Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What is your favorite recipe to make?

From Real Simple's Take Back Dinner Challenge:
Always be on the lookout for new recipe ideas. Read your local paper’s food section or food blogs, keep a folder designated specifically for recipes you want to try, trade recipes with friends, and find inspiration from your favorite restaurants—try to replicate your favorite dish at home.

Idea to Try: Ask a friend for her favorite recipe and make it this week.

So, what is your favorite recipe to make? Let's share here!

My favorite would be "make your own pizza night." I make the dough from New Basics (below) then divide it into pieces for each kid and a larger one or two for George and I to share. The kids love to shape and top their own. Their favorite toppings are sauce, cheese, olives, mushrooms, tomatoes. Occasionally one of them will be a little more creative (Holland loves Hawaiin). I like to use whatever is seasonal or in the house, but some of our all-time favorites are: fresh mozzarella, tomato & basil; pesto & shrimp; and carmelized onions and blue cheese. We love to play with whatever veggies and cheeses we have on hand. I think I want to try one with grilled chicken and spicy peanut sauce soon (one of my current favorite combos). (Feel free to share your favorite pizza toppings, too - maybe we'll try your's next!)

1 c warm water
1 package active dry yeast or 1/4 oz compressed yeast
2 1/2 - 3 c flour
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Combine water, east, and add 1 1/2 c of flour in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the oil, salt and remaining flour. With your hands or a large wooden spoon, work the ingreditents together until the dough holds its shape. (You may need a bit less flour, so add the last half gradually.)
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, 5 minutes. If the dough becomes sticky while you are kneading it, sprinkle a bit more flour over it.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled 2-qt bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let the dough rest until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
When the dough has risen, place it on a lightly floured surface, diveid it into two or more parts and roll them into balls. Cover them with a towel and let rest for 15-20 minutes. The dough is now ready to be shaped, topped & cooked.

Two 12-inch pizzas, 4 6-inch pizzas, 8 3-inch pizzas

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Easy summer Risotto

I have made this before, but had to post this Fresh Tomato Risotto Recipe from The New Basics Cookbook. With summer ripe tomatoes and the microwave what more could one ask for?

1 T olive oil
1 C Arborio rice
3 C Chicken Stock or canned broth
1/2 C water
1/3 C dry white wine
6 small ripe plum tomatoes, halved, cored and chopped
2-3 T chopped, fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Grated aged hard chevre, for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a deep 2 1/2 quart microwave-safe casserole, uncovered, for 1 minute on full power (650 to 700 watts)
2. Stir in the rice. Cook 1 minute.
3. Stir in 2 Cups of the stock, the water, and the wine. Cook 12 minutes, uncovered. Stir in the remaining 1 Cup of stock, the chopped tomatoes, and the basil. Cook 8 minutes.
4. Season with pepper and nutmeg, sprinkle with cheese, and serve immediately.

Serves: 2 portions

If your micro is less powerful you may need to add coooking time, if you don't have a carousel, you may have to rotate the dish while it is cooking.

Notes: (1) I have also done it with canned fire roasted tomatoes and it was equally delicious! (2) It served the four of us and there was a little leftover.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Trumpet squash

I just got a trumpet squash from a neighbor, has anyone cooked them before? What is the best way? My family is not huge squash eaters but I'd love to get them to try something new. I also have zucchini - anyone have a zucchini bread recipe?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hot Diggity Dog! Hot Dog Bar

Another BBQ starring Hot Dogs can be ho-hum, but a fun Hot Dog Bar is always a thrill. The great thing about it is you can create toppings and "themed dogs" to suit any taste, any style and any theme.

My husband George is loves his dogs. I mean, he really, really, really loves his dogs, so it just made sense to have a Hot Dog Bar to celebrate his 40th birthday party.

We prepped loads of toppings and even made cue cards on how to make certain types of dogs. We grouped toppings together based on what dogs they went on. It really was a huge hit!

Obviously, there is no end to the types and number of toppings you could do! Have fun with it!

Side notes: I made my Dad's chili and served it in the crockpot. My mother-in-law ordered the baked beans from George's favorite hot dog place. I rented a hot dog steamer so I didn't have to man the grill - great idea if you are having a crowd! I also made the spicy red onions (sauteed onions in a little Harissa olive oil and added ketchup and hot sauce to taste) and the corn relish (corn sliced off the cob, mixed with salsa, cilantro and pickle relish. I loved this!). Other than that, there was a lot of chopping and organizing of toppings, but it really worked perfectly!

Bacon mayo, lettuce & tomato

Guacamole & Salsa
Guacamole, salsa, chopped onion & cilantro

Coney Island Style
Chili, shredded cheddar & chopped onions

Atlantic City Style
Sauerkraut & Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard

Dixie Dog
Cole slaw, Dijon mustard & a pickle

Salsa, nacho cheese sauce & broken tortilla chips

A combination of diced fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil & minced garlic, drizzled with a dash of olive oil (particularly excellent on a sausage)

Corn relish & diced bacon

Spicy peanut sauce, diced cucumbers, chopped peanuts & cilantro

Fenway Frank
French's yellow mustard, finely chopped onion, & green sweet pickle relish

New York City's Street Cart Dog
Special red onion sauce & deli-style yellow mustard

Poppy seed bun, layered with yellow mustard, green relish, chopped raw onion, fresh tomato, a pickle spear, & a touch of celery salt

Hawaii 5-0 Dog
Mustard, baked beans, barbeque sauce, red onion & diced pineapple

Finally, here is a link to a place called Soul Dog near my sister that does lots of specialty dogs and is one of the resources we used putting together this list.