Tuesday, September 28, 2010

King Arthur’s Chicago Style Pizza Crust

Gah! Some very cool blog pointed this pizza crust out to me, and now I’ve totally lost it! Anyway, my bf is a fan of thick-crusts, and I usually go for thin, because I like a challenge.

So, when I saw this, I decided to give it a try. Here’s how it went down:


  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or salad oil
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water


1) Mix the dough ingredients, and knead to make a smooth crust. This will take about 7 minutes at medium-low speed in a stand mixer. You can also make the dough in a bread machine set on the dough or manual cycle.

2) Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl or 8-cup measure (which makes it easy to track its rise), cover, and let rise till very puffy, about 60 minutes.

3) While the dough is rising, ready your 14" deep-dish pizza pan. Grease it with non-stick vegetable oil spray, then pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, tilting it to cover the bottom of the pan, and partway up the sides.

4) Stretch the dough to make as large a circle as you can. You can do this on a lightly oiled baking mat, if you choose; or simply stretch the dough in your hands.

5) Lay the dough in the pan, and stretch it towards the edges till it starts to shrink back. Cover, and let it rest for 15 minutes. Start preheating the oven to 425°F (or high) while the dough rests.

6) Stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan, then gently push it up the sides of the pan. The olive oil may ooze over the edge of the crust; that's OK. Let the crust rest for 15 minutes or so, as your oven comes up to 425°F.

8) Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until it's set and barely beginning to brown.

7) Decorate the pizza with toppings of your choice. We kept it simple with just queso cremoso (or mozzarella works) and olives on most of it, and a few sundried tomatoes on my portion.

12) Bake the pizza for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and carefully lift it out of the pan onto a rack. A giant spatula is a help here. Allow the pizza to cool for about 5 minutes (or longer, for less oozing) before cutting and serving.

Comments: This turned out really well! I skimped on the yeast, thinking I’d have extra time to let it rise, and then didn’t. But the bf loved it, igual. It’s heavy, and I was scared the dough was too heavy as I kneaded it, but it all turned out well. I will have to test this with some whole wheat flour and see if I can healthify it!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chipotle Hummus

I’ve had a ton of chipotle peppers in adobo, since every recipe seems to use just a bit, so I decided to try some chipotle hummus. I found this recipe at AllRecipes, and was enamored by the addition of both chipotles AND some healthy veggies.

  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame-seed paste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. Place the garbanzo beans, water, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, chipotle pepper, garlic, and cumin in the bowl of a food processor; blend until smooth. Add the red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Pulse the mixture until the ingredients are coarsely chopped into the hummus base. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and chill until ready to serve.

Verdict: I had to omit the tahini and cilantro, as the tahini is super-expensive here, and cilantro wasn’t available. However, I read other reviews that omitted the cilantro as well, with no ill effects. I added about a teaspoon of peanut butter, but didn’t want to add too much. That said, it wasn’t rich and creamy, but tasted watery. I think it’s due to the veggies. However, it makes a lot, so I have plenty left to experiment with.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quinoa Zucchini Lasagna

I’ve found very few ways I enjoy quinoa, so I’m always on the lookout for something new and promising. This was posted a couple weeks ago, and immediately jumped on my to-do list.

· 3 large zapallitos (or 2 large zucchinis)

· 1 cup quinoa, rinsed

· 1 cup vegetable stock

· 1/2 cup tomato sauce

· 1/4 cup finely chopped onion

· 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

· 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

· 2 tablespoons CasanCrem (or light cream cheese)

· Salt and pepper

· 1.5 cups marinara sauce

· 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400*

2. Chop the top and bottom off of the zapallitos and slice each one the long way into 6 pieces. These will be your noodles. Lay the zapallitos on a paper towel, sprinkle with salt, put another paper towel on top, and let them sit while the water is released.


3. Combine the rinsed quinoa, vegetable stock, tomato sauce, and onion in a pan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. When the quinoa is done cooking, add the CasanCrem and parsley and mix thoroughly.

5. Wipe the zucchini clean of any excess moisture.

6. In an 8×8 dish, pour 1/2 cup of marinara sauce. Put 4 slices of zapallitos, one next to the other. Top with a layer of the quinoa and 1/3 cup of marinara sauce.


7. Repeat: zucchini, quinoa, marinara.

8. Add the final zapallitos, top with marinara, and top that with the cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes, or until everything is heated through and the cheese is bubbly.


Comments: Despite being slightly fearful of this, it was quite tasty! Of course, I can’t really relate to it on a lasagna level, but I’ll definitely be repeating it!

Scalloped Cabbage

I don’t know why, but I’m always fascinated by cabbage. Maybe because we only ate it on St. Patrick’s day (occasionally) and in cole slaw, neither of which ever did it justice.

So, I keep trying to find my own way. My latest attempt was found on AllRecipes, an adaptation of Scalloped Cabbage. Here’s how I did it:


· 2 tablespoons butter

· 1 medium head cabbage, cored and sliced thin

· 1 large onion, chopped

· 1 1/2 cups milk

· ½ t. nutmeg

· 4 eggs, lightly beaten

· 1 cup crushed saltine crackers

· 1 teaspoon salt

· 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

· 2 T. parmesan cheese, grated


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x12 inch casserole dish.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add cabbage and onion and cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender, stirring often. Add milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Gently pour in eggs, stirring constantly. Stir in 3/4 of the cracker crumbs, and the salt and pepper; mix well. Pour into casserole dish and top with remaining cracker crumbs and parmesan cheese. Dot with butter.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and heated through.

Comments: I really enjoyed this. I was afraid of it being bland, but I didn't have that problem at all. I attempted to temper the eggs a bit, before mixing them in and also didn't have the scrambled egg problem. My only change next time is to try and make it a bit healthier--nonfat milk, less butter, and maybe using breadcrumbs instead of crackers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Salt and Vinegar Chickpeas

I certainly haven’t missed the ravings about Angela’s salt-and-vinegar chips (and green beans), but I hadn’t gotten around to buying potatoes and vinegar at the same time. Then, I came across this variation on JL’s blog, JL goes Vegan, and thought another crunchy snack might be in order. Here’s what I did:


  • 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 3-4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 tsp Coarse sea salt
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. Add chickpeas and vinegar and place in a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil and cook as normal, 1-2 hours.
  2. When chickpeas are cooked (try one, the vinegar turns a bit sweet), add a dash of sea salt and then remove from heat. Let sit in pot for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425F. Carefully drain chickpeas and return to pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, then mix with hands or a spoon, ensuring all chickpeas are coated with oil.
  4. Place on a lightly-oiled baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, flipping once half way through. Keep a careful eye on them after 35 minutes of cooking to ensure they don’t burn. The goal here is crispy and golden chickpeas, not black.

Comments: After popping these in the oven, I remembered my previous chickpea roasting failures. They never seem to turn out like the ones in the store. But, I was optimistic. Unfortunately, they were a bit ho-hum. The flavoring was all there, it just didn’t pop. And, some of the chickpeas were so hard I was afraid of breaking a tooth, while others stayed a bit spongy. They felt like a healthy snack, but nothing I’ll rush to make again.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Amazing Brownies (with beans)

Brownies with beans? Nutritional value? Kind of like subbing apple sauce for oil? I’m all over it! So, of course, I was all over this recipe from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks. Here’s how I did it:

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup instant coffee
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar or honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan with parchment paper and lightly oil with canola oil spray.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in over low heat or in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely.
  3. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee, and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar/honey and beat well. Set aside.

  6. Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well. Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect.
  8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)

Makes 45 (2-inch) brownies.

So, the verdict? These were tasty, I noticed no hint of beans. My boyfriend didn’t either, although he tried them without knowing. The downside? They needed to cook a lot longer than indicated (although that may have been my oven temperature), and they never really solidified. They were gooey and yummy for me, my boyfriend complained they didn’t seem cooked well enough (they were, they were just soft), so I felt kind of funny sharing them. Still, for an at-home treat, it’s a winner!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Salt and Vinegar Chips

Well, I didn’t waste much time in recovering from my salt-and-vinegar chickpea debacle to give the vinegar another try. This time, I was a bit more confident, as oven-baked potatoes are one of my favorite treats in the world.

Here’s how it went down the second time:


  • Approx 3 cups (or more) white vinegar
  • 3-4 medium sweet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1-1.5 tsp salt
  • Very small sprinkle of ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Extra virgin olive oil


Wash and slice up the potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds. Place in a medium sized pot. Pour vinegar into pot until all the potatoes are covered by the vinegar.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit in pot for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, drain the potatoes and return to pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, and mix with hands, then lay the potato rounds flat on a greased baking sheet.

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 425F. After 30 minutes of baking, flip carefully and bake for another 10-15 minutes, watching carefully not to burn the potatoes. Serve with ketchup and more sea salt if preferred. Enjoy!

Comments: Woa! Unlike the chickpeas, the vinegar was overpowering in this recipe! The potatoes seemed to take forever to bake (again, my oven was probably too low), and the acidic specimens that came out…well, they were a bit of a disappointment. The vinegar flavor was overpowering, I ended up dabbing some mayo on (something I rarely do) to tame the burn. Another bust.

Creamy Chipotle-Carrot Soup

Captious Vegetarian inspired me in the best way for this creamy carrot soup. Her version roasts the carrots first, a technique I’d never thought of. This is where I went with it:


  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 t. salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 4 cups water or broth
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo


  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss half of the carrots with half the oil and place in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt. Place the garlic cloves on the pan as well, they will roast with the carrots.
  2. Toss the fennel and onion with the rest of the oil and place on another small baking sheet. (Alternatively, do this in two stages.) Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt.
  3. Roast the vegetables until they are browned and softened, stirring occasionally. This will probably take 15-20 minutes for the fennel and onion and twice as long for the carrots.
  4. When vegetables are finished, or near-finished, heat the water or broth to boiling. Add the remaining carrots and boil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables (taking the garlic out of its skin) and chipotles, and continue cooking another 3-5 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool slightly and puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Return to the saucepan to heat completely, or store in an airtight container for up to five days.

Comments: I thought this was terrific. The roasted sweet vegetables are balanced by the heat of the chipotle, creating a very healthy and satisfying snack or appetizer.