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Salami and brussel sprout pizza — great idea!  Brussel sprouts compliment pork so well.

I made this yesterday with some extra dough I had in the freezer, leftover from some cooking project a couple months back that I couldn’t remember…  Turns out it was pie dough, doh!  It was quite tasty even though it was super flaky and sweeter than you’d expect.   Oops.

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
  • 1 pound pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces sliced salami, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella, grated (2 cups)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups mixed greens (3 ounces)
  • crushed red pepper, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 450° F with the bottom rack set in the lowest position. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet. Stretch the dough into a large oval and place on the prepared sheet; brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the sprouts, salami, and mozzarella with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; scatter over the dough. Bake until the mozzarella has melted and the crust is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the greens with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Serve with the pizza and red pepper, for sprinkling.
Source: Real Simple Magazine

 

I like this recipe.  The slaw is really interesting with lime juice, fresh mint, ginger and sesame oil, which is a refreshing change from vinegar- or mayonnaise-based slaws.

The soy sauce/brown sugar glaze is good, but I would baste it minimally next time to allow the chicken skin to get crispier.

This time I baked 4 drumsticks and 4 thighs, but next time I’ll do all thighs.  Because I love chicken thighs.

[For Austinites: Central Market sells halves of cabbage, which makes cabbage more doable for me because I never want to eat cabbage leftovers.]

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced (4 cups)
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, stir together the sugar, soy sauce, and 3 tablespoons of the lime juice; add the chicken and turn to coat. Roast, skin-side down, until the sauce is simmering, about 10 minutes. Turn the chicken skin-side up and roast, basting occasionally, until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, scallions, and mint with the ginger, canola oil, sesame oil, the remaining 3 tablespoons of lime juice, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with the chicken.
Source: Real Simple Magazine

I tried this recipe last night and didn’t like it at all.  However, Mr. Piggy thought it was OK and the Old Sow thought it was amazing.  Perhaps I’m just not into baked white fish.  It’s so BLAH.  The whole baked fish blah-ness aside, the kalamata olives did not mesh in this recipe.  Olives have tons of flavor and the Tilapia is so mild, it was a mismatch.

So, this recipe is scratched from the list.  It might be fixable if the Tilapia was breaded and pan-fried and the olives were omitted.  Roasted potatoes are always a winner in my book, especially with fresh thyme and lemons.  I really like Tilapia too and it’s a good cheap option for fresh fish.

Piggy is on the hunt for a good, quick, easy Tilapia recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound baby potatoes (about 12), halved
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 4 6-ounce skinless tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes, lemon, thyme, 2 tablespoons oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer.
  3. Roast, tossing once, until the potatoes begin to soften, about 20 minutes.
  4. Toss the olives with the potato mixture; nestle the fish in it. Drizzle the fish with the remaining oil and season with paprika and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  5. Continue to roast until the potatoes are golden brown and crisp and the fish is opaque throughout, 12 to 15 minutes.
Source: Real Simple Magazine

Bean Salad

This is one of my favorite quick go-to meals.  I got it from a post on www.chowhound.com.

Ingredients:

Can of beans — I like the organic mixed beans

Feta cheese — about half of the container in the above photo

1-3 scallions, chopped fine

Juice from half a lemon

Lots of fresh pepper

Drain the can of beans and rinse well.  Mix all ingredients together.  This makes about 2 meals for me alone.  The lemon and pepper give it a fresh flavor and it’s nice to have a protein-rich meal that I don’t need to cook.  The last thing I want to do on summer afternoons is turn on  the stove.  This would probably be a good meal for a car camping trip.

Finally, something different to do with the beets from my Farmhouse box.  Beet and buttermilk soup.  It’s cold.  It’s refreshing.  It delivers the buttermilk in hyper pink splendor.

Cook the beets (boil, bake, or roast), let them cool, then slip off the skins.  Then mash them in the Cuisinart (or blender or immersion hand blender) and pour in buttermilk and broth (chicken, veggie or beef) until you’ve reached the desired consistency and balance.  It’s a taste-as-you-blend kind of thing to get the right proportion of ingredients.

Dill would be a nice topper, but is not necessary.

I think the key for beet soup is to completely liquefy the beets so they don’t seem chunky.  The Cuisinart did an OK job, but I will try my blender next time.

Pretty Carrots

Hint, hint, Mr. Piggy!

Perfect Brown Rice

For some reason, cooking good rice has always been very challenging for me.  It took me years to learn how to make decent white rice– rice that is cooked completely/not too watery or sticky/not burned.   It seems like it should be easy enough to follow the directions, but directions aren’t consistent with rice/water ratios and there are many different types of rice.  Also, I usually buy bulk rice and do not have the packaging to refer to for directions.

Brown rice is even trickier.  I had not succeeded in cooking perfectly fluffy brown rice until I discovered this recipe, which is ripped off from another blog who ripped it off from the Saveur website.  The main idea is to boil and drain the rice like pasta, then steam it in the pot with the remaining moisture.  This achieves a nice fluffy texture and maintains the integrity of the rice grains.

The Recipe

  • Brown rice
  • Water – use at least six cups of water for every one cup of rice*
  • Salt – to taste

1. Rinse rice in a strainer under cold running water for 30 seconds. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Add the rice, stir it once, and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Pour the rice into a strainer over the sink.

2. Let the rice drain for 10 seconds, then return it to the pot, off the heat. Cover the pot and set it aside to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes. Uncover the rice, fluff with a fork, and season with salt.

*The Saveur recipe recipe calls for 12 cups water per cup of rice, but I’ve found that 6 cups water is sufficient (4 cups is not enough).

This is what is great about this approach:

  • You can use any amount of rice.  My problem with following rice recipes is that they’re all for 1 cup of rice and the water/rice proportions don’t scale in a logical way.  Asian friends have told me “you just put in water up to the first knuckle of your pinky finger when placed over the rice.” Yeah, right.  Do you mean an Asian girl pinky finger or a Cody Nancy Ramsey pinky finger?  This here recipe allows you to cook 1/2 cup rice or 5 cups rice.
  • The pot is WAY easier to clean because you’re not boiling the rice until the water is gone.  Big perk.
  • No boiling over because you cook the rice with lid off.   One of the things I hate more than ironing is wiping down the stove top.  Stab stab.

Source: http://xkcd.com/149/

What a great part of summer when fresh chilis from Hatch, New Mexico enter the Central Texas grocery circuit.

These roasted chilis make everything better.  So far, I’ve had roasted chili egg scramble and chili and Parmesan spaghetti squash.  I’d love to try a roasted chili casserole and also posole con hella hatch chilis.

The winner of the Hatch Chili Queen 2010 goes to Erik, who made classic Mac & Cheese with roasted hatch peppers, cotija cheese and Sazon Goya spice.   Drooooool…..