Pistachio-Encrusted Lime Angel Food Cake, Drizzled In Lime Glaze

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Happy Monday everyone! One good thing about Mondays is that…well…oh oh a new episode of House is on! I started this post the monday after the boyfriend’s birthday weekend and I remember waking up that monday morning happy I wasn’t hungover or nauseous anymore. Because, you know what happens when I wake up nauseous? I demand that I eat an absurd breakfast and when I say absurd, I really mean it.

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Case in point. This, my friends, my fellow food lovers and bacon enthusiasts, was a bacon and cheddar cheese omelet, with home-fries and two slices of whole wheat toast. When I ordered it I imagined a fine blend of bacon and cheddar cheese in the middle of a folded egg. Wrong. The entire thing had a crust of bacon! I died and went to heaven. I also ate the entire meal, but thats between me and the gym.

The reason for the hangover was the two birthday parties the boyfriend had this past weekend. It was a lot of fun, but I think the best part for me was that I got to bake him a cake. Now, he doesn’t have a sweet tooth like mine, but as he was flipping through a Bon Appetit we picked up the other day, he pointed at this cake and said it would be a worthy choice for his birthday dessert. That was all the incentive I needed and I set off to the store to buy the ingredients.

I had no idea how to go about making this cake. I spent some time researching tips and tricks about angel food cake online and realized I might have gotten in over my head. You have to cool it UPSIDE-DOWN for goodness sake. OH and it’s helpful to have a pan with “feet”. WHA? I managed to work my way through videos and blogs that made it all seem less terrifying and I set out on this baking adventure.

Ingredients

From Bon Appetit, April 2010.
By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Cake

  • 1 cup cake flour (or if you don’t have cake flour like me, take 1 cup of AP flour and remove two tablespoons. Then add two tablespoons of corn starch to the flour and sift them together about five times.)
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (I didn’t have this either, but I did have a food processor which I used to turn granulated sugar into superfine sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 2 tsp finely grated lime peel
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

Lime syrup & Lime Glaze

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided: 3 tbsp and 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted raw pistachios, finely chopped in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar

Hardware

  • Bundt pan. Ideally one with a detachable bottom and “feet” so you won’t have to teeter your cake on top of a hot sauce bottle like me.

Procedure

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Sift the flour, 1/2 cup of superfine sugar, and salt, three times.
  • Zest a lime!
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  • Beat egg whites, lime peel and vanilla on medium speed until frothy.
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    Here’s what ten egg white’s look like! I thought I’d show you because I’ve never seen that many in one bowl before.

  • Add cream of tartar and increase speed to high, continuing until soft peaks form.
  • In small increments, about 2 tbsp at a time, incorporate the remaining 1 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form
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    It’s amazing how much this “grew” in the bowl. I thought my mixing bowl wasn’t going to be big enough

  • Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and gingerly fold the flour into the egg white mixture, just until incorporated.
  • Fold in remaining flour mixture in two separate additions, repeating the same technique as before.
  • Transfer this mixture into your ungreased angel food cake pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
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  • Bake until pale golden and a chopstick can be inserted into the cake and come out clean. This takes approximately 38 minutes.
  • Once you take the cake out of the oven, immediately invert it, either onto it’s “feet” or find a bottle with a slender neck that fits inside the hole of your pan. In my case, it was a hot sauce bottle.
  • Let that teeter there making you extremely nervous for about 45 minutes, or until the cake has cooled completely.
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  • Once it is cool, gently flip it over so it’s right side up.
  • Here comes the challenging part… Loosen the sides of the cake, as well as, around the hole with a knife and attempt to pry this baby out of the pan. The no-greasing rule was so that your cake would stick to the pan enough not to fall out when you inverted it. The no-greasing rule also makes it extremely difficult to get out of the freaking pan. I presume it would be easier if I had the fancy removable bottom bundt pan, but you know what? This pan was on sale at Safeway for 5 dollars and I’m a sucker for a deal.
  • I got to the point where I didn’t think I was going to be able to remove the cake from the pan without mutilating it so I got bold, thinking I had nothing to lose, and used a butter knife to pry it out. That worked wonders and the cake came right out. Sometimes you just have to go rogue.
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    The crust, or shell, or whatever it is called on a cake, got a little messed up but, at this point, I was too excited that I hadn’t totally ruined it, that I thought it looked pretty anyway. And to add to this cake’s long list of attributes, it also looked like a giant doughnut. mmmmmm.

  • So now it’s time to make the lime syrup (to secure the pistachios to the cake) and the lime glaze (for drizzling over the top).
  • Combine 3 tbsp of lime juice and sugar in a saucepan. Turn the heat up to medium and stir until sugar dissolves. Brush or pour syrup mixture all over the cake.
  • Before the syrup dries press the chopped pistachios over the entire cake.
  • In a bowl combine the powdered sugar and the remaining 1 tbsp of lime juice and stir until you have incorporated all of the sugar.
  • Drizzle over cake, and serve! Or keep in a cake safe if you’re making it ahead of time.
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Gingersnap

Helllooooo Friday! Oh how I have missed you. This week was crazy and it ended today with two exams back to back, as usual. Sigh. I’ll try to keep this post shorter than others because I’ve got about a bagillion things to do today.

This weekend is the boyfriend’s birthday weekend which, translated, means an excuse to indulge in good drinks, good friends and of course good food. I’ll be posting recipes from this weekend later on next week once I’ve recovered from the hangover that is about to render me useless. For today I bring you a recipe for regular gingersnap cookies and my own creation of gingersnap blackberry cookies.

Gingersnap Cookies

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This recipe came from a woman named Marie Ayers, she posted it here, at allrecipes.com.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • Cinnamon sugar

Procedure

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Sift, twice, the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a mixing bowl.
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  • In a standing mixer, or with hand beaters, beat the butter until creamy. A little bit at a time, beat in the sugar. Then, beat in the egg and that dark molasses.
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  • Sift into the butter mixture, 1/3 of the flour mixture and stir thoroughly to incorporate all ingredietns. Sift in the remaining flour mixture and keep stirring until a really soft dough forms. I know that this seems like a lot of sifting but if you want that amazing cracked crust on the cookies you gotta sift the flour mixture. I have to say I never thought a dough could feel so soft. It was like touching a cloud.
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  • If you want to make just the basic gingersnap cookie grab about a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball and place it on an ungreased baking sheet. You want the balls to be about 2 inches apart.
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  • Sprinkle each cookie with a little bit of cinnamon sugar.
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  • Bake for about 10 minutes. They come out beautifully and they taste as good as they look!
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Gingersnap blackberry cookies

Ingredients

  • Exactly the same as the top except ADD about 7 or so whole blackberries.

Procedure

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly mist that with cooking spray.
  • Once you have the soft dough in the bowl take your blackberries and throw them in.
  • Disclaimer: there is probably a better way to do this but these cookies were an experiment and this is what I thought of and did. Very gently squish and squash the blackberries with your hands. What you want is to detach the blackberry pods from the blackberry body and ideally get an unsquished pod in every bite. That’s wishful thinking and not what happened for me. It got pretty messy, but I managed to keep the majority unsquashed and mixed them in as evenly as I could. The blackberries will add a considerable amount of moisture to your dough so you will no longer be able to roll them into perfect balls. I used a tablespoon measure to scoop the dough out onto to baking sheets.
  • Spread the cookie balls about 2 1/2 inches apart because they will spread.
  • Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on each cookie, just for good measure.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Here’s what they looked like.

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    Certainly not as pretty as the other ones but boy did they taste good, especially when you got a big bite of blackberry in there.

Cinnamon sugar

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

I hope you make these and enjoy them as much as I did! Have a great weekend.

Would You Like Some Cinnamon Rolls With That Saturday Morning?

There’s nothing I enjoy more than coming home for the weekend, using my dad’s uber fancy camera to photograph food and sitting on his couch all morning getting over-caffinated while I read food blogs. There is however, one thing thats almost as good. Home-made cinnamon rolls.

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After I ate 1, I pretty much wanted 100 more. They’ve got a hint of lemon zest and it’s really good if you dip a bite in your coffee. The best part for me was that I got to drizzle the fondant glaze over the rolls with my fingers. Why? Because when you’re done you get to lick the glaze off of them and it’s really the only reasonable excuse to eat almost a tablespoon of straight frosting. Oh and we’ll just not talk about all the “taste tests” to see if the frosting had the flavor I wanted.

The reason I made these, other than the obvious was because I just read an article about a study done at Princeton about high fructose corn syrup. Click here to read about it! My dad will, from time to time, eat cinnamon rolls on a weekend morning, but they are usually be the frozen kind. Now I’m not trying to hate on frozen stuff and they do taste really good, but take one look at the ingredients list and its like every preservative known to man + high fructose corn syrup goes into these innocent looking cinnamon rolls. After reading that study and taking into account my father’s love of those classic rolls it was a no brainer that I would make some from scratch for him. Also, more selfishly, it’s helping me tick off another recipe from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, which, if I haven’t said already, I’m trying to bake my way through.

These take around 4 hours to make and are completely worth it. I wanted to have them for breakfast so I made them up the night before and popped them in the fridge over night. I took them out about 2 1/2 hours before I wanted to bake them, to let the dough proof, and popped them in the oven!

I won’t be posting the recipe, but click here to find a recipe by The Pioneer Woman that looks like it tastes just as good. Have I mentioned she’s my hero?

If you want the recipe I used…GO BUY A COPY OF THE BOOK, or borrow it from your library, but seriously, go buy it, it’s AWESOME.

  • In a standing mixer, start by beating together the butter, salt and sugar. Then, whip in the egg and lemon zest until smooth.
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  • Depending on the type of yeast you have (I had non-instant yeast) proof it now in a bowl of warm water. So, I tried to proof the yeast in warm buttermilk, but, that didn’t work. I think buttermilk is too acidic and possibly killed the yeast. I started over and proofed it in a bowl with 4 tbsp of warm water and just subtracted 4 tbsp from the total buttermilk volume. If I remember anything about working with dough it’s that you need to keep the hydration ratios the same.
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  • Add the flour, buttermilk and yeast.
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  • Don’t mind the beer that snuck itself in there…..mmmmmm 90 Shilling.
  • Turn your mixer on medium speed and let it go until the dough starts to form a ball. I’m including a picture because mine never turns into a “ball”. This is what I think they mean.
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  • Basically mix until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough could be formed into a ball. Remove the paddle attachment and replace it with the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 10-12 minutes. If you’re kneading by hand go for at least 15. The dough should pass the windowpane test.
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  • Oil a large mixing bowl. Place the kneaded dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Ideally, you want to let the dough rise in a warm place, but my kitchen is always too cold. My trick? Just turn the oven on for about 5 minutes then turn it off. Then I put the bowl in there and close the door and let it rise, in this case for two hours. Maybe that’s cheating or maybe that’s crafty and maybe sometimes I forget to turn off the oven…but maybe just maybe all my bread disasters and successes even out in the end.
  • This is what my dough looked like after it rose.
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  • Lightly sprinkle your work surface with flour and plop the dough on down. Next, break out your rolling pin, which as a poor college student was a first for me, seeing as I have been using wine/beer/vodka bottles, in that utensil’s abscense. (Using a bottle is a common phenomenon, look! This post from Bread & Honey: a food blog ) so there. Anyways, break out your rolling utensil, whatever it may be, and roll the dough into a square. It is supposed to be 2/3 inch thick but off the top of my head I don’t know what that looks like so mine looked like this.
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  • While you were waiting for the dough to rise you would have mixed together sugar and cinnamon for the filling. Take that filling and sprinkle it all over the dough’s surface. Using a tip from The Pioneer Woman, I melted some butter and lightly coated the dough. This way the cinnamon sugar has something to stick to.
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  • Then start at one end of the dough and roll it all the way up.
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  • Using a sharp knife, slice pieces off of the tube. How many rolls you end up with depends on how thick you like them. I think I ended up with 10 rolls.
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  • After re-reading the instructions I realized I had placed them too close together so I readjusted them to fill the whole pan. It worked out that they were each about 1/2 inch from each other. At this point I covered them with plastic wrap and threw them in the fridge over night, but this is the time where you would normally bake them. The next day I removed them from the fridge about 2 hours before I planned on baking them. I cheated again and used the oven trick to warm them up more quickly than the instructions suggested. Who can wait THREE WHOLE HOURS for them to warm up, not me. This is what they looked like when they were all proofed and ready to go into the oven. It was almost like the picture!
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  • About half hour before the rolls were done proofing I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees and positioned the rack in the middle of the oven. The rolls baked for 22 minutes and came out looking like this.
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  • The directions said to wait something like twenty minutes for them to cool before icing them. Psh. I think I waited as long as it took me to whip up the icing, which was all of five minutes. Who knew powdered sugar+milk+vanilla could be so amazing? Click here for an icing recipe similar to the one I used. One substitution to that recipe would be to add 3/4 of a teaspoon of vanilla/organge/lemon extract. At this point I dipped my fingers into the icing and began splatter painting the cinnamon rolls. Here’s the end result.
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  • It looks like the magical sugar-icing-spider came along and graced the household with a delicious web of fondant glaze.

    You’re supposed to wait like another twenty minutes to serve them, after you glaze them but…bet you can’t tell where this is going…I pretty much served them as soon as I was done icing them. And you know what? They were great. Serve them with a hot cup of (decaf at this point) coffee and you’re off to sugar-coma wonderland.

Roasted Chicken with Cheddar Garlic Polenta & a Fried Egg on Top

Here I am again. Staring down the prospect of beginning my assignment, due tomorrow, and I think to myself…”Maybe if I paint my nails at the same time as I type it wont seem so heinous”. And you know, that works for me. So, my nails are now lime green and my assignment is kinda done.

This title is kinda rough….oh sure, I could shorten it, but then I would be eliminating one of the delicious sounding components, and that’s something I just can’t do. That being said, I don’t think I have any sort of talent for coming up with titles, so for now, until I can figure something out, you’ll be stuck with titles like this one…..I’m working on it.

We made this dinner…and you should too; it was delicious. I ❤ polenta, and cheddar cheese for that matter, just thought I'd get that off my chest.

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 chicken breasts (if you can, I would buy a breast that still has skin on it. It just roasts up so much nicer)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups water
  • ~2 1/2 tablespoons cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic salt + more to taste (if you don’t have garlic salt you can use minced garlic cloves and add salt to that)
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs

Procedure

  • Step one: drink a beer.
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Chicken

  • Step two…..Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees and position an oven rack to the middle position.
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  • We seasoned the chicken with salt & pepper.
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  • In an oven-proof skillet add the butter and oil, then brown the chicken on each side.
  • Put the skillet in the oven and roast for 15 minutes (if you’ve got a chicken breast with skin, roast skin side up first) then flip it over for another 15 minutes. At about 30 minutes begin checking for doneness. If you have a meat thermometer it should register 160 degrees at the thickest part of the breast. If you don’t have a meat thermometer it takes roughly 20 minutes per pound of chicken so you’ll just have to cut into it to ensure doneness.
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Polenta

  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
  • Add 1 cup of polenta and reduce to a simmer.
  • You pretty much need to continuously stir the polenta or it will clump.
  • Cook for approximately 25 minutes or more, depending on your preferred level of polenta firmness.
  • A few minutes before the polenta is done add the cheddar cheese and garlic salt, and stir until combined.
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Eggs

  • Cook eggs to preference. We like our eggs over easy.

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We also like eggs that look like the Donnie Darko bunny and wine bottles…

Putting it all together

  • Pour 2/3 of a cup of polenta on your plate and top with the fried egg. Serve chicken on the side or, if you want to get crazy, on top of the egg.

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And here is where I lose day light. The poor iphone doesn’t work well in dark conditions.

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Pizza

I want to start off the post with a picture because it’s pretty and it reminds me of how beautiful the weather is right now. It also reminds me how thankful I am it isn’t snowing here. (Does happy dance)

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First things first, spring break 2010 is over….part of me is happy and part of me is trying to convince my brain that I have to start doing work again. That second part is not succeeding, but I’m happy because I was starting to get anxious about the next thing that might go wrong. To round out the trip, on the second to last day I pulled a muscle somewhere in the back of my leg and I had to be piggy-backed out of the Kraft Boulders. 98% of the piggy-backing was completed by my angel of a boyfriend and the other 2% was completed by a british film director that we had met 1 hour prior. To both of them I say THANK YOU. The rest of the day was spent, first eating Pei Wei, and second in the ER because at that point I couldn’t walk and was stressing out about possibly having torn something in my leg. After 5 hours the doctor informed me that I didn’t have a broken femur, referred me to an orthopedist, and gave me pain killers. Great. As of a few days ago I am up and walking around, just a little slower than I used to be. It’s most likely that I pulled a muscle and I’m crossing my fingers that it will heal soon. Overall the trip was really fun, and it definitely felt like an adventure, but I’m not sure how much more “adventure” I could have handled, so it’s nice to be home. Anyways I don’t want to dwell on that because it’s over and regular life has begun again.

A couple weeks ago I had made some 50% whole wheat pizza dough. It was more or less an experiment. The original recipe came from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice and I just substituted whole wheat flour for half of the total flour. It turned out really well and gave the pizza that really nutty and robust flavor that makes whole wheat so awesome. I won’t post the recipe because I’m pretty sure that would be unauthorized reproduction of a copyrighted work and I’m not so down with infringement. I must insist, however, that you go buy this book or borrow a copy from the library because its the MOST AWESOME COOK BOOK EVER. I’m sure that other pizza dough recipes, which are readily available on internet, will work just as well as mine but I have to be biased because I did go out and buy the book and I have consumer pride.

When searching for a pizza dough recipe online it’s important to look for one that has you putting the dough in the fridge over night. Drawing upon my knowledge of pizza dough, that step seems to be the key for creating a flavorful dough. My strategy when making dough is to make a lot (which the BBA recipe does) and then freeze the individual dough balls until I want to use them. It’s a brilliant system and it lets me have pizza whenever I want, basically fulfilling the majority of my childhood fantasies.

Tonight I just pulled one of the dough balls out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter for a couple of hours and voila! PIZZA! The game plan was to make a cheese-less and sauce-less pizza. Now I know this seems weird because, knowing me, I’m completely in love with ooey gooey cheesy pizza, but route climbing season is just around the corner and its time to start monitoring fat intake. Insert Debbie Downer noise here. The ideal ratio for nutrients everyday, for me at least, is going to be 65% carbs, 20% fat, and 15% protein. Now I’m a small person and I don’t need to eat all that much food everyday (unfortunately) so not putting cheese on pizza is something I need to do if I want to make the calories I eat fall into the right categories. But you know what? Pizza without cheese and sauce is actually very good. Now I’ve read many articles that argue about what constituent “makes” a pizza. The debate is between cheese, dough, and sauce. I belong to the group that thinks dough is the most important element. In my opinion, if the pizza doesn’t have a high quality dough, it becomes more of a challenge to produce an exceptional pizza. So, eating a cheese-less and sauce-less pizza is a good way to see if you’re crust can stand alone. Since I’m not posting the recipe I used I want to direct you to a recipe that I have used in the past with good results. Anyone who knows anything, knows that Alton Brown is the man and this recipe is very good. Now if you’re not into making you’re own dough, and you happen to live in Tucson, Sunflower Farmer’s Market sells both whole wheat and white dough pre-made and it’s a completely palatable. If you don’t live in Tucson I’m sure any Whole Foods or some store like that would have pre-made pizza dough as well.

Well I think I’ve rambled enough. Let’s get on to the recipe.

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough
  • 10 Kalamata + green olives
  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Half of a zucchini
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil for brushing on the pizza
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Oregano
  • Garlic salt

Procedure

Here’s the dough. It’s never been a perfect circle and most of the time (i.e. the times when I do the stretching and tossing) it ends up a rectangle.

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Pizza tossing has been a hard skill to master, but I’m working on it. Here’s a tutorial that I think is pretty good and with a little practice and a good dough to start out with, you should be a pro in no time. Pizza tossing lessons.

Normally we would be preparing the dough on a pizza peel and transferring it onto a pre-heated pizza stone, but we don’t have a pizza stone at the boyfriend’s house so we cook the pizza’s on the back of a sheet pan until it’s sturdy enough to be transferred directly to the rack.

  • You’re going to want to start by pre-heating the oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Next, chop up the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and zucchini. You want to slice the zucchini up pretty thin or it gets a bit overwhelming on the pizza.
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  • Sauté the zucchini and add a few dashes of oregano, garlic salt and red pepper flakes. Cook until tender.
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  • Heat up a skillet and add ground pork and several dashes of oregano, garlic salt, and red pepper flakes. Pan fry until crumbly and fully cooked.
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  • While all of the above is cooking politely ask your kitchen helper to lightly coat the pizza dough with olive oil, thinly slice the fresh basil, and sprinkle it on the dough.
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  • At this point I like to sprinkle on some salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Assemble the toppings and slide the sheet pan into the oven
  • Bake for approximately 5 then transfer the pizza onto the wire rack. Cook for an additional few minutes until you have achieved a nicely browned bottom and crust, and, fully cooked toppings.

Here’s the finished product

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Here’s the finished product half eaten….

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The crust was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I was in pizza heaven.

Joe’s Valley? How about not. We’re in Vegas baby.

Hello out there! So long story (which I will post about when I get home) short, Joe’s valley was covered in cold, wet, and rapidly melting snow,


(This was taken from the cave we called home for three days. It kept us warm and out of the snow, however, after a little while the snow melt started encroaching upon our dry haven. I think that was around the same time we decided to leave.)

and Vegas was sunny and in the 70’s. We endured three solid days of low temps and slushy conditions and in return got in 1 1/2 days of climbing done. The forecast for the next few days didn’t look good, so we got in the car and drove the 6 1/2 hours to Red Rocks, NV, located west of Vegas. As of right now we’ve had two good days of climbing since arriving on Sunday. The boys are climbing today, but, after yesterday’s hard session I needed a rest day. It’s hard to admit that I can’t go as hard as them right now, but my wrist was hurting and I have to reason with myself that I haven’t climbed in 10 weeks, and, maybe I need to go kinda easy. So here I am in Vegas, at the Coffee Bean just relaxing in the AC and drinking some green tea. I have so much to write about that I don’t even know where to start. This trip has been pretty ridiculous. At points it seemed like nothing else could possibly go wrong, but we’ve stuck with it and have some great stories to tell. I’ll get into detail later when I’ve got more time but for now I wanted to feature some of the dinners we’ve had, because, when everything else was falling apart, at least we ate like kings (and queens). For some of the meals it was either too dark, or my phone was dead and I was unable to get a picture, but I’ll detail them as much as I can.

Night 1: Bratwurst Burritos

  • Johnsonville pre-cooked bratwursts
  • Alejandro’s flour tortillas
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Canned corn
  • Hot sauce of your choice. I prefer the green tabasco.

Basically, you spear the brats with skewers or a stick (if you wanna get real outdoorsy) and you stick them into the fire to warm them up and to help develop that irresistible blackened outer layer. Once the brats are ready shove them inside a tortilla, add the cheese, corn, and hot sauce, then proceed to roll it into a burrito. Don’t tell anyone, but I had two. I think that totalled like 950 calories in one sitting, but, after a hard day of steep hiking and crushing boulder problems it isn’t such an unreasonable dinner. (at least thats what I tell myself).

Night 2: Ground beef and sauteed onion pasta w/ basil garlic sauce

  • Ground beef
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 jar of basil garlic pasta sauce
  • Salt

We boiled the pasta and sauteed the onions at the same time because Mr. M has this awesome two burner Coleman propane stove.


See those yellow globs? Thats our olive oil, which froze along with every other liquid except the whiskey.

Once the onions are nice and soft and have gained some nice brown color, reserve them in a bowl. Add the ground beef.

Once that is thoroughly cooked turn off heat and combine with the drained pasta, onions, and sauce. Now you’ve got dinner!


Look it’s Mr. M cooking dinner for us!

One thing, make sure to clean your pot for the next morning or you’ll be forced to drive into Orangeville, UT and buy coffee from the Food Ranch, “your full line grocery store”.

Night 3: Eating On the road to Vegas

  • ummmm, I think a whole grain bagel+strawberry preserves and a grapefruit…..

Night 4: Steak Burritos

  • Sirloin steak
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Canned corn
  • Chopped green bell pepper
  • Thickly sliced yellow onion
  • Black beans (I, unfortunately, have a food intolerance to all legumes and peppers)
  • Flour tortillas
  • Hot sauce

Pan fry steak and let rest for 10-15 minutes. This will help the steak retain all its delicious meat juice when you cut it up. Saute the green bell pepper, onion, and corn in a pan. Cut up steak and put it inside a tortilla. Add as much green bell pepper, onion, corn, beans, hot sauce, seasoned salt and cheese as you can handle and wrap it up! I had two of these too, it was so good my head almost exploded.

That night disaster struck. Two caribeaners took out the rear windshield on my car. Wedged between the trunk and the glass, they cleverly created a lever and when the trunk was closed they shattered the windshield. Luckily, there was tint lining the glass and the shards stayed contained until we could drive into Vegas the next morning. We were so tired of things going wrong and not being able to catch a break that we found a $40 hotel room at the Excalibur and stayed there for the night. That hotel is absoludicris!


It’s pretty hard to photograph this at night because that electronic sign is soo bright. I had a hard time driving down the strip in general because I kept getting distracted.

So, for those of you who haven’t stayed here, it’s themed after Camelot. The hotel is divided into Tower 1 and Tower 2 and they feature a “dungeon” to eat dinner in.


We hung out by the pool while we waited for lunch to be delivered


This was lunch and it was delicious.

Now the windshield was still broken. The repairman was meeting us in the parking lot of the hotel, sometime between 12pm and 5pm, so we spent the afternoon waiting for that as well. He finally called at 4:30pm.

He fixed it up all nice and pretty and we continued enjoying our stay at the silliest hotel on the strip. Let me give you a tour of the hotel room!


This was hung in the bathroom and it is by far the most awesome painting ever.


Who knows why there needs to be two door stops and why one had to be mounted on a piece of wood


This is what happens when three rock climbers get a hold of a hotel room

Thats all for now. I’ve got to head out and pick up the burly men from the boulders. I’ll be back soon to continue chronicling our dinners. I’ve got a special one for St. Patty’s day!

Bad day? Trust me, all you need is some waffles and a corn-bag.

Ok so here’s the low down. I leave for Joe’s Valley, Utah, in ummmmm 28 hours. I have this morning to finish up the assignments that will be due over break and what do I do? I write a new blog post. Seeing as we’re on the topic of school I got my exam results from last week! 98% on bio, and 95% on nutrition. (touchdown dance) I celebrated on Saturday with french bread pizza + Gin & soda. It felt wonderful to finally relax.

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I don’t only celebrate for good days. Sometimes it can be just as satisfying to celebrate a terrible day. So bad it’s laughable. Murphy’s law to the max. It’s on those days I tend to lean towards breakfast for dinner. Nothing is quite as comforting to me as a huge plate of pancakes or hot off the griddle waffles topped with real maple syrup.

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Ingredients

Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon (very important, tastes amazing)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups milk (any kind, 1%, 2%, whole if you’re feeling crazy)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (or more depending on how sweet you like your waffles)

Procedure

  • Pre-heat your waffle iron.
  • Combine flours, cinnamon,salt, baking powder in a large bowl. If you’ve got a sifter (which I proudly just bought!) then break it out and sift these ingredients together.
  • Combine milk, oil, and egg yolks in another bowl and add to the flour mixture. You’re going to want to stir that until the bater is smooth.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a large bowl) beat the egg whites at a high speed until foamy. Then add in the sugar mixing until soft. Fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter.
  • Coat the waffle iron with oil of some sort (cooking spray, butter, oil + pastry brush)
  • Go ahead and spoon as much batter as it takes to cover your waffle iron and cook until the steam stops coming out.
  • Top with whatever you like! I used pure maple syrup on mine.

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And right before bed, there’s nothing like a cup of hot tea and a corn-bag, to set your day right.

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Oh and Grandma,thanks for introducing me to the corn bag as soon as I was born. My life would truly be lacking without it.

Well that’s all I’ve got for you today. And yes, I’m supposed to be working, but since I’m at school and the boyfriend is at home I was able to sneak and finish this post before I leave for Joe’s. He’s such a slave driver. I’ll try and put up a post while I’m gone, chronicling the food and cooking adventures that are sure to be had while we’re camping for 9 days in Utah. Now, I want to end with two pictures.

1. Target has by far the WEIRDEST shopping carts.
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2.Isn’t this just the cutest mug? Totally my favorite. I’ve had to fight for it on several occasions when people have tried to talk me into giving it to them. (ahem…Logan)

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See you in 10 days!