Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pizza

Pizza is honestly also amongst my top five favourite foods and I love all styles of pizza as long as they perfect all of the criterium of their style. I define pizza as normal thickness and high quality, which for me doesn't get any better than Dante's Italian Restaurant in Thornhill. Another category in my mind would be cheap style but still using good ingredients, and for me the best example is Bellisimos in downtown Toronto, east of Yonge st. Thin and perfect, well I still haven't found the best.

So, I happened to have a surplus of mozzarella cheese and tomatoes (a situation I really don't mind being in) and since I always have bread flour on hand and it having been a while since my girl had any pizza, pizza happened. I made two pizzas but only photographed the first one as the second one got crumpled (sadfacedboy). I'm having difficulty right now with a system for getting the pizza into the oven onto something pre-heated and baking with the broiling element. I think if I baked from the bottom on a decent round pan and stopped being an idiot about sliding onto a preheated pan then things would work out fine. With regards to buying pizza dough from the store, don't, it doesn't taste anywhere near as good as this dough.





Wow, pre-packaged pizza toppings really look like pre-packaged pizza toppings.



















Sliced tomato, mozzarella, feta, black olives, black forest ham. Delicious.






















I actually made another pizza tonight using up the remaining dough, and this time, I lightly oiled a non-stick baking pan, and covered it lightly with semolina, baked it from the bottom, then finished it from the top, and it's fine. Actually it's more than fine, it's delicious.



Ingredients
This is probably enough for about four thin 14" pizzas.

Dough

454g Unbleached Bread Flour
30g Honey
30g Olive Oil
5g Instant Fast Acting Yeast
325g Cold Water

1. Combine all ingredients, stir. After dough comes together, turn out onto floured board.
2. Flour hands, knead for 4 minutes. Rest for 2 minutes. Repeat six times.
3. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl covered with a plastic bag for 3 hours.
4. Roll out to desired thickness (baked thickness increases exponentially based on rolled thickness, thinest possible before tearing will be about 1.25 times thicker when baked, 1 inches thick unbaked will be about 2.5-3 inches thick after baking).
5. Thinly spread your tomato sauce, most of the cheese, toppings, then a bit more cheese.
6. Bake until desired done-ness at 425F on the bottom rack, then 500F using the broiling element until the desired done ness on the top is reached. This will vary by how soft you like your pizza, and how thick or thin you roll your dough.

Tomato Sauce

5 Ripe Vine Tomatoes (Blanched, Peeled, Crushed, Heart Removed)
1 Tbsp ea Dried Basil, Milled Dried Shitake Mushroom
1/2 Tbsp Granulated Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Fine Ground Porcini Mushroom Powder
2 Tsp Squid Sauce
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

1. Heat sauce pan over medium heat.
2. Add oil, wait for oil to ripple.
3. Add tomatoes, cook for 90 seconds, stirring.
4. Add other ingredients, cook for 3 minutes, stirring.
5. Allow to cook before using on pizza.






Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Green Thai Curry with Beef


The recipe for this curry is actually also John Mitzewich's, and if you read my blog regularly, most of the stuff on here, for the last little while is his as well. He really is a very, very talented chef. I've yet to actually buy any lemon grass to make this though, as I kind of gave up on using lemon grass when I read that lemon zest is a fairly good substitute. Someday though, I'll find a place that has lemon grass and all the other fresh ingredients needed to put this curry together. I usually vary how I make this curry, by simply varying the non-paste ingredients, I do really love large bias cut pieces of carrot though. Also, if my girl allowed me to use zucchini, aka courgettes, I probably would, and the same goes for eggplant. I imagine I will be posting this several times more before I die, as it is one of my top 5 favourite dinners to make as it truly is an extremely delicious dish so I'll probably write out a better recipe later, plus, watch John's video below as he really, really knows what he's doing.

I was told I needed to take better photos. I hope this works.


My girl also enjoyed beef cold rolls with savoy cabbage, julienne carrot and celeriac, but they got eaten before a photo opportunity presented itself.

video






Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hand minced beef tomato sauce

I kind of really enjoy hand minced beef instead of machine ground beef. And I also don't mind mincing the beef myself either. The meat is a great deal softer and not at all chewy like ground beef can sometimes be. The sauce used in this recipe is also interesting in that it tastes good in spite of being made from very unlikely ingredients that most people would turn their noses up at. Its actually my girl's family's recipe that I've been making for a few years. All I can say is it tastes delicious, and don't knock it tell you've tried it. This isn't the original recipe anymore, but its a very forgiving sauce.

Ingredients

454g Slice of Sirloin Tip Roast (Finely Minced)
2 Cans of Campbell's Tomato Soup
1 Can of Tomato Paste
1 Medium Sized Onion (Diced)
1 Cup Banana Peppers (Diced)
2 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
2 Tbsp Dried Milled Shitake Mushroom
2 Tsp ea Paprika, Thyme, Cinnamon, Sage
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions

1. Brown meat in a hot, oiled, french skillet. Add onions, garlic, spices and peppers. Cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add soup, paste, and mushrooms. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Stirring every 10 minutes or so.


Inedible

Apparently if I give my girl caramelized parsnip puree, cardamom scented broccoli and cheese, and molasses ground beef spiced with garam masala, tamarind paste, and cumin, she won't like it, and won't eat it either. I thought it was delicious though. Hopefully she likes the Greek'ish Salad with freshly made dressing that I left for her in the fridge.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Vegan Chili or Curry

So, for some reason I wanted to make vegetarian chili. It kind of turned out to be more of a curry and I think its vegan. The photo below looks kind of like vomit, but it does taste pretty good though.

barf. delicious.
Ingredients

1 Large Vidalia Onion (Thinly Sliced)
2 Cubanelle Green Peppers (Thin Strips)
1 Large Sweet Potato (Peeled and Cubed)
1 540ml Can Dark Kidney Beans (Cooked)
3 Vine Tomatoes (Peeled and Crushed)
2 Large White Mushrooms (Sliced)
1 340 ml Can of Corn Niblets
1 400 ml Can Coconut Cream
2 Teaspoons of Paprika
1 Teaspoon ea Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper, Coriander
1/2 Tablespoon of Ketchup



Directions

1. Cook onion in a covered saucepan over medium low heat until caramelized. Simultaneously dry roast sweet potato in oven at 350F.
2. Add green pepper to onion, stir and cook for about a minute. Add sweet potato, beans, and corn and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add spices and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add mushroom and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add coconut cream and simmer for 15 minutes.







Friday, April 1, 2011

Dinner Party and April 1st

It's been a little while since anything has been posted as my sister was in town and I was doing stuff with her. The two of us made a fairly solid dinner for my parents, aunt, uncle, and of course, my girl. She made fresh ravioli filled with roasted chicken, bruschetta with pepperonatta and ricotta, and a nice clean and green mixed salad with frise, oranges, and parmigiano. My contribution was the bread for the bruschetta, cream of belgian endive soup with failed creme fraiche, failed profiteroles and as a replacement; a decent flourless chocolate sponge (Heston Blumenthal's) with whipped vanilla cream, chocolate ganache, and a few raspberries. I don't have any photos of the five courses (of which my mother insisted I print a menu card for and make a copy for each person... uncomfortable...) but if I make anything from that meal again, I'll write up recipes and provide photos.

I was at the St. Lawrence Market yesterday and I got a whole piece of Peameal Bacon, and since I had a couple of buttermilk biscuits left over from the last batch in the freezer and a bunch of eggs and butter, eggs benedict happened again at her request. No need to repeat anything here from the previous post, but take a look here if you're interested. The only interested thing of note is when I prepared the Peameal bacon, I dry fried it with no other fat or liquid and after it had cooked on each side, I poured water into the pan to get the fond back onto the meat as a glaze and to add a feeling of moistness back into the meat as well without compromising the crispiness. I like to do the same thing when cooking chinese dumplings, but more on that another time.

I think my Hollandaise needs work. It's splittttty.