Monday, January 31, 2011

Prosciutto Mushroom Goat Cheese Pizza

I guess very good things truly do take practice.  Taste Tester admitted that in the past, he was "being nice" about my pizzas, and they were alright, but this night and this pizza finally blew him away.

Aside from my nearly being out of yeast, the biggest change to the recipe was to match Scott's moisture ratio of 65 % water.  I measured 1lb of flour, 6.5 lbs of water, and then otherwise it was mostly the same as any of my others: 2.25 tsp yeast (1 packet) , dash of salt, tbsp of honey and oil each...

The toppings are red sauce, a little mozz, prosciutto, fresh green onions, mushrooms marinated in balsamic vinegar, and a topper of goat and feta cheese.

It only rose twice, and my new wooden peel helped.  But the water ratio seemed to be the key.  Taste Tester also moved the stone down a rack, and we had a metal pan on the rack above the stone, which seemed to protect the top of the pizza from burning while also distributing the oven's gas heat evenly.

My outer crust was bubbled and the crumb full of nooks and crannies, and the bottom crust was caramel perfect crisp. It was truly an awesome pizza.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

For The Love Of In Laws

My in-laws-to-be gave me a most well-chosen gift for Christmas that I've been debating how to use.  It was a very generous gift card to Williams-Sonoma, a store where I covet most everything with a bar code.

That fact made deciding impossible, since so many items are needed: a pizza peel, an oven thermometer, an icecream maker, and--per Taste Tester's current fascination--a milk frother for quicker homemade cappucino.  But I had to make a choice, or two:

Cuisinart Ice-21 Icecream Maker

Mmmmmm.  Frozen yogurt, sorbet, icecream... and my deal came with two bowls, so I can send Mom home with some!

Aerolatte Milk Frother
And the far less exciting milk frother.  Is there any phrase more boring than "milk frother"?
 Milk beige.  Milk Dan Patrick.  Milk golf on TV. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Grapefruit Tart, stage name Ruby Red Tart

I used to hate the bitterness of grapefruit, but now I love it.

I think it's some sort of metaphor for life: with age comes bitterness, and an appreciation for that in others.  Maybe grapefruit got kicked around at the fruitstand in middle school.  Maybe the orange and the lime bullied it for wearing pink all the time.  So now it's older, it's bitter, it fights the urge to look up lime and orange on Facebook and see what kind of losers they grew up to be.  Then lime friends it and is all, "I totally want to know everything about your life!  Is your rind still as pink as it used to be?" and grapefruit falls for it and gushes about its life in cocktails and then lime posts pictures of itself in a margarita and a pie and a marinade and a famous Sonic drink, and grapefruit's insecurities blow up in his face all over again.

So I think grapefruit deserves more starring rolls in recipes I like.  Today, it's going to push Key Lime off the stage and be a pie.  "Grapefruit pie" just doesn't have a ring to it, however, so it's a tart.  Ruby Red Tart.  Ruby June's Ruby Red Tart.

I started with a baby test version: juice of 1 grapefruit, a pinch of zest, 1 egg yolk, corn starch, and a little sugar.   It turned out quite pink, the boiled-down citrus was super tangy.  Like the sweet bitterness of middle school, it stung at first but I couldn't quit eating it.

For my bigger version, there will be true justice for the grapefruit.  Let there be graham cracker crust and meringue!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's Eve Party Menu

For a small New Year's gathering we're having, I've been blanking out on what to make because a friend is bringing fondue and all I can think is--bread and cheese are taken.  Every snack or appetizer other than crudite seemed to be bread-and-cheese centric, or inappropriate for the holiday.

So I've settled on pork medallion sliders, stuffed mushrooms, and yuccas rellenos con queso, or cheese-stuffed yucca balls.  Plus some artichoke spinach dip.

For the mushrooms, I pry out and save the stems and puree with breadcrumbs, juice of one lemon, and italian herbs--a little basil, oregano, and garlic salt.  If I'm feeding non-vegetarians, crab/shrimp/any seafood is a great addition to the stuffing.  Spoon the stuffing into them, bake at 350 until well browned.  Sprinkle with parmesan when serving. Very easy.

 (Added after party)
The yuccas rellenos were a party fave, after the fondue of course, and they were fun to make.  I skinned, split, and boiled 2 very big yuccas until soft (about 20 minutes).  Once cooled I dug out the chewy thread in the center and then mashed with a potato masher.  
I seasoned with salt and lime, then cupped handfuls, about 1/8th of a cup each, in my palm.  I pressed asadero cheese cubes in, closed the yucca around them, and refrigerated them. 

  That way the cheese didn't dry out when they were later fried!

It still begged for a cool dip, like a sour cream or yogurt or buttermilk-based green goddess or lime-avocado sauce.  Lime and yucca just go together well.  The leftover of these, because I made too many, became a part of an egg souffle the next morning that was fantastic, but not photographed.  And then my leftover boiled yucca became a mashed yucca-cheese casserole, also not shot but worth adding the recipe for:

1 large boiled yucca, mashed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup of cheese (any white mexican cheese)
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp salt

Stir and spread in a baking dish, bake at 375 until browned on top.  Cool a little and serve.