Archive for June, 2011

Bittman’s Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

June 30, 2011 11 comments

Whole Wheat Pizza DoughAfter the first kneading, before resting

I’ve been making pizza at home for several years now but have never been satisfied with my homemade dough recipe…until now! For a while, I used a NYTimes / Jeffrey Steingarten recipe which never seemed to rise and was difficult to roll out but tasted fine. Other times I cheated and bought dough from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. A few weeks ago, I took a “bread education” workshop about starters and dough technique hosted by Sour Flour. I  learned how to feed a starter, how to develop a dough based on feel and different ways to knead my dough.

My starter and notso flatbreadMy starter and first piece of self-kneaded flatbread

Rather than throwing away half of my starter (part of feeding it), I figured I would use some in place of yeast for pizza. As often happens, our planned pizza party doubled from 4 adults to 8 adults so I tripled Bittman’s recipe using half white flour, half whole wheat flour, 2 packets active dry yeast and a golf ball-sized wad of my starter (which I’m told originated in Costa Rica). I used the dough hook on my KitchenAid mixer and did a little hand kneading based on the techniques I learned at Sour Flour.

Whole Wheat Pizza DoughAfter the resting and reportioning

My dough actually rose!! I was able to form little balls which were so much easier to roll out than any dough we’ve used in the past. I don’t have any pictures of the pizzas we made, but the crust had the perfect combination of crispy and chewy that I like…we finally have a winning dough recipe! Read more…

Categories: food, pizza Tags: ,

Wasabi Deviled Eggs

June 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Wasabi Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs make me think of food from the 70s and 80s–appetizers to be followed by a casserole containing cream of mushroom soup and a jello mold for dessert. It was one of the first things I learned to make from a kid’s illustrated cookbook that my mom bought. I rarely think about deviled eggs but they are always so good. I appreciate them when they show up at Joel’s family’s Thanksgivings…especially when his aunt adds bacon.

Deviled eggs must be making a comeback because both restaurants we considered for a Friday night date (Beast and the Hare and Blue Plate) had them on the menu. While we didn’t order them (we ended up at the former), I made them for a pizza night we hosted with family and friends the following night. Read more…

Categories: appetizers, snacks Tags: , ,

Pastelon (Puerto Rican Lasagna)

June 26, 2011 2 comments

Pastelon (Puerto Rican Lasagna)Reheated a few days later (hence the wilted cilantro), it was even better!

I’ve never been to Puerto Rico and know very little about Puerto Rican food. However, while I was shopping at Dun Up Boutique the owner was telling me about this amazing Puerto Rican restaurant in San Rafael, Sol Food. A few days later, the restaurant showed up on an episode of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives where the owner made pastelon, billed as Puerto Rican lasagna.

I’ve made picadillo over rice a few times and had been craving plantains so I knew it was something I would probably like. Pastelon is slices of fried ripe plantains layered with cheese and picadillo (ground beef, tomato paste, olives and spices) topped with a layer of egg…yum! I really liked the juxtaposition of the spicy meat and briny olives with the sweet fried plantains. Read more…

Unagi & Brown Rice

June 17, 2011 1 comment

Unagi & Brown Rice

Another lazy weeknight dinner. I never order unagi at Japanese restaurants anymore (I still order anago, freshwater eel) because it is so cheap and easy to make at home: ~$5.99 for a 3-serving filet available in the frozen section of the Asian grocery. All you have to do is reheat and it is ready to serve over rice. I added some leftover veggies (shredded carrots, basil & tomatoes), pickled daikon and a sprinkling of furikake to the bowl and we had a meal!

Unfortunately, I probably won’t be buying unagi anymore because I just noticed one of the ingredients is high fructose corn syrup…something I try to avoid. I’ll take a look at the grocery next time and see if there’s a non-HFCS version.

Categories: Asian, Japanese, pickles Tags: , , ,

Mexican Pickled Carrots, Radishes & Jalapenos

June 15, 2011 4 comments

Mexican Pickles

My favorite taqueria is El Grullense, a chain based in Redwood City with 5-6 restaurants all within walking distance of each other. The one I go to most often is in a former A&W near the corner of El Camino and Jefferson. Not only is it just a few blocks from where I grew up, but this location has an awesome pickle and salsa bar (the sister restaurant kitty corner from here doesn’t have one). I usually order a mix of tacos with al pastor and carnitas and then head straight to the bar to grab some fresh salsas, a few slices of cucumber and a heaping pile of pickled carrots and jalapenos.

Since we make tacos once in a while and our supply of giardiniera was running low, I thought I’d try making some Mexican pickles. Many of the recipes I found online required boiling the carrots for five minutes, which I knew I wouldn’t like. I hate mushy carrots and know that I like my pickled carrots raw based on my experience making Vietnamese do chua and giardiniera.

We have been eating these pickles with our sausage sandwiches–one of our go to meals on nights we get home from the gym at 8:30pm and need to eat ASAP. Later this week, we’ll be serving these pickles with some fish tacos. Read more…

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

June 13, 2011 1 comment

Bacon-wrapped Jalapeno Poppersphoto courtesy of my cousin Joe

My extended family and friends (21 adults, 14 children) spent the weekend at a big house in Mi-Wuk Village, about 2.5 hours east of the Bay Area in Tuolumne County. These weekends are special to me.

My mom was the middle of 7 children and every Sunday we all spent the day together at my grandparents’–women cooking and gossiping, men chatting and playing cards, and all the cousins (20 total) running around (cliche but true). Every summer, we took a 7-10 day camping trip with the whole brood.

Though many of us are still very close, such gatherings are less frequent. Our grandparents have since passed and we all have our own busy lives. When we do get together, it is always like old times–a lot of food and laughing but probably a lot more booze. I’m glad my nieces and nephews are a part of the experience and hope they’re just as close growing up. Read more…

BBQ Chicken Pizza & Cherries

June 9, 2011 Leave a comment

BBQ Chicken Pizza

We haven’t made pizza at home since the World Series so we finally used our giant pizza peel which TOTALLY makes getting pizzas in and out of the oven so much easier. Though I love all the pizzas we make, this is one of the tastier pizzas we’ve made with leftovers.

I was lazy and didn’t make the dough myself (whole wheat from Trader Joe’s). But I did use leftover poached chicken breast (the last of the khao man gai) mixed with BBQ sauce from a bottle as the base. We sprinkled an Italian cheese mix over the top with sauteed mushrooms and fresh tomatoes. After baking on our pizza stone for a while, we pulled it out and sprinkled the pizza with cilantro (khao man gai leftovers!) and diced pickles. So good…I love roasted tomatoes and the crunchy pickle surprise was a nice touch.

For dessert, we had fresh, self-picked cherries from DC’s Extraordinary Cherries:

Fresh-Picked Cherries

Cherry season is too short…