Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Homemade Pizza

pizza out from the oven, ready to eat

Until about a few weeks ago, I never made my own pizza dough. I either bought the pre-made crust/ frozen pizza dough or worst yet the "pizza kit" that they sell at the stores. It always seemed like it would be a very daunting task to make dough from scratch.

One of my so called "cooking resolutions" for this year include making bread from scratch, making pizza dough from scratch, making ravoili from scratch among other things.

I saw Elise's post on homemade pizza and that gave me the go-try-making-the-pizza-dough-now motivation. Thank you, Elise :). I even bought a pizza stone recently on one of my trips to TX so I was itching to break it in as well.

The major hindrance I have in bread making is that I don't have a stand mixer or a bread machine which means I have to knead the dough by hand. For pizza dough though, I had seen somewhere that the dough could be made in a food processor. Off I went to test my google skills and I found Sara Moulton's recipe and Emerill's recipe.

I mostly followed Moulton's recipe except for the following incorporations from Emerill's and Elise's recipe.

  • I used Emerill's "soft but not sticky" concept to see when the dough was ready to come out of the food processor.
  • I kneaded the dough for about 4-5 minutes by hand, after it was mixed in the food processor.
  • I let the yeast rise for about 1 hour.
  • I also let the dough rise after dividing into 2 portions for about 15 minutes, before I rolled them out for the crust.
  • I mostly followed Elise's recipe for baking the pizza. I improvised with a cooke sheet since I do not own a pizza peel.
pizza dough, ready to be put in the oiled bowl

rolled-out pizza crust

turned cookie sheet being used instead of a pizza peel

pizza, ready to bake

The pizza was so good and it did not seem like it was too much work at all. Infact, after the first try, I have made it every week since then. Now as I sit here blogging, I am thinking "why did I take so long to try the homemade pizza?"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Indian inspired Turkey Burgers w/ Sweet & Baked Potato Fries and Yoghurt Dipping Sauce

turkey burgers with oven fried potatoes and yoghurt sauce

Well that is a very long title :).

I had a little more than half a pound of left over turkey from last night's pasta, so I thought I would put it to good use by making burgers out of them. I also had one lonely sweet potato and one baking potato in the pantry which I thought would make excellent oven-fries. You will notice that the veggies (green pepper and green onions)

The inspiration for the dipping sauce came from Rachael Ray. I was once watching an episode in which she made the sauce for some potato fries. I did make it with different spices so it tied well with the burger.

Eventhough this post is long, it won't take more than 45 minutes to pull this all together (not counting the baking time for the fries).

For the Fries


  • 1 each baking potato and sweet potato
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • salt, to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine the salt and spices in a small bowl.
  • Peel and cut the potatoes into 1/4th inch thick pieces.
  • Rub the olive oil and the spice mix directly on to the potatoes, lay them on a single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Cook in the oven for about 40-45 min, until the fries are tender and crispy.

For the Yoghurt Dipping Sauce

If you have home made yoghurt and it is made with low fat milk, drain it for a couple of hours in a cheesecloth so all the water comes out and you have thick yogurt. If you use store bought yoghurt or use yoghurt made with whole milk, you can skip this step. To make the sauce, for 1 cup of yoghurt, add some chili powder to taste and about 1/2 tsp of crushed dried mint and mix well.

For the Burgers


  • 0.6-0.7 lbs of lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup very finely chopped green pepper
  • 1/3 cup very finely chopped scallions/green onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp red chili powder (or less)
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 pinch cumin powder
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp plain bread crumbs
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • slices of pepperjack cheese (optional)
  • lettuce and tomato to assemble the burger
  • one small mixing bowl
  • one electric/stove top grill pan or a skillet

turkey burgers frying on the grill pan

  • Mix all of the ingredients, except the olive oil together and form into patties (depending on the size of the buns). I used the normal size buns and I could get 3 patties out of the mixture.
  • Put brush the patties with some olive oil, put the rest on the pan and fry on each side for about 6 min or so until well cooked.
  • If using cheese, put cheese directly on top of the skiller during the last 30 seconds or so. At the same time, also put the buns, tops down so they warm up.
  • Assemble the burger with lettuce and tomatoes. Serve with fries and the yoghurt dipping sauce.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Veggie and Turkey Rotini Bake

turkey, veggie, rotini pasta bake

I love pasta. I make some or other pasta atleast once a week if not more. I like pasta because it is easy to make, I can load it up with a ton of veggies and it is very fulling at the same time. 90 percent of the time, I make it with veggies alone. But today, I added in some ground turkey along with the vegetables. For this recipe, it is faster if you are a multitasker with the stove. One burner for the pasta, one for the veggies and the other for the turkey.

  • 3 cups garden rotini pasta
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 10 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp dried italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 green onions, finely chopped to garnish
  • one small skillet
  • one pan to cook the sauce
  • one saucepan to cook the pasta
  • 3 qt oven proof dish
  • Boil water in the saucepan for the pasta, cook until al dente. Drain, set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the pan for the pasta sauce to medium heat, add 1 tbsp of the olive oil, add in the onion, fry for a couple of minutes, then add in the garlic.
  • Once the onions are translucent, add the peppers and the zucchini, the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, italian seasoning and the basil.
  • After the peppers and zucchini are a little soft, add in the mushrooms.
  • After a minute or so, add the pasta sauce. Heat through. Turn off the heat.
  • Put the skillet on medium heat, add in the other tbsp of olive oil, and add the ground turkey to the pan. Break the turkey with a spoon and cook until well cooked through (about 4-5 min).
  • Combine the pasta, the veggie sauce and the turkey. Put this mixture in the 3 qt. dish and top it with the cheese.
  • Bake in a 350 degrees oven for 10 min.
  • Serve while hot.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl Sunday - Tortilla Pinwheels

tortilla pinwheels ready for the Super Bowl (you can see some homemade salsa in the background)

First off, thank you to everyone that checked up on me :). It has been a long time since I blogged. Life was a little busy the last couple of months and I always felt like I had "other" things to do than blog. Well, now I hope to be back (hopefully, seriously). And what better day to resume blogging than the Super Bowl Sunday!

These pin wheels are what I took to a Super Bowl party tonight which had a "Southwest Theme". This recipe can be considered to be a "base" recipe to any tortilla pinwheels as the possiblities for the "fillings" are endless.

Each wrap will make about 10-12 pinwheels (so this recipe makes about 120-140 pinwheels). So this WILL feed a crowd!

  • Mixing bowl
  • Soften the creamcheese in the microwave by putting it in the microwave for about 30 seconds per package.
  • Transfer the creamcheese to the mixing bowl, and beat/blend the cheese until smooth with a fork.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  • Put about 1/3 cup of this filling in the center of a wrap and spread it around with a knife.
  • Roll the tortilla up tightly, then wrap in some plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for about 2-3 hours or overnight.
tortilla wraps ready for the fridge

  • Remove plastic wrap and cut into about 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Serve with some salsa or just by themselves.
* - I avoid using canned food whenever I can. So, I hardly buy canned beans. I do have a couple of cans stuck in the basement (you know for when we are stuck down there riding a tornado out :) ). I cook beans in bulk. I cook about a pound bag according to the package directions, then freeze them in 1-2 cup freezer bags. I then pull them out anytime I need them.

PS - Other variations for the filling include - finely chopped celery, finely chopped green pepper, finely chopped cucumber, thinly sliced turkey/chicken breast (layered on top of the creamcheese mixture before rolling out), replacing creamcheese with hummus for a healthier alternative etc. The possibilties as I mentioned are endless :).