Thursday, February 28, 2013

Two Pizzas Two Ways

Every night in Stebbins we have a communal dinner. Different cook groups are assigned a night and they put in a humongous amount of effort to make us super delicious meals. That is, every night but Saturday. Saturday we are left to fend for ourselves, so Irene and I have been taking this opportunity to make intense meals we other wise wouldn't make.

Last Saturday, I was craving pizza. I wanted to experiment with the dough so I took the Smitten Kitchen easy pizza dough recipe from her book and tried it two different ways. It was the same dough recipe, however, I made one with the kitchen aid and dough hook, and one by hand. The dough from the dough hook definitely turned out better, however neither of them were great. Our yeast has been temperamental lately and the dough never doubled, so it didn't have the typical light doughy texture, but it made for a great, very thin crust pizza.

We also topped the pizzas with two very different themes. Neither of us are huge fans of tomato sauce on pizza so Irene made two different pestos. The first one she made was a broccoli basil pesto, yum. And the second one was a cilantro pesto. Oh my god, so freakin' delicious. We had extras and I have honestly looked for things in the kitchen that I can put it on. It's that good. I want to eat it everyday ever on anything possible.

We used the cilantro pesto to make a potato feta pizza. This one was my favorite. It had the good dough, the amazing pesto and everything is better with roasted potatoes.
Roasted potatoes with feta and cilantro pesto

I will definitely make this pizza again. 

We used the broccoli basil pesto and added sauteed mushrooms and onions, sun dried tomatoes, and mozzarella. It had an entirely different flavor. It was still really good, but the cilantro pesto one was so much better that this pizza was left in its shadows. 

(You can tell by the edges that the dough was bleh)

Yummy dinner

I'm going to try this dough again and try to make the yeast work with me. I'm sure it would be a delicious dough with the proper yeast and rising time. 
Mmmm, now I'm craving pizza again!

Leftovers turned into a Mushroom Galette

Last nights snack was a disaster, so here is a different take on last weeks snack!

I had one leftover galette crust from the butternut squash and caramelized onions galettes from last week. So, the next day (last wednesday night) I made a sautéed mushroom and rosemary one! Also delicious. The crust was still unbelievably flaky and buttery.

I want to eat galettes every day. Lets do it. Fruit galette for breakfast. Mushroom galette for lunch. Some sort of protein galette for dinner (lentils anyone?). And a chocolate galette for dinner. That would be the best day ever.

Mushrooms are cute

This is the background on my phone right now. I love food. 

The egg wash is what gives it the beautiful crusty croissant look. 

The mushrooms brought an entirely different flavor to this galette. Sometimes I forget the meaty flavor that mushrooms can have. It definitely tasted heartier than the other one.

Irene! Thats you in the back!

Let me know if you want the recipe for the crust. I would be more than happy to share. 
For the filling I sauteed a bunnnnch of mushrooms in olive oil and butter for a really long time. Added some garlic and green onions and some dried spices. Then added fresh rosemary at the very end. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last weekend and today we had garden work parties for the Student Organic Gardening that I am teaching a class in. Our first class starts on Wednesday and I'm so excited. We cleared out and staked our beds today and its starting to look like a real garden again, rather than a forest of weeds. I brought cookies both weeks for our hard workers. Last week I just added chocolate chips, but this week I also added dried cranberries, which really kicked up their flavor. They were a great reward for all the hard work of pulling out weeds.

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are my all time favorites. They are so great. 

I love sharing my baking adventures and I love gardening, so combining both of them has been a great way to spend my Sundays. 

Cookies for days

They turned out suuuuper thick and chewy. And the chocolate chips were little pools of melted chocolate. Perfection, in my mind.

Balancing act

Recipe: Oatmeal Cookies
I doubled the recipe last week, and tripled it this week. I substituted dried cranberries for raisins, because I like them so much more than raisins. I also used more chocolate chips because more chocolate is always the better option. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chocolate Silk Birthday Pie

For Elise's birthday, Meg and I decided to make the chocolate silk pie from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It turned out soooo well. The texture was smooth and luscious. It kind of tasted like light fluffy chocolate ice cream. And that is a great thing to taste like. Yum.

The recipe required 3 egg yolks, adding them separately and then whipping for 5 minutes between each addition.

Light, fluffy, and chocoaltey. 

I was trying to debate what cookies to use for the crust. On Thursday, I was walking home from class and I walked right past the girl scouts selling their delicious cookies. However, I got stuck at the cross walk for a long time, and the ticking seconds were chipping away at my will power. Before the light could change I turned around and bought a box of samoas and a box of thin mints. They are just too delicious. I've been really good and still have the samoas in my desk drawer. I decided to use the thin mints for the crust and it came out pretty well! Unfortunately, in the midst of whipping the filling, I forgot that the crust was in the oven and burnt it ever so slightly. Elise still really enjoyed the minty addition they brought to the pie. I would suggest using them!

Set and ready to enjoy. 

So luscious.

This was a delicious pie. I would suggest it for the birthday of the next chocolate lover in your life.

The recipe is in her cookbook. Message me and I can get it to you.
Also, it is similar to these, but not quite the same thing.
Chocolate Pudding Pie and Chocolate Mousse

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galettes

This snack was intense. It was a lot of work. Took a lot of time. It was even half an hour late because our ovens are slow. But it was 110% worth it. So decadent and flavorful. My favorite snack so far, no doubt. I wish I could eat caramelized onions and butternut squash every day. They remind me of how great fall/winter produce is.

Peeling and chopping the butter nut squash was one of the most time consuming parts 

The onions took foreeevverrrr to caramelize. Another reason why snack was late. Sorry folks.

I cut a bajillion onions and didn't cry until the very last one. My tear ducts are champs. 

I made the dough the night before. The crust was one of the best parts about the galette. Even as large as it was (being for 60 people) the entire thing was flaky and oozing with buttery goodness. Almost tasted like a croissant.
Thank you so much Cameron for helping me!!

About to go in the oven

The long awaited final product. It's so beautiful!

Om nom nom nom nom nom nom nom. 

Recipe: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
I used the recipe in her cookbook. It was slightly updated with a few changes. but more or less was the same. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Toffee and Coffee

I conquered a fear. I made candy. I was terrified that it wouldn't work. But it definitely worked. Tuesday for snack I made two and a half types of toffee. The first batch was plain old butter toffee with chocolate chips melted on top. The second patch I threw some coffee in it to match the smitten kitchen recipe and then on half of it I sprinkled peanuts. And voila, I had two and a half different types of toffee. It was surprisingly easy. It took hardly any time. And other than the giant bucket of molasses mishap, everything went smoothly.

Chocolate melting in a 300˚F butter and sugar mixture

Interestingly the toffees came out two very different colors. It also effected their taste. The first batch was a deeper color and had a richer flavor while the second batch was lighter and slightly less flavorful. I dont know what I did differently to make the first one better, but in the future I am going to try and achieve the richness of batch number one. 

Breaking the toffee into bite sized pieces was half the fun. 

I have a new favorite candy. Fresh homemade toffee.

I was pretty worried that the toffee would fail so I made chocolate coffee shortbread cookies before dinner as a back up. I wasn't a huge fan of the way they turned out. They didn't have the typical melt in your mouth shortbread cookie taste. But they were a good addition to the toffee.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Leftover Pie Crust Dough Apple Galette

After making pumpkin pie on Saturday I had a lot of leftover pie dough. So, on Sunday I came home from a meeting, cut up some apples and made this simple apple tart. Deb says she discovered this recipe from Alice Waters, who is the owner of a famous restaurant here in Berkeley called Chez Panisse. Alice Waters is also the founder of the Edible Schoolyard, a garden used as an outdoor classroom to facilitate hands-on learning. I just started volunteering there and I love it. Cool connections.

I liked the pie dough even more the second day. It was much easier to roll out and seemed a lot flakier once it was done cooking.

I tried to make a caramel sauce. I kind of failed. Left is take one. Right is take two after I decided it was edible and put it on the galette. It would have been a great addition if it had turned out correctly... Candy is hard to make!

It was so simple yet so delicious. There was hardly any added sugar except sprinkled on top and no extra butter other than what was already in the pie crust and what was used to brush the galette before putting it in the oven. The natural flavor and sugars came out so nicely. I will definitely be making this again.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Spur of the Moment Saturday

One of my housemates made delicious pumpkin bread on Thursday and left a big can of pumpkin puree open, and it was calling my name. Also, I've been wanting to try mastering pie dough because I have never been pleased with how mine turns out. Hence, yesterday I decided to make pumpkin pie. I've never really liked pumpkin pie, I find the texture odd and the flavor bland. But I was determined to try it and see if maybe I would like pumpkin pie when it came straight out of the oven. And I did.

I decided to make the pie dough Deb Perlman has in her cookbook because she has pretty thorough instructions. I was really pleased with the crust. Super buttery and flaky. Buttery Pie Crust.

I used a recipe from the joy of baking that my friend Allison suggested to try. It had the typical weird pumpkin pie texture but the spices were just right. I added nutmeg and substituted evaporated milk for heavy cream since we didn't have any. Pumpkin pie tasted so much better fresh and warm. Yum.  Pumpkin Pie

It was fun to make and a great way to start my Saturday night. I think I'm less afraid to make pie now, and I think I may have found my pie dough.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Grapefruit Olive Oil Poundcake

I woke up today thinking I was going to make a caramelized onion tart for snack. But, around 11 one of our lovely kitchen managers informed me that we were currently out of all purpose flour. Crisis? Nope! We had cake flour and after a quick glance in our fruit boxes I realized it was the perfect opportunity to make the poundcake that has been in the back of my mind. 

Grapefruits and their zesty skins

It's mid winter, which means it is the perfect time for citrus, especially grapefruits. They are surprisingly sweet right now and their color is so beautiful. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to use them, so I grabbed a few and hid them in our pantry. 

This recipe was pretty easy. Made slightly more difficult by quadrupling it to feed my house of 60, but with only one slight mishap (used 6 eggs rather than 8) it turned out scrumptious. 

Cooked with love in an oven and in pans that have probably seen more pound cakes than I ever have. 

The zest went into the batter, along with olive oil and buttermilk. The juice of the grapefruits was saved for a simple syrup that was added right as I took them out of the oven, and a glaze that I added once they had cooled for a bit. I added some of the pulp into the glaze so that the little pink flecks would add some color to the cake. 

Grapefruit glaze

The final product!

The cake had so much flavor. It was very moist, and definitely tasted like grapefruit. I was surprised by the smoothness that the olive oil added. I was a little worried that you would be able to taste a tang of oil, but it was completely hidden. I really enjoyed it and would definitely make it again. Maybe next time with blood oranges or lemons with a lemon curd. So many possibilities. 

Snack started- 10:03. Every last bite enjoyed- 10:25. Success. 

Recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, but is closely related to this recipe found here:  Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

'Til Next Tuesday!