Sunday, February 28

::pizza margherita::

pizzas have proved to be a yummy and versatile way to incorporate veggies and good cheese into our lives. i've successfully frozen the dough after rising and then on the designated day, allowed it to thaw through the day in the fridge, and then come to room temperature before rolling out.

{ pizza margherita }
this pizza dough
1/2 a roma tomato, thinly sliced, then cut into bite sized pieces
about  3 tablespoons to 1/4 c. good basil pesto (homemade or fresh from a Central Market or Whole Foods type food bar)
fresh mozzarella cheese
freshly cracked pepper
oven to 500. roll out prepared dough. spread pesto generously and evenly on the pizza, leaving a little crust. crumble/drop/ small cheese chunks. cheese spreads significantly when it melts, so don't fee like you have to cover up the pesto. leave holes, a little bit goes a long way. place tomatoes evenly around pizza. sprinkle tops of tomatoes with pepper.

bake for about 10-12 min on a pizza pan or a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.


Friday, February 26

::chipotle black beans::

i had made this before so i don't know why it wasn't on here. perhaps i made it before {vittles} was in place. it's a good, easy and versatile dish. you can control the heat with the amount of chipotle peppers, sauce and their seeds.

Chipotle Black Beans
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper
5-6 cups cooked black beans or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 seeded chipotle chiles in adobo, minced (set 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce aside)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
fresh cilantro, minced
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers, and cook until translucent.
Turn heat to medium and add garlic, cumin, paprika, cocoa, salt and minced chipotle peppers. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, then mix in reserved adobo sauce. Stir to combine, then add beans immediately.

When the beans are hot, add vinegar and honey or sugar. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 Sprinkle with fresh cilantro before serving over rice.

i did all this in a casserole dish in the microwave. i don't know how you fell about that but it was a quick, one pot dish from prep to service to storage, and that was nice. . . Adjust peppers and sauce according to taste.

{image belongs to foodpeoplewant}

Tuesday, February 23

{the proper care and feeding of polos}

I realized as I folded laundry this evening that I have a useful domestic tidbit worth sharing. It starts with a confession.

I was tortured as child. Granted, in her defense, my mom was a working teacher throughout my middle school and high school years and couldn't be bothered with the likes of our soddy laundry piles that showed up at their leisure with complete disregard for their sheer volume and soddiness. She had better things to do with her evenings at home after a full day of teaching Trigonometry to sassy high schoolers. Like eat bon bons and soak her feet in peppermint oil.

So she made us do our own laundry. Egad. I know. And it is within these roots that my domestic trivia begins. I still have some explaining however, so stick with me. We wore uniforms and I was a vain yet lazy high schooler. Who wanted to avoid ironing at all costs. So let's talk collars. In my vanity, I liked (ahem, like?) the look of a straight-standing, well curved collar. No flat collars and no creased collar curves. (Now, oxford collars are another matter, but laziness and thus the non-iron uniform brand were involved.) So in my lazy vanity, I discovered how a nicely standing, well-curved polo collar can be achieved with a little preliminary work and no ironing.
Please note: "The Prep." When a polo comes out of the dryer and is still warm, shake it out and promptly hang it. Button all buttons, and pop the collar. Hang in closet with the rest of its preppy friends.

Let's take a closer look at this red one here. What has happened? This is unfortunate.Now granted, this is a golf polo in which the sun and sweat and non-ironing facilitated an irrevocable crease. But if you have a husband who is outside often, or who does not differentiate between his athletic and non-athletic collared shirts, or who likes to wear sporty polos for their shininess at other occasions, or if you have a small, or large, boy whose clothes are often subject to sun and sweat and lack of collar ironing THIS could be your fate.

SO shake them out, get preppy with them and they will last long, stay lovely and you will be able to avoid the iron.

Thanks for your time.

::sugar cookies::

i'd never made sugar cookies from scratch, at least not that i could recall. although these were simple, they were really good, soft, chewy, rich and dense.
{ sugar cookies }
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, **softened**
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets. {I recommend, flattening just a bit, like with a snickerdoodle, using the bottom of a glass.}
Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

frost if desired.

Saturday, February 6

::wheat scones::

here's a good scone recipe to use when you don't have sour cream. make buttermilk by adding 1 T. white vinegar to 1 cup milk and letting it sit for 5 - 10 minutes. it can also be made with all white flour.

wheat scones
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
Grate in the butter with a cheese grater. Add sugar. Then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in enough milk to mix to a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface, knead lightly but allow mixture to stay flaky, and press in to a circle about 3/4-inch in thickness. Cut into 8 or 9 triangles and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.

{roasted asparagus with wine mushroom sauce}

here's another recipe owing credit to the costco overload. fortunately, you can't go wrong with these veggies, or with this combo so, it's all good.
{roasted asparagus}
12- 15 asparagus spears, ends trimmed where necessary
1/2 tablespoon seasoning salt
1/2 - 1 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
cover roasting pan or baking dish in foil. heat oven to 425. mix all ingredients well. roast for 25 minutes.
while that's baking make...
{mushroom sauce}
1 T. butter
1/2 T. oil
3 cups chopped cremini mushrooms {or mushroom of your choice}
1/4 c. dry white wine
heat oil and butter over medium heat until foam subsides. add chopped mushrooms and pepper to taste. sautee for 3 minutes, until barely soft. add wine and stir, allowing to reduce. stir, while simmering and steaming, for another 3 or 4 min.

remove asparagus from oven and pour mushrooms over them to serve.

...mine are in foil in the picture because i removed them using the foil from the pan and made a little foil packet to keep them warm.


Wednesday, February 3

dark beer braised chicken, asparagus and mushrooms

i have tons of asparagus and mushrooms due to a costco overload. plus i've been wanting to practice braising. i like braising because it's a one-pot-meal and keeps the meat nice and moist. this was roughly adapted from a cooking light cookbook i got for christmas. you could make it with any vegetables you have. just saute root vegetables a bit longer than you would something more tender like asparagus. i used a lemon pepper seasoning mix i have to season the chicken, but imagine fresh lemon zest would be even better. it had coarse pepper though so definitely use coarse or freshly ground pepper.

{chicken braised with dark beer}
adapted from cooking light: way to cook
3 T. flour
freshly ground black pepper
1 T lemon zest
4 boneless chicken thighs
2 T. butter
1 T. canola oil
1 to 2 c. cut asparagus
1 to 2 c. sliced mushrooms
1/2 c. chopped shallots (i just used a yellow onion b/c i had no shallots but they'd be much better)
2 T. dry parsley
1 bay leaf
8 - 10 oz. dark beer (I used Fireman's Four --which isn't really dark)
2 t. white wine vinegar
Combine flour, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Coat chicken in flour mixture. Heat butter and oil in large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken to pan; saute 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan. Add shallots and a tablespoon or so of the beer, saute until opaque. Add asparagus, reduce heat to medium, saute until just tender. Add mushrooms, dried herbs and more salt, pepper and lemon zest if desired. Return chicken to pan, nestling into vegetables. Stir in beer until chicken is mostly but not all the way submerged. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat. Simmer 30 minutes or until chicken reaches 160 degrees.

Remove chicken and vegetables from pan. Add vinegar, 2 T. flour to liquids in the pan and increase to medium. Stir constantly while bubbling until reduced and slightly thickened. Pour over veggies and chicken. Add fresh chopped parsley if you have it.

This can be done with any cut of meat, bone-in pieces may take longer to cook.

{image via apartmenttherapy}