Archive | January, 2013

Second Annual Un-Pizza Week Day Four: Not’cho pizza

31 Jan

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Commitment is a frightening thing.
It is hard to stand by one’s choices when they may prove controversial.
It’s hard to stand by one’s recipes because if they are rejected it cuts to your soul, your essence. Alas. Sigh. Drama. Single tear.

But I swear it is true! Food is an art and art is personal.

But maybe one should not have to commit to certain recipes.

I feel nachos are a very personal thing. Some people want even distribution of all ingredients, some prefer having one chip with more cheese, one with more veggies, and so on. Every chip different. Some love the soggy chips, some want every chip perfectly crisp. Some want a variety. I’m a variety person.

People DO commit to the places they purchase nachos.

I was eating exceptional nachos at a bar-restaurant in Vegas (and whilst they were good I hope never to say that sentence again), and noting our contentment the bartender asked “Aren’t those the second best nachos you’ve ever had?” and we realized he was exactly right. We inquired why he asked if they were second best and he told us everyone has their favorite nacho place and they wouldn’t let a vacation spot claim it’s nacho title.

So true.

A bit of philosophy with your Vegas?

These pizza nachos were nice. And you can doctor them up as you see fit.
I adapted mine from this recipe here!
Here is what I made, but feel free to play and switch it up as you see fit for your taste buds.

Is this a cop-out on my part? Am I not committing to my recipe for fear of it being rejected?

Perhaps. I’m delicate like that.

Pizza Nachos, for your consideration and adaptation to your taste because I am all about you

3 oz. cheese (I used Swiss)
6 corn tortillas
salt, I prefer fleur de sel
Chopped mushrooms to your taste
Chopped bell pepper to your liking
Chopped onion to your delight
Really, use whatever vegetables make you happy, or don’t
1 cup of garlic-basil spaghetti sauce (or your favorite pizza or pasta sauce or make your own!)
Heat oven to 400. Cut tortillas into your preferred nacho size. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil (well, that was what I did, anyway), put the chips-to-be on it and spray them. Sprinkle with salt on both sides. Bake about five minutes then flip and bake a bit more. Meanwhile, saute the vegetables, then mix in the sauce. And please do shred the cheese. Or slice. Or not.
Take out the tortillas, top them the sauce and cheese and even some vegetarian (or not!) pepperoni and put em’ in the oven until the cheese is all melty and wonderful.
The main requirement of this recipe is Make It Perfect. They will be the third best nachos you’ve ever had.

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Second Annual Un-Pizza Week Day Three: Pizza quiche

30 Jan

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Last year, a Totoro was whored out to make my un-pizza gruel cuter. This year I made an owl my bitch.

Cuteness must be had.

I am not hot in the pursuit of lo-carb but do love both a good deep-dish pizza, or a quiche. So! Both gluten-freedom fighters and lo-carb fans may consider this dish from the Mr. Breakfast blog, a boon.

Vegans should flee in terror.

It’s Wednesday. I’m busy, so I’ll yap no longer. I’ve given you owl-y cuteness and pizza, and that is enough.

Pizza Quiche (adapted from Mr. Breakfast)

2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. almond milk
2 Tbsp. grated reduced fat mozzarella
1 1/2 tsp. (after rehydrating) dried chives
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 c. Grated reduced fat cheddar
1/2 c. Grated Reduced fat mozzarella
Another 1/2 c. Grated reduced fat mozzarella
1/4 c. Marinara
1 c. Mushrooms, sautéed
1 vegetarian Italian sausage (I love the Lightlife ones), sliced
Heat da ov to 350 F. Greez da pan. I used one that was oval and probably holds 6 cups. Spread cheddar and the first 1/2 c. of mozzarella in your pan.
Blend (I used my immersion blender mini-cup attachment) cream cheese, eggs, 2 Tbsp. mozzarella, almond milk, chives, garlic powder and oregano. Pour over cheese. Bake 30 minutes. Take out and turn on broiler. Spread on marinara, mushrooms, veggie sausage and the last 1/2 cup of mozzarella. Keep a close eye on it in the broiler and let it bubble, toil and trouble, but do not burn it. Let it cool a bit before slicing into this sucker. And remember to turn off the broiler please. It’s getting hot in herrrrrr.

Second Annual Un-Pizza Week Day Two: Un-pizza hummus

29 Jan

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The picture is horrendous. Apologies. It probably won’t happen again-ish.

Let’s talk.

Does Chocolate Covered Katie taste like chocolate?

Seeing as her cookie dough hummus tasted like cookie dough, it seems vaguely possible.

Considering the amount of chocolate I’m guessing she probably consumes it seems even more possible.

What is it about her that makes me think kinky thoughts like “what does she taste like?”.

I am terribly shameless in the (virtual) face of the bloggers I admire.

Just as half the planet is shameless in the face of a big ol’ pizza pie.

And that was my half-ass segue to today’s un-pizza creation, which you are sure to be at least half as shameless in the face of as you would be if confronted with a regular pizza-pizza.

Today, we tackle pizza hummus, which Katie calls melty even though it is not melty, but melty sounds good, no?

Per her request, I can only link you to Katie’s pizza hummus, so here ya go. Go on, now.
If you want Gruel on Katie (delish in so many ways) her is the round-up of her recipes I’ve tackled:

Pumpkin Bread in a Bowl
Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal(boatmeal)
Cookie Dough Balls
Vegan Crustless Quiche
Pumpkin Bars
Singleton Muffin and Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
Cake Batter Ice Cream
Beautiful Blueberry Concoction aka soy-free love potion
Healthy Ranch Dressing
Katie’s cookie dough dip

Second Annual Un-Pizza Week Day One: Oatmeal pizza

28 Jan

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Oddly enough the idea of pizza oatmeal seems gross, but oatmeal pizza works for me.
And OM bloody G that’s friggin’ cute:

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I have explained un-pizza week before here. It is pizza flavors in unusual formats. Some people do different ingredients in pizza format, but I think this is a tad silly. I’ve used the example of re-fried beans and cheese on a tortilla. This is not Mexican Pizza. It’s a bloody tostada, foo.

This oatmeal pizza is almost a normal pizza but the different formatting involves cooking the crust in a skillet. This almost-a-pizza is to ease you into un-pizza week.
It will get more interesting, I promise.

I’m really not endorsing anything here. But the recipe did call for Fiber One. And deep in my heart I’m a corporate whore who would wouldn’t mind getting some doodads for endorsing a product. But only if I truly like it, and I do have an odd love of bran cereals of all types: corn bran, bran flakes…my insides like these too but let us not dwell upon that.

Let’s just eat some un-pizza.

Oatmeal Pizza (Adapted just a tad from this recipe on Hungry Girl)

1/4 c. Fiber One
1/4 c. Oatmeal
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. Pasta sauce (I used one with roasted onion and garlic-if your sauce lacks pizza-esque flavors add some oregano and basil)
1/4 c. Shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese (Use mozzerella for more authentic pizza taste, I just love Swiss)
Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grind up the oats and Fiber One until they are of breadcrumb consistency. Mix in egg and garlic powder.
Spray a pan with something nonstick and heat over medium, then add mixture, spread as thin or thick as you like your crust to be. Mine was about 4.5 inches across. Though my dream crust is about 4.5 inches high. Raise heat to medium-high and when the bottom is browned, flip that sucker. Carefully. When the other side is brown put it on an oven safe surface of some ilk, pour on sauce, then cheese, and cook about 10 minutes.
Don’t forget to turn off your oven when you’re done.

Wisdom of the crust. With cocktails!

23 Jan

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Steve was freaking out a bit-pie crust making is intimidating. So we took a minute to take a breath, lay hands on the bowl, and get in touch with the dough.

Before we get into me teaching my friends the wisdom of the pie dough:

It’s a heady time here.

Pilot season. Awards season. So it’s audition a-gogo and watching screeners like crazy time.

And I feel so alive.

No, really. It sounds cheesy, I know, but in all sincerity, this is the life I live for.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled snark.

My friend Alice and I had our third pie teaching party recently. The first gathering was tiny, and I only taught filling because I had performance anxiety about teaching crust technique.

Second time around I didn’t show y’all, but it was five of us gathering for an apple-blackberry-ginger pie. I got brave and taught crust, and one of my pupils made her own pie a week or so later! Color me proud.

For this party Alice requested that I make a savory pie, and we decided to make drinks too.

I seized the opportunity to devise a new champagne cocktail pretty much taken though slightly adapted from Serious Eats. Original recipe here but you should use mine then comment and tell me what you did with it. Yes you should, do it! My friend Suilma took an awesome shot of it:

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Ginger-Grapefruit Deeeelight
1/2 oz. Liqueur de Gingembre (My dear fwife gave me this. It doesn’t have a brand name but is French. And ginger-y. I surmise another type of ginger liqueur would be smashing.)
1 oz. freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice
champagne
strips of grapefruit peel with none of the white pith on them.

Hint: Get your strips of peel before chopping open the grapefruit to squeeze it. Add the ginger liqueur to your glass and swirl to coat the sides. Add the grapefruit juice. Pour in yer bubbly. Take the peel, run it around the rim then twist. You should see and feel a burst of the oils coming misting out. People think garnishes are not so important but this one is. It really adds to the flavor, I kid ye not. Drop the peel in and sip your bubbles like a lady. Or sip like a man. Just do not chug.

And now for the main course!

I fretted as to what sort of savory pie to whip up, given somewhat limited time. The pies I wanted to make from Savory Pies, my new toy, took too long to prep if we wanted to eat before midnight. Our lil’ soiree was commencing around 8 and we wanted some pie by, say, 10.

I ended up listening to the CSA, my organic delivery I indulge in once every few weeks. I got some butternut squash from them that week.

Then I listened to my long-neglected lovah Mark Bittman who whispered “make my spicy winter squash galette”.

I said “yes, master”.

But being the free-thinking woman I am, when he asked me to use his pie crust recipe I said “please, bitch, I don’t think so”, and used my go-to shortening crust. It is fast and still delicious. This pie, excuse me-galette, actually may have benefitted from a crust that had butter (Different crusts for different fillings people! Drives me nuts when people claim that one crust is superior to another because the right crust depends on the situation. Sorry for this long parenthetical. I’m passionate.), but we did not have time for the requisite chillin’ a butter crust demands. And half the purpose of this party was to teach Steve some crust technique. He requested a few step by step photos:

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This is the proper texture before adding water.

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Rolling crust from the middle out.

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This is the tart in our properly pre-heated oven.

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Feeding time!

Savory Galette adapted from my one lovah, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian to please my other lovah aka myself
One basic pie crust
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
Two butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Heat oven to 350 F. Put the oil in a skillet and heat to medium high. Add onion and stir occasionally until softened. Add garlic for another minute. Add salt, pepper, chili powder and tomato paste. Stir then quickly add water and squash. Bring to a boil, stir, then cover and take off heat.
Let it sit while you roll out that crust. Roll out to at least 12 inches. Put in pie dish. Stir filling, adjust seasoning if need be. Add filling to crust and fold excess crust over it.
Bake until crust is brown and filling is bubbly, about 50 minutes. Check on it periodically and if your crust is browned to perfection, cover it with a ring of foil so it does not burn.

It’s art! OR For the love of soggy bread: Milk toast, part deux

16 Jan

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I tried to be artistic with my milk toast picture, but any which way you shake a stick of butter at it, it ain’t pretty:

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Although a stick of butter by itself is a beautiful thing, when it is headed towards your mouth.

The imagery that just came to my mind was terrible. Please forgive my dirty filthy mind. Move along, nothing to see here.

Ah, milk toast.

According to my wordpress stats, it is an oft-searched term that leads people to the gruel. I jest not, it is! I delved into milk toast some time ago here.
It was oh so simple, and surprisingly good.

I teased y’all with the mention of an oven-cooked version.

Oooh, teasing with the milk toast. Teasers. Milk toast. Things that don’t go together. Sticks of butter going towards people’s mouths.

Geez, what the hell is wrong with me. As I SAID nothing to see here move along!

I must say, the oven-baked version had it’s merits…but was not so delightful to me as the stove-top version.

Make milk toast the stove-top way whilst it is chilly out.

As you dine you may think to yourself: milk toast, it’s not just for breakfast any more.
Or maybe: milk toast, it’s a way of life.
Or even: milk toast? Priceless.
Or some other cliche.
You WILL think these things.
Provided you like soggy toast.
Which you should.

But why should you take my word for it when I torture you with sexual butter imagery?

Try it for yourself and see.

And just in case you don’t feel like clicking over to my preferred milk toast style, here’s the oven-baked:

Milk Toast (oven version) adapted from Marion Cunningham’s brilliant The Breakfast Book

2 pieces of buttered bread
2/3 c. Almond milk
Sugar
Turn yer oven to 350. Line a small loaf pan with nonstick foil and spray with nonstick spray, or butter. Just say yes. Put buttered bread in. Fold excess foil over to create a cover for your dish unless the pan you are using came with a cover in which case save the world and use that. Although you are going to recycle your used aluminum foil anyway, yah?
Bake this about 30 minutes. Slide into a plate and if you are feeling it add a sprinkle if sugar. Rarely am I not feeling it particularly after an evening that involved imbibing a sazerac. For the love of absinthe.
Now rinse that foil. Because you are going to recycle it. This is your chance to redeem yourself! And an aluminum can.

Faux real

10 Jan

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I do not like Thai. Maybe once a year I try. I am aware taste buds change and evolve, but I’ve been hating Thai for a good long time now, and it never changes.
I saw this recipe labeled as “faux” Thai, so I thought maybe I’d like it. It did not have the stuff that I don’t care for in Thai, like coconut. Oh coconut. I hate to say hate but I hate it.

The blogger/faux Thai creator, Nadiya, suggested that serving these noodles for a date was a great idea. Right-o.
Seeing as I had a film shoot the next day, I figured I should really try to mix things up for my lover (which is to say my career-we’ve been together almost a year now!) and try the exotic flavors of not-exactly-Thailand.

I try and keep it hot for my career.

I’m thinking Thai spice would be the kick-start our relationship needs to land me a pilot in the new year.

Nadiya had tried a thing or two from the gruel, most recently this BBQ flavored recipe. It is one of my most favorite recipes which SHOCKINGLY involves tofu. Since she was blogging my stuff I wanted to be a good and giving blogger and try some of her stuff.

I like faux Thai! So did my mistress who alerted me that there is now an imdb link for the movie I did for the Chiller Network. It was a short called “Listen My Children” that is now part of a five part anthology called “Chilling Visions”. Hopefully it will air late winter or early spring. I’ll be on tv y’all! Moving on up.

Who knew.

Faux Thai Noodles adapted from Nadiya’s Milk and Honey on the Run

1 package of shirataki noodles, drained, rinsed, and microwaved a minute or so
1/3 c. Chopped onion
1 c. Halved snow peas
2-4 Tbsp. chopped jarred roasted red bell pepper
1/4 c. Soy sauce
2 tsp. H2O
2 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. peanut butter
1 tsp. brown sugar
Black pepper and hot sauce (I used Tabasco, sriracha would be divine)

Mix the water, peanut butter, vinegar and brown sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
Spray a skillet with nonstick spray, and sauté the onions until they are translucent, add peas and peppers for a minute, then the noodles, then the soy sauce and finally water mixture. Stir between each addition. Sauté until all is nice and hot. Add peppers and chili to taste and serve your wench this delight.