Archive | January, 2013

Thin Crust Buffalo Chicken Pizza

30 Jan

Dinners lately have been low-effort, with two exceptions: naan bread and pizza crust.  I wasn’t 100% happy with the way my naan turned out, so I won’t be sharing it just yet.  BUT.  My first pizza crust turned out amazing!  I used a very simplistic recipe I pieced together from online research and from talking with Amanda.

Easy Homemade Pizza Crust

First, I activated a packet of active, dry yeast by dissolving it in warm sugar water.  The trick to activating yeast is getting the right water temperature – the water should be warm to the touch, but not steaming.  I nuked a cup of water in the microwave and then waited for the steam to subside before dumping the packet of yeast in.

After 10 minutes, the yeast should have “bloomed” or looking thick and frothy:

BloomedYeast

In the past, I’ve had to try this technique with several packets of yeast because I just couldn’t get a good bloom.  Its very easy to get discouraged, but it is worth it to keep trying!

While the yeast is activating, I mixed 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (NOT bread flour) and about 1/4 t. salt in a separate bowl.

SaltedFlour

Then, slowly mix the dry ingredients in with the yeast and add a tablespoon and a half of olive oil.

OliveOil

Once a dough ball formed, I turned the dough out onto my pre-floured counter and kneaded it for 6 minutes.  I would say I ended up adding almost another half cup of flour during the kneading process.  Then, I put the dough into a glass bowl, covered it with a damp towel and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

At this time, I decided to split my dough into two equal sized pieces and put half in a freezer bag for later.

Then, I took a stick of butter and lightly ran it over my sheet pan.  I dusted some locally milled corn flour over the butter.  I rolled my dough out thinly, which is my preferred pizza crust, and baked it for 8 minutes at 425ºF.

BakedCrust

Then, I added my toppings and baked it for another 8-10 minutes.  This time, we went with buffalo chicken, ranch dressing, cheddar & Italian cheese mix, and diced red onions.

BuffaloChickenThinCrust

So easy and so good.

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Beastmode, Kinda.

24 Jan

Yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday is courtesy of a storm last summer right here in the ‘burgh.  I absolutely LOVED how purple the sky looked that night.  There’s something so relaxing and anticipatory about watching a thunderstorm from a distance.  I needed to be reminded of that this week.  Of summer storms and purple skies right around the corner.

I won’t bore you with relentless droning about the sub-zero temps and all that hub-bub.  I’m pretty sure its winter, people, get over it.

I will, however, take a second to toot my own horn!  Yesterday morning, I hit the treadmill.  I normally take the first half mile to warm up at a brisk walking pace, especially since I managed to give myself a high ankle sprain about a month ago when I rolled my ankle trying to walk up a set of bleachers at a crowded, catholic school gymnasium.

Yes, like that but going up and without all the clapping.  I’m really the pinnacle of gracefulness, honest.  Anyway, I’ve tried to be pretty cautious because I’m all ready accident-prone enough as it is.  So I’m warming up and then I bump the treadmill up a little and I’m jogging at my normal gerontological pace when I think, Hmm…I wonder when I will be able to just hit the “jog” option and be cool with that.  And then I realize that I’m not really out of breath and my legs don’t necessarily feel like they are going to collapse.  And then I said to myself: “Listen, bitch.  The only person telling yourself that you shouldn’t or can’t do it is you.”  And that’s all it took.  I cranked up the speed (which, mind you, is still like really slow) and I jogged my little tushie off until I started to feel like I might get thrown against the wall behind me.

Luckily, I managed to finish my 2 miles without incident and feeling pretty awesome.  Winning!

 

Also of note this week, she♥ managed to get two of the lights working in my kitchen.  I am seriously so proud of her for figuring out the electrical.  She♥ is completely teaching herself and after having reached out to SEVERAL electricians who told her it was a lost cause, she♥ got it!  Lots of ♥ in this paragraph and for my doll, who is single-handedly remodeling our entire house.  How did I get so lucky?

This weekend, we’ve got lost of friend and family time planned and I can’t wait!

Please feel free to leave a comment telling me about your most embarrassing falls to boost my ego.  🙂

 

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Wordless Wednesday

23 Jan

PurpleStorm

Franktuary, finally.

20 Jan

Yes, I am a foodie.  Yes, I strive to be a locavore.  Yes, I want food produced as sustainably as possible.  Yes, I want hotdogs.

You heard me – hot dogs.

My favorite food in the world.

I can’t get enough.

And now that I’ve had Franktuary, my life may be complete.

If you’re involved in the Pittsburgh food scene, you are probably reading this post and wondering what took me so long to get over to Franktuary.  To be honest, we’ve been trying to consciously eat out less and when we do, we don’t travel far from the Waterfront.  But when she♥ and I decided to have an impromptu afternoon date, I jumped at the chance to try the place out.

We opted for the Lawrenceville location (there is a Franktuary downtown, and – how cool is this – they have a food truck).  It was hipster heaven, and I initially felt out of place in my paint-tattered yoga pants and naked face.  But, the menu was so much fun, the bartender was nice and snarky, and I mean, its Lawrenceville (home of hobo-chic).

Anyway, back to the dogs.  Franktuary’s mission is basically a farm-to-table wiener with foodie appeal.  You can see a copy of their menu here.  I was dying to try some of the awesome styles, especially the “Bangkok” which included Thai peanut sauce, carrot, and cilantro.  I have never seen hot dogs treated this way!

Despite the temptation, I’m ultimately a hot dog minimalist.

Here’s what we ended up with:

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From left: a standard with beer-cheese topping, a standard with sauerkraut, a locavore with Miller’s mustard, and in the middle – Pittsburgh-style pierogies.

She♥ loved her 2 standard dogs, which were all-beef.  The cheese sauce was tasty and the kraut was good.

I, however, had mixed feelings about my locavore.

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Something was off.  The locavore is made from local grass-fed beef, but as you can see is a strange color.  The texture was a little bit off, too.  Perhaps that’s why they added the excessive amount of the tangy Miller’s mustard?  I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but next time I might opt for the “Underdog,” which is made from New Zealand grass-fed beef.

I will sacrifice local for sustainable & tasty if I have to.

Moving on, I believe Franktuary has the best pierogies I have ever eaten.

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Seriously, so good.  They had potato and farmer’s cheese in them.  (Farmer’s cheese seemed to imply some kind of local farm, but you can never really be sure.)

I will 100% go back to Franktuary and I will 100% order the garbanzo fries.  I didn’t even notice them on the menu until I was looking at it online to write this post!  Also,  I will be sure to go back once the weather gets nice, as the Lawrenceville location has garage door-style facade.  I’m sure those have a name, but I can’t think of it right now.

Image borrowed from Yelp

Agave-Maple & Soy Glazed Salmon

15 Jan

If you follow any of my social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram), which I hope you do, you probably noticed a yummy little piece of salmon on Monday.

AMSSalmon.Plated

I could eat this exact meal every. single. day.  It was so good, I thought I would share!

Agave-Maple & Soy Glazed Salmon (from Grandma’s Kitchen)

2 salmon filets (skin optional)
1/4 c. maple syrup, honey, or syrupy liquid of your choice
2 T. soy sauce
2 t. grated gingerroot
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
chopped green onion (for garnish)

Crank the broiler to 500°F.  While it is heating up, combine all ingredients but salmon into a small pot.

Step1

Step2

I went a little heavy on the ginger, simply because I love it!

And finally, the 1/4 c. syrup.

This is a new-to-me ingredient.  In fact, I rarely even use syrup, let alone fancy maple syrup.  I guess it seems so fancy with the heavy price tag!  So, I splurged and bought this at the grocery store.

AgaveMapleSyrup

Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture has reduced by half.  I used my gas range and stainless steel pot, so this took about 6-7 minutes for me.  Stir this constantly.  Syrup can heat unevenly and burn very quickly.  I set a timer and stirred the entire time.  Annoying, but it worked out perfectly.  Once the mixture is reduced, brush it over the salmon and pop them in the broiler for about 6 minutes.  The key to getting a nice caramelized glaze on the fish is having the broiler hot enough, and the fish far enough from the heat source so that it doesn’t burn.  Watch your fish closely, because with my oven, I swear 30 seconds can make all the difference.

The original recipe used these measurements for 4 salmon filets, but since the maple agave syrup is thinner than maple syrup I’ve had before, I decided I would rather have leftover than not enough.  Because I cooked the glaze longer to thicken it, rather than waiting until it reduced by half, I ended up with only a tiny bit left over.  Sometimes you just have to wing it and see if it works out.

Luckily, it did!

AMSSalmon.Plated

I served it with broiled sweet potatoes, a protein-packed dinner to celebrate small achievements!

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