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Month: September 2005

Pizza Dough

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 oz water, room temperature
2 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour (optional)
2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast

Combine oil and water in liquid measuring cup. In food processor fitted with plastic dough blade or metal blade, process bread flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, and yeast until combined, about 5 seconds.

With the machine running, slowly add liquid through the feed tube; continue process until dough forms tacky, elastic ball that clears sides of work bowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. If dough ball does not form, add more flour 1 Tbsp at a time until ball forms.

Spray medium bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray or rub lightly with oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and press down to flatten surface; cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in draft-free spot until doubled in volume, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

When the dough has doubled, press down gently to deflate; turn dough out onto work surface and divide into 4 equal sized pieces. With cupped palm form each piece into smooth, tight ball. Set dough balls on well-floured work surface. Press dough rounds with hand to flatten; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Gently stretch dough rounds into disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Working one piece at a time and keeping the rest covered, roll out each disk to 1/8-inch thickness, 10 to 12 inches in diameter, on well-floured surface, dusting with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. (If dough shrinks when rolled out, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until relaxed, 10 to 15 minutes.) Cover rolled dough with plastic wrap until ready to cook.

For the sauce, simply take a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes and pulse in a blender a few times. Pour into a mesh strainer over a bowl/sink and let the water drain for 15 minutes. Put the remaining tomato mixture into a bowl and season with a pinch of salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Do not cook the tomato sauce. Cook the pizzas on a pizza stone at about 450 degrees for around 8 minutes.

Marinated Flank Steak

1 flank steak
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sugar
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Combine ingredients and marinate for 1 to 6 hours in the refrigerator.

Cook the steak on a grill pan under the broiler for 7-8 minutes per side for medium. Let rest 5-7 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

3 lbs. red potatoes, quartered
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put potatoes in a large pot of salted water; cover and bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes or until tender. Drain but save 3/4 cup of liquid.

Coarsely mash the potatoes, adding some of the reserved liquid for moisture. Use a large fork to stir in extra-virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Kung Pao Chicken

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp rice wine
4 tsp soy sauce (reduced sodium)
5 tsp cornstarch

1/2 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil + 1 Tbsp
1 cup raw peanuts
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 rip red chiles, minced (or 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes + dash of chili powder)
4 scallions, chopped
1 broccoli crown, cut into florets (optional)

3 Tbsp soy sauce (reduced sodium)
3 Tbsp rice wine
2 tsp roasted sesame oil
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp Chinese chili paste
1 tsp vinegar

Place cubed chicken in a bowl with rice wine, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Toss well to coat and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a wok over high heat. Fry peanuts, stirring constantly, just until they start to turn golden brown and drain them well on paper towels. Carefully pour off most of the oil, leaving 2 Tbsp in the wok.

Stir-fry chicken just until its cooked through (2-3 minutes). Transfer to a platter with a slotted spoon.

Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil and heat over high heat. Add ginger, garlic, and chiles. Stir for 30 seconds. If adding broccoli, cook here for 1 minute. Add scallions and cook 30 seconds. Pour in the remaining sauce ingredients, peanuts, and chicken. Stir and toss until combined well.

Homemade Pasta

1 1/3 cup flour
2 eggs

Flour a work surface and make a well in the center of the flour. Break the egg into the well and beat with fork. Draw some flour from the inner rim of the well over the eggs and begin to incorporate.

When soft dough forms set aside, clean board, reapply flour to surface. Knead 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour as needed until dough is smooth, pliable and leather-like in appearance. Let rest in the fridge.

Perfect Steak

Using only kosher or sea salt, sprinkle about 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt on each side of a 1″-1.5″ steak and set aside.  After 30 to 45 minutes, rinse all the salt off and thoroughly dry each steak with a paper towel.  Season with fresh ground pepper and apply a thin coat of oil to each side.  No more salt should be added to the steak (enough is absorbed during the earlier salting process).  Place a cast iron skillet in an oven while it preheats to 500 degrees.

Move the iron skillet to a stove burner over high heat. Add the room temperature steaks to the skillet and sear for 30 seconds. Flip the steak and sear the other side for 30 seconds.

Move the skillet to the oven and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the steak and return to the oven for another 3 minutes. Transfer the steak to a plate and loosely cover with foil while it rests for 5 minutes.

More info on the salting method can be found here:

Pasta Salad

1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 cucumber, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower
1 (16 oz.) package rotini pasta
1/2 cup pepperoni (optional)

Cook noodles according to package and set aside. Mix oil, vinegar, sugar, and seasonings together. Combine pasta and veggies in a bowl and pour dressing mixture in, stir. Store in a non-metallic container overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the excess dressing before serving.