Friday, September 21, 2018

Creamy Seafood Pasta



Pasta dishes are a favorite of fancy restaurants because they’re cheap, quick to make, and they somehow get away with overcharging for them. I say: why not just make it at home? It’s pretty easy if you have a solid recipe and doing it at home gives you complete control over what’s in it. Take this dish.

Seafood Pasta is a classic that is crazy expensive in restaurants, so why pay for it? With a few clever tricks and thirty minutes you can put something on the table that’s delicious and a great dish to impress a date with because it looks, smells and tastes fancy.

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium
Cook time: 20-30 Minutes

Serves 2 to 4 Depending on appetites

Ingredients

1 Bag of Frozen Shrimp (peeled and de-veined) and Scallops containing about 40 total - Thawed – Frozen is cheaper and tastes great if done right – I’ll show you how, don’t worry

1 Bag or Box of your favorite Pasta – I used penne for this recipe, but linguine works great too

1 ¾ Cups Full Fat Milk

¼ Cup + 1 Teaspoon of Dry White Wine, divided – Whatever’s cheap

1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon of Butter, divided

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon of Canola Oil or any other oil that can withstand high heat

3 Cloves of Garlic, finely minced

1 ½ Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

Salt and Pepper – to taste

A pinch of chili flakes – Optional

A pinch of Smoked Paprika - Optional

1 Tablespoon of Chopped, Fresh Herbs – I used Basil and Parsley, but Dill would work great too

Equipment

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Knife and Cutting Board

1 Frying Pan

2 Small Bowls

1 Large Bowl

1 Pot and Strainer – To boil your pasta

1 Pair of Tongs

1 Whisk

1 Wooden spoon

Fill a pot with water and put it on high heat to start your pasta. Once the water is boiling, season generously with salt and add your pasta of choice, stirring with tongs to separate them. Once at the desired doneness, drain in a strainer WITHOUT rinsing and set aside. I just leave it in the strainer in the sink until I’m ready to use it.

Separate your shrimps and scallops into 2 small bowls and season liberally with salt, pepper, and chili if you like em. A common mistake with seafood is thinking they call be cooked the same way. Doing it that way results in overcooked, rubbery shrimp and scallops. Cooking them separately ensures perfect doneness.

Heat your frying pan on high heat and add a teaspoon of Canola oil. Add the scallops and cook them on high for a no more than a minute or until brown and caramelized on one side. Dump them in the big bowl. They’ll cook the rest of the way when added to the cream sauce.

Turn off the heat and in the same frying pan add 1 Teaspoon of Butter. Turn the heat to medium high and add the shrimp, garlic, and a teaspoon of White Wine. The SECOND the shrimp are pink, dump them in the same bowl with the scallops.

In the same frying pan you cooked the seafood in, melt a Tablespoon of butter and Olive Oil together on medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the top and whisk to combine. Cook until it turns light brown.

Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Add the rest of the white wine and the remaining minced garlic, smoked paprika if using, and keep whisking. Simmer until the sauce has thickened. Taste and season for salt and pepper.

Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the seafood and any juices from the bowl they were kept in. Add the pasta and cook for a minute so everything has a chance to merge. Add the fresh herbs and toss with your tongs.

Serve 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.










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.