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Quick and Easy Pizza Dough

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As far as bread recipes go, I consider this one relatively quick and easy.  Though (*disclaimer*) the dough still requires some time to rise, so it’s not going to be a magical solution a serious time crunch for a quick dinner, unfortunately.  That is, unless you make this ahead and have it ready in advance.  This makes recipe makes too much for a dinner with just me and my husband, so more often than not I’ll freeze half the dough for another time.  Just defrost in advance, and pick up from Step 4 below.

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PREP TIME: COOK TIME: TOTAL TIME: 1 hour    YIELD: 2 crusts
Ingredients:
  • 2 and 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast (or 1 package)
  • 1 warm water (~110F)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 and 1/4 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white sugar
 Directions:
  1. Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of warm water (Note: if the water is too hot, it can kill the yeast and the dough will end up flat and hard as a rock… trust me I learned this sadly from experience).  Let stand around 10 minutes, until the yeast is creamy-looking.  Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the cup of yeast and water.  (Also make sure your yeast hasn’t expired, as it won’t rise properly… yes I learned that lesson as well)
  2. In medium-large bowl combine flour, salt and sugar.  Stir in the yeast mixture and mix until a ball of dough forms.  (Just an aside, this is both quicker and easier if you use a stand mixer with a dough hook… it requires much less elbow grease).
  3. Splash the dough-ball in a bit more olive oil just to coat and make it a bit less sticky and help the ball from drying out, then set aside in a covered bowl in a warm place to proof until about doubled in size, or 30 minutes.  I like to turn the oven on such that it’s just slightly warm, then put my bowl in there while the dough rises.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Turn out the dough on a well-floured surface.  Split dough into halves for making 2- 12″ diameter crusts; quarters for 4- 8″ diameter crusts; or leave as whole for one rectangular 16″ x 10″ pizza pie on a cookie sheet.  Roll dough to about 1/4″ thick.  Prep pans by coating with olive oil and adding a light sprinkling of cornmeal– this provides a fantastic crisp crust and helps the dough from baking to the pan as well.
  5. Once in the pan(s), add sauce and favourite toppings then bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  OR if making ahead, portion out dough after it has proofed and freeze for future use.

Is it hot outside and/or looking for pizza that’s a little different?  Consider trying it on the BBQ.  Instead of Step 4 above, roll the dough quite thin ~1/8″, and (this is absolutely important) make sure to have all your toppings prepared and ready to go.  This all happens really fast, so preparation is key.  Make sure the grill is quite hot (550F), brush one side of the dough lightly with olive oil and place the dough carefully directly on the grill for 4 to 5 min just until the it firms up and has some light grill marks.  Brush the other side of the crust with a little olive oil and turn over.  Now, put sauce and desired toppings on the crust and grill for another 5-6 minutes until bottom is browned.  The crust is amazingly crispy when cooked this way.  Enjoy!

rcbbqsauce1

Raspberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

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This barbecue sauce-making adventure began with a salad dressing recipe, strangely enough. For the back-story read this previous post on my experiments with homemade raspberry vinegar.  A long story short, I ended up with some vinegar-soaked raspberries that I needed to find a use for.  After it was all said and done, I will admit I’m happier about the sauce than I was the vinegar.

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This sauce is great on steak, burgers, probably anything else you can think to slather it on.  The berry flavour was quite subtle, and the chipotles provide a nice hum of heat.  On my first go-around with this recipe, I was a bit too bold with the chipotles and added 5 or 6 of them (they looked so small)… next time I will stick with 2.

 

PREP TIME: COOK TIME: TOTAL TIME: YIELD: 1 L
Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries (and/or mix in some blackberries as well)
  • 1 can of plain tomato sauce (398 mL)
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp cooking molasses
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp honey (or coconut palm sugar, or brown sugar)
  • salt/pepper to taste
 Directions:
  1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan.  Add onion and green pepper and cook until onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, and puree  the mixture until a smooth consistency and there are no big pieces remaining.
  3. Over medium heat, simmer for ~30 min or until sauce thickens.
  4. Store the sauce in the fridge for up to a week and/or freeze in freezer safe containers for longer-term storage and future use.
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BBQ-Themed Cupcakes: Sliders

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We celebrated a milestone birthday recently in our home.  Instead of heading out somewhere, we decided to capitalize on the nice weather, invite a few people over, and have a BBQ at home.   Of course no birthday party is quite complete without cake!  And what more fitting for a BBQ, than BBQ-themed cupcakes… I came across a photo of the idea from a general ‘cupcake ideas’ google search, and I’m not actually sure who specifically to give credit to for it… Google is great for inspiration though!

For “Slider” Cupcakes you’ll need:

– Chocolate cake (like this one)
– Yellow cake
– Buttercream frosting, 1 part dyed red (think ‘Tomato’), and 1 part dyed yellowy/orange (think “Cheese”)
– Coconut with green food colouring (think “Lettuce”)
– Ziploc bags to use for decorating

Assembling your “Sliders”:

1. Bake chocolate cupcakes according to the recipe.  {I would recommend not using a full recipe, unless you are feeding tonnes of people, or you can eat an unhealthy amount of chocolate cupcake yourself before they reach their ‘best before’ date… }.  Bake those cupcakes in cupcake wrappers of some sort; the wrapper doesn’t need to be fancy because you’re going to rip it off anyway.  I suggest doing it this way, because it looks a bit more realistic.  Oh, and only fill the cupcake wrapper about 25% full… and note, that the cooking time should be adjusted because they’re thinner than the average cupcake.

2. Bake yellow cupcakes according to the recipe (I’ll post a good recipe that I’ve used soon).  For these, I don’t recommend using cupcake wrappers.  Instead, grease your muffin tin well; when you take them out (which isn’t necessarily easy), they look more like hamburger buns.  Do what I forgot to, and sprinkle a few sesame seeds on the top BEFORE baking (if you try it afterwards, they don’t stick).

3.  Once everything is out of the oven and cooled.  Get out your coconut (you don’t need very much per slider).  Add a 2-3 drops of green food colouring and mix in with a fork.  Voila, “lettuce”.

4. Whip up your buttercream frosting and divide into 2 bowls.  Colour one of them tomatoey red with food colouring, and the other cheesy yellow/orange.  Spoon those frostings into separate Ziploc bags, and cut a small piece of one corner off- now you’re ready to assemble.  Or I suppose, if you’re one of those fancy types, put your frosting into a designated piping bag, and select a somewhat wide tip to use.

5.  Now the fun part, slice those yellow cupcakes in half.  Pipe some yellow/orange frosting around the bottom you just cut.  Place the chocolate cupcake layer.  Then pipe the red frosting, sprinkle with green coconut, and top with the other half of your yellow cupcake.  Sliders.