Monday, October 3, 2011

Multigrain Pizza Dough

After numerous failed attempts at making pizza dough, I have finally come up with an absolutely fabulous, and semi-healthy, recipe.  AT LAST!!!  I'm sure you can relate...

So the story is, my dear friend sent me one that she had tried but I totally had to tweak it because I always have to use at least some whole wheat flour in any bread recipe.  Therefore, this is a combination of recipes that I have arrived at and really think is great.  It has been approved by the hubby and additional pizza dough critics.  The recipe below is for one large pizza.

  • 1 cup AP (all purpose) flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (Yes, it has to be pastry flour.)
  • 2 t granulated sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T dried rosemary
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t dried basil
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 T EVOO
How to have fun at the party:
  1. Measure out your warm water and add the packet of yeast.  Mix together and let stand for 10 minutes or until creamy and frothy looking.
  2. Get out your mixer.  I mean the big guns.  Attach the bread hook.
  3. Dump the dry ingredients into the bowl.
  4. When the yeast mixture is creamy/frothy, add the EVOO and the yeast mixture.
  5. Mix/beat until combined.  Do not beat crazily after all ingredients are incorporated.  Less is more here, people!
  6. Turn off your mixer.  Remove the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for a minimum of 30 minutes.  Your dough should have doubled in size.
You can use this immediately, after kneading the dough out a bit, or, you can stick the dough in the fridge in a Ziploc bag and use later that week.  Which is what I like to do.  If the pizza dough has time to rest it will listen to you a little bit better when you're rolling it out.

Side note, if you're not a multigrainer, you can use 2 cups of AP flour.  It won't harm anything... besides your waistline, that is.

I hope you love it as much as we do!  And who knows, maybe this is the last pizza dough recipe you ever try!!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Coffee Crusted Steaks

Last night my Sous Chef and I had a Dine In Date Night.  So that makes this a Dine In Date Night Dinner (DIDND). 

We had pulled out a couple of beautiful ribeyes out of the freezer the day before, and had left them in the fridge to thaw out in preparation for our date.  Is it weird to think meat is beautiful?  I love my freezer, but I know you already know that so I will spare you my emoting.

Anyway... Sous Chef/Hubby had heard about about coffee crusting steaks somewhere along the line a long while back.  We decided to try it last night and it was completely and surprisingly delectable!

Here were the weapons of choice:
  • 2 bone-in ribeyes
  • S&P
  • Garlic powder
  • Freshly ground coffee
  • EVOO
  • Butter
Here was the plan of attack:
  1. Complete this super simple steak prep... season the steaks with EVOO, S&P, a little garlic powder and "crust" them with freshly ground coffee.  It is critical that it be freshly ground, friends.  Leave in the fridge to "marinate" for about 20 minutes.  Long marination isn't a big deal for this prep.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425.
  3. Heat your cast iron pan over high heat and add a few pads of butter. 
  4. Once the butter is melted and your pan is screaming hot (but not burning/smoking), put your steaks in the pan. 
  5. Sear the steaks for 3 minutes on each side, depending upon the thickness of your meat.  Our steaks were about an inch thick.  If yours are thinner shorten the time.  Thicker steaks are fine with this time.
  6. Once the steaks are seared, transfer them to a baking sheet and put them in the preheated oven.
  7. For medium rare steaks, leave them in the oven for 6-7 minutes.  For medium steaks, 9 minutes, etc... Adjust your cooking time relative to the thickness of your steaks and how you like your steak cooked.
  8. When done, remove from the oven and let the steaks rest for at least 3 minutes.  Please please please do not cheat yourself of excellence by not letting your steak rest.  The resting process keeps the juices in the meat and doesn't "bleed" out all the incredible flavor you just imparted when you cut into your steak.  Your patience will be rewarded, I promise.
Okay... now that you've patiently waited for the resting period, plate your steaks and enjoy!  I know... so easy you thought I wasn't done.  That's it!

Let us know what you think!  We loved this non-grilling steak method more than any other we've tried to date.

Good eats to all! XO,

Sous Chef and Cowtown Kitchen Chief

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Freezer Find #3: Shrimp Rustica

Here's another freezer find!!  If I'm being honest, this one is actually from a few weeks ago.  We've had so many leftovers I haven't made too many new items to share.  This one is really good and easy.  It turned out to be an "everything but the kitchen sink" kind of meal.

The canned items in this dish are things that I make sure to always have in the pantry.  They are some of my pantry "staples."

Here's what you'll need for the job:
  • 1 bag of raw shrimp, thawed and cleaned
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3-4 green onions, diced
  • 1 pkg of sliced mushrooms (a small can will substitute)
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 3 large roasted red peppers (canned), chopped
  • 3 large fresh tomatoes, chopped (1/2 can of diced tomatoes will substitute perfectly)
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 T capers
  • Garlic, minced
  • EVOO
  • S&P
  • Crushed red pepper
Here's what to do:
  1. Heat EVOO in a cast iron skillet. 
  2. Add garlic, red onion, green onion and mushrooms. Saute.
  3. Season with S&P and crushed red pepper.
  4. Once onions and mushrooms begin to brown, add red wine and reduce to a simmer.
  5. Simmer and let thicken for about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Add roasted red peppers, tomatoes, black beans, artichoke hearts and capers to the pan.
  8. Stir gently to combine.
  9. Lay shrimp on top, then top with parmesan cheese.
  10. Broil in the oven for 15 minutes or until shrimp are pink.

I served this in a bowl with a piece of garlic toast.  It was delicious!  Another thing to love about this dish... it's a one dish meal!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Freezer Find #2: Hot & Smoky Drumsticks

We're still cleaning out the freezer over here.  A few nights ago I came across a bag of frozen drumsticks in the bottom of the deep freeze.  With my packaging intact, I thawed them out and decided to "revive" them.

I'll let you know that I was quite excited to try drumsticks, given that nearly all of my experience cooking chicken has been with white meat.  I grew up never really eating dark meat, but since meeting my husband I've really done a lot in the way of branching out.  I am pretty proud of the look on his face after biting into these guys, though!  This was definitely one of my first rodeos at cooking dark meat.

Here are the foodie items you'll need for the job:
  • Chicken legs/drumsticks
  • Chili powder
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Lemon juice
  • EVOO
  • S&P
  • 2 T Butter
Warning... limited measurements were used in this recipe.

And the tools:
  • Gallon size Ziplock bag
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Broiling pan, or oven safe cooling rack and baking sheet
The prep work:
  1. Open the Ziplock bag and fold the sides down toward the outside.  This way you won't make a monsterous mess of the marinating vessel.
  2. Drop in the drumsticks.
  3. Add a lot of chili powder (enough to get a good spice coating started).
  4. Then add almost as much paprika.  Did I mention no measurements were used in this...??
  5. Add cayenne pepper.  A little goes a long way here, folks.  Add at your own risk!
  6. Add enough garlic powder to lightly dust everything.
  7. Add a good amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Throw in a few dashes of lemon juice.  Fresh squeezed isn't really imperative in this dish.
  9. Then finally, a drizzle of EVOO.
  10. Seal the bag, getting as much air out as possible, mix the chicken and spices around, then marinate in the fridge until about 10 minutes before you're ready to cook.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it warm up a bit for more even cooking.
  3. Heat the cast iron skillet to high heat adding the butter and a drizzle of EVOO.  Why both?  The butter allows for browning and keeps the oil from burning.
  4. Sear the drumsticks on all sides in the hot pan, cooking on each "side" for about 3 minutes.
  5. Place chicken on broiling rack and cook in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes.
We enjoyed this with spicy tomato green beans and whole wheat mac & cheese.  Doesn't get much better than that!

Any comments/suggestions/ideas/requests, send 'em my way!!  Happy eating!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I'm not sure if you all are aware of my Lebanese roots, but my maternal grandparents were natives of Lebanon and came to America in their early years to build a life for their six amazing children.

OBVIOUSLY my grandmother brought her Lebanese recipes and cooking along with her.  I've never made so many of the things that she could do, but one thing I know and love to make is tabouli.  It makes me feel connected to her each time I make it.

Sooo... in the midst of the Freezer Finds I'll continue to share with you, here is an oldie but a goodie.  Most of this recipe is completely by feel and there is really no way to mess it up.  This recipe makes about 8 servings but keeps really nicely in the fridge.  I hope you enjoy it!  I haven't met anyone that hasn't loved this.

Here's what you need:
  • 1 cup of bulgar wheat (you can find this in the bulk section in any Central Market, Whole Foods, or Sun Harvest)
  • 1 bunch of green onions, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch of curly parsley, picked and chopped
  • 1 handful of mint, chopped
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
  • juice of 3-4 lemons (fresh lemon juice is a MUST)
  • canola oil
  • S&P

Here's what you do:

  1. Put the dried bulgar in a bowl and cover it with water so that there is about an inch of water covering everything.  Set it aside and let it soak while you are chopping the ingredients.
  2. Do all your chopping.
  3. Throw everything in a bowl.  Yes.  One bowl.  Everyone parties together.
  4. Drain the water off the bulgur now, as best you can, and throw the bulgur in to party with the others.
  5. Add the lemon juice.
  6. Drizzle canola oil.  Not too much, just like a very light salad dressing.
  7. Season with S&P to taste.
  8. Let it marinate overnight in the fridge.  You can stir it occasionally.
  9. Stir it again the next morning and add seasoning as needed.
  10. Enjoy!
Here's what mine looks like when it's done...

And if you can't find bulk bulgar, you should be able to find Bob's Red Mill Bulgar Wheat.  This still has the hull on it.  Doesn't taste bad but is much nuttier and the overnight marination is critical to softening the hull enough to eat without a weird crunch.  That looks like this...

It is very refreshing and can be modified by adding more, or taking away, any one ingredient.  In the Middle Eastern custom, it is traditional to have this "salad" be more of a parsley based salad than wheat based.  

I've also seen crumbled goat cheese added for a protein addition.  Never tried this but I'm a goat cheese fan so I will one day.  Tried using watermelon instead of tomatoes once... Tried it ONCE. Catch my drift??  I like it my way (surprising), but the point is, it's very flexible!

I hope you love it!  Any questions, holler!