Thursday, February 12, 2015

Homemade Frozen Pizzas

If there is one thing I'm ever good at, it's making a mess.  Fortunately for me, most cooking (besides that done live in front of a studio audience) is a sufficient task at which to accomplish mess making.  And this is why we're BFFs. In an attempt to properly destroy my kitchen, I decided to make some homemade mini frozen pizzas. Mmm. A relatively easy task, I decided to make the dough from scratch, although you could go with store bought.
Trouble shooting.  My dough was... loose. I just added flour until it turned back into a dough ball.  Let the machine roll on the dough setting until it's through.
Nice and fluffy! Sit it in an oiled bowl and let rise for an hour, or whatever your recipe calls for. I'll linked the recipes I've used at the bottom. Flour a clean surface and get out your rolling pin out for something other than threatening your spouse and children.
Roll out the dough into whatever size suits you. Mmmmm, pizza... Bake the crust until it's good and set. Mine fortunately had a pop up timer in the form of pizza crust throw pillow as seen above. If yours also does this, never fear. It goes back to normal as soon as it cools.
Sing a song about sauce and toppings (to the tune of Milk and Cereal... then watch every other internet video from over ten years ago in a wave of nostalgia, starting with The End of the World) and dress your Italian pies of glory however you like. I stuck to basics, as there were no mushrooms or jalapeƱos on hand. But I think you could go as complex as you'd like.

 Stick this tasty treat of the future on a baking sheet and into the freezer. Leave it there until it's good and frozen. Then wrap, label, and chunk a little more unceremoniously into the freezer. I used my Food Saver, and that worked nicely, but I've also done a layer of tinfoil and a layer or two of saran wrap.
Then when you're having a day that might otherwise lead to murder, pop one or two of these lovelies into the oven, and go drink wine instead while everyone else is chowing down. Feel good that it's not just a frozen pizza, it's a delectable meal made for your family with love, and reheated with exasperation.
Ps, here's my most frequently used dough recipe. I've also used (and had great success with) homemade pitas. Super tasty! Good luck with your endeavors, and enjoy!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Canning Green Beans....with Flavor!

I was recently very fortunate to have run into a fellow gardener.  The gentleman, who instructed me to call him 'Coach', has been growing vegetables of all kinds nearby for several years now.  In a fortuitous meeting, he informed me that his wife just might hurt him if he brought home any more green beans, and to help myself to as many as I could pick.  

He's easily got four or five dozen plants.  So it's off to the drawing board.  The first thing I ever learned how to pressure can was green beans.  With canning salt.  And water.  Now don't get me wrong, they were as good as any canned green beans you get from the store, but really, how good is that?  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Winnie the Pooh Baby Shower Cake

I'm going to pretend like I haven't been m.i.a. for a few months.  Instead I'm just going to post some pictures of my first attempt at using fondant!  I was asked to make a Classic Winnie the Pooh cake for a baby shower.  Other than the general subject, I was given free reign.  This is a glimpse of what I came up with.

Piglet, Pooh, and some bumblebees too!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tips for Beginners (Canning)

I had a friend pose the question recently if I had any tips for new canners.  Well I can certainly think of a few!  I'd love to hear more from any of you who have tried some home canning, from fellow beginners to pickled veterans.  In the meantime, here's a handful.
(These are mostly aimed at water bath canning, fyi)
  • Have a stack of hand towels or rags at the ready.  You'll need one damp one to wipe the rims, a dry one to hold the jars while doing so, and there's a great chance that you'll just need a few extra.  Trust me on this one, you don't want to be running in circles around the kitchen after you've just dropped a huge glob of jam on your big toe!
  • Never put your hot glass jars, empty or full, on a bare countertop, oven, or table.  That gives them a great opportunity to crack and ruin your project.  Or your will to can.
  • Take a medium sized baking sheet and line it with a hand towel.  Sit this next to your canner and use it as a jar-friendly counter space.  Not only will the towel keep the jars safe, but if a jar should crack, the contents will mostly be caught by the baking sheet.  One less headache.
Admittedly a little hard to see...but you get the gist.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Oven-dried Cherries

I give myself very good advice,
but I very seldom follow it.
                                                                                   -Alice in Wonderland

Alice and I have that in common.  Remember how I JUST SAID to get your cherries squared away within 24 hours of picking?  Well I didn't do that.  I picked all the stems off of a pretty sizable batch, washed them, and then got lazy and stuck them in the fridge over night.  The next morning they were all yuckish.
See how they've all started turning brown near where the stem was?