Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Rosie Makes White Pizza.

The Hawthornes love their pizza.
And I make pizza at least once a week.
Crust from scratch.
Tomato sauce from scratch.
Then add assorted toppings.

So today, I wanted pizza.  Again.  But slightly different.
Scratch that tomato sauce.  I want a white pizza!  No tomato sauce, but a white sauce.

First, make the dough for the crust.

Rosie's Pizza Crust

1/2 cup warm water
1 packet yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup + flour
olive oil

Pour water into a bowl and sprinkle yeast in.  Sprinkle sugar over top of yeast and let it proof.  That means the yeast has to "prove" it's alive by eating the sugar and bubbling and getting puffy and foamy as it ferments and releases carbon dioxide and alcohol.  Fork in the flour and add the salt.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead it until you have a nice smooth, elastic ball.  Oil a medium sized bowl, place the ball of dough in the bowl, turning to coat in oil.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.  (This allows the flavors to develop.)
That is if you have the time.
If not, that's OK.
You can turn the dough out onto a well-oiled pizza pan right now if you want and start spreading the dough out.
Working from the center, just start pressing the dough outward.  Let it rest, then press again.  Press and rest.  Don't rush it.  Take your time.
When you get the dough pressed out, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over top and let it rise in a warm place.

Now, here's a Rosie Hint you can use any time you're letting dough rise and you want to give it a little boost.  I wet a towel, nuke it for 2 minutes, then place the covered bowl of dough in the microwave on top of the hot towel, close the door, and let the heat and steam do their magic.

Make the white sauce while the dough is rising.

Here's Rosie's white sauce, camouflaged with the crust, and hidden by my toppings - spinach, mushrooms, red peppers, and onions.

White Sauce For Pizza
2 TB unsalted butter
2 TB flour
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup milk
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in a small saucepan.
Add in shallot and garlic clove and cook about a minute or two, stirring.  Do not brown the garlic - it gets bitter and will ruin the whole sauce.
Add in flour and cook over medium heat, stirring, to cook the raw out of the flour.
Stir in the milk, cooking, until thickened.
Stir in cheese and let melt.  Pepper.  Taste test.  If you want kosher salt, add in a pinch.

Spread white sauce over pizza crust.

Add the toppings.
I used spinach, sliced mushrooms, sliced red peppers, sliced red onions.
Then, for a nice earthy touch, I put a drop of black truffle oil on top of each mushroom slice.

Top with assorted white cheeses, grated.
I used provolone and Gruyère.
Give it a light drizzling of extra virgin olive oil.

Heat oven with a pizza stone to 500°.
Place pizza pan on top of stone for 3 minutes.
Turn 180° and cook another 3 minutes.
Slide pizza off pan and onto pizza stone.  (This is where the well-oiled pizza pan comes in handy.)
Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Remove from oven and slide pizza onto wire rack.
Let cool for a few minutes, then slice.

Most excellent pizza!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Shrimp And Tamales And Garlic Cream Sauce.


Years ago, I was watching Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate,"
and one of the items featured was Bobby Flay's Shrimp and Tamales and Garlic Cream Sauce.
I bookmarked that dish somewhere in my brain and I finally got around to making it the other day.
Wish I hadn't waited so long.

This dish has three parts - soaked corn husks containing the flavored masa filling, sautéed shrimp, and a roasted garlic cream sauce.

Corn husks can be found in the Hispanic section of the grocery store.  Rinse the husks under running water, then soak them for at least two hours before stuffing them with the masa filling.

While the husks were soaking, I made a vegetable stock for the masa filling.
Vegetable Stock
assorted vegetables - I used carrots, celery, onions with skins, scallions, peppers, garlic, and mushrooms.
Coarsely chop the vegetables and cover with 2 quarts of water.  I leave the skins on the onions for extra flavor and I coarse chop to allow for more surface area on the vegetables for more flavor.
Add in a few sprigs of fresh thyme, some bay leaves, and a handful of fresh parsley.  And maybe a teaspoon of kosher salt.
Let simmer for 30-45 minutes, skimming any foam off the top.  Taste test and add more salt if needed.

Strain out liquid and discard vegetables.  The vegetables have served their duty admirably.
Reserve liquid for tamale stuffing.  Freeze any leftover vegetable stock and use whenever you want a punch of flavor in something you'd ordinarily use plain water in - say when you're cooking rice or pasta.

Tamale Stuffing
1 large red onion, chopped
3 ears of corn, kernels sliced off
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
6 oz. corn meal
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 TB honey

Purée onion, corn, and stock in a food processor.  Stir in the butter, cornmeal, and honey until well combined and no lumps.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the tamale mixture into each corn husk, then tie up the bundles with a strip of husk.  Arrange tamales in a single layer on a steaming rack, cover with foil, and steam over boiling water for 60-70 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

Slice off the corn kernels and chop the onion.

Combine corn and onion in processor and pour in stock.

Process away.

Stir in melted butter ...

... honey ...
... and cornmeal.

Stir until smooth.  Sort of.

Spread soaked corn husks open.

Ladle in some tamale stuffing mixture.

And tie up into cute little packets.

I placed my tamales on a rack over water, covered them with foil, and steamed in a 350° oven for about an hour.

While the tamales were steaming, I worked on the Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce.

Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
1 head of garlic  (I mean the whole head, not just individual cloves.)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

For the garlic, drizzle oil over the entire head, cover in foil, and bake in a 350° oven for about an hour.

Drizzle a little oil in a sauce pan, heat it up, then sauté the chopped onion for 2-3 minutes over medium low heat.  Remove the individual garlic cloves from the head and squeeze the garlic purée out of the skins and stir into the sautéed onion. 

 Roasted garlic is a lovely thing.  Try a taste!

Add in the wine and cook until the wine is almost evaporated.
Add in the cream, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half - about 20 minutes.

Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and taste test.

Sauté the onion in a bit of oil, then squeeze each garlic clove into the pan.

Lastly, prepare the shrimp.
Toss the shrimp in a mixture of equal parts cornmeal and cornstarch, seasoned with a few shakes of Old Bay, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and cayenne.

Heat a skillet with thin layer of peanut oil over high heat.  Add the shrimp and sauté each side 60-75 seconds, or until shrimp is lightly brown.  Don't over cook your shrimp!

To serve, set one tamale on plate.
Ladle some roasted garlic cream sauce and place the shrimp on top.
Sprinkle over some sliced scallions and chopped red peppers for the flavor and the pretty.

 Cut off the end of the corn husk and let the masa filling flow out.


Friday, September 15, 2017

The Vegans Are Coming! The Vegans Are Coming!

Don't care for 'em.
But at least it gave me a chance to see Middle Hawthorne who left Florida and Irma for the comforts and safety of Home.

Don't care for 'em.

OK.  Just kidding.
If I'm hungry enough, I'll eat a vegan.

Anyhoos, Rosie loves a challenge.
Rosie is nothing if not adaptable.
I had two Visiting Vegans to feed and I did so with aplomb.
They ate well and liked it!

Of course I had hummus for them.  (Click link for recipe.)  And this ain't just any kind of run-of-the-meal hummus.  Every friggin' garbanza bean was PEELED by yours truly.  For that extra creamy texture.  And it was all made with Freakin' Love, dammit! 

 Breakfast was my potatohashbrownpancakes with a slight adjustment.  (Click link for the recipe.)
Instead of egg whites, I substituted homemade applesauce for the binder.
Along with the potatoes, you had the flavor of fried apples in there.
Quite tasty.

Dinner for my vegans was General Rosie's Tofu.  It's marinated fried tofu with steamed broccoli served on a bed of rice.   (Click on the link for the recipe.)
I make this a lot since Youngest Hawthorne loves it.
Even I like this and I never thought I'd say that about tofu.         
Wouldja look at that?
I stepped outside during kitchen duties and captured this sun dawg.
This atmospheric phenomenon is created by sunlight refracting off ice crystals in cirrus clouds.

Now, back to my vegans.
 Here are the fixin's for the salad.

I'm making a broccoli salad with a creamy cashew dressing.
Broccoli Salad With Cashew Dressing

1 cup cashews
1/3 cup water
3 TB pure maple syrup
3 TB cider vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced

Cover the cashews with water and refrigerate overnight.  Drain.
Combine all ingredients in processor and process until smooth.
Season, to taste, with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Pour over broccoli salad and toss to coat.

Broccoli Salad
1 head broccoli, cut into florets and blanched
Drop florets into boiling water and cook until al dente - usually this is the time it takes for the water to come back up to a boil.  Drain and cool.
Combine broccoli with a handful of toasted almonds, sliced red grapes, chopped red onion, and craisins.
Pour cashew dressing over salad and toss to coat evenly.
Oh my.  This is good.
And no dairy products were involved!

Next vegan dish is potato dill salad.
  Red Potato and Green Bean Salad with Dijon Dill Dressing
about a dozen or so small red potatoes
2 -3 handfuls of green beans

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.
Drain in a colander and IMMEDIATELY pour about 2-3 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar over the hot potatoes.  (That step is KEY.)   Let cool.

Drop green beans into boiling salted water and cook until al dente.  Again, this is about the amount of time it takes for the water to come back to a boil, but if you like your beans more done, then cook longer.  It's up to you.  Drain.  Let cool.

Make the dressing:
3 TB white distilled vinegar
3 TB Dijon mustard
3/4 cup vegetable oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped fresh dill

Whisk vinegar and mustard until well combined.
Gradually whisk in oil until emulsified.  Really whisk so the dressing doesn't separate later.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
I find that a mini-processor works quite nicely for the dressing.  Process away and the emulsion won't separate.

Combine potatoes and beans.  Pour dressing over, add dill, and toss to coat. 

Now, for my fur-babies.
 Beau was happy to be back with Nana.
I spoil him and he likes to be spoiled.

Joy was happy to be here too.  
She loves the pool!

Junior was happy when everybody left.
He likes to be top dog. 

Just the week before, Giada came to visit.
 Along with Dogwood.

 So Junior was stressed what with all that company.

 However, Junior was very excited when he discovered a box turtle.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Rosie Makes Spring Rolls.

 I love spring rolls.
They're light, colorful, delicious, and fun to make.
That said, I was all set to make some beautiful spring rolls.
I had my rice sheets ready, along with a dipping sauce, and all my stuffin's.
I was ready to go!

I envisioned myself making kaleidoscopic spring rolls to rival Masaharu Morimoto's rolls,
amazing in their geometric precision.

 And because of a misspent youth, I thought I had this rolling process down pat.
 I had high hopes.  Truly I did.
My execution, however, was somewhat lacking.

Let's start at the beginning.

Here are my ingredients:
green bamboo infused rice from The Spice and Tea Exchange in Duck
The rice was cooked according to package directions, then I drizzled a little sushi vinegar over top and tossed it.
shrimp from the Hawthorne freezer, boiled and sliced
scallion, julienned
carrot, julienned
cucumber, julienned
red and green pepper, julienned
mesclun mix of greens, from Rosie's garden
purple and green basil, from Rosie's garden
mint, from Rosie's garden

I soaked my rice paper in warm water for about 30 seconds, or until it was pliable, then spread it out on my work surface.

I "artfully" arranged my ingredients on the rice paper.

And then I rolled up the rice sheets.
Honestly, I really thought I'd be better than this.

And I made a dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup Tamari sauce
1 TB rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 knob ginger, pressed
1 scallion, sliced
pinch cayenne flakes

Mix all together.
As for the ginger, whenever I buy it, I cut it into 1-inch cubes and freeze it.  When I'm ready to use it, I peel off the skin and nuke the frozen cube for about 23 seconds.  Then I squeeze out the juice with my fingers or you can have a go at it with a garlic press.  This is how you get ginger JUICE!  You can't get ginger juice from fresh ginger.  Scrape the ginger pulp off the press into the dipping sauce.

How do you like my plate?
That was one of my acquisitions from the KDH recycling center!
Never know what I'm going to find there.
Did you know people actually dump BOOKS there?
For God's sake, the library is just around the corner!
But I digest...

I sliced my rolls into bite-sized pieces.

Drizzled some of the dipping sauce around.
And there you have it.
These were delightful.
Then I decided it needed a little something-something.
So I toasted some sesame seeds and crushed peanuts.
And the nuttiness delivered another nuance.

Happy food!