Sunday, May 17, 2015

here the pizzas are lined up awaiting the wood fired oven...the pies can't be too close to the intense heat as they cook, or it will burn before the dough cooks....and to make the bottoms crusty, keep the floor of the oven clean and do not touch the pies often, let them sit, spin only when it's time.



pizza dough

(I used only 00 flour, but use AP , whole wheat, spelt, in combo for a really good crust)
the wood fired oven makes everything tastes fantastic!

1 cup plus 1tbl   00 flour  + 1 cup AP
1 tsp honey or sugar
3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup water = 105 - 115 F
salt to taste

combine water yeast and sugar until foams
use kitchen aid
combine flour , salt , olive oil with yeast mixture and with dough hook, mix, until pulls away
coat with olive oil
let almost double in size
punch down and shape

portable wood fired pizza ovens are popping up all over the place!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

UPICK ASPARAGUS

We picked asparagus yesterday, May 9th, at Greig Farm in Red Hook, NY - in the Hudson Valley...visiting, I decided to "do a little digging" on local sustainable farms that grow asparagus. Tis the Season!  Since I have a UPICK farm of my own,  I support other farms in picking items I don't grow on my own.

The following series - The UPICK Series - reviews my findings.  Happy Picking!

... see my previous UPICK post on blueberries in Cooperstown area.

to learn more about Greig farm - here is a link
greig farm



the farm provides boxes and bags - you pick any one asparagus of your choosing at least 6in tall, they weigh it...  Cash only, the 2015 price was $3/ pound compared to their 3.50/lb retail.

What is a sustainable farm? - in brief, a farm that does not use pesticides or herbicides, and practices techniques that are sustainable to the ecosystem - less monoculture, more diversity, non GMO, preservation of land for wildlife and other natural life forms.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

ORGANIC OATMEAL COOKIES

The dogs watched me for more cookie treats - they benefit from my baking. Organic Oatmeal cookies 2 STICKS BUTTER 2 EGGS 1 C WHT SUGAR 1 C BWN SUGAR use less sugar and play with seasonings I used molasses, vanilla, nutmeg... 2 C FLOUR 3 C OATMEAL Bake at 375 for 10 min or until browned

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Great Ceasar's Salad Dressing

One of my favorite scenes in "Madmen" is when they make Ceasar's Salad at table side - it takes me back to when we ate out as a family and this was a special treat made in a large wooden bowl with such ceremony!

This is a modern take.  Just play with the ingredients until you get the right proportions for your palate.  Some prefer more acidity to their dressings, some more garlic.  You don't need a whole lot of anything except olive oil by the cup and tablespoons for everything else - I used the juice of one whole lime. I like to use this dressing to give any greens a lovely coating - romaine, kale, dandelion greens.  Skip the crutons! add the Worcestershire sauce if you have it but I don't think it's essential.
Mine is a simple process - no ceremony.  There are Key ingredients but it can be quickly thrown together and blended until creamy in a blender or food processor  - they are:

sea salt
black pepper - freshly ground
egg yolk - farm fresh
lemon or lime juice - fresh squeezed
pecorino cheese - freshly grated
mustard
olive oil
garlic - farmer grown
anchovies or fish sauce


http://redboatfishsauce.com/fish_sauce.html.

1. The freshest fish makes the best fish sauce.
The primary ingredient in Red Boat is select fresh wild-caught anchovy from the crystal clear waters off the Phu Quoc island archipelago. We use only black anchovy (Ca Com) to lend a unique character and superior flavor to our nước mắm nhi
2. Artisanal not processed. 
A centuries-old traditional method of slow fermentation in large tropical wood barrels to achieve the smoothest, richest, and sweetest flavor.
3. It takes two. 
We bottle only pure first press “extra virgin” fish sauce so with Red Boat, you are getting an amber elixir that is made of just two all natural ingredients: fresh wild caught anchovy and sea salt.

Pizza Technique

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Italian Easter Pie


a more traditional approach is to add orange flower water or millefiore -
Aroma Millefiori (Flower Essence)Aroma Millefiori (Flower Essence)
 , candied citron, or orange and lemon zest.
also, tradition calls for a pasta frollo italian crust - not this american version shown here
I really just liked the cook and her cooking technique - here is another recipe;
1/2 cup hulled soft wheat berries*
2 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 whole large eggs
4 cups cold water
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb fresh ricotta
1/2 teaspoon orange-flower water**
1 1/4 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped candied citron***
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Special equipment: a fluted pastry wheel
*available at natural foods stores and Middle Eastern markets
**available in the supermarket 's bar section or in the baking aisle, or by mail order from Kalustyan's (212-685-3451)
***available at specialty foods shops and some supermarkets
Cover wheat berries with cold water in a bowl, then chill, covered, 8 to 12 hours. Drain in a sieve and rinse.
Make pastry while wheat berries soak: Sift together 2 1/4cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and 1/2teaspoon salt. Blend in 1 1/4sticks butter (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 whole eggs and stir with a fork until a crumbly dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a work surface. Divide in half and with heel of your hand smear each piece of dough twice with a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough and form into 2 disks. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
Make filling: Bring soaked wheat berries and cold water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until wheat berries are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer 5 minutes more. Drain in sieve and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well.
Whisk together 2 yolks and 1/4 cup sugar, then whisk in cornstarch and remaining 3 tablespoons flour until smooth. Bring milk to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, then gradually add hot milk to yolks, whisking.
Pour custard into saucepan and bring to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking constantly (custard will get very thick), then boil, whisking, 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and remaining 1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) butter. Transfer pastry cream to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with wax paper.
Beat together ricotta and remaining 1/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Beat in flower water, pastry cream, and remaining 2 yolks, then stir in zest, citron, cinnamon, and wheat berries.
Assemble and bake pie: Preheat oven to 350F.
Roll out half of dough into a 13-inch round on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Fit dough into a 9-inch (24-centimeter) springform pan (dough is very tender and will crack). Press dough against side of pan and patch any cracks. Chill.
Lightly beat remaining egg. Roll out remaining dough into a 10-inch round and transfer to a baking sheet. Brush dough with some of egg, then cut into 10 (1-inch) strips with fluted pastry wheel.
Spoon filling into chilled piecrust (filling will not reach top of crust).
Arrange 5 dough strips vertically on filling (1 inch apart), pressing ends of strips into crust. Arrange remaining 5 strips over them in same manner to form a diagonal lattice. Trim crust 1/2 inch from top of filling, then fold over lattice. Brush edge with some of egg.
Bake pie in middle of oven until pastry is golden and filling is puffed and set, about 1 1/2 hours, covering top of pie with foil after 50 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Transfer to a rack to cool. Run a thin knife around edge of pie and remove side of pan. Chill pie at least 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.