Friday, May 16, 2008

Three for the 2 - 4

I've been pretty absent from the blogging scene these past few weeks... believe me, I know! I'm dealing with some health issues that for the time being are keeping me more in my bed and less in my kitchen, and even though I did make some more cookies (can you guess what kind?) I was kind of sick of posting them, even though these are my new favourites. I think. For now. And then as for cooking (as opposed to baking), I've been less and less apt to create tasty (and successful) creations when it comes to making meals. Maybe it's just me being sick, but the thought of a crunchy, juicy dill pickle or some iceberg lettuce with yellow mustard is more appetizing than any sort of meal. Sigh. Even my sweet tooth seems to have gone AWOL these days, which is a shame. Until my tastebuds (and energy levels) return though, you may not be seeing much of me. Just a heads up, I won't abandon this blog for good, I promise, especially since I have way too many bloggie events lined up that I want to take part in, and just as many recipes to share! I got a jumbo muffin tin yesterday too *jumps up and down in a happy dance* so we will be seeing what I can churn out with that!

For now, though, I have some prime May 2-4 goodness to share with you guys. Now, if you aren't Canadian, or if you don't know someone Canadian, you may be asking yourself why I'm talking about May 24th this weekend as opposed to next Saturday, and why I hyphenated it, and what the heck am I talking about a silly day for anyways?? So let me explain, courtesy of the hoity-toity Canadian Government website, with supplements from the (less hoity-toity) Wikipedia. Did I mention that I liky typing hoity-toity? Nevermind.

An amendment to the Statutes of Canada in 1952 established the celebration of Victoria Day on the Monday preceding May 25. From 1953 to 1956, the Queen's birthday was celebrated in Canada on Victoria Day, by proclamation of the Governor General, with Her Majesty's approval. In 1957, Victoria Day was permanently appointed as the Queen's birthday in Canada. In the United Kingdom, the Queen's birthday is celebrated in June.

Victoria Day is regarded as the beginning of the unofficial summer season in Canada, and is thus the weekend when many businesses, parks, etc., that operate during warm weather months, will open. This long weekend also often signifies the beginning of spring to gardeners in much of the country, as it falls around the time when they can be fairly certain frost will not return until the next autumn or winter (I personally finished my plantage shopping today, and almost everything is in the ground!). The weekend also marks the beginning of the cottage season with cottagers making their first visits to check and clean their properties (which is where, coincidentally, Andrew is this weekend).

In some parts of Canada, the holiday is colloquially known as May 2-4. This phrase has two meanings: the holiday always falls near the date of May 24, and a two-four is Canadian slang for a case of 24 bottles of beer, a common packaging of the drink in Canada (and a common purchase of those planning to celebrate the weekend).

And speaking of beer... what goes better with that frosty, delicious beverage than an ooey, gooey, decadent slice of pizza?? Ohh yes... it's the universal pairing of frat parties everywhere. I have not one, not two, but three awesome recipes that are perfect for this weekend! The first one is for a quick, easy pizza crust that incorporates a honey lager (or similar beer) for a great flavour and light texture. The second one, a gluten-free creation, has just the right amount of give to it, meaning you can fold it in half like I used to do every pizza day at school!

The Two-Fer Pizza Crust
Makes 2 crusts
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt 12 oz beer (a honey lager like Sleeman or Niagara is beautiful in this but any kind will do)

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Grease two 12" pizza pans.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Pour in the beer and stir until it forms a really wet, sticky dough. Beat an extra 5-7 minutes, so that the dough develops a stretchy consistency.
  4. Let the dough rest for about five minutes before using — it will be easier to work with once it has relaxed.
  5. Dump the dough out onto the prepared pans, dividing it equally between them. Sprinkle the top with flour to reduce stickiness and pat the dough into an even layer, all the way to the edges of the pan.
  6. Top in whatever way you want, then bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the bottom is lightly browned and the toppings are done.

Amount Per Serving (crust only)
Calories: 179.0
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.4 mg
Total Carbs: 35.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 5.6 g

Chewy, Gluten - Free Pizza Crust
Serves 10
2 tablespoons rapid rise yeast
1 1/3 cup warm 1% milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 cup brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
4 teaspoons guar gum
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons unflavoured gelatine powder
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm milk.
  3. In a separate larger bowl, blend together dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in yeast mixture to dry ingredient mixture.
  5. Add oil and apple cider vinegar. Mix well.
  6. Grease and flour the pizza pan (just like you grease and flour a cake pan).
  7. Pat down dough on pan, sprinkle top of dough with flour so dough doesn't stick to your hands as you're shaping pizza.
  8. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add toppings.
  9. Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes.

Amount Per Serving (Crust Only)
Calories: 136.5
Total Fat: 1.7 g
Cholesterol: 1.6 mg
Sodium: 19.7 mg
Total Carbs: 27.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 3.9 g

The last recipe, a very decadent chicken and alfredo creation, is a recipe I created for Andrew a few months back after he told me about a pizza idea he had had one night - he's usually my inspiration when it comes to cooking! I've yet to test it out, but it's definitely on my list, possibly to go with a certain birthday / anniversary meal I'm planning! If you don't eat chicken, but like shrimp, they would work equally well on this. If you try it before I do, drop me a line and let me know how you fared!!

Thin - Crust Garlic Alfredo Pizza With Chicken
Serves 12
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
2 cup bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ tsp instant dry yeast
½ cup half-and-half cream
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
¾ cup grated, authentic Parmesan cheese
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tbsp oregano
½ tbsp basil
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cold water
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, slivered
3 tbsp flour + 1 tbsp garlic powder, for dredging
1 tbsp olive oil
½ large sweet onion, sliced thinly
½ large tomato, sliced thinly
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup grated Romano cheese

  1. Heat a pizza stone in an oven to 475F.
  2. Combine water, sugar, salt and oil in a small bowl.
  3. Separately, mix together flours and yeast.
  4. Add water mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well to form an elastic dough.
  5. Let rest 10 minutes.
  6. Spread flour lightly on a pizza peel and roll out dough until very thin (about 3/16 inch).
  7. Shift bare crust to stone and bake 5-7 minutes. Remove crust to peel.
  8. Heat cream and evaporated milk to a simmer.
  9. Stir in Parmesan, pepper, garlic powder, garlic, oregano and basil.
  10. Stir together cornstarch and cold water, mix into sauce.
  11. Remove the mixture from the heat when it begins to thicken.
  12. Dredge chicken pieces in flour and garlic powder mixture, lightly pan-fry in olive oil until browned all over.
  13. Remove chicken and set aside.
  14. Add onion to pan and cook gently until translucent.
  15. Add tomatoes in one layer and cook 3-4 minutes, until wilted looking. Remove everything to the plate with the chicken and set aside.
  16. Spread a thin layer of sauce onto the base and top with onions, tomatoes, chicken and cheeses.
  17. Bake for 15 minutes at 475 degrees.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 248.9
Total Fat: 7.9 g
Cholesterol: 18.5 mg
Sodium: 231.3 mg
Total Carbs: 31.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
Protein: 13.1 g

2 comments :

Hendersonville Epicurean said...

Feel better soon!

Becky Doesn't Sleep said...

Lol...the pizza beer image I made is the most popular thing on my blog :) Thanks for linking it at least! And the pizza recipes look AMAZING!!!

PS... I just used "hoity-toity" today too and was infatuated by it - sychrnocity.