Monday, July 26, 2010

Pizza with Chicken, Basil, and Two Cheeses on Whole Wheat

Outside of Japanese, pizza is my favorite food.  So simple, and so comforting.  I am extremely fortunate that it is also one of John's favorite foods.  I'm even more fortunate that he makes it so well!  Below are the recipes that he uses, including a whole wheat dough (we both fight the calories), a delicious marinara, and today's choice of toppings.  

Our toppings vary with what is available in our pantry.  His favorite pizza is chicken, pepperoni, and black olives, and mine is pepperoni and pineapple.  I know, I'm a weirdo.  This pizza features chicken, some Russian sausage, two types of cheeses, and some fresh basil from our window garden.  John added some smoked chipotle peppers to his, but I wasn't feeling so adventurous.


Whole-wheat pizza dough

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 packet active dry yeast (or 2 ¼ tsp. yeast from jar)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. honey
10 oz. hot water (105-115 ° F)
1 tbsp. Olive oil

Combine all dry ingredients in food processor and turn on. After 15 seconds, begin slowly adding hot water. Stop adding water when majority of dough has formed into a ball. Remove lid and touch dough:  if sticky, continue mixing without adding any water (may need to add an additional tablespoon of whole wheat flour); if dry, add olive oil. When consistency has ‘give’ but not sticky to touch, remove from processor and place onto floured surface. Split dough ball into two equal portions. Shape into flat circles by hand or with rolling pin. Allow to rise to desired thickness; 15-20 mins. rise should be fine for thin crust.

Yields two pizzas.

Quick Pizza Sauce

1 large onion, diced
3-4 anchovy fillets, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (or use garlic press)
1 tsp. oregano, dried
½ tsp. salt (or to taste)
6-8 basil leaves, fresh and hand torn

Sauté onion, anchovies and red pepper flakes in thick-walled pot with olive oil, using medium-high heat. When anchovies have rendered away, add can of tomatoes and reduce heat. Add garlic, herbs and salt, then stir. Once slight boil is achieved, remove from heat. Spread onto pizza dough or French bread (cut in half) and top with your favorite pizza topping and cheeses.

Remainder keeps very well in refrigerator for a few days. Also works as pasta sauce, bread dip, etc.

We use this sauce for everything.  I've even been known to dip a grilled cheese into it.

Pizza with Chicken, Basil and Two Cheeses on Whole wheat

1/2 prepared Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe
4-8 oz. Quick Pizza Sauce
1 chicken breast, boneless/skinless, cooked, cut into ¼” strips
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 oz. muenster cheese, shredded (or other cheese)
12-18 fresh basil leaves

On prepared 12” circle of pizza dough, pour sauce and spread evenly. Lay basil leaves evenly on top of sauce. Add part of shredded cheeses and then add chicken. Top with remainder of cheese. Bake at 400° for 12-15 mins., until cheeses are bubbling and browning. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Slice and serve.

"Man, we really need to learn how to cook . . . "
- John 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wonderful Whole Wheat Waffles

... say that three times fast!

I've had many an opportunity to play with the new waffle maker that John gave me for my birthday.  I had a wonderful Farmhouse brand classic pancake and waffle mix that I burned through, making several at a time and freezing for later mornings.  Unfortunately, maybe eating waffles every morning isn't the best thing . . . ok, actually is is, but you know what I mean.  I'm getting fat here.  Not cool.

I decided that making a whole wheat batter would be a decent compromise.  (It is, right?)  Many recipes incorporate wheat germ, flax seed, whole oats, applesauce, and other hifalutin ingredients, but being a poor college student, I made do with what was in my pantry.  I used a quite simple recipe as my base and then made some alterations.

Whole Wheat Waffles

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, white whole wheat or traditional
2 teaspoons baking powder

*(1/2 tsp baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
*(1 tsp Vanilla extract)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder (and baking soda), salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and butter or oil (and vanilla). Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, stirring just till combined.

I topped mine with some finely chopped almonds!

Cook the waffles as directed in the instructions that came with your waffle iron.
Yield: about eight 8" waffles. (Big lie! I had 2 and a half waffles in mine, but they are kinda big.)

"But wait- when did this turn into a food blog?" you may ask.

Good question.  I've pondered this myself.  This is what I came up with:  We were pretty broke after the move, so eating out isn't as feasible as it was before.  Therefore we cook a lot at home, which is wonderful.  John and I are both (self-proclaimed) great cooks.  Also cooking in our new kitchen makes this place and town feel much more like home.  There's nothing like delicious smells from the kitchen to make you feel settled and comfortable.  And of course my camera is nearby.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Seafood Jambalaya with Quinoa

My boyfriend and I recently bought some bulk foods at a local Earthfare store.  This included some bargain priced Peruvian quinoa and some wild rice mix.  We knew we had some grouper fillets waiting to be used in the freezer, so our minds wandered to a go-to seafood jambalaya meal.

Seafood Jambalaya with Quinoa
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb. andouille sausage (or other smoked sausage), sliced ¼” thick pieces
1 bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 head of garlic, peeled and minced
Creole seasoning (see below)
1 15 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 oz.  fish fillets, cut into chunks (grouper cheeks are wonderful here)
3 cups quinoa, or brown/wild rice, or combination
6 cups water or stock
2-3 bay leaves
Green onions, chopped for garnish
Any Louisiana-style hot sauce

Using a thick-walled pot or French oven, sauté the sausage in the butter until sausage begins to crisp. Add the Trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper), garlic, and some of the Creole seasoning to the pot, sautéing until the vegetables are a light brown. Add the quinoa to the mix and sauté for another minute or so.

Add the can of tomatoes, bay leaves and water; bring to a boil. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to keep the quinoa floating. Reduce heat and simmer while covered until most of the water is absorbed. 
Now fold in the shrimp and fish fillets, re-season with Creole seasoning, and simmer 2 minutes, just enough time to get the shrimp and fish started. Then remove from heat and keep covered another 10 minutes.

Serve right from the pot or transfer, garnish with green onions and hot sauce.

Suggestion for Creole seasoning*:

Combine -
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic, granulated
2 tablespoons pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon onion, granulated
1 tablespoon salt, table
1 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil

*NOTE:  You don’t have to use all the seasoning at once; it will keep if sealed airtight. Be sure to taste and see what it needs first!

We ended up using half quinoa and half wild rice mix as our grains, and the textures were wonderful.  Our selected hot sauce for the evening, Florida Roadkill, came out of John's collection. 


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Today is my birthday!  

I turn an insignificant 23, but life seems pretty good.  I have been in a new city and state for a few weeks now.  In that time I've made lots of friends with my work crew at Panera Bread.  I've actually started a project "commisioned" by my General Manager to take pictures of all the employees and some product for a wall in the dining room.  Small fries, but I enjoy it.

My boyfriend gave me a waffle maker this morning, so we enjoyed homemade birthday waffles!  It's the super-pimp flip kind.  I've had my eye on one since Christmas, and he remembered.  Other presents that came in the mail include a beautiful pearl strand necklace with tassels on the end, meant to tie in the front and a Target gift card.
Yep, life is good.

I haven't been singing since I moved, a product of busyness and stress and just lack of studio space in our small apartment.  As of now, I'm okay with that-- money has to be made, but give it some time and my guilty conscience will force me back to the practice room to resurrect some arias for new teachers to come.

One of my last memories in Gainesville, FL is with a local and talented artist and friend, Anne Seraphine.  Throughout the month of June, I sat for some of her paintings.  On a farewell lunch she gifted me with one of them!

Friday, July 9, 2010


 We made the walk to campus on Tuesday, ironically during 100 degree weather.  We were delighted to find what a beautiful walk it was.  And what more, we passed alongside a local Farmer's Market that occurs on that day.  In passing, a woman offered John and I two nectarine and peach hybrids.  They were absolutely beautiful, so I photographed them.  I've yet to try, but they look and smell delicious!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Moving Sucks

Over the past week or so I've been packing and moving, blech.  As of now, my relocation from Gainesville, FL to Columbia, SC is complete and it feels good.  My poor camera, however, was stuck in my car's glove box for "safe keeping," and through all the madness I only just remembered it today.  Poor guy.  As a reward for his still turning on after living in high heat, I took him out for a spin in my new neighborhood.  I had a blast taking pictures of store front signs in this shopping district.