Friday, June 20, 2014

Non-Alcoholic Strawberry Sangria

Better Homes & Gardens shared a delicious-sounding recipe for strawberry sangria and I knew I wanted to serve it at an upcoming book club. However, knowing that I'd have at least one guest who would not be drinking I wanted to make it without the alcohol. Since everyone liked it I thought I'd share it here, mostly so I have a record for next time but also in case anyone else is looking for a good non alcoholic summer drink.

1/2 C water
2/3 C sugar
4 C sliced strawberries

Combine and heat ingredients in a small saucepan. Mix until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool strain the strawberries from the syrup and drain into a drink dispenser.

1 bottle sparkling white grape juice, chilled
2 bottles tonic water
2 C sliced strawberries
1 orange, sliced
(I also had 1/2 a lime that needed to be used up so I sliced that and threw it in too.)

Just before serving, add all remaining ingredients in drink dispenser with the strawberry syrup.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Deep Dish Homemade Pizza

Pizza, in our home, can be a bare cupboard meal since I almost always have a can of tomato paste, flour, and some shredded cheese in the house. But the great thing about pizza is you can make it as fancy and delicious as you'd like. My husband spent a lot of time taking our basic recipe and tinkering with it to get a delicious deep dish pizza, much like what we enjoy at the restaurant Old Chicago.


My pizza crust recipe:
3 cups flour 
3 tsp yeast
1 cup very warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

- Preheat oven to 200.
- In a large bowl combine 1c flour and the yeast. Add the water and stir.
- Add the oil, sugar, salt and remaining flour, blending it until it forms a ball. (You may need to add more water, oil or flour depending on the texture and humidity in the air. It should be smooth and velvety, not sticky or dry.)
- Turn it out on a lightly floured surface and knead 8 - 10 times, form it into a ball.  
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled, oven safe bowl. Flip the dough over so the bottom is now on top, with a light film of oil. Cover with cling wrap.
- Turn off the oven and place the dough inside. Allow it to rise about 1 hour.

Assembling the Pizza:

Pour vegetable oil into the bottom of a cast iron skillet so that it forms a shallow pool. (The oil essentially fries the bottom, giving it a crispiness while the inside of the dough will still be soft.)
Dump the raised dough into your hand, gently letting the dough stretch itself into a circle.
Plop the dough into the skillet and stretch so it can reaches the sides of the pan. 

Put the sauce* on the dough, leaving a ring of dough about 1" thick along the outside.

Add whatever seasonings you'd like: pineapple, peppericinos, sausage (it can be raw as long as the clumps aren't too big), etc.
Cover with shredded cheese.
Bake for 12 minutes in an oven preheated to 500 degrees. 

Several inches of awesome.

*You can use a store bought or homemade sauce. My recipe is below.

My Homemade Sauce: 

minced garlic
olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste

- Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a heated pan.

- Add 2 Tbsp minced garlic and saute for ~1 minute.
- Add diced tomatoes, undrained, and the tomato paste. Fill the cans each with water and stir it in until the sauce is smooth. 
- Season to taste, approximately 2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp parsley.
- Keep on a low simmer until sauce is desired thickness.