Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cheese Pizza on Sourdough

I always love getting kids in the kitchen, and when I was given the chance to bring a touch of Home Ec to the little(r) ones at Summer Camp, I wanted to give them something they would have a fun time doing, would enjoy eating and actually participated in creating. Pizza making felt like a completely obvious choice, since even if I did the "grownup" work of baking the crust and shredding the cheese, they could have complete control over stirring together a simple sauce with hand-torn fresh herbs(and a secret flavour booster), as well as sprinkling the mozzarella onto the par-baked Herbed Sourdough Pizza Dough

Cheesy Sourdough Pizza

In retrospect, I should have had the kids make two of these - not only did they all polish off a sizeable piece (and that was after lunch!), but the staff wanted a taste too! Even the children who, while making the sauce, adamantly declared that the basil and garlic "smelled yucky" wanted seconds... I would say that's a pretty ringing endorsement! Besides, who doesn't love stringy, melty, ooey gooey cheese, a crispy crust and even the little crispy bits on the edges? 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Herbed Sourdough Pizza Dough

Is there a person who doesn't love pizza? The idea of a topped flatbread is so appealing that it spans cultures, generations and dietary preferences, leading to regional "standard" favourites like Chicago deep-dish and blistered, cracker-thin Neapolitan as well as international variations on the theme like Turkish pide, German flammkuchen, and Macedonian pastrmajlija. Here at home - especially at my house - the more or less traditional Italian style of pizza takes precedence, but it's more often enjoyed via a phone call to the local delivery guys. My stepbrother, however, discovered the delights of homemade pizza and from what I hear has since been making some fabulous ones for himself and his wife. After tasting one of these, my mom started talking about the possibilities of homemade pizza too - especially now that she's retired and getting back into the foodie scene. All she needed was a recipe!

Sourdough Pizza Crust

Luckily, I had a few options that I was keen on trying out, from the sweeter Dessert Pizza crust I shared a few weeks back to a re-tooling of the Higher Protein Pizza Dough, a crispy semolina and spelt base (riffed from this one) and even a recipe touted as the key to "Light-as-Air" Pizza. In the end, though, the need to both use up some sourdough toss-off and make a larger batch of dough to account for my Summer Camp group brought me to KAF's Sourdough Pizza Crust, and I have to say the results tasted better than any other pizza dough I've had. As sourdough lovers, both Mom and I were easily drawn to the tangy, yeasty aroma the dough had as it was rising and, later, par-baking. I wound up freezing half a batch for later, since Mom declared she could eat the whole pizza herself as well as the leftover crusts! That said, the dough both freezes and thaws perfectly, and the ability of it to slowly thaw and rise in the fridge afterwards, in my opinion, improves the flavour even more.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Oven Simmered Asian BBQ Chicken #SundaySupper

I love finding leftovers in the fridge or freezer, even if I know I've put them in there for a specific reason. I mean really, leftovers from a whole roasted chicken have so much potential - there's the meat, of course, but also the lovely flavour-rich bones waiting to be cooked down into stock. The same thing happens when it's time to clean out the pantry - ours is a double-deep, one and a half times wide behmoth that holds everything we could hope for and more... sometimes to the extent that we lose items bought for a single recipe and never thought of again.

Oven Simmered Asian BBQ Chicken

It was in pursuit of more organized kitchen storage facilities that this recipe came to fruition. Between a hunk of roasted chicken meat from an early Summer roast, a half of a red onion from recent Greek salad making, green garlic from the farmer's market and some Asian BBQ Sauce from San J, I knew exactly where I was headed... a twist on my old favourite pulled BBQ meat sandwich filling. Since the meat was already cooked (albeit not dried out), I oped to tenderize it by marinating it overnight in the sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic. The next day, mixed with onions and a little more chicken broth, it cooked it low and slow in the oven until the meat had absorbed all the flavour and was back to falling-apart tenderness. There was just enough sauce clinging to the meat and in the bottom of the dish to make proper sloppy sandwiches on toasted rolls or topping a bowl of freshly steamed rice and greens - and if my family is any indication a forkful right out of the fridge makes for a divine midnight snack!

This week, Amy of kimchi MOM is hosting a #SundaySupper celebrating Asian (and Asian-inspired) cuisine. Whether authentic or Asian-esque, you're sue to find something delicious!

Small Bites

Soupy Goodness

Big Plates

On the Lighter Side

Cheers!

Oodles of Noodles
Sunday Supper Movement 
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Vegetable Beef Couscous Soup #TheRecipeRedux

While we don't start school for another couple weeks (thankfully!), I'm always thinking about ways to plan ahead for easier weeknight dinners. These days, with the beginnings of the garden harvest coming in (there's already a zucchini overload!), we're trying to clear out space in the fridge and freezer so we can re-fill it to our heart's content.

Luckily, produce (which is really only thing causing the freezer overflow) is perfect for tossing into sauces, stews, and most of all, soup. My latest foray into the frozen depths of the kitchen gleaned me a sizable container of last year's Harvest Ragoût as well as a bag full of cubed sirloin steak trimmed off of some behemoth cuts we brought home a month or so ago. With those two treasures as starting points, I knew I had the makings of a delicious, hearty soup on my hands! A dip into the pantry, herb garden and liquor cabinet gave me the finishing touches I needed - rich beef broth, hearty red wine, classical herbs and whole grain Israeli couscous. A little over an hour later, a nice big Dutch oven of stick-to-your-ribs flavour was waiting for the family to enjoy for dinner - perfect timing too, since the weather was just cooling off from the humid afternoon!

Vegetable Beef Couscous Soup

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday/vacation season, August is the time many families get ‘back to routine.’ The Recipe Redux gang is sharing our favorite recipes to help families get ‘back to the dinner table.’



Thursday, August 20, 2015

Chewy Vegan Velvet Brownies

There are three "main" camps when it comes to brownies - the chewy, the fudgy, and the cakey. Actually, if I wanted to be mean, I could say there were only two - the chewy/fudgy hybrid and "wrong". To me, any brownie with a cakey texture is just a single layered, possibly frosted, undecorated snacking cake that's acceptable to eat before dinner. But that's just me, and I won't judge (too much).

Chewy Vegan Velvet Brownies

Needless to say, this post is about the chewy, moreish variety of my favourite bar cookies. Now, most of the "good" or "best ever" brownie recipes out there rely on the copious use of butter and/or eggs in addition to melted chocolate (see this article for "official" ingredient tests), and I have nothing against those at all - these and these look scarily close to the decadent squares I used to scarf down in my youth - but these days so many of the people I bake for are vegan or trying to eat a "little better" even when indulging, and since I'm supplying the calories I figure I should probably make them a little less empty, don't you think?

I had been playing with the idea of gluten development and the "chewiness" factor in baked goods since having delicious success with Alton Brown's "The Chewy" chocolate chip cookie recipe, and while I love the flavour of whole-grain Kamut® flour in chocolate baked goods it lacks the structural protein that bread or all purpose flour contains. My solution? Try adding a spoonful of straight gluten to a vegan, melted chocolate brownie recipe and see what happens! The low-fat bars (adapted from Eggless Cooking and Amy's Healthy Baking) got extra flavour, sweetness and moisture from heirloom beets I had roasted and frozen from last year's crop and turned out spectacularly - just the right amount of chew without being tough, moist and full of slightly nutty, rich dark chocolate.

Chewy Vegan Velvet BrowniesOf course, I had to gild the lily after all that - why not give one of the queens of my personal brownie kingdom a crown? The topping I chose took the form of a contrasting light and silky tofu mousse which set up beautifully and added just a touch of "oomph" to the finished bars. While the combination of ingredients is highly unconventional, it is definitely one I will make again!