Friday, August 28, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers Challenge - White Pizza with Arugula

This recipe was brought to us by Andrea of Nummy Kitchen. I have always been wanting to have different pizzas and just never really tried anything out of the normal.

I will say I tried making Ina's pizza dough and it did NOT come out the correct way. I had to leave it and walk away for a little while. I decided to make a different and new recipe that I could throw into my bread machine. Let me just say I have found my new pizza dough. More on that recipe in another post.

I loved the mix of the three cheeses. Oh yumm... The garlic oil not sure what I can say about that. The fragrance in the house was to die for.

I hope everyone had a better time with their dough and enjoyed the rest of the pizza as much as I did.

White Pizza with Arugula


For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the topping:
3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon, sliced


Mix the dough.

Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
Knead by hand.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.

Let it rise.

Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Make garlic oil.

Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)

Portion the dough.

Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Stretch the dough.

Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)

Top the dough.

Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.

Make the vinaigrette.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Add the greens.

When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and a slice of lemon and serve immediately.

TIP Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop.

TIP Salt inhibits the growth of yeast; add half the flour, then the salt, and then the rest of the flour.

TIP To make sure yeast is still "alive," or active, put it in water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it becomes creamy or foamy, it's active.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garden beauties

I don't have much of a garden just a couple roma tomatoe plants, a couple of yellow pear tomatoe plants and two pepper plants. The yellow pear plants seemed to being growing crazy (they were almost at tall as me). One day I was talking to a friend while I was looking at her garden. I mentioned none of my tomatoes were changing colors. She was here for the bbq and said the plants needed to be cut back so the nutrients went to the tomatoes instead of the sucker branches.

I came home and cut back the plant. Can you believe with in a couple of days the tomatoes started to change color. Just this morning I picked 13 yellow pear tomatoes. My romas need a couple more days.

Stuffed Zucchini

My youngest son planted a couple of zucchini seeds this past spring. Only one seed grew into a plant. From one plant we have had atleast 12 fruits. Nicholas sent two regular size zuch's home with Melissa on the plane. She said they made it in one piece.

The last few zuch's Nick picked have been about 12 inches long and quite plump. So I decided to use one for dinner. I made for the first time Stuffed Zucchini. I kinda used my stuffed pepper recipe and it came out great.

Stuffed Zucchini

(recipe to follow)

My birthday gift

My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I originally told him I wanted two cabinets to go under my craftroom counter. I showed him the ones I wanted from Ikea. He is not a big Ikea fan and said I thought you wanted some new pots and pans. Well I do, I said. So I started the my quest for the "right" set of cookware.

I searched several websites for different types. I found a few sites with consumer opinions and even one that described the differences. One morning I woke at 4:45 am and had a discussion with my husband about them. He said, "Boy, you are really conflicted abought this decision." I didn't want to buy just some cheap inexpensive cookeware again. I have two sets already.

I finally had it down to two sets of cookware. One was a 13 piece set by Cooks (found at JcPenny). The other set was a 13 piece set with two Bonus pieces from Calphalon (found at Macys). The bonus pieces was the 6 piece utensil set and a 5-Qt. Dutch Oven Set. I told the lady I didn't want the 5 qt dutch oven since it was non-stick. She let me substitute it with a 12 qt stock pot.

We went with the Calphalon. Can you believe I have not opened the box yet. The weather here has been too hot to cook lately, so that is really the reason I have not opened the box yet. Plus I need to make room for all my goodies.

My 40th Birthday Celebration

Recently I celebrated the big 40. We were having a BBQ and my husband decided to make it a celebration. I have the best husband and sister in law I could ever imagine having. I have a good friend Melissa who lives out in Michigan who came out for my birthday. Now a little history, I met Melissa a few years ago on a website called Split Coast Stampers. We have emailed each other over the years. Several times we have web-cammed with another friend Donna (many laughs there). Melissa and I have spoken many hours on the phone together. She is like my childhood friend but never met until August 7, 2009.

Friday before the BBQ I was running around the house getting things cleaned, organized and setup. I sat down for a few minutes (watched my favorite soap opera while my boys were outside picking up the yard) and saw a car slowly drive by. Now I wouldn't have given it any thought had just that morning 50 million other cars (a little exaggerated) hadn't turned around in my driveway. So I got and looked to see what this person was doing. The car actually pulled into my driveway and parked. Now I'm thinking who the heck is this car/person. Once I saw Melissa's face I was shocked. Never knew she was coming. My hands were trembling.

I went out side and asked what the hell was going on... She hands me the phone and Donna was on the other line laughing. So Donna knew also. I have met Donna last year when I was visiting my parents in NC. Me and the boys drove 3 hours to meet Donna & Melanie for the first too. What a great visit that was.

So Melissa and I chatted from Sun up to Sun Down. She was a big help the day of the bbq. She is so organized and made me keep my kitchen clean. lol.... I don't think I have ever met someone with so many similarities as myself. We both love to cook, her a little than me.

Melissa I hope you don't kill me for posting our picture.

White Sangria

White sangria is one of my ultimate summer drinks. Many years ago I tried making a red sangria and I hated the recipe. After a while I got a subscription to Cuisine At Home cooking magazine and they had a White Sangria recipe on the back cover. I decided to try and I absolutely Loved it. I have even used red wine instead white and it was just a good.

White Sangria

½ cups Hot Water
½ cups Sugar
1 bottle White Wine
¾ cups Brandy
1 whole Vanilla Bean
1 whole Lime, Sliced Into Rounds
1 whole Orange, Sliced Into Rounds
½ whole Pineapple, Cored And Sliced Into Rings
2 cups Club Soda

In a pitcher, dissolve the sugar with the hot water.

Add the white wine, brandy, vanilla bean, limes, oranges and pineapple.

Chill for about 2 hours.

Stir in the club soda and some ice.

Pour into glass and garnish with a wedge of pineapple or slice of citrus

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers Challenge - Mango Banana Daiquiris

This drink was a wonderful frozen concoction to have on a steamy New England day and my birthday.

My sister-in-law Kathy and mother-in-law Sheila came over yesterday afternoon. We sat out by the pool chatting up a storm. I never knew my mother-in-law did not like mangos, but she had one for the first time yesterday and seemed to have enjoyed the drink.

I personally thought there was a "good" amount of rum in it. Let's just say I could have curled up on the sofa and fallen asleep at 6pm.

This recipe was brought to us by Veronica of Supermarket Serenade.

Mango Banana Daiquiris
serves 4

2 cups chopped ripe mango (1 to 2 mangos, peeled and seeded)
1 ripe banana, chopped
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
1/4 cup sugar syrup*
1 1/4 cups dark rum, such as Mount Gay
Mango slices, for serving

Place the mango, banana, lime juice, sugar syrup, and rum in a blender and process until smooth. Add 2 cups of ice and process again until smooth and thick. Serve ice-cold in highball glasses with the mango slices.

*To make simple syrup, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Chill.