Saturday, September 29, 2012

Grilled Tomato and Basil Pizza

This is a Cook's Illustrated recipe which means plan on it taking you a while to make. The recipe is lengthy and a little scary but it is SO worth it! This recipe is a must! The spicy garlic oil is fantastic. I think I will use this on all my pizza recipes.

Grilled Tomato and Basil Pizza
Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Yield: 4 grilled pizzas

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water, room temperature
2 cups bread flour (11 ounces), plus more for work surface
1 tbsp whole wheat flour (optional)
2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 lb medium plum tomatoes (5-6), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 tsp table salt
6 oz fontina cheese (The fontina is a must! If you have to use Mozzarella make sure it is freshly grated)
1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
sea salt or kosher salt
Spicy garlic oil:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 tsp)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

  1. FOR THE SPICY GARLIC OIL: Cook olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to sizzle 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. FOR THE CRUST: Combine oil and water in liquid measuring cup. In food processor fitted with plastic dough blade or metal blade, process bread flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, and yeast until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine running, slowly add liquid through feed tube; continue to process until dough forms tacky, elastic ball that clears sides of work bowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. If dough ball does not form, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time and process until dough ball forms. Spray medium bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray or rub lightly with oil. Transfer dough to bowl and press down to flatten surface; cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in draft-free spot until doubled in volume, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. When dough has doubled, press down gently to deflate; turn dough out onto work surface and divide into 4 equal-sized pieces. With cupped palm, form each piece into smooth, tight ball. Set dough balls on well-floured work surface. Press dough rounds with hand to flatten; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  4. FOR THE TOPPING: Meanwhile, toss tomatoes and table salt in medium bowl; transfer to colander and drain 30 minutes (wipe out and reserve bowl). Shake colander to drain off excess liquid; transfer tomatoes to now-empty bowl and set aside. Combine cheeses in second medium bowl and set aside.
  5. Gently stretch dough rounds into disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Working one piece at a time and keeping the rest covered, roll out each disk to 1/8-inch thickness, 9 to 10 inches in diameter, on well-floured sheet of parchment paper, dusting with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. (If dough shrinks when rolled out, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until relaxed, 10 to 15 minutes.) Dust surface of rolled dough with flour and set aside. Repeat with remaining dough, stacking sheets of rolled dough on top of each other (with parchment in between) and covering stack with plastic wrap; set aside until grill is ready.
  6. TO GRILL (Charcoal grill): Ignite 6 quarts (1 large chimney) hardwood charcoal or briquettes in chimney starter and burn until fully ignited, 15 to 20 minutes. Empty coals into grill and spread into even layer over three-quarters of grill, leaving one quadrant free of coals. Position cooking grate over coals and heat until grill is medium-hot, about 5 minutes (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill grate for 4 seconds); scrape grate clean with grill brush.                                                                  For a gas grill: Light all burners and turn to high heat. Close lid and let it sit for 15 minutes. Scrape cooking grate with a clean grill brush.
  7. Lightly flour pizza peel; invert 1 dough round onto peel, gently stretching it as needed to retain shape (do not stretch dough too thin; thin spots will burn quickly). Peel off and discard parchment; carefully slide round onto hot side of grill. Immediately repeat with another dough round. Cook until tops are covered with bubbles (pierce larger bubbles with paring knife) and bottoms are grill marked and charred in spots, 1 to 2 minutes; while rounds cook, check undersides and slide to cool area of grill if browning too quickly. Transfer crusts to cutting board browned sides up. Repeat with 2 remaining dough rounds.
  8. Brush 2 crusts generously with Spicy Garlic Oil; top each evenly with one-quarter of cheese mixture and one-quarter of tomatoes. Return pizzas to grill and cover grill with lid; cook until bottoms are well browned and cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes, checking bottoms frequently to prevent burning. Transfer pizzas to cutting board; repeat with remaining 2 crusts. Sprinkle pizzas with basil and coarse salt to taste; cut into wedges and serve immediately.
Photo source: Dishing The Divine

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti

 Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti

12 oz. Spaghetti
1 (26 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce (or make your own)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c. green peppers
1/2 c. diced onions
1/2 c. grated carrots
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic
8 oz. cream cheese (you can use light)
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. Mozzarella, shredded

Cook spaghetti noodles according to directions on packet and drain. Add cream cheese while noodles are hot and mix thoroughly.

Next, brown the ground beef, green peppers, onions, grated carrots garlic and seasoning in pan. Drain, put back into pan and stir in spaghetti sauce.

In a Pyrex 9 x 13 baking dish spray lightly and spread a small amount of hamburger mixture on bottom. Next put spaghetti on top of sauce and then add rest of hamburger mixture. Sprinkle your Parmesan cheese and then mozzarella cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until bubbly.
Recipe and photo source: Just A Pinch

Monday, September 24, 2012

Simple Lemon Cookies

I really liked all the extra lemon flavor!

Simple Lemon Cookies Adapted from allrecipes

1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar for decoration
Directions1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon juice, lemon extract and lemon zest until well blended.
3.Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl of confectioners’ sugar. Roll them around until they’re lightly covered. Once sugared, put them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown, and the insides chewy. 
Recipe and photo sourceMy Baking Addiction

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Copycat Cafe Rio's Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is really good. I don't think any copy cat recipe is ever as good as the real thing but this one is really good! You definitely don't want to take any short cuts here. Make the pico de gallo, it is wonderful!

Cafe Rio's Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • a dash (or two) cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 5 c. chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • vegetable oil (to taste)
  • pico de gallo (click HERE)
  • 2-3 avocados, diced
  • 2 c. pepper jack cheese
  • tortilla strips (Click HERE)
  • cilantro (for garnish)
  • lime wedges (for garnish)
  • In a small skillet, saute onion in 1 Tbsp. oil until onions become slightly soft. Stir in cumin, cayenne, and chili powder and saute an additional minute or two.
  • Transfer seasoned onions to a small crock pot (or medium-sized saucepan). Add chicken broth, cliantro, lime juice, pepper and pinto beans to onions and simmer on low-heat for at least 2-3 hours.
  • In the meantime (when you are close to serving), combine taco seasoning and paprika. Brush chicken with oil and rub with taco seasoning/paprika mixture. Grill chicken over medium-heat until cooked through (try to turn only once during the grilling process). Remove from grill and shred.
  • In individual bowls layer chicken, about 1/3 c. pico de gallo, 1/3 c. diced avocado, and 1/3 c. pepper jack cheese. Ladle about 1 cup of chicken broth directly over the layers. Top with tortilla strips and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.
Recipe and photo source: Favorite Family Recipes (This is a great website for recipes)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

This is definitely more pie like than cake like. It is pretty much just pumpkin pie on the bottom with a crunchy crumbly top. I wasn't too fond of the yellow cake mix flavor. Next time I would find a more homemade tasting crumbly topping for this.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup butter, melted
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease bottom of 9 x 13″ pan.  Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour mixture into greased pan.  Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture and top with pecans.  Drizzle melted butter over pecans.  Bake 50-55 minutes.

Recipe and photo source: The Picky Apple
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