A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Jen and Alex Jackson for a profile in Edible Austin. The couple has since moved on to San Francisco (Bay Area friends, our loss is your gain!), but they were delightful to meet and chat with. I hope you’ll check out the profile here.
I was also privileged to recipe-test the flatbread that Jen and Alex shared with us for the magazine. That was the best part!
I did this when eggplant, peppers and tomatoes were still bounteous, as was that peppery summer arugula, but luckily Jen and Alex provided us with a few seasonal variations that would be perfect for right about now (butternut squash, with sage and caramelized leeks, plus a great sheep’s milk cheese, anyone?).
This version, though, with summer veggies, creamy goat cheese and eggs cracked right over the pizza, is to die for, and will definitely be back on our table next summertime!
I will tell you that, although the dough is a little time-consuming to make, it is hands-down the best I’ve made in my own kitchen (and I’ve tried quite a few!). Head over to Edible Austin to read the profile and grab the recipe, and I do hope you’ll try it out yourself!
I’ve been experimenting a lot with pizza lately. Although there is a special place in my heart for grilled pizzas, with the weather turning cooler (at least in theory), and with my pregnancy-fueled love of all things carb-y, I am turning more toward a thicker crust and an oven preparation. I’ve tried several recipes recently — Chicago-style deep dish pizza (recipe to come, once I’ve perfected it), a flatbread recipe that’s to die for (more on that soon) — but this one just may be my favorite.
I was so excited when I saw Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for “lazy pizza dough” — it’s a no-knead dough that you basically mix and forget about until it’s time to stretch, top and bake. She gives options for an overnight, all-day or part-day rise, but I’m going to give you the part-day rise here, since it’s the only one I’ve tried (and it worked beautifully). We also seem to have lost our pizza stone and peel somewhere in the cross-country move (18 months or so ago… which goes to show you how often it got used), so, with some trepidation, I baked this pizza on a well-oiled baking sheet. Guess what? It still tuned out crispy and delicious. So, no special equipment required!
In a large non-reactive bowl, mix the flour, yeast, salt and water. The dough will be craggy, but should come together pretty well. If necessary, you can add another tablespoon or so of water.
Once all ingredients are incorporated, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 6 hours, until more than doubled in size. (See the original recipe for overnight and all-day rise options, if that timing works better for you.)
For the pizza:
When the dough is almost ready, make the sauce and prepare your toppings. Preheat the oven to 500°. Oil a rimmed baking sheet generously with olive oil.
Combine the crushed tomatoes, garlic cloves, salt and crushed red pepper in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and shape it into a ball.
Flour the top of the dough ball and, using well-floured hands, grab one side of the dough and let it stretch down, repeating several times.
Place the stretched dough onto the prepared baking sheet and stretch and spread it with your hands until it is roughly 9 x 13 inches in size (stretching almost to the edges of the pan).
Top with approximately ½ cup of the sauce, spreading evenly (reserve the rest for another use). Sprinkle the mozzarella over the sauce, and top with the parmesan.
Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is puffed and the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, turning once to ensure even cooking.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the basil leaves. Cool slightly, then slide onto a cutting board and cut into pieces. Serve warm with a salad, and enjoy!
I happened to notice a recipe for oatmeal cookies on the back of my box of McCann’s Irish Oatmeal one morning while cooking breakfast, so naturally I had to give it a whirl. Also naturally, I had to switch things up a bit. I’m not a fan of raisins in my oatmeal cookies, but I love chocolate chips… and I just happened to have semi-sweet and white chocolate chips on hand. I would’ve thrown some walnuts in, too, but we were out. They’d be lovely with or without.
I am trying to involve Nora more in cooking, and baking is one of the ways we can really have fun in the kitchen. Of course, everything takes twice as long (or more), but she loves to dump ingredients into the bowl, stir, turn on the mixer — and sample, of course. One of these days I’ll be able to sit back and have her whip me up a batch of cookies. Now that’s what parenting is all about — isn’t it?
The hubby, who self-described as “not a fan” of oatmeal cookies, loved these. So did all the neighborhood kids! Oh, and I certainly ate more than my share — to that I must confess.°
I know I may be pushing my luck here, trying to get in one last summery recipe before fall is officially here. But, as I am daily reminded, it still feels like summer around here, so I think it’ll be okay.
I love berries. The good folks at Driscoll’s Berries were kind enough to provide me with some of their fine berries to play with this summer (they’re the ones I usually grab at the store anyway), and strawberry shortcake has always been one of my favorites… so I set about perfecting my recipe. I have the berry part down — all you really need are fresh, ripe strawberries, a bit of sugar and some orange liqueur, if you’re feeling frisky — but I was bound and determined to make the perfect sweet biscuits from scratch. The hubby has always been the biscuit maker around our house, and he does make some amazing biscuits for breakfast now and then, but I’m definitely in charge of dessert. Sure, the standard Bisquick recipe does the trick — but I really wanted something that didn’t come from a box. And frankly, I like to make things with ingredients I already have in my pantry.
It didn’t take much trial and error to land on an easy and delicious recipe. I found this one from About.com, of all places, and it fit the bill just fine. I tried it out on my neighbors at our end-of-summer block party, and it got rave reviews. Even a strawberry-allergic neighbor gobbled the biscuits with whipped cream and came away pleased — although I’ll admit, I think the strawberries are really the star of the show here.
Enjoy one last taste of summer, before it’s really gone!
Author: Recipe for biscuits lightly adapted from this one
1 quart strawberries
2-3 Tbs sugar (to taste)
splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier (optional)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 Tbs sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, chilled
¾ cup cream
1¼ cups heavy whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla
sugar to taste
Hull the berries and sliced them in half or quarter, depending on size. Toss with the sugar and liqueur (if using). Set aside while you prepare the shortcakes.
Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse to combine. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse until the texture resembles coarse sand.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add most of the cream and combine with a fork until just moist. Add additional cream as necessary. The dough may not hold together well at this point — that’s okay. Let the dough rest for a minute or so.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it, turning 2 or 3 times, until it comes together well. Pat the dough until it’s about a ¾-inch thick rectangle, and, using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut into 8 biscuits. (If you are like me, you may need to reshape it a couple of times to make this happen!)
Transfer the biscuits to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the top of each biscuit with a little cream, if desired, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until risen and golden.
For whipped cream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the whipping cream, vanilla and sugar to taste. Using the a whisk attachment, whip the cream until it is light and fluffy.
Split each biscuit in half and spoon some of the berry mixture over. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.
Note: I received free berries from Driscoll’s Berries in exchange for experimenting with a few recipes and sharing the results with my readers, but I was not otherwise compensated, and my opinions are my own.
Cobbler, you guys. Seriously. This is the BEST cobbler.
I just love peach season. And it’s here! There nothing in this world that smells quite as good as a nice, fresh summer peach. Other than just eating them whole, or making ice cream with them, the best thing in the world to do with peaches is to make cobbler. Not just any cobbler, though. Bourbon Peach Cobbler with a perfect sweet biscuit-y topping baked right in a cast iron skillet and topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell, naturally).
I made this cobbler* for a potluck barbecue some neighbors hosted on the 4th of July, and it was a smash hit. I don’t think I have ever gotten so many compliments on a dessert.
*Along with a cherry version, which was delicious, but I am still tweaking the recipe. Stay tuned! This just may be the Summer of Cobbler.
I transported it, along with its cherry cousin, in Nora’s little red wagon.
What, can you think of a better way to transport two hot cast iron skillets a couple of blocks? I can’t.
I have to say, I agree with the fans — this cobbler is amazing. The peach flavor really shines through, but it is deepened by the bourbon, the caramelized sugary goodness, and just the slightest hint of cinnamon. It is sublime.
I modified the recipe just a smidge, just because I’m me, but it is amazing and wonderful and I wouldn’t change a single thing next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time. This stuff is the bomb, and I have a feeling I will be making it for many a summer get-together in the future.
¾ cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for drizzling
vanilla ice cream, for serving
Toss the peach slices with the lemon juice in a large bowl (this helps prevent browning). Mix in the bourbon, ¼ cup sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 hours, or continue with the recipe.
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a food processor, combine the flour, the remaining ½ cup sugar, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine.
Cut ¾ cup of the butter (1½ sticks) into small pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
With the processor running, pour in the cream and process until it the dough just comes together. Pulse until a dough ball forms. Do not overwork the dough.
Melt the remaining ½ stick butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Add the peach mixture and cook gently until heated through and beginning to thicken, about 5 minutes.
Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls on top of the warm peach mixture in the cast iron skillet. The top should be mostly covered, but small gaps are okay, since the topping will puff up a little. Drizzle the top with a bit of cream, and sprinkle with a little sugar.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Enjoy warm with a big scoop of ice cream.
Berry season is here, and the farmer’s markets and stores are brimming with fresh, local strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. I do love blueberries, and my favorite way to enjoy them is in muffins. Perhaps that’s wrapped up in childhood memories for me, since my mom often made blueberry muffins for breakfast. I think they were from a box, but they sure were good. And these are even better.
Folks, these are some of the best muffins I have ever had… and I consider myself a muffin aficionado.
Before I go crazy with expressing my love for these muffins, though, I would like you to meet my new BFF. His name is White Whole Wheat Flour, and he is now indispensable in my kitchen.*
*I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just think this flour is the bee’s knees.
White whole wheat is actually whole wheat flour — it’s just a different type of wheat that has a lighter texture and flavor than “regular” whole wheat. So, basically, it’s a nice way to get the nutritional content of whole wheat without all the heaviness and (to some) overwhelmingly hippie-ish taste.
I bought white whole wheat flour for this recipe, since it was suggested in the original (from King Arthur Flour), and I was almost out of whole wheat flour anyway. I’m a convert! Normally I wouldn’t substitute more than half the flour in a given recipe with whole wheat, but I may be more bold with this stuff.
But anyway — the muffins! My friend Andrea recommended this recipe, and it was an absolute hit. I sampled one while it was still warm from the oven, and Oh. My. So good.
Let’s just say I ended up eating three of them right then and there. Yes, they’re healthy-ish, since they’re made with whole wheat flour. (And if you don’t share my enthusiasm for white whole wheat flour, you can use regular whole wheat flour instead — two of my friends did, with pleasing results.) But they are moist and tender and sweet-but-not-too-sweet and just downright delicious.
Enjoy! And try one still warm from the oven — it’s a must!
We live on a rockin’ cul-de-sac.* A little before lunchtime on Memorial Day, people started talking about bringing the grills out front and having a block party, and by 5 pm, it was a reality. There were hot dogs, burgers (including some of my own black bean burgers with goat cheese), sausage, gumbo, grilled stuffed jalapeños and all kinds of delicious desserts and sides. The hubby made some delicious cole slaw (more on that recipe later) and, for my contribution, I decided to make cupcakes.
*Yes, I am old. I totally just wrote that sentence.
Well, actually I decided to make lemon bars first, but then I decided I wanted something a little simpler. I had pinned a recipe for Busy-Day Chocolate Cake awhile back, and, lacking an appropriately sized pan, I decided to make it into cupcakes instead. And of course I had to tweak the frosting, because I didn’t have enough eggs. Spoiler alert: The new frosting is awesome, uber-simple and contains ingredients you almost certainly have in your pantry (and no eggs).
These are seriously so quick and easy that they’ll be my go-to dessert for potlucks from here on out (unless I have extra time on my hands). There were certainly no complaints about the taste, either — this dozen was gobbled up in no time!
I had best intentions to pipe the frosting on and make my cupcakes pretty — I even found a great tutorial — but, alas, I didn’t have the right tip for the job. An offset spatula did the trick just fine, though. I’ll have to make a trip to Michael’s and try again soon. An artistic baker I am not, but I try!
When it’s hot outside, but you still want a chocolately treat, what’s a girl to do? Fudgcicles would work, sure, but I wanted cookies… So when I ran across this recipe for no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, I knew today was the day to try them out.
I made these for a neighborhood potluck, and they were a hit. I personally ate more than a few. Ahem. But they have almond butter, so… protein? Yes.
1 box brownie mix (I prefer Ghirardelli), plus eggs, oil and water as called for on the box
Preheat the oven to 350°. Cream the butter and sugars in a stand mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Prepare the brownie batter according to package directions. Spread in a greased 8 x 8 pan. Top with the cookie dough, dropping clumps of the dough over the batter to cover. You may not use quite all the dough, but that’s what “sampling” is for!
Bake for 20 minutes uncovered, then cover with foil and bake for 20 more minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the cookie layer is browned and the brownies are almost set in the middle.
Remove from the oven and let stand until cooled, at least 30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
I’m a recovering lawyer-turned-freelance writer and editor, aspiring domestic goddess, and mom to a spunky, demanding and truly awesome 2-year-old girl. I love all things food and drink, and I’ve rediscovered a love for cooking now that I’m not spending most of my days locked in the office, but I often have to improvise, since having the ankle-biter around makes it more challenging!