PUMPKIN-CHIPOTLE & KALE PIZZA

For the past 8 years I’ve been using the same recipe for our pizza dough, one that I blogged about in the very early days of the Bewitching Kitchen.  But every once in a while, I get tempted by a recipe described as “the best you’ll ever taste“, “a crust that will change your life“, or some other irresistible statement. Case in point: a recipe from Roberta’s, a restaurant in Brooklyn, NYC.  According to the description in the New York Times,  “it provides a delicate, extraordinarily flavorful dough that will last in the refrigerator for up to a week”.  Lots of rave reviews online by many people who tried it.  So, I got the required flour (Italian type 00) to be combined with regular all-purpose, and went to work.  I chose a very unusual topping for this experiment, combining kale and pumpkin, after reading this post by Joanne from Eats Well with Others, one of the food blogs I follow very closely.  She cooks strictly vegetarian dishes, but trust me, with her cooking no one would miss the meat. For her version, she used burrata, but I had to settle for mozzarella. No major harm done, it turned out delicious!

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ROBERTA’S PIZZA DOUGH
(published by The New York Times)

** I doubled this recipe and made three pizzas **

153 grams 00 flour (1 cup + 1 tablespoon)
153 grams all-purpose flour (1 cup + 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons)
8 grams fine sea salt (1 teaspoon)
2 grams active dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)
4 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon)

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together 200g lukewarm water (about 1 cup), the yeast and the olive oil, then pour this mixture into the flour.  Knead with your hands a few minutes until well combined, then let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

Knead the dough by hand for 3 minutes. Cut into two equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a floured surface,  cover with a cloth slightly moist with water, and let rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature. You can also refrigerate it for 8 to 24 hours (or even several days).  If you work from cold dough, let it sit at room temperature for 45 minutes before shaping it.

Place each dough on a floured board and use your fingers to stretch it.  Top and bake on a very hot oven.

to print the dough recipe, click here
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Dough


PUMPKIN-CHIPOTLE & KALE PIZZA
(slightly adapted from Eats Well with Others)

1 (15 oz) canned pumpkin puree
28 oz fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
salt and black pepper, to taste
8 oz mozzarella cheese
1 bunch lacinato kale, destemmed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese

Heat oven to 500 (or higher). Alternatively, you can use your grill covering the rack with quarry tiles.

In a food processor, process together the pumpkin, fire-roasted tomatoes, chipotle chili powder, and salt and black pepper until pureed. Set aside.

Steam the kale in the microwave until wilted.

Spread enough pumpkin tomato sauce over the dough so that it covers it. You will have plenty of sauce leftover, use it for pasta or new fun experiments with pizza toppings. Sprinkle the kale over the sauce. Top with slices of the mozzarella and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until done to your liking.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: As far as dough goes, I think my default recipe still wins…  This was a nice enough recipe, good texture and crunch, but after making Fine Cooking version countless times, I am so used to it I don’t even have to look at the recipe. Plus, all the variations I make incorporating a little spelt flour here, a little whole wheat there, never disappointed me.  Still, it was fun to try something different.

As to the kale and pumpkin topping: winner!  Incorporating pumpkin in the tomato sauce mellows the natural acidity of the tomato, and of course the chipotle flavor doesn’t hurt either…  Great pizza, too bad we did not find burrata, but any nice melting cheese will work, of course.

We also combined the kale in one pizza with players such as crumbled chorizo & sautéed mushrooms. Super tasty too.  Pizza dinners are always fun and make any evening feel special. Plus, what’s better than leftover pizza next day?

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 Joanne, thanks for the constant inspiration, whenever I am in the mood for some spectacular take on a vegetarian meal, I know which blog to turn to…  And your macarons have not left my mind, I am still gathering my strength to attempt those…  😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Enchiladas Suizas a la Marcela Valladolid

TWO YEARS AGO: The Little Apple

THREE YEARS AGO: Majestic Sedona

FOUR YEARS AGO: Watermelon-induced Daze

TEN YEARS AGO

We had to say a sudden goodbye to my Dad.  I could not get to Brazil in time for the funeral, which is something that haunted me for a while, but not anymore. Instead, sweet memories of him will be with me forever.

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For those who can read Portuguese, a text written today by my oldest niece.

Ele foi embora há dez anos, mas está sempre presente na minha vida. Muito do que tenho e dos valores que tenho vieram dele e da minha avó, através da minha mãe. Para mim e para muita gente ele foi um exemplo de vida, de caráter, de honestidade, e de muitas outras coisas. Com certeza não foi perfeito, era um ser humano normal, mas principalmente, e sem sombra de dúvida, gente como ele faz a humanidade melhor.

(comments are shutdown for this post)

BLACK BEAN & PEPPER JACK BURGER

If you’ve been around the Bewitching Kitchen for a while you know that I eat quite a bit of meat, enjoy eggs, dairy, grains, regular pasta, whole-wheat pasta, sushi, oysters, sweets, there’s basically no category of food I refrain from eating.  So, when you see me rave about a veggie burger, rest assured: I rave from the perspective of a content omnivore. I love what tastes great. Period. If you are a vegetarian, you will flip for these. If you are not, be ready to flip too.  These are spectacular.

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BLACK BEAN AND PEPPER JACK BURGERS
(from Fine Cooking Magazine)

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 15.5-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large egg
1 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt
2 oz. finely grated pepper Jack cheese (1/2 cup)
1 large scallion, minced
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs. olive oil; more for the plate
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
Jarred salsa, for serving
Sliced avocado, for serving

Put the oats in a food processor and pulse three times to roughly chop. Add half of the beans and pulse into a coarse paste, about 6 pulses. Add the egg, cumin, and 1/2 tsp. salt and process to mix well, about 1 minute. Transfer the bean mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining beans, the cheese, scallion, and cilantro.

With wet hands, form the bean mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties and transfer to a lightly oiled plate. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to let the burgers set up.

Heat a large heavy-duty skillet (preferably cast iron) on high heat until very hot; add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Cook the burgers until browned, with a good crust, 2 to 3 minutes; then carefully flip and cook, flipping again if necessary, until the burgers feel firm when pressed with a fingertip, another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve the burgers in the buns, topped with the salsa and avocado.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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I saw this recipe in one of the recent issues of Fine Cooking, but did not think much of it. Then, a member of a cooking forum (Cook’s Talk) raved about them. She said that her husband and son, who would normally twist their noses at any burger made with less than 99% beef,  loved them too.  With that endorsement, I was powerless to resist.

Just remember that the patties need to sit in the fridge for a little while to firm up, other than that, a very simple and weeknight-friendly recipe.   They taste amazing, their texture is obviously more crumbly than that of a meat burger, but I don’t see this type of preparation as a substitute for the real thing, it’s just a fun recipe to open your gastronomic horizons.

Before you ask, I did not make the sweet potato fries, they were frozen entities by the brand Alexis, which we find quite tasty.  However, I did make the hamburger buns: a Wheat Berry Caraway bread that turned out as a great partner for these tasty burgers. Recipe shall be on the blog in the near future.

Seriously: try these black bean cuties soon… you will thank me, I am sure. No matter how much you love sinking your teeth into a medium-rare beef burger…   😉

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ONE YEAR AGO: Carrot and Sesame Sandwich Loaf

TWO YEARS AGO: Border Grill Margaritas

THREE YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

FOUR YEARS AGO: Vermont Sourdough

COOKING SOUS-VIDE: SWEET AND SPICY ASIAN PORK LOIN

I am so excited to publish this post!  My first experiment with the Anova sous-vide gadget, actually if I must be completely honest, it was the second experiment, the first shall remain unblogged.  It involved soft-boiled eggs, and a garbage disposal. Pretty sad combination.  But, I did not let that bring me down, next day I rolled up my sleeves, and went to work on a recipe for pork loin that I found on SVKitchen: Sous-vide Recipes and Techniques for the Home Cook.

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SWEET AND SPICY ASIAN PORK LOIN
(slightly modified from this recipe)

3 pounds boneless pork loin (not pork tenderloin), trimmed of excess fat, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 stalks lemongrass, 3 outer layers and top third removed and discarded, thinly sliced
½ cup soy sauce
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, sliced on a diagonal, for garnish

Heat the water bath to 132°F (56°C).

In a bowl large enough to accommodate the pork, combine the lemongrass, soy sauce, brown sugar, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, five-spice, salt, and pepper. Add the pork and toss everything together to coat evenly. Divide the pork between two large zip lock food bags and seal using the water displacement method.

Cook for 6 hours.

Carefully open the food bags and serve the pork over cooked rice garnished with the sliced scallions.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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In this photo, you see the Anova gadget attached to the large pan, and the water heating nicely to the correct temperature.  After mixing the pieces of meat with the marinade, two large Ziplock bags are sealed using the water displacement method.  I lowered the bag in a bowl of warm water (that makes the plastic more pliable and facilitates removing all air bubbles). The last photo shows the two bags sealed and ready to dive into the water-bath.  Easy as pie!

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I set the timer for 6 hours, but due to important commitments such as helping Phil mow the front lawn & folding laundry, time was extended to 6 hours and 45 minutes. I hoped it would not be a problem. It wasn’t. In fact, it confirmed one of the advantages of sous–vide cooking: once the temperature is reached and properly equilibrated through the meat, you can take your time. Within limits, of course, there will be a change in texture if you push it too far. But this too far becomes a matter of hours, not minutes. Sweet!

Pork Sous-vide

Here is a close up of the meat as you bite into it… moist and tender all the way through!

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Final comments:
 SVKitchen is a fantastic source of recipes and tips for sous-vide cooking, I have several recipes already bookmarked. The site is not getting updates anymore which is kind of sad, but you can still find a ton of stuff and they are also very helpful by email.

One of the things I learned right away from sous-vide cooking is: take notes.  Small variations in temperature will change the result of a recipe, and some can be pretty tricky to nail. Soft-boiled eggs are one classic example. Apparently, once you hit the jackpot with the method that pleases you, it will be quite reproducible.  I am not there yet, but slowly improving.  A very informative and fun article dealing exclusively with soft-boiled eggs can be found here.

Another important point in sous-vide is that for the most part the food will not look appetizing once it’s cooked.  The sous-vide obviously doesn’t brown the food and doesn’t reduce a liquid.  Normally you will need to do a final stove-top, oven, or grill step to bring the dish to completion.  Still, the idea that you can prepare your food in advance and wrap it up in minutes at dinner is quite attractive for those who work full days.  But more important than that is the ability to have perfectly cooked seafood, poultry to work with. Goodbye, tough scallops & shrimp… goodbye dried up chicken breasts & pork loin…

So far, I am really having fun with this new toy.  It is compact, can be stored away in a shelf when not in use, and I found an even better spot to put it in action: the countertop in our laundry room, adjacent to the kitchen.  There Anova enjoys the company of the vacuum sealer,  and on the left of the picture we have a sink, so it’s all quite functional.

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I hope you enjoyed this first post on sous-vide, stay tuned for new adventures on Anova Land…  

ONE YEAR AGO:  Farewell to a Bewitching Kitchen

TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen. June 2012

THREE YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

FOUR YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin

 

IN MY KITCHEN: JUNE 2014

It is now time to join Celia’s great blog party, her In My Kitchen series, in which bloggers all over the world offer a little peek into their favorite room in the house.  I like to start with gifts, so here they are.

From our dear friend SL, two bags of paprika brought from Slovakia.  You cannot imagine how strong they smell, they put any of the stuff we can buy here in the US into shame.  He gave me two kinds, one sweet, one hot.  Oh, yeah….

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Same friend, another super special gift brought from his recent visit to Saudi Arabia (yes, he got me saffron too).  Vacuum-packed dates, absolutely amazing! He also offered a very nice recipe to put these dates to good use. I’ve been very protective of this bag, so that I don’t find it almost empty when I’m ready to bake.

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From friends back in Oklahoma, a nice ceramic bottle to “freeze” vodka.  A gift they brought all the way from Ukraine for us. It lives in the freezer, holding your favorite brand of vodka.  When you feel like having a shot, grab the bottle and bring it to play.  I don’t do the vodka shot thing, but vodka lovers will appreciate how long this bottle keeps it at the proper temperature.

VodkaBottle

From Cindy, who has given me countless cooking-related gifts, one more for the collection: chestnut flour!  She found it at a market in Dallas, and was super kind to grab a bag for me. The order of the universe is now restored. No more shortage of this unique ingredient. Thank you, Cindy!

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Finally, from Phil, two bottles of beautiful pearls of sugar, I guess that means he would like to have some cupcakes in the near future?   😉

Pearls

In our kitchen….

A small colander I bought on impulse at the grocery store, in a sale special with each item for a buck or so.  I fell in love with the vibrant coral color, so I brought it home.  Now I cannot live without it, it is perfect to drain cans of beans, chickpeas, rinse berries, that sort of stuff.

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In our kitchen…

Something I’ve been craving for ages!  I wanted to have salt and ground pepper ready to grab with a teaspoon or my fingers.  Searched left and right for the perfect size, but nothing seemed to fit my dreams, until I found these on Paula’s shop at Etsy (Paulova Ceramics).  You can custom order them in several different colors.  Paula shipped them from Portland quite quickly, by the way.  Just keep in mind that the base doesn’t come with it, mine was a support for some plastic containers. I am still amazed at how well they matched those bowls.   As if they were made for that purpose!

SaltPepperEtsy

In our kitchen…

A spoon rest, found at Bed Bath and Beyond… I think it is a good match for the salt and pepper bowls…  It works double duty as a place to rest a couple of eggs waiting to be scrambled, avoiding the dangers of them falling off the countertop cliff.  Yes, that happened in a distant past. The experience was traumatic, to put it mildly.

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In our kitchen….

A huge plastic box to finally add some sense of organization to the flours I bring home. It lives in our freezer in the garage.The list of flours go not only on the top of the box, but is also stored in my iPhone.  The goal? To prevent me from buying yet another bag of spelt flour, when two are sitting at home.  (sigh)

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In our kitchen…

The pantry received some more special attention, it is not easy to see in the photo, but some clear plastic boxes are now holding items that belong together (baking stuff, dried fruits, extracts, etc).

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Still on the pantry subject, you win some, you lose some.  I saw a tip on Food Network and jumped on the idea like Buck jumps on a snake (side note: last year he killed 8 snakes in our backyard, this year the first casualty happened a few days ago, he is incredibly fast!).  Anyway, the tip was to buy plastic magazine holders like you see in the photo, and use them to store canned stuff, laying on their sides.  Unable to find them anywhere, I went to amazon.com, but the ones I got were too narrow for that purpose. Bummer!  At least they were very cheap, and are now holding…. cooking magazines!   😉

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I was forced to put Plan B in action: soda can containers for the fridge from Bed Bath & Beyond.  More expensive than the magazine holders, but at least they sort of worked.  Not ideal, though. I would like some type of storage in which the cans would be easier to see. Of course, I am vertically challenged, and that adds complexity to this crucial issue.

PantryCans

 

 In our kitchen….

We love these crackers, from Doctor Kracker.  One of our former graduate students got us hooked on them (thanks, Chuck!).  They are crunchy, with the right amount of seeds and nuts without making you feel like an oversized parrot.  Truly delicious with cheese, with hummus, or naked. The crackers. Don’t be naughty…

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In our kitchen….

Another impulse buy from Bed Bath and Beyond.  In my defense, it was on sale. Again in my defense, it had a photo of Ming Tsai on the box.  He endorsed this knife, saying it never needs sharpening, and no food will stick to it. Perfect for tomatoes and cheese.  Passed my test.  Ming would never lie to one of his most loyal admirers. HA!

MingTsaiKnife

In our kitchen….

Saved the best for last…. drum roll please…. intense drum roll….

A sous-vide gadget from ANOVA!!!!

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This is the new toy in its inaugural use…  All you need is a tall saucepan that can hold the gadget on its side.  Anova will keep the water in constant circulation, at the perfect temperature you set it to.  Of course, the size of your pan limits the amount of stuff you can cook under sous-vide.  But any container that is heat-safe and food-safe will work.  I have a huge plastic bin that can be used for larger cuts of meat.  Stay tuned for my first recipe using Anova… Anova, Supernova, our kitchen is at the cutting edge!

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Because I do my nails on the kitchen island, I feel it’s totally appropriate to talk manicure, and introduce a new kid on the block, a holographic nail polish (you cannot go wrong with that, obviously).  Anyway, the color changes quite dramatically depending on the ambient light, pretty cool.  I might have to investigate other colors, you know, just for the sake of scientific experimentation.

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(click to enlarge)

I almost closed this post without canine appearances, but the pups threatened to go on a good-behavior strike.  So I reconsidered my decision, and invited them in…

Chief has been very tired these past weeks…
He says hello from his dreams, his ball keeping him company…

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Buck playing his favorite game: You eat, I stare. 
I won’t move. I won’t blink.  

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A small dog with a hearty appetite, he shares another one of his many 
food obsessions…

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Oscar’s ego is a bit inflated since he was featured all by himself in a recent post. Maybe that’s why he took a few liberties and jumped on the sofa as I was trying to take his picture. The superstar is partial to close-ups now.

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Oscar might think he is a superstar, but “I” am the only one who goes running with Mom & Dad. Whenever she sits down to put those funny looking shoes, I glue to her.
Ready, Mom? Let’s GO!

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I don’ t run. I get pampered. Only special dogs get the Kansas-Summer-Shave.

Are we jealous already?

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Jealous?  You must be kidding me!  You go ahead and stay laying on comfy carpets, I rather go golfing with Mom and Dad.  Who is special now?

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Ok, let’s admit it. We are both equally spoiled. 

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Hope to see you soon, folks! Until next time we leave you with Mom’s regular blogging…

 

ONE YEAR AGO:  Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

TWO YEARS AGO: Baked Coconut and “The Brazilian Kitchen”

THREE YEARS AGO: Honey-Glazed Chicken Legs

FOUR YEARS AGO: French-Style Rolls