it on the top rack of the grill to cook the inside with indirect heat.
    • -OR- Heat your oven to 450. Place the dough on a floured heavy baking sheet, and cook until browned (about 10 minutes). Flip, and repeat (it will be less time for the second side).
  • If you are not sure if the dough is done on the inside – and really, how would you be for your first batch? – make one of the servings the crash test dummy, and try it at various points to see how the baking is going.

Grilled Bread!

Original link: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2012/07/grilled-flatbread

Fresh Ricotta Cheese

15 Jun

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al·che·my [al-kuh-mee], n.

1.  a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life.
2.  any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.

That is how I feel about making fresh ricotta cheese. In honor of this post, I am adding an “alchemy” tag, for those recipes where something truly common is transformed into something of great value … something magical … maybe short of “elixir of life,” but hang with me, you never know.

Would you believe you can make fresh cheese that will be ready to eat – start to finish – in under 15 minutes? I promise you can!

Use fresh ricotta cheese in lasagna, on pizzas, or serve with some cinnamon and fresh fruit for breakfast (that is, if you have any left after you taste one bite of the fresh, warm finished product).

You will need cheesecloth to make this recipe, which can be easily found at any kitchen store, most grocery stores, or of course, online.

Ingredients:
– 1 quart (4 c) organic whole milk
– 1/2 c heavy cream
– 1/4 t kosher salt
– 1.5 T fresh lemon juice
How do I make it?
  • Place a large strainer over a larger bowl, and line the strainer with two layers of cheesecloth. My strainer sat very close to the bottom of the bowl, so I crumpled a few balls of tin foil to separate them.
  • In a dutch oven, slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil over moderate heat. Stir often with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom. You do NOT want the milk to scorch.
  • Once the mixture is boiling, add the lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain for a few minutes. Pick up the cheese cloth that has caught the curds and place in a smaller bowl. and chill, covered. (You can discard the liquid in the large bowl.)
  • The ricotta will last a few days in the refrigerator.

Yep, that easy!

Original link: http://www.cherryteacakes.com/2011/07/neapolitan-spinach-pesto-ricotta-pizza.html

Updates:

1. Be sure to use fresh lemon juice to get maximum curd-age (lesson learned from loyal friend and commenter, Holly).

2. I tried this with organic skim milk (still with the 1/2 c heavy cream) this morning – with great results! The curds were a bit bigger, and it tasted just as delicious. Do not get me wrong, the whole milk version was probably a bit richer, but the skim would be perfect to mix in to a dish like pasta or lasagna if you are looking for something lighter (I usually am). I could tell it was lower-fat in the same way that you can tell frozen yogurt is not ice cream – does not stop me from eating and enjoying it!