Saturday, May 1, 2010

Two Great Dinners

What a nice week. April wrapped up with a few good days of fishing for Patrick a night in Galway with my Irish Family and a head start on a few house projects, not to mention two really great dinners.

I realize this blog is just as much about sharing the food I love as it is about keeping track of the recipes I want to re-create, so there's a selfish side and a show-and-tell side too (I never had anything really cool to share on show-and-tell day in school).

I spent the better part of 10 years wanting to make really good homemade pizza and also spent the better part of 10 years, actually most of my life searching for the best place to eat Mexican food. It's taken me all that time and a handful of countries, to arrive in a place where, if I want to enjoy pizza or Mexican food, I better make it myself or get use to my four choices for dining out - Curry, Chinese, Local, or the Chipper. I say no thanks to eating out, and instead enjoy the adventure of creating food in a wonderful kitchen also coined Our Sunset Diner.

So today, get your pens and paper ready or turn on the printer, because I'm about to give you the ingredients to make my pizza and one variation of Mexican food.

Pizza and Salad
Crust (I am no good with yeast and stumbled upon this yeast-free dough which works pretty well)
My variation follows
2 cups flour
1/2 cup bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup warm water, maybe a little more or less

Mix dry ingredients together, then the oil, and last the water. Knead for a few minutes and let it rest on a clean work surface under the bowl you just mixed the dough in.

Meanwhile, prepare your toppings
Chop or slice about 1/2 to 1 cup of any toppings you like (we enjoy mushrooms, wafer ham, peppers, onions, olives and sometimes garlic)
Set out about 1 to 1/2 cups shredded cheese (we use a white cheddar), more or less depending on your cheesy preference
About 1/4 to 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (I keep a jar of our favorite spaghetti sauce on hand), again depending on your preference

Now, roll out your dough on a floured surface. I roll it to a nice thin 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch thickness and place it in a nice, big pan. Spread the sauce and sprinkle all the toppings evenly, lastly cover with cheese and bake for about 25 minutes in a preheated oven of 400F/205C. Allow the pizza to rest a few minutes before serving.

While the pizza is in the oven, whip up a nice, refreshing salad. I rarely buy salad dressing and instead mix a few ingredients together based on whether I want something sweet or savory.

Garlic Ginger Vinaigrette
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon Demera sugar

Mix all ingredients together and set aside while you mix the salad of
1/2 head of butter lettuce, torn or chopped
1/4 English Cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup crumbled salad cheese or Feta

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and mix well serve on the side with the pizza.

Next on the menu, is Vegetarian Tacos and Cheesy Pearl Barley
I started my Mexican Food Adventure with a recipe from my Sister in Law for Spinach and Black Bean Burritos. This Adventure quickly took me down a road of new experiences and along the way I found a great recipe for homemade tortillas which beat the price in the store of nearly 4 euros for a pack of 8 tortillas, eek!

I've pointed as many people as I can to this blog about Mexican Food, there are some great recipes for those of us that can't walk into our favorite Mexican restaurant. For the purposes of this recipe, we're focusing on her recipe for tortillas and then of course leaping to my version...
2 cups flour
1/2 cup bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil or Olive oil
3/4 cups warm milk

Like the pizza dough, I mix dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients. I don't always use all the milk (which I keep for a mugga tea later), Generally mix the dough with enough milk so it holds together and is not too wet. Knead the dough for a few minutes and allow to rest on a clean work surface under the bowl you just mixed the dough in. Allow to rest for about 20 to 30 minutes, meanwhile preparing other ingredients. After the dough has rested, separate into balls about 1" round, and allow to rest under the bowl again for another 10 minutes.

When dough is well rested, roll each ball on well floured surface and set aside, preheat a dry skillet at medium high heat. Cook each tortilla on the dry skillet for about 30 seconds each side. Watch for bubbles as they tend to burn and cause uneven cooking. Keep the tortillas warm between two plates.

Vegetarian ingredients
I soak over night and then cook for about 2 hours, about 200 grams of beans, any kind or you can simply buy a can of beans and rinse them well.
I made smokey beans last night, which were beautiful, to do this
I put the beans in a deep pan, added
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 small onions, sliced
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/8 cup water
1/8 cup liquid smoke
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together and cook over medium heat until mushrooms and onions are tender, set aside and keep warm.

Cheesy Pearl Barley
I cooked about 100 grams of pearl barley, then drained nearly all water off when cooked
I added about 1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces yellow cheddar
1 ounce feta

Once the barley is cooked, add all ingredients and heat on low until cheese is melted, set aside and keep warm.

The last bits are just finishing touches, and for me ingredients are difficult or expensive to come by so I make all my own, you can buy yours or do as you see fit.

1 can stewed, crushed, Roma tomatoes
2 small, roasted red chilies, de-seeded and de-skinned
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together and allow to rest.

Last, mix sour cream and shredded cheese together. Chop lettuce and half of an avocado. These will be your taco toppings.

Now to put it all together. Spoon the bean mixture into the tortillas and cover with salsa, lettuce, avocado, and cheese. Spoon up the Cheesy Pearl Barley and enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment