Monday, January 31, 2011

Quick Homemade Pizza Dough

You may think that making pizza is not worth the trouble compared to ordering one but trust me you are wrong! I'll give you 4 reasons why you should give it a try.

(1) First of all, making your own pizza will save you a lot of money. The ingredients needed for this homemade dough will literally only cost you a couple of dollars. And fresh toppings won't be that much more. You will need to buy a pizza pan (I recommend a perforated one which allows air to circulate and helps achieve crispy crust perfection) but it will pay off just after its first use!

(2) Making your own pizza is healthful since you control all the ingredients. Cut back on the full-fat cheese and meat, and pile on the fresh veggies instead!

(3) Making your own pizza won't take any longer – actually, it might be even faster – than calling the pizza place and waiting for the delivery man.

(4) Last but not least, making your own pizza is fun. Do it with your kids! I guarantee they will love playing “chef”. If you do not own a stand mixer, you can still make this dough: simply knead by hand for about 15 minutes.

This recipe yields enough dough to make two large pizzas. Use half the dough now, and freeze the other half for later: spread a little olive oil in a zip-top bag, put the dough in, seal and put in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you need it, just thaw overnight in the fridge. You can even make this dough a day or two in advance, place in a zip-top bag coated with olive oil and chill in the fridge. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.

As for toppings, use whatever you like or have on hand. Our favorites (not all at once!) are marinara sauce, mozzarella, feta, black olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, red onions, artichoke hearts, spinach, zucchini, sundried tomatoes, pesto and prosciutto. Yummy!

Yields enough dough for 2 large pizzas

  • 1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) = 7 g (un sachet) de levure de boulanger deshydratée
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°) = 235 ml d'eau chaude (entre 38° et 43°)
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water = 300 ml d'eau froide
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil = 2 cuillères à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 1 teaspoon sugar = 1 cuillère à café de sucre
  • 1 teaspoon salt = 1 cuillère à café de sel
  • 5 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour = environ 725g de farine à pain

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Combine 1 1/4 cups cold water, oil, sugar, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

Lightly spoon about 5 1/4 cups bread flour (= 675 g) into dry measuring cups. Combine flour, yeast mixture, and cold water mixture in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low 8 minutes or until dough begins to form. Let rest 2 minutes; mix on low 6 minutes or until dough is smooth. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 2 minutes); add enough of the remaining flour (about 1/4 cup = 25 à 50 g), 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Divide dough into two portions. Use now or place in zip-top bag(s) coated with olive oil and chill in the fridge or freeze.

When ready to bake: preheat oven to 450F/230C.

Place one portion of dough on a lightly floured surface; roll into large circle. Coat a 12 to 14 inch perforated pizza pan with olive oil spray. Transfer dough to pan. Using your fingers, shape a rim if you like. Add tomato sauce, cheese and favorite toppings. Bake at 450° for about 14 minutes until cheese has melted and crust has browned. Let stand a few minutes. Slice. Enjoy!

This is our pizza before putting it into the oven...
When it came out, we just had to eat it right away!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Red Turkey Chili

When it's cold and snowy outside, my brain automatically thinks: chili! I have tried many recipes, this one is the simpliest but the most flavorful. I make it with ground turkey but you can substitute ground beef if you prefer. I just like the taste of white meat better and it is leaner. That way I save on calories and fat and I can indulge in those delicious mini cheddar scones I was telling you about earlier!

The secret ingredients in this recipe are coffee and beer! You will not taste either but they will add depth and enhance all the other flavors.

The key ingredient is the Terlingua Red spice mix from Hard Times Cafe. It contains chili pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. You can buy it at any Hard Times Cafe location, if you are lucky to have one near you, or order online. If that's not an option, just use any regular chili powder blend.

Feel free to let the chili simmer a little longer. Serve it as is or add your favorite topping(s): shredded cheddar, diced onion, tomato or avocado, chopped jalapenos, or even sour cream. Yummy!

About 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil / 1 cuillère à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 2 cups chopped onion / 300 g d'oignons hachés
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced / 4 gousses d'ail, hachées
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast / 450-500 g de dinde hachée
  • 1 1/2 cups water / 350 ml d'eau
  • 2 tablespoons Terlingua Red spice mix or chili powder / 2 cuillères à soupe de chili en poudre
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper / une pincée de poivre
  • 1 can (about 15 oz.) kidney beans, drained and rinsed / 1 boite (425 g net ou 280 g égoutté) de haricots rouges, égouttés et rinsés à l'eau claire
  • 1 can (about 15 oz.) small red beans, drained and rinsed / 1 boite (425 g net ou 280 g égoutté) de petits haricots rouges, égouttés et rinsés à l'eau claire
  • 1 can (about 15 oz.) tomato sauce / 450 ml de coulis de tomate
  • 1 can (about 15 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained / 1 boite (425 g) de tomates pelées et découpées en petits dés – ne pas égoutter
  • 3/4 cup light beer / 175 ml de bière légère
  • 1/3 cup hot brewed coffee / 80 ml de café fraîchement passé

Heat oil in a large enameled cast-iron pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add ground turkey; cook 6 minutes, stirring to crumble. Stir in water, spice mix/chili powder, black pepper, beans, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beer and coffee; simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Enjoy!


Mini Cheddar Scones

Okay, these are a splurge (just look at the amount of butter)! But they are truly amazing and worth every calorie. Of course, after writing that, I had to try and figure out the calorie count. It's actually not that bad at about 90 calories each. Just don't eat five in a row – trust me, that will be challenging!

Serve them with any smooth veggie soup, winter stew or chili. They are puffy, cheesy and buttery. In one word: yummy!

Makes 32 mini scones

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour / 300 g de farine
  • 2 tablespoons sugar / 2 cuillères à soupe de sucre (25 g)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder / 2 cuillères à café de levure (chimique)
  • 1 teaspoon salt / 1 cuillère à café de sel
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda / une pincée de bicarbonate de soude (en pharmacie)
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed / 140 g de beurre, froid et coupés en petits dés
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar / 75 g de cheddar rapé
  • 1 cup buttermilk / 250 ml de babeurre ou lait ribot (à défaut, ajouter 1 cuillère à soupe de jus de citron ou de vinaigre blanc à 240 ml de lait, remuer puis laisser reposer 5 minutes avant d'utiliser)
  • 2 tablespoons water / 2 cuillères à soupe d'eau (30 ml)
  • 1 egg, blended with 1 tablespoon water / 1 oeuf, battu et mélangé à 1 cuillère à soupe d'eau

Preheat oven to 375F/190C, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients in food processor bowl. Add butter and pulse a few times. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in cheddar, then add buttermilk and water. Knead by hand, gently, until just blended. Turn dough out on a lightly floured work surface and pat into an 8-inch square. Cut into 16 2-inch squares, then cut each square into 2 triangles. Arrange mini scones on baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch in between. Brush each top with egg-water mixture and bake for 25 minutes, until golden. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Almond-Raspberry Mini Cakes

The inspiration for these delicious almond-raspberry bites comes from the French financiers that I enjoyed snacking on as a child.

In this variation, I have kept the traditional financier ingredients: almond meal, egg whites, powdered sugar, flour and brown butter -- isn't the French name of “beurre noisette” (hazelnut butter) so much cuter than brown butter?

The twist is that I have added raspberries for extra flavor and color. These mini cakes are light and moist and I find them to be the perfect match to a nice cup of tea. Yummy!

Makes 24 mini-cakes

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar / 125 g de sucre glace
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour / 50 g de farine
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons almond meal / 50 g de poudre d'amande
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder / 1 cuillère à café de levure (chimique)
  • 4 egg whites or about 4.5 fl. oz. liquid egg whites / 4 blancs d'oeufs (entre 125 et 150 ml)
  • 5 tablespoons butter / 70 g de beurre
  • 24 (or more if they are small) raspberries (fresh or frozen) / 24 (ou plus selon la taille) framboises (fraiches ou congelées)

In a bowl, mix the sugar, flour, almond meal, baking powder and egg whites.
Slice the butter and heat it in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until it turns brown and has a nutty aroma. Remove from the stove immediately (or it will overburn and turn black) and allow it to cool for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Add to the batter and mix well until fully incorporated.
Place the batter in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
Spoon batter into 24 mini muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
Push one raspberry (or two if they are small) in the center of each mini-cake.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cinnamon-Raisin Bagels

I love cream cheese. I love it even more on a toasted bagel! I've had bagels that were dense and bland. But a cinnamon-raisin bagel, now that's tasty! And a homemade one is even better! The process of making these bagels is fairly easy. I can't believe I felt so intimidated before!

(1) First, you mix and knead all the ingredients together, like you would for any yeast bread recipe. I use my KitchenAid but you can easily knead this dough by hand, just flour your hands so the dough doesn't stick too much. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about one hour. Mine ended up rising for two hours because I had to step out. Oops, that's fine!

(2) Then comes the fun part: punching the dough down. Yes, literally, make a fist and *gently* push it into the center of the puffy dough. There's something so therapeutic about that, especially when you just had a bad day! It will get the air out and deflate the dough so you can shape it.

(3) Now the tricky part: getting that “perfect” bagel shape. There are many different techniques. I tried the “roll, cut and poke” one and I was pretty happy with the result. If you have a bagel cutter, that works too!

(4) The boiling step (or as my little one called it “bath time”!) might sound weird but don't skip it, the bagels will expand further in the hot water.

(5) Let's not forget a little shine: brush some beaten egg over the top of the bagels.

(6) Finally, bake. I recommend using parchment paper so you do not need to grease the baking sheet and bonus: it makes cleaning afterward easier.
If possible, enjoy these bagels right out of the oven. There isn't a lot of moisture or fat in bagels, so they will dry out quickly if left out. They will keep well in the fridge for a few days. Or you can freeze them. Just thaw for 30 minutes or reheat in the microwave, then cut in half and toast. Yummy!

For 12 bagels (based on a recipe from Good Mood Food by Donal Skehan)
  • 4 ½ oz. raisins / 125 g de raisins secs
  • a little over 1 lb. of unbleached white whole wheat flour (or regular all-purpose flour or a mix of white flour and whole wheat flour) / 500g de farine (blanche ou complète, ou un mélange 50/50)
  • 12 oz. lukewarm water/ 350 ml d'eau tiède
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dried yeast / 7 g (un sachet) de levure de boulanger deshydratée
  • 3 tablespoons sugar / 3 cuillères à soupe de sucre
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon / 1 cuillère à soupe de canelle en poudre
  • 2 teaspoons salt / 2 cuillères à café de sel
  • 1 egg, beaten / 1 oeuf, battu
Soak the raisins in a bowl of boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Place the flour in a large bowl (or in KitchenAid bowl if using) and make a well in the center. Pour the water, yeast and sugar into the well and allow to sit for 6-8 minutes, until it becomes thick and frothy. Add the cinnamon and salt and using a spoon slowly incorporate the flour into the yeast and water mix.
Turn the dough out on to a floured surface (if kneading by hand) and knead in the raisins. Continue kneading for 4-5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Grease a large bowl, place the dough in it and cover with a cloth. Leave in a warm place for about one hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured surface. With your hands, shape the dough into a long roll and cut into 12 1-inch slices. Poke your finger through the middle of each slice and pull gently to make the hole bigger. Place on greaseproof paper and set aside for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and drop 4 bagels in at a time. Cook the bagels for approximately 1 minute per side, turning with a slotted spoon. Drain the bagels and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with a little beaten egg and place in the oven for about 25 minutes until bagels are golden. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Welcome to my blog!

I've been thinking about this for a while... I love to cook and bake and I think food and recipes should be shared and enjoyed by all! So hopefully this blog will be an easy way to do just that.

I realize some of you are American and some of you are French (or Swiss!) but I think most of my francophone friends speak (or at least read!) English so this blog will be mostly in English. However I will try my very best to provide measurements in cups and in grams, and if you ever have questions (or just want to share your thoughts), please leave me a comment.

Okay, so why “yummy”? It's a word I use a lot with my almost-four-year-old son! But to me, yummy goes far beyond describing sweets. I think it is anything that tastes good AND feels good. It can be a cupcake with ganache frosting, or a bowl of pumpkin soup or a simple green salad. Yummy makes me happy!

Actually, cooking makes me happy! It is not a chore to me, it's a way to escape and relax. In my kitchen, all my senses come alive and I am (mostly!) stress-free. My kitchen is not only the place where I cook, it's also the place where I live, the hearth of my home.

Cooking also makes me feel good! I want to feed my family tasty, healthy foods. Have you looked at a food label on most pre-packaged goods lately? Sca-ry! That's why I prefer cooking and baking from scratch with wholesome ingredients.

I have many sources for recipes: magazines (Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Cuisine at Home, etc.), celebrity chefs (I am a big fan of Giada and Nigella), books (thank God for the library!), food blogs (too many to list here), but also my amazing mom and my wonderful mother-in-law. Both are great cooks and I take this opportunity to thank them for their inspiration, encouragement and advice. I used to follow recipes to a “T”, but now that I have more confidence, I will gladly take a recipe, tweak a few things and create a unique dish or dessert to share with my loved ones.

My motto when it comes to eating is “everything in moderation”. And if you eat well 90% of the time, you can splurge 10% of the time. Okay, I'll admit, sometimes I myself struggle with that 90/10 rule!

I firmly believe that while eating nourishes the body, cooking nourishes the soul. I find solace and happiness in my kitchen and I hope you will find comfort and joy in my “cuisine” too!