Showing posts with label Savory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Savory. Show all posts

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Copycat Mellow Mushroom pizza dough

Have you ever eaten at Mellow Mushroom? I went once while I was in college many, many years ago. From what I remember, it wasn't all that exciting. My caveat is that I went with a large group, and we probably couldn't decide on a specialty pizza so we ordered something unoriginal and boring. I thought nothing of the restaurant since.

Lo and behold, a Mellow Mushroom recently opened up in my city, and people have been flocking to it like they were giving away free ice cream or something. My husband had never been and obviously heard about the rage, so we planned to eat there one weekend. We took Addie, and she surprisingly did very well during our 30 minute wait to get inside the restaurant and additional 20 minute wait for the food to arrive.

My previous non-memories of Mellow Mushroom have long been erased. My daughter, a non-pizza-crust eater, shoveled the crust into her mouth as quickly as she could (and this was after she already ate an entire bowl full of macaroni and cheese). Addie was onto something - Mellow Mushroom's crust was dark, slightly sweet, chewy, tender, and slightly reminiscent of Steak and Ale's pumpernickel bread. Remember those?

I thought that the crust might have been made with extra sugar and whole wheat but did a Google search to be sure. Surprisingly, I found out that the secret ingredient was molasses. The molasses gave the pizza the dark color and sweetness that I had been wondering about. And how did this taste? Amazing. Since I ran out out molasses, I substituted with maple syrup and my dough did not turn out as dark as the restaurant's. Regardless, the flavors were there - the dough had a slightly sweet undertone and the crust baked up crispy on the outside yet still had a good chew on the inside. My non-crust-loving toddler ate her entire pizza (crust included), so that should tell you how good this dough is.

Copycat Mellow Mushroom pizza dough
  • 1 and 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2 and 1/2 TBSP molasses (I ran out and subbed with maple syrup)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 packets of instant yeast (4 and 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 and 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • cornmeal (used for dusting your parchment paper)
  • melted garlic butter
  • parmesan cheese crumbs
Directions
In a measuring cup, combine water, olive oil and molasses. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer (or if mixing by hand), whisk together the flour, salt and yeast together on low speed. Slowly pour in the molasses mixture and turn the mixer to medium speed and continue to let the dough knead until the dough is smooth. Add more flour if needed.

If making the dough by hand, form a well in the middle of the flour mixture and slowly pour the molasses mixture into it. Using your hands, knead until the dough comes together and is smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Transfer the dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a wet towel and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled (about 1-2 hours).

Preheat your oven to 500°F (or the highest temperature your oven will go). Place your pizza stone in the preheated oven and allow it to heat for at least 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into two halves and form each half into a ball by folding the "sides" of the dough towards the back (imagine you are gift wrapping a balloon). Pinch the "sides" together in the back of the dough and press down slightly.

Cover each dough ball with a wet towel and allow to rise for another 30 minutes. At this point, you can bake the dough balls or transfer to a freezer bag and refrigerate or freeze for a later use.

To bake the dough, sprinkle some corn meal onto a piece of parchment paper. Place the dough down on the parchment, and working from the center, push the dough outwards (you may rotate the dough/parchment) to form a circle. Do not make the center too thin or else it will break.

Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and add your toppings. Bake on the preheated pizza stone for 7-9 minutes or until the crust is golden. Add garlic butter immediately after removing the pizza from the oven and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.

Yield: Two 12-inch pizza crusts

Source: Shutter N Spice; originally adapted from Lark and Lola

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Garlic cheddar biscuits

Another month has gone by, and it's time for another Blogger's Choice recipe swap. Our wonderful hostess Sarah of A Taste of Home Cooking assigned me her blog. I was excited to dig through Sarah's recipe archives and discover what to make. I thought I'd try her baked oatmeal, then changed my mind to chocolate crinkle cookies, and finally ended up baking these garlic cheddar biscuits instead. What can I say, other than the fact that Sarah's got a bunch of great recipes on her blog?

We had some chili in the freezer from our mini Super Bowl party, so while that was thawing out, I baked these biscuits. I thought it would be a nice pairing and that the biscuits would be a great way to mop up the chili in our bowls.

These biscuits were very yummy. They were tender and fluffy and paired extremely well with our chili. I could have easily eaten half the batch for my dinner but refrained from doing so. I liked how these biscuits contained cheese and had the buttery garlic sauce on top. These biscuits would also be a nice compliment to seafood or pasta, and I bet they would taste good for breakfast too.

Thank you Sarah, for hosting our Blogger's swap, and also for sharing this wonderful recipe with me.

Garlic cheddar biscuits
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (for topping)
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Seasoned or garlic salt, to taste
Directions
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Generously grease a muffin tin (alternatively, you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper if you want to free-form your biscuits).

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, 2 ounces of shredded cheese, sugar, baking powder, salt and garlic.

Slowly add in the milk and mix together - do not overmix. Add more flour or milk if the batter is too wet or dry. The resulting batter should be sticky but not too liquidy or dry.

Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, portion out the dough into your prepared muffin tin (or on your baking sheet). Sprinkle the additional shredded cheddar cheese on top of each biscuit.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits turn a light golden color.

In a small bowl, melt the butter, dried parsley and garlic salt. Use a brush to spread on top of biscuits when they are done baking.

Biscuits should be eaten warm but can be stored at room temperature for a few days. They can also be frozen and reheated as necessary.

Yield: I halved the recipe and got 5 biscuits

Source: A Taste of Home Cooking; originally from Sugared Whisk



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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sausage and broccoli frittata

My family has been on a Bon Appetit kick lately. We have finally started bookmarking recipes from our monthly magazine and made them. My husband was flipping through one of our previous issues and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw this frittata. He immediately called me and asked if we could make it that weekend.

The recipe was simple enough. I had never made a frittata before but it was honestly very simple. Addie cracked all 12 eggs without any assistance (I did have to scoop out a bit of shell, but she did really well overall). She even helped me mix in the milk and cheddar and was proud of her contribution. Addie normally isn't a big fan of baked eggs but had a hefty serving of the "egg pie" that she made.

We all liked this dish because it was hearty and contained some vegetables. I hardly seasoned my frittata since the sausage already contained spices and salt. Both my husband and I agreed that this would be a great brunch dish or something to serve to overnight guests (unless of course, you want to make overnight cinnamon rolls).

Sausage and broccoli frittata
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ground sausage
  • 2 heads broccoli crowns, cut into florets
Directions
Preheat your oven's broiler.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Mix in 1/2 cup ofthe grated cheddar, salt and pepper.

In a large oven-proof skillet or cast iron pan, cook the onions and sausage until the sausage is brown and the onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the broccoli and additional salt and pepper (if desired). Keep cooking until the broccoli is tender, about 8-10 minutes longer.

Reduce the heat to low and pour the egg mixture on top of the vegetables. Allow the eggs to cook until the sides are set. Wiggle or shake the pan every once in a while to allow the eggs to cook evenly. This will take about 10-12 minutes.

Add the remaining cheddar on top of the frittata and transfer the pan to the broiler. Broil for about 4 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the eggs are set.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow the frittata to rest for a few minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: About 10-12 slices

Source: Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2013 issue, page 120

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Turkey cranberry wreath


Can you believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving? My family and I will be spending it at my brother and sister-in-law's house. It should be a great time since my parents and my brother's in-laws will be there as well. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.

This recipe is something that uses up some of your Thanksgiving leftovers. It's a meal that everyone in my family enjoys. And yes, I am fully aware that it uses refrigerated crescent rolls, but I just haven't had the time to experiment with an alternative yet. We only eat crescent rolls once or twice a year, so I don't feel too guilty about it. I've had this recipe since 2000, when I attended one of my first Pampered Chef parties. It was a hit back then, too.

My friend Joanna of Kosher Kitchen challenged the What's Baking gals to bake with cranberries this month, and this Pampered Chef recipe happens to use sweetened dried cranberries. Perfect. They add just the right amount of sweetness to this wreath, and the mayonnaise provides just enough moisture to keep the filling plump and juicy. If you wanted, you could add chopped walnuts into the filling for some extra crunch.

Addie originally wasn't a fan of this until we started calling them "pizza rolls." Once we started referring to the wreath as a pizza roll, then she gobbled it up.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Turkey cranberry wreath

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, chopped (I like using rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) Swiss or mozzarella cheese, shredded
Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Unroll one package of the crescent rolls. Arrange them on a large pizza stone (or a lined baking sheet) into a circle - you will want the long points of the triangles sticking outward like the shape of a sun. The short, flat sides of the triangular roll pieces may overlap.

Unwrap the other package of crescent rolls. This time, arrange them so they fill up the center of the circle. The long points of the triangles should face in towards the center of the circle, and the wide ends should overlap with the first batch of crescent rolls you laid down.

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, black pepper, turkey or chicken, celery, cranberries and cheese. Mix well.

Scoop the filling onto the seams of the crescent rolls shape so that it forms a ring.

Using your hands, lift one end of a piece of dough over the filling and tuck it underneath. Alternate lifting from the outside and inside of the filling. Continue lifting and tucking until all the crescent roll ends have been used.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Yield: About 10 servings

Source: Slightly adapted from the Pampered Chef's Season's Best Recipe Collection, Fall/Winter 2000



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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Homemade peanut butter

I know, I know. Why is the girl who doesn't like peanut butter making...peanut butter? Let me explain. You've all heard me rave about my local CSA. For our last box of the season, we received about 2 pounds of Virginia peanuts. Let's be honest here - I wasn't going to touch a bit of those peanuts since I don't like them. And what was my husband going to do with two pounds of them?  Plus, Stephanie from Brownies and Blondies challenged the What's Baking members to create a homemade version of a convenience item in February. That was the inspiration I needed.

My husband tried eating a raw peanut and wasn't impressed. I told him that he needed to roast them at a minimum to bring out the flavor, and then I got an idea - I could make my own peanut butter. He likes buying all natural peanut butters and always supports a local peanut butter vendor at our farmer's market, so I thought it would be fun to try making some at home. Even better yet, I wouldn't have to taste test any so I wouldn't be inhaling any calories this time around. Sounded like a plan to me.

I found Alton Brown's recipe online and found this to be super easy. The hardest part was shelling all the peanuts. I think that process alone took an hour and a half, so let me know if there is a better way to do this!

My husband really loved this homemade peanut butter and was happy that he got to customize it to his palate. We used a local honey to sweeten it, but you can use any kind you like. Next time, I may pull out the lazy card and just buy some pre-roasted peanuts from the grocery store and make peanut butter that way.

Homemade peanut butter
  • 15 ounces shelled and skinned roasted peanuts, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (I used canola)
Directions
In the bowl of a food processor, add the peanuts, salt and honey. Process for 1 minute. Stop the machine to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Put the lid back on and process again while slowly drizzling in the oil. Keep blending until the mixture is smooth, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. If the mixture is still too chunky, keep processing. You may add a tad more oil if needed. Store the peanut butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Roasted peanuts
  • 2 pounds in-shell raw peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (I used canola)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons kosher salt
Roasted peanuts directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse the peanuts in cold water to remove dirt and other grime. Pat the peanuts dry, place in a large bowl, and toss with the oil and salt until well coated.

Place the peanuts on 2 sheet pans and make sure that they are in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, and rotate the pans halfway through cooking.

Once the peanuts have cooled, remove shells and skins and discard.



Yield: About 1-1/2 cups of peanut butter 

Source: Alton Brown, via the Food Network

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Homemade pizza dough


Yeast is an ingredient that induces fear into many beginning bakers and at-home cooks. I was one of them. I wanted to make cinnamon rolls but kept procrastinating and making excuses until I decided to overcome my fear. I successfully made two different overnight cinnamon roll recipes (my first attempt; and my second attempt - which was much better). My mom's large scallion pancake recipe also used yeast, and I have to admit that the ingredient wasn't quite as scary as people made it sound.

Many of my online cooking friends have successfully made their own pizza dough, and I figured it was time to join the bandwagon. There's nothing better than a freshly made pizza, and how cool would it be to make an entire one from scratch?

I found this recipe on Annie's Eats and the dough was surprisingly easy to make. I followed the instructions to a T and froze half of the dough for later use. For our pizza, I made a barbecue chicken pizza with sliced grilled chicken, Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce and shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I baked mine in a 400 degree (Fahrenheit) oven on my pizza stone for 10 minutes and it was perfect. 

My husband was impressed with the dough and said that it tasted even better than the ones we used to buy at the farmer's market. Whoo hoo! Maybe homemade bread will be next on my list, but we'll see about that...

Homemade pizza dough
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2¼ tsp. instant yeast
  • 4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cup water, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Directions
Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle the yeast over the top.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend.  Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture.  With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil.  Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.  Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours. 

Press down the dough to deflate it.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.  (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.)  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes (I preheated my oven to 400 and left my pizza stone in there; I took the stone out as soon as the oven was done preheating).  Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands.  Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil (I did not do this).  Top as desired.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes (my pizza baked at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes).

Yield: Two pizza crusts (each can be rolled out to about a 12-inch diameter)

Source: Annie's Eats; originally adapted from Baking Illustrated

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Large Chinese scallion pancake (蔥油大餅)

Ever since I was little, I've always loved scallion pancakes. My mom would make these from scratch at home, and we sometimes would order them at dim sum houses in Philadelphia. It was fun to judge the restaurants' versions because some of them would be too crispy, too oily, or too thick. In my mind, my mom's version was always the best.

Many years later, my mom was inspired by some of her friends and some of the restaurants in Taiwan. They made a very large scallion pancake called da bing (大餅).  She kept experimenting with the recipe to successfully recreate what she loved about this appetizer. It was crispy on the outside, fluffy like a bread on the inside, and contained the scallions and salt that she loved about a traditional scallion pancake. After many rounds of tweaking, she finally nailed the recipe.

I am fortunate that Mom gave me the completed recipe so I didn't have do all the trial and error myself. Having a toddler at home makes it hard for me to spend the time to experiment on my own, so I am glad that I didn't need to make any additional revisions for this da bing.

My husband and I recently joined a CSA, and in our very first box was a bunch of large spring onions. It was the perfect way to showcase this fresh produce while also tackling one of Mom's recipes. I found that I needed more flour than what my mom listed, but otherwise, the flavor and texture of the da bing is just as Mom makes it. My husband noted that this rivaled my mom's version, and I take that as the highest compliment.

You can serve this plain, or like my husband, dip it in some Asian sweet chili sauce for an added kick. The da bing will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Just make sure you wrap it tightly with tin foil or put it in an air-tight container. You can reheat in the microwave (about 30 seconds or so for a wedge) or in the oven (350 for about 5 min).

Ingredients
  • 2 cups of water or milk (Mom and I use milk but she says water could work too)
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups of all purpose flour (I probably used up to 4 or 5 cups)
  • 1 packet of yeast (not the instant kind)
  • Sugar (about 1/2 tsp)
  • Salt
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Oil
Directions
Warm the milk in the microwave so that it's no longer cold. Do not scald or boil the milk.

Add the sugar to the milk and stir. Then add the yeast and let it proof for about 5 minutes.  You should see the top get foamy.

Add the milk mixture to the flour and mix until just incorporated. Set it aside and let it rise for about 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1 cm thick. Then, using a brush, coat the top of the dough with some oil. Sprinkle the surface with salt and chopped scallions.

Roll, jelly-roll style into a long rope. Coil the rope into a circle and flatten/roll out with a rolling pin. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rise for another 2 hours. Your da bing should end up being about 10 inches in diameter and at least 1 inch thick.

Lightly oil a large nonstick skillet or pan. On LOW heat (do not turn this to medium or high heat!), slowly pan fry the dough. Once the bottom starts to get crispy and the dough looks done on one side (about 10 minutes later), flip the pancake over and brown the other side. This pan-frying step should take about 20 minutes total - 10 minutes on each side. Remember to go low and slow!

Once done, the top and bottom of the pancake should be crispy and the inside should be fully cooked. Cut into pie-sliced wedges and serve.


Source: My mom (original source unknown)

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