Thick Crust Pepperoni Pizza

I decided to experiment a little with my sourdough crust for this pizza. I upped the moisture content a little to attempt to create a more focaccia style crust. The results were crisp on the outside and wonderfully fluffy and chewy on the inside. The entire thing was topped in a decadent mixture of toppings so that after one slice you were full, but still craved another because of the flavor.

RECIPE: Thick Crust Pepperoni Pizza
Makes 4 Slices 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF0255
Cast iron pans
Cutting Board
Knife
Spatula
Cheese Grater
Oven heated to 450 Degrees

INGREDIENTS:
Pizza Dough
Canned whole tomatoes
Oregano
Basil
Scarborough Fair Spice Mix
Half an Onion
Mozzarella Cheese
Pepperoni
Balsamic Vinegar

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF02571) In a pan, begin cooking the canned tomatoes with the oregano, basil, and some Scarborough fair spice mix (parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme!) Let simmer for an hour or so until the tomatoes break down.
2) Thinly slice the onion and shred the mozzarella cheese.
3) Press the dough into a well greased cast iron pan.
4) Top with the sauce, spreading an even layer of cheese across the pizza. DSCF0259
5) Add a layer of onion over the entire pizza, because its tasty and a good source of vitamin c.
6) Lay the pepperoni over the entire pizza until its almost completely covered.
7) Sprinkle with basil and balsamic vinegar.
8) Bake until the crust is crisp and everything begins to bubble and brown.
9) Let cool slightly before cutting and serving. DSCF0260
Above is what it looks like before baking, and below is what it looks like when its baked and ready to be eaten! When I have pizza like this I wonder why I ever bother with order out!
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DSCF0264

I guess you could call it a Trifle

So in my last post, I made my first attempt at ladyfingers. Some of them came out better than others, but that is to be expected with any first attempt. What I realized after I saw all those lady fingers cooling on the counter, was that I had no plan on what to do with them! I decided to wing it, and the resulting dessert was trifle inspired, mostly because my husband said that lady fingers reminded him of the episode of friends where Rachel messes up the trifle by adding mashed potatoes and other ingredients from a different recipe.

RECIPE: I guess you could call it a Trifle
Makes 2 Bowls

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF0240
Pan
Spatula
Brush
Pot
Bowl
Whisk
Mixer

INGREDIENTS:
Ladyfingers
Frozen Blackberries, Blueberries, and Strawberries
Sugar
White Wine
Heavy Cream
Milk
2 Egg Yolks
Vanilla
Powdered Sugar

DIRECTIONS:
1) In a pan, combine the the frozen berries with a tablespoon or two of sugar and a hearty glug of white wine. DSCF0241
2) Once the berries have simmered into a sauce, brush the ladyfingers with the syrup so that it soaks into them.
3) In a pot, began heating a mixture of heavy cream and milk until warm.
4) Mix in a bit of sugar and vanilla to the warming mixture.
5) Temper the egg yolks in another bowl and begin mixing it into the dairy, cooking until it thickens.
DSCF02506) Set the custard to the side to cool.
7) In a mixer, pour the rest of the heavy cream into the bowl with a touch of vanilla, a bit of berry syrup, and a tablespoon of powdered sugar. Begin whipping!
8) Line the bowls sides and bottoms of the bowls with ladyfingers.
9) Pour the custard into the bowls over the ladyfingers filling it half way.
10) Lay down a layer of ladyfingers on top of the custard.
11) Split the whipped cream between the bowls, filling them the rest of the way.
12) Spread the remaining berry mixture on top of the whipped cream.
13) Decorate with a round ladyfinger in the center if desired.
14) Chill to set and then serve cool.
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It was such a haphazardly thrown together dessert, but the layers really came together in a delicious concert of flavors. I can’t wait to actually make a trifle on purpose!

Ladyfingers

I make a lot of cakes, cookies, puddings, custards, and lots of desserts like that. However, I realized that I have never made ladyfingers! These sponge cookies are used in a lot of different desserts, and I wanted to try to make them. This was my first time making them, and I think I need to get a piping bag with a large end to make bigger fingers! You can see in the final image how I played around with baking time and sizes to get the lightest inner consistency. Next time I make these, they’ll be even better!

RECIPE: Ladyfingers 
Makes Many Fingers

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF0232
Mixer
Bowl
Spatula
Pastry Bag
Baking Sheets
Silicon Baking Sheets
Oven set to 375 degrees
Wax Paper

INGREDIENTS:
4 Eggs
Pinch of Salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 Cup White Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 Cup Flour

DIRECTIONS:
1) Separate the eggs so that the whites go in the mixer and the yolks into the other bowl.
2) Add the salt and cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat until soft peaks are formed.
3) Slowly beat in a a 1/4 cup of white sugar until stiff peaks are formed.
4) In the other bowl, beat the egg yolks, vanilla, 1/2 cup of sugar, and flour together to form a thick dough.


5) Fold the egg whites in the yolk mixture.
6) Scoop the mixture into a pastry bag with no tip on it.
7) Pipe the batter into three inch or so ladyfingers, leaving space between.
8) Bake right away for 8 to 10 minutes or until barely golden.
10) Let cool on wax paper or parchment paper. DSCF0240

You can see the ones in the back left got a little too golden brown. They were still airy and light in the center, but a bit crisp on the outside. You can also see the different shapes I tried with the second batch.

Thanksgiving Dinner

We like to have non traditional Thanksgiving with traditional flavors thrown in! Since it is just the two of us for Thanksgiving, we like to experiment and have a little fun. Last year, we did turkey burgers since we were still unpacking from our move. This year, we decided to do turkey burgers again, or rather turkey sliders! We had three flavors of sliders: cranberry on jalapeno cornbread buns, mashed potato and gravy, and pepperoni pizza. If you are wondering about the pizza flavor, its because when i was a kid I used to beg for pizza instead of Thanksgiving dinner because I liked it better. My husband wanted to honor my weirdness with its own slider.

RECIPE: Thanksgiving Dinner
Makes 8 Sliders and lots of leftovers

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF0207
Cutting Boards
Knives
Meat Grinder
Zester
Tray with wax paper
Spatula
Cast iron pans and Pots
Cookie Cutter
Whisk/Fork
Potato Masher
Bowls
Grill
Grill Spatula
Nice table setting

INGREDIENTS:DSCF0217
1 Lb Ground Turkey
Cranberries
Lemon
2 Large Potatoes
Canned Tomato
Garlic
Basil
Oregano
Ground Pepper
Mushroom Gravy
Butter
Jalapeno Cornbread
Milk
Mozzarella
Pepperoni
Potato Buns
Cranberry Sauce
Dilly Beans

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF02121) Freeze the ground turkey and then cut it into chunks. Grind half of it as is. Then sprinkle lemon zest over the other half of the meat.
2) Grind the second half of the meat with a handful of cranberries.
3) Shape into four plain patties and four cranberry patties.
4) Cut up the potatoes and place them in a pot of water, bringing it to a boil.
5) In another pan, combine about a 1/2 cup of canned tomato with minced garlic, and the herbs. Cook over medium low until it thickens up.
6) In a third pan, mix together the water and the mushroom gravy packet since there are no drippings to make actual gravy from.
7) In a fourth pan (and last for right now, you only have so many burners!) combine half a stick of butter with three to five cloves of minced garlic over low heat so as the butter melts it takes on all the garlic flavor.
8) When the potatoes are soft, drain them. Add a dash of milk and begin mashing with the potato masher by hand. When the butter is thoroughly infused with garlic, add it to the potatoes.


9) Using a round cookie cutter, cut out either pieces of jalapeno cornbread.
10) On a tray or cutting board, lay out the potato buns and the cornbread buns.
11) Slice some mozzarella and add it and pepperoni to the board as well.
12) Scoop some sauce into a small bowl and some of the potatoes into a small bowl as well.
13) Pour out just a sample of gravy, as well as salt, pepper, and sage.
DSCF022014) Let the rest of the gravy and potato stay warm on the stove.
15) On the burner that had been cooking the tomato sauce, put out a new pan and fill it with dilly beans to get warming.
16) Head out to the hot grill and start cooking the mini turkey patties  with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and a pinch of sage on each side. Also put the buns on the grill to warm and toast slightly.
17) Assemble the completed sliders as follows: potato bun, turkey burger, tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, potato bun/ potato bun, turkey burger, garlic mashed potato, gravy, potato bun/ cornbread bun, cranberry turkey burger, cornbread bun.
18) Plate the dilly beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce and put on the table.
19) Sit down with your drink of choice and enjoy a Thanksgiving slider feast! DSCF0223
It may seem like a lot of steps, but when you have two people working together it goes really fast!

Black Friday Breakfast

I am still feeling a bit under the weather and wasn’t able to finish the post about the actual Thanksgiving Dinner. I promise I will have it done this weekend, mostly because I can’t really do much cooking or baking. My entire area is still under a boil water notice and conservation because of some water system issues, so can’t really do my usual mess around in the kitchen. So between being sick and now not having a good source of water means I may be a little short of posts next week!

Today’s post is what I call my Black Friday Breakfast. It’s filling, satisfying, and will keep you energized as you run from store to store doing all your shopping. Our Black Friday shopping was Tractor Supply and PetSmart, not so exciting, but they had a good deal on our dog’s favorite brand of food and we could stock up for the next few months. Anywhere, here is a good breakfast for a hectic day on the go!

RECIPE: Black Friday Breakfast
Makes 2 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF0224
Cutting Board
Knife
Spatula
Cast iron pan
Bowl
Fork

INGREDIENTS:
Onion
Large Russet Potato
Half a Sausage Log
3 Eggs
Cheddar Cheese
Large Banana

DIRECTIONS:
1) Thinly slice and cut the onion and potato into bite size pieces. DSCF0225
2) In a hot cast iron pan, begin cooking up half the breakfast sausage log.
3) When the sausage is about half way cooked, add in the onion and potatoes and continue stirring and cooking. You can cover to let it cook for a while if you’d like.
4) In a bowl beat up the three eggs until a bit frothy.
5) Slice up 2-3 ounces of cheddar cheese.
6) Uncover the sausage and potatoes, pour in the eggs and begin scrambling so that it all sticks together.
7) Sprinkle in the cheese and give it another stir so that it begins to melt.
8) Serve the breakfast scramble with half a banana on the side for a potassium burst! DSCF0227

The best part of this meal is that the breakfast sausage flavors soak into every bit of the scramble. The potatoes and onion want to fall apart in your mouth, and the eggs and cheese grip together everything in a perfect breakfast!

Thanksgiving Mini Pies

The pies are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. With just two of us in the house, there isn’t a need for a lot of different pies. Heck, we probably don’t need one whole pie for just us either. Since I like all the different flavors of pie, I figured why not make a few different mini pies! We narrowed our choices down to Sweet Potato, Pecan, and Pumpkin pies. All three were made from scratch at the exact same time, and here are my recipes for it! Please note, the crust is best if you make it the night before and let it chill.

RECIPE: Thanksgiving Mini Pies
Makes 3 Mini Pies

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF0178
Measuring Utensils
Food Processor
Wax Paper
Cutting Board
Knife
Baking Dish
Oven set to 375
Metal Spoon
Colander (optional)
3 Bowls
3 Spatulas or Spoons
Pastry Board
Rolling Pin
3 Mini Pie Pans
Pastry Cutter (Optional)
Cookie Cutters (Optional)
Oven set to 400 then 350 Degrees
Cooling Rack

INGREDIENTS:DSCF0189
Crust:
2 Cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Shortening
5-6 Tablespoon Boiling Water
Sweet Potato Filling:
Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoon Butter
2.5 Tablespoons Evaporated Milk
2-3 Small Sweet Potatoes
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1 Egg
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Cloves
1/4 teaspoon Allspice
Pumpkin Filling:  
5 oz Fresh Pumpkin Puree
4 oz Evaporate Milk
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Cloves
1 Egg
Pinch of Salt
Pecan Filling: 
1/3 Cup Corn Syrup
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Egg
3/4 Cup Pecans

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF01801) In a food processor, mix together the flour and salt.
2) Chop in the shortening until the mixture is crumbling.
3) While the mixture is processing, add the water a tablespoon at a time until it combines into a ball of dough.
4) Wrap the dough in wax paper and chill in the fridge for at least an hour or two or over night if possible. The longer it chills, the better the dough will roll out. DSCF0188
5) Cut the pumpkin open and begin scooping out the insides, a metal spoon works best for scrapping it out. You can place the seeds in a colander to wash and roast later if you are interested.
6) Place the slices of pumpkin skin down in a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes until the flesh super soft.
7) Poke holes in your small sweet potatoes and throw them in the oven with the potatoes to bake at the same time.
8) While everything was baking, I started shelling the pecans for the third pie.
9) When the pumpkin is done baking, scrape the filling from the skins and put it in the food processor. Puree it until smooth. DSCF0194
10) Remove the skins from the baked sweet potatoes as well.
11) In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the sweet potato pie, everything except for the brown sugar.
12) In a different bowl, combine the ingredients for the pumpkin pie.
13) In a third bowl, combine corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla for the pecan pie.
14) Slowly mix in the pecans and the egg into the third bowl.
15) Set the bowls to the side.
16) Begin rolling out the dough one piece at a time for the crusts. I like to use a pastry cutter to trim the pie crusts nicely.

17) Sprinkle the bottom of one of your crusts with brown sugar. Bake it in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
18) Use leftover dough to cut out decorations for the sweet potato and pumpkin pies if desired.
19) Pour the sweet potato filling into the crust with the baked brown sugar bottom.
20) Pour the pecan and pumpkin fillings into the other crusts.
21) Bake the mini pies for 35 to 45 minutes or until done at 350 degrees.


I always loved eating the pies for breakfast rather than after Thanksgiving dinner, mostly because I never want dessert after Thanksgiving Dinner! This was the first time I made all my pies completely from scratch, as in not even a can of pumpkin. The pecan was definitely the favorite!

Spicy Red Corn Bread

So I am still working on gathering together all my Thanksgiving recipes. It has been a busy weekend, and I am a little bit behind on my blogging. I hope to be caught up in the next few days. In the mean time, here is the super short recipe to make jalapeno corn bread for buns!

RECIPE: Spicy Red Corn Bread 
Makes 4 buns (8 pieces)  

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF0181
Cutting Boards
Knife
Bowl
Spatula
Cast iron pan
Oven set to 400 degrees

INGREDIENTS:
4 Red Jalapenos
Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
1 Egg
1/3 Cup Milk

DIRECTIONS:
1) Remove the seeds from the jalapenos and then cut into rings. DSCF0183
2) In a bowl, combine the corn bread mix, the egg, and the milk.
3) Drop the jalapeno rings into the batter and stir.
4) Pour the batter into a greased cast iron pan.
5) Bake until the corn bread begins to pull away from the side, but doesn’t brown too much. It is easier to use it as buns if is stays a tad under cooked and extra moist.
6) Bake the corn bread the day before Thanksgiving. Cover it and put it in the fridge until the next day. DSCF0184

It’s ready to go in the oven!

Cajun Stew

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I am still organizing my pictures from Thanksgiving and hope to post some of the recipes we made this year soon. Until then, here is a dish I made right before the holiday season began!

This dish is inspired by jambalaya, because I never have the ingredients on hand to actually make jambalaya. I mean, who has andouille sausage in their fridge at any given time? I usually have chicken, a variety of vegetables, and rice (dried or occasionally cooked), so here is my throw it all in version, also known as Cajun Stew! Feel free to change up the vegetables depending on what’s in your fridge at the time.

RECIPE: Cajun Stew 
Makes 4-6 Servings 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF0170
Cutting Boards
Knife
Pot
Spatula

INGREDIENTS:
1 Onion
2 Carrots
4 Small Green Peppers
1/2 a pack of Chicken
Cajun Spice Mix
Leftover Rice
Canned Tomato Puree

DIRECTIONS:
1) Chop up the onion and add it to the preheated pot, stir it occasionally.
2) Chop the carrots into half coins and add to the onion.
3) Chop up and add the green peppers to the pot as well, stirring to mix.
4) Scoot the vegetables to the outside of the pan.
5) On a plastic cutting board, chop up the chicken into small pieces  and begin cooking in the center of the pot. As the chicken cooks season with the Cajun spice mix, I used about a tablespoon I think. Cover the pot for a bit.
6) Mix the chicken and vegetables together, ensuring that everything is evenly coated in seasoning. There should be some liquid from the vegetables in the bottom of the pot.
7) Break up the leftover rice into the pot, stirring until fully combined.
8) Pour in some pureed tomato into the pot until everything is covered.
9) Stir and bring to a simmer, letting all the flavors combine and mellow. If needed, add a bit more spice mix now.
10) Serve warm into bowls with spoons.
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This spicy chicken and rice stew is spicy and filled with vegetables. It is absolutely delicious and one of the only ways my husband will eat rice! It reheats well for leftovers the next day as well.

Cherry and Chocolate Love

This recipe is a combination of family recipes. The frosting recipe was based on the white icing that my Great-Nana’s friend, Mary. The cake is based on the Nana’s butter cake recipe that was passed to me by my Grandma Connie (HI GRANDMA!) I guess that makes each recipe at least 3 generations old! The recipes must have been made with plenty of love if they were worth passing down!

RECIPE: Cherry and Chocolate Love
Makes 8 Servings 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF0159
Mixer
Measuring Utensils
2 Round Cake Pans
Oven set to 350 degrees
Cooling Rack
Pot
Whisk
Mixer
Frosting Spatula
Frosting bag

INGREDIENTS:
Cake 
2 Cups Sugar
1 Stick ButterDSCF0162
4 Tablespoons Crisco
Vanilla
Pinch of Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Cup Milk
Cherry Jam
4 Eggs
2 1/2 Cups Flour

Frosting
1 Cup Milk
5 Tablespoons Flour
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Crisco
Vanilla
3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
Pinch of Salt
Maraschino Cherries

DIRECTIONS:
1) In a mixer, combine the sugar, butter, and Crisco until creamy.
2) Add the vanilla, salt, and baking powder. DSCF0160
3) Beat in the milk, cherry jam, and the four eggs, and then slowly add the flour.
4) Grease and flour the baking pans and then pour have the batter into each baking sheet.
5) Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
6) When the cake is golden and a tooth pick comes out clean, move the cakes to a cooling rack.
7) Once the cake has cooled for a few minutes, flip the cakes out of the pans and let them finish cooling on the rack.
DSCF01638) In a pot, over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour until thick and lump free. Set to the side to cool.
9) Once the milk/flour mixture is cooled, put it in the mixer with the crisco, white sugar, a splash of vanilla, a pinch of salt, and the cocoa powder.
10) Beat on high (#8) for about 5 to 8 minutes until fluffy and light.
11) Place one of the cakes on a plate, spread with chocolate frosting, and then top with the other cake.
12) Use the frosting spatula to cover the entire cake with a layer of frosting.
13) Fill the frosting bag with the rest of the chocolate frosting and have fine pipping the top of the cake.
14) Top with 6 maraschino cherries. DSCF0167

I think I am getting much better at making frostings from scratch. Just two years ago, I had my strawberry volcano cake with the frosting that exploded in a lava flow over the entire counter. Now, I am pipping chocolate frosting like a semi-pro. DSCF0168

My husband liked the chocolate frosting, but my favorite part was definitely the cake. The chocolate and cherry combination was out of this world tasty!

Fun with Meringue

I have a riddle for you. You are planning to make a dessert and grilled Korean BBQ ribs for company, however the weather turns bad, like thunder, lightening, and a tornado is forming out in the county. Your husband decides to bake the ribs at 300 degrees for two hours instead of grilling. What do you bake at low temperature that makes a fancy dessert in a small amount of time?

The answer? Meringue, and you have fun with it!

RECIPE: Fun with Meringue 
Makes Many Servings 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF0146
Mixer
Spatula
Piping Bag
Lined Baking Sheet
Oven set to 300 degrees
Cooling Rack

INGREDIENTS:
2 Egg Whites
Splash of Vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 Cup Sugar
Optional: 
Chocolate Frosting
Pecans

DIRECTIONS:
1) Let the egg whites come to room temperature before adding them to the mixer with the vanilla and cream of tartar. DSCF0147
2) Beat it all together until soft peaks form.
3) Continue beating as you sprinkle in the sugar slowly.
4) Use a spatula to transfer the meringue into a pipping bag.
5) Have fun pipping the meringue into cookies, or have fun and pipe out sheets of meringue and little directions.
6) Bake the meringue in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the bottom just slightly turns golden brown.
7) Move the meringue to a cooling rack. DSCF0149
8) If you want to have fun, place a meringue sheet on a plate, top it with bittersweet chocolate frosting, a sprinkling of pecans, another sheet of meringue, frosting pecans, and decorative meringue cones. DSCF0150
Its not a cake, but it made a creative dessert! It was a low baking temperature quick result!