Friday, January 6, 2012

Artichoke Bruschetta

I like this recipe because it's something different, which fulfills my resolution for the year to focus on recipes that are off the beaten path. Plus, it gives me an excuse to use artichoke, which is a vegetable that I like but rarely utilize because my husband recoils in horror at its existence. But even he couldn't deny that this Artichoke Bruschetta is very tasty, and not all together "artichoke like." The canned artichokes have a very mild flavor, providing the base on which all the other fabulous flavors co-mingle. If you've ever had an artichoke dip at a chain restaurant, this is something very similar.

From Allrecipes

1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 shallot, minced
2-4 garlic cloves, crushed (it depends on your like/tolerance for garlic)
1/2 c grated Romano cheese
5 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper
1 loaf Italian bread, sliced (other crusty breads work, too)
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread slices on a cookie sheet. Lightly brush the slices with some olive oil. Toast in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the artichoke, tomatoes, shallot, garlic, Romano cheese, and mayonnaise. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon a layer of the artichoke mixture ontop of each toasted crustini. Place under the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, or until the artichokes mixture heats through and start to lightly brown. Take care to watch that the crustini does not burn. Serve immediately.

This recipe is shared with Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Craft-O-Maniac, Made by You Monday, Tuesday Talent Show, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, This Chick Cooks, Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friday

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Orange Scones

When I came across this recipe, I was a tad skeptical. Make that more like very skeptical. A scone recipe without heavy cream and eggs? What's up with that? Sure, there's both an egg and heavy cream in the ingredients, but that's for brushing the tops. There's no cream inside the scone itself. Granted, my knowledge of scones is a bit limited, seeing as I've only been making them for a couple of months, but what I do know tells me that a scone recipe without cream is wrong. Very, very wrong.

Except when it's right. And this recipe is very, very right.

I was worried these scones would be dry. After all, it must be the cream keeping scones moist, right? Well, these are not dry. In fact, these scones have the lightest, fluffiest texture I've ever experienced in a scone. The orange flavor in these is just spectacular. It's citrusy and bright without overwhelming the delicacy of the scone. These would be excellent to serve for a brunch or tea.

So has making these scones ruined me forever to the more traditional version? I wouldn't say that. I definitely think there's room at the breakfast table for both. I'm so glad I gave these a chance, though. And I will mention these were eaten in record time. It's probably a good thing my resolution this year was to branch out into trying more creative recipes instead of trying to lose ten pounds by next week, huh?

from The Pastry Affair

for the scones:
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 c sugar
zest of 1 large orange
pinch of salt
5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 c freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 c sour cream
1 egg
1 tbsp heavy cream or whole milk

for the glaze:
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, orange zest, and salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter, until the flour mixture looks crumbly with pea-sized chunks scattered throughout.

3. Stir in the orange juice and sour cream. Mix with a spatula until dough comes together. Knead it a few turns on a lightly floured surface. The dough might be sticky, but add as little flour as manageable to your board. Shape dough into 12 small rounds, each about 2 inches in diameter. Place rounds on the baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and heavy cream. Brush tops of scones with this mixture.

4. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the tops just start to brown. Allow to cool before drizzling with icing.

This recipe is shared with Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Craft-O-Maniac, Made by You Monday, Tuesday Talent Show, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, This Chick Cooks, Full Plate Thursday, It's a Keeper, Foodie Friday, Cast Party Wednesday, Foodie Friday

Sunday, January 1, 2012

12 in '12

This year, I'm joining a host of fellow food bloggers in coming up with my 12 in '12 list-- the 12 dishes I most want to make in the next 12 months. Some of these are just a general idea, and some are specific to one particular recipe I've been dying to try.

1. Sourdough Bread
2. Nutella Swirl Bread
3. Hot Cross Buns
4. Tamales
5. Buffalo Chicken Dip
6. Ribs
7. Cherry Pie
8. Gelato
9. Jalapeno Mac & Cheese
10. Rum Cake
11. New York Cheesecake
12. Cornbread

Do you have a 12 in '12 list?


Happy New Year!

I don't normally make resolutions. I'm not the best at sticking with things for the long term, so there's no doubt I'd give up on some fluffy resolution like "eat healthier" or "read more books" by mid-month. This year, I'm taking a different approach, with more focused goals. I think I might stand a chance. Here's what I'm shooting for in 2012:

I want to challenge myself with my baking. 

This will be the year I tackle puff pastry.

I want to blog better. More creative/interesting recipes. More original recipes (which I've neglected lately). Better writing.

Keep the house cleaner. (ha!)

Finish making my Grandmother's quilt.

Get back into drawing.

Get back into knitting and crocheting. I've been meaning to make Sundae some cat toys forever.

What are you planning to bake/do in 2012?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quick Homemade Pizza

In this house, ordering a pizza is always a multi-step process. First, there's deciding to have take-out instead of cooking. I always feel badly about ordering dinner when there's perfectly cookable food in the refrigerator, so this first step tends to take a while as I go back and forth. Once my laziness has conquered my guilt, there's the matter of deciding where to order. Somehow, despite only having about five take-away places near our house, this is always a lengthy conversation. After we've decided on pizza, it's a fifteen minute wait for pick-up. Then another 15 minutes after that to get the pizza home.

This recipe is quicker than all that. I don't think we've ordered a pizza since I've discovered this handy way of making it at home. And it almost goes without saying that homemade pizza is healthier and cheaper.

What makes this recipe quick is that the pizza dough is not given time to rise before baking. That said, this dough is not dense, nor does it like a biscuit (all those crusts in a can taste like biscuit to me). I cut the dough in half, freezing the other half. This gives me a crispy, thin crust, which is how I prefer my pizza. And I get a second pizza out of the deal. The sauce is a simple no-cook sauce that can be prepared at the same time as the crust. Sprinkle on some cheese and toppings, and dinner is done!

This pizza would probably be fabulous baked on a pizza stone. However, I use a pizza pan with holes, which I find works pretty well.


for the crust:
1 c warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 package yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 c bread flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

for the sauce:
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

1 (8 oz) bag shredded mozzarella cheese
toppings of choice

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. In the bowl for a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast foams. Add the flour, olive oil and salt to the yeast mixture. Using the bread hook, mix together ingredients on low speed. Once dough has come together, detach the bowl from your mixer, cover with a clean, dry towel and allow dough to rest for 5-10 minutes.

3. While the dough is resting, make the sauce. In a bowl, mix together tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, and seasonings. Taste and play around with the herbs and spices until it's at your liking.

4. Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface. Cut in half, and stick one half in a gallon freezer bag to freeze for later. Roll out to a size to fit your pizza pan or stone. Top with sauce, shredded mozzarella, and any desired toppings.

5. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Source: Allrecipes (crust) and Allrecipes (sauce)

This recipe is shared with Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Craft-O-Maniac, Made by You Monday, Tuesday Talent Show, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, This Chick Cooks, Full Plate Thursday, It's a Keeper, Foodie Friday