Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Veggie Pie with a Whole Wheat Crust

Hey everyone, glad to be back after my computer problems of the past couple weeks.  Clicked on a new game site advertised on FB and POOF! a virus embedded in my registry.  Well needless to say, I'm starting from scratch and although it is kinda nice to have a completely clean slate it's also a mighty pain in the arse as well.

So last weekend we ran into a weekly phenomena at Casa Hunger and those of you who have been reading for some time probably know where this is going - PIZZA NIGHT!  Although we didn'/t have a lot of special toppings we were able to muddle through and the lad was content as he usually is to enjoy a traditional cheese pizza but as I had some of my homemade farmer cheese, I had other things in mind...

This is what I ended up with and I must say for a throw together event making do with what's in the fridge...

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
  • 3/4 Cup Water, very warm
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 1/3 Cup AP flour
  • 2/3 Cup Whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  1. Combine the water, yeast and oil in a food processor or mixer
  2. Add the flour and the salt
  3. Pulse in a processor or mix on low in a mixer until all is combined
  4. Check for texture, it should be moist and slighty firm, with practice you'll figure out what's perfect but since basic dough like this is so dependent on the weather (moisture in the air issues), these measurements are close but depending on the day may need a bit of tweaking.
  5. Kick the processor on or turn your mixer on about medium high and knead for about 4 minutes in a food processor or about 6 to 8 minutes in a mixer.  The dough is done when it pulls nicely in an elastic manner.
  6. Cover with a towel in an oiled bowl nd let rest for 40 minutes or so
  7. Punch down the dough and divide in half
  8. Form half the dough into a ball and on a floured counter push down and then stretch with your hands or roll to the size and shape of your choice; we both like a bit of counded crust at the edge do I typically stretch by hand on the counter turning and pushing down with fists and finger tips until about 9" to 10" in diameter
  9. Place the stretched dough on a pizza peel or an an inverted sheet pan covered lightly in flour or cornmeal
  10. Top with your choice of toppings and bake on a preheated stone at 550F for about 6 to 8 minutes
This particular pie was topped with olive oil, homemade whole milk ricotta, sliced onions and sweet peppers with sliced mushrooms...deeeelightful if I do say so myself!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quick Chilaquiles

So there I was, a Saturday morning that both the lad and I slept late.  Looking for something a bit different and easy to wake my foggy brain along with the fine brew in the coffeemaker.  Hmmm... chilly outside, need to get us going and through the morning as we head to the beach with the dog to take in a lovely sunny January day here in the PNW.  You know we need to take advantage of these days when we get 'em but we men need our sustenance.  Something quick, something hearty and to be constructed of the foodstuffs we have in the pantry and fridge.

Shuffle through the pantry, check in the fridge... Tortilla chips, eggs, a jar of salsa and grated mozzarella from pizza night the evening before.  And it dawns on me, I could make chilaquiles!  Now not the traditional recipe using stale leftover tortillas or cotija cheese but a pretty good semblance of the real deal and close enough to get us out the door to love this day!

So here it is, hearty, inexpensive and mighty darn tasty. 

Quick Chilaquiles
  • 3/4 C Salsa
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 3oz Tortilla chips
  • 2oz Cheese, grated - as I wrote above wew used mozzarella but cotija or jack would be more authentic
  • 4 eggs
  1. Heat the salsa and water over medium heat
  2. Add the chips and toss gently in the sauce - don't want to break them up
  3. Continue cooking until the chips soften but are not soggy
  4. Sprinkle the cheese over the chips and sauce, cover and remove from the heat
  5. Cook the eggs to your liking - Henry really only likes scrambled so scrambled it is
Serve with more salsa on the side for the eggs and a hearty, savory breakfast ensues.  Enjoy!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lighten Up A Classic

The other night I felt like something with lots of vegetables but still hearty for a cold evening.  I had some leftover rotisserie chicken that had pulled from the bone and a big bag of broccoli crowns and a pound and a half of button mushrooms.  All of this made me think back to an old classic casserole, Chicken Divan.

Now if we were to analyze just what went into this classic, I didn't have everything needed nor did I really want to do it up since it is loaded with fat (trying to cut back a bit at this early date in the new year) and bunches of sodium due to the vast amounts of sour cream and cream of mushroom soup (way salty and I'm back to trying to really minimize any use of packaged food).  I really didn't want to put it all together and then wait for it in the oven either.

Although I wanted to get into this classic and the more I thought about it the more it appealed to me.  Afterall, broccoli, onions, garlic, mushrooms and roast chicken in a yummy rich gravy?  Please, how could I resist.  I mean really?

So here is my take on a classic that maybe your Mom even made.  The best part, pretty healthy while still tasty, rich and rib sticking goodness.

Lightened Up Chicken Divan

*NOTE - The key here is to use equal amounts of chicken, broccoli and mushrooms.  I had 12oz of leftover roast chicken so that's where I started.
  • 1/4 C Olive oil
  • 4 Cloves Fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed red peppers
  • 6oz Onions, diced
  • 12oz Mushrooms, sliced about 1/4" thick
  • 1 Cup Dry white wine
  • 12oz Broccoli crowns
  • 2 Cups Chicken stock
  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 12oz Roast chicken meat
  • 1/4 Cup AP Flour
  • 4oz Fresh Parmesan, Asiago, Romano or other hard grating cheese, grated fine
  • Kosher salt & Freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper together up to medium high heat
  2. Add the onions and reduce the heat to medium, sauteing until most of the moisture is gone from the veg
  3. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute until softened
  4. Add the white wine and reduce over medium heat until nearly all moisture is gone
  5. Toss the broccoli crowns with the other veg and add the stock & cream, stirring to combine
  6. Add the chicken and stir to combine
  7. In a small bowl, make a slurry of the flour and about 1/2 Cup of the liquid from the cooking pan
  8. Stir in the slurry and bring to a simmer to thicken
  9. Continue simmering for about 5 minutes to cook out the flour taste, slowly stirring to keep the bottom from burning
  10. Add the grated cheese and stir gently to melt into the sauce
  11. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste
I served this over steamed brown rice and this is hearty enough for 4 people or for me it was a great dinner and 3 yummy lunches all for about $6 or $7.  I call this a win...


Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Recipe

Hey all, a Happiest of New Year's to you all.  I haven't posted for a bit but as this is the time of resolutions I am committed to a minimum of 2 posts per week all year long but am shooting for an average of 3 which would mean 156?  EEEK!   Well after the post everyday of November, I know I can write more than I have been these past couple weeks.  Tonight I'm gonna stick with a quick and easy recipe that is pretty healthy, not too hard on the wallet and best of all, mighty tasty!

Braised Green Beans with Shallots & Toasted Pecans
  • 2 tsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • 1 oz Shallots, minced
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lb Fresh green beans (I snapped mine in half to make them easy to work with in the pan)
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 3 oz Pecans, toasted and chopped
  1. Melt the butter with olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat
  2. Add shallots and salt & pepper, saute for about 1 minute
  3. Reduce heat to medium
  4. Add the green beans and toss in the shallot butter
  5. Add the water and cover for 6 minutes
  6. Remove cover and toss the beans with the pecans

This was a fine side dish for our holiday meal this year and will make a fine addition to any meal.  We served this with a rib roast of beef, buttered carrots and mashed potatoes, YUM!