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    Entries in homemade is best (62)

    Thursday
    May072015

    Welcome to May (hem!!!) - Pizza Edition!

    Well, the traditional Mayhem hasn’t managed to find Seeley and me this year. I’m not moving across the country and she’s not completely lost in math. Well, here at Authors Kitchen, May just isn’t May without the hem, so we’ve decided to create a bit of our own.  Not only is Seeley sure to stir things up with her impending return (Yay!!), but we’ve decided to have a pizza off! Ok, so it’s not exactly your typical competition, but you know how we feel about rules. Basically, you're just going to get some recipes for some fantastic pizzas!

    First up, a thin crust, honey mustard pizza. Somewhere in New York right now, someone is yelling at their screen about how honey mustard and chicken don’t go on pizza. Just wait until they hear about the crust.  I would say this falls into the category of what I call “cracker pizzas”. You know those crispy, thin ones with a crust that almost resembles the consistency of a cracker? The ones in the freezer section of your grocery store for like a buck? The ones you occasionally enjoy in private but would never actually admit to? Yeah, those. Did you know you can make your own, in less than 30 minutes, with no preservatives and other scary ingredients, and that tastes amazing?

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 1 cup flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 3 – 5 Tablespoons warm water 

    Toppings I used: 

    • Cooked chicken
    • Red bell pepper
    • Green onion
    • Feta cheese
    • Mozzarella Cheese
    • 2 Tablespoons honey
    • 2 Tablespoons mustard 

    Before you start you’ll probably want to turn your oven to 425°.  Then, into a mixing bowl go the flour, salt, and baking powder.

    Stir them together and add the olive oil and 3 Tablespoons of water. 

    Mix, continuing to add water ½ Tablespoon at a time until all of the flour is incorporated and you have a soft, but not really sticky, dough. 

    Knead the dough for about a minute just to bring it all together and get rid of any bits of flour or lumps. Form it into a round disk, cover it with a damp towel (paper or cloth is fine) and set it aside.

    While that’s resting, slice your bell pepper into thin slices.

    Then, the green onion.

    Next comes the sauce.  In a small bowl, combine two Tablespoons honey

    And two Tablespoons mustard.

    Stir them together until they're completely combined.  I’m not sure why, but when you mix honey and mustard you end up with something much thinner in consistency than either of them on their own. If I were a chemist, I’m sure I could explain why, but well…

    Now for the crust. Grab your rested dough and begin rolling it.  Be sure to keep moving it as your roll so that it doesn’t stick to your countertop.  You want the end result to be about 1/8 inch thick and 12 ish inches in diameter. 

    Lightly brush your pizza pan with olive oil before transferring the crust. I just put a little on a paper towel and rubbed it over the surface. With a fork, poke the entire surface of the dough.

    Into the oven for 4 minutes. Yes 4. Not 3. Not 5.  It should look something like this.

    Sprinkle on some grated mozzarella.  Wait, I was supposed to measure that? I don’t know, a cup? Enough to lightly cover the surface.

    As for the chicken, I just used some leftover rotisserie chicken, but you can, of course, cook your own. Just make sure you do it before starting on anything else.  Whichever you use, slice it thin and place it around the pizza. Follow that with the red bell pepper, green onion, and feta.

    Cover with a light sprinkle of mozzarella, just to help hold everything in place. Then, drizzle over the honey mustard. You probably won’t use it all. 

    Back into the oven for another 12 minutes. When it’s ready it should be nice and bubbly on top and starting to brown around the edges. 

    Remove it and allow it to cool on a rack for at least 2 or 3 minutes before cutting. Then just slice it like you would any other pizza.  I know, often times pizza places cut their thin crust pizzas into square pieces. Why? It makes no sense. The shape of the pizza hasn’t changed. I just don’t get it.

    So there you have it, a delicious, thin, crispy crust pizza you made all on your own. Feel free to use the same crust with more traditional toppings or these toppings on a more traditional crust, as well.  This is more of a guide than an actual recipe. 

    So, Seeley, what kind of pizza are you bringing to the May-hem party? 

     

    Monday
    Mar022015

    Does Oatmeal Make It Healthy?

    Is there anything better than a chocolate cake? I’m not talking about that grocery store stuff that hardly tastes like chocolate and is smeared with a layer of artificially colored, sweetened shortening.  I’m talking about deep, dark, rich, chocolately goodness covered with fudgy deliciousness. That's exactly what this oatmeal chocolate cake is. I know I always go on about how important high quality ingredients are, but with chocolate, it’s more important than ever. If you make a cake with hersheys chocolate and generic cocoa, that’s exactly what it will taste like.  I’m not saying you have to put yourself in the poorhouse, but buy something decent. When using chocolate chips from the store, opt for the Ghirardelli or Guittard rather than the store brand or Nestle ones.  As for cocoa, I suggest a high quality, dutch process variety.  I get mine from Penzeys

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon molasses
    • 6 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ¾ cup flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ cocoa
    • ½ cup old fashioned oats
    • ¾ cup boiling water 

    The first thing you need to do is pour the boiling water over your oats and set them aside. 

    Now is probably a good time to preheat your oven to 350°, as well.  Then, in a mixing bowl, combine your softened butter, sugar, and molasses.  Mix it for a minute or two, scraping everything down once in the middle.  It won’t really get fluffy, per se, because it’s a bit heavy on the sugar side, but it should be light in color and soft. 

    Add the egg and vanilla.

    Stir until they’re incorporated. 

    Then scrape everything down again, and mix it for another minute.  I’ll be honest, it’s not terribly pretty at this point, but don’t panic, it’ll get better. 

    Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until they’re incorporated. 

    Now come the oats, along with any water they didn’t absorb. 

    Stir them in and then scoop the batter into a buttered 8 x 8 pan.  As you can see, the batter is quite stiff, but that’s just as it should be. 

    Spread it to the edges, doing your best to even it out across the top, then into the 350° oven for 35 minutes. 

    Now, the frosting for this cake gets poured on while the cake is still hot, so I like to start on it when the cake has been in the oven for about 10 minutes.  I didn’t take an ingredients picture for the frosting,

    But here’s what you’ll need: 

    • ½ cup sugar
    • ¼ cup cocoa
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup milk
    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ½ cup chocolate chips
    • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar 

    Combine the sugar, salt, and sifted cocoa in a sauce pan. 

    Stir them until they’re evenly distributed. 

    Pour in the milk,

    And add the butter.

    Stir constantly over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture just reaches a boil. 

    Then remove it from the heat and add the vanilla and chocolate chips. I used a combination of dark chocolate and semi-sweet, but you can use whichever suits your fancy that day.

    Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and you have this gorgeous concoction.

    Now, sift in half of the powdered sugar.

    Make sure it’s completely incorporated before adding the second half. 

    Then stir that in and your frosting is ready for the cake. And speaking of cake, it should be just about done. When it’s ready, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out pretty much clean. A few crumbs are ok, just not wet batter. 

    Pour the fudge frosting over the hot cake.

    Stop drooling, because now comes the hard part. Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting into it.  It’ll probably take 2 – 3 hours, minimum, for it to cool and the frosting to set. 

    I just sprinkled my piece with mini chocolate chips to make it more aesthetically pleasing, it really isn’t necessary.  In full disclosure, I actually took them off before eating it. This cake is absolutely fabulous just the way it is. It’s not like, wow, there’s oatmeal in my cake. If you didn’t make the cake, you’d probably never guess there was oatmeal in it, you’d just think, ‘I love the fantastic texture of this cake!’ and the fudge frosting is pure bliss. 

    What’s your favorite chocolate treat?