Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

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I have a pizza stone and a peel so I really have no need to make pizza in my cast iron skillet. But now that I’ve tried it, I’m sold. The crust didn’t get as brown as when I use the pizza stone. But it’s so much easier – it makes weeknight pizza a no brainer.

1) Preheat the oven to 475. Brush the cast iron skillet with olive oil.

2) Stretch out the dough (I bought pre-made dough at Trader Joe’s) until it’s about as big as the pan and lay out. Stretch the dough as needed until it covers the whole bottom of the pan.

3) Spoon on your sauce. I used pesto for this pizza. Add cheese. I used fresh smoked mozzarella which I sliced. Add toppings. I used two kinds of salami, and mixed olives and peppers from the olive bar.

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4) Put skillet in oven and bake until brown. I checked after 11 minutes, then rotated the pan and baked for another 4 minutes.

5) Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. (I got impatient and took the pizza out of the pan after 5 – I bet the crust would have gotten browner if I let it sit in the hot pan a little longer.) Transfer to cutting board with tongs or a large spatula,

To gild the lily, I added arugula to the top after I took the pizza out of the pan.

Here’s a mushroom pizza I made on another day:

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How to Build….Risotto

Risotto is easy if you follow the basic formula. Read the formula all the way through before starting to cook — when you add the vegetables depends on which you choose, and you have to heat your broth at the beginning of the process.

1) the onion: all risotto starts with onion. You can use a shallot or onion. Melt 1 T of butter and 1 T of olive oil in a dutch oven and add chopped onion and cook until softened.

2) the rice: Arborio. No choice there. Add 1 c rice to the onion and cook for a minute, stirring to coat.

3) the liquid: white wine and broth of your choice. Add about 1/2 c. of white wine and cook for about 2 minutes. Heat 4 c. broth so it’s warm when you add. Set timer for 35 minutes. Over the course of the 35 minutes, add warm broth 1-2 ladlefuls at a time, stirring frequently.

4) the vegetables: use any vegetables you want. When you add the veggies depends on which you choose. If I’m using asparagus or peas, I add them near the very end because they need minimal cooking. Mushrooms or butternut squash might be added at the beginning, after sauteeing the onions. Alternatively, you could cook the vegetables separately and add them at the end.

5) the extras: After the 35 minutes, add 1/4 c. Parmesan or a similar (e.g. asiago) cheese, 1 T. of butter, fresh herbs (e.g. thyme or parsley), salt and pepper.

Recap of ingredients (for your shopping list):
butter
olive oil
onion or shallot
1 c. Arborio rice
1/2 c. white wine
4 c. broth
vegetable of your choice
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
fresh herbs (optional)
salt and pepper

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Good Enough Gourmet Goes “Down Home” – Lukshen and Cabbage

I grew up eating this so I feel sort of silly blogging about it. But it was easy and delicious, and if you get cabbage in your farm box for three weeks in a row, this recipe might come in handy.

Ingredients:
butter (and a little olive oil)
2 red onions
cabbage (I used 2/3 of a cabbage)
salt and pepper
1 16 oz. package of egg noodles (lukshen, if you grew up a a Jewish household)

Instructions:
1) Cook the noodles according to package instructions. FYI, I bought Whole Foods’ 365 brand extra wide egg noodles. Who knew Whole Foods made lukshen?! My Bubbie would be amazed.

2) Melt butter (around 2 T.) in a large skillet and add a little olive oil so the butter doesn’t burn. Slice the onions thinly and add them to the skillet. Cook on medium low heat for at least 10 minutes, until the onions get brown. Stir frequently.

3) Slice the cabbage thinly. Add cabbage to the skillet. You may have to add half the cabbage, let it wilt a little to make room in the pan, and add the rest. Add salt and pepper. Cook until onions and cabbage are soft.

4) Drain the noodles and add to the skillet. Add a little more butter if too dry, and toss until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Add salt if needed.

Good Enough Gourmet, keepin’ it real.

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Vegetarian Chili

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This is a simple chili recipe. Feel free to make substitutions — regular chili powder for the chipotle (but use a little more of it), add other vegetables such as red peppers or corn, or different types of beans.

Ingredients:
olive oil
onion
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 t. cumin
1 t. chipotle chili powder
1 t. oregano
salt and pepper
2-3 zucchini
tomato paste (about 1/2 can, or a couple large squirts if you use a tube)
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
2 c. water
cheese for serving (optional)

Instructions:
1) Chop the onion and garlic. Add a little olive oil to a hot pan (I use my beloved dutch oven) and cook the onion and garlic until softened.

2) Add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper and cook for about a minute.

3) Add the zucchini and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.

4) Drain and rinse the beans. Add the beans, diced tomatoes, and water.

5) Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

6) Top with shredded cheese (sharp cheddar or pepper-jack would be good) if desired.

How to Build a Quiche

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Making a quiche is easy if you break it down into its various components.

1) The crust. You can buy a pre-made crust, but why bother when you can make one in minutes? In your food processor, add 1 1/4 c. flour, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. sugar, and pulse until combined. Add 1 stick butter, cut into small cubes, and pulse for 8-10 seconds until the mixture looks like coarse meal. With motor running, add up to 1/4 c. ice water. Keep motor running until dough forms itself into a ball — it will not take very long. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. It’s best to make this dough in advance because it rolls out better when it’s been chilled but I’ve made it at the same time as I’m making the quiche (e.g. tonight). Sometimes advance planning just doesn’t work out.

2) The veggies. Use an onion of some sort (e.g. an onion or a leek) and another veggie of your choice. Tonight I used leek and asparagus. Greens are also great in quiche. Slice the veggies and saute them in 1 T. of butter until softened, and let cool a bit.

3) The cheese. I always grate my own, since then I can buy a better cheese than you can get pre-grated. Gruyere is traditional and has a great, strong flavor, but use any cheese you want. 1 cup of grated cheese will do you.

4) The custard. Whisk together 4 eggs, 1 1/4 c. half and half, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

5) Assembly: Roll out the dough and line a 9-inch pie pan. As you can tell, I didn’t make the edges pretty but you could. Add the cheese, sprinkling over the bottom of the crust. Add the veggies, and pour in the egg mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Summary of ingredients needed (for your shopping list):
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
1 stick butter
ice water
onion or leek
vegetable and/or green of your choice
1 c. grated cheese of your choice
4 eggs
1 1/4 c. half and half
salt and pepper
nutmeg

Cafe Gratitude-Inspired Rice Bowl

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I love the restaurant Cafe Gratitude. I love it despite the fact that it’s a vegan restaurant. Here’s my take on their rice bowl.

Step 1: the rice. At Cafe Gratitude, you can get rice, quinoa, or half and half. I’m not a quinoa gal, so I always use brown rice.

Step 2: the veggies. You can use whatever veggies you like. Tonight I used beets, onion, fennel, and broccoli. I put the veggies on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzled them with olive oil and salt and pepper, and roasted them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. (I microwaved the beets first, otherwise they would have taken close to an hour to roast.)

Step 3: the greens. Sauté greens of some sort in some olive oil. Tonight I used the greens from my beets.

Step 4: the sauce. At Cafe Gratitude, they have several sauces to choose from. But why choose anything other than the garlic tahini sauce? I don’t know what they do to it, and I’ve seen complicated recipes online that I’ve tried to make but it’s not the same. So here’s my Good Enough version: 1/4 c. tahini, juice of one lemon, 2 cloves of garlic, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and chopped dill. Add about 2 T. of warm water to thin, or more it it’s still too thick.

Step 5: extras. This might be avocado or toasted sesame seeds. At Cafe Gratitude, you can also get their homemade kimchee, which is crazy good.

To assemble: In your bowl, add rice, roasted veggies, greens, sauce, and extras. Instruct your family members to follow your lead. Feel virtuous.

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Gnocchi with Zucchini and Tomatoes

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I didn’t expect this dish to be as delicious as it was. Pasta water – in this case gnocchi water- is the magic elixir. ¬†Adapted from Everyday Food.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 package gnocchi
  • Reserved gnocchi water
  • Fresh basil (I used 1/2 of a small package)
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1) Put a large pot of water up to boil. Salt the water when it reaches the boil.

2) Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Slice zucchini. Press or chop garlic.

3) Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini and cook for 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.

4) Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Ideally, you’d be adding your gnocchi to the boiling water at the same time as you’re adding the tomatoes to the skillet.

5) Rather than draining the gnocchi and adding it to the skillet, use a large spoon to transfer the gnocchi from the water to the skillet, adding a little gnocchi water as you go.

6) Stir together, add a little more gnocchi water if it’s not saucy enough, and add butter, Parmesan cheese, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.