Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blue Razz Buttermilk Pancakes

This year we had an abundance of raspberries in our garden. I didn't even think of adding them to the pancakes until after I bought blueberries at the store. The combination made them interesting and delicious.
2 cups flour
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. melted butter or canola oil
1 c. blueberries
1 c. raspberries

whipped cream and maple syrup for toppings

Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well, then add eggs, buttermilk and oil. Stir this mixture until evenly blended but don't overmix or the pancakes won't rise well. Then add the fruit and mix lightly again.

On a heated pan or griddle drop a ladle of pancake batter and tilt pan until the mixture spreads out slightly.
Cook on one side until the edges are dry, then flip. It's important to make sure the edges are dry all the way around before you try to flip it or you will have a mess.

Serve immediately with maple syrup and whipped cream. The kitchen supervisors should always taste test it first, and don't forget to give them the leftovers.
You might want to warn the kitchen supervisors ahead of time that there won't be much for leftovers. This will save them time so they can move onto the next project. They tend to be obsessive.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Bitchenest BBQ Pizza

It's been a long time since I posted any recipes. I've been relying on my old stand-bys, but Iris finally convinced me it was time to get with the program. She missed pizza, so that was the project we came up with. I actually got the idea for these toppings from Whole Foods, and I even cheated by using their prepared barbecue beef brisket. But everything else was my own doing, or fault, or whatever you want to call it. Iris had some ideas about toppings too, but as you'll see below, duck seemed a little too exotic for this pizza. Next pizza, maybe...
First thing you have to do is make the pizza dough, and since that takes a while to rise, it gives you a chance to prepare all your other ingredients. Here's the pizza dough recipe I used, first. I didn't bother to get real Italian super fine ground flour. I just used a combination of unbleached and whole wheat. Next time I'll go with the real stuff, to give the crust a lighter texture. This stuff turned out good, though.

Pizza Dough Ingredients

2 packets of baking yeast
a pinch of sugar or honey
1 1/4 cups of warm water
3 1/2 cups of flour (I used 1 cup of whole wheat and the rest unbleached)
1 tsp salt
4 T. olive oil
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water by stirring, then let it sit 5-10 minutes while yeast bubbles. Add 1 cup of flour and stir, then add oil and salt, then add the rest of the flour one cup at a time until dough becomes too thick to stir. Begin kneading by hand in the bowl, adding enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your hands but keeping it soft, not stiff.

Place the dough on a floured board or countertop and knead for several minutes until it has a uniform texture. Lightly oil the mixing bowl, then place the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a dish towel, and set it in a warm place to rise.

While the dough is rising, start preparing the sauce and toppings. There really is no preparation for the sauce unless you choose to make your own. I used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Barbecue Sauce and Chipotle Tabasco Sauce. You can use whatever brands you like.

Here's a list of the toppings I used:
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (I used about 12 ounces of this)
Barbecued Beef Brisket from Whole Foods Market (8 oz container, already cut into bite-sized chunks, from their refrigerated meat section)
Fresh Pineapple (about a third of a large pineapple without the core)
Red Onion (about 1/3 of a medium onion, sliced thin)
Red Jalapeno (Fresno) Peppers (I used 4 and de-seeded them)
Cilantro (a handful chopped)

Note: you can use whatever toppings you like, but remember to minimize the water content of them, either by using vegetables with little water content or by cooking them slightly first, or the pizza will get soggy)

Heat the oven to 450 degrees or higher. If you're using a pizza stone or tile, as I highly recommend, you'll want to make sure the stone and oven are heated all the way through before you put the pizza in, or it won't cook properly. Begin slicing and chopping the toppings and place in a bowl.
You might want to place the pineapple, onion, and peppers in a skillet because you'll want to sauté these before you put them on the pizza. It adds flavor and reduces the water content.
Get the kitchen supervisor's suggestions on the toppings. We ended up going with most of Iris's suggestions but ruled out the duck. Also, you see Gouda cheese pictured here, I thought about using that but decided on just plain mozzarella. You can use any cheese you like, or no cheese.
The mozzarella I used came in a sheet, rolled up in the package. I bought it because it happened to be on sale. But you can use balls of fresh mozzarella, or slice it however you want. I cut the sheet of cheese into squares.
When the dough has risen to at least double the size, place it on the wooden board and knead it again, then begin rolling it out. Use flour to avoid sticking to the board.
When you get it rolled out to the size you want- about 14 inches in diameter is what this recipe allowed for, you can pre-bake the crust for a minute on the stone (sprinkle flour or cornmeal on the stone first to keep it from sticking) so that it's easier to handle.
Once the dough is pre-baked pull it out with a giant spatula and place it back on the board to begin loading it with toppings. The way I started with the sauce was to put barbecue sauce on like this, then sprinkled some tabasco over it, lightly. Then I used a spatula to spread it around lightly and uniformly over the entire crust.
Next I added some of the cheese and some of the toppings, a little at a time, until I used everything, and sprinkled the chopped cilantro over it.
Then I loaded it onto the pizza stone and baked it for about 20 minutes. Our oven is really wimpy so you might not have to bake yours as long. Fifteen minutes is usually enough unless you like the crust really crispy. When it's done, take it out and serve it hot. Immediately. With beer.
Iris is the kitchen expert and she gets the final word, but...
it's always good to get a second opinion. Isabelle concurs.
Almost gone.