Month: May 2010

Test Kitchen 3 – Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

Houston, we have lift off. I’ve been working on a pizza crust recipe for a while now, and I believe I’ve got something you’re going to be very happy with! GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA CRUST Makes 3 9″ Pizza Crusts Ingredients The Mix: 1 1/2 Cups White Rice Flour 1/2 Cup Aramanth Flour 1 Cup Potato Starch 1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum 1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt 1 Teaspoon Molly McButter(c) Butter Substitute Flakes 1 Teaspoon Salt 2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese 2 Large Eggs 2 Tablespoons Oil 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening (for greasing the pans) The Yeast Mixture 2 Tablespoons Active Yeast 1 Teaspoon Sugar 1 Tablespoon Potato Starch 1 Tablespoon Rice Flour 2 Cups Hot Water (110 to 115 Degrees) Utensils 3 9″ Spring Form Pans (you can usually get these in a 3-pan set at Target or Walmart for surprisingly little money) 1 Large Spatula 1 Small Mixing Bowl 1 Large Mixing Bowl 1 Measuring Cup 1 Set of Measuring Spoons 1 Small Bowl of cold water (for your hands) In the small bowl, mix all …

Not Yo Mamma’s Brisket

Why is it that we all dream after the really “bad” things in life. Men hang on to those ratty sneakers and Letter Jacket from their glory days, women drool over the proverbial “bad boy”, still others hang onto a car that saw it’s better days during the Eisenhower administration. And we all have chased those glowing yellow arches and eaten our fair share of post-midnight square burgers.Me? I lust after bad beef. Gristle-y, tough, sinewy, big knobs of fat clustered to it, down right horrid cuts of meat.Yeah… I see you rolling your eyes. The thing I love about these really rough cuts of cow, is that these are the cuts with the most flavor. Think about it… These are the heavy usage muscles – shank,  tri-tip, knuckle, and my all time favorite, brisket. These cuts of meat have dense, long, lean muscles that are used for a lot of hard work – so – lots of blood goes through them and therefore, …. tons of flavor. The trick is unlocking all that beefy …

Zuppa Duppa – or – Tiramisu 3 Ways

Hmm, 3 ways…   Okay, so I’m guessing at this point that you get the notion I kind of like Tiramisu. What’s not to love? Its eggs, cream, cake, cheese, alcohol, coffee and cocoa – my personal 7 Pillars of Good Eating. …really, I could bathe in it. If you aren’t familiar with Tiramisu or Zuppa Inglais as it was originally known (before those wacky 80’s chefs got their hands on it) It is an Italian layered dessert from the Tuscany region. Originally made as a very loose trifle, over the years it has been adapted to include marscapone cheese and a thicker custard to tighten the soupiness up a bit and transformed into the richer, denser layered slice of heaven that most people are familiar with. To give you a little background on this story….You may know by now that my mom was (um… is… sorry mom) an excellent cook. She went to a culinary school to become a caterer. Although she never worked as a caterer much, she stayed on top of what was …

All That Lemony Goodness – Part Deux

It’s no secret, I love lemons. In particular – I love Meyer lemons. You get all that absolute lemon Joy without the overbearing urge to slap the crap out of the person next to you when you bite into them. They are milder, sweeter than grocery store variety lemons, and mellower in taste. Considered to be a cross between tangerines and garden variety lemons, you can usually find them in the better fresh produce departments beginning about November on to about late April. So… why, when they aren’t really in season am I waxing on about Meyer Lemons? Well, I was poking around in my mom’s freezer today. And there… in the back… under the pureed quince and the fresh frozen, china-berry sized English peas, was a pint of frozen Meyer Lemon juice..and it got those salivary glands working. I thought today in honor of the found provenance of glory, I’d continue the Lemony Goodness saga. First on the docket today is Lemon Chess Pie with Swedish Double Chocolate Crisps. I love the combination of …

If Two pancakes are good… then,Thirty pancakes……

When I lived at home in Marietta, my Dad made breakfast most mornings. I don’t really know if it was that he was more the morning person than my mom – or that he was already up and getting ready for work – or that he just wanted to make damned sure we had a good Stick-To-Your-Ribs-Carb-Loaded-Make-Sure-You-Don’t-Go-Hungry meal to start our day. He’d be up like clockwork at 6 am banging around in the kitchen. Then, at 6:45 on the nose, the bedroom lights would flick on and that familiar drum…drum…drum… of his fingers on the bedroom wall announcing it was time to get up and eat. And, depending on what particular breakfast food he was obsessing on at the moment, we would have it….in abundance. I really don’t know, sorrowfully so, why my dad got stuck on making one particular thing for breakfast…I never asked. But in the wee hours of the morning, before our brains had fully awakened, we’d all stumble downstairs to the table and there it would be … soup bowls …

The 100 – Mile Ring

Looking back, we did a lot as a family when I was a kid. Weeknights, meals were always eaten as a family. We’d all gather around the table together And most nights, dinnertime evolved into an hour or so of us all sitting around the table long after the meal was finished, picking off the scraps of the meal, listening to mom and dad tell stories of our relatives and of their life in post war Georgia. Saturdays we were always in the yard, cutting down another pine tree… weeding the garden… gathering up and burning the never-ending supply of tree limbs and leaves that the woods always seemed to produce. And Sundays, well, there was church.But – after church – there was the 100 Mile Ring.My folks were firm believers that we (us kids) should know as much about the place we lived as possible. So they had taken a Georgia Road Map, and with a protractor, marked a ring on the map around Marietta that equated to 100 miles.(The 100 miles, they had …

Test Kitchen 2 – Gluten-Free Italian Bread & Focaccia

I’ve tried several of the prepackaged pizza crust mixes that are available. “Gluten-Free Pantry” makes a fair french bread / pizza crust mix, although I found that for the pizza dough you need to up the oil content (double it) in order for the crust to crisp up and behave something closer to pizza dough (at least in the baking.) Otherwise, it is just going to be far too dry and crumbly to hold up very well with toppings. “Bob’s Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Mix” I found to be way too  gummy and chewy and the bread ends up with an odd and slightly unpleasant texture when baked – even though it does hold together better as a baked crust. I think both of these can be improved by adding 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese to the mix after you add in the wet ingredients – Then, bake as recommended. I’ve been playing around with proportions on the flour mixes in order to come up with a better bite on the breads. Last night, when sleep …

Beans, Beans – Good for your heart… (yeah, you know the rest)

I get cravings. I mean, mad, gnawing, crazy-stupid kind of cravings. The kind where you can’t really concentrate on anything… except how bad you want that particular “thing” you’re obsessing to eat.  They pop up out of nowhere, and you just can’t get it out of your head until you satisfy it. I had a hankering the other day for some baked beans, all thanks to that damned talking dog commercial. Not that I particularly like canned baked beans. It was just the catalyst that started up the craving propaganda machine for beans. It wasn’t until I got dressed, drove the 5 miles to the grocer, bought a can of “Talking Dog Beans” heated ’em up and took the first bite that I realized  – “these aren’t what I want at all…. these are disgusting – they’re mushy – pasty – it’s just beans in sauce!”No, what I was craving was Mom’s, smoky, bacon-y, slow cooked, molasses-y baked beans, but there was only one problem. I didn’t have 12 hours to wait. I’m still craving …

Shell Game

There’s an old joke –“You know how to win at the Shell Game?”“Ask someone to play.” It’s an old con – A flimsy card table on the street corner. A man of questionable repute stacking and unstacking, twirling and spinning the shells, giving you a peek of where the pea is – but his hands never really stopping long enough to fully register which shell was which… It’s a no-win situation and he always gets your dollar. We’re doing a Shell Game today – 3 Shells… and a Pea. So get out your wrinkled dollars and let’s play! Ever since I was a kid and going out to dinner, I’ve been fascinated with seafood served in little mock shells. Even as a child, I found it a beautiful presentation – even if it was a stainless steel scallop shell. And when I was little, no one did tacky serving dishes better than Red Lobster. I loved the old Red Lobster. I loved herding in to the waiting corral, watching the tropical fish and staring, for …

Test Kitchen 1 – Gluten – Free Ciabatta Bread

This is the first of several Gluten-Free items I’m working on. Bear in mind that gluten-free bread items are not going to work up the same as regular flour. The doughs are going to be stickier and they really aren’t going to look like what you expect. And, unfortunately – they will taste different from “regular” bread. I have tried to adjust things to give you the closest bite of a true ciabatta. Look for Pizza Crust, Lemon Bars, Pie Crust, Tiramisu, Fresh Pasta and a couple of  loaf breads coming up in the next couple of weeks. Gluten-Free Ciabatta Bread Serves 8 Ingredients 1 cup Sorghum Flour  + 1 Tablespoon Sorghum Flour for dusting 1 cup Potato Starch 1/2 cup Rice Flour 1 1/4 Teaspoons Salt 1 Tablespoon Sugar 2 Teaspoons Xanthan Gum 1 Packet Rapid-Rise Yeast 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese 1 1/4 Cup Warm Water 1/2 Teaspoon Cider Vinegar 2 Large Eggs – Beaten 1 Stand mixer with paddle attachment 1 9″Spring-Form Pan Preheat the oven to 350 …