Brent's Food Blog

mmmmm foooood…..

Archive for January 2011

Homemade Sausage and Pepper Pizza

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Pizza pizza!! Having previously experimented with everything from pizza bagels to Red Baron frozen pizzas, we decided it was time to try making our own dough = Perfect excuse for the ESC to play with her standing mixer!

Pizza dough (from Baking Illustrated)
Makes about 3 medium-ish pizzas.

1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees- it’s very important that it’s not too cold or too hot)
1 envelope instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I substituted an oil infused with herbs and garlic)
4 cups Bread Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl
– Measure the warm water into a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine
– Place flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixture fitted with a paddle. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes) Form the dough into a ball, put in a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
-At this point, we put the dough in the refrigerator overnight and made the pizzas the next day. Otherwise, it says to let the dough rise until double in size, 1.5 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.
– If you’ve refrigerated the dough, make sure to pull it out an hour or so before you intend to make the pizzas so it can warm up to room temperature.
– Heat the oven to 500 deg F. Divide the dough into three pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, -round ball and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for 10 minutes (but not longer than 30).
– Working with one piece at a time, shape the dough into a nice circle.

– Spread some cornmeal (or semolina) on a baking sheet (or a pizza peel if you have one) and then carefully lay the dough down
– Cover with a layer of pizza sauce (Brent made a delicious red sauce- I’ll leave it to him to describe)
– Now for the fun part! Toppings! We used shredded mozzarella, sliced garlic chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s (delicious), and slices of green pepper- but you could do anything.
– Bake at 500 F for 12-15 minutes (Depends on toppings and whether you have a pizza stone or not) Pull it out when the crust is golden-brown-ish.
– Cut into slices and enjoy!

Verdict: Deliciousness! Most expensive parts of this were the sausage and the cheese, Brent estimates about the total is something like $6-7. There are many variations we intend on trying in the future: whole wheat crusts, different recipes, endless combinations of toppings.

Written by kkduncan

January 24, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Sausage Quinoa Enchiladas

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Puttin' in the goods

Puttin' in the goods

So here’s my summation of enchiladas: a cheesy, beany, meaty, saucy, quinoa-y goodness. Yummy! Who doesn’t like the sound of that?? Oh, and it’s also a great post-night adventure food for when your kickball team wins another championship and is awarded bottle service downtown(!). This is definitely a dish you can cheat with pre-cooked items. We used precooked chicken sausage and shrimp to help with making things easier (it’s also what we happened to have in the freezer!). Plus, we cut down dramatically on the prep and baking time because there’s no raw meats we need to cook or worry about. Now the quinoa is a relatively new thing for the ESC and I… we’ve had a box of quinoa in our pantry for a few months and hadn’t ever cooked it until a week ago. Now we’ve had 3 dishes and will definitely be buying more. ESC definitely agrees that it has become our new best friend.

Quinoa Enchiladas Pre Baked

Just before going in the oven

The quinoa takes the longest to make so we’ll start with that – we have Trader Joe’s brand that comes in a yellow box but used veggie broth instead of plain water. Following the directions on the package, it was a 1:2::rice:water/broth ratio you bring to a boil then simmer for ~15 minutes until the little white germ thingys pop out of the grain and the broth is all absorbed. While the quinoa is bubblin’ away, brown the pre-cooked sausage slices in a skillet. This helps keep their flavor within themselves but also warm them up a bit. I also spooned about 1/2 can of the refried beans into a pan to heat them up too. While everything is heating on the stove, you should have time to grate the cheese, if not do it before starting and set aside. Almost done… Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce across the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish so the tortillas don’t burn or stick to the bottom. Lastly, warm up some tortillas in the microwave (covered for 15-20 seconds). Having warm tortillas makes them a bit easier to roll and handle as they stretch instead of just breaking when you bend them. Now comes the fun part: Combine and Smother! Everyone prepares burritos/enchiladas differently, so here’s how I do it: Spread a nice spoonful of beans on a tortilla then layer with two or three spoonfuls of quinoa, add your shrimp and/or sausage, top with a sprinkle of cheese, and finally drop two spoonfuls of sauce into the middle. Roll it up and place it in the baking dish. Repeat until there’s no more room or you run out of ingredients! Top with a healthy amount of cheese and sauce and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is starting to brown.

Quinoa Enchiladas Baked

Ready to be devoured!

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked Quinoa
1/2 lb cooked sausage, sliced
1/3 lb cooked shrimp, peeled
1 can low-salt refried beans
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 16oz can green enchilada sauce (El Pato)
8 flour tortillas, standard size

Makes 8 enchiladas. 30-45 minutes from start to finish. ~$2/plate – shrimp & cheese the most expensive parts. By using low-salt beans and adding the quinoa, I think this is actually a fairly healthy dish. Especially so if you drop the cheese down to a cup total.

Written by Brent

January 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

Butternut Squash Risotto

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The original recipe called for four and a half cups of squash, but that seemed like too much so I ended up using about four. Still too much squash for the risotto ratio. ESC still loved it anyway, but she’ll say anything for more veggies. I was a little worried this might turn out disastrous because I’d never cooked butternut squash another way other than roasting in the oven. Luckily, it all worked out to be tasty and delicious.

Cook the risotto as normal, but just after adding the first cup or so of broth to the rice, also add the squash. It gets cooked by the steaming and heat produced by cooking the rice all around it. It ends up being a nice slightly mushy consistency very similar to the cooked rice.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto - Yummy Mushy

Ingredients
1 large clove garlic, mashed
1 cup uncooked Aborrio Rice
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups uncooked, peeled Butternut Squash (~1/2 a large squash)
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons Italian spices
salt & pepper to taste

Makes ~4 servings. 5 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking. ~$1/plate. Starches and some veggies, not too bad!

Written by Brent

January 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Risotto

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