Author Archive

h1

caramelized onion pizza with lemon cream sauce

April 29, 2019
caramelized onion pizza

pizza with lemon pepper cream sauce

Do you like food that is inexpensive to make, but looks and tastes like a million bucks? Do you like sweet and sour? This will be your new favorite pizza. I posted a vegan version way back in 2012, but this is the original. This pizza is a super affordable recipe that is easy to adapt for vegetarians or meat eaters.

+
Preheat oven as high as it will go (500F on my oven).

CRUST:
any pizza crust. you can buy one pre-made from the grocery store, use toasted leftover french bread, or make an unbelievably good New York style pizza crust from scratch.

LEMON CREAM SAUCE:
Make a simple bechamel. Add 2T butter to a saucepan. When melted, add 2T flour. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to smell toasty. Add milk, about a cup and a half. Cook til a bit thicker. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
When almost thick, add just a little lemon zest. Turn off heat and add tons of fresh lemon juice, black pepper, and salt to taste. Optional: add a pinch of nutmeg, and/or a pinch of orange zest.

ONIONS:
Slice onions super-thin. Saute over medium-low heat for longer than seems possible, stirring often.

(If you like, adding a splash of apple cider vinegar and honey towards the end makes them taste like candy.)

Optional: add leftover roasted vegetables like broccoli or

FOR MEAT EATERS:
Add slices of prosciutto or, really, any meat. You can use ham for a Canadian bacon flavor, or crumbled bacon or sausage.

+

Top crust with sauce and a mild white cheese, like brick mozzarella.
Add onions and other optional toppings.
Bake.

+

One of the best pizzas of all-time. Based on a retired menu item at Bertucci’s: the Nolio pizza.
Adapted by friedsig.

Advertisements
h1

new york style pizza crust

April 22, 2019

Without question my favorite pizza crust recipe of all-time.

22 1/2 ounces (about 4 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
.35 ounces kosher salt (about 3 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
15 ounces lukewarm water

recipe by Kenji @ serious eats

+

The recipe was written for a food processor. I’ll include my adaptations.

1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in bowl of food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times until incorporated. Add olive oil and water. Run food processor until mixture forms ball that rides around the bowl above the blade, about 15 seconds. Continue processing 15 seconds longer. (Or, if you’re like me and you don’t have a working food processor, just combine the ingredients with your hands in a huge bowl.)

2. Transfer dough ball to lightly floured surface and knead once or twice by hand until smooth ball is formed. It should pass the windowpane test. (If you don’t have a food processor, knead by hand until it passes the windowpane test, usually 8 to 15 minutes depending on humidity and flour used. Mine took 13 minutes.) Divide dough into three even parts and place each in a covered quart-sized deli container or in a zipper-lock freezer bag. (Each chunk fits perfectly in a big yogurt container.) Place in refrigerator and allow to rise at least one day, and up to 5.

3. At least two hours before baking, remove dough from refrigerator and shape into balls by gathering dough towards bottom and pinching shut. Flour well and place each one in a separate medium mixing bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at warm room temperature until roughly doubled in volume.

4. 1 hour before baking, adjust oven rack with pizza stone to middle position and preheat oven to 500°F. Turn single dough ball out onto lightly flour surface. Gently press out dough into rough 8-inch circle, leaving outer 1-inch higher than the rest. Gently stretch dough by draping over knuckles into a 12 to 14-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to sheet pan or pizza peel/stone.

+

Nothing to say about this crust except, yes, it’s perfect. I cut the salt to just one teaspoon, but otherwise followed it exactly. It definitely had a funky taste without enough salt, so maybe try 2t salt if you’re going for a lower-sodium adaptation. Otherwise, just keep it at the 3t from the original recipe.

Perfect for all your favorite pizzas.

h1

persian chopped salad

April 15, 2019

Shirazi salad, also known as Persian chopped salad, is an amazing bright, fresh, and summery vegan treat. It doesn’t get much healthier than this raw crunchy salad.

The only necessary ingredients here are a veggie or two, lemon or lime juice, and something herby. It’s too early in the season here for fresh garden herbs, but dry mint was great in this!

Chop any combination of the following:
raw fresh cucumbers
raw fresh tomatoes
raw onion
raw garlic
fresh hot chili pepper
fresh herbs like mint, parsley, or cilantro

Add chickpeas if you like. (I do!)

Dress with lemon or lime juice, and any combination of salt and pepper, dry or fresh mint, dry or fresh dill, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.

(If you’re leaving out the fresh herbs, make sure to add extra citrus, and some dried herbs like dill-and-garlic seasoning or capitol hill blend!

+

recipe adapted from a variety of sources, including Persian mama and Cleveland clinic.

+

Similar to a fattoush or “Israeli salad” – this infinitely adaptable salad goes with everything. I highly recommend the chickpeas. Chickpeas add an interesting texture, and lots of protein and fiber!

If you like spicy, Sichuan cucumber salad is your best bet. But what if you want something clean and fresh, not doused in spicy oil? The dry mint in this recipe makes it super refreshing.

This is basically a textbook example of a “detox meal” – something that makes you feel alive again after a winter of eating junk food like super-greasy crispy fried tofu. Easy to make low-sodium, great for a potluck, and a great way to use local veggies from your backyard garden or your farmers’ market.

It doesn’t get much healthier than this!

h1

salt-free herb ranch seasoning

April 12, 2019

You’ll be surprised how often you find yourself using this savory herb blend. Of course it’s amazing mixed into plain yogurt or sour cream for a great dip. Yes, it’s fantastic sprinkled on pasta or pizza as a no-sodium umami boost. But then you will try it on popcorn. Sprinkled in the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich. On mashed potatoes. On roasted veggies. In your veggie/meat burgers. On fish. If you’re on a low sodium diet, this may quickly become one of your go-to seasoning blends.

The ranch I grew up with was mostly cheap soybean oil with an unbelievable amount of sugar and salt. The label’s serving size (two tablespoons of ranch) contains almost 300mg of sodium – that’s 20% of the salt someone with high blood pressure should eat for the entire day (source: ranch / American Heart Association)!! I grew up dipping my pizza crusts into that greasy sludge. If you think that’s what we’re making here, think again!

It reminds me of Capitol Hill seasoning (shallots, dill weed, parsley, chives, salt and pepper; all dried) – a perfect umami kick to top anything bland.

2 T dried parsley
2 t dried dill
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
1 t dry flake onion
1 t black pepper
2 t dried chives
1 t oregano
buttermilk powder (optional. I hear this adds a great tang like a buttermilk ranch, but I left it out and it’s still great.)
(note to self: maybe try with dried orange or lemon zest next time to add the tang of buttermilk?)

+

adapted from gimme some oven and from some other recipe I can no longer find rip

+

Made this for the first time in early April, and by mid-April I already used almost an entire batch of this on everything from charred onion and cucumber salad to roasted potatoes to Persian chopped salad. Such a great springtime blend to add something different to your healthy diet!

Just one teaspoon of salt has 2300mg of sodium – that’s way more than people with high blood pressure are supposed to have over the course of a day (source : Harvard). Even though most people get most of their sodium from processed foods like frozen food and bread, it can be easy to go overboard on the salt shaker when you are cooking blander food like potatoes and rice. This is an awesome way to give you the flavor bomb you want while cutting back on your salt intake!

It doesn’t taste like the ranch you grew up with – if you want that, add cheap soybean oil, sugar, MSG, tons of salt, and egg yolks. Even if you hate ranch, give this a try! But if herbs aren’t your cup of tea, try some other salt-free spice blends from around the world!

h1

sichuan cucumber salad

April 9, 2019

perfect fresh, sour, crunchy foil to anything heavy. equally amazing served as a side with a rich pork meal (like dandanmian) – a crunchy topper for your salad – or just a mid-day snack.

smash or slice cucumbers into your favorite shape and size

top with any combination of the following:

– splash of sesame oil and/or hot chili oil (make your own with dry chilis and canola/veg oil, or use leftover dandanmian oil – easy substitution would be canola oil with a pinch of cayenne or hot sauce)
– splash of tamari or soy sauce
– pinch of sugar
– pinch of salt
– toasted Sichuan peppercorns
– splash of black vinegar (if you don’t have chinkiang vinegar, rice wine vinegar or apple cider will do)

if you want to get wild, add:
– pinch of toasted sesame seeds
– pinch of minced ginger and/or garlic

+

adapted by friedsig from lots of sources, especially richard hsiao’s pickled cukes, but also China Sichuan food, appetite for China, and omnivore’s kitchen

+

absolutely fantastic. perfect summery recipe. dare you not to eat the whole thing! it’s really more of a quick pickle than a salad, so let flavors absorb for at least an hour before eating (if you can resist the urge to eat it all immediately)

without question my best cucumber salad recipe besides fattoush and a plain-yogurt-and-dill thing i make in high summer. try this!!!

h1

mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐)

March 25, 2019

Quest for the perfect mapo tofu!

VERSION 1 – a sweet, Americanized version by Shirley Cheng for epicurious

•1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
•1 1/2 pounds soft (not silken) tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
•2 tablespoons Chinese hot bean paste (also called chili bean sauce)
•1 tablespoon Chinese black-bean paste or sauce
•4 tablespoons oyster sauce (note: this is too much, and will make your dish very, very sweet)
•2 tablespoons Asian chili powder (note: this is clearly too much for most westerners; add a little at first and more to taste)
•1 tablespoon cornstarch
•1/4 cup peanut oil (I mixed in some hot chili oil from dan dan noodles)
•4 ounces ground beef
•1 (1/4-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced on diagonal
•1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
•1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), washed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 1/2 cup)
•1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
•1 tablespoon light soy sauce
•1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

recipe by Shirley Cheng for epicurious

+

VERSION 2 – from omnivore’s cookbook

•120 grams (4 ounces) ground meat (pork, chicken or turkey)
•2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine (or Japanese Sake)
•1 teaspoon light soy sauce
•1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

For braising
•1 teaspoon cornstarch
•2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns increase to 3 teaspoons if you like your dish extra numbing
•1 tablespoon vegetable oil
•3 tablespoons Doubanjiang spicy fermented bean paste
•2 tablespoons green onion, chopped (note: I didn’t have any, so I used 2 cloves of garlic)
•1 block (400-g / 14-oz) firm or medium firm tofu , cut into 1.5cm (1/2 inch) squares
•1 cup water or stock
•2 teaspoons Chinese chili oil; 1 teaspoon for a less spicy dish (note: for a mild dan dan noodle chili oil, you will need all 2 teaspoons.)
•1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
•1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
rice or another grain to serve

1. Combine ground meat/veg, cooking wine, soy sauce, and ginger in a bowl. Mix well.

2. Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

3. Cut and prep ingredients.

4. Heat vegetable oil and Sichuan peppercorns in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When the Sichuan peppercorns turn dark brown and crispy, scoop them out with spatula and transfer into a bowl layered with paper towel to soak extra oil. Save to use for garnish the dish.

5. When oil is hot, add ground meat and bean paste. Stir-fry over medium heat with a spatula, until pork is evenly coated with bean paste. Add green onion and stir fry for another minute.

6. Spread tofu evenly on top of ground pork – don’t stir until it braises for a few minutes, so the tofu doesn’t fall apart. Add chili oil, five-spice powder, and sugar. Pour in broth/water and simmer, covered, over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tofu becomes tender and the sauce has reduced to half the original amount. Taste the tofu with some broth. Adjust seasoning by adding salt. If the dish is too spicy, add another teaspoon of sugar. Gently mix well with spatula.

7. Mix cornstarch water again until fully dissolved and swirl it into the skillet. Gently stir a few times with a spatula, until sauce thickens. Turn off heat and transfer everything to a bowl.

8. Garnish with green onion and Sichuan peppercorns, if using. Serve warm over rice or another grain.

+

RECIPE 1: I’ll be honest – I hardly followed the recipe. I made my own low-sodium versions of bean paste, since I ran out of fermented bean paste a few months ago. I combined miso, a homemade version of hoisin with peanut butter and tamari… the substitutions were a mess. Sherry for Shaoxing wine, sesame oil for peanut oil… I barely had anything the recipe called for at all. But this was still one of the best things I made all winter.

Hits all those comfort food notes. Greasy, sweet, salty, savory, texturally interesting, and absolutely numbing and spicy. Just… yes. I used some extra chili oil from last month’s batch of dan dan noodles (dandanmian), and a ton of Sichuan peppercorns toasted and ground, although nowhere near the teaspoon called for in the recipe.

A comment on the Epi review recommends iron chef Chen‘s recipe as slightly more authentic and less sweet. Since I used half my oyster sauce on this recipe, I’ll definitely try it.

+

RECIPE 2: I was worried it’d be too spicy, so I cut the bean paste from 3T to 2T. It wasn’t spicy enough last night, but the leftovers sat and got spicier and spicier! Today it was just perfect. I’d say cut it to 2T if you’re making it for tomorrow. Otherwise, go for the whole 3T! Very different from the super-sweet oyster sauce version. They’re both so good! I would say version two is a little more savory and simple, and recipe one is a little more of a flavor bomb, much saltier and sweeter. The first is perfect for American palates, and the second is great for people who don’t care for sweet food. I highly recommend both! I can’t wait to try iron chef Chen‘s recipe to complete this trifecta of tofu!

Added this to the “rotation” tag because I plan to try all the different versions of this amazing dish. I made this twice so far in March. What a rad way to use up the last little bit of ground meat in your fridge!

 

edit: help I can’t stop eating this incredible spicy meal

h1

panko-crusted mustard-thyme roast chicken thighs

March 18, 2019

Easy weeknight chicken! What could be better? I’m including the original, from epicurious, and my own (way better) crispy-skinned version!

MY VERSION:
– preheat oven to 450
– rub chicken thighs with black pepper
– on the stovetop, brown chicken thighs on a smokin’ hot cast iron, skin-side down, til the skin is crispy
– flip thighs, sprinkle with thyme and a little bit of salt, and place in oven til done (about 25 min for small thighs)
– remove thighs, put smoking hot cast iron onto the stovetop on medium heat, and add white wine and mustard to deglaze the pan, maybe some thyme to taste.
– turn off heat, add fresh lemon juice to taste, and pour pan sauce out into another container so the acidity doesn’t mess with your cast iron. serve chicken with pan sauce. great served with a honey mustard dressed salad, or some roasted veggies like orange carrots with tahini drizzle, or even just toss potatoes in the pan sauce and roast them on the side! also great with veggies sautéed in tarragon mustard citrus butter.

ORIGINAL RECIPE:
•3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
•4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
•1/4 cup Dijon mustard
•2 tablespoons thyme leaves, plus 3 sprigs
•8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, patted dry
•Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
•1 pound medium carrots, scrubbed, cut into 3″ pieces, halved lengthwise if thick
•2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Place a rack in highest position in oven; preheat to 450°F. Place panko in a small bowl. Mash butter, mustard, and thyme leaves in another small bowl with a fork (it will be a little lumpy). Season chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange skin side up a rimmed baking sheet and smear all over skin side of thighs. Working with 1 piece at a time, firmly press chicken, skin side down, into panko so crumbs adhere. Place back on baking sheet skin side up.
Arrange carrots and thyme sprigs around chicken and drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and bake until carrots are tender and chicken is cooked though, 25–30 minutes.
Heat broiler. Broil chicken and carrots just until panko is golden brown and carrots are tender and browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and pour pan juices over top.

+

first recipe adapted by friedsig from the second recipe, which is by epi and bon appetit

+

I found the panko crust didn’t get crispy and brown, even when I broiled the thighs for six or seven minutes. My version is way better! You still get that nice mustard and thyme flavor, with a little more depth of flavor from the wine and lemon. Also, instead of the carrots absorbing all that great chicken fat, you get a huge quantity of pan sauce and you can use that to flavor a ton of different roasted veggies throughout the week! Try the Bon Appetit version if you want, but if you want a nice crispy skin, try my version! Tagged “rotation” because I make this all the time.