Garlic herb pizza dough

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Like that shape? Trademarked.

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:
pizza dough
1/3 cup tomato puree
2-3 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/3 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
basil to garnish
spinach
1/3 cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated

Directions:
Let the refrigerated dough sit for 25 minutes at room temperature, longer if possible. Meanwhile, place the pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 425-450°F for 30-60 minutes (depending on topping prep time.) Slice or grate your vegetable and cheese toppings. Do not load up each pizza with too many toppings as the crust will end up not crisp that way! About a third a cup each of tomato sauce and cheese would be sufficient for one pizza. One to two mushrooms thinly sliced will cover a pizza.

Take the ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Let the dough relax 5 minutes. Stretch dough into a thin 12-inch round — I did this classical way, tossing the round on my knuckles in the air. Be careful! Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent soggy dough from the toppings). Use your fingertips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling? Let rest another 5 minutes.

Here I removed the pizza stone from the warming oven. It’s very hot. If you have it, sprinkle the pizza stone with cornmeal (I didn’t), and place the dough on top. Spoon on the tomato sauce (I added some dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper here), sprinkle the cheese, and place your desired toppings on the pizza. Slide the baking stone into the oven. Bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10-15 minutes. Then drizzle with olive oil.

Ok, so this post title is a lie. I used garlic herb pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, which only recommended a (too short) baking time of 6-8 minutes. But I followed all the other steps. Wish I had had 250 g diced fresh mozzarella, and torn basil! Made a baby spinach side salad rather than wilt it in the oven as a topping.

~Jessica

P.S. Pizza attempt #1Pizza attempt #2Pizza attempt #3

Disney’s ratatouille

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Doesn’t look like much. I know.

Adapted from Dishes by Disney

Ingredients:
1 zucchini, cut into large cubes
1 eggplant, cut into large cubes (I subbed with a green bell pepper for lack)
1 yellow squash, cut into large cubes
1 sweet red pepper, cut into large slices
1 red onion, cut into large cubes
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 sprigs thyme
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
4 eggs

Directions:
Saute the red onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add the rest of the vegetables. Add the salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the can of crushed tomatoes. Crack the eggs and poach them in wells in the pot, like shakshuka. Spoon sauce over and let heat cook them a few minutes. Serve hot.

I had half a box of white mushrooms, so I tossed them in last, chopped same size as all the other veggies. Apparently the modern ratatouille included marjoram, fennel and basil, or bay leaf and thyme, or a mix of green herbs like herbes de Provence, so I threw in a few bay leaves while our little potted basil re-grows its leaves from the last Continental recipe.

~Jessica

Chicken cacciatore

IMG_2684Adapted from Simply Recipes

4 thin cut chicken breasts, organic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 glugs of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced root to tip
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded, sliced thin
140 g (5 oz) white cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
80 mL (1/3 cup) white or red wine
800 g (28 ounce) can of plum tomatoes in their juice
1 teaspoon dry thyme
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

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Rinse the chicken, let dry. Season each side with salt. Add some oil to the pan (big enough to fit everything), brown both sides of the chicken. Set aside. Make sure there’s enough oil/fat in the pan, then add the onions, saute until fragrant. Add the garlic, saute until fragrant. Add the rest of the sliced vegetables. Cook until they’re all a little bit softened, then deglaze with the dry white wine. Cook until half the wine has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and all seasonings. Taste the sauce and season accordingly. Add the chicken on top, turn down the heat to low and cook 20-40 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked through, and serve with  rice.

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Amber was feeling like chicken cacciatore, so voila. Rike from Hamburg helped me prep and cook! Food for three plus leftovers for one. Cacciatore (“hunter”) suggests a working man’s meal, better with country bread or pasta, in my opinion. Next time I might try the recipe with bay leaf and rosemary sprigs. Also our “dry white wine” was some questionable cognac-looking Georgian wine, as in the country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Don’t try their wine. Someone brought it to the apartment for a house party, probably. Friends.

~Jessica

Shakshuka

aka Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎‎) Adapted from smitten kitchen and Simply Recipes

olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, ground cumin, paprika
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1 medium summer squash or zucchini, cored and thinly sliced
3 Anaheim chiles or jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
4-6 eggs
3/4 cup pesto, homemade or store-bought (optional)
Handful of fresh basil leaves / parsley, for garnish (optional)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
warmed pitas / bread, to serve

Heat oil in saucepan/pot over medium. Add onions, then garlic, and cook until golden and fragrant. Add the chilies. Add the spices. Crush and add the tomatoes with their liquid. Add half a cup of water. Add the zucchini / squash. Simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Crack eggs evenly across the sauce. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Spoon hot sauce over the eggs to poach them. Garnish with pesto (to replace zhoug) if using. Serve with feta cheese and bread of choice.

~Jessica

P.S. Amber was craving African food, after her most excellent trip earlier this year. Voila!

Huevos rancheros

IMG_2664Adapted from smitten kitchen

black beans (Deb used a can of Black Bean Soup — will try next time)
tomatoes
cilantro
salt
lime juice
poblano pepper
red onion
fresh Mexican sour cream
flour tortilla
Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg

Dice the tomatoes, peppers, onion small. Mix this with salt, lime, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Set aside. Heat your griddle/pan. Toast both sides of the tortilla before adding the grated cheese. Crack one egg on top. Wait a little while, then flip to cook the rest of the egg. Remove to serving plate. (Here I heated some black bean-red bean-corn from quesadillas night). Add the salsa fresca, beans, and a dollop of sour cream on top/the side of your cheesy egg tortilla, whichever you prefer. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

Quesadillas

Adapted from smitten kitchen‘s taco torte recipe

vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeno/habanero/serrano pepper, chopped small (optional)
ground cumin, chili powder to taste
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained, with 1/3 cup juice reserved
2 cans black, red and/or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can corn, drained
rough-chopped spinach leaves
6 flour tortillas (I like the corn ones, cause you can’t find them in Germany)
shredded cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice (only had lemon juice)
Chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or salsa for garnish (optional)
2 radishes, sliced thin (didn’t have)
1 avocado, sliced (not ripe)

Saute onion, garlic, poblano pepper (and I threw in celery) in pan over medium heat until fragrant. Add the spices. Add the tomatoes and drained beans. Season with salt and pepper. Add the corn. I could have added mushrooms, but decided against it after having had mushroom risotto last night.

How to decide between authentic Mexican street foods (antojitos)? There are burritos, gringas, enchiladas, nachos, panuchos, salbutes, tacos, taquitos/flautas, tlayudas — all original Mexican dishes made with tortillas. Flour tortillas are often used for burritos and quesadillas, while corn tortillas are used for the rest. Lesson learned: Fajitas are Tex-Mex!

~Jessica

Pappardelle al ragù alla bolognese

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

olive oil
1/2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, trimmed and finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250g turkey mince
400g plum tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary, dried oregano, 2 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
125ml red wine
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (optional)
basil leaves, ¾ finely chopped and the rest left whole for garnish
75g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
400g pappardelle (or tagliatelle or fettuccine if you like)

If using meat, cook the bacon first. Saute onions in olive oil/butter on medium heat until fragrant. Add garlic and cook a couple minutes. Add the carrot, then the celery and cook until softened. Add the ground meat and wine. Cook a bit. Add the tomatoes and puree/water, the chili pepper if you like, and all herbs. Let stew for 30-60 minutes. Boil water for the pasta meanwhile. Cook pasta one minute short (al dente). Add the pasta to the sauce and swirl to coat thoroughly. Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated Parmesan and torn basil. Buon appetito.

~Jessica