Brent's Food Blog

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Archive for April 2010

Homemade Pizza!

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What’re Saturday nights good for? Making pizza and drinking some tasty brewskies of course! On the docket was Pizza topped with Sun-Dried Tomato, Artichoke Hearts, Chicken Sausage and a Le Fin Du Monde to liven our pallets.

Pizza with Sun-Dried tomato, artichoke hearts and Chicken Sausage

The only non-blurry picture! Scrumptious!


The dough is complicated and you’ll need a large heavy duty mixer (ESC’s Kitchen Aid is awesome). Pour water in bowl, sprinkle yeast on water. Let it sit for ~5 minutes so it can dissolve completely (stir if necessary). Mix in the olive oil, flour, salt and sugar with a mixing paddle thingy on low for a minute or so. Then use a “dough hook” and knead the dough for ~10 minutes (think captain hook with a curvy-spiraly hook). If the dough is wet or sticky, add more flour. Now it’s ready to let it rise! Put the dough in a large olive oil coated bowl and push the dough around the bowl to cover dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap in a warm place until it doubles in size (~1-1.5 hours). ESC did an amazing job making the dough… I had nothing to do with it, except be threatened with gooey hands!

Once the dough is ready, poke it so it deflates to a manageable size and split in two balls and let sit for another 10 or so while you chop and shred your toppings. Make a floured surface and roll the dough out into a pizza shaped thing. Spoon the sauce onto the dough and use the back of it to mush around and make a thin layer. If you use too much, the cheese will fall off. Add toppings and bake @ 450 for 15 minutes or so. Then consume!

Doing this again, I would definitely make the dough a night or two before so when we’re ready to eat we can just prepare instead of waiting impatiently for the dough to rise. I will also experiment with adding spices and things to the dough to see if it changes the flavor much (cinnamon? nutmeg? creole powder?). And take some non-blurry pictures.

Ingredients:
Dough —
1.5 cups warm/hot water
1 package active dry yeast
3.5 cups flour (we made one batch with Whole Wheat, another with Regular White. Bread flour will make it crispier)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (add another tsp if using Whole Wheat)

Toppings —
1 cup red pizza sauce (tomato paste, sauce, spices)
10oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup artichoke hearts
1/2 lb cooked ground sausage

Makes two 10-12″ pizzas. ~$6/pizza. High in carbs (crust) & fat (cheese & sausage).

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Written by Brent

April 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Snack Off Submission – Butterscotch Nummyness

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SuperMacro Butterscotch Nummyness

SuperMacro Butterscotch Nummyness

This is a little different than my norm, but I figured it was a good way to mix things up on here! Due to some trash talking at work about this year’s “Cereal Snack Creation Bake Off!” and to me having some sort of food-related blog, I was peer-pressured into beating the socks off everyone with my kitchen prowess (hah!). They may as well not have even entered the contest. If you can’t stand the heat, get outta the jungle. Unfortunately, competition was yesterday and it was definitely rigged. Jessica won by bribing the judges with Brown Butter Salt Rice Crispy Treats. Oh well, there’s always next year! It was also fantastic timing, because I got a new camera! Some absurd 12 megapixel kind from Olympus. Yay for Credit Card Reward points!

Dump the bag of Butterscotch and the cup of peanut butter in a large sauce pan (biggest you got) and heat over low heat. Stir occasionally while it all melts together into a soupy deliciousness. Taste test liberally. Once it’s all melted, mix half the box of chex in making sure to coat all pieces. Mix the rest of the box in. I kept mixing and tasting for good measure. Once you’re satisfied, pour out the mixture onto a large area of wax paper. My area was probably 2′ x 3′. Let the chex cool so the coating will set in place. Then mix the rest of your goodies into it. I used pretzel sticks and marshmallows. Turned out freaking awesome. I may be a diabetic now.

Action shot with new camera!

Action shot with new camera!

Ingredients:
1 12oz bag of Butterscotch Morsels
1 box Honey Nut Chex (~14oz)
1 cup Peanut Butter (chunky or creamy)
Other stuff to mix

Makes a whole boatload of snacky stuff. Would be great for a football game or something. Total Cost: $10. Healt……. hahahaha, you thought I was going to say healthy.

Spaceman Gloves Required for Preparation

Spaceman Gloves Required for Preparation

Written by Brent

April 24, 2010 at 11:14 am

Chicken, Spinach & Hummus stuffed in a Baguette = Yum.

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It was a scrounger tonight. Used the last of a 6lb bag of frozen chicken breasts, the last of the broccoli, and some neglected personal sized French bread loaves. This was very easy & simple to prepare, just takes a while to actually cook. Would make for a great weeknight meal too. Hummus makes everything better!

Hungry Hands makes for Blurry Pictures


I most definitely cheated and used a rice pilaf mix, so follow the directions! Also know that the rice takes ~35 minutes to cook so start it early. I started it then checked email and stuff for 15 minutes before starting the chicken and veggies. Now would also be a great time to preheat the oven for the baguettes so they’re nice and warm when we’re ready. Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and plenty of ground pepper before cooking. Heat oil (I used Grapeseed Oil, but it didn’t really change the flavor much) in a skillet until starting to smoke, add chopped onion and let them caramelize before putting the chicken in. I added a glob of honey on top of the chicken… I was thinking caramelizing needs a sugar or something to help, or something. Be sure to push the chicken around with the onions to get some of that flavor! While the chicken was cooking, I was trying to think of a sauce or something to put on the chicken so it wouldn’t be soooooo dry in the baguette. Luckily ESC came to the rescue with Roasted Garlic Hummus (any flavor of hummus will be delicious)!

The assembly was kinda interesting and creative. I wasn’t really sure what the outcome would look like so I just made it up as I went. Slice the baguette down the side to make a sandwich type of thing. Slather a spoonful of hummus on one or both sides of the bread. Take a small handful of spinach leaves and crush them in your hands. When they’re uncooked they’re pretty stiff, so they need to be put in their place! Add spinach along the spine of the loaf leaving enough room for the chicken. Slice the cooked chicken and stuff it in! Voilà! Now add the rice to the plate and inhale. Smells wonderful, don’t it?

Ingredients:
1 large chicken breast, chopped
2/3 cup raw spinach
2 spoonfuls Hummus
1 glob of honey
2 8″ baguette loafs
1 box Near East Rice Pilaf

Serves 2 with a cup of rice for leftovers. 40 minutes. ~$5.00/plate. Probably high in carbs and the rice can be pretty salty.

Written by Brent

April 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Lemon-Herb Chicken w/ Roasted Red Potatoes

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This is the meal that seemed like it would never happen! Busy weekends and busy weeknights kept thwarting this lovely meal. The chicken turned out absolutely fantastic and the potatoes were pretty good too. Maybe it was the fresh rosemary I snipped from the neighbors’ bush. Served with a fresh mixed green salad and steamed broccoli, because Katie (ESC) insists I have veg-et-ables.

Tangy Lemon-Herb ChickenThe potatoes take the longest, so wash, cut and quarter them first. Put a piece of tinfoil in a roasting dish underneath the potatoes (makes it easier to clean! — another wonderful ESC idea). Drizzle the oil over all potatoes then push them around so they glisten with oil. Mix the spices together and sprinkle over the potatoes. Pushing them around the pan again to get evenly coated. Cover with tinfoil and stick the whole thing in the oven. Originally I had planned to also make a brown rice pilaf to go with this, however ESC convinced me otherwise when I forgot to start it when I started the potatoes. So, with no rice pilaf cooking, I let the potatoes cook covered 20 minutes before starting the rest of the meal.

I did the chicken slightly different this time after reading a variation on Lemon Chicken. I usually just dump everything in the pan at the beginning and cook until tender. Sautee the garlic in a skillet over medium heat until starting to brown. Season the chicken breasts with a bit of salt & pepper just before adding to the pan. Cook 6-8 minutes. While they’re cooking, mix the lemon juice, rosemary, cayenne pepper, tarragon leaves and a bit more pepper in a dish and pour over the chicken breasts. Flip and cook another 5-6 minutes, or until tender. I think by doing it this way, the lemon juice coats the chicken better and provides a stronger flavor to the finished product.

Chicken Ingredients:Tasty Potatoes in foreground
2 chicken breasts
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tbsp lemon juice (Maybe as much as 1/4 cup)
pinch of fresh rosemary
2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2-3 tsp ground pepper
pinch of salt
2 tsp dried tarragon leaves

Potato Ingredients:
5 red potatoes (~1lb)
~1/4 olive oil
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary (or ~2 tsp dried)
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil
2 tbsp italian spice medley (dried oregano, marjoram, thyme)

Makes enough roasted potatoes for 3 plates. ~$4/plate. Low on carbs, higher in starchy stuff, ok in protein.

Written by Brent

April 14, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Curried Split-Pea Soup

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Freshly blended split-pea soupIt’s been a bit chilly here in San Diego, so I thought it was time to make some soup! This turned out to be much easier than expected. I was envisioning hours of labor, chopping & taste tests to fiddle with something that was edible. Not at all the case: it was about 5 minutes of prep, simmering for 45-50 minutes and another 5 minutes of prep before pouring it into bowls. The consistency was excellent, well puréed with an occasional pea left intact. The spicy-ness was just right: warmed the back of your throat but was not overpowering. For next time, adding some other spices like cumin, paprika or nutmeg could be very complimentary. It could also serve with carrots or celery as garnish/more veggies.

Because I use veggie broth cubes that need to be dropped into boiling water to make the broth, start by heating the water. While that’s coming to a boil, chop the onion and mince the garlic. Add the butter, garlic & onion to a large 5-6 quart saucepan on medium heat. Let onions warm & soften (~3-4 minutes) then add the broth, curry powder, peas & cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to low and simmer for 45-50 minutes. The peas will be kinda mushy but not falling apart. Pour the mixture into a stand up blender and puree. Serve with fresh soft french bread, naan, pita or other bread-like product.

Ingredients:
1 16oz Package Split Peas (green or yellow)
3 large Garlic Cloves
1/2 large Onion, chopped
2 tbsp Butter
5-6 cups Broth (Veggie or Chicken)
1 tsp Curry Powder
1/2 tbsp Ground Cayenne Pepper

Serves 4; ~$1.00/bowl; Peas are low in fat and have a decent amount of carbs and protein. Add chicken to the soup for a flavorful protein boost!

Edit: Use 1tbsp Curry Powder for super extra spicy. Oops!

Written by Brent

April 8, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Posted in Main Course, Soup

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