Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pesto Pizza + Salad

This is one of our favorite meals. Try it!


1/2 c. walnuts
4 c. fresh basil
1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil (we usually only put in 1/4 c. to lower the fat)

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, tossing occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool completely.

2. In a food processor, combine the toasted nuts, basil, Parmesan, and garlic; season with slat and pepper. Process until finely chopped. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube; process until smooth. Makes 1¼ cups.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough
1½ c. water
1½ tbsp olive oil
1¾ c. whole wheat flour
2 c. bread flour
1½ tbsp sugar
1½ salt
1½ tsp active dry yeast

We use a bread machine to mix and rise the dough. The basic dough setting on my machine does: 21 min. kneading, 45 min. first rising, 22min. stir down and second rising.

1. Flour hands lightly. Shape dough into a ball. Divide ball in quarters. Press each quarter of dough into greased, 12 inch pizza pan forming 1 inch edge. Makes four 12 inch pizzas. Alternatively the dough can be safely frozen in sandwich bags or an airtight container, to defrost the dough move to the fridge the night before.

2. Brush crust with oil. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

3. Spoon pesto over dough, top with cheese and toppings of your choice. We top it with mozzarella and Parmesan with green peppers, olives, mushrooms and tomatoes.

4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes at 400˚ F or until cheese gets bubbly and crust is golden.

It is my favorite Friday meal!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Maple Granola

Another great recipe success from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book. This granola is so great! Chris made a second batch today. We gobbled up the first batch like it was going out of style. As a cereal nut this is a keeper.

The biggest time sink is prep of all the ingredients, but once you are past that it is a breeze. I think it is well worth the effort - Yum!

Maple Granola
You can also get the same recipe at this link.

7 cups (1 1/2 pounds) rolled oats, uncooked
1 cup (4 ounces) flaked unsweetened coconut (optional, but good)
1 cup (4 ounces) stabilized wheat germ
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sliced almonds
1 cup (4 ounces) diced pecans or walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds, raw or toasted
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (11 ounces) pure maple syrup*
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
5 cups (about 20 ounces) mixed dried fruit** (raisins, cranberries, cherries, diced pineapple, diced apricots, chopped dates, or the mixture of your choice)

*Pure maple syrup (as opposed to maple-flavored cane sugar syrup) makes a MUCH tastier granola. If you use "fake" syrup, be advised you’ll have to use a lot more to get the same degree of sweetness; probably an additional 1/2 cup.

**Our Fruitcake Fruits, 20 ounces of tasty dried apricots, raisins, pineapple, dates, and cranberries, is the perfect size for this recipe.

(Chris puts in apricots, golden raisins and cranberries for our dried fruit selection)

In a very large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ, nuts, and seeds. Mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, salt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour over the dry mixture in the bowl, stirring and tossing till everything is very well combined; a spoonula or large stirring spoon work well here.

Spread granola on a couple of large lightly greased baking sheets; a half-sheet pan is ideal. Bake in a preheated 250°F oven for about 2 hours, stirring the mixture after an hour or so. You want to bring the granola at the edge in towards the middle, so it all browns evenly. And reverse the baking sheets in the oven (top to bottom, bottom to top) after you stir.

When the granola is a light–to–medium golden brown, remove it from the oven and cool completely on the pans. Transfer the granola to a large bowl, and mix in the dried fruit. Store in a tightly closed container at room temperature for several weeks; freeze for extended storage. Or portion into pretty patterned plastic bags for gift-giving.
Yield: about 18 cups, about 4 1/4 pounds granola.