Sunday, February 23, 2014

Italian Dressing Mix

An herb blend for making your own Italian dressing.

1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T sugar
2 T oregano
~1 t ground black pepper
1/4 t thyme
1 t basil
2 T salt

Mix these ingredients together, then to make the vinaigrette combine 2 T of the herb mix with 2/3 C of oil, 1/4 C of vinegar and 2 T of water.  As a base I use olive oil and white vinegar, but you can mix it up; as a suggestion I'd try walnut oil and sherry vinegar.  If you use a lower acidity vinegar substitute out some or all of the 2 T of water for additional vinegar.  If you want to stabilize the dressing add ~1/2 t of xanthan gum (1/2 t isn't quite enough, 3/4 t is too much).

Garlic Beef Stew

A simple rustic beef stew; serve it with some slices of crusty bread.  This is a variation on the a recipe from The Foods & Wines of Spain by Penelope Casas; an amazing cookbook that I highly recommend.  It's full recipes that work wonders with only a handful of ingredients.

2 lbs beef (top round, chuck, something tough and cheap)
1 large onion, chopped
1 bulb of garlic, separated, peeled
1 C dry white wine
1/4 t thyme
1 bay leaf
1 T chopped Italian parsley
2 cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken stock to cover beef (~ a cup, depending on pan size)
wondra flour
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

Heat the oil and sear the beef on all sides; remove the beef and allow to rest. Add onion and garlic and saute till translucent. Cube the beef, then add it and everything except the wondra flour and the minced garlic to the pot.  Cover and simmer until the beef is tender, ~2 hours.

For an extra hit of garlic add in the minced garlic, then start stirring in the wondra flour until you hit the consistency you want.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Vegan Mayonnaise

No, I haven't radically altered my dietary preferences, I still love roast beast, but I got to thinking that by playing around with lecithin I could pull the eggs out of mayonnaise.  That not only makes it vegan, but keeps it from going bad, unlike most homemade mayonnaise; this stuff should keep indefinitely in the fridge, and it may not need refrigeration since none of the ingredients has to be refrigerated (that's an experiment in progress...).  At the least you won't have to worry about keeping it on ice for a picnic.

4 T vinegar (some of this may be replaced with water if you don't like it as tangy)
1 T dijon mustard
1 t liquid lecithin
1 C oil
salt to taste

Mix together the vinegar, mustard, and lecithin in a food processor (or in a bowl with a whisk, but you're gonna get a workout if you got the whisk method), then slowly drizzle in the oil while the food processor runs (or while you whisk until you think your arm is going to fall off).

Note: I don't call out what type of vinegar or oil to use, but this is just a place to get creative.  My first batch was 50/50 red wine vinegar and sherry vinegar, with 1/4 C of walnut oil and 3/4 C vegetable oil.  Play around with it, and you could also use citrus juice in place of vinegar; I may try blood orange and lemon juice mixed with avocado oil for my next effort.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Deep Dish Pizza

I've posted bits and pieces about deep dish pizza before, but never the whole recipe, and many of those older posts are things that I've refined, so here's the complete version with my typical sausage pizza sauce.  If you'd prefer to have yours without sausage check my meatless sauce here.  This recipe is scaled for making one 14" diameter pizza.

3 1/2 C AP flour
1 1/2 C warm water
 2 t yeast
heavy pinch sugar
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C corn meal (optional, makes it easier to remove and adds texture)
1 t kosher salt
Seasonings (oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, parmesan, etc. - optional)
oil or non-stick spray

one 28 oz can crushed san marzano tomatoes
1 medium onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
2 T olive oil
1/2 t fennel, toasted and ground
1/2 t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t thyme
splash balsamic vinegar
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1/2 t ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds mozzarella or provolone
1/4 C freshly grated parmesan
Whatever else you want, just remember that it should be a lot.  Deep dish should be about an inch deep.  If I'm doing pepperoni and another topping I'll put about 5 oz of pepperoni on it, corresponding to a complete layer with slight overlap.

Mix the yeast with warm water and sugar and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients for the crust except for the corn meal, knead lightly, and allow to rise, covered, until doubled in volume.  Punch it down and allow it to rise again.  Make the sauce while the dough is rising.

Cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil until lightly browned, then add in the rest of the ingredients except the sausage and simmer on low for at least half an hour.  While the onion and garlic is sauteing cook the sausage to get a hard sear on it, remove to a cutting board and allow to rest for a couple of minutes, then chop.  Add to the simmering sauce.  At the end of cooking check the seasoning.

Preheat your oven to 425 F.  Oil a deep dish pan (or spray with non-stick spray), and dust with corn meal.  Spread the dough out and push it up the sides; try to get a thin layer on both the bottom and the sides.  You may have more dough than you need, if so just tear off the excess as you push it to the lip of the pan.

Place the cheese on the dough; if using shredded cheese you may need to press it down some.  Add your other toppings on top of the cheese, then spread the sauce out on top; this is important, as your toppings would burn without the moisture of the sauce on top.  Bake for ~30 minutes until the dough is golden brown and the sauce is lightly bubbling.  Pull the pizza out and allow to sit for 15 minutes before trying to de-pan the pizza.

Note: I use an anodized dark colored pan, if using a reflective pan you'll probably have to increase the temperature to 450F, but I haven't tried it.