Apple Goat Cheese Pizza

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I always forget how easy it is to make pizza.  Every time I make it I think to myself, why do I feel the need to ever order pizza (granted that pretty much never happens because I’m not a huge fan of the overgreased, overpriced crap near me, but still).  This pizza was made using a whole wheat crust, you can check it out here.  Justin was worried the pizza was going to be dry because of the lack of sauce and that it would taste like a dessert.  No faith I tell you.  Surprise, he loved it and gorged himself on it.  The mixed greens taste great on the pizza, so I encourage if you do make this to use them.

Recipe:
Baking time: 8 minutes

2 apples (I used Granny Smith, very thinly sliced)
2 ounces goat cheese
2 strips bacon
1/2 red onion (thinly sliced)
2 tbsp pecans (toasted, chopped)
*6 tbsp vinaigrette
Mixed greens for topping

*I had a vinaigrette spice mix from Penzey’s that I used for my vinaigrette.  1 tbsp Country French Vinaigrette (sugar, mustard, salt, garlic, black pepper, lemon peel, onion, tarragon, chives, white pepper, thyme, and rosemary) + 3 tbsp water + 3 tbsp red wine vinegar + 1 tbsp oil.

Preheat oven 450°

Add your vinaigrette to a bowl.  Thinly slice your apples and onion and add to vinaigrette.

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With your onion and apples in your vinaigrette, shape your dough.

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I covered my dough with a tea towel and it developed too much of a crust.  I suggest covering it with a damp tea towel or saran wrap.  It didn’t ruin the dough or anything, just something to keep in mind.

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Shape your dough using whatever way you find easiest.  I toss it back and forth a couple times…

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…then gently stretch with my right hand holding the dough down with my left.   The edge of my left palm creates the crust.

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Stretch until it’s about 1 foot in diameter and brush with olive oil.

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I don’t have a pizza peel or stone, just a pizza pan with holes in it.  I tried to use a baking sheet as a makeshift peel, it didn’t work out so great.  Anyway, take your onion and apple slices out of your vinaigrette and save it.  You may have some apple left over.  Decorate your pizza any way you like.  Top with your goat cheese.  Bake in 450° oven for 8 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

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While your pizza is baking, make your bacon and chop it.

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Top your pizza with the bacon and pecans.  Toss your mixed greens with your remaining vinaigrette and add as much as you want to the pizza.

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Enjoy!

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Adventures in Bread Making: Whole Wheat Pizza Dough


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This pizza dough is adapted from Alton Brown’s.  My first couple tries with it came out so well I couldn’t help but put some whole wheat flour into it.  I put whole wheat flour in pretty much all my baking goodies.  It just gives it such a pleasant rustic taste.  This dough was used to make an Apple Goat Cheese Pizza and Avocado Pizza!

Recipe:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 envelope active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 +1/4 cups water (110°)

Heat your water to 110° (save the +1/4 cup for later, you may or may not need it).

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Add your sugar and yeast to your water.  I gently stir with my finger, some people just leave it be.

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If all the stars are aligned your yeast should start burping within a few seconds.

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While your yeast is doing its thing add the rest of your ingredients to your mixer.

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Add your flours, salt, and olive oil to your mixer.

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Your yeast should now be happy and ready to go.

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Pour it in your mixer with the rest of your ingredients.

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And start mixing on low.

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When the dough starts separating from the edges, increase your mixer’s speed to what it will allow.  I usually only go up to 3 when mixing dough.  Knead for anywhere from 10-20 minutes.

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Until you get some sexy windowpane action.  Justin hands!

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Pull your dough out of your mixer and just stare at it for a while.

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On a lightly floured surface, form your dough into a tight ball.  Do this by tucking the edges underneath, smoothing the top with your palm.

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Oil it and your mixing bowl and return the dough to your mixing bowl.  I don’t bother cleaning my mixing bowl because, why.

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Let it rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

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Turn out onto lightly floured surface and cut in half.

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Gently punch down your dough all over, distributing  any CO2 pockets.

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Fold your flatten dough into a tight ball, similar to how you did before.  Cover with saran wrap or a damp tea towel and let rest for 10-30 minutes.  If you’re not going to use immediately, coat with oil and place in a ziplock bag and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

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Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Meatballs

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This soup was made using the Chicken Meatballs I posted last week.  The meatballs had finely diced mushrooms in them so I decided to add more to the soup.  I love mushrooms, I’ve been eating them every day probably since middle school.

I’ll admit I’ve never had Italian Wedding Soup that didn’t come out of a red labeled can so I am not a good judge on what a proper Italian Wedding Soup should taste like.  But I know what good tastes like and this soup passed my ‘good’ test.  Now that I have your confidence in my discerning palate…

Recipe:

1 small-medium onion (sliced)
1 carrot (diced)
1 celery (diced-I didn’t have one but it would be good to put in)
1 green pepper (diced)
4 oz mushroom (sliced)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
9 oz spinach (fresh, amount need not be specific)
8-12 cups low/no sodium chicken stock (depending on how brothy you like your soup)
8 oz pasta (I used fagioli but was looking for acini di pepe at the store)

Soften your onion, carrot, and celery (if using) in a lightly oiled and heated soup pot.  I like to slice my onions because I like when they do that hangy of the spoon thing like in French Onion soup.  It’s up to you how you’d like your onions to hang or not hang off your spoon.

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When your onion and carrot has softened add your pepper and cook for a minute or two.

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Then add your mushrooms and garlic, cook for a couple minutes.  You can lightly salt here too if you’re using low sodium broth.

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Add your broth and meatballs (mine are partially cooked) and bring to a boil.  When you reach a boil add your noodles.

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Near the end of the boiling time for you noodles add your spinach.  The spinach only needs a minute.

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My soup looks a little noodle-heavy.  That’s because Justin begged me to add more.  I wound up adding 16 oz and it got a little excessive, stick with the 8 oz.

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Chicken Meatballs

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These meatballs are made with mushrooms.  The moisture from the mushrooms is used to replace the moisture we would have gotten from the addition of cheese.  Oh, yeah there isn’t cheese in these.  Cheese and I aren’t usually on the best of terms so I try to avoid it.  Plus, I love mushrooms.  They’re always in my fridge and I’m a slut for umami.

I typed in ‘Umami Slut’ in Google images just because I was bored and sometimes I like to live fast and loose with my internet searches and this is what came up.

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I know.  I was hella disappointed too.

Recipe: makes about 30 meatballs 

1/2 onion
16 oz ground chicken
1 egg
1 tsp salt (can cut down to 1/2 tsp if trying to reduce sodium)
1/2 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp oregano (dried)
1/2 tsp basil (dried)
4 tbsp breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
2 tbsp milk
4 oz mushroom (diced fine)

*My meat mixture ended up on the soft side because  I didn’t let my mushroom mixture cool enough and I was taking time to take pictures for you folks.  The meatballs stayed together fine but weren’t a perfect ball shape.  So just keep that in mind.

Dice your mushroom into very small chunks.

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I said ‘very small’ damn it.  There you go.

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Add to your pan over high heat.  Oh, what’s that nasty mush over my mushrooms?  Yeah, let me tell you a story about that.  The internet told me I could grate my onion.  I was all, “No you cannot, that seems like a downright foolish thing to attempt.” But then I was like, “Why would the internet lie?  It wouldn’t.  It’s filled with good and wholesome people who are not in any way what we would call stupid.”  It turns out I am a fool because I went ahead and grated my onion.  The first pass I made on my grater I thought, “What the fuck am I doing?’  But it was too late.  I already committed.  And when I commit, I commit hard.  The second pass I made onion juice went flying into my eye.  I thought, “Well this is pretty much exactly what I expected so I don’t know whether to be mad or not.”

The lesson here is onion juice in your eye is a bitch and don’t trust the internet.

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Cook your mushrooms/onions down.  Obviously if you don’t grate your onion make sure you add your onion before your mushrooms so it softens nicely.

Turn your heat down and add your garlic and your milk and 1/2 of your breadcrumbs (2 tbsp for me).

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Add any spices you like.  I did 1/2 tsp of basil/oregano.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

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Add your meat, egg, and mushroom mixture along with salt and pepper to a mixing bowl.  Whisk your egg first if you want but I don’t find it necessary.  Don’t pull your meat out of the fridge until you’re ready to mix it.

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Gently mix with your fingers being careful not to over mix.  As it’s coming together add your other 1/2 of breadcrumbs (2 tbsp for me).

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and make your meatballs.  I used a tbsp measure to spoon them out but you can make them up to 2 inches in diameter if you want.  I wouldn’t go any bigger than that though.

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I’m making my meatballs in a skillet but you can make them in the oven if you’d like.

Baking: 350° for 15-20 minutes.

If you’re doing it in the skillet there’s multiple ways to do it.  Some add enough oil to come halfway up the side of the meatball so you only turn it once.  I hate using that much oil because it costs money.  I just put in enough to coat the bottom of the skillet and turn it 4 times so all the sides cook evenly.  Cooking time will depend on the size of your meatball but for this size it took about 7-8 minutes.

These meatballs are going in my Italian Wedding Soup so I’m not going to cook them all the way through.  Just enough to get some good color on all the sides.

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Add as many as you feel comfortable adding to the skillet.

If you’re adding these to a sauce just cook halfway and finish in the sauce.

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Enjoy in some Italian Wedding Soup!  

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A(nother) Liebster Award

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The wonderful Chef Janet Rorschach nominated me for my second Leibster award a while back and I kind of dropped the award ball.  Then  Pocketful of Sugar nominated me for the Super Sweet Bloggers Award and it reminded me I should get back on it.  So here I am, getting on it.  I still have 1,000 or so people to nominate.  I’m exaggerating of course it’s more like 20 or 30, but still that’s a lot especially when I try and not nominate people who have just been nominated.  But then I try and go through the Freshly Pressed section and it’s filled with posts of people who just copy and paste recipes from other websites with no other thought put into it.  I’m sorry you don’t get an internet award for that.  Maybe I’m stingy.  On to the award.

The Liebster Award Rules:

1) Post 11 things about yourself.
2) Answer the questions that your nominator posted for you.
3) Create 11 questions and nominate 11 up and coming blogs and link them in the post.
4) Go to their page and tell them.

11 Things about me:

  1. I am wearing a dragon onesie right now and that makes me super awesome.
  2. I am very hungry right now but can’t motivate myself to make food so I’m stuffing myself with triscuits.
  3. I live in a studio apartment, but you should kind of know that already.
  4. I met Brian Posehn yesterday, he seemed cool.
  5. I wear hats constantly.  Not because I hate my hair I’m just deathly afraid of earworms.  Hats are the melodies’ only weakness.
  6. My cat is an asshole.
  7. Someone once asked me to show my boobies and cooter to Tom Hooper.  I told them unless they slipped and meant Quentin Tarantino then I politely refuse.
  8. Were you aware Eric Bana is a talented actor?  Because I’m not.
  9. Spencer Tracy and Colin Hay own very large pieces of my heart.
  10. My favorite book is Of Human Bondage.
  11. I’m referred to as a gamine so much that it’s become one of the ways I describe myself, it kind of makes me feel like a douche but it saves me the trouble of having to have the conversation with people.  “You know who you remind me of?”  “Yes, every gamine-like individual that has ever existed ever.”

Answers to Chef Janet Rörschåch‘s questions:

  1. What was the last thing that touched your heart?
    5 years ago I had open heart surgery.  So I would say my cardiac surgeon’s hands.  
  2. What is the one characteristic you most admire in others?
    Any that’s most similar to that of my own.  
  3. What is your relationship with toast?
    We’re no longer on speaking terms.
  4. Really. Cake or death?
    “Death please…no cake, cake!”
  5. Vegan or Carnivore?
    Neither…omnivore
  6. Braise or sous vide?
    I don’t speak Spanish.  
  7. What’s the one thing you wish you would do everyday for the rest of your life?
    Make a million dollars.
  8. What song do you play to cheer you up?
    Horses by Patti Smith.
  9. What do you collect?
    The tears of my foes.  
  10. Where is the one place in the world you would like to visit?
    Ask me that when I have money to go anywhere.  
  11. Wine, beer, or another kind of alcohol?
    Bitters straight up.  I like to regret my decisions as soon as I make them.    

My 11 questions to the universe:

  1. Porn star name?  Usually you do your first pet name and first street you lived on.  
  2. You are a music icon, what music do you sing? 
  3. You are an alien from a distant planet–what is your name and what planet do you hail from?
  4. Astronaut or caveman–who wins?  No, the astronaut doesn’t have fancy laser beams and the caveman doesn’t have a club.
  5. You are an evil genius, where is your secret lair?
  6. What do you have protecting said lair?
  7. Who is your superhero nemesis?
  8. If you could spend one night in bed with any historical figure who would it be? For those of you all lovey dovey with their significant other you can change this to “have to.”
  9. You can only eat one food item or recipe for the rest of your life (it magically gives you all your necessary nutritional content), what is your dish?
  10. You suddenly go color blind but it’s a special color blind, one that allows you to only see one color and all its shades, what color do you see?
  11. You can only listen to one record for the rest of your life, what is your album?

My nominees:

I’m still working on the nominees for my other Leibster award…I suck I know.

Super Sweet Bloggers Award

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I was just nominated for another award by Kaitie at Pocketful of Sugar who was nominated by Amy at Pass the Mixing Bowl.

I kind of avoid these things because they feel sort of chain-lettery and you have to catch me in a really good mood to feel like answering a bunch of random questions for internet strangers.  That’s not to say I’m in a particularly good mood right now, it’s just I don’t feel like doing what I should be.

Okay so there are rules for this thing and here they are:

  1. Visit and thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.  (I will survive if you don’t thank me, but I will also mentally note that you’re an asshole–I’m kidding, maybe I really am not in the best of moods to be doing this.)
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
  3. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.
  4. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (13) blogs for the award, add a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
  5. Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere

So now its time for Rule #3, the “Super Sweet” questions:

1. Cookies or Cake?  Not a huge fan of either.  Shocker for someone who has a baking blog.  I am an enigma.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?  No preference.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?  Don’t really have one.  Lattes are nice, only if they’re not too sugary though.  This is an exciting questionnaire I’m providing you isn’t it?

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?  I don’t.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Bitters McNally.  I was the first female sheriff of the wild west and would frequent my local bar drinking bitters on the rocks to quell the stresses of being a female in a exclusively male world.  I was a good and proud sheriff, jailing more criminals than any other sheriffs in the surrounding areas but the years of constant torment wore on me.  One day a charming, traveling cartographer by the name of Rand McNally came through my town and I saw my way out.  I relinquished by badge and joined Mr. McNally and we traveled across the U.S. of A. discovering parts unknown eventually settling down and opening up a successful printing shop.

Here are my “Baker’s Dozen” (13) nominees:

My nominees list is a work in progress.

Dinner of Herbs
Getrealgurls Nutrition
Tall, Short, and Tiny
TARTANTARTAN

Chocolate Espresso Banana Bread

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You would think that because this is a chocolate bread it would be crazy sugary and over power the banana flavor.  Don’t worry I happen to be somewhat competent in the kitchen and thought about that before hand.  By using cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate I find you’re better able to control the sweetness levels.  You’re also able to get a much richer chocolate flavor without having to add so much thus saving on product and calories/sugar levels.  Adding instant espresso (or coffee) sends the chocolaty-ness into overdrive.

Recipe:

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant espresso granules (or instant coffee)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce (no sugar added)
2 bananas (mashed)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Baking time: 1 hour

Preheat oven 350°

Sift your flours, salt, baking powder/soda.  Not necessary but I think it’s a good habit to get into.  I sift my dry ingredients directly into my mixing bowl as you’ll see later but some people like to sift it into a separate bowl.

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Mash your bananas.  I never measure my banana amount, I always go with two and let the variations happen as they will.  Granted I do try and buy bananas at roughly the same size each time I buy them.

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Add your instant espresso or instant coffee granules.

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And cocoa powder.

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And mix.  This is the type of instant espresso I bought.  It was the cheapest available.  I don’t think it has to be high quality, in fact I don’t think there is such a thing as high quality instant coffee/espresso.  If you like a stronger bitter flavor go for the espresso, it will help your cocoa powder taste more like dark chocolate.

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Add your sugars in a large mixing bowl with your applesauce.  The applesauce is taking the place of any oil/butter and allows you to cut back on the sugar.

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Whisk your egg in until just blended.  You can do two egg whites here instead if you’d like.

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Now add your flour mixture and banana mixture in chunks starting with your dry and ending with your wet.  Don’t thoroughly mix in between each addition or you risk over mixing your batter.   The amount of additions is up to you.  I usually do about 3 for each mixture.

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Ending with your wet mixture helps ensure a moister bread.

Pour into a lightly greased bread pan.  Bake for 1 hour or until insert comes out clean at 350°.  Allow to cool before removing from pan.

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This turned out to be one of our favorite banana breads and only lasted 2 days.  You can check out the others in the Breakfast section or Snacks section because I’m bad and don’t eat breakfast.

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