"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Andy's Gourmet Open-Faced Steak Sandwiches

Here he is sporting his new hair cut and his tray of soon-to-be-devoured sandwiches! Every dish Andy has ever tried to make turns out absolutely delicious. He is fearless in the kitchen, mixing savory with sweet. Andy is a natural. He made these delicious open faced sandwiches for an impromptu dinner gathering. These were packed with flavor -wait till you see the ingredients. He used a secret sweet ingredient (pears!) that really tied the whole sandwich together. The fresh flavors of the pear were a perfect contrast to the rich flavors of the gorgonzola cheese. These sandwiches, with a bit of greens on the side, are delightful. All of them were finished and the last one had to be split so multiple people could each get a bite!

Andy's Gourmet Open-Faced Steak Sandwiches

1 loaf Italian bread
Garlic infused olive oil
Gorgonzola cheese
Yellow onions
1 pear (Yes, a pear!) cut into thin slices

Andy caramelized the onions with olive oil until they were brown and fragrant. He pre-toasted the bread slightly, and prepared the steak, letting it cool before cutting it into squares to prevent running. Then he placed the cheese on top of the toasted bread, followed by the pear slices and caramelized onions and finally the steak pieces. He then toasted the whole sandwich until the cheese melted, the pears turned a slight golden color and all the flavors were blended.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cheesy Zucchini and Onion Flatbread

I am a huge fan of Trader Joe's refrigerated pizza dough! It is $0.99, comes in three flavors, and there is soooo much you can do with it! I've tried Whole Foods pizza dough, but it doesn't seem to hold the same flavor. I had some fresh zucchini from the farmer's market and I'm starting to learn about different cheese, so I thought why not make a cheesy zucchini flatbread? This is a great looking and even better tasting dish for a pot luck or dinner party! I used the garlic and herb pizza dough from Trader Joes, which, as you can see in this picture, matches my counter top!

Cheesy Zucchini and Onion Flatbread
(Serves 4)

Flour (for rolling the pizza dough and coating the pan)
1 bag of refrigerated pizza dough (you can also use the tuber pizza dough)
3/4 cup garlic and herb cheese spread (I used the Alouette brand)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 handful chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 small red onion cut into thin slices
1 7-8 inch long green zucchini halved and cut into thin slices (I'm sure a yellow one would be just as tasty - whatever you prefer!)
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle flour on a hard surface and roll out dough into a large rectangle. I don't have a rolling pin, but this old wine bottle works perfectly!

2. Sprinkle flour on the pan and carefully place the dough on the pan. You may need to remove excess dough that hangs over the edge of the pan (this is perfect for breadsticks). Drizzle olive oil on the dough and if you have a basting brush this would be the time to use it. If not, a paper towel or the palm of your hand works great too! Using a fork, poke the dough all over, this will help the dough to breathe in the oven and prevent bubbling. Place dough in the oven for 7-8 minutes.
3. Remove pan from the oven and spread the garlic and herb cheese all over the dough. Then sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese on the dough. Place the onion slices on top of the cheese, followed by the zucchini slices. Drizzle olive oil on top  of  the zucchini and sprinkle with pepper and the remaining Parmesan cheese.
4. Place pan back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes until it is puffed and turning a golden brown along the edges. Remove from oven and sprinkle parsley on it. Cut and serve. Bon appetite!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Veggie and Chicken Sausage Quiche with a Potato Crust

Wow. I have never made quiche before and quite frankly I didn't even like quiche until this weekend. Quiche is so versatile and there really is an endless amount of possible mix-ins. I can't wait to continue experimenting with quiche! I adapted this one from a recipe I found on For The Love of Cooking and I absolutely love the idea of a potato crust! Not only is it much more healthy than traditional quiche crusts, but it adds a whole new delicious flavor and texture! This is the perfect dish to make for brunch; it's filling, tasty and looks incredible! Quiche is usually high in cholesterol because of the eggs, cheese, and traditional crust, however this recipe is pretty much cholesterol free and very delicious! With a little bit of spicy hot sauce and ketchup, this is the perfect pick-me-up brunch meal!

Veggie and Chicken Sausage Quiche with a Potato Crust
(Serves 4)

1 large Yukon Gold potato sliced very thinly
Olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
1 heaping cup of sliced mushrooms
1 large tomato diced
1 cup of frozen peas
1 heaping cup of fresh spinach diced
2 chicken sausage links, halved and cut into slices (I use Trader Joe's spinach, fontina and roasted garlic chicken sausages)
Heaping 1/4 cup feta cheese (I use Trader Joe's non-fat)
7 eggs (I use fake eggs, 1 3/4 cups fake eggs which equals 7 eggs)
1/4 milk
Dried chili flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and coat a pie dish with cooking spray and layer the thin slices of potato all over the bottom and edges of the pan. You will need to overlap the potato slices to make sure the pan is completely covered. Spray the potatoes with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place pan in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and saute the onions for a few minutes, and then add the mushrooms for a few minutes. Lastly, add the spinach, chicken sausage and peas for a couple minutes until all the flavors are combined evenly. Remove from heat
3. Put the tomatoes and half of the feta cheese on top of the potato crust, then add the veggie and chicken sausage mixture.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture on top of the veggies and sprinkle the left over feta cheese and dried chili flakes.
5. Place in the oven for 35-45 minutes until a tester comes out clean. After removing it from the oven let it cool for a few minutes; slice and enjoy!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jalapeno Cornbread

I have always loved warm cornbread with a slowly melting square of butter on top; it reminds me of being a kid for some reason...even though I don't remember eating cornbread all that often. In search of the perfect recipe for a late summer lunch, this one seemed rather promising. From the LiveToEat blog and tweaked slightly I bring to you this cornbread recipe! I definitely plan to make this again but I would like to experiment with more add-ins like chorizo, cheddar cheese, sun dried tomatoes or mushrooms!

Jalapeno Cornbread
(I'd like to say that this serves 5, but my boyfriend and his roommate devoured it....so, it serves 2 1/2)

3/4 cups cornmeal (I used Indian Head Stone Ground)
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cups soy milk
1 large egg (I used 1/4 cup fake eggs)
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 heaped cup frzoen sweet yellow corn kernels
2 large jalapenos seeded and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne powder
1/4 cup sliced scallion pieces

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. In a bowl mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cayenne powder
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, egg and butter
4. Combine the egg mixture wih the dry ingredients and add in the chopped peppers, corn and scallions
5. Butter a cast iron skillet and pour the batter into the pan, bake for 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Serve warm with butter and enjoy!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pad Thai with Chicken and Tofu

In 2007 I went backpacking through Thailand and the street food there blew me away. I was eating cartons of Pad Thai for less than $1. Thai cooking is very fresh and spicy. In the northern city of Chaing Mai I took an all day Thai cooking class at the BaanThai Cookery School. There I learned how easy it is to make delicious Thai food! As soon as I arrived back in the USA, I bought myself a $19.00 wok by the Martha Stewart brand at Macy's. As I began making my own Thai food, I've started getting creative with Pad Thai and adding in new vegetables and using variations of the traditional sauces. Pad Thai, can have a lot of sodium because it uses oyster sauce and fish sauce, so instead I opted for a low sodium pad thai suace and a small amount of fish sauce. Pad Thai is a fast cooking, fresh tasting, delicious meal that is perfect for large groups. Because the dish cooks so quickly, it is best to pre-cut everything and have it all ready to go!

Pad Thai with Chicken and Tofu
(serves 3-4)

Pad Thai noodles (available at most ethnic markets and specialty food stores)
4 small chicken breasts cut into small chunks
Tofu cut into cubes
4 eggs scrambled (I use fake eggs which are lower in cholesterol and just as tasty)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2-3 tablespoons Pad Thai sauce (traditionally oyster sauce is used however I like to switch it up and test different sauces).
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
7-8 large cloves of garlic finely minced
1 1/2 cups sliced red cabbage
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1 handful Thai chiles
1/4 cup ground peanuts
1 handful halved peanuts (for garnish)
1/4 cup chopped green onions (for garnish)
1 lime cut into wedges

1. Soak noodles in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes, or until they are completely limp and flexible
2. Heat garlic and oil in the wok on medium-high heat until garlic is fragrant and browning
3. Add in chicken and turn heat up, wait until chicken is fully cooked (you may need to add some water) and push it to the side of the wok. Pour eggs into the wok and scramble quickly.
4. Add tofu and noodles, pour fish sauce and Pad Thai sauce over noodles. Using wooden utensils, mix quickly so that the sauces, chicken, tofu, egg and noodles are completely blended and evenly coated with the sauce (you may need to add in more). Then mix in peanuts, continuing to mix and lastly add in cabbage and bean sprouts. Mix and cook for another couple minutes just until cabbage gets soft but not wilted, then turn off heat.
5. Serve with peanut halves, green onions and a lime wedge. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Indian Paratha with Raita

One of the reasons I love Indian food is because it's all about mixing the flavors. Indian breads, whether they are naan, paratha, roti or chapati, are all perfect compliment for a flavor heavy Indian dish. I love to pile the curries and sauces onto the breads. I had some left over cilantro in my refrigerator so I decided to use it to make some paratha. I didn't really know what I was doing and I definitely plan to make this again and experiment with different spices and flours. I chose to make a raita for the paratha which was the perfect cool spread for this hot-off-the-skillet bread. The two recipes follow.

Indian Paratha
(serves 2)

1 3/4 cup flour (plus more for kneading)
3/4 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek style non-fat)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Olive oil

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir in cilantro. Then add the yogurt and mix until small clumps form. Then add in more flour and/or yogurt, kneading the dough until it holds together and is smooth.
2. Pull off small handfuls of the dough to roll into balls and using your palms, smoosh the ball so they are like little pancakes.
3. Heat olive oil on medium high in a skillet and place the chapati patties in the skillet and cook until golden brown and puffed on each side. About 3 minutes a side.
4. Pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess oil and serve warm with raita.

(makes about 1 cup)

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek style non-fat)
1/2 cup chopped cucumber (try to chop it into as small as pieces as possible)
1 handful fresh chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped scallions
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and cover and chill until ready to serve.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Easy Tandoori Chicken

I remember the first time I had tandoori chicken: I went to my good friend Anu's home after school in 2nd grade. Her mom prepared a plate full of tandoori chicken with some naan as an after school snack. This was my introduction to Indian food and I was an instant fan. It was just the perfect amount of spiciness with that perfect, slightly charred broiled chicken taste. I remember before I left her home, Anu's mom gave me a sheet of bindis and I proudly wore mine to Hebrew school later that day at our local Jewish community center. As I grew older, I explored more Indian food and I have yet to taste an Indian dish I don't like. The exciting thing is, there is still so much Indian food I haven't tried! This recipe is easy and quick, perfect for a week night meal.

Easy Tandoori Chicken
(Serves 2)

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek style, non-fat)
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Vindaloo paste (I bought an Indian brand at Kalustyan on Lexington and 29th)
1 pinch black pepper
4 chicken breast pieces

1. Put rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 500. Place one sheet of foil on a broiler pan.
2. Combine first four ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place chicken pieces in the bowl, fully cover with all the yogurt mixture and cover and chill for at least 20 minutes.
3. Place chicken on pan, pour remaining yogurt mixture on chicken. Broil the chicken for 25 minutes until chicken is cooked and slightly charred on the outside.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Okonomiyaki: Japanese-Style Pancakes

Inspired by the Japanese fast food joints clustering around the East Village in NYC, I decided to give Okonomiyaki a shot. It's a Japanese-style pancake that uses leeks and green cabbage and tastes incredible with a spicy peanut sauce. These are usually made with shrimp and squid, but I wanted to make a slightly healthier version that would bring out the delicious flavors of the leeks and spices. Leeks can be difficult to clean and always have dirt deeply ingrained near the bulb. In order to properly remove all the dirt, it's best to submerge them in a bowl of cold water, swishing them to loosen any dirt. Then remove and pat dry.

Okonomiyaki: Japanese-Style Pancakes
(Serves 3-4)

4 cups white cabbage, thinly sliced into fine shreds
2 cups leeks finely cut
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 eggs beaten (I use fake eggs and it works perfectly)
2 spicy peppers thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly chopped
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Peanut sauce (I use Trader Joe's Spicy Peanut Sauce)

1. Combine cabbage, leeks, flour, eggs and peppers in a bowl, mixing together until egg and flour and consistently spread throughout
2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a pan
3. Form small patties out of cabbage mixture and place them in the pan, cooking for about 2 min on each side until they get a nice golden brown color and a slightly crispy surface
4. Sprinkle with scallions, chopped peanuts and serve with peanut sauce

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bakery Review: Trois Pommes Patisserie, when Whoopie Pie meets Red Velvet

After our morning bagel it was obviously time for dessert. My sister and I seem to have a problem where we can't pass a bakery without going in....it's a problem I'd rather not fix. Strolling through Park Slope we stumbled upon this adorable patisserie with a number of articles in the window raving about it's Red Velvet Whoopie Pie; least to say we had found our sweet mid-morning treat. This hyrbid of desserts is making a big comeback in the baking world and Trois Pommes Patisserie is leading the way with a red velvet version.

The cake part was moist and fluffy and the French vanilla cream was perfectly smooth and not too rich.
It really was as delicious as it looks. As you can see from the picture below, my sister had convinently moved the little dessert to her side of the table while I was asking someone to take a picture.

260 Fifth Avenue, between Carroll St and Garfield Pl

Restaurant Review: Ess-A-Bagel, In Search of the Perfect Bagel

When my sister came to town we started our morning with the classic bagel-lox-n-cream cheese combo with of few of our own topping preferences: capers, tomatoes, onions, on a whole wheat everything bagel. Ess-A-Bagel is somewhat of a local institution with long lines on Saturday and Sunday.

It ain't cheap, but is it worth it? Absolutley!
They are generous with the toppings, the bagles are fresh and doughy, and the tomato slices are thick and juicy. After a long night, nothing tastes better than a full bagel sandwhich....well, except for Mexican food.
359 1st Ave, at the corner of 21st Street. 
(212) 260-2252

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mexican Style Quinoa with Black Beans, Tomatoes and Hearts of Palm

I'm rather new to cooking with quinoa but because it's a grain, and versatile like couscous, I decided to create a Mexican style dish with it. A little interesting factoid is that quinoa was actually a staple in Inca civilization; it was called "the mother grain" and it's popular in a lot of South American dishes. This dish takes no time to make and requires very little prep work, so it's perfect for a mid-week meal.

Mexican Style Quinoa with Black Beans, Tomatoes and Hearts of Palm
(4 servings)

2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 pinch of sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 large tomato chopped
1 10 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
4 hearts of palms sliced into small pieces
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
4 scallions sliced all the way to the white root
1 avocado sliced, for garnish

1. Whisk together the melted butter, lime juice, olive oil and sugar in a large bowl and set aside
2. Cook quinoa in 2 cups of boiling water just until the water is absorbed (about 10 min). Then remove from heat and fluff with a fork and cover.
3. When quinoa is ready, mix in with the dressing and toss until it is evenly absorbed
4. Add in vegetables and mix thoroughly, serve with a few slices of avocado

Andy's Delicious White Chocolate, Raisin Oatmeal Cookies with Extra Cinnamon

My good friend Andy is one of my biggest cooking inspirations. He has been making incredible dishes long before I knew how to use a kitchen knife. I'm lucky that he lives so close because when he goes on baking/cooking I usually get to sample most of his delicious creations and every time I'm over I learn some new cooking technique; there will be plenty of his meals and desserts on a regular basis. Here is Andy holding three of his home-made cookies: one is for me, one is for my roommate and one is for Andy. Somehow I ended up having them all....it's a good thing he only brought over three!

These cookies were perfectly chewy and the raisins were plump and the white chocolate chunks were large. Andy is a big cinnamon fan, so the flavors of the cinnamon and oatmeal with the white chocolate make these cookies honestly irresistible. This is the first of many Andy-Makes-Irresistible-Food-Posts.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dressingless Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Baked Potato & Baked Tofu

A full and fresh salad is the perfect late summer dinner when heirloom tomatoes are at their best. The combination of all the natural juices and flavors of the vegetables make dressing unnecessary. Because this salad is "dressingless" it won't become soggy overnight, so you can actually have it for lunch the next day! The baked potato and baked tofu add a lot of substance to this dish to make a proper meal. When I moved in with my wonderful roommate in 2008, she gave me a large wooden salad bowl with serving utensils. Similarly to pastas, it's important to put your salad in a non-reactive bowl (it ought to be made of a substance that won't react chemically to the foods put in it).

extra firm tofu, cut into small even rectangles
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced and cut into small even rectangles
mixed greens (baby arugula, baby spinach and lettuces)
1/2 large cucumber sliced into 1/2 inch rings then chopped into quarters
2 large carrots sliced
6-7 sundried tomatoes chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup corn kernels (you can buy bags of frozen corn kernels in most supermarkets)
2-3 hearts of palm, sliced and halved
1 avocado cut into small pieces
1/4 cup black olives sliced
2 cups heirloom tomatoes, halved

1.Preheat oven to 420, sprinkle olive oil on a baking pan and place the tofu rectangles and potatoe rectangles on the pan
2. Season tofu and potatoes with garlic powder and ground  pepper
3. Bake for about 25 min until tofu is browned on top and firm

4. While tofu and potatoes are baking cut all the vegetables and combine with mixed greens. Add tofu and potatoe bits. Top it all off with a couple sprinkles of flax seed for extra nutrition and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spicy Pepper Hummus

I always loved the Sabras brand of hummus but it's much more fun to make your own because you can intensify the flavors to your preference and experiment with additional ingredients. Hummus is one of those dips that is perfect for any sort of fresh bread or pita and tastes delicious with whole grain or corn chips. This picture above is the Hummus family of ingredients.

Ingredients: From left to right:
about 2 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper dried flakes
4 fresh garlic gloves
a little more than 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 fire roasted red pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 teaspoon za'atar (can be purchased at Middle Eastern markets)
1/4 cup tahini (also known as sesame paste)

1. In a food processer, blend the garlic gloves until they are settled on the bottom of the processor. Then blend the fire roasted red pepper until it too has settled along the sides of the processor.
2. Add in the chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, za'atar and red pepper flakes.

3. Pulse processor until you get your desired consistency, pausing to scrape the sides and bottom with a spatula. Taste test it along the way to see if you would like to add more tahini, lemon or any more of the spices.

4. When it is at your desired consistancy, transfer hummus into a tupperwear container and place in the refigerator for at least 20 min. Bring to room temperature before serving

For extra spicyness, add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce and Chicken

Excited about my new Butternut Squash Sauce by Dave's Gourmet, I decided to make a pasta dish that would bring out the flavors of the butternut squash. I wanted something that was healthy and easy to make. The flavors of the mushroom and tomatoes really punctuate the butternut squash and roasted broccoli tastes great as a side!

Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce, Chicken and Roasted Vegetables
(2-4 servings, I think this recipe should be for 4 servings, but tonight the entire lot was consumed by 2!)

3 cups whole wheat penne pasta
3 chicken tenderloins
1 large tomato cut into chunks
1 lb broccoli florets
6 button mushrooms, scrubbed and cut into chunks
1/3 jar of Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
Olive oil, garlic powder and fresh ground pepper

1.Preheat oven to 420
2. Drizzle olive oil on a pan and lay out the broccoli florets, mushroom chunks and tomato chunks.
3. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and generously sprinkle with garlic powder and ground pepper. Place pan in oven and cook for 25 min, or until the broccoli flours get a spotting of crisp brown and the tomatoes look slightly shriveled and juicy.
4. Bring water to a boil on stove top
5. Cook penne pasta until you have the desired firmness
6. While penne is cooking and the vegetables are roasting, cut the chicken into even pieces and cook over medium high heat on stove top. Be sure to generously sprinkle the chicken with olive oil, garlic powder and ground pepper. Set aside when cooked through.
7. In a small sauce pan, heat up the Butternut Squash sauce over medium low heat, stirring frequently.
8. After draining penne, place in a glass serving bowl and add 2/3 of the heated sauce folding the penne to fully and evenly coat it in sauce.
9. Add in the chicken pieces mixing until evenly dispersed
10. Finally add the mushroom and tomatoes and the remainder of the heated pasta sauce.

Garnish with Parmesan and chili pepper flakes and enjoy with a healthy side of broccoli!

Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

In June I went to the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in NYC. I learned about "Dave's Gourmet" and Dave's whole line of delicious pasta sauces and hot sauces. I had never seen a butternut squash sauce before so I decided to try it and it was DELICIOUS! Ever since the food show I have had the most difficult time finding this sauce in NYC. I even called Dave, who is based out of San Francisco, to find out where I could find his butternut squash sauce! During a visit home, I scouted our local markets and was thrilled when I found it. The only thing stopping me from buying 5 jars was the excessive fee for overweight luggage at the airport.....

Pizza with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Chicken Sausage and Basil

Pizza is one of those foods that never gets boring. It's also easy to make and fun for a group dinner because your friends can bring their own toppings! As fun as it is to try new pizza combinations, I always prefer the good'ol tomato marinara, cheese and meat combo. This is a slight variation. I think pizza goes best with a fresh salad or it can just jive solo!

Pizza with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Chicken Sausage and Basil
(4 servings) - I say this with a bit of skepticism because I've shared an entire pizza with just one other person!

1 bag fresh pizza dough (Trader Joe's has delicious pizza dough for $0.99! For this pizza I prefer the garlic herb dough, however feel free to use the white dough or the whole wheat).
Tomato Marinara (a Garlic-Herb one is best)
Ricotta Cheese
Olive Oil
1/2 White Onion thinly sliced
3/4 cup button mushrooms thinly sliced
2 Chicken Sausages (I like the ones mixed with herbs)
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Flour for rolling dough and coating pan

1. Preheat oven to 425 and set pizza dough at room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling.
2. Cut white onion and mushroom into thin, even slices.
3. Using a handful of flour, coat a kitchen counter surface and lightly coat the dough in the flour.
4. Using a rolling pin, (I don't have a rolling pin so I use a large empty wine bottle and it works great!) roll the dough into the shape of your pan. It's important to spend a lot of time rolling and kneading the dough because you want the dough to be even.
5. Lightly coat pizza pan with flour, place dough on pan
6. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil onto a folded paper towel and lightly dab the dough with olive oil.
7. Using a fork, poke holes all over the pizza dough. This will allow it to cook evenly.
8. Place pan in center of oven and pre-cook the dough for about 8 minutes. It should start to bubble.
9.Caramelize onions with olive oil and a splash of pepper until soft but not wilted. They will cook more in the oven with the pizza. Set aside.
10. Saute mushrooms with olive oil, pepper and garlic powder until brown and soft. Set aside
11. Cut sausage into even slices.
12. After removing dough from oven, slather generously with marinara sauce.
13. Add dollops of ricotta all over the pizza
14. Layer on the caramelized onions, followed by the mushrooms.
15. Place the sausage slices evenly around the pizza
16. Place pizza in oven for approximately 12 minutes. Check to make sure cheese has fully melted and the ingredients are sticking together.
17. Remove from oven and immediately place the basil leaves on the pizza. They will cook for a few minutes while the pizza is still hot.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Slowly Steamed Salmon over Vegetables

A delicious salmon dish has always been my Dad's Friday night speciality. For a long time, I was too intimidated to cook my own salmon because his always tasted so good and he never had a set recipe. When I finally decided to give it a shot, I understood that salmon is one of those versatile foods. It can be marinated in just about anything and when slowly steamed with fruits or vegetables salmon will capture a delicious melody of flavors. This dish will also leave you with a flavorful sauce from salmon and vegetables that is perfect for dipping bread or pouring over brown rice!

Slowly Steamed Salmon over Vegetables
(2 servings)

2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce (Trader Joe's Soyaki works great!)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground ginger (powder ginger is best)

1/4 cup orange juice
1 large fillet of fresh salmon
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large garlic cloves
2 long carrots, sliced
1 cup shelled soy beans
12 cherry tomatoes halved
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4-5 thin lemon slices

1. Put salmon in a plastic zip lock bag. Add teriyaki sauce, minced garlic, ground ginger, and orange juice. Seal bag and gently mix the ingredients making sure to cover the entire salmon. Place bag in refrigerator and let salmon marinate for at least 20 minutes and no longer than 1 hour.
2. Slice the carrots, halve the tomatoes, and chop the garlic to chunks. (If you are using frozen soy beans, this would be a good time to let them thaw).
3. Heat olive oil in pan on medium heat.
4. Add garlic, carrots and soy beans evenly dispersed to pan. Make room in the center for the salmon fillet.
5. Add salmon, skin side down in center of pan.
6. Add halved tomatoes around the salmon
7. Sprinkle the fennel seeds on top of the salmon.
8. Place the lemon slices on top of the salmon.
9. Let cook uncovered for about 4 minutes.
10. Cover (if you don't have a cover for your pan, you can use a baking pan or even a large piece of foil) and let the salmon steam with the vegetable on medium low heat for about 20 min.
11. When ready, a knife should be able to go in smoothly and the salmon should be tender. It should be a light pink in color. The idea is to remove the salmon from the heat before it becomes dried out and flaky.