Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lemon Chocolate Chip Muffins

I figured I should post something other than pizza before people started wondering if that's all I eat. Heh.I eat other things! Like muffins. This is actually just a gentle adaptation of this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, all I did was swap out the blueberries for chocolate chips and double the lemon zest. Next time I'm going to triple it though, get some more lemon flavor up in here. And since I'm feeling lazy I'm not even going to rewrite the recipe. My girlfriend asked for this flavor combo specifically, she loves lemon and chocolate. Well, I do too, it's a good time. And these muffins came out awesome, they get a wicked good texture and dome nicely. I should have filled the tins a bit more, but that's not the recipes fault. Heh. The only change I would make, like I said, is to add more lemon.Maybe a chocolate drizzle on top.

Lemon and chocolate is a bit of a divisive issue with some people, what do you kids think?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Cats #66

This is both of them sitting in my lap. Both of them. It doesn't happen very often and usually ends with Noodles committing some kind of violence on the real Bob. Don't let the sweet face fool you.She smacks him around like nothing. Heh.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Something Else to Do With Pizza Dough: Rolls

Yep, pizza dough makes fine rolls. Sure they aren't super light and fluffy, but they are still wicked good. All you do is roll it into balls, put it in a lightly oiled pan and let them rise for a while.

Maybe... an hour. It's not rocket science.

Heat the oven to 425, brush them with some olive oil (infused is best, I suggest rosemary) and then bake them for about 10-15 minutes. Now you could just eat them out of hand, I've done that plenty of times. But this time I made sliders out of them. Turkey sloppy joe sliders, to be precise. No recipe for that I'm afraid, since it was tossed together with a small amount of leftover ground turkey. Although I did use my standby sloppy joe as a base, it's a great recipe. Good times, kids. Good times.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Cats #65

The cats love my girlfriend. It's evident when they do things like this. Noodles watches her play Mario, while the real Bob keeps her feet warm.I never get this kind of attention. Heh.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Double Garlic, Blue Potato and Egg Pizza

-herbed pizza dough
-1/4 cup olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-baby blue potato, sliced thin
-red onion, sliced thin
-shredded mozzarella and Dubliner (or whatever you like)

Heat the oil and garlic on low in a small sauce pan for 10-15 minutes. You don't want the garlic to brown. Roll out the dough and dock it. Brush it with just the infused oil, then top it with the cheese, potatoes, onions and bits of garlic from the oil. Bake in a very hot, preheated oven for 10 minutes then pull it out, crack the eggs onto it and get it back in the oven. Let it cook until the eggs are as done as you want, 5-10 minutes.


You heard right, double garlic. There's some onion on there too, so I don't suggest making this for a date. Unless of course you're both into garlic breath, then hey, have at it. Heh.

This was quite possibly the strangest looking pizza I've ever made, but I guess that's not too surprising considering there are blue potatoes on it. The potatoes in question came in a "baby potato medley" and I didn't feel right mashing them up like I was doing with all the others. So I decided, completely out of character, to make a pizza with them. I had some herbed dough and figured I'd make a white one, since the crust would have so much flavor already.

I don't have a mandolin or particularly awesome knife skills, so I figured I'd slice the potato on the large slice side of my box grater. Worked alright, even if the slices aren't particularly pretty. Then I rolled out my dough and docked it. For those who don't know, docking is when you stab the dough with a fork or something of the sort to help keep air bubbles from forming. I find I get many less mutant pizzas when I do this. While the oven was preheating I had left a metal measuring cup with a quarter cup of olive oil and two cloves of minced garlic on the stove top.

See, my oven is wicked inefficient, lots of heat escapes while it's going. Over the course of the half hour or so that I preheated the oven the oil got nicely infused. You could also just do this over the stove on a low heat, if you have a quality oven. Anyway, then I brushed on some of the garlic oil (not the chunks, just the oil). That's garlic number one. Then just a whisper of cheese.Heh. I know, I know, it looks like an awful lot. And it is. That's just how I get down sometimes. It's a mix of mozzarella and Dubliner, the latter of which I've been enjoying a lot lately. Goes great with tuna salad.

Then I put on the potatoes, which had soaked for a while in salted water. I'm told that removes starch and a little moisture, letting them brown better. I wanted some onion on there so I sliced some red onion into thin slices. Thin enough to see though slices, even. And that was by hand, kids. Although they weren't all that thin. Heh. Then I took some of the oily garlic chunks and dolloped them around. That would be double garlic.

Then I stuck it in the oven for ten minutes or so, pulled it out and cracked a couple eggs on top. None of that got photographed though, I wanted to do it as quickly as possible.

But these are the eggs, they're really small and really fresh. I got them from the same source as last time I got fresh eggs and they were just as awesome. I left it in for another five or ten minutes, I don't remember exactly I'm afraid, I pulled it out when the whites were set.

And this shows you how bad my oven is. See the egg on the right? The yolk is cooked solid. See the egg on the left? Yeah. Slightly less so.

This is why I don't bake a lot of cakes in this apartment.

But solid or runny, it was awesome. The garlic crisped up and mellowed out really well, the potatoes didn't brown much, but they softened nicely and added a good earthy flavor. I did prefer the runny egg, I love runny yolks, but both added an excellent richness. That I suppose it didn't really need, what with all the cheese. But hey, it was most of what I was eating that day. Heh.

So who else has had eggs on pizza? What do you think of them?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Cats #64

I seem to post an inordinate number of pictures of my cats just lounging. But really, that's mostly all they do. Lucky bastards.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Simple, Easy and Freezer Ready Pizza Sauce

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tbl balsamic
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch of oregano
salt and pepper

Saute the onions over medium heat until transparent, add the garlic and dried herbs and saute until fragrant, ~30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and let simmer over low heat for a half hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Freeze in ice cube trays and store in a zipper bag in the freezer.


Normally when I make a pizza with tomato sauce (which is pretty rare these days, heh), I make a whole batch of sauce and then have a bunch of leftovers. But I had the idea to make some and freeze it in an ice cube tray for easy portioning, so I decided to act on it. See, this way if I want to make a pizza all I have to do is pull out a cube or two, defrost it and there it is. No need for making a whole pot of sauce just for one pizza and then having to figure out what to do with the rest. Plus this gives me the ability to add a little tomato flavor to all kinds of things, like stews or rice, all I have to do is toss in a cube.

Some of you might look at that sauce and think it's pretty spartan. And it is really, although it's lovely without any changes. But I wanted it to be more a base than anything else. Want more flavor for whatever you're doing? Add a pinch or two of fresh herbs to the cubes while they defrost and you can customize it to whatever you're making. Add some more basil and oregano for an Italian taste, some cumin and coriander for a Middle Eastern kind of thing, chili powder and cumin would Mexicanize it, you get the picture. The idea is freezing the sauce like this gives you a lot a of options to experiment without forcing you to use an entire can of tomatoes. I've shared the method, now go forth and saucify!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Steamed Buns

So some time last year I made steamed buns with some kind of chicken filling. I know I did it not only because I remember eating them, but because I have pictures. Heh, pretty definitive proof there. What I don't have is a recipe. I know I had one, but I can't find it anywhere. Which sucks, because they were wicked good.

I googled around a bit but couldn't find anything that looked familiar. I have a general idea of what I did and I remember it taking a long time for all the various rises (which is why the last two pics are under my crappy kitchen light). What I did was this.

I made dough.Which needed a sponge, I believe, and then a second rise after kneading.
I made filling, which I recall me trying to make taste kind of like char siu since char siu bao is what got me wanting to make these. I wrapped the filling with the dough. I remember having to then let them rise again in the steamer. Then I steamed them. And they were awesome. But no, no recipe. So who out there has a good recipe for bao dough? I sure could use one.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Cats #63

Dignified. Graceful.
Intelligent. I'm really not sure how these stereotypes got attached to cats.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Burnt End Pizza

Just a quickie, another pizza. This one was made with some burnt ends we got from a bbq place a while ago (that's the end bits of a smoked brisket, in case anyone doesn't know.).

I had thought when I ordered them it would just be chunks of burnt end but it was shredded and in sauce, which was kind of disappointing. So I took it home and made it into a pizza, which was awesome. Pizza is one of those things that can save so many less than thrilling situations. How many of you have used pizza to rescue something that turned out lackluster? C'mon, tell me a story.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Repost: Bacon Tunnels

I'm crazy busy today, so here's a repost of one of my favorite things. It combines bacon, cheese and bread, what more do you want?


pizza dough
cooked, crumbled bacon

Preheat oven to 475. Slice the onion either in thin half moons or a small dice. Roll out the dough fairly thin, into about a 20" long, 7-8" wide oblong. Put bacon, cheese and onion all along the long side closest to you. Roll the dough away from you, into a cylinder. Pinch the seam closed. Top with some shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes, till golden brown.


I know, the name sounds kind of dirty. But I really couldn't resist. Heh. Anyway, the whole thing with these is I had about a half a batch of pizza dough leftover from the meatloaf braid and needed something to do with it.

I wanted to do something a little different, maybe breakfasty. I had really wanted to find some way to work egg into it, but the only thing I could think to do at the time was hard boiled, and that wasn't quite what I was looking for. Next time I think what I'm going to do is cook the bread just like this and then afterward fill it up with scrambled eggs or chopped up fried egg.

Hm, I suppose you could just roll the fried egg up and stuff it in like that... More experiments are clearly needed.

But, back to the tunnels. They're basically just a big, stuffed breadstick. When I baked them they got a large, hollow center. I think it's because the cheese I used was big cubes so it held up the dough while the outside baked. That's just a guess though. No matter why it happens though, it's really just screaming for some kind of filling.

You could put some vegetables in there... I guess. Broccoli would be good. Potato, zucchini, peppers, spinach, whatever you like. So, here is what you do.

First, roll out the dough into a big oblong. How big? However big you like. I made it about twenty inches by seven or so. I think. Then I just put on the bacon, some thin sliced red onion and cubes of mozzarella. Cheddar would be good too or Gruyere. Hell, any cheese would be good, it's bacon, bread and cheese for crying out loud. Next I rolled it up. I didn't make to too tight, but I didn't try to keep it loose either. I sealed the seam with a little water (didn't work out that well, unfortunately) then topped it with some olive oil and a little more cheese. Baked it on a baking stone at 475 for about thirteen minutes, or so. I love the little browned bits of cheese on the outside, it gives a great taste and texture. Sometimes I do it on pizza too, around the edge of the crust. So the verdict is, they are wicked good. But next time I'm going to put more stuff in there.


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