Pizza on the grill

Posted on June 22nd, 2010 by Danielle.
Categories: dinner, Intermediate, italian.

I got this recipe here.  My changes are below.

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 pinch white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions

  1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, and mix in sugar. Proof for ten minutes, or until frothy. Mix in the salt, olive oil, and flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down, and knead in garlic and basil. Set aside to rise for 1 more hour, or until doubled again.
  2. Preheat grill for high heat, but arrange coals so they aren’t directly under where you will be cooking the pizza.  Heat olive oil with garlic for 30 seconds in the microwave. Set aside. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Form each half into an oblong shape 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Brush grill grate with garlic flavored olive oil. Carefully place one piece of dough on hot grill. The dough will begin to puff almost immediately. When the bottom crust has lightly browned, turn the dough over using two spatulas. Working quickly, brush oil over crust, and then brush with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce. Arrange 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/8 cup sliced black olives, and 1/8 cup roasted red peppers over crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons basil. Close the lid, and cook until the cheese melts. Remove from grill, and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the second pizza.

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Authentic Tacos – Ben’s Mom’s Style

Posted on March 22nd, 2008 by Danielle.
Categories: Beef, cheesey, dinner, ground beef, Intermediate, mexican, recipe, tacos.

Hi All!
So I’m sure you’ve noticed that the winner of last week’s poll was…..TACOS!! For those of you that voted for pork chops or chicken, never fear, those recipes will be coming shortly regardless. So, on to tacos. When Ben and I first started dating I made tacos for dinner one night. He was a little confused by my method – taco shells, ground beef with that sauce-powder you get at the grocery store. Then we went to his mom’s house one night and she made the most amazing tacos and I understood.  She’d been making these tacos for him since he was little. Now granted, these are certainly not the best-for-your-diet tacos, but they are soooo good. I’ve learned to make them and even though it seems difficult and perhaps a little dangerous (see the extra below), they are so worth it if you can stick through the cooking. :) This recipe doesn’t have many ingredients, but make sure you read all the instructions before trying to make them, this is not a read-for-the-first-time-as-you-cook recipe.

tacos.jpg

Ben’s Mom’s Authentic Tacos:

For tacos:
1 lb lean ground beef
1 small pkg of corn tortillas (12-20 tortillas)
Vegetable oil

For garnish:
Avocado sliced thin
Tomatoes diced
Mexican style shredded cheese
Refried beans
Green Taco sauce
Salsa

Cooking materials:
cookie sheet covered in paper towel or news paper
Large round skillet
Large splatter screen
tongs – the longer the better
Paper towels

Open up the package of ground beef and the tortillas. With a butter knife or your fingers spread about 1-3 tablespoons of meat on half of one tortilla. Your tortilla should look like a pie graph with one half filled in with meat. Make sure you press the meat into the tortilla firmly, that will help keep the meat on the tortilla when you are cooking. Prepare all of the tortillas in this manner until you are either out of meat or out of tortillas.

Set uncooked tacos to the side of the stove. Heat the oven to 200 degrees and place the cookie sheet with the paper towels or newspaper inside it. On the stove heat about 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is heated, slip your first uncooked taco into the oil. The tortilla should be floating meat-side up. With your tongs move the tortilla around in the pan a little to coat the face up side of the taco with oil. This will help soften the tortilla to make it easier to fold. You’ll be able to see the ground beef browning on the side touching the tortilla. When it’s about 1/2 way brown use your tongs to fold the empty side of the tortilla over making the taco shape. Now that it’s taco shaped, turn the taco over in the oil to cook the other side. When the beef is browned, pull the taco out of the skillet.  Try to drip most of the excess oil back into the pan as you take it out. Place the cooked taco in the oven on the paper. This will soak up the extra oil and make the tacos crispy. You may put another taco in the pan now and restart the process. Replenish the oil as needed to cook all the tacos. When the last one is done, leave the tacos in the oven for 10 minutes so the last few can crisp.

Follow The Recipe Extra:
The Oil – It will spatter!! Make sure you are using your screen! I always make these tacos wearing long sleeves and it helps if you put a piece of paper towel on the top of the screen to keep spatter from jumping up at you. Also, towards the end you’ll find that the tacos and oil spatter more, and seemingly for no reason. This is for two reasons, 1.) the temp of the oil is too high or 2.) the oil has residual meat in it. The solution for problem 1 is to turn the stove down (duh!) and for 2 you can use an empty can in your sink to pour the old oil into and put new oil into the pan and continue. Do not touch the hot oil can with your bare hands until it has fully cooled!

The Tacos – You can usually cook two tacos at a time depending on the size of your pan. You should always be removing one, folding the other in 1/2, and then adding a new one to replace the one you just took out. I cannot recommend doing more than two at a time the first time that you do this.

The Meat – Sometimes the meat will fall out while you are flipping or removing. The key to avoiding this is long tongs and always turning, flipping or removing the tacos by using the tongs on the side of the taco that is open.

You – This recipe makes a lot of tacos. Lucky for you they are awesome left over. I included the list of condiments that we use, but use whatever you want. Everything is good on these tacos. Finally, if you’re a little nervous or concerned about splattering oil or burning yourself, then only heat the oil to the temp that you are comfortable with. The tacos will take longer to cook, yes, but you will have a more enjoyable time making them if you aren’t worried about the oil.

Enjoy – feel free to comment with questions!

2 comments.

New England Clam Chowder

Posted on December 31st, 2007 by Danielle.
Categories: bacon, chowder, clam, dinner, Intermediate, onion, potatoes, Stews.

…And We’re Back!

For two years while still in college I used to work for a restaurant that rhymes with Shmearl’s (ok the name of the restaurant was earl’s – and yes the name is not capitalized.) Anyways, over two years of late night bartending, double shifts and having family come in to visit while I was working there were a lot of days when all I had time to eat was a bowl of soup. The soup of choice was Clam Chowder. I never got the recipe; I asked, but it was not given up despite knowing all the chefs and having them over to my house for parties quite often. So finally after I left the restaurant and after I had officially eaten my 1,000th bowl I decided to try and make the recipe up myself. So here it is, and it’s pretty damn close. Not to mention delicious! :)

Shmearl’s New England Clam Chowder
2-4 slices of center cut bacon diced
1 large onion cut diced
1/2 tsp. thyme (powdered or leaves)
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup of instant potato flakes or left over mashed potatoes
2 bottles of clam juice
2 cans minced clams (save clam juice for use in chowder)
6-9 new potatoes cubed (about 1/4″)
2 Carrots; sliced
3 roma tomatoes; diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
water
parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, fry diced bacon over medium heat until half cooked (should be pink not red). There should be about 2 tbs. bacon fat in the pot now, but if there isn’t add a dash of olive oil to the pot. Add onion, carrots and potatoes and saute, stirring constantly, with bacon until fragrant and almost soft (about 5 minutes.) Add thyme and bay leaves and continue to stir for 30-45 seconds. Stir in clam juice from the bottles and clam juice taken from the cans. Add some water (about a cup if there isn’t enough liquid.) Bring liquid to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until potatoes soften. Starch from potatoes should thicken the liquid, but add the potato flakes or mashed potatoes to thicken it up if necessary. Stir in clams, heavy cream, tomatoes and parsley. Then use salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and heat though. Serve.

Follow the Recipe Extra:
It will save you a lot of stress if you cut up and dice everything before even starting the chowder. Also, If you don’t trust yourself not to burn the bacon, pull it out before putting the potatoes, onion and carrots in. Throw it back in when you add the clam juice. I love the taste of clams, but hate the texture. With a food processor or sharp knife go back through the canned clams and finely mince. If you’re the opposite, feel free to use more clams and substitute the clam juice from them for the extra water.

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Lamb Chops in Vinaigrette Reduction and Country Potatoes and Onion

Posted on December 10th, 2007 by Danielle.
Categories: breakfast, chops, dinner, Intermediate, lamb, onion, potatoes, reduction, vinegar.

Well hi everyone. So sorry that I haven’t posted in two weeks. To make up for it, I’m posting a double recipe. And it’s a big one! This is one of those “looks-impressive-but-really-isn’t-hard-to-make” recipes. So make it when you need to impress someone.

chops & potatoes

Lamb Chops in Vinaigrette Reduction

4 lamb chops (3/4″ thick)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-mix the salt, pepper, and thyme in a bowl. Use as a rub on the lamb chops. Season both sides of each chop and then place the chops, covered in the refrigerator for 15 minutes at least so they can absorb the spice (no longer than 20 min.). Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. The stove should be on high to medium high. Place the lamb chops in the skillet and cook for about 3 min on each side (for medium rare to rare). Remove when cooked to your liking and place on a separate plate covered with foil to let the juices redistribute.

In the pan add the shallots and cook until just browned (pan should still have a tbs. or so of oil, if not, add a little before adding the shallots). Stir in the vinegar and scrape up the bits of lamb that were left in the pan as the vinegar loosens it. Stir in the beef broth. Let the sauce reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Take your skillet off the heat and stir in the butter to cut the bitterness of the vinegar. Pour reduction over the chops and serve.

Country Potatoes and Onion (For 2 people)

3-4 Medium to large New Potatoes
1 cup of Onions sliced largely
Salt
Pepper
Parsley
2 tbs Olive Oil

Slice each potato in half and then into wedges. Cut onion into large quarter sized wedges. Put a skillet on the stove on medium high heat. Put oil in the pan and then toss in the potatoes and onions to get them coated in oil. Cook potatoes and onion until onion is fragrant and soft and potatoes are just getting brown (about 10 minutes). Drain excess oil. Place back on the heat and add salt, pepper and parsley to taste. Continue to cook until potatoes are golden brown and onion is almost translucent.

Follow The Recipe Extra:

Lamb: You want to put a nice sear on the chops so the oil needs to be very hot. The oil should be thin and have a glassy sheen, then it will be hot enough. When you drop the chops in, do not be panicked by the immediate cloud of “smoke”. You are not going to light your kitchen on fire! If you sear it just right each side should come out a dark perfect brown. Also, balsamic vinaigrette is bitter so if you’re sensitive to that kind of taste you can do one of two things to cut it: 1) reduce the amount of vinegar to 1/4 cup (this will reduce your reduction time though), 2) add more beef broth or 3) add more butter.

Potatoes: This is a recipe that’s all about personal taste and timing. There aren’t really any spice increments because everyone likes things differently. This is also an awesome addition to breakfast that can be made while preparing eggs or pancakes or whatever. For breakfast though, it’s usually good to cube the potatoes into smaller pieces though.

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