Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Herb and Cheese Focaccia

I'm not really into making bread... but I don't mind making focaccia at all.  It only takes 20 minutes to rise.  You don't have to do much kneading.  And the stand mixer makes it even easier (though it's not necessary.)  We've been making this recipe since I first moved out to California about 9 years ago and we like changing it up.  Pepperoni... grilled onions... green olives... jalapeños... different cheeses.  It's a pretty versatile recipe.  Sometimes we use the dough for pizza crust!  Sometimes we use it to make pepperoni twists or bread sticks.  I've sliced a loaf in half, made a pesto mayo, and then made a giant sandwich with pepperoni, salami, Mortadella, provolone... sliced it up into little finger sandwiches with toothpicks stuck through 'em and took it to a work party.  It's pretty great.  I made a quick and easy marinara dipping sauce to go with the pepperoni version I made today.

I was actually in a soul mood (as I often am)... usually I go with some 60s soul; Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, James Carr.  But today, I felt like some doo-wop soul and was listening to The Drifters, The Temptations, some old James Brown.  I couldn't really think of any punk covers of soul music... which is a shame, because those are probably my two favourite styles of music.  (Anyone think of any?)  But The Dirtbombs from Detroit came to mind... a little punk influence, some definite soul influence.  They seemed the way to go!  So here they are, doing "Your Love Belongs Under A Rock".  -jen

Time:  50-55 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  1 loaf
  • 1 packet (1/4oz) quick rise yeast (or 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or any combination of dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, etc)
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (separated)
  • pepperoni
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated Paremesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, sugar and water.  Stir until dissolved.  Let sit for about 5 minutes until bubbles form on top.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and black pepper.  When yeast mixture has proofed for five minutes, mix in flour mixture and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  If using a stand mixer, use the kneading attachment and knead dough for 10 minutes.  If mixing by hand, stir until combined.  Then on a lightly floured surface, knead dough by hand for 10 minutes until dough is  and elastic. 

Form dough into a ball.  Using 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil, lightly coat a large bowl and place dough into bowl, rolling around to coat with the oil.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 20 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.  (I like to preheat the oven to 450 at this point and let the dough rise on the top of the stove towards the back near the heat.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Beat down dough and place onto parchment paper, patting flat and forming into a 1/2"-3/4" loaf.  Using the remainder of the olive oil, lightly brush the top of the loaf.  Place desired amount of pepperoni over the top, then sprinkle Parmesan and mozzarella over it.  Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Cool and serve.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Asian Cabbage Rolls & Cucumber-Tomato Salad

Justin's made an Eastern-European style cabbage rolls a few times and we have a recipe for them here.  But ever since he did, I was thinking of other things we could stuff cabbage rolls with... and I instantly craved an egg roll-type pork filling.  Today I finally remembered to make it, along with a chopped vegetable Asian style salad.

Wow.  I first posted this using a song we already used.  That was smooth.  Let's go with something different.... and angry.  Paint It Black doing "Labor Day".  Because sometimes... it feels like a nine to five death march.  -jen

Prep Time:  15-20 minutes
Rest Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  35 minutes
Difficulty:  Medium
Makes:  About 12 rolls
  • 1 pound ground pork
  •  whole Napa cabbage leaves
  • 1.5 cup Napa cabbage, chopped fine
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup green onions, chopped fine (2-3 medium onions)
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sambal (Asian chili paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
On a large cutting board or your counter, use a rolling pin to flatten the whole cabbage leaves, one
leaf at a time.  This will help with the rolling process.  Make sure to break down the ribs.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.  Drain off any excess juice.  Lay two cabbage leaves out, slightly overlapping with the stems nearest you.  Measure 1/4-1/3 cup of the meat mixture and place in the center of the leaves.  Starting with the stems, carefully roll-up over meat, tucking sides in as you go.

Place rolls seam-side down in a 9x13 baking dish.  (Line with foil for easier clean up!)  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, until pork is cooked thoroughly (160 degrees).

Serve with Asian Dipping Sauce (recipe below).

(It's like pot sticker sauce!)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons green onion (1 medium onion)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sambal (Asian chili paste)
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Time:   15 minutes
Difficulty:  Easty
Makes:  about 4 cups
  • 1 to 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (about 16)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped (3 medium onions)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Split cumbers in half length-wise.  Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard.  Dice cucumbers.  Add remaining ingredients and toss.  If you can make this ahead of time, the taste improves after it rests a while. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Spicy Mexican Pepper Soup

This soup came out a little like a cross between tortilla soup and a Mexican minestrone... way tasty!  I was pleased with it.  Just enough heat to hit, but not enough that you break a sweat because your tongue is on fire.  I made mine tonight with the beef broth leftover from our Slow Cooker Chile Colorado.  But if you don't want to do two nights of awesomeness, well... I guess you can just add some store-bought beef broth.    I did, however, also use the leftover chile sauce from that recipe... so really, why not just make the Chile Colorado first, freeze your broth, and make this soup when you run out of Colorado!?

I chose a little ska in Spanish for my recipe with Sublime singing "Chica Mi Tipo".  -jen

Prep Time:  10-15 minutes
Cook Time:  40 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  about 2.5 quarts

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large Anaheim pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large poblano pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large jalapeño, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 can corn (14oz)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14oz)
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) beef stock
  • 1 can black beans (14oz)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • juice of 1 lime (about 1-2 tbsp)
  • 2 tablespoons chile sauce (either CTDF's chile sauce or look for Herdez' Guajillo or Pasilla sauces)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup masa harina (*optional)
  • 3 cups hot water
 *If you're trying to watch carbs, you can totally eliminate the masa harina and the soup will just less like a tortilla soup and more like a minestrone.

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium-high.  Add diced onion, Anaheim, poblano, jalapeño, carrots, mushrooms and garlic.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent.  Add corn and tomatoes and cook another 2 minutes.  Add the beef stock, beans, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, lime juice, chile sauce and cilantro.  Bring to a boil.

While soup is heating to boil, mix masa herina and hot water in a medium-sized mixing bowl with a wire whisk until masa harina is fully incorporated.  With the wire whisk, whisk into soup and bring back to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mixed Berry Syrup

Over the last few years I've weened myself off of soda all together - can't drink it anymore.  But I still get the craving for something bubbly.  I usually end up making myself a Martinelli's spritzer, using 1 part Martinelli's sparkling cider to about 3 parts sparkling lemon water, and then a wedge of lemon.  I'd been wondering about making my own fruit syrups and then making Italian soda with them.  So today, I took some frozen mixed berries we had and went to town.  Really like the way it tastes!  And this syrup would be awesome on french toast, waffles, cream cheese and bagels, English muffins....

I chose The Briggs' "This Is L.A." for no particular reason other than... I like it and we haven't used The Briggs yet.  -jen

Time:  20 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  3/4 cup
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over a medium-high heat, bring to a boil.  Lower heat and keep at a slow simmer, stirring intermittently, for 15-20 minutes, until sauce has thickened and berries have fallen apart.  Strain syrup thoroughly.  Use to flavour drinks or serve on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, etc.

1-2 tbsp mixed berry syrup topped with sparkling lemon water

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bloody Mary Dill Pickles and Sour Herb Dill Pickles

We've posted a couple of pickle recipes on here already: Refrigerated Dill Pickles and  Refrigerated Rye Pickles.  When we were at the farmer's market, we grabbed a bunch of pickling cucumbers and I decided to take our base recipe and twist it into a Bloody Mary pickle recipe.  Man... these pickles... awesome!  A little spicy, but not super hot.  Lots of flavour.  We had so many cucumbers that Justin decided to do his own twist on our base recipe and his sour pickles came out delicious.  He added nasturtium leaves because he did some research and found that nasturtium leaves can help keep the pickles crispy longer.  We have a big plant right off our front porch. 

So here are two more refrigerated dill pickle recipes that are quick and easy.  I don't know who this band is, but I stumbled on them because I saw their name pop up on some search and I had to check it out.  Like... Tom Waits' rockabilly brother.  The Hillbilly Moon Explosion doing "My Love Forevermore".  -jen

Time:  less than 10 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes: 1 quart
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 2 teaspoons dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole celery seeds
  •  3-6 pickling cucumbers (depending on size) or 1 large English cucumber
  • 1/4 teaspoon horseradish
  • 3 teaspoons Demitri's Bloody Mary Seasoning (or your favourite)
  • 1 shot (3oz) vodka
  • 3/4 cup V-8 (or tomato juice)
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
In a quart-sized jar,  combine garlic and all of the dry ingredients and shake jar to mix well.  Arrange cucumbers in jar.  (For pickling cucumbers, put in whole, halved or quartered.  For English cucumber, cut into long spears.)  Add horseradish and remaining liquid ingredients.  Fill to the top with water.  Refrigerate for 3-5 days. 

Time:  Less than 10 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes: 1 quart
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh nasturtium leaves, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf, whole
  • 3-6 pickling cucumbers (depending on size) or 1 large English cucumber 
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
In a quart-sized jar,  combine basil, garlic and all of the dry ingredients and shake jar to mix well.  Arrange cucumbers in jar.  (For pickling cucumbers, put in whole, halved or quartered.  For English cucumber, cut into long spears.)  Add vinegars.  Fill to the top with water.  Refrigerate for 3-5 days.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Slow Cooker Chile Colorado with Pico de Gallo

Mmm... even as I type this, it's been a few hours since we ate and I still have the awesome, awesome flavour of the chile sauce in my mouth.  I was tired of chicken and ground beef in my tacos and enchiladas, we'd been eating a lot of pork lately and I didn't want that, so I thought I'd do something with a little more pop.  Came out so good!

I woke up today with Nerf Herder's "Pantera Fans In Love" stuck in my head... no idea why!  So it's what I'm using for the recipe tunes.  -jen

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time:  6-8 hours
Difficulty:  Medium
Serves:  6-8
  • beef chuck roast, 3.5-4 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large Anaheim chile, julienned
  • 1 large poblano chile, julienned
  • 1 jalapeño chile, julienned
  • 1/2 large onion, julienned 
  • juice of 1-2 limes
  • 12 oz beer of choice (I used PBR because that's what we had)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups red chile sauce (see recipe below)
Trim excess fat from chuck roast.  In a small dish, mix together salt, pepper, oregano and cumin.  Sprinkle evenly over entire roast (bottom too!)  Place roast in slow cooker and cover the top with the minced garlic.  Add chiles and onion, making sure to cover the top of the roast with them.   Pour lime juice over veggie-covered roast and then add the beer, pouring it on the side of the roast (not over it!)

Cook on high for 6-8 hours, until you can shred the roast easily using two forks.  While roast is cooking, make your chile sauce and pico de gallo (see recipe below).

When roast is done and shredded, drain over a bowl and set broth aside.  Put the beef back into the crock pot and add 1 and 1/2 cups red chile sauce, as well as 1/2 cup of the reserved broth.  (You can refrigerate or freeze the broth to use later in a delicious soup, like Spicy Mexican Pepper Soup!)  Turn slow cooker to low and cook another half hour.

Serve in tacos, tamales, burritos, enchiladas, over rice, on nachos, whatever!

Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easty
Makes:  3 cups
  • 1/4 pound dried guajillo chiles (if you like it hot, use 1/8# dried guajillo & 1/8# dried chipotle)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 9-10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño (optional, for spiciness!)
  • juice of 1-2 limes 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Caldo de Pollo (or 1 chicken bouillon cube)
  • 2 cups hot water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  If you want a hotter chile, tear off stems but leave seeds in dried chiles.  If you want a mild one, tear off stems and empty out seeds.  (I recommend at least keeping half the seeds.)  Place seed pods on baking sheet and roast for 3-4 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Let chiles cool to touch before packing them into a large blender.  Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, cumin, oregano, Caldo and carefully pour the hot water over everything.  Blend until completely pureed. 

Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  about 2 cups
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until desired consistency (I like mine like a relish).  If you don't have a food processor, just dice everything small.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

I had no idea how simple and delicious macaroons were.  New favourite quick dessert!  Anyone could make these!  And they look pretty impressive when you're through. Like a homemade Mounds bar.  (I was actually thinking of putting some chopped almond in the next batch so it was like an Almond Joy!)

Can't believe we haven't used any Pennywise on the blog yet.  Justin picked the song because I couldn't decide - "Society".  -jen

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time:  25 minutes
Makes: 22-24
Need: parchment paper, egg beaters or stand mixer
  • 4 egg whites, room temp
  • 1 package (14 ounces) sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces bitter sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a kitchen stand mixer or with egg beaters, whisk the four egg whites until stiff peaks form.

In a separate large bowl, combine coconut, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla.  Gently fold in egg whites.

Using an ice cream scoop or two spoons (I actually used two scoops of a melon baller), drop about 3 tablespoons of the mixture 1" apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown.  Cool on a wire baking rack.

When macaroons are cooled, place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 2 minutes at 50% power.  Stir.  Continue for 30 second intervals, stirring, until melted smooth.  Dip bottoms of macaroons into chocolate and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  (If you want to go a little light on the chocolate, just drizzle over the tops with a spoon.)  Refrigerate until cool.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.