Finally! NY Style Pizza DIY at Home!

Hello Everyone!

So, for years my wife and I have been trying different recipes for NY style pizza at home. Over the last two months or, so we’ve been playing around with a final recipe. The irony here is that there are no pictures! But, next time we do make it, we’ll put one up. Now to give credit where it is due. The recipe we followed may be found here at Feeling Foodish.

Feeling Foodish does a wonderful job of providing a step by step recipe. Additionally, there are plenty of tips provided which I will honestly just include as part of the recipe here. Please try it! You will need to buy a scale, a pizza stone and pizza peel(optional but actually useful). We own the following scale purchased from Amazon. Finally, don’t, DO NOT, DON’T think about, using a rolling pin. We did this and the pizza, well…..we ate it but it didn’t look like normal pizza, but rather a teenage mutant ninja pizza! Pizza, like our lovers, requires the tender loving care of our hands. 😉

OK. Here we go. I’m going to keep it simple, and include the days of refrigeration time.

Day 1: Make Pasta Sauce and make pizza dough!

The recipe for the pasta sauce may be found here! However, it is also below for your convenience.

Part A. Make Pasta Sauce

Pizza Sauce Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano + approximately 1 tablespoon, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon basil + approximately 1 tablespoon, or to taste
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil.
  2. Add garlic and lightly brown. Add oregano and basil. Stir.
  3. Now quickly add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water. Stir.
  4. Stir in sugar.
  5. Stir in oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about an hour. (During this hour make the pizza dough!)
  7. After cooling, place sauce into a container and place into refrigerator.

Part B. Make Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough Recipe (WEIGH YOUR STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  • 796 grams of flour (approximately 6 cups)
  • 3.5 grams of dry yeast (approximately 1 teaspoon)
  • 13 grams of sugar
  • 10 grams of salt
  • 493 grams of water
  • 11.8 milliliters (mL) of olive oil
  • a stainless steel mixing bowl; your hands, a fork or a mixer of some type handheld, stand mixer whatever makes you happy to mix with
  1. To your mixing bowl add the 796 grams of flour, 3.5 grams of dry yeast, 13 grams of sugar, 10 grams of salt and MIX VERY WELL with a fork, your hands or a mixing device…what matters is that you MIX WELL! Then stop.
  2. After the flour, yeast, sugar and salt have been mixed well, continue to mix and add the water gradually, each time allowing the flour to incorporate the water. Continue to mix until you have added all the water to your flour. Then continue to mix and add the 11.8mL of olive oil. At this point you will notice that the ingredients have taken on a different consistency. Continue mixing for 10 minutes.
  3. Then take out the dough and knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Then, to a new stainless steel mixing bowl, use a napkin (paper towel) and add some olive oil to coat the entire inner surface of the mixing bowl. Once the surface is coated, place the dough into it. Allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. After thirty minutes, cover with a wet towel and place into your refrigerator for at least two days. (That’s right, you need to wait at least one full day, but two days, in our hands is best.)

Day 2: Cut dough and roll into balls!

  1. Take another container and coat it with olive oil. Preferably it should be a rectangular container. You will also need plastic wrap for the end.
  2. Take the now, very large piece of dough and cut it up into either two, three or for equal parts. Grab each piece and roll into a ball. Please see this video for specifics which starts at time 8:14 in the video. You don’t need to. watch the whole thing!
  3. Then after you have rolled up each ball, put into a container that should also be coated with olive oil. Once you have placed all of your dough balls into the container, cover it with plastic wrap and place into your refrigerator for at least one more day.

Day 3: You can wait patiently or begin pizza making process!

1. You can wait patiently or begin to make your pizza. If you can’t wait, just see the directions on Day 4.

Day 4: Make the pizza!

Pizza Recipe…Finally!

  1. Place pizza stone on bottom rack and turn oven on to 550 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 1 hour.
  2. Shred a bowl full of mozzarella during that hour wait.
  3. After 1 hour, take out pizza dough. Add some flour to a surface and place dough on it and add some flour to the dough ball as well. A quick tip is to use parchment paper! Place your parchment paper down and add some flour to it. This is a bit tricky as the dough will shrink, so you have to be patient.
  4. Then begin to stretch out your pizza. Watch this video to see how to stretch out your pizza dough. You can scroll to 50 seconds and begin watching from there!
  5. After your pizza dough is stretched out to your liking, add pizza sauce. Then add your shredded mozzarella cheese to your liking. Then if you like pepperoni, add enough to your liking.
  6. Place pizza onto pizza peel and put pizza onto pizza stone. Close oven and bake for 9-10 minutes. You may turn the pizza after the first six minutes to help to cook evenly.
  7. After the full 9-10 minutes, take out your pizza, cut it and enjoy the cheese pull and the pizza!!!!!

Please leave your comments below if you try this recipe!

Thank you!

Until next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

-The Husband

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Adventures in ratio baking: Chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting

Adventures in Ratio Baking: Chocolate Cake With Whipped Cream Frosting

Adventures in ratio baking: Chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting

I like to think I’ve finally mastered ratio baking a chocolate cake. A high ratio chocolate cake, that is. At least, one that I enjoy because my husband won’t eat chocolate cake, my son only likes to decorate, and my daughter is partial to the whipped cream. And my cat should absolutely keep her distance. Oh, well. More cake for me.

Anyways, I thought that perhaps the pinnacle of my chocolate cake journey should be a recipe. So I set out to convert my ratios into measurements. Twice. The first time was a disaster, and even I didn’t want to eat it. The second time, thankfully, was a success. But it is a bit of a headache to do, and does produce twice as much cake that shouldn’t be healthy for anyone to eat in one week, so, after this one, I’ll be sticking to what I like to call ratio recipes, a hybrid of ratios and recipes. Oh, you’ll see what I mean in the upcoming weeks.

This is my high ratio chocolate cake with stabilized whipped cream frosting. Keep in mind I did use 8 inch pans instead of the standard 9 inch ones, so if you’re using the 9 inch, the cakes will be a bit thinner and the baking time might be a bit different. I prefer 8 inch because it’s an inch smaller, and I’m basically the only cake eater in my family, so it’s not as intimidating to stare at.

The Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • a little less than 1/2 cup of milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until it’s fluffy, a light yellow, and well-combined, meaning there are no chunks of butter.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each, and the vanilla extract.
  4. Sift the flour and the cocoa powder, and the baking powder if you’re so inclined, into a bowl. If you’re not inclined, just add it to the sifted flour and cocoa powder, as I always do.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately. I like to do this in thirds.
  6. Now, the best thing to do is line the baking pans with parchment paper, but, if you don’t have any, do grease liberally and coat the bottom with 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of cocoa powder. Just dump it in over whatever you used to grease the pans with and shake until the bottom is covered in cocoa powder. And then pray because this isn’t a perfect method.
  7. Divide the batter into the two pans. Or just one if you want a taller cake. Just vary the baking time accordingly. I haven’t done it this way in awhile, but my memory says somewhere around 25 minutes is good.
  8. Bake for approximately 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 10-15 minutes in pans and then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
  10. Optional: Sometimes I make a simple syrup of equal measurements of water and granulated sugar to brush on top of the cakes, but that’s just me being fancy.

The Whipped Cream Frosting

Whipped cream will not hold up for long. If you’re not eating the whole cake right away, do make sure you stabilize it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsps water
  • 1 tsp gelatin

Method

  1. Chill mixing bowl and whipping implement in the fridge, about 5-10 minutes. I do this for about 2 hours, just because I really like it cold.
  2. Prepare the gelatin by adding water to a microwave safe bowl and then the gelatin. Mix. Microwave for 10 seconds, until the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Pour heavy cream into mixing bowl.
  4. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
  5. Whip until soft peaks form. These are the ones with peaks that lean over.
  6. Add the gelatin in a steady stream while continuing to whip, just at a bit of a lower speed. Then kick up the pace.
  7. If you’re going to color it, do it now. Then whip until stiff peaks form. These are the ones with peaks that don’t move.

Assembly

I am a baker, not a decorator. These steps will help you put the cake together, but it likely will not look pretty. Just like my picture of the finished product. I repeat: baker, most definitely not a decorator.

  1. Place the bottom layer on a flat surface, preferably one you can move around. Tuck 4 pieces of something like foil, parchment paper, or just napkins under the cake, but don’t put them in too deep because you’ll need to pull them out without taking cake with you. Or don’t use it you have a better method of decorating the cake and not whatever it’s on.
  2. If you made simple syrup, liberally brush it on both layers.
  3. Spread a quarter or a third of the whipped cream on the bottom layer. This is the filling, so make it as thick as you like, though not too thick because that might invite the top layer to slide off, and we wouldn’t want that. Right? Or is it just me?
  4. Put the second layer squarely on top of the bottom. Don’t press. Unless you want the filling to ooze out.
  5. Use most of the rest of the whipped cream to cover the top and sides. There will likely be a couple of cups left over that can make for some decorations, but I just save it for later baked cakes. Because I never seem to stop making cakes. Someone help me.
  6. Decorate. Sorry, I can’t help you here. My method of decorating involves calling my kids over and letting them put edible stuff on top.

High ratio chocolate cake with stabilized whipped cream frosting!

Decorated high ratio chocolate cake

I am so not a decorator. Maybe I’ll pick that up next year. Or the year after. You know, I could probably use a new hobby in 20 years when my kids are grown. And maybe out of the house.

High ratio two layer chocolate cake

Unfortunately, my bottom layer had issues (remember when I said the grease and coat with cocoa powder is not a perfect method? Um, yeah) and I clearly could have used more whipped cream on the filling. But not bad for the last slice four days later!

My Family’s Top 5 Go-to Dinners

I’m really bad at meal planning. I hate having to think about what’s for dinner. I’d rather be playing with my kids and trying to tell my son he doesn’t have to hide in the same spot every single time.

If I’m lucky, I remember and ask my husband what he’d like to eat a couple of days before we go to the market. If I’m really lucky, he tells me exactly what he wants. Most weeks, though, I ask him about 20 minutes before we head out the door and we stand around in the produce section wondering what to make. Our son gets impatient and becomes overly theatrical about it. Our daughter is happy standing in the back and making noises while bouncing on her feet.

Fortunately, we do have some family favorites that are relatively quick and easy. We keep most of the ingredients stocked, so it’s easy to say we’ll eat this or that. Unfortunately, for me, at least, it feels repetitive, but it does solve the problem.

“What’s for dinner?”

I’m suddenly sorry I asked my mom almost daily.

  1. Pasta. This is seriously our number one go-to, unless we had it last week. It’s easy and my husband happens to absolutely love the sauce, which is also incredibly easy to make. The best part is the pasta can be cooked ahead and frozen with a bit of olive oil drizzled and mixed in. The sauce can also be cooked ahead of time and frozen. My recipe makes enough sauce for at least 2 pounds of pasta, so, the next time we decided to have it, I don’t even have to cook it if I was smart and froze it into two sections. Head over here for my sauce recipe, which also works really well for the pizza my husband likes making.
  2. Pizza. My husband already devoted a post to this. He grew up in New York City, so pizza is near and dear to his heart. I couldn’t care less, but he’s very particular. He’s spent several weekends perfecting his dough recipe and trying out different sauces, only to go to my pasta sauce and proclaim it perfect. For pizza, the sauce ingredients can just go in the blender with more sugar than salt. I hate having to stretch out the dough, but his recipe makes 2, so we just pop one in the freezer, though it usually only stays in for a day or two. I did mention he loves pizza, right? Oh, and the dough is best when left in the fridge at least over night. For his recipe, pop over hereBake and then.....PIZZA!
  3. Spanish-style beef. A few years ago, I was flipping through some recipes my mom had saved, but never made. I came across one for Spanish-style beef and rice by Rachael Ray. My husband liked it, so I added it to my recipe book. And then I experimented a bit. I’ve used beef, chicken, and a mix of beef and sausage. It really is quick to make and so easy that I usually hold my daughter almost the whole time. It’s great with rice, but we also enjoy it with tortillas. For my version and one way we enjoy it, go hereIMG_0895
  4. Lemon chicken. This is something my mom started making when I was a kid. My parents planted a lemon tree one year and it’s been extremely bountiful. We’ve had so many lemons that my dad is in the habit of asking just about everyone if they want any lemons. One or two? Nope. Try a whole bag full of them. I’m not sure where my mom got the recipe, but I got mine for lemon chicken from her. For all I know, she made it up just to use up the lemons. It’s really simple. Slice a chicken breast in half so it’s neither too thick nor too thin (pound if too thick) and salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a pan with some oil and cook chicken. Remove chicken and add 3-4 tablespoons of butter and the juice of 2 lemons. Add chicken back to the pan and coat in the sauce. As far as I know, it goes with just about everything.
  5. Chicken and tortillas. This is something my mom made for us a lot when we were growing up. It’s fast and easy. And, okay, I prefer this one way more than my husband because it’s really fast and easy. Even if we don’t have tortillas, we can still put it with rice or Asian noodles. I like to slice the chicken on the thin side so I don’t have to marinate it as long and it cooks faster. A half hour before dinner time? Yup, this will be done on time! See why I prefer it? For the recipe for the marinade and the chicken and tortillas recipe, head on over here.

Hmm. Maybe I do know what’s for dinner next week.

What are some of your go-to dinner recipes? If you have the recipe link, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Milkshake in a Jar

My husband looked at me like I was crazy. I prefer to think I was being creative. As a mom of two toddlers, every day is an exercise in creativity.

My 4 year old has a strange problem with sounds. Alarms scare him. He refuses to flush the toilet because the sound scares him, but is fine under certain circumstances. He locks himself in his room when we use the blender.

The blender. That magical piece of kitchen equipment that gives us milkshakes.

We live in Southern California. It’s hot most of the year. Ice cream is kind of a way of life for my family. I grew up with big tubs of ice cream and milkshakes. My kids enjoy ice cream now, especially this past summer when we seemed to go from one heat wave to another.

Milkshakes are kind of another story. My husband and I love them. My daughter thinks they’re intriguing. Then again, she’s only 16 months so everything is new to her. My son enjoys one particular milkshake. From a restaurant. Because he screams every time we use the blender.

My husband kept giving me strange looks whenever I wondered if I could make a milkshake in a jar. Really, it sounded reasonable to me. I make single serve cakes in mugs and bowls. I shake up whipped cream and butter in jars. I’m sure I could make a milkshake in a jar.

And that would be fabulous, wouldn’t it? A nice cold chocolate milkshake (for the chocoholic I proudly am) on a hot not always summer day without any noise. My son wouldn’t go screaming and I would get my milkshake.

Perhaps I should get him used to noise. But that also sounds cruel to me. I don’t like spiders and will run from anyone who has one. I’ll struggle if someone makes me get used to one. A blender isn’t a necessity for us. We don’t have to use one for anything. Actually, outside of milkshakes, we almost never use one. By the time he’s old enough to cook for himself or live with others, he’ll be old enough to decide what noise he wants in his life. He’s been exposed. Good enough.

Back to the milkshake. I got some ice cream and put some in a jar. Then I added the milk and screwed the lid on. And I shook it, getting a nice workout for my arms. And I let my son shake it. And I let my daughter try to shake it.

And, voila, milkshake in a jar! No noise, no need to clean a blender. No need for a blender. I got my milkshake and didn’t send my son running screaming for his room.

All you need is a jar, something to scoop out the ice cream, the ice cream, and milk. No need for a blender and a cup. So, less clean up, too.

This works best with softened ice cream. If it’s not, you’ll get lumps, or one big lump. So leave the ice cream out for a few minutes, but get to it before it melts. Add as much as you’d like into the jar and do the same with the milk.

I grew up with thin milkshakes. My mom wanted us to have more milk, so they were milkier. Actually, we were so used to them that the thick milkshakes we got when we went out were just too thick and we needed a spoon. We didn’t actually ask for them very often, but, every summer that blender was blending away.

Ice cream and milk in a jar for a nice cold milkshake

Now that your jar is full, make sure you screw the lid on tight, and shake. Check periodically for the texture you want, but you can always put the lid back on and shake some more.

It’s just like any other milkshake. But no noise and less clean up. With two toddlers, I’ll take that any day.

See, I’m not crazy. I’m just a mom of particular kids who embraces their little idiosyncrasies and just let’s them be kids.

Because what kid wouldn’t love to shake a jar and get a sweet treat?

Milkshake in a jar

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

Chicken Scampi

This post was originally published on April 27th for National Shrimp Scampi Day without pictures. 

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

I don’t eat seafood. But we like chicken, lemon, butter, and pasta. So we don’t do shrimp scampi, but chicken scampi instead!

We were watching The Pioneer Woman one day and she was making shrimp scampi with pasta. Now, my husband is a big fan of lemon butter sauce, but knows I absolutely will not touch seafood. Instead, loving husband that he is, he asked if I could make it with chicken.

Of course I could make it with chicken! And it was so easy that, whenever my parents give us lemons from their tree or if we have a couple lying around, you can be sure I’m making this.

Now, we don’t strictly follow The Pioneer Woman’s recipe. For one, neither of us likes onions. But it’s still delicious and doesn’t take long to whip up, a half hour from start to finish for me!

How We Make Chicken Scampi

To start, I prep. Since pasta water takes just about forever to come to a boil, I usually try to start this first. Then I mince a few garlic cloves, not too much because my husband isn’t a big fan. Then I cut 2 chicken breasts, sometimes more if my husband really wants a lot of it, into 1 inch cubes and put a sprinkle of salt and pepper on them. Finally, I squeeze the juice out of 2 lemons. Or my husband really squeezes the life out of them. What can I say, he really likes lemon!

Now that everything is prepped, take out a big skillet or a pan with sides if you have a lot of chicken or pasta (yes to both for us!). Heat olive oil and butter until the butter is melted.

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try chicken instead.

Toss in the garlic and cook until it starts to brown.

Don't enjoy seafood, but want to try scampi? Use chicken instead.

Add the chicken and cook it through.

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try chicken instead.

The Pioneer Woman uses wine, but we don’t drink and have small children. My daughter started eating this at 9-10 months. Instead, we use chicken broth, or water if  we don’t have any on hand. So now that the chicken is cooked, I add the broth and lemon juice and turn the heat down low.

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

During this time, the pasta water is usually ready and the pasta should be just about done. The Pioneer Woman uses Angel hair pasta, but we have a thing for rotini and sometimes spaghetti, but those spirals really enchant us.

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

The sauce is finished by now, so I add about a cup of the pasta water to help thicken it. Finally, I add the pasta and toss it in the sauce. From here you can garnish with cheese and fresh herbs, but we leave it plain.

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

I’m putting our version here, but you can get The Pioneer Woman’s recipe at the link above. Happy cooking!

Recipe

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lb pasta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mince garlic, cube chicken breasts, and juice lemons. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken.
  2. Bring pasta water to a boil.
  3. While boiling pasta water, heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet until butter melts. Toss in garlic and cook until the garlic starts to brown.
  4. Add the chicken and cook through.
  5. Pour in lemon juice and broth. Stir and turn heat to low.
  6. When the pasta is ready, take a cup of the water and add it to the sauce.
  7. Drain pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss.

Whether you enjoy seafood or not, enjoy some scampi today!

Want to try scampi, but don't enjoy seafood? Try using chicken instead.

Have overripe bananas? Make this simple banana bread and enjoy, perhaps with a bit of Nutella spread on top.

Banana Bread

Have overripe bananas? Make this simple banana bread and enjoy, perhaps with a bit of Nutella spread on top.

Growing up, we always had bananas on hand. I loved watching them ripen and then eagerly peel one open once it reached that beautiful yellow color with no green in sight. But, in college, the dining hall usually had bananas that weren’t quite ripe. Sometimes they were just green. But I had to have my daily banana, and came to adore not quite ripe bananas. Years later, I still prefer somewhat green bananas. Once they become too yellow, I toss them in the freezer to make banana bread later on.

Often, later on doesn’t happen and I end up with a freezer full of bananas. My husband has asked more than once why there are so many bananas in the freezer. Why? Because his wife is a nutcase and believes she will get around to making banana bread even though she hates it.

Yes. I have, for years, kept bananas in the freezer to make banana bread that I did not like. In my defense, I do what my mom did: toss overripe bananas in the freezer to make banana bread because I want to be just like my mom. My error is that I don’t eat it and my husband doesn’t take it to work like my dad would (he liked to use it to butter up his colleagues whenever he needed a favor).

Well, in all honesty, I didn’t like banana bread. When I was a kid. That dislike carried over year to year. But, recently, I decided to make it so I could take pictures to include in my old banana bread post. My daughter loves bananas and desperately tried to eat it as soon as it came out of the oven. My son hates bananas, but desperately wanted me to slice it. I am indifferent to banana bread, but really, really wanted to avoid unnecessary whining, so I sliced it up and started feeding a slice to my daughter while my son smelled it and went “ew.”

And I decided I might as well give it another try, too. After all, it has probably been at least 20 years since I last had it. Two pregnancies might have affected my taste buds and maybe now I’ll like it.

It’s quite heavy on the banana. But the bread is dense, but not too dense, and sweet, but not too sweet. It was moist and soft. I won’t say I was an immediate fan, but, with a light spread of Nutella on top, it became my breakfast for a week, especially since my daughter decided she was done with banana bread.

Note to self: try swirling in some Nutella next time. Then I can just grab a slice and go.

So, how do you make this simple bread?

Step one, if you have bananas in the freezer, take them out and defrost them. They’ll be easier to mash that way. You’ll need about 1 cup.

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

Then, in a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. If you plan on adding nuts (I never do), take a tablespoon of the flour and mix it in with the nuts. That way they won’t sink to the bottom.

mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt

In a larger bowl, mix together the sugar and oil.

mix the oil and sugar together

Now add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each eggy addition. Then add the milk.

add the eggs one at a time and then the milk

Now the flour mixture and mashed bananas get to take turns being added into the big bowl. I usually do a quarter from each at a time. Sometimes a third. Finally, add the nuts if you so choose to add them. Again, I don’t. I’m not a big nut fan.

 

 

 

Pour the mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. If you’re afraid it might not come out, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and put it in. It’ll prevent the bread from sticking to the bottom of the pan and it should easily slide out.

pour the mixture into a well-greased loaf pan

We’re not done yet. Keep it in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. Now, if you really love bananas, you’ll have to be patient. Let the bread cool completely before slicing, unless you enjoy crumbly messes. Regardless, enjoy!

slice when completely cooled and enjoy!

Oh, and my mom notes that if the top gets too brown while baking, just put a piece of foil on top.

Recipe

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix sugar and oil. Add eggs one at a time. Add milk.
  4. Add flour mixture and bananas alternately.
  5. Add nuts.
  6. Pour into greased loaf pan.
  7. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Turn out onto cooking rack and cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy! From one person who previously did not enjoy banana bread, this one is worth a try.

Want a NY Style Pizza...but you don't live in NY? Try this recipe!

Close to NY Style Pizza!

Want a NY Style Pizza...but you don't live in NY? Try this recipe!

Hello All!

So I made an attempt to make NY style pizza at home. There is a small story to go with this recipe. I attempted this recipe three consecutive times. It is is NO WAY perfected. However, the third time did produce a very good tasting product. I love NY style pizza. I miss it. There are only a few places in LA that offer NY style pizza that is very similar to NY pizza. I think the sauce is very close. Kat has perfected it for general consumption with a variety of pastas, but we are trying to tweak it for the pizza. My first attempt, I actually had a hole in the pizza. The second attempt the pizza sauce had anchovies and the dough did not rise. The third attempt was the best…but only close. However, if you try this recipe you may like it.

Who knows? [The shaddow knows!]

Ok. Back to pizza making.

Below you will find the recipe. Enjoy!

Part 1

1. Get a small bowl and add 2/3 cup of filtered water. Then warm it up in the microwave. It only needs to be slightly warm….NOT HOT!

2. Add a packet of Fleischmann’s pizza crust yeast. Then add a teaspoon of sugar. Mix well. When the yeast are activated you will see bubbles!

3. To a mixing bowl add:

(a) 2 cups of flour (plus a additional 1 and 1/2 cup of flower later!) [Total 3 and 1/2 cups needed]

(b) 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of salt

(c) 1/2 tablespoon of sugar

(d) 1 large egg

(e) 2 tablespoons of olive oil

(f) 1/3 cup of water

(g) then add the pizza crust yeast/sugar/water mixture

4a. If you don’t have  a mixer or kitchen aid, mix the contents in the bowl with your hands and mix well (put some flour on your hands!!) until it begins to form a sticky playdoh consistency mass. Add 1 and 1/2 more cup of flour as you mix to help the dough to take the shape of a ball. Then put some flour on a board or clean surface and transfer the dough to for additonal kneading. Once you have a ball that is somewhat flexible you are done. Place the dough on a plate that was wiped with some olive oil. Cover the dough with paper towels for about 20min at room temperature.

4b. If you have a mixer, or kitchen aid, mix the contents at setting 1 for 2 minutes. Then add the remaining 1 and 1/2 cup of flower and then allow to mix at setting 2 for 8 minutes. Put some flour on your hands and remove the dough from the mixer. Place the dough on a plate that was wiped with some olive oil. Cover the dough with paper towels for about 20min at room temperature.

5. After 20 minutes, remove the paper towel and cover the dough with saran wrap and transfer to a refrigerator for at least 2 hours. At this point you can either continue or allow continue the next day. Your dough will rise!

Part 2

6. Take the dough out of the fridge and allow it come to temperature for 5 minutes. Roll the dough. If you are making a 16 inch pizza, you will need 12 ounces of dough. At this point you can cut the dough with a knife and take what you need. [I will provide another receipe for garlic knots that you can use the remaining dough for!!]

7. Roll the dough with a rolling pin or expand with your hands to make the dough look as you like. Make sure to leave an area for the crust! Be careful not to make too thin as this will result in a hole in your pizza! [I did this the first time!]

Close to NY Style dough

8. Set your oven to 500 degrees! You can also use 550 degrees.

9. You can make your sauce and you don’t have to cook it. Please see this recipe for our sauce. You don’t have to cook it! The sauce should be somewhat sweet. So lay off adding to much salt. You can add sugar to make it the slightest bit sweet but NOT too sweet!!

Part 3

10. Then you can add 1 ladle of sauce. You don’t have to add that much sauce. You can also eyeball it and just cover enough of the surface of the dough.

Dough covered with some loving pizza sauce!

11. Afterwards, you will need to shred some whole milk mozzarella. I use the Galbani shredding mozzarella and I shred it myself. You will also want to use whole milk mozzarella. Then place the cheese to your liking over the sauce.

Addition of some lovely shredding mozzarella!

12. Then add any additional toppings to your liking. We enjoy pepperoni. For that purpose we use Margharite Pepperoni.

Adding some excellent Margherita pepperoni!

13. Place your pizza into an cookie sheet or pizza sheet and place into your oven for 5 to 6 minutes at 500 or 550. Then carefully open the oven and rotate the pizzand and place it directly on the rack (and make sure to have something to collect stuff just below the pizza!). Close the oven and allow to cook for an additional 5 to 6 minutes at 500 or 550.

 

14. Carefully take out the pizza and place it into the cookie sheet or pizza sheet.

Bake and then.....PIZZA!

Let it cool very briefly. Then get your pizza cutter and go to town! Then take a piece and watch for the “cheese pull!” If you have “cheese pull” I think this will be very satifying!  We hope you will enjoy this recipe!!! It needs some adjustments so an additional post will follow in the near future with any adjustments and modifications!

That’s it. Thank you for reading. Until next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel!

Live long and prosper!

-The Husband

 

 

 

 

Simple and easy summery tart using Graham crackers, thick yogurt, and fresh berries.

Berry Yogurt Tart

Simple and easy summery tart using Graham crackers, thick yogurt, and fresh berries.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had to go in every week for a progesterone shot. Most days were fairly routine: get my son into the car, drive over, get shot. But, on Wednesdays, it was: get my son into the car, drive over, walk through a farmer’s market, get shot, walk out back through the farmer’s market.

In all honesty, during that time I was so tired and not weathering pregnancy very well that we hardly ever stopped to browse. Besides, my son had more fun running over those non-slip strips with their little yellow bumps that always had him giggling. He referred to our weekly visits as “going to ding ding, bump bump” with the ding ding being the elevator and the bump bump the strips.

But as I came to the end of my pregnancy, my mom was staying with us and, just to get out, we went to the farmer’s market one day. We browsed the stalls, smelled some bread, bought some berries, and discovered delicious French style yogurt from Bonjour, a local yogurt company that can only be found at local farmer’s markets in Southern California. It was rich and creamy, thick and delicious. The flavors were spot on and it’s naturally sweetened (and lactose free).

About a year passed before we returned. Not because it wasn’t delicious, but because I was busy caring for a baby and a toddler. It took me a while to figure out how to get out the door with two kids and how to keep them with me until we returned home. But my mom and I were delighted to see Bonjour was still in business.

It was the height of strawberry season. Not only did I buy some amazing yogurt, but I also got a small mountain of strawberries and blackberries. I had wanted raspberries, too, but no one had any so I settled for raspberry yogurt from Bonjour.

I remembered an episode of The Pioneer Woman where she made a berry yogurt parfait. I had yogurt. I had berries. I was inspired! And my berry yogurt tarts were born, though I’m very sad that strawberry season is now over.

Yogurt and I have a love-hate relationship. It’s always delicious, but, sometimes, I just can’t stand the sight and smell of yogurt. But I always return to it. See? Love-hate. Being pregnant and extremely picky last year, I passed on trying the yogurt, but, for some reason, I was craving it this past Spring. Being unsure of how I would like it, I decided to pair the yogurt and berries together and, since I had some plain Graham crackers no one was touching, I thought it would be nice to make a nice crust with it.

I’m not sure who had more fun crushing the crackers: me or my toddler. But they got crushed and I added some sugar and melted butter to make the crust. My son has tried to help me distribute it across the ramekins and has tried to help me press the crust in, but my daughter always wants up, so it’s easier to let him pout while I do it myself. Sorry, kid.

graham cracker crust

Inspired by the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, I mixed the berries with some sugar and vanilla extract and let it sit for a few minutes. Though it wasn’t always easy since it turns out my daughter is a strawberry fiend. Since it was strawberry season I, of course, used strawberries as well as blackberries, and added raspberries another time. You can also use blueberries and any mixture of berries you enjoy. I just happen to think blueberries are disgusting. Shh! Don’t tell my kids!

berries

While the berries marinated, I pressed the crust into the ramekins and spread the remainder out between about a half dozen baby food jars (I can’t seem to bring myself to throw any of them out).

Next came the yogurt. After fighting the lid, and winning, I let my son try to take a spoonful out. But that stuff is thick! He quickly gave up and let mommy spread it out over the crust. This required a spoon and butter knife.

yogurt on graham cracker crust

Let’s pause a moment to talk about yogurt. The Pioneer Woman used Greek yogurt and mixed in some honey and vanilla. I, however, think Greek yogurt is stinky, so will not go anywhere near it. Bonjour’s French style yogurt was perfect as it is also thick, but not at all stinky. I have a particular fondness for their raspberry yogurt. Yoplait recently came out with a French style yogurt called Oui, which would probably work great as it is also thick, but I happen to already love Bonjour, so will stick with them. If you’re ever in SoCal, check out the farmer’s markets and give them a try!

Bonjour French style yogurt - raspberry flavor

Finally, it was time for the berries, including whatever strawberries were leftover after I was forced to feed some to my daughter to keep her from trying to throw herself out of my arms (even though she wouldn’t let me put her down). Yes, she can be a little drama queen. I scattered the berries across the yogurt, trying hard to use as little of the syrup as possible. Between the syrupy berries, sweet yogurt, and sugared crust, I did not need more sugar!

berry yogurt tart with strawberries and blackberries

Berry yogurt tart in baby food jars

Delicious! Even though my daughter ate all of my strawberries. The first time I made it, I pressed the crust a little too well and was stuck slamming my spoon into it in attempts to break it up. So, if you make this, a light pat on the crust will ensure it breaks up easily and you don’t have something like a brick to cut into.

Recipe

  • Crust
    • 1 package Graham crackers, crushed
    • 1/3 cup sugar or brown sugar
    • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • Berries
    • approximately 2 cups of berries (strawberries cut into chunks, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.)
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • dash of vanilla extract
  • thick yogurt, vanilla or any flavor that complements berries
  1. Make the crust. Combine the ingredients and mix. Lightly press into dish(es).
  2. Mix berries with sugar and vanilla extract and set aside for 5 or so minutes.
  3. Cover the crust with the yogurt.
  4. Spoon berries over the yogurt, discarding as much of the syrup as possible.
  5. Store in refrigerator or be like me and eat half of it in one day.

Cooking Bone-In NY Strip

 

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I enjoy having steak! So I thought this week I’d share a nice recipe with you! There is a small story that goes along with this recipe.

Many years ago, I was running at night. While completing my run, with two friends, I noticed Gordon Ramsay was also running that evening. At first I was not sure, so I walked over to introduce myself, and to see if it was him. It was! I shook his hand and said it was a pleasure and sheer luck to meet him. And then I was on my merry way home. This is a true story. My friends were in disbelief, but I was happy to have taken the risk to see if my eyes were correct. Shortly after this experience, I began to learn and experiment how to make steak from Gordon Ramsey’s recipes – specifically how to make steak! It is one of my favorite things to eat – especially if it’s Gordon Ramsay’s filet minon.

OK. Take out your steak and let it sit at RT for 20-30min.

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Season your steak with salt and pepper to taste.

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Then place your pan onto the stove and add 1tbsp of olive oil and let it get hot! When you see a bit of smoke rise from your pan put in your steak for about 2minutes on each side.

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Turn the steaks on the side and cook the sides for about 1min.

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Put in your butter and lemon juice (from one lemon) and baste the steaks with a spoon.

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Place your steaks into a pan and complete the cooking process in the oven at 400F for 7-8min.

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Take out the oven and allow to rest for 3-5min.

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Enjoy!

Thank you! Until next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel. Live long and prosper! Happy 4th July and happy eating!

-The Husband

My version of Gordon Ramsay’s steak (with white rice)

  • New York Strip (or what ever cut you like)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • one lemon (use all the jice from one lemon)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salted butter
  • McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
  1. Take your your steak and allow to be at room temperature for about 30min. Turn oven on to 400Fat 10 minuntes remaining.
  2. Season your steak with salt, pepper to taste (may then sprinkle a little McCormick Montreal at this time. (Don’t make it too salty!)
  3. Place 1tbsp of olive oil into pan and allow to heat until you see some smoke from the pan. (**Olive oil has a higher temperature for heating and won’t burn don’t use regular oil!!)
  4. Aftet you see the smoke, place your steak into the pan for about 2min.
  5. Turn over and sear for 2minutes.
  6. Add your two small square of butter and lemon juice. Then baste the combination over the steak with a spoon.
  7. Take out your steak and complete the cooking in the oven for 8min.
  8. Remove the steak from the oven and allow to rest for 3-5min.

Can serve with:

  • mashed potatos
  • rice
  • vegetables

 

A variation of Rachael Ray's Spanish style beef and rice

Rachael Ray’s Spanish Style Beef and Rice

A variation of Rachael Ray's Spanish style beef and rice

My mom has a habit of collecting recipes, and then never trying them out because she has so many. But her habit is my gain.

There are times when my husband turns to me and says, “Let’s try something new this week.” On one hand, I love it because it means I can try a new recipe. On the other hand, I hate it because sometimes I don’t have anything in mind.

Cue my mom’s binder of recipes. I’ll flip through it whenever I can, looking for inspiration or something new. This is one of those. It was tucked in the back of a pocket, forgotten, just waiting for me to find it.

Rachael Ray’s Spanish Style Beef and Rice was a huge hit with my husband, and was duly added to our list of recipes that we love.

But, over the years (it was about 3.5 years ago that we started making this), I’ve made changes based on what we like and don’t like. Like we hate onions, but love what Worcestershire sauce does to the taste. We like the rice, but I’ve only made it twice since we enjoy plain rice more. And we’re big bell pepper fans. So you can find the original at the link above. What I give you here is how I make it and our favorite way of eating it.

 

First, prep. Dice the bell peppers, mince the garlic, and open the can of tomato sauce. If you’re good with a knife and peeling garlic, this can take just a few minutes.

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Now heat some olive oil in a large skillet. Brown the ground beef or turkey and sausage meat sans casing (or just a package of the sausage meat if you can find it) and add salt and pepper. The original recipe says ground sirloin, but we like to mix it up. I’ve made it with just ground beef, ground beef and sausage, and ground turkey and sausage. It tastes great any way!

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Add the bell peppers, garlic, and a liberal amount of Worcestershire sauce (if you like it as much as we do) and stir. Cook about 5 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

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Now add the tomato sauce and ground cumin. Stir. Let the sauce come to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes.

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Mmm. It’s so quick to make, only about a half hour. And I often make this one while holding my 1 year old. Just have to keep her turned away from the stove.

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Want to know our favorite way of eating this? All you really need is some tortillas. Probably any kind you like, but we only use the flour tortillas.

Quarter 2, or more or less, tortillas and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet.

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Spread out the meat and top with cheese if you’d like (we enjoy cheddar here, but, sadly, didn’t have any this time around).

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Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes, until the cheese (if you added any) is melted and the edges of the tortillas are lightly browned and crisp.

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Enjoy!

My Version of Rachael Ray’s Spanish Style Beef (without the rice)

  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef
  • 1 lb sausage
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Brown beef/turkey and sausage. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in bell peppers, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook 5 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
  4. Add can of tomato sauce and ground cumin. Stir and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes.

One way to serve:

  • Spanish style beef
  • tortillas
  • cheese, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with foil and lightly grease.
  3. Quarter tortillas and arrange on baking sheet.
  4. Spread the beef over the tortillas and sprinkle with cheese if you’d like.
  5. Bake 7-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges of the tortillas are lightly browned and crisp.

Enjoy!