Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mushroom meatball subs

If I had to pick a favorite sandwich... meatball subs would definitely be up there on the list. I'm indecisive, though. Plus, it's almost embarrassing to have as a favorite considering how simple and common they are.

These meatballs were excellent! I'm always looking for something to add to meatballs in place of onions, since I'm usually cooking for a picky eater. This time, I added some mushrooms since I had some leftover from a previous dinner. They turned out surprisingly well!

1 lb 85% ground beef
10 whole button mushrooms, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic
1/4th cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh basil

tomato sauce of your choice
loaf of crusty bread
cheeses of your choice (I used provolone, mozzarella, and parmigiano)

I mixed all of the ingredients and formed 1.5 inch meatballs and baked them at 375F for 20 minutes. I baked them on a broiler pan so some of the fat would drip off. After they came out of the oven, I simmered them in some canned marina sauce that I doctored up. 

Instead of buying sub rolls, I bought a large loaf of french bread and hollowed out the tops. This prevents the bread from splitting in half while trying to fill it with sauce and meatballs. (Which always seems to happen to me.)

I lined the bottom half of each bread with provolone along the bottoms and sides, spooned in the meatballs, then added shredded mozzarella and parmigiano. I put them back in the oven for 10 minutes at 350F and they came out perfectly.

Guten Appetit!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chicken Tikka Masala

I found this recipe on RasaMalaysia. Honestly, I've never really had much experience with Indian food. The recipe looked like it could be made with things I had readily available. which never seems to be the case when I find an Indian recipe that looks interesting. I also live with a VERY picky eater that avoids spicy foods at all costs, so Indian food is always a bit of a challenge...

I've made this recipe twice now. The first time I followed the recipe exactly, and the second time I made a few changes. Either way, it's delicious!

Here is the recipe as found on the RasaMalaysia site. My changes are in red.


Marinating the Chicken

3-4 boneless chicken breasts, skins removed and cut into bite-sized pieces 
250g thick natural yogurt 
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced 
2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper 

Skewers, If using wooden skewers completely submerge them in water for approx. 30 minutes. This will hinder them from catching fire while grilling.

Tomato Gravy

250g canned cocktail tomatoes (I used two fresh medium-sized tomatoes, which I put into my food processor)
250g heavy cream 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
(I also added a medium red onion)
2 red chilies, finely chopped 
(I used a can of jalapenos)
2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika powder 
1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter 
Handful of coriander leaves/cilantro, chopped 
Salt and pepper 


Mix all of the ingredients for the marination in a large bowl. Thoroughly mix until the chicken is nicely coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

On the next day, either prepare your charcoal grill or heat up the grill function of your oven to high. *I put all of the chicken on a parchment lined baking sheet. I baked the chicken at 375F for 25 minutes.

Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers, discarding the marinade. Grill the chicken evenly on all sides, until juices run clear - approx. 5-6 minutes.

To prepare the gravy, heat a large skillet to medium and melt the ghee/clarified butter. Sauté the garlic and chopped chilies until fragrant. Sprinkle the ground cumin, paprika powder and a pinch of salt. Sauté for a further minute or two until the mixture turns into a paste-like texture.

Pour in the canned tomatoes, scraping the bottom of the skillet to deglaze it and to release any bits stuck to the pan. Simmer uncovered for approx. 10-15 minutes on low heat until the sauces begins to thicken, then add the grilled chicken pieces and cream. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, thickening the sauce further and to heat the chicken and cream through. 

Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped coriander leaves and with steamed Basmati rice, fresh naans and pickles. 

Make sure to visit RasaMasala for other great recipes.

Guten Appetit!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rigatoni with Sausage and Parmigiano

This is one of the best pastas I've had in a while. It was very easily put together. I had everything on hand, except for the Italian sausage. It was very flavorful and I can't think of anything that the dish is missing.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion sliced (I diced)
1 clove garlic,  crushed (I minced)
500 g (1 lb) Italian pork sausage, cut into chunks
60 g (2 oz) mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup (124ml/4 fl oz) dry white wine
500 g (1 lb) rigatoni
1 cup (250ml/8 fl oz) cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup (50g) freshly grated parmesan (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the nion and garlic and stir over low heat until the onion is tender. Add the sausage and mushroom and cook until the sausage is cooked through. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

2. While the sauce is cooking, cook the rigatoni in a large pan of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and return to the pan.

3. In a large jug, whisk together the cream, eggs, half the parmesan, the parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add to the rigatoni with the sausage mixture and toss. Serve sprinkled with the remaining parmesan.

Guten Appetit! Let me know how it works out for you!


Geschnetzeltes is a dish that is extremely popular in Zurich, the place where it originated, but is also popular throughout southern Germany. Traditionally, it is just veal, mushrooms, white wine, cream, and lemon. This is a variation on the traditional recipe.

1 lb boneless pork chops
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup white wine
1 cup beef broth
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons ground paprika
1 large onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Slice the pork chops into thin strips and sauté in a pan with olive oil. Once the pork is done, remove it and set it aside in a bowl. Add the chopped onions, garlic, and mushrooms and sauté them until soft. 

Add the broth and the wine. Simmer the sauce until it has reduced halfway. (10-15 minutes)

Add the pork back to the pan. Add the heavy cream and 3 tablespoons of paprika. Heat for 5 minutes until warm. Serve over pasta of your choice.

Guten Appetit!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies, and I think I've finally found the very best recipe I have EVER made. This recipe was originally from America's Test Kitchen and was adapted by Katie over at Good Things Catered. I adapted it a little more in order to make it a bit more festive for the holidays.

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled until warm
1 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I added holiday M&M's)

-Adjust oven racks to upper & lower -middle positions & heat oven to 325. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
-Whisk dry ingredients together; set aside.
-With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. 
-Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. 
-Add dry ingredients and beat at a low speed just until combined. Stir in chips. (Or M&Ms!)
-Roll scant 1/2 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball.
-Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft & puffy (about 17 minutes in my oven). *
-Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking and place on wire rack to cool.

** I was actually lazy and just put two cookie sheets on top of each other. They both turned out fine. When I made smaller cookies, they took about 12 minutes, larger cookies took about 16. Make sure you take the cookies out when they still look a little undercooked in the center to make sure that they stay soft!

Guten Appetit!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers October Challenge - Pizza

This month's challenge was pizza, which was fun. This crust is very simple to make and I think the fact that it slowly rises in the refrigerator makes it very flavorful. Next time, I'll try to season the crust with some garlic and basil, because it still seemed a touch bland to me.

I topped one pizza with a cheese blend of mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano, the other with the same cheese mixture, assorted peppers, and San Marzano tomatoes. The sauce was a blend of San Marzano tomatoes, basil, garlic, and ricotta. It was my favorite part of the pizza.

Here's the recipe as it was posted by Rosa: ("GF" indicates the directions for gluten-free bakers)

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled - FOR GF: 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast - FOR GF use 2 tsp
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar - FOR GF use agave syrup
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting


1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.


2.  FOR GF: Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.

3. Flour a work surface or counter.  Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them.  Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.


8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.


8.  FOR GF:  On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator.  Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C). 

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.


10.  FOR GF: Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. 
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.


11.  FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.


12.  FOR GF:  Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.


13.  FOR GF:  Follow the notes for this step.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving. 

Give it a try!

Guten Appetit!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pretzel Dogs and Mall Pretzels

These pretzels are absolutely amazing. I've spent a lot of time trying recipes that are similar to the pretzels you can find in the stands at the mall. These are it! They're very soft and chewy and just about anything can be done to the dough. It's perfect whether you want your pretzel sweet or savory.

We treated them with just the standard butter/salt topping, but we also made some pretzel dogs!

The recipe comes from AllRecipes, and it's no wonder it has so many wonderful ratings. The recipe is perfect!

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour.

Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan.

After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner. Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.

Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt, garlic salt or cinnamon sugar.

Notes for Pretzel Dogs: One 3-foot rope worked for two pretzel dogs, and then the recipe was followed as normal. We didn't cook the hot dogs before then, and they required the same baking time as the regular pretzels.

Guten Appetit!