Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Indian inspired Pizza

Pizza is one of my favorite foods.  I could eat it pretty much every day, not even joking.  But I get bored of the same old tomato sauce/mozzarella cheese combo, so I try to mix it up.  Some combinations are more successful than others, and the pizza I made last night was a definite winner.  The recipe has several parts.

Indian-inspired Pizza

For the dough, I like to make my own.  It takes about 10 minutes in my stand mixer, and about an hour to rise, and is so much better than store bought, but feel free to pick some up at the store.  Whole Foods makes a good whole grain dough that would work in this recipe.

This is my go to dough recipe, from Martha Stewart.  The cornmeal adds a nice crunch. I use half the recipe for a pizza for 2 people.

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
2/3 cups warm water
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup cornmeal, plus more for pizza peel or baking sheet
1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water. Let stand until yeast is dissolved and mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
Combine flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and add the yeast mixture and oil. Slowly stir ingredients with a wooden spoon just until dough starts to come together. Turn out dough on a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 10 minutes. Let rise for 1 hour in a lightly oiled bowl.

For the pizza
¼ head of cauliflower
Pinch of garam masala
Olive oil in a spray bottle
4 ounces goat cheese
Slightly under ripe mango, diced

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Dice up the cauliflower, sprinkle with garam masala, spritz with olive oil and bake for about 15 minutes or until just turning brown.

Spread the pizza dough out on a pizza pan, sprinkle with a garam masala, spritz with olive oil and bake.  I use a cast iron Lodge pan to make pizza, and it comes out nice and crispy.  Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven.

Take the Jalfrezi sauce and puree it with a stick blender or in a regular blender.  Spread over pizza, then top with the roasted cauliflower and the goat cheese.  Bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven; sprinkle the diced mango over the pizza.  Slice and serve.

This was a great combination of sweet with the goat cheese, tart with the mango, spicy with the sauce and smoky with the garam masala.  Try this to turn your pizza night into something different!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ashby Inn and Beet Lasagna

The view from our room

This past weekend, Scott and I had a little romantic weekend away at the Ashby Inn and Restaurant in Paris, VA.  We have wanted to go there ever since we attended Cochon 555 last a spring, an event that celebrates heritage pork and great chefs.  Chef Tarver King made some of the best things we had at Cochon, but with the restaurant being an hour and a half away, and knowing we would want to do the tasting menu with wine pairings, we knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to go for just the evening, so we decided to stay for a whole weekend and get away from the stress of everyday life.

We headed out Friday afternoon, and checked into the Ashy Inn.  We were staying in the School house, in the Lafayette room.  It was a beautifully appointed room, with a view of the hills and a wood-burning fireplace.  We headed out to the Hunter’s Head for dinner that evening, which is related to Ayrshire Farm.  Ayrshire Farm supplies heritage meat and eggs to many stores and restaurants in the Virginia, DC and Maryland Area, and the owner is a great supporter of Alley Cat Rescue.

A healthy, well balance lunch
On Saturday, I arranged for Scott and I have to a hot stone couples massage, which was a blissful experience.  After we stopped in to the Farmstore, also related to Ayrshire farm, and each had a maple glazed bacon covered donut, which I consider a very well balanced lunch.  Not sure if anyone else would agree.  We then walked around Middleburg, a beautiful town full of antique shops and interesting boutiques, and stopped by Chrysalis Vineyards for a wine tasting. 

That evening was our dinner at Ashby.  It was very nice to be staying two doors down, so no one had to drive to dinner.  Dinner was wonderful, and everything I had hoped for.  Well thought out, well executed dishes with a splash of fun, like when we cooked our own slices of beef on a rock heated up to 400 degrees, or the “hot and cold cider” accompanied by dry ice that had water poured over it which led to fog rolling over the table.

The first dish of the evening, a beet puree with goat cheese, is what inspired the beet lasagna I then made for dinner on Sunday evening when we got home. 

Beet & Goat Cheese Lasagna
Makes 6 servings

2 pounds beets
16 ounces goat cheese
15 ounces ricotta (get the best kind you can)
½ cup milk
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
½ onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh Lasagna sheets
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Boil beets for 45 minutes until soft, then peel (skins should slip right off).  Process in the food processor with about half of the goat cheese and the milk, some salt and pepper until smooth.

In the meantime, sauté the onion and mushrooms until brown, then add the garlic.  Continue to cook for one or two minutes until fragrant.

Take the ricotta mixture and the rest of the goat cheese and microwave for about a minute, then mix together with some salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a square baking dish, coat the bottom with olive oil, then put one layer of lasagna noodles.  I don’t bother to pre-cook the fresh lasagna noodles from Whole Foods, the moisture in the filling will cook them as they bake.

Take half of the beet mixture, and layer that over the first layer of noodles.  Put another layer of noodles, then half the ricotta/goat cheese mixture and spread over that layer.  Spread the mushroom/onion mixture over the ricotta/goat cheese mixture, then top with another layer of noodles.  Layer the rest of the beet mixture on top, then another layer of noodles.  Finish with the rest of the ricotta/goat cheese mixture, then shred some Parmesan on top.  Bake for about 30 minutes, then switch oven to broil and broil until the top is browned.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bangin Good Shrimp

Last night for dinner I made one of my favorite recipes.  It is quick, easy and spicy!  I found the recipe on Gina's Skinny Recipes, a great blog with lots of really good things to make.  This dish can be ready in the amount of time it takes to cook the shrimp, and is good hot or cold.

Bangin' Good Shrimp, adapted from Gina's Skinny Recipes

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a starter
5 tablespoons light mayo (I recommend Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil)
3 tablespoons Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Sriracha to taste

1 pound shrimp
1 tsp oil
Shredded lettuce/cabbage- I use the broccoli slaw mix that has shredded carrots in it
Cilantro or green onions, sliced thin

Heat up the oil in a skillet and cook the shrimp until pink all the way through.  Mix the sauce ingredients, and put in the bottom of  a large bowl.  Put the cooked shrimp on the sauce and mix, which will loosen up the sauce and let it coat the salad ingredients.  Mix with the lettuce, cabbage or slaw mix and cilantro or green onions.  Enjoy warm, or let cool to room temperature.