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Nigella’s “Crustless” Pizza

I found this recipe for quick, no rise pizza in Nigella Lawson’s cookbook “Nigella’s Kitchen”. It sounded like a busy parent’s answer to frozen pizza so I had high hopes. I mixed it up and popped it in the oven but then things got weird because it really puffed up in the middle – like 4-5 inches! I was so surprised, I took it out of the oven and pressed it down. I still don’t know if I should have done that or whether it would have fallen on it’s own.  I left it in the oven for 5 minutes to heat the pepperoni and melt the cheese, then cut it open. Inside it was soggy and spongy. I thought it wasn’t done so I put it in for 5 more minutes, then 5 more. It never firmed up. I ate it anyway, but the texture was quite gross. I suspect this kind of thing is why British food gets a bad rap. Sorry Nigella, I’ve loved everything else I’ve made from your cookbooks but this one is a definite miss. After reading the reviews on the food network I discovered someone compared it to a Dutch Apple Pancake but in pizza form. In my opinion, these two dishes should never have a food baby. lol If any of you readers disagree, here’s the recipe so you can have your own Frankenrecipe adventure!

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Crustless Pizza

Total Time:53 min
Yield:2 to 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
Salt
1 cup whole milk
Butter, for pie dish
1 cup grated Cheddar
2 ounces small chorizo or pepperoni slices, about 3/4-inch diameter, optional
Special equipment: 1 round ovenproof pie dish, 8 or 9 inches in diameter

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the flour, salt, to taste, and milk to make a smooth batter.

Butter a round ovenproof pie dish, then stir half the grated cheese into the batter, before pouring it into the dish.

Bake for 30 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and add the chorizo or pepperoni, if using, – or anything else – now, too. Return the dish to the oven and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes to make sure it’s heated through.

Once the cheese on top is melted and looks burnished fold on the crustless pizza, take it out of the oven and serve, cut into slices. A green or tomato salad on the side would not be a bad idea…

Leftover Note:Leftovers can be reheated the next day in a hot oven for 8 to10 minutes, but sadly they won’t be as nice as the first time around.

From Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Copyright (c) 2010 Nigella

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Every once in a while I get the biggest craving for biscuits – last weekend was one such time. The itch needed to be scratched and this was the recipe to do it! From what I hear they’re reminiscent of Red Lobster’s biscuits. To rack up even more comparisons (and the saturated fat content) I melted some butter and added garlic powder, then drizzled it on top of the biscuits before serving. *drool* This unassuming recipe from Canadian Living Magazine actually beat out Ina Garten’s biscuits for top spot on my all-star recipes list. They’re so fluffy and flavorful! And a bonus – you don’t need buttermilk or extra large eggs.

These biscuits can accompany just about anything. I made some wicked breakfast sandwiches with them and ate an extra couple as-is! They would also go well with soup, and of course sea food! Dangerous my friends. East coast cook-out here we come!

cheesebiscuits

Quick Cheddar Biscuits

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour

4 tsp (18 mL) baking powder

1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) dried parsley

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder

1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, cubed

1 cup (250 mL) shredded old Cheddar cheese

1 cup (250 mL) milk

Preparation:
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, parsley, salt and garlic powder. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add Cheddar cheese and milk, mixing with fork until ragged moist dough forms. Drop by 1/4 (50 mL)cupfuls, 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) apart, onto greased baking sheet.

Bake in centre of 425°F (220°C) oven until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 12.

Garlic Butter Topping

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Whisk together ingredients, then brush on top of the biscuits right after you take them out of the oven. Sooo good!

Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

(My goodness it’s taken me way too long to write this post.) Easter weekend was also Steve’s birthday and his favourite dessert is Strawberry cheesecake. But last year we ended up throwing the cake out because there was just too much and after a day or so the topping got yucky. So my mission was to find something more manageable. I was inspired by Junior’s restaurant recipe from “Junior’s Desserts” cookbook but I used a graham crust instead of the vanilla wafer crust, ditched the macaroon crumbs, and I made the topping separately so that I could easily refrigerate the cake without the topping going soft. I cut them into individual portions and popped them in the freezer for whenever I have a craving for cheesecake. Taste wise, I did  like it a lot but I think it was a touch too sweet. Next time I will leave out about 1/4 of a cup and see what happens. And as it states in the recipe, it really does puff up quite a bit but settles down fine. Mine had cracks but I have  feeling I left it in a little too long. It was still nice and creamy though. I don’t know if I will bother making cheesecake in a spring form again!

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Cheesecake pie at top left, veg, and then C.I. Scalloped Potatoes

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The filling cracked quite a bit but it doesn’t really matter as you’re going to top it anyway.

Junior’s fresh strawberry cream cheese pie

1 recipe vanilla wafer crumb crust (I used graham crust)

For the Cream Cheese Filling:
4 8-ounce pkgs cream cheese at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 extra large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream (35% m.f.)

For the Topping:
1 recipe Macaroon crunch (I didn’t bother making this)
1 1/2 – 2 quarts ripe strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup strawberry jam, melted and kept warm

Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. butter a 9 inch pie plate. Make the crust, adding 1 tsp baking powder in step 1. Press the mixture over the bottom and all the way up the side of the pie plate. Freeze for 15 minutes. Bake just until set, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

Make the cream cheese filling. In a large bowl with an electric mix (using paddle attachment if you have it) on low, beat one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch together for about 3 minutes. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. This will take about another 3 minutes.

Increase the mixer speed to medium (no faster!) and beat in the remaining 1/1/3 cups of sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. The batter will look light, creamy, and airy. Be careful not to overmix! Spoon the filling into the cooled crust. Bake the pie until puffed, 30-35 minutes. The filling will rise in the oven, then settle as it cools. Let the pie cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the macaroon crunch and cool. [Bake 2/3 cup of chopped mixed nuts and 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut for 10-15 minutes at 350F until golden.]

5. Arrange the whole berries, on their sides with the pointed ends out, in concentric circles on top of the pie, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Spoon the melted jelly over the berries, covering the top of the pie. Place the macaroon crunch around the edge of the pie, forming a 1-1 1/2 inch border. Immediately refrigerate for at least 2 hours (3 is better). The pie is best served the same day. [I sliced the strawberries and combined with the jelly to spoon over individual pieces instead so that the filling would stay good for longer.]

Basic Graham Cracker Crust

1 ½ cups finely crushed regular or cinnamon graham crackers (24 squares)
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, stir all ingredients until well mixed. Reserve 3 tablespoons crumb mixture for garnishing top of pie before serving, if desired. Press remaining mixture firmly and evenly against bottom and side of pie plate. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown; cool on cooling rack. Fill as directed in pie recipe.

Quest for the Best Pizza

My daughter is getting so incredibly picky when it comes to her food. I’m thinking I may have to bite the bullet and try some tough love. But to temper it a little, I’ve make a homemade version of her favourite meal – mini pizzas. Steve and I have been trying out pizza dough recipes all winter but nothing has really wowed us. The one I made last week is from Ricardo Magazine and I really like it! The dough wasn’t too tough to knead and after rising and I could stretch it out quite well. When cooked, it’s kind of crackly on the outside and chewy on the inside. Very satisfying! I doubled this recipe and made a small pizza for myself, a large par-baked dough for later this week, and I still got 7 mini pizza crusts out of it as well. Instead of plain pizza sauce I took a page out of “Deceptively Delicious”s playbook and substituted 1/3 of the sauce with squash and corn baby food! I could not taste and difference at all, and it got the Miss M. stamp of approval as well!

pi

Pizza for Four

(Makes 4 small, 2 medium, or 1 large pizza)

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups (560 ml ) all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons (20 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) warm water

Directions:

In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer using the dough hook, combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add water and stir until it forms a soft ball. Knead dough for about 5 minutes on a floured work surface or in the stand mixer, until smooth.

Form dough into a ball and place back in the cleaned and lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm and humid place for at least one hour (ideally 2 hours), or until dough has doubled in volume.

Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Roll and stretch out dough and place on a pizza pan. Spread with sauce and toppings and bake at 450 for about 10 minutes or until crust has lightly browned and cheese is bubbly.

 

Montreal Steak Spiced Prime Rib

The long weekend was one big smorgasbord of yummyness starting with this dish. The day before Easter we were out getting some last minute stuff and discovered prime rib on sale! I had found a homemade Montreal Steak Spice recipe for Steve a while back because he’s allergic to black pepper so I figured I would make him some of his favourite seasoning instead and use it on this roast. OMG it was fabulous! I cut down on the dill and chili peppers because we’re not huge fans so it’s really fun to be able to customize to our tastes. Love it!  It was so good we forgot to take a photo of the roast itself but I did snap a pic of the spice mix. I don’t know if you can handle the awesomeness!😉

Montreal Steak Spice

Montreal Steak Spiced Prime Rib

Ingredients

  • 1 small – medium prime rib roast
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • About 1 1/2 Tbps Montreal Steak Spice (recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Place the roast in a roasting pan with the fatty side up. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil and spice mix. Spread the mixture over the fatty layer of the roast, and let the roast sit out until it is at room temperature, no longer than 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (260 degrees C).
  3. Bake the roast for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and continue roasting for an additional 80 to 90 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast should be at 135 degrees F (57 degrees C) for medium rare.
  4. Allow the roast to rest for 10 or 15 minutes before carving so the meat can retain its juices

 

Montreal Steak Spice

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons crushed black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon crushed coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

Combine everything to remove any lumps and store in an airtight container.

Trisha Yearwood’s Speedy Baked Beans

I’ve been meaning to make baked beans for months now and have dried beans hiding out in my pantry, but I’m intimidated by the whole soaking thing. Last week I bit the bullet and decided to do a trial run of sorts using canned beans. A quick google search resulted in this little gem from Trisha Yearwood. I’ve only ever eaten the bottled version of baked beans so I have nothing to compare it to, but I must say I really like these. The sauce is like candy and bacon mixed together so how can you go wrong? And the best part – it was ready in about an hour.

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Trisha Yearwood’s Baked Beans

1 lbs bacon
1 large vidalia onion; chopped
4 cans (15 oz) pork and beans
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup light brown sugar; (packed)
2 TBL prepared yellow mustard

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp.

3. Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the drippings, and drain it on paper towels.

4. Crumble and set aside, if you didn’t already chop it.

5. Pour out and discard all but 4 tbsp. of the bacon dripping.

6. Add the onion to the pan and saute until softened, about 7 minutes.

7. Stir in the beans, molasses, sugar, mustard and bacon. Mix well.

8. Pour the beans into a 3-quart casserole dish and bake, uncovered for 45 minutes.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Last week fopr St. Patrick’s Day I finally got around to attempting to make Irish soda bread. Boy am I kicking myself for not trying this sooner. It couldn’t be any simpler to make and the payoff is ridiculous! In Indigenous cultures here in Canada and the U.S. we make something called bannock which is a dense, quick bread and I was thinking soda bread would be very similar. It is and it isn’t. It’s as easy to make but because it uses buttermilk or sour milk (1 cup of milk with a Tbsp of white vinegar to curdle it) the soda bread is more tender and cake-like. I love it! The dough may have been a little too soft at the beginning so I added two more spoonfuls of flour to keep it from sticking to my hands too much, kneaded it a few times and it made a lovely little lumpy mound of dough. And I have a feeling I could have left it in the oven for 5 more minutes as well or perhaps made my cuts deeper so that the centre cooked as much as the corners. I think the next time I make it, it will be even better! This quick bread isn’t destined for just St. Patrick’s Day, you can make it any day of the week!

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Traditional Irish Soda Bread

4 cups (1 L) all purpose flour, (can substitute 1/2 the all purpose flour with whole wheat)

1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar

1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk (I used sour milk as described above)

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, baking soda and salt. Make a well in middle of the flour, and add buttermilk all at once.

Use your hands to mix buttermilk into flour to form a soft dough.Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Lightly knead the dough a few times to make a smooth ball.

Place loaf onto parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. With sharp knife, score a large ‘X’ on the top of the dough. Bake in the centre of a 425 F (220 C) oven for about 35 minutes. The loaf is done when browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Serve warmed with butter and honey.

Additional information : Spotted Dog Variation:
Add 1 cup (250 mL) raisins or currants and 1 tsp (5 mL) caraway seeds (optional) to the flour

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