Monthly Archives: February 2012

Chicago Pizza

I’ve recently become impressed by Chicago pizza. Probably because I’ve now had amazing Chicago pizza from Zachary’s, the famous East Bay institution. Prior to that I had only had Pizz’a Chicago, which I wasn’t impressed with in comparison to “regular” pizza. Pretty soon after falling in love with it, I saw an episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they made some pies. All these messages from the universe could not be denied – I needed to try to make some myself!

It went pretty well. I was happy with the results, though I would have liked the sauce to be more liquid than it ended up being (I like that part of Zachary’s pizza). Woody loved it and said it was better than Paxti’s, so I can’t really complain!



  • 3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water (10 ounces), room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened
  • 1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated onion , from 1 medium onion (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  •  Table salt
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper


  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese , shredded (about 4 cups) (see note)
  • 1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup) [I didn’t use this, instead I put a ton of minced garlic on top, making sure to press it down into the sauce so it wouldn’t burn]


Makes two 9-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6

Place a damp kitchen towel under the mixer and watch it at all times during kneading to prevent it from wobbling off the counter. Handle the dough with slightly oiled hands, or it might stick. The test kitchen prefers Dragone Whole Milk Mozzarella; part-skim mozzarella can also be used, but avoid preshredded cheese, as it does not melt well. Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.


  • 1. FOR THE DOUGH: Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)
  • 2. Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • 3. FOR THE SAUCE: While dough rises, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  • 4. TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH: Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rec-tangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges.[See link for illustrations of butter incorporation technique.] Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.
  • 5. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
  • 6. For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

–Recipe courtesy America’s Test Kitchen.

Yum, look at all that garlic!

1 Comment

Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


Mustard Mania!

As I mentioned in the last entry about Dutch Mustard Soup, we just went to a mustard workshop. Each person was only allowed to choose one of the mustards to make at the workshop, but I’ve listed all 4 recipes we were given below. Woody made the Pale Ale with Thyme at the workshop, and I made the Violet mustard. Both were great, and completely different in their own ways. Later at home I made the honey mustard, which turned out pretty good, if a bit hot. I don’t really want to make the chipotle one – I’m not usually a fan of the weird smokiness of chipotle. Enjoy!!

Pale Ale Mustard with Thyme


  • 2 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/3 cup pale ale beer (flat)
  • 2 tsp mustard flour
  • 2 tsp fresh minced onion
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


Soak the mustard seeds in the beer overnight. About 20 minutes before you are ready to make the mustard, stir the mustard flour, minced onion and thyme into the soaked seed mixture and allow to sit for a few minutes. Place the mustard mixture into the blender along with the brown sugar, turmeric, allspice, vinegar and salt. Grind until it is the consistency of a paste, with some seeds remaining visible. This may take a minute or two. Transfer to a glass jar, cover and store in the refrigerator.

Violet Mustard


  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup dark red grapes (seedless, cut in half)
  • 1/4 cup ruby port
  • 2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard


Bring the wine, grapes, and port to a boil in a medium stainless steel saucepan. Boil until the liquid is almost gone and the mixture turns syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. Puree the mixture in a blender, then pass it through a fine sieve. Set aside to cool. Add the mustards and stir to combine. Transfer to glass jar, cover and store in the refrigerator.

Napa Valley Wild Flower Honey Mustard


  • 3 Tbsp mustard flour
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 Tbsp Marshall’s Farm wildflower honey
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cider vinegar


Whisk all ingredients together thoroughly in a stainless steel bowl. Transfer to a glass jar, cover and store in the refrigerator.

Fiery-Smokey Chipotle Mustard


  • 8 Tbsp mustard flour
  • 6 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp mined canned chipotle chili in adobo plus
  • 1 Tbsp adobo sauce from the can
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


Whisk all ingredients together thoroughly in a stainless steel bowl. Transfer to a glass jar, cover and store in the refrigerator.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


Dutch Mustard Soup with Speck Ham and Gouda Cheese Crouton

Recently we attended a LivingSocial event at Andretti Winery (yes, the car racing Andrettis) in Napa. We’re not all that into wineries, but the thing that appealed to us was that it was geared around a mustard making workshop. Woody is a mustard collector (we have over 30 mustards in our fridge) and he’s converted me to the wonders of mustard. While at the workshop we were also served this mustard soup with croutons and chives. It was so amazing that we just kept eating it and murmuring to ourselves about how amazing it was.

About a week later, I made it at home (I didn’t make the croutons, I figured we were pushing healthy limits as it was) because we received most of the vegetable ingredients in our FFTY box. It was just as amazing as we remembered it. I heartily recommend that you try it. It’s not difficult to make at all!

Note: The mustards we made at the workshop will be featured in another post.

Soup Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup leeks, white part only, finely sliced and rinsed
  • 1 cup yellow onions small diced
  • ½ cup celery, small diced
  • 1 cup russet potato, small diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock or rich vegetable stock for vegetarian option
  • ½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • ½ cup Gouda cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard, preferably Grey Poupon Harvest
  • salt and white pepper

Crouton Ingredients

  • 2 slices of sour dough bread
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, preferably Edmond Fallot
  • 2 slices Speck Ham
  • ¼ cup shredded gouda
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 1 tablespoon chives, sliced

Soup Instructions

In a large pot over medium heat add the butter and allow it to melt. Once the butter melts, add the leeks, celery, and onions. Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Stir well. Cook for 5 minutes. Lightly sprinkle the flour over the top of the vegetables while continually stirring. Cook for 3 minutes. Slowly stir in the chicken stock. Use a whisk if necessary to prevent lumping. Allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes are falling apart. Remove the soup from the heat. Allow the soup to cool slightly. Carefully puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to a clean large pot and place over medium high heat. When the soup returns to a simmer whisk in the cream cheese and cream fraiche. Once the cream cheese is incorporated into the soup stir in the gouda and cook until it melts. Whisk in the whole grain mustard and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce to low heat until you are ready to serve.

Crouton Instructions

Preheat the over to 375°F. To make the croutons lay out the two pieces of bread. Spread the Dijon mustard on one side of the bread. On the other slice of the bread place the two slices ham and top with the gouda cheese. Place the other slice of bread on top of the cheese forming a sandwich. Butter both sides of the sandwich with the soft butter. In a non-stick pan over medium high heat toast the sandwich on both sides. Use a spatula to press down the sandwich. Remove the sandwich to a cutting board to cool. Slice the crust of the sandwich. Cut the sandwich into small cubes like a crouton. Place the croutons on a sheet pan and bake for 7 to 10 minutes until golden brown.

To serve ladle the hot soup into a bowl. Top with crouton and sliced chives.

I drool just looking at this!

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


Aloo Gobi

Generally if I end up with cauliflower I make Aloo Gobi. It’s so tasty, and this recipe resembles what I might get in an Indian restaurant more than some others I tried. I laughed – the note on the best recipe I’ve found so far says “Great Indian recipe from the film Bend it Like Beckham.” Right, I’m sure non-Indian people would never understand what it was without that context!


  • ¼ cup vegetable oil [if I have ghee on hand I use it instead]
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, separated into stalks and leaves and roughly chopped [generally I don’t have this, I just use frozen prepared cilantro from Trader Joe’s]
  • 1 small green chilies, chopped into small pieces (or one teaspoon chili powder) [Since I usually don’t have chilies sitting around, I improvise with this, using Aleppo pepper, Tapatio, etc. Whatever works.]
  • 1 large cauliflower, leaves removed and cut evenly into eighths
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into even pieces [I leave the peels on due to both laziness and desire for fiber and vitamins]
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the chopped onion and one teaspoon of cumin seeds to the oil.
  3. Stir together and cook until onions become creamy, golden, and translucent.
  4. Add chopped coriander stalks, two teaspoons of turmeric, and one teaspoon of salt.
  5. Add chopped chilies (according to taste) Stir tomatoes into onion mixture.
  6. Add ginger and garlic; mix thoroughly.
  7. Add potatoes and cauliflower to the sauce plus a few tablespoons of water (ensuring that the mixture doesn’t stick to the saucepan).
  8. Ensure that the potatoes and cauliflower are coated with the curry sauce.
  9. Cover and allow to simmer for twenty minutes (or until potatoes are cooked).
  10. Add two teaspoons of Garam Masala and stir.
  11. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves on top of the curry.
  12. Turn off the heat, cover, and leave for as long as possible before serving.

–Recipe courtesy chuckdarwin,


Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized


Quinoa Salad

The Silver Palate Cookbook strikes again! I love bulgur salad recipes, and I wanted to try theirs. However, I discovered that we had no bulgur in the cabinet, but did have a plethora of other grains. I decided to swap quinoa for bulgur. It worked great!

I was also shocked that this recipe included no feta cheese. Maybe it was meant to be vegan? Of course I had to add some. I also de-veggified it more by cooking the quinoa in chicken broth.


  • 4 C. water [or chicken broth for extra flavor]
  • 2 C. bulgur (processed cracked wheat) [or quinoa]
  • 1 C. chopped pecans [I didn’t have enough pecans, so I did halfsies with pumpkin seeds]
  • 1 C. dried currants
  • 1/4 C. chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 T. best quality olive oil
  • grated zest of 1 medium-size orange [I also added the zest of a lemon]
  • [I also added 1 T. of orange juice and 1 T. of lemon juice]
  • [I also added 1 1/2 cups cups of crumbled feta cheese]
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. In a large saucepan combine water and bulgur[/quinoa]. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes, or until water is absorbed and wheat is tender but not mushy.

2. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, uncovered, until cool.

3. Add pecans, currants, parsley, olive oil, orange zest, [lemon zest, orange juice, lemon juice, feta] salt and pepper to taste. Toss thoroughly. Serve cool or at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy the Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

Finished product:


Leave a comment

Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


Red Raspberry Pie


  • 4 cups raspberries, picked over
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup Creme de Cassis (black currant liqueur) [I didn’t have this so I used 1/6 cup lemoncello and 1/6 cup creme de violette]
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 recipe Piecrust [I used a premade pic crust and I topped it with a trimmed sheet of pastry dough]
  • 2 tablespoons sweet butter
  • 3 paper-thin slices of lemon


Preheat oven to 425 F.

Toss raspberries and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Whisk Cassis and cornstarch together in a small bowl until smooth. Stir Cassis mixture, lemon juice, and salt gently into berries.

Roll out two thirds of the pastry and line the pie pan; leave edges untrimmed. Spoon in the berries, dot with butter, and arrange lemon slices  overlapping slightly in the center of the berries.

Roll out remaining pastry into a 10-inch round and cut into 1/2-inch strips. Arrange over berries in a lattice pattern. Trim overhanging pastry; bring edge of lower crust over lattice and crimp edge decoratively.

Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake at 425 F. for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 F. and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

–Recipe courtesy The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

Ugly but tasty pie:

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Uncategorized