Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Easy Peazy Pizza

Pizza with Spinach, Cheddar, and Spicy Beef

A lot of people are scared to try pizza from scratch because of the yeast and labour involved. I’m here to tell you it’s not that hard, and kneading the dough is a GREAT arm workout without having to schlep to the gym! It also allows for complete control, meaning that you can make healthier choices where toppings are concerned.

Once the dough is made, you can keep it in the fridge of a couple of days, breaking off a ball as needed, or stash it wrapped in the freezer for a couple of months to thaw out when you’re ready. Not only is pizza a crowd pleaser, but it’s also an economical way of using leftovers.

Lemme show you.

Difficulty Level: Medium - Easy
Prep  time: 30 Minutes + 1 hour rise time for dough
Bake time: 10 to 15 minutes

Makes 4 Pizzas

Ingredients

PIZZA DOUGH

1 Packet Dry Active Yeast

1 Teaspoon of Honey

1 Cup Warm Water

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil + More for Greasing

1 Generous Pinch of Salt

Approximately 2 ½ Cups of All Purpose Flour + More for dusting – If you want to be extra healthy, swap out half a cup of all purpose for ½ a Cup Whole Wheat flour

SAUCE

¼ Cup Olive Oil

Herb of choice – Oregano is a safe bet because it’s one of the few herbs that’s better when dried, but you could use basil or parsley too

1 Large Clove of Garlic, grated

1 ½ Cups Canned Crushed tomatoes

1 Pinch of Sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Pinch of chili flakes - Optional


TOPPING SUGGESTIONS
They’re just suggestions because I sincerely believe you can put almost ANYTHING on a pizza

Cheese – Mozzarella, cheddar, goat, or parmesan –  Thinly slice or grated - use what you like, though mozzarella tends to give the best gooey stretch when melted

Leftover Cooked Ground Meat – I’ve even used leftover taco meat on pizza and it works great!

Pepperoni or other cured meat

Cooked, Crumbled Italian Sausage

Drained, diced Pineapple – It’s a Canadian thing

Minced Cooked Ham

Chopped Veggies of choice

Grilled veggies of choice – Grilled Eggplant and Peppers are particularly great on pizza

Equipment

1 Knife and Cutting Board

2-3 Small Bowls

1 Large Mixing Bowl

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Plastic wrap or a tea towel

A clean surface, such as a countertop or large cutting board

Rolling pin – Optional

1 Regular Spoon

To get the dough started, put the warm water in a small bowl and stir in the honey. Add the yeast and wait about 5 – 10 minutes.

While waiting, combine the flour and salt in a big bowl.

When the yeast is bubbling and rising up the bowl, pour and scrape into the bowl with the flour. Add in the Olive Oil.

Mix it with your hands until it starts to form a dough. If the dough feels too dry to you, add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time. If it feels too wet, add a little more flour.

Once it starts coming together in the bowl, dust a clean surface with a generous amount of flour and dump out the dough.

Knead the dough for about 10 – 15 minutes.

You knead the dough by squishing it in your hands and pushing it firmly against the floured surface, repeating the process and adding a bit more flour here and there if the dough starts sticking to you or your surface.The dough is ready when you can rub your palm over its surface and it feels smooth to the touch and non-sticky.

Grease the large bowl with a generous amount of Olive Oil and put the dough back in it.

Cover with plastic wrap or a large tea towel and put in a warm place for at least an hour to rise. If you have errands to run, now’s a good time.

One the dough has risen, feel free to divide it into 4 balls and store what you need.

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes at room temperature so they can marry.

While it's doing that, take out your toppings of choice and preheat your oven to 425 0F.

Take your ball of pizza dough and gently stretch it to size between your hands OR put some more flour on a clean surface and roll it into a thin circle with a rolling pin.

Transfer the dough to your baking sheet. Don’t worry about it sticking. Once the pizza is cooked, it should slide off easily.

Spread the sauce onto the dough using the back of a regular spoon in circular motions, leaving half an inch uncovered to act as crust.

Top with a small amount of cheese and then add your toppings. This base layer of cheese keeps the toppings from making the crust too soggy. Top with more cheese as desired.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and the cheese is melted.

Let it cool for 5 minutes so it’s not napalm-hot and enjoy!

 -Samantha R. Gold


Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Snickerdoodles


A snickerdoodle is a long-winded confusing name for a cinnamon sugar cookie.

Spiced cookies are a bit of a balancing act. Too much spice and your cookies will taste like soap. Too little and you can’t taste it at all. Too many other ingredients and you might as well not add the spice to begin with. That’s why following a recipe like this one is best.

These melt-in-your mouth cookies are great with a cup of tea or coffee and are nice treat when you want something sweet but not TOO sweet.

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium - Easy
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Baking time: 15 Minutes

Makes about a dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

¼ Cup Whole Wheat Flour

¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg – You can buy nutmeg whole and grate it yourself or buy the stuff pre-ground. The latter is easier and weaker in flavor, so ideal if you have any fussy eaters in your home.

½ Teaspoon of Salt

¾ Teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 Large Egg

2/3 Cup Butter at room temperature – You can get it to this temperature by cutting it into cubes, putting it on a plate, and leaving it in a warm place for 15 minutes, or popping it in the microwave for 15 seconds.

1 Tablespoon + ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon – Divided

1 ½ Cups Granulated Sugar –Divided

½ Teaspoon Vanilla extract or Rum – Optional – It adds nice flavor, but it’s not necessary.

Equipment

Parchment Paper

2 Baking Sheets

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Medium Sized Mixing Bowl

1 Large Mixing Bowl

Electric Beaters or 1 Whisk

1 Wooden spoon

1 fork

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flours, the salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and the ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, stirring with a fork to combine.

In your big mixing bowl, beat the butter and ½ cup of sugar together until fluffy.

Beat the egg and Vanilla (if using) into the butter and sugar mixture.

Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until it forms a slightly crumbly dough.

Stick the bowl in the fridge and walk away for at least 30 minutes. Chilling the dough will keep the cookies from spreading out too much while baking.

Preheat the oven to 325 oF.

In the same medium sized bowl you kept the dry ingredients in, combine the 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon with 1 Cup of Granulated sugar.

Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take the dough out of the fridge.

With clean hands, compress the dough into balls about an inch and a half across and roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Place them on the baking sheet a couple of inches apart to allow them to spread.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.

Cool on the pan for 10 minutes and serve!

-Samantha R. Gold


Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.

















Sunday, February 11, 2018

Creamy Shrimp Pasta


Hello All!

After a long hiatus to settle some health crap, I’m back Baby! And I’m ready to teach you all the great recipes and techniques I can to make 2018 a little tastier and a little healthier while still making cooking a lot more fun!

Today, I want to teach you a recipe for Valentine’s Day!

Since last year I did sweet, this year I’m going savory with a delicious creamy shrimp pasta! This dish is not only impressively tasty but you can have it on the table for your loved one(s) in 30 minutes without the exorbitant restaurant price!

It also happens to be red and pink ;)

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium - Easy
Prep and Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients

1/2 a Can of Ground Tomatoes OR plain Tomato Sauce

1 Pound of Shrimp - Peeled and De Veined - Raw or Cooked, it doesn't matter much

1 Cup of dry White Wine OR Clam Juice - You can get the latter in the grocery store - I think it's kept with the canned tuna

1 Cup of Whipping Cream

Pinch of Chili Flakes - Optional

4 Tablespoons of Fresh Garlic, peeled and finely minced

½ Teaspoon of Basil or Oregano

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil - Divided

1 Tablespoon of Butter

1 box of Pasta of choice – 375 g - Angel Hair cooks fast but Linguine works great too!

Equipment

1 Whisk

1 Deep Frying Pan

1 Pair of Tongs

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Knife and Cutting Board

1 Large Pot and Strainer to cook your pasta with

Season the shrimp with oregano or basil, salt, pepper, and chili flakes.

Start getting your pasta ready.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of Olive oil in a deep frying pan and warm - if the shrimp are already cooked - OR - cook the shrimp JUST until they turn pink.

Turn off the heat for a second and transfer the shrimp to another bowl for a bit.

Heat the same pan again and add the remaining Olive oil and butter.

Dump in the garlic and cook until it softens and becomes smelly - cookbooks call this "fragrant" but we know what's up ;)

Add the clam juice or white wine and simmer for a minute.

Add the ground tomatoes or Sauce and whisk to combine.

When it starts to bubble, whisk in the cream until well combined.

Taste and adjust for salt.

Add the freshly cooked and drained pasta and the shrimp - adding the shrimp last will keep them from overcooking.

Toss everything together and serve!

Enjoy!

And HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.