Prosciutto, shallot, and fresh mozarella pizza

May 30, 2010 § 7 Comments

This is the height of pizza luxury, and in my mind it is the platonic ideal of pizza. Then again, I will probably say that about the next pizza I make. Regardless, this one is perfect for a casual get-together where you want to impress but be all, “Oh this? It’s just something I tossed together,” and you won’t even be lying! It’s probably not authentically Italian, but what it lacks in authenticity it makes up for in flavor – warm, crispy-yet-soft crust, melted mozarella, crispy prosciutto, shallots that are like onions but even better, and a hint of thyme – and dashing good looks to boot. Apparently I’ve become a food fanfic writer, and I feel no shame. That’s what this pizza does to you.

By the way, it’s worth splurging for the prosciutto and fresh mozarella, and making the dough from scratch.  However, though some of the pictures show that I went to Whole Foods where I procured the prosciutto and fresh mozarella, some further reconnaissance at the local Meijer revealed that you don’t have to make an hour and a half drive to get these ingredients. You might find them lurking in the deli case at your local grocery, waiting for you to turn them into a culinary masterpiece.

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Butternut squash bread

May 24, 2010 § 5 Comments

Every family has its traditions, and often they are based around food. One of my family’s food traditions is to bake bread and give it away as gifts for the winter holidays. You name it and my mother has probably baked a bread with it – banana nut, pumpkin, orange marmalade, apple, peach…and all are amazingly delicious. They’re extremely popular gifts, along with the homemade chocolates we make each year too.

Sadly, the homemade chocolate is a secret family recipe I’m pretty sure I’d get disowned for sharing, but what I can share with you is my butternut squash bread. Now, I know it’s not Christmastime (but that has never stopped my mom from making bread, so it won’t stop me either), but I found some frozen cooked butternut squash in my freezer, and realized I could make bread with it. I was a bit worried because I wasn’t going off a recipe but some vague recollections of what ingredients my mom typically uses. Fortunately, my first attempt turned out delicious with the right ratio of dry ingredients to wet. Hooray!

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Deconstructed piña colada/roasted pineapple with coconut, mint, and rum, with ice cream

May 21, 2010 § 2 Comments

First, I would like to thank everyone who has stopped by or is stopping by after following the link on “Freshly Pressed” here to my blog. I am so thrilled about all the visitors and the kind comments. I will definitely be checking out everyone’s blogs/links over the next few days, as I love to read even more than I like to cook. And of course, thank you so much to wordpress for featuring my post!

To show my appreciation for everyone, I’d like to make you all a drink. No matter that I thought the only cocktail I knew how to make is a Sidecar and I don’t have the ingredients…how about some dessert then? I just made roasted pineapple with coconut, mint, and rum, served with ice cream. Wait, those are really similar ingredients to a piña colada? (Thanks, wikipedia!)

Voilà, the newly revised title, deconstructed piña colada. However, dancing in the rain is dependent upon your local weather forecast.

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Tangy and spicy red cabbage slaw

May 20, 2010 § 40 Comments

It’s getting warmer! I guess it seems strange because only seven weeks ago we last had snow, and suddenly it’s getting warm enough to turn on the fan. So, it’s time to start cooking light, summery dishes – and I think we can even eschew the term cook, as you can assemble this cabbage slaw without once turning on the oven or stove. It would be great to serve alongside Mexican food as the original recipe suggests, or anything grilled would complement it nicely as well.

This slaw is a combination of crisp red cabbage, shredded and grated carrots for crunch and color, tangy lime juice, and lots of cilantro. Some crumbled feta adds an extra layer of texture and flavor, but it’s certainly not necessary – and of course, vegans and others who cannot have dairy will opt out of using feta. This slaw is great either way and I recommend trying it both ways.

This slaw is great as a make-ahead dish because it really benefits from resting. The longer it sits the better it tastes, up to one day in advance. Of course, if you’re letting it rest for more than an hour, I recommend chilling it in the refrigerator – plus this keeps the cabbage nice and crunchy. « Read the rest of this entry »

Squash, sausage, and mozarella pizza

May 15, 2010 § 5 Comments

Fresh pizza? Yes please! Pizza dough made from scratch is extremely simple. Make up a batch like I did, and have enough pizza dough for two large pizzas with different toppings. For this first pizza, I decided to use up leftover acorn squash from this quinoa pilaf/salad I posted about back in, um, April. (Never let anyone tell you that graduate school doesn’t have a way of sucking up all your time better than a Dyson vacuum.)

Anyways, pizza has a way of elevating humble  ingredients, or even leftovers, into something unbelievably better than the sum of its parts: a lone chicken sausage with sun-dried tomatoes, half of a cooked acorn squash, fresh mozarella, fresh basil, and for those who love spicy food, crushed red pepper. Sounds weird, tastes incredible!

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Stir-fry noodles with egg, mushrooms, cashews, and scallions

May 9, 2010 § 1 Comment

Yeap, it’s another uncreatively-titled dish, but at least you know what is in it upfront! I love this stir-fry because the textural contrasts and lots of flavor belie how easy this is to cook. In fact, you may have many, if not all, of the ingredients in your kitchen right now, meaning you can make this quickly and in not much more time than it takes to boil the water and cook some noodles.

I made it even faster by not bothering to split the cashews and by not slicing the scallions as finely as I probably should have, but hey, time is money, friend, as the goblins say in Azeroth…and before you ask, yes, I had a raid after dinner so I was in a bit of a rush. So even noobs with a cooking level of 2/75 can make this! « Read the rest of this entry »

On hiatus

May 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve decided that since grades are, you know, rather important, I’m going on hiatus until after finals. One paper and two exams left, and next Wednesday I’m freeeeeeeeeeee! Maybe I’ll make something to celebrate Cinco de Mayo; currently I’m thinking fish tacos.

Oh and this delicious stir-fry will make an appearance after the break.

See you on the other side!

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