A Trove of Scrumptious


MAMA MIA, CALZONES!
November 17, 2007, 7:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

calzone full

These are so delicious I don’t even have words for them. It’s like a miracle.

INGREDIENTS (DOUGH)

• ¼ c warm water
• 1 pkg active dry yeast
• 2 tsp sugar
• 1 lightly beaten egg
• 2-3 tsp olive oil
• 1 c milk
• 1 tsp salt
• 3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 c whole-wheat flour

INGREDIENTS (FILLING)

• 1 egg (optional)
• 1 ½ tsp water (with egg, about 1 T water without egg)
• 1/3 c mozzarella cheese
• 2 T ricotta cheese
• 1-2 tsp olive oil
• pepperoni, chicken, sausage, green peppers, pineapple, sardines… whatever you love on pizza

Okay. The ingredients above for the dough make six, count ‘em six, calzones. Since nobody eats six calzones at one time (although you’ll probably want to once you taste how amazing these are), you can divide the dough into six balls and then freeze however many you aren’t going to make immediately. For those of you bad at math, that means you can freeze four balls of dough if you’re only wanting to make two calzones.

Prep a little bit ahead of time with the dough, because it’s a yeast dough. You can’t decide at 6pm that you want calzones in a half-hour, unless you’ve already frozen and dethawed some dough or you’re planning to get take-out from Domino’s. Here’s what you do.

Put the warm water in a mixing bowl, and make sure it’s warm like hot and not warm like lukewarm. A good thing to do is boil some water, turn the heat off and let it sit for two minutes, then take the 1/4 cup out of there and put it in the bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let it sit for a minute or two. Then add the sugar. Let it sit for 3-4 minutes. It should start to foam and make crazy, science-project-like bubbles and movements. If it doesn’t, you’re screwed and you’ll need to start over. Your yeast dough absolutely must rise or the recipe won’t work.

Assuming your mixture has foamed, add your egg, half the oil, the milk, and the salt. Mix that stuff up. Put in a cup of the unbleached all-purpose flour and mix it in, either by electric mixer or hand and spatula. Add the rest of the flour in 3 or 4 cycles and mix after each one. It doesn’t matter when you put in the whole-wheat flour, as long as you put it in eventually. Whole-wheat flour isn’t even required for this recipe; it just makes it healthier and (in my opinion) tastier.

Now knead the dough for about four minutes. You can do this by fancy electric mixer if you have a dough hook, but if you’re a common person like me you can just knead it like they did before electricity existed. When you’re done, wash out the bowl you mixed the dough together in and pat it dry. Grease the bowl with your remaining teaspoon or two of olive oil and drizzle some olive oil over the ball of dough for good measure, too. Then drop that sucker in the bowl and cover it up. Let it rest for an hour and a half at bare minimum, and up to three or four hours.

Now, after it’s risen, the opportunity is ripe for you to divide it into six balls of dough. Wrap up and freeze whatever you’re not using, and prep the ones you are using by dabbing them with flour and coating a work surface with a thin layer of flour as well. Get out the old rolling pin and pat your ball of dough into a disk with your palm. Then roll it out until it’s about 8 or 10 inches in diameter.

Mix up your filling ingredients, minus the egg and water. Good things to stick in there, I’ve found, include basil and ground turkey that you’ve lightly stir-fried beforehand. Tomato sauce or pizza sauce is not necessary, and you probably won’t even miss its presence, but feel free to put some in if you want it to taste more like pizza. It won’t, but you might feel better about it anyway. Around the time when you’re preparing your filling is also a good time to preheat the oven, to 450.

Now, about the egg and water. You’re supposed to whip up one egg, combine it with about a teaspoon of water, and use that mixture like cement to seal your calzone. This is both unnecessary and wasteful, however, because you won’t use even a quarter of the egg mixture and you don’t need an egg to seal the thing. If you have an extra egg and you can save it to use in a different recipe later, then by all means go for it. If you don’t, though, you can just use plain old water to seal the calzone. Put your filling in half of the circle, coat the whole circumference of the circle lightly with water or the egg mix, and then pull the unfilled half over the filled half and push down all around so it seals. I like to pinch up and fold over along the whole half-moon border so it won’t start to leak in the oven.

Fill your other calzone the same way and seal it. Then brush a cookie sheet with olive oil and place the raw calzones on it. Stick them in the oven for 30 minutes and you will find pure beauty and deliciousness when you open it up again.

calzone half



Braised Herbed Chicken Thighs
September 24, 2007, 1:37 am
Filed under: chicken, simple | Tags:

Mmm mmm good.

chicken thighs with potatoes und carrots

This is great for a dinner on a night that’s a little chilly… a little like fall… a little like NOW.

INGREDIENTS

• 2 T flour
• 2 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp thyme  (fresh is obviously preferable, but who actually ever has fresh thyme on hand??)
• 1 tsp oregano (ditto as with the thyme)
• 1⁄2 tsp pepper
• 8 chicken thighs
• 1 tsp olive oil
• 1 1⁄2 c slices carrot (one or two inches thick)
• 1 large onion, cut into wedges of whatever shape and thickness you feel like
• 1 ½ c chicken broth
• ½ c dry white wine
• 1 ½ lb small potatoes (I’m not going to lie; I actually have no idea how many potatoes make up a pound. I used two potatoes and found it to be a pleasing number.)

Put the first 6 ingredients (that’s the flour, paprika, salt, thyme, oregano, and pepper for all you dim bulbs out there) in a large Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and shake the bag like mad. It might help to seal it first.

Heat the oil in a pot. Add the crazy chicken mix to the pan. Cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the carrot and onion wedges and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Be careful about sticking, because the flour makes things act like an adhesive. When I made this I used a low-quality pan and ended up eating half the coating on the bottom of the pan. Yeah, don’t do that.

Add the broth, the wine, and the ambiguous pound-and-a-half of potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 35 minutes or until the chicken is done and the vegetables are tender.

YUMMMMMMMMMMMMM



Friendship Muffins
September 13, 2007, 2:45 am
Filed under: breakfast, dessert

Here are the muffins I made with the extra batter from the Friendship Bread. They were really good. I should mention that I brought this entire massive, defective, hole-in-the-center loaf of bread to work to share, and I went down to the break room to collect the remains at the end of the day. I thought there’d be about half or a third of the loaf left. Instead there was NOTHING. Even the crumbs were gone. So, really, it’s worth making. I’ll package up a starter and send it to you if you want. “You” is anybody.

Friendship Muffins



Amish Friendship Bread
September 13, 2007, 2:24 am
Filed under: breakfast, dessert

Friendship Bread– close-up

This could also be called chain letter bread, because that’s basically what it is, an evil chain letter. You’ll feel guilty if you don’t perpetuate it–and, basically, it’s too good not to. Plus, any recipe that explicitly instructs me to “do nothing” is a good recipe in my book.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 c. live yeast starter (if you want this, holler. I have some spares in the freezer.)
• 4 c. flour
• 3 c. sugar
• 2 1/2 c. milk
• 1 c. canola or vegetable oil
• 3 eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 2 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 big (5.1 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 c. nuts (optional… I like them with or without)

I have an urgent-sounding note at the beginning of the recipe which warns not to refrigerate and not to use any metal spoons or equipment, only glazed ceramic or plastic bowls and containers. My immediate response to this is “WTF” because I accidentally baked the bread in an aluminum loaf pan and it turned out just fine. I don’t know if you would suddenly end up dead if you decided to stir the batter with a metal spoon or something, but my instincts say you’d probably be OK. Of course, maybe I’m just trying to bring doom to your life. USE METAL AT YOUR OWN RISK!!1

Day 1: Do nothing with the starter.
Days 2-5: Stir with a wooden spoon. (There’s that ominous wording again.)
Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir with a wooden spoon.
Days 7-9: Stir with a wooden spoon.
Day 10: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic containers. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends. (Chain letter!) To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following and mix well.

• 1 c. oil
• ½ c. milk
• 3 eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla

In a separate bowl combine the following dry ingredients and mix well.

• 2 c. flour
• 1 c. sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 2 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• box instant vanilla pudding
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 c. nuts (optional)

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix and pour into two well-greased and sugared bread pans. Sugaring the pans is key. I forgot to do it and I noticed. The bread will taste MUCH better if sugared. Bake at 325 for one hour.

Makes one loaf, apparently, although I was able to make a medium-sized loaf and six small muffins from it. It puffs up because it contains yeast, so don’t overfill your pan.

It’s a forgiving recipe, really… I went away to Rochester on days 7-9, when I was supposed to be stirring it dutifully, and nothing happened. Well, I mean, nothing has happened YET. Maybe its chain letter aspect is out to get me, just lurking around my bedroom corner…

P.S. I don’t know why my loaf of bread had a funny depression in the middle. I guess that’s just the way it is? It tasted good, anyway, even if it wouldn’t win any beauty contests.

Friendship bread– far



A non-food posting
September 4, 2007, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I know this is the dorkiest thing ever, but SO BE IT!

Hanson wants to write a song just for me!

Augh! It’s not posting. How do I make it go?



Srikanto’s Vegetable Stew
August 30, 2007, 12:28 am
Filed under: Indian, simple, vegetarian

srikanto’s stew and riceRup’s family had a driver named Srikanto. Srikanto didn’t know a word of English but sure knew how to drive. Whereas the streets of Calcutta terrify me if I am even glancing at them in a picture, thousands of miles away, Srikanto had the kind of navigational prowess that grizzled NYC taxi drivers can only vaguely dream of achieving. Srikanto’s wife and children live in Orissa, a state bordering West Bengal. He gets to see them once every few months, when he has several days off in a row. I could never live like he does, away from my family and in a little hut and hunched over the wheel of a cramped car in the hottest summer days of Calcutta.

As if his mad driving skillz weren’t enough, Srikanto can also cook (he’s a real Renaissance man). One night he made a vegetable stew that was just about the best thing I’d ever tasted. I tried to replicate it the other night, eight months after I had it originally, using the meager recipe notes I took in my journal. The end result was pretty good, but I can only hope that someday it will measure up to Srikanto’s.

img_2645.jpg

INGREDIENTS

• onion

• tomato

• oil

• garam masala

• 4 whole cardamom pods

• 4 whole cloves

• 1 cinnamon stick

• vegetables, various (cauliflower works well… so do peas, beans, carrots, potatoes, cabbage… whatever)

Slice up the onion and tomato. Put some oil in a pan and let it get hot to the point of causing an unsightly burn if you touched it. Add the onion and some garam masala. “Some” is a technical term meaning anywhere from 1/4 tsp to 1 full tsp. Use your judgment. Toss in the cardamom pods, cloves, and cinnamon stick.

When the onion starts to get brown, add the tomato. Wait a bit. “A bit” means one to five minutes. Then put in all your vegetables. Hopefully you’ve found some time between tossing in the onion and waiting a bit to slice them all up. Saute the vegetables for a while. “A while” translates to six or seven minutes. Then put in some water, but not quite enough to cover your mound of vegetables. Cover the pot and simmer the stew until all the vegetables are soft. I let it go for an hour but I don’t think it takes that long. Anywhere from a half an hour to 45 minutes should be OK.

Serve with basmati rice. Or regular rice, whatever’s your thing.

img_2647.jpg



Intro
August 29, 2007, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m starting a food blog because I like to a)write, b)cook, and c)share.




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