Sunday, January 24, 2010

Improved pizza dough, 2.0

Using this simple pizza dough, plus leaving my pizza crust thin with a light layer of toppings proved to be a real winner. Much better than any store bought pizza. Made one pizza with lightly sauteed leeks/onions/mozzarella, and a second with more traditional American/mozzarella/pepperoni.

I didn't have any olive oil on hand, just used sesame oil, which gave the dough tremendous fragrance.

Pizza Dough

- 1.5 cups flour (I used unbleached)
- dash of salt
- 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 Tbsp oil (your choice)
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water (more as needed)

  1. Mix dry ingredients together.
  2. Then add oil, and lukewarm water.
  3. Mix together to form a wet dough.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap, let sit in oiled container for 2-3 hours or until doubled in size. Alternatively, do the first rise overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. Punch down, roll out into thin flat circle.
  6. In the meantime, prepare your toppings.
  7. Lightly coat pizza with toppings.
  8. Dust sheet pan with corn meal.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 12 minutes, or until crust is slightly browned.
  10. Enjoy!

Leek and onion pizza, with a few green peppers thrown in.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding with Orange-Vodka Raisins

I cooked a huge pot of white rice (Comet: long grain rice, 28 oz) which completely filled my 4.5 quart pot. I was looking for a method of disposal. Aha, rice pudding of course. This is the fatty version; I'll make future healthier version with brown rice and milk/soy milk.

I also prefer my rice pudding with more rice in it, so the numbers below are approximate. I basically added in rice until I liked the consistency. Keep in mind though that the rice does absorb a bit of liquid, so don't add in too much, or else the pudding will be too dry.

Rice Pudding

- 2 cups evaporated milk
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 vanilla beans, split, beans scooped out
- 2-3 cups cooked rice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- orange juice
- vodka
- raisins
- cinnamon

  1. Mix together the evaporated milk, whole milk, and heavy cream. Add the vanilla beans, and bring to a slight boil; then reduce heat and simmer.
  2. Add in cooked rice.
  3. Simmer for 30-40 minutes; stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add in sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together vodka and orange juice, then soak raisins for several hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Let rice pudding sit for 2 hours in refrigerator; touch surface of pudding with aluminum foil to prevent a skin from forming.
  6. Serve at room temperature with raisins, dash of cinnamon.

Mexican Wedding Cookies/Russian Tea Cakes

Probably not the most healthy dessert thanks to all that butter, but they are delicious!

Mexican Wedding Cookies/Russian Tea Cakes

- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- dash of salt
- vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup pecans/walnuts/hazelnuts lightly toasted, ground
- 1 cup AP flour
- confectioner's sugar for rolling

  1. Cream together the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract.
  2. Lightly toast the nuts, the grind them in a food processor. Add the nut flour, then AP flour, until well mixed.
  3. Mold into shape of choice.
  4. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees F or until lightly browned.
  5. Let cool on wire rack; roll cooled cookies in confectioner's sugar before serving.