Thursday, April 5, 2012

WANDERING WEDNESDAY: Someone Said Pizza?

Hey hey, guess who forgot to post this yesterday.. Whoops, it was done and everything! Now for the main event..

I think I've had too much pizza in my life (Domino's to be exact). I mean I remember being 6 and my first and only *knock on wood* full-on asthma attack started one day at school and we had pizza for dinner then I was in the hospital for a week. Pizza in the cafeteria every Friday in school. When I got to high school you could buy a little pizza from the separate Gatorade stand for 2 bucks. I spent a lot of money there. Not to mention the class Domino's/Papa John's parties we had. Oh, didn't mention I worked next to the pizza spot in the PX when I was 16. I helped make dough and push pizzas from time to time....Then my theater teacher told us about her trip to Italy where she had real deal pizza from a wood fire oven, thin crust with herbs and it was topped with an egg.

It spiraled downhill from there.
I was ruined hearing about real pizza from Italy. I wanted it. I sadly don't see a reasonable explanation where I'll have access to such a thing. So instead, one of my goals was to make a pizza from start to finish on my own. Which is a feat in and of itself because I decided when I started baking that I could never be a bread baker. The hours and hours of waiting for starters to work and/or bread to rise. I have a lot of patience but not that much.

Very few things I'm really willing to sit and wait to rise, hoddeuk bread, challah bread and apparently this pizza dough because these pictures came from me making pizza at 10 at night. *It was Saturday and I slept from 4-9 after mowing the lawn with only 3 hours of sleep the night before. My ENTIRE lawn. Have you seen the size of my yard? Give me a break!*

I made it the first time when I suddenly wanted pizza but being budget- minded I didn't want to order out (or risk the unnecessary calories). Making my own pizza I know what's going in it and when everything was made. Da-na-na-na~!! FoodGawker to the rescue! In looking for the easiest & simplest recipe I found Kayotic Kitchen's Perfect Pizza Dough

I mean it couldn't be simpler than that. There's still that whole rising thing you have to wait for. Two quicker methods one, she mentions in her post for the dough about the oven. My other method is to use a bigger bowl than the bowl the dough will sit in. Add 1" of tap hot water. Place the covered dough bowl in this bowl and cover with a towel. It will double in half the time! Never had an issue with taste from either method.

I couldn't wait for a double rise dough so when it had doubled in the oven I took it out and squared it up on my baking sheet. Didn't even need to use extra flour, the oil helped keep it from sticking. And you should really get a silicone baking sheet. $9 might be high for some, but these things are great. I got this from Target a while ago. You don't have to pay $20 for the other one, this one is perfect.

When the dough is ready and sized just right for you, just throw stuff on top. I promise, it'll be tasty. Had some leftover leek tomato sauce I had made for my meatballs. Was the perfect pizza sauce.

Then I piled it about 2 inches high with stuff. Sauteed chicken breasts, ground beef, zucchini, leeks, bell peppers, prosciutto and of course, cheese. Mozzerella and cheddar. If you only eat a couple of pieces it's actually not that bad in calories the way I made it! (I used a recipe calorie calculator...I do try to watch that kind of stuff). 

All ready for the oven. If you're not salivating yet, give it a second.

Now, Kay doesn't give a temperature to cook this at. The first time I cooked it too high at 400. It cooked through but was a little too dark on the bottom. I tried 375 for 20 minutes this time and it worked great. 

I mean, don't you want a slice?

Too bad, because it's all gone. I love cold pizza!

You're drooling now aren't you?

See, the bottom was perfect for me. I don't like crust too dark.

And look at those holes! All perfect for softness and a slight chewy texture. I love this dough a lot.

Open up, you want a bite, I can tell..

The dough as I briefly mentioned is light and soft with a nice chew to it. Next time I make it I'll try a thinner crust on it (love thin crust pizza) just to see how that works. 

A note on the recipe. The first time I made the dough I followed the recipe exactly including the salt measurement. I don't know about you but 1 1/2 tsp of salt is a lot to me. I thought so when I was adding it. Especially when you consider the types of toppings you're going to put on top. Pepperoni is salty...cheese is salty...sauce can be salty. Overall the first time I made it, it was good but too salty for my tastes

This time I cut the salt back. 3/4 tsp of salt. It really allowed the slight sweetness to come through when the sweet leek sauce and bread came together. It wasn't salty at all and let the toppings stand out in the middle and the dough on the edges. Maybe if you're using more veggies and less meat I'd go the salty route but if you're using stuff like bacon, pepperoni or prosciutto you might want to hold back a bit. Despite that little tidbit I think you'd enjoy this dough. I did and will add this to my recipe keepers!

Visit Kayotic Kitchen for more recipes and photography.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

WEEKEND DISH: Quiet Weekend

Okay, I can't get my days straight this week for nothing. I kept thinking Tuesday was Monday and it just spiraled from there. I still keep thinking today is Wednesday. So...Yeah, we'll post a short Weekend Dish and give you a Wandering Wednesday next week, 'kay?

Not much happened or was cooked the last weekend. I always get in these monthly slumps where I just want Asian food. NOTHING but Asian food, spicy, soy saucy, sesame oily, garlicky Asian food. Which of course throws me off of my monthly meal planner for the week (that's okay I recycle the meals for the next month that I don't use so eventually it all gets eaten). Last week was one of those weeks for sure.

I did manage to take an Asian break and eat some avocado fries baked in the oven. So delish. I don't know why you would hate this little fruit?! Buttery smooth, good oils for you (in limited quantities), can be flavored easily. Win all over the place.

I haven't been feeling very creative lately. I've been in a funk in general, creatively and mentally. I do keep a sketch pad in my nightstand. I keep a pen and a pencil there too. Just a start with a regular old fine tip Zebra Z-Grip ballpoint pen (Honestly, probably my favorite pen for writing as well. This coming from a pen & paper hoarder!)

Stuffed wings. De-boning these is a bitch, but once you stuff  and cook them, you remember why you did it. So yum! I need to do like a 20 pack of wings one day and have them on hand for when I want to stuff.

Thursday before last some nasty, and I mean NASTY, looking storms moved through. I got plenty of video of lightning all around my parents' house and right over. I mean this thing turned the bright day sky into pitch black night before it was time for the dark to settle in. Insane! My mom even wanted me to stay over there (she was scared a tornado was coming). I went home anyway, it was my 3-day weekend!

No, I did not go crazy and just go all in with my hair. I found my cosplay wigs in the closet the other night. (I do not cosplay but I ordered some wigs for fun and future Halloweens several years ago.) BUT This color looked pretty amazing on me....I'm still thinking. You never know. I was never afraid to do fun colors in my hair.

And that's that. Hopefully I will get some much needed sleep and be back on track this next week. (DAMN YOU ASSASSIN'S CREED BROTHERHOOD & ALL MY SHOWS THAT COME ON AFTER 9!!! (Which is all of them!)). I'll see you guys next week!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

RECIPE: Quick Funfetti Blondie

Mug cakes really were the hot item right before the Thanksgiving/Christmas season it seems to me. Just judging from the food blogs I saw. There were a lot of mug brownies and mug Nutella cakes going on. Funfetti cake mix was really hot at the same time. I know I made quite a few Funfetti cake mix items. I now maintain at least one box, at all times, in my house for small side recipes, that's how deep my obsession goes.You can yarn on and on about how fake it is but there's a reason people love this stuff, it's fucking yummy.

I needed a way to get rid of this one box after I made cake batter Rice Krispies treats. I had just learned a mug brownie recipe and seen an oven recipe for Funfetti blondies. Why couldn't I do the two together. I hadn't seen any recipes for that. I'm sure there are, but I haven't searched that hard. I came up with a pretty simple one. (I just Googled and there are microwave recipes but they all seem to involve eggs.) It's quite addictive, I'm just warning you. Plus you can lick the spoon after because there's nothing that should cause violent bathroom visits involved. I've had my food poisoning from an egg before, I'll NEVER forget that experience! Ever...for real.

All you need are the ingredients seen above. Simple. And excuse the lighting I took these at 8:30 at night as an appropriate naughty sweet treat should be made in the dark.

Here's where you can vary things. You can either be precise about measurments or do heaping spoonfuls. I do precise on the flour. 2 TBSP

 But heaping on the Funfetti mix. 2-3 TBSP (2 is a little more wet, 3 is more cake-like, I did 3 for this)

Somewhat heaping on the brown sugar, 2 TBSP.

I mix that together, it helps with the lumps in the brown sugar.

Now we add some wet, vegetable oil. Just 1 TBSP.

2-3 TBSP of milk.You don't want you batter super runny, but you don't want it stiff as a board. If you do heaping tablespoons of flour AND cake mix you'll need 3 TBSP of milk. The way I did it I only needed 2.

Mix, mix, mix....is it too late to say you need a bowl that's microwave safe. Please don't use something that's going to explode from the microwaves.

So when it's all mixed, try to smooth out the top a bit and pop it in the microwave for, depending on how your microwave works, 1 1/2 - 2 minutes. My microwave produces perfection at 2 minutes.
My suggestion to you dear reader. Put two minutes on your clock. Pop it in and let it go for at least 1 1/2 minutes. Check it, very gently press on the top to see if it feels firm but soft (irony..yes). If it's too soft you might want to pop it in for another 15 seconds then check. Microwaves are all different, you'll have to test with yours to see the first few times.

Please be careful and use a potholder or folded napkin to remove bowl from microwave, bowl will be hot! Let cool for a few minutes....Or if you're like me, sometimes I eat it as is piping hot from the bowl (be careful it's really hot, ask my tongue). Or....

just be impatient and scoop some ice cream on top (oddly it doesn't totally melt the ice cream when I do.....)

There you have it. A quick sweet treat for the microwave.  Maybe you'll share it...maybe you'll be a greedy little wench and eat it all yourself. Yes, I just called myself a wench.

Quick Funfetti Blondie
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 TBSP Funfetti cake mix
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 2-3 TBSP milk (I used almond milk once too it worked well)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small microwave-safe bowl and stir together with spoon.
  2. Place in microwave for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes depending on microwave. 
  3. Remove with pot holders and let cool on counter for 3-5 minutes. 
  4. Add scoop of ice cream if desired or dig right in.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WANDERING WEDNESDAY: Foodess Chocolate Cake!!

Chocolate. I look at a lot of food sometimes and go: Who thought to eat that and make it what we know it as today. Chocolate is one of those things...someone had to stand at that tree for a minute and look at that cocoa pod and decide.Yes, this is what I want to eat. I'm sure after cracking it open and taking a bitter bite they thought differently but they kept at it and created something most people enjoy from time to time, chocolate. Food is really amazing....

A perfect example of something that's pretty amazing is this chocolate cake. I don't know about you, but I'm actually not a chocolate person.Sure, I'm female.I get those nasty cravings from time to time where my body is screaming at me to eat some damn chocolate or make these cramps worse than they already are. But outside of that, I rarely eat chocolate candy or cakes. Secret: I don't like chocolate chip cookies.....take that in for a moment. Aye, there's a rub, I like WHITE chocolate chip cookies though. I like white chocolate in general better than milk & especially better than dark! (Although German dark is pretty darn good).

I found this cake while doing my usual perusal of Pinterest. I know you're getting tired of hearing of that site if you don't care for it but between that and FoodGawker I spend a lot of time there. Back to this cake. Clicking through led me to Foodess' Chocolate Cake post. Moist chocolate cake, that's exactly what it looks like. Very moist and chocolately goodness on a plate from her wonderful pictures. 

I read over the recipe several times and finally decided to give it a go one day. Probably the best worst decision I ever made.Why? Because it's so easy to make that when I really get a chocolate craving....I make this. Seriously...Luckily I've only made it three times so far. I mean, three times in 6 months isn't THAT bad, right? And that I have a nice slice after dinner for a week after isn't THAT bad, RIGHT?!

*Back from the room of denial*

So~....You might notice in my picture below that my cake doesn't look exactly like Foodess'. You would be correct. While her pictures made me drool with hunger. I didn't want a fudgey, brownie-esque, stick to the roof of your mouth cake. I wanted something more airy and light and looked fluffy like a cake. I mixed all the initial ingredients together and stared at my mixer... The batter, FYI, will be REALLY liquidy. (Yes, I'm making up words here.) That's how the batter is supposed to be. If you bake cakes from scratch on any level you'll notice they're a little more juicy than the boxed variety. But this was a bit much for me. 

I added another 1/4 cup of flour for a full 2 cups. Still not quite the consistency I wanted. 1/4 cup more was better but still not right. I believe I ended up using 2 1/2 cups of flour all together for the cake. It's still totally moist and delicious and perfectly sweet, not overdone. It's so crumbly in the pic above because someone got impatient and was really wanting to try a slice (it's amazing warm BTW). Cool enough to put frosting not cool enough to cut quite yet.

The second time I tried it I made the frosting, it was even better. No lie. Somehow I never got a shot of it...And I highly recommend using coffee. The cake will not be coffee tasting but it adds a nice flavor that plain hot water will not provide. I use decaf instant since I don't drink coffee and that's what I had from when I moved. (Parents really wanted me to take the coffee for some reason.)

Exercising some control, I made a 1-pan version of it this past weekend. So instead of a double layer cake it's one single layer. I made the icing, I knew I added too much milk when I did the icing this time but it still works and my cake is shiny! 
See, all shiny and stuff!
 
Needless to say, for me and me alone eating this, I'll be making the half version from now on, but if I'm having guests, full on 2-layer cake. I also realize my phone camera & the app together make this cake look black, but it's still shinin'!

For the half recipe you can use 3/4 cups - 1 whole cup of flour.I did 1 whole cup this time but I'd probably do 3/4 next time. For cocoa, I did one 1/4 cup and about 2 TBSP of cocoa powder. Everything else is evenly divided.

I will say one thing. This recipe with a couple of substitutions (butter for oil and coffee for water) is the same one found on the Hershey's website. That's also the frosting recipe I ended up using. NOW...that being said. I still made this post because Foodess has some other, nice recipes on her site that are worth looking over. As cooks, we all use recipes from other people. That's how food is, recipes are passed from person to person. I know I do, and I know I've made posts here, I credit where credit is due. Her substitutions definitely add to this cake, not take away. So I'd still tell you to go check her out look at her great photos. Because honestly, Hershey should just use her photos rather than the one they have for their cake....seriously...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

WEEKEND DISH: What Was the Holidays

I wasn't kidding. I'd be dead in the water right now without my camera phone. It really helps me keep track of what I've eaten and what tasted good or bad.I mean. I'm certain I didn't take pictures of horrible tasting food. 

So I've worked on the amount of food I'm cooking for dinner. With my new monthly meal planners I'm working on making sure I'm getting balanced dinners. As you can see here...I'm still a carb whore.

This cake....and pardon my French here....AH-FUCKING-MAZING! I've made it 2 & 1/2 times now (Only made one pan the last time...Wandering Wednesday. I think so, stay tuned!) This was with store bought icing but the last two times I made it with homemade chocolate icing.

I can't even begin to tell you how moist and not over-the-top sweet this thing is. Amazing and easy to get together. 

Prepped and ready for doenjang jjigae.

Nothing like a boiling hot soup for a freezing cold winter day!

I was headed out to Lowe's one night after a really nice storm. This greeted me when pulled out of my garage. I could see most of it from where I was standing it was beautiful and put me in a good mood!

Then I got to Lowe's and managed to catch this sunset.

Thanksgiving time!!! Here I'm making my delicious brine for my turkey. If you don't brine your turkey, you're really missing out on a good thing. So juicy and full of flavor. I mean my brother loves my turkey. He barely likes chicken. 

I need a giant pot like this, fits brine and a 12-14 pound turkey perfectly. Hard to get from the sink to the fridge though.

My dear friend Miss Dorothy bought me a bottle of red wine for my birthday, I finally got a chance to open it. I'm not a wine person...I'm not an alcohol person in general. But this wine was pretty nice. I can't really give you a critique of the flavor since I don't know much about wine but I drank this whole glass over the course of the 2-hour French movie I was watching.

Almost done! I started playing with it after a while LOL

Apple pie, I only make it at the end of the year. My crust was admittedly a little dry for Thanksgiving dinner. But it was so nice to have the room to roll out proper strips for the top!

The pumpkin pie came out just fine though!

Almost ready to chow down. My first holiday feast in my own home!

Ham, cooked by my dad. My juicy & delicious turkey!

Mac & cheese, hot rolls (from the box)...my brother would kill me if I didn't have these. A holiday isn't a holiday without these and eggnog for him.

My dad's collard greens some cornbread dressing.


Uncovered and time to dig in. On the bar from front to back: collards (my dad), cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, maple sweet potatoes, green bean casserole & corn casserole.

A really quick spiced pineapple upside down cake I made for my dad. He was wanting some so I whipped something up on the fly. It wasn't bad at all. needed more pineapple.

Nothing like leftovers for lunch when you get back to work.

It's Christmas time. I LOOOOVE Christmas lights. I mean it's ridiculous how long I sat and stared at these! I grabbed the wrong lights though and returned for LEDs. LEDs are so friggin' bright. I mean blinding!

 I even decorate at work I've had that tree and tinsel for at least 4 or 5 years. This year I need to make a skirt for my tree.

Okay, see. I told you these LED lights are friggin' bright! I adored them so much. I thought I got them for a really good price. I think they were 18 bucks or so for 17' long icicle lights. I only needed three strands to cover the front of my house.

I was trying to kill off all these leftovers I had from Thanksgiving before Christmas comes 'round.  Turkey breast with chicken gravy, some more green bean casserole and potato cakes from the mashed potatoes

A quick visit to my parents. Someone's sleepy!

Caught one single pre-Black Friday deal on these. I have never loved a washer and dryer more than these things. The washer has a HUGE tub 4.5 cu. ft. I only have to do two loads one with all my clothes ('cause I don't care and just wash everything together and then another load for towels. I can wash my entire sheet set, duvet and mattress cover in one wash. My queen comforter is nothing to this thing with it's own settings for towels, bulk (trust me use the settings, works like a champ!) I sound like I'm trying to sell you this thing. But it's seriously amazing! 

I really wanted to make as many of my own christmas decor as possible. I saw all the ornament wreaths on Pinterest. But I mixed a few of my own ideas together to make this pretty thing. (Except that ribbon. I need a longer ribbon next year.

I made the whole thing for like 20 bucks. Ornaments from Family Dollar, lights & tinsel from Dollar General. Pipe wrapper from Home Depot to make the shape. I recommend something a bit more sturdy after everything was on it was really heavy.

Which is where that green ribbon came in to play. I couldn't get the ribbon straight so that part was a little janky but otherwise it's was beautiful.

I loved it so much in dark with the lights on!

 And I finally got my dad over to help me with the LED lights. My house looked like I was having a disco party! Next year I'll have the money to elaborate on this. I love Christmas!

It looks like a rave! It was so bright!

I made these as table centerpieces as well. Super cheap and easy. Boxes and ornaments from Dollar General. Used leftover from the door wreath. Styrofoam ball from Dollar Tree.

spicy Korean beef ribs! Yum. Recipe coming

Quick dinner is quick. Fried parmesan chicken breast, Country Crock broccoli & cheese rice, tortellini in chicken broth.

It took a bit, but I finally found a plain tree, no lights that didn't cost 100+ dollars (Really a plain treen NOT pre-lit was MORE than pre-lit ones?!) and colored mini-LED lights.

Eggnog cookies....not saying I ate the whole plate. But I did.

I made the ruffled tree skirt, ran out of the red so I just left the base fabric. It actually worked nicely.

My brother and SIL got to my home for the holidays....thanks for making me sick bro. My SIL started talking about cinnamon rolls.While they were at my parents' I whipped these up. I used a new recipe and wasn't totally pleased.

And when I had the chance to have the house to myself I also made all this the night before Christmas. 

Funfetti fudge. Didn't really taste like Funfetti to me, too much almond extract but I'd make it again for the white chocolate craving.

I was off for 17 days total during Christmas break. I stay up really late. I mean....I was in the bath for like 2 hours and caught this nice sunrise kind of late. I'm such a night owl.

And don't think I forgot New Year. Usually we eat this for Korean New Year, but I need all the luck I can get. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. And yes, I know it's March better late than never!

So with that. I'm almost caught up on the phone pics. We'll be getting to a regular program soon LOL

 
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