Sunday, January 31, 2010

Calzones and More Pizza

Pizza is a fantastic thing. I know I already posted this recipe back in October, but there’s been a revelation plus I did something different with it.

First, the revelation. I made the full recipe and instead of making four pizzas, I divided the dough into three. 1/3 of it remained in the fridge for a couple of days until part two. Anyway, the other 2/3 made two perfect sized pizzas that were phenomenally easy to shape and work with. These are my prettiest pizzas to date and I just wanted to show them with all of you.

We bought some nice salami and Aaron cooked up some ground beef with oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary. Along with a heaping of mozzarella, we also used Tillamook aged white cheddar, and parmesan. I also infused olive oil with garlic and we used that to brush on the crust. We added some oregano to the marinara and just look at those pizzas. Seriously, I am so proud.

Now, part two. After a great achievement in pizza, we decided to make calzones. That was a brilliant idea.


Serves two or four, depending on how hungry you are

1/3 pizza dough
Mini meatballs (basic recipe here)
1 c. mozzarella, grated
½ c. aged white cheddar, grated
¼ c. parmesan, grated
2 c. broccoli, chopped and steamed
4 cloves garlic, diced
Tomato sauce
Garlic olive oil

Roll out remaining third of pizza dough to desired thickness, shape into a circle and cut in half. Heat oven to 450 degrees.

In the center of each, paint on tomato sauce, not making it too saucy (haha). Make sure you leave a border so you can fold over the dough when you’re done filling it. Sprinkle on oregano. Fill with mini meatballs, broccoli and cheese. Fold over top and pinch down the sides. Brush with garlic olive oil (or regular extra virgin olive oil if you don’t have infused oil) and cut three slits into the top.

Sprinkle corn meal on a baking sheet and place calzones on pan. Bake for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for another 5 minutes and dig in. We had ours with the remaining tomato sauce warmed up for dunking. These were so good! They’re huge, so you could cut them in half to serve four. The options for filling them, like making pizza, are quite varied, so mess around with it and see what you get. I was really impressed and I am looking forward to doing this again.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Salmon Chowder

What would you say if I told you I made chowder just because I had already purchased oyster crackers? Because yeah, I made chowder because Trader Joe’s was selling boxes of oyster crackers. This chowder, though, is quite worthy of all those crackers. The original recipe is here and it has been modified quite a bit. I do like the note in it that says preferably wild on the salmon filet. I’m from Alaska. Aaron’s from Alaska. We only eat wild salmon in this house. Whenever we go out, we check if the salmon on the menu is wild. If not, we don’t eat it. I even make sure my friends ask (if they’re not from AK. If they are, they already do).

Anyway, not the point. Salmon is delicious and wonderful though and sockeye has always been my favorite. I just love the color and the taste. Plus, it makes for amazing lox. And apparently chowder too.

Salmon Chowder modified from Gourmet via

Makes 6 servings

About 1 lb. red potatoes
6 oz. sliced bacon (we used about 2 oz. regular thick cut bacon and the rest turkey bacon)
2-3 Tb. butter
1 bunch scallions
¼ sweet onion
6 cloves garlic (they said 3. Ha!)
1 c. frozen corn
Dash of thyme
1 bay leaf
Few dashes of crushed red pepper
3 c. whole milk
2/3 c. heavy cream
1 lb. sockeye salmon filet (always wild. Always), skin discarded and fish cut into 1” pieces
Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

Accidentally dice up ¾ lb of red potatoes. Cut remaining potatoes into ½” cubes. Boil water in pot and add potatoes, cooking until the large pieces are tender. Drain in colander and set aside.

Add scallions, onion and garlic into a food processor and pulse until diced (about 5-6 pulses).

Cook bacon in heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. If you use mostly turkey bacon, add in butter with the bacon fat, otherwise there won’t be enough fat to cook with. Cook scallions, corn, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and red-pepper flakes in fat in pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until scallions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add milk and cream and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to moderately low, then add potatoes, salmon, bacon, salt, and pepper and cook, gently stirring occasionally, until salmon is just cooked through and begins to break up as you stir, 5 to 8 minutes.

At this point, Aaron and I realized that the chowder, while smelling and tasting delicious, wasn’t really thick enough to call chowder. So I threw together a roux and we mixed that in and it thickened right up. So delicious. Discard bay leaf before serving.

Ladle into individual bowls and cover with an insane number of oyster crackers.

This chowder (or should I say chowda?) was so delicious, I can’t believe I ever stopped eating it. It’s got just the right amount of salt, salmon, potato. It is perfect in every way. Next time, it’s going in a bread bowl!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bob's Red Mill Factory Tour

This past week, I got to do something amazing with my friend Brittany. I got to tour the factory of Bob's Red Mill. Yes, that fabulous purveyor of whole grains (including steel cut oats!) is stationed in Milwaukie, Oregon, which is not very far from me. I learned a whole lot about whole grains, saw some interesting equipment, and, oh yeah, met Bob! Yeah, Bob! He was coming through with some Scottish people as Bob's Red Mill recently won the Golden Spurtle (first place) in the World Porridge Making Contest (read more about it here). They wanted to see the factory and we got to see Bob. He came over to our tour group just as Brittany and I were squealing. It's so strange to meet someone whose face you've seen time and again on your flour bags. Anyway, it was a great day.

The following are all pictures taken by Brittany, except the one with her and Bob, obviously.

The tour is about to begin!

Quartz millstone

Here comes Bob!

Brittany and Bob

Packing my favorite steel cut oats

Far too excited about my free sample of muesli and free bowl scraper

Out front (and staring into the sun)

Oatmeal Cakes

I love oatmeal. It’s one of my favorite breakfasts. I came to love oatmeal even more when I discovered the glory that is steel cut oats. While I know many people don’t like oatmeal because it’s mushy, I do also enjoy rolled oats. However, steel cut oats are something else. They’re chewy and delicious and they’re a labor of love, taking longer to cook than rolled oats. I love them.

So the other day I made a massive amount of oatmeal and didn’t eat all of it because as much as I love it, I do have a limit. Anyway, I decided that instead of just heating up the rest of it later, I’d try something else. And this is that strange, delicious experiment.

Oatmeal Cakes:

1 c. cooked steel cut oats
Lemon zest
Dash of lemon juice
¼ c.-ish honey plus a bit more for garnish
Two big dashes of cinnamon
A bit of flour
Coconut oil

Heat coconut oil in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Mix together all of the ingredients and form into palm size cakes (I have small palms, so you may want to make them a bit bigger). Cook each side until a nice light brown crust has formed. Serve with additional honey.

These didn’t stay together perfectly, but they were so good I didn’t care. The coconut oil adds an extra little bit of flavor and also makes these bad boys vegan, so there you go. It’s a fantastic breakfast. Next time, I’m going to mix in fruit.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

At Chernay Gardens or Where I've Been

Hi everyone! Happy new year! In case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I went off to visit my parents with Aaron for a few days and then up to Alaska to celebrate the beginning of 2010 with my good friends and ridiculously cold weather.

It was just non-stop cooking at my parents and even when I wasn’t directly involved, I was watching and it was fantastic. The house always smells so good. Plus, I got goodies. For Chrisanukkah, I received a beautiful basket filled with dried jalapeños, pickled jalapeños, garlic (duh), hot pepper jelly, hot ginger pepper jelly, pasta sauce, and ranchero sauce. I’ve been really digging into the hot pepper jelly lately. I used leftover pancake batter and made savory pancakes with that smothered on top. I also made a huge grilled cheese and pickled jalapeño sandwich with the pepper jelly. I’ve made a large plate of nachos with the pickled jalapeños. And Aaron and I have had baked ziti with the pasta sauce. I’m a lucky kid.

I also got The New Food Lover’s Companion. If you love food, you need this book. Curious about the difference between pancetta and prosciutto? There are full detailed paragraphs on each. Want to know more about different cheeses or how one type of coffee drink differs from another? That’s in there. Curious about what part of the cow your meat is from? There’s a map for that as well as pigs and lambs. Want to know how an English tablespoon is different from an American one? That’s there too. I love this book!

Anyway, there were many good cooking times to be had. I made pasta with my mom from lasagna, which was really fun because they have an Atlas Pasta Roller. It makes making pasta THAT much easier, it’s fun, and the Atlas is cheaper than the attachment kind for a stand mixer (weird, I know). This was the recipe we used:

Pasta All ‘Uovo/Egg Pasta from The Romagnolis’ Meatless Cookbook:

3½ c. unbleached flour
5 medium eggs (at room temperature)
¼ teaspoon salt

We used a food processor, which makes the first steps oh so easy. Beat the eggs. Put the flour and salt into the food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Pulse in the eggs. Have a bit of water nearby just in case the dough doesn’t cling together properly. When you can pick up a bit, pinch it together, and it stays, it’s ready to go.

Take out your super amazing pasta roller. Take a piece of dough (begin with one about the size of a tennis ball) and put it in the pasta roller at the widest setting. This is how the dough will be kneaded. Run it through a couple of times. Slowly make it smaller and smaller by progressing through the numbers until you are at the perfect thickness (or rather, thinness!).

When you cook up homemade fresh pasta, it doesn’t take nearly as long as dried. Depending on the shape, you can do it in five minutes or so. I made extra little pasta bits with the leftover dough we had after cutting it into lasagna shape noodles. I made farfalle (aka bowties) because my favorite thing to do when I made pasta with my mom and brother as a kid was to pinch the bowtie shapes into actual bowties. I still got a kick out of it.

During the trip, I also made bread with my dad. Rather, my dad made bread and I watched closely. It is amazing to see him at work. The shaping takes no time at all with his expert hands.

But that’s not all that was made! Aaron made meatballs with my mom, I made an appetizer snack platter that had gherkin pickles, kalamata olives, marinated mozzarella balls, gouda cheese, cheddar cheese, roasted red pepper, pepper crusted salami, roasted red pepper hummus, and crackers. If there’s one thing I enjoy in life, it’s making platters.

My dad also made Death by Chocolate Cake from the Dom DeLuise cookbook I mentioned here (yeah, they have it!). We also had chile rellenos, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, a beautiful galette my mom made, and fantastic breakfasts. My dad makes the best omelet in the entire world (no exaggeration. I’m serious) and I also got a killer Dutch Baby from my mom.

Needless to say, time with the family left me very full and very satisfied. I’m lucky to have such a foodie family!
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