Friday, April 25, 2014

Pizza Surprise

Friday night is pizza night and that means bring your creativity. How the pizza is topped is always a surprise and has lots to do with what's left in the fridge from the week! Last week The RQ, Little Brother, and P< enjoyed homemade pizza ever so lightly drizzled with olive oil, roasted red peppers, and sauteed onions. Ah, simple pleasures!

The RQ recommends always proofing the yeast. It doesn't take long and prevents waisting ingredients if it's not active. To proof active dry yeast dissolve yeast (amount called for in recipe of choice) in 1/4 cup warm water (100-110F), stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar, and let sit 10 minutes. If the mixture doubles the yeast  is ready to go. Remember to make quantity adjustments for sugar and water used in proofing.

Pizza Dough
(2 small pizzas)

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast or rapid rise
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups ice cold water
1 Tablespoon olive/vegetable oil
1 heaping teaspoon salt

Proof yeast. While waiting for yeast to expand, combine flour and remaining sugar in food processor or kitchen aid with dough attachments. Once yeast is successfully proofed, gradually add 3/4 cup of the ice cold water to the dry ingredients on low speed. Next add proofed yeast mixture (includes 1/4 cup of water for total needed in recipe). Follow with the as much remaining 3/4+ cup ice cold water to bring the dough to a well-formed ball. Remember, the dough doesn't like to get too wet so be watchful! Now mix in oil and salt. Place dough on flat surface and knead for a few minutes or until smooth. Place in an oiled bowl and allow the dough to rise at least 3 hours. Punch down and let rise for another 30-60 minutes. Place inverted jelly-roll pan in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 500F. Split dough in half and roll dough. Lightly brush pan with olive oil and place pizza dough directly to bake for 5 minutes or less, when bottom begins to crisp but not brown. Remove dough with spatula to cutting board or appropriate surface to dress with toppings of choice! Place back in oven for an addition 7-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Since the very first time CC made this decadent dessert The Red Queen continues to be amazed with the simplicity and pleasant surprise of avocado taking center stage. Once again, CC has impressed the kingdom with the healthy and creative food choices of a vegan lifestyle!

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

1 avocado, ripe and chilled
2-4 Tablespoons dutch cocoa (depending on chocolate depth desired)
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine milk, vanilla, and maple syrup, and set aside. Gently mash avocado. When almost smooth add cocoa and continue mashing till smooth. Add milk mixture slowly till all ingredients are well combined. Top with shaved coconut (shown here) fresh raspberries, and/or mint. Toasted nuts also make a lovely topping.

Alternative: Add 2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter for peanut butter lovers!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Three Entrees Featured in Bon Appetit

Roasted root vegetables and new baby spring vegetables are enjoyed with a variety of pairings in honor of the Spring season! As these dishes were inspired by the April edition of Bon Appetit I post them together.

 Barley in a Green Sauce prepared like Risotto
(This was a WONDERFUL suprise!)

Cod in a Green Onion Sauce prepared stovetop
(The RQ highly recommends less leek and more celery and cilantro in the green sauce).

Seared and Roasted Chicken Thighs with Artichokes and Sugar - Peas
(B/C The RQ was only making a few chicken pieces she omitted the extra broth. Delish!)