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Monday, June 27, 2011

Pesto Tomato Pizza (with Avocado)

I had been craving pesto for the last several days. I've also had a slight craving for pizza. I memory serves me well, I may have made these before sans avocado. Or maybe it's because it's one of my favorite pizza from the Whole Foods Hot prepared foods area. It could be the latter. I still had some pizza dough that I made a couple months ago that I keep in the freezer. It does help to keep a batch for future use.

I made the pesto fresh the day before. The tomato I used and avocado I've had for about a week in the fridge, so I was definitely beckoning me to use them. I've had my fair share of salads the past two weeks, so I needed to jazz up the two on this meal. Now the avocado can be totally optional for those who don't like it. I added it to the pizza right before serving so it's still fresh and not turn brown in the cooking process. A delicious lunch with a nice cold glass of iced tea. Perfect for a summer day. No fuss meal.

Pesto Tomato Pizza (with Avocado)

1 frozen pizza dough - defrosted
4 Tbsp pesto (recipe below)
1 medium firm tomato - sliced and seeds removed
1 c shredded parmesan cheese
1 small ripe avocado - diced (optional)

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Rolled out the pizza dough to your desired diameter. Spread the pesto evenly leaving roughly 1-inch from the edge for the crust.

Sprinkle half of the cheese over the pesto, then lay the tomato slices, sprinkle the remaining cheese.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (until the cheese has melted and the dough has cooked through).  Just before serving top with the fresh avocado.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Brown Sugar Cookies

I had every intention of baking sugar cookies this week, but when I somehow took one glance at a jarful of light brown sugar those intentions went out the window. I haven't really baked much lately and I've been craving to get my hands dusted in flours once again. Luckily, my landlord had my conventional oven fixed, so now I can get back to business. There's only so much I could make with using a small toaster oven.

I remember I had bookmarked a cookie recipe from Furey and the Feast and felt that this would be a perfect time to try it out. I had just enough ingredients to make a batch. 2 dozen cookies.The original recipe called for dark brown sugar. I use light brown sugar, which was the only thing that I had. I wasn't in the mood to go to the market and buy one item. (I blame the summer weather for my slight laziness). So I bake it up and make around two dozen cookies. With a nice chewy center and crisp crust. You can't go wrong with that. Just make sure you let them cool first before taking a big a bite out of one of them. Yeah... I was eager. My poor tastebuds. hahaha... This is perfect with an evening cup of tea or a nice cold glass of milk.

Makes 24 cookies.

Brown Sugar Cookies
slightly adapted from Furey and the Feast

3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Or you can use a silpat, too.

In a bowl, cream the butter and both sugars. Add egg, vegetable oil an vanilla, and mix until until fully incorporated.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Then add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix until all ingredients just come together (If you have a mixer, you may use it to make the dough).

Divide the dough into 24 golf ball-sized rounds, flatten the dough balls and place on the cookie sheet about 2 1/2 inches to 3 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes for a chewy center with crisp edges. Remove from oven and remove from the baking sheet onto a cooling rack.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Toy Food

No recipe today, but a really cool video I had seen a couple days ago. Thought I'd share it with you all. Who says you can't play with food? Either real or fake. I had seen this video the other day. It's a collection of mini toy food. Cookware, utensils, even a small stove, etc. The works. I could really occupy myself with these all day long.

All the writing on the video are in Japanese, but that doesn't matter. The video below is part 2. There's 4 videos and quite an amazing collection really. I've watched them a couple times already and I'm completely mesmerized by it. I wonder if you could get these in the US.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Devilish Eggs

Has this ever happened you to? You get a craving for a certain food and that feeling won't leave you until you've had that type of food? That's happened to me in the last couple of days. A couple days ago, Chrystal (one half of The Duo Dishes) tweeted a photo of deviled eggs, I had the sudden urge to have them. It was a strong craving for these deviled eggs. So strong that I ended up making myself some the next day. It was either make them or have it bother me until I do. There was no backing down. Good thing I had some eggs left in the fridge. I guess you can call this a craving fulfilled.

Deviled eggs are relatively easy to make. Another name for these delicious little guys are eggs mimosa or so it says on its Wikipedia page.  It's basically hard-boiled eggs with the yolk mixture in it. Everyone's got their own way to making them, but the basic ingredients are eggs, a little bit of mayo and lemon juice with a pinch of salt and pepper. For mine I included some sweet pickle relish, dijon mustard, dry basil. Paprika, which is my favorite spice, is usually just added as a garnish, yet it does give it a nice smokey-ish flavor. No need to be fancy with these. Just plop the yolk mixture into the shell with a spoon and eat up.

It's really tasty and a good way to jazz up the plain old hard-boiled egg. They're great appetizers or finger foods, too.

Easy to make. Easier to eat.

Makes 10 pieces.

Deviled Eggs

5 Eggs
1 tsp lite mayonnaise
1 tsp sweet pickle relish
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp dry basil
salt and pepper

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Hard boil the eggs and let cool until room temp. Discard the shells and carefully cut the eggs in half and remove the yolk and place it into a small bowl. Set the egg white shell aside for the moment.

When all the yolks have been removed, mash them and add the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and dry basil. Combine thoroughly. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Carefully take each half of the egg and scoop a teaspoon of the yolk mixture into the empty egg white shell. Sprinkle a little dusting of paprika. Chill in the fridge, covered, if not serving immediately.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mushroom Avocado Quesadilla

Let's take another trip down memory lane. Because I like revisiting old recipes especially if they contain cheese and other stuff, too. Well...also quesadillas of any kind are quite frankly delicious to eat year round. It doesn't only have to only be cheese in it. You can mix and combine to many ingredients to fit your taste. It's funny because the more you make a certain recipe, the more it becomes a little specialty you can whip up in seconds.

I remember during my college days, one of my favorite picks was ordering up a chicken or sometimes tuna quesadilla. Along with chimichanga Thursdays. Hence why I gained those Freshmen 15 or whatever, but that's another story. I'd always order the large quesadilla with several packs of tapatio sauce on the side. Thinking about it makes me salivate. Hahaha... Oh, the memories. :)

This makes 2 quesadillas.

Mushroom Avocado Quesadillas

Whole Wheat Tortillas (6" or burrito sized)
Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
2 Large Portobello Mushroom caps (rough chopped)
1 medium sized tomato (diced)
1 ripe avocado (sliced)
1 Tbps Butter or margarine
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to season
Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese (optional)
Chopped cilantro (optional)

On medium heat, heat the oil and melt the butter. Once the oil is heated toss in the portabello slices. Cook them until tender and darker in color. Season with some salt and pepper.

Sandwich the cheese between two tortillas and in another pan (medium to high) heat the tortillas until the cheese is melted.

It'll take roughly 3-5 minutes for the cheese to melt and the tortilla to get slightly crisp. Flip the quesadilla and heat the other side for another 3-5 min.

Remove from the skillet and open the quesadilla. Add in the some of the portabellos, tomato, avocado and some of the optional cilantro.

Serve with a side of sour cream.

Note: Toss the avocado with some lemon juice to keep it from turning brown.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Parmesan Mozzarella Popovers

I was watching the show The Best Thing I Ever Ate last week and in one of the episodes one of the chosen eats was popovers. I made them once before last year. I figured it's time to make them again. Yesterday, I had tweeted that I had some baking in the oven while I did some work. Gotta love multi-tasking, right? They are really simple to and it takes only a few ingredients. Now I don't have one of those popover pans. It would be cool to have one, though not really necessary. So I went for the next best thing. A 12-cup muffin pan. Still works out great.  I've been having issues with the conventional oven in my place lately and I don't have have of those 6-cup muffin pans to fit into my little toaster oven.

So after spending a good hour just to trying to start up my old clunker, I set about making the batter. I modified my previous recipe a bit and I find this version to be way better. And they even popped over a bit more, too. They are delicious by themselves, with butter, jam, or for any kind of dip really. I really need to make these more often.

Makes 12-14 muffin popovers


Parmesan Mozzarella Popovers

1 Tbsp unsalted butter - melted and cooled
 2 c all purpose flour
1/3 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 c whole milk (room temperature)
1/3 c shredded parmesan
1/3 c shredded mozzarella

Preheat your oven to 400˚F.

Combine both cheeses in a small bowl and set aside.

In another small bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the milk to combine. Set aside. In another bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Slowly pour the milk mixture and whisk together until smooth.Then add the butter.

Grease a muffin pan with the a little bit of butter (or cooking spray) including the top surface.

Pour a scoop of batter into the muffin molds 1/3 full. Then top each with a good teaspoon of the cheese mix. Bake in the middle rack for 40-50 minutes. Halfway though give the pan a turn. Remove the popovers to a cooling rack and pierce the top with a knife to let out any steam.

Serve warm.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Broiled BBQ Tofu

Tofu isn't really as scary as some people think. One of the great things I find is that it absorbs any flavor you marinate it in, so you do you don't get that bland taste some people tend to dislike about. I had cut them in to rectangular blocks and marinated them for a couple of days for maximum flavorage, if that's even a word. When it finally can time to cook them up. I placed them on a foil lined baking sheet and broiled them for 10 minutes on each side. The edges get a bit crisp giving the tofu an almost char look.

The neat thing about the marinade is that it can also be used as a sauce. From the photos, it may not be the best looking thing on a plate, but the taste sure does make up for it. I even wrapped a piece of bread around it and made a mini sandwich out of it with a dash of sriracha. Mmmmm...

Makes 6 pieces.

Broiled BBQ Tofu

1 pack firm tofu into water

1/2 c soysauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp pepper

In a bowl, combine the ingredients of the marinade together. Whisk together until slightly thick and the brown sugar has fully dissolved. Set aside.

Drain the water from the tofu, carefully pat dry with a paper towl and into 1/2-inch rectangle blocks. Arrange the tofu blocks on a airtight container. Pour the marinade into the container. Be sure to cover cover all pieces. Marinate for at least an hour before cooking or a 1-3 days before to let the tofu fully absorb the flavor.

Preheat your broiler. Line a baking sheet with some foil and place the tofu rectangles flat. When the broiler is hot enough place the tofu rectangles cook for rough 10-15 minutes on each side until the edges are slightly crisp. Lightly baste with the marinade.

Serve warm in a salad, sandwich or your favorite dish.

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