this is me gettin’ serious in the kitchen
I’m going to dinner tonight with a couple girlfriends. As Christmas gifts to each other we’re exchanging our families’ best-ever recipes. Isn’t that the best idea? My friend suggested it.
My teacher friend also said she received recipes as a gift this year from a student, a couple of their all time family favorites. I am going to remind you of this next Christmas because I think it is one of the best ideas ever (thanks, Heather!) I can’t think of a better honor to place on the world’s educators than for them to have an ever-growing collection of loved recipes.
Maybe we can all have a gift exchange of our own here. After all, what’s better than a gift exchange among friends? After I compile my recipes today I’ll return to this post and share a couple all-time family favorite recipes as a little gift to you. I’m trying to think of just the right ones to share. And if you’d like to leave a recipe or two that would be great. Let’s say one to three recipes? I happen to know that some of you really know your way around a kitchen. And if you’ve posted the recipe just tell us a little about it and point us to the post on your blog.
I’m off to sort through recipes and mail off a couple last holiday surprises. Be back soon.
UPDATE: I’m back, and I’ve picked out two absolute favorites. If you try them I’d love to hear how they go.
I Miss Zachary’s Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
We used to be a half hour drive from Zackary’s Chicago style pizzaria. When we moved, I had to have back up to sustain me between trips to the bay area. This recipe does Zachary’s justice. If you’ve been to Zachary’s, you know that is quite the compliment.
Yield: 3 10-inch pizzas
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pkg (1Tbsp) yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
Dissolve sugar and yeast in large bowl. Let stand until bubbly (about 5 min.)
Add oil and salt.
Stir in 5 cups flour until just not sticky anymore (I use my KitchenAid).
Knead. (I knead for 15–20 min. in my Kitchen Aid until I get a baker’s window, which is when you can pull the dough thin enough to see light through it without the dough tearing).
Turn into greased bowl and let rise overnight in fridge or 1 hour until doubled.
Punch down dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes and puree
2 tsp minced fresh oregano
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Heat olive oil, sauté garlic.
Add tomatoes and spices.
Simmer 30 min.
2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 1/2 cups grated fresh parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated romano cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped spinach
3/4 cup basil leaves1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated fresh romano cheese
Grind pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in food processor.
Add Spinach and basil, puree until smooth.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Putting it all together
Preheat oven to 450.
Prepare three 10-inch pans by spraying them with non-stick cooking oil.
Cut dough into 3 equal parts.
Stretch dough into circles as thin as possible without tearing, using oil to keep it from sticking to yourself and the counter. If you have trouble with this, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into three circle crusts.
Place dough in pans. Let rest for 15-30 minutes.
Bake dough for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven. Layer cheese mix, then pesto, then fill with sauce.
If crust is too brown, cover just the crust with foil, leaving the center uncovered.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Remove from oven and let cool for 3 minutes.
Here’s a little something from my Venezuelan heritage. This is amazing stuffed in these (you can get them here if you visit Napa) along with a little creme fraiche.
3 lbs. sirloin or flank steak
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 cloves garlic
3 onions, chopped (one to cook with meat, two to add later with peppers)
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, 12 oz.
1 small can pimientos
1 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 Tbsp. thyme
1/2 Tbsp. oregano
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
Olive oil for sauteing
Seal beef in olive oil in the pan.
Add the wine, garlic, half the chopped onion, the bay leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 3 hours. Check occasionally to make sure some liquid remains, if liquid is almost gone, add more wine or water or beef broth.
Remove from heat, let cool, pull appart with two forks to shred.
Saute the remaining onions and the green peppers in olive oil.
Add the meat and remaining ingredients. Simmer another 30 min. until all the flavors are blended.
Serve over rice and black beans, with fried ripe plantain slices on the side to make the traditional Venzuelan dish known as pabellón criollo.