Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rustic Pizza

Ok, so this picture may not look all that great, I'm not a food photographer :) But this was fantastic.
When I made this pizza, it took no time at all, but I was using leftover veggies and pre-mixed and risen bread dough. So, plan accordingly.

Make my super-favorite of all time bread recipe:
3 Cups lukewarm water (too cold is better than too hot)
1.5 Tbs. salt
1.5 Tbs. yeast
5.5 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
(I plan on trying this recipe with a larger whole wheat to white ratio but I haven't yet so I can't promise it'll work)

Mix all together, don't knead, just place in warm spot with a lid on it and let rise 2 hours. Then refrigerate until ready to use.
At baking time, preheat oven to 500 degrees with baking stone or cookie sheet in oven. Pull off about a pound of dough and roll out on flour-dusted countertop until about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
Sprinkle topping on and slide onto sheet in oven, bake for about 8-10 mintues but watch closely as toppings can burn easily at this heat.

I LOVE caramelized onions. I could eat them every day. To make them, slice an onion thinly (red onions work best but any will do) and throw in a frying pan with olive oil. Sautee for quite a while (10-15 mintues?) until onions are translucent, flimsy and start to smell sweet. They taste sweet too :) After that, I often throw in some sliced zucchini or other veggies until soft and brown. Then I spread all these over the dough, added sun-dried tomatoes (from a jar) and sprinkled just a little bit of mozzarella on top (do NOT go overboard with the cheese, it masks the delicate gourmet flavors...this isn't Chucke Cheese people!!)

Voila! Delicious and an easy way to get rid of leftover veggies. I ate this thing cold all week :)

Baked String Beans

Ok, so I used to HATE string beans. We get a bag of them pretty often through the produce co-op and I never did anything with them. Then one day I came across this recipe and now I get so excited when I see them that I nearly wet myself (ok, not really).
Here it is!

Rinse and trim beans. Pour a Tbs. or so of olive oil in a rimmed baking sheet, add beans and roll around to coat with oil. Sprinkle beans liberally with salt and pepper and roll again to coat. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or so, checking and stirring often to avoid burning. When they are crispy and browned in spots, they're done.

Now find a corner and eat them all in one sitting. I do. They taste like healthy french fries, I kid you not. SO good!!

Rajma Masala (Spiced Kidney Beans)

I got a great book from the library called "Quick Vegetarian Curries" and what I've tried so far has been really good! And they're not kidding when they say quick, especially if you use canned beans or other ingredients. Coriander, turmeric and other Indian spices may not be a staple for every household but I highly recommend keeping them around. You can make some amazingly authentic tasting curries with them that are healthy, fast and extremely satisfying.

1 onion, chopped
1 inch cube root ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 teaspoons oil
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 tbs. tomato puree (i just used ketchup)
1 lb. canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed ( I used half kidney and half black beans)
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water
3-4 green chilies (I used canned whole chilies)
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala (I used curry powder cause i didn't have any)
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro leaves

Puree onion, ginger and garlic in food processor. In a saucepan heat oil over medium and when hot, add pureed ingredients. Cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, addd cumin, coriander and cook for another 2 minutes. Add turmeric, chili powder and tomato paste and cook for another minute or two.
Add beans and salt, increase heat to medium and cook for one more minute.
Add water and chilies, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Sprinkle with garam masala and stir in cilantro. Remove from heat and serve with rice, if desired.

Black Bean and Zucchini Chilaquiles

This is a vegetarian recipe I got off my favorite recipe website (epicurious) that was just phenomenal! And super fast to make. I highly recommend :)

1 1/2 tablespoons light or extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium green bell pepper, diced (I threw two peppers in cause I had them)
One 28-ounce can crushed or puréed tomatoes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
One 16- to 20-ounce can black beans or 2 1/2 cups cooked black beans (from about 1 cup dried)
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced (I used a yellow zucchini)
1 small fresh hot chile pepper, seeded and minced, or one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies (I ommitted this cause my kids freak out over anythiung spicy)
12 6-inch corn tortillas, torn or cut into several pieces
8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese or Cheddar-style nondairy cheese (I used minimal cheese, a small handful for each sprinkling and it was still great!)

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly oil a 9- by 13-inch baking pan or 2-quart round casserole.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté until it has softened and the onions are golden. Stir in the tomatoes, seasonings, beans, zucchini, and chile pepper. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently for 5 minutes.

3. Layer as follows in the prepared pan. Half the tortillas, half the tomato black bean mixture, and half the cheese. Repeat. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into squares or wedges to serve.