Friday, October 30, 2009

Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza

I love deep dish pizza. Why didn't I think to make it at home a long time ago? Definitely not perfect, but definitely delicious!! And so fun to make!
The Crust
The crust is more thin crust, cracker-like than most doughs. But very stable- I was impressed at how well it held up. I may have liked it more if I didnt mess it up! While I was waiting out the 2 hour rise I decided to make some brownies. I turned on the oven to preheat...and then realized I still had my dough in the oven rising. Oops!! Apparently I didnt kill the yeast altogether because while it was resting on the counter it did puff up a little. But I do wonder if it would have turned out differently had I not started to bake it before it's rising time was up!!

Heres what you need for 2 pizza pies:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup yellow corn meal
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/8 tsp. yeast
2 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 cup lukewarm water

*Place the yeast in the warm water and let if sit for a few minutes to proof.
*Meanwhile combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in your mixer.
*Pour the oil and water/yeast mixture into the flour mixture and knead until smooth a few minutes, or when it starts to come together finish kneading it by hand until smooth.
*Place the smooth dough ball in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise about 2 hours, or until doubled.

The Sauce
I really liked the flavor of the sauce. It was very similar to my usual sauce but with the added red wine vinegar. And it was so simple to whip up.

28 oz. crushed tomatoes (I used italian style)
3 garlic cloves, minced
a sprinkling of oregano, basil, pepper and salt
1 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar

*Mix all ingredients in a bowl

The Assembly

My pizza needed more filling and more cheese, but really quite an easy process. (Just be careful with ingredients that are "wet"- I almost thought mine was going to be soggy.)

*Generously butter two 8 or 9 inch cake pans.
*Divide your dough in half and roll each one out quite thin, about an inch bigger around than the pans. Place in pans and gently press into place. I blind baked my crust for 4 min. min. at 400 degrees, but not sure if that was necessary.
*Put a very generous amount of mozzarella cheese on top of the crust.
*Place all your toppings on next. (I then sprinkled some more mozzarella and some parmesan, but not enough)
*Pour half your sauce onto each pizza.
*Bake for about 35 min. Watch the crust and cover it loosely with foil if it starts to brown too fast.
*Let it sit for about 5 min. before gently taking them out of the pans and placing them on a cutting board to cut and serve.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Scalloped Potatoes

Tonights dinner was as simple as they get- a pork roast in the crockpot and acorn squash in the microwave. Simple, but one of my favorites. But because of its simplicity I figured I could go all out on the potato dish- scalloped potatoes. Which actually turned out to be quite simple in and of itself.
I've only made scalloped potatoes once in my life and they weren't too great. Pretty boring really. So I'm not sure why I thought I wanted to try them tonight, but I'm so glad I did!! They were delicious! I couldn't stop eating them!! This recipe originally comes from Cook's Illustrated, but I found it on seriouseats.com. They were the opposite of everything that I don't like about scalloped potatoes. The potatoes were not mushy at all, neither were they undercooked and the flavor was pretty amazing. They claim the trick is to parboil the potatoes before putting them in the oven- I'm convinced!! And please don't let the terrible picture keep you from trying this recipe. You will be missing out on one great recipe!- well, in my opinion anyway :)

Scalloped Potatoes

1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced (I used 1/4 tsp. dried thyme)
1 1/4 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c heavy cream (I used 2% milk and didnt miss any of the creaminess!)
1 bay leaf
shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
(I sprinkled the top with dried bread crumbs for added crunch)

*Melt the butter in a large oven proof saucepan on med-high heat.
*Add the onions and saute until tender, a few minutes
*Add the garlic and thyme and saute for about 30 seconds more
*Dump in the potatoes, broth, cream and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat, cover and let cook for 10 min. (I stirred mine a couple times, b/c Im a bit of a fanatic about stirring :)
*Remove lid and bay leaf.
*Top potatoes with the cheese and if you choose, the dried bread crumbs.
*Put the skillet in a 425 degree oven for 15 min or until bubbly and cheese is all melted.
*Let it rest for about 5 min. before serving

-If you dont have an oven proof skillet, just transfer the potatoes to a casserole dish after you cook them on the stove.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Apple Cake

It's apple season!! I love fall with all the color, crisp air, wonderful apple and spice smells. In my opinion, it doesnt get more "comfort" food than apple dishes.
Okay, so this recipe doesn't actually use fresh apples, but rather canned apple pie filling. But it is so moist, delicious and extremely easy to make. This is yet another of my moms recipes. For a woman who can't eat sugar, she sure knows how to find scrumptious recipes. Best of all her recipes are simple, unfussy and use ingredients that you often have sitting in your cupboard.
This cake is delicious enough to serve for a dinner party with a dab of cool whip or served plain and used as a morning coffee cake.
Apple Cake
3 eggs
1 can (20 oz) apple pie filling
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. butter
*Stir together, by hand, the eggs, pie filling and dry cake mix.
*Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan
*Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Cut in the butter.
*Sprinkle on top of the unbaked cake.
*Bake for about 30-35 min. at 350 degrees

Sunday, October 18, 2009

PB Oatmeal Cookies

In apology for the long lapse in posting,(we moved to an old farmhouse out in the country and had to wait 3 weeks for the internet!) I'm offering a no-fail, delicious cookie recipe. I love cookies, but at the same time I find it difficult to find one that actually meets my standards. This one does.

And even more surprisingly it meets my husbands as well! These are his favorite and he is actually the one who introduced me to them. They are the cookie by which all other cookies are judged by- nothing ever even comes close according to him. He made them a few times for me while we were dating. His trick to making them great is undercooking them and he would pile them into a tupperware and put them in the fridge and they would clump together like one giant cookie that we would tear chunks off of. YUM!! If you ever wondered why I married the guy, this is why- he wouldnt give me the recipe until I said YES!! :)
-Im still working on making them as great as he can, according to him I will never get it quite right!! PB Oatmeal Cookies (otherwise known as "goodness" in this household)

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
chocolate chips

*Cream together the butter and peanut butter
*Add the sugars baking powder and baking soda, mix well
*Beat in the eggs and vanilla
*Mix in the flour and then the oatmeal just until combined
*Stir in some chocolate chips
*Bake for 8 min. or so at 375 degrees