Thursday, August 27, 2009

White Pizza with Arugula

As much as I love to cook, I have to admit that yeast breads are not always my favorite project. Sometimes it seems like they require too much patience and planning, which can be difficult given the fast pace of life. This pizza dough, however, is one of the easier yeast bread recipes I have used - and the result is absolutely worth the effort!
Unless this is your first time reading my blog, you know that my husband is a meat & potatoes guy - and you can guess what his response is to a white pizza with arugula . . . and no meat! Despite the lack of meat, he gave the recipe his endorsement - "This pizza is really good, even without meat! The crust has a good flavor." (Husb tried it without the arugula)

Thanks to Andrea for selecting such a DELICIOUS recipe for Barefoot Bloggers!

White Pizza with Arugula

For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the topping:
3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 oz.) I used Raclette cheese because I had it on hand
1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 oz.) OR one 8 oz. pkg fresh mozzarella pearls (not grated)
11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon, sliced

freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Mix the dough - Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

Knead by hand - When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.

Let it rise - Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Make garlic oil - Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)

Portion the dough - Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Stretch the dough - Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)

Top the dough - Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown. Top each pizza with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan.

Make the vinaigrette - Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Add the greens - When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza; add a slice of lemon and freshly grated Parmesan and serve immediately.
- Adapted (ever so slightly!) from the Barefoot Contessa, via

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vanilla-Orange Cream Popsicles

I promise I make more than popsicles and ice cream . . . the real food just isn't as fun to blog about, I guess. Eating Well magazine had a small section featuring homemade "freezer pop" recipes in their July/August 2009 issue; so far I have tried 2 of the 5 pops and they have both turned out to be tasty and refreshing summer treats! I have had so much fun making freezer pops that I even bought a really cool set of silicone popsicle molds (see the swirl-cone effect?).

Vanilla-Orange Cream Pops (aka Orange Julius on a Stick)
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups low fat vanilla yogurt
1-2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl; divide mixture among freezer pop molds and freeze until completely firm, about 6 hours. Briefly run warm water over molds to release popsicles. Makes ten 3-oz. servings.

Per serving: 53 calories, 1 g fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 10 g carb, 2 g protein, 0 g fiber. 32% daily value of Vitamin C.
- Recipe and nutrition facts from Eating Well magazine

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This might possibly be . . .

The best ice cream EVER.
Yes, it is a bold statement . . . but I believe it to be true. I saw this recipe a year ago, on the blog of the very talented Emiline. It has been on my 101 list since then, and the combination of company last weekend and fresh peaches finally pushed it up on the priority list. This may not make sense, but it is so good that I both a) wish I had made it last summer and b) wish I had never made it at all. Why? Because all ice cream I make will now be compared to this, and honestly, I can't imagine what would top it. The flavors balance perfectly - it is sweet, tart, creamy, and occasionally crunchy and salty (when you get a walnut) all at once.

Buttermilk Frozen Custard with Bourbon Brandy Roasted Peaches and Brown Sugar Walnuts (Original recipe by Emiline; slightly adapted version below)

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
6 large egg yolks
3 cups heavy cream or half-and-half (I used 1.5 cups of each)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
6 tablespoons brown sugar, divided use
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup coarsely chopped firm ripe peaches, peeled
2 tablespoons Brandy

Whisk together buttermilk and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together cream and sugar, in a large saucepan, over medium heat, and bring mixture to a boil. Gradually whisk half of the hot cream into eggs, until well combined. Whisk egg mixture back into saucepan containing remaining cream. Heat mixture, whisking constantly, until custard coats the back of a spoon.

Strain custard into a large mixing bowl, and whisk in vanilla.
Cool custard for 30 minutes; lightly cover and refrigerate overnight.

To make the brown sugar walnuts, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet, over medium heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons brown sugar, salt and walnuts, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved, and walnuts are golden and fragrant. Pour into a small bowl and cool completely.

To make the peaches, melt the additional 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet, over medium heat. Stir in the additional 3 tablespoons brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Add peaches and Bourbon, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender and syrupy. Pour into a small bowl and cool completely.

Pour custard into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's directions. In the last 5 minutes of processing, add walnuts and peaches, and allow to finish churning. Pour into a freezer-proof container and freeze for 2 hours, or until ready to serve.

Yield: 8 servings
Source: Visions of Sugar Plum, by Emiline - check it out, she has amazing treat recipes!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mocha Ice Pops

One of my favorite beverages is an iced mocha, so I was thrilled to find a simple recipe for Mocha Ice Pops in the July/Aug. issue of Eating Well. The recipe takes only a few minutes to prepare and the result is a low calorie, cold and refreshing treat . . . it is definitely more icy than creamy, and somehow manages to taste both light and rich. Highly recommended for coffee/mocha fans!

Mocha Ice Pops
2 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
5 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Whisk together coffee, sugar, and cocoa in a medium bowl until sugar has dissolved. Stir in half-and-half, vanilla and salt until combined.

Divide mixture among freezer-pop molds, insert sticks and freeze until completely firm, about 6 hours. Run mold under hot water briefly to remove ice pops from mold.

Makes 10 three-ounce popsicles. Per serving: 54 calories, 3 g fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 7 g carb, 1 g protein, 0 g fiber.
- Recipe from Eating Well magazine

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Banana Mango Daiquiris

For the first August Barefoot Bloggers recipe, Veronica chose Banana Mango Daiquiris. I halved the recipe below, because even though we probably could have consumed the whole recipe, it would not have been a good idea! If you use frozen mango and have a little bit left over, this recipe also makes a good smoothie when you leave out the rum. Strawberries are also a good addition, if you have some (fresh or frozen) you need to use.

Banana Mango Daiquiris

2 cups chopped ripe (or frozen) mango
1 ripe banana, chopped
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
1/4 cup sugar syrup*
1 1/4 cups dark rum
Mango slices, for serving

Place the mango, banana, lime juice, sugar syrup, and rum in a blender and process until smooth. Add 2 cups of ice and process again until smooth and thick. Serve ice-cold in highball glasses with the mango slices.

*To make simple syrup, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Chill.
- Recipe from Ina Garten

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sunday, August 09, 2009


A little sample of the heirloom tomatoes from my garden . . .Beautiful and tasty . . .
I've got to start making salsa . . . or something!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Mojito ice cream

A mojito isn't something I drink often, but while I was dreaming up ice cream flavors and trying to find a way to use some of the lime mint in my garden, it occurred to me that mojito ice cream might be a nice summer treat. I wasn't able to find a recipe so I used a basic ice cream formula and added mint, lime and rum. To be honest, the results have been mixed. My friend A. liked the ice cream, while B. wasn't crazy about it until she added chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Another A. also liked it, but L. wasn't so sure about it. (hmm . . . I see a trend here - if your name starts with "A" you will like this ice cream . . .). My opinion? Loved it! I think it is very refreshing, and the flavors of the mint and lime really shine through. The rum also keeps it from freezing too hard, which homemade ice cream sometimes does. If you're up for an adventure and are a fan of fresh mint, you should definitely give this ice cream a try!

Mojito ice cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup fresh lime mint leaves
4 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp. lime zest
2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
3 tbsp. rum

1. Warm the milk, sugar, and 1 cup of the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the mint leaves. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Strain the mint-infused mixture through a mesh strainer into a medium saucepan. Pour the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer on top.

3. Re-warm the mint-infused mixture. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and salt. Slowly pour the warm mint liquid into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath. Stir in lime zest, lime juice, and rum.

5. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator; then freeze in ice cream maker according to instructions. Transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze at least 4-6 hours before serving.