Sunday, March 28, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Yesterday I posted the recipe for the pizza dough, well this pizza is what we used half the dough for. We froze the rest for making pizza in the future. This pizza was so good and so easy. Since we make the Buffalo Chicken Dip Appetizer quite often we had the wing sauce on hand. Sometimes the wing sauce is hard to find, but I know that Cub Foods has a couple varieties in the condiments section. I also saw a couple recipes for homemade wing sauce, so I may try that sometime in the future.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza & Pudding

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

1 large chicken breast
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup wing sauce
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
2 ounces (½ cup) mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup red onion or scallions, diced very fine
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
fresh or dried chives
12-16 ounces pizza dough (1/2 of this pizza dough recipe)

For the chicken: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Bake the chicken at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

After the chicken is baked dice the chicken breast into 1 inch pieces. Mix the wing sauce with the chicken.

Assemble the pizza: Place the pizza dough on a pan. Spread the blue cheese dressing evenly on the pizza dough; top with the chicken, then the cheese, and finally the onions and tomatoes and chives.

Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is browned. Let the pizza rest about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Basic Pizza Dough

We have been trying to find a good pizza dough recipe for a long time now. It seems like every one we try just never turns out quite right, until now. This pizza dough recipe was great. We used it for a couple different varieties of pizza. We will definitely be using this recipe as our go to pizza dough recipe in the future. Hopefully this summer we will be grilling lots of veggie pizzas on the grill with this pizza dough recipe.

Pizza Dough

Basic Pizza Dough

½ cup warm water (about 110°)
1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
1 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ tsp. salt
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Top as desired. Slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.

Source: Annie's Eats

Friday, March 26, 2010

Molten Chocolate Cinnamon Pots

A while back we made Chicken Piccata for dinner and after watching a little too much of the Food Network that day I decided it would be a perfect dessert since we had all the ingredients on hand . These were really good and not too difficult. I only made half the recipe since only the two of us. I really liked the individual portions and the fact that we just ate it fresh and we weren't eating the same dessert for the next week.

Molten Chocolate Cinnamon Pots

Molten Chocolate Cinnamon Pots

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for ramekins
1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, for ramekins
10 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat 8 (4-ounce) ramekins with butter. Add the 1 tablespoon of sugar into 1 ramekin. Swirl to coat, then tap out the excess sugar into another ramekin. Repeat the process until all of the ramekins have been coated. Set aside.

In a double boiler, over low heat, add the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until melted and combined. Fold in the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk, add the eggs, egg yolk, and the remaining 1 cup of sugar. Whisk on medium until the eggs triple in volume. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour into the bowl and gently fold to incorporate, being careful not to deflate the eggs. Pour the batter into the ramekins, dividing evenly. Arrange the ramekins on a sheet tray. Bake until the tops are set but the center wiggles slightly when lightly shaken, about 18 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately, dusted with powdered sugar.

Source: Cooking For Real

Molten Chocolate Cinnamon Pots

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Baby Esmae - St. Louis Park Newborn Photographer

Today, I had the pleasure of photographing our friend Ty's niece Esmae. Ty's parents owned the Palace, where Patrick lived before we were married. And Ty's sister Jessie, Esmae's mom also works at my dentist office. It was fun to catch up with them today while taking photos of their new little girl. She was born last Thursday and was 8 days old today. She was awake for a little bit, but as soon as we got her to sleep she was pretty content and let me move her quite a bit. Here is a sneak preview of our session.

Baby Esme

Baby Esme 5

Baby Esme 4

Baby Esme 2

Baby Esme 3

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kasie's Birthday Celebration

Last Saturday night we celebrated Kasie's 27th birthday by going to the Joke Joint at the Bloomington Ramada Hotel by the Mall of America. I have been to Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis a couple times, and that was really fun, but the comedians we saw at the Joke Joint were even better. It was $14 for admission, free parking and no drink minimum. So, all in all in was a good time. After the Joke Joint, we all headed over to Kate's house. We made Kasie some birthday brownies, sang Happy Birthday and reminisced on our Lutsen weekend.

Here is Kasie, Kristin & I at Kate's house. And then Kasie with her birthday brownie.

Kasie's 27th B-Day

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Sure Sign of Spring

On Sunday after church I spotted this green plant in our front landscaping. It was so exciting to see green. I thought spring would never come since less than a month ago we still had this much snow.

A Sign of Spring

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chicken Piccata

We made this Chicken Piccata quite a while ago, but I am still catching up on recipe posts, so I figured I would share this recipe. This was pretty easy to put together, I even had a little time to make these Molten Chocolate Cinnamon Pots for dessert. We served our chicken with smashed red potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Chicken Picatta

Chicken Piccata

2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Source: Heather Drive, originally from Ina Garten, Food Network

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gopher Badger Hockey Game

Last Friday we ended up going to the Gopher Badger hockey game at the Target Center. Our friend Le got the tickets for free from her boss and she invited Patrick and I to go with her and Ty to the game. We met for dinner at Applebees before hand and then headed over to the game. The seats were really good, lower lever, basically right in the middle. It seems to be a reigning theme in our Gopher/Badger adventures this year, but the Badgers came out with the win 3-2. The Gophers tied it up late in the third period, but the Badgers scored and ended the game.

Gopher Badger Hockey Game

Honey and Mustard Glazed Roasted Pork Loin with Root Vegetables

Ever since the first time I stepped into a Byerly's I have drooled over every recipe in the Real Food magazine. We don't shop at Byerly's, or now that we live in Plymouth Lunds, very often, but every time we go there I have to get a free copy of their magazine. I usually intend to make something out of it, but most of the time the ingredients look too exotic so I never end up making anything. Well, now that we have one CSA season behind us I am definitely more comfortable with trying any new vegetable. This particular edition of the magazine featured winter root vegetables, so this was the perfect opportunity for us to try some root veggies.

When I first bought the vegetables I was super excited to try the Brussels sprouts, the bite sized vegetable whose green color brightens up any winter meal. Although I enjoyed the Brussels sprouts, the parsnips and rutabaga were my favorite. We both really enjoyed trying these new vegetables and it gives me even more reason to look forward to the new CSA season starting in June.

Pork Loin & Roasted Root Vegetables

Honey and Mustard Glazed Roasted Pork Loin with Root Vegetables

1 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary)
1 tsp coarse salt
1 garlic clove
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 boneless pork loin, tied, about 2 pounds
1 1/2 cups rutabaga, peeled and cubed to 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups parsnips, cubed to 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup onion, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
12 ounces small Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 bell pepper, diced to 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp honey
rosemary sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a mortar and pestle or with a large knife, mash or finely chop half of the rosemary, salt, garlic, and pepper into a paste. Place the pork in the center of a large roasting pan (16 x 14) and rub the mixture over all the surfaces.

In a large bowl, toss the rutabaga, parsnips, onion, Brussels sprouts and red bell pepper with olive oil, the remaining rosemary and a sprinkling of salt and pepper until evenly coated; spoon around the pork. Do not crowd or the vegetables will steam rather than roast.

In a small bowl, stir the mustard and honey together until blended. Spread half of it on the surface of the pork. Roast the pork 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and with tongs carefully turn the pork over. Using a wide spatula, turn the vegetables over. Spread the remainder of the honey mixture on the pork roast and drizzle over the vegetables.

Roast 25 to 30 minutes longer or until a thermometer registers 140 degrees. Let the roast stand 10 minutes. Slide onto a carving board. Snip off the strings with a kitchen scissors. Cut the pork into 1/4 inch slices and arrange overlapping on a warmed platter. Spoon the roasted vegetables around the pork; garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve.

Source: Lunds and Byerly's Real Food

Roasted Root Vegetables

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lusten 2010

Last weekend we took our annual trip up to Lutsen for a long weekend. Last year we had nine people and this year we added four new people and Carrie and Jesse couldn't make it so that made our group eleven total people. Patrick and I rode with Ty and Le and David, Jachin & Heather also met at our house, so we headed up north together.

My brother Luke is a freshman at UMD in Duluth so we were thinking of stopping to see him on the way there or on our way home. I texted him as we got to Duluth and he was around, so we all made our way to the UMD campus to see Luke. Everyone went up to his dorm room except Heather who was trying to find a quiet area in a college dorm on a Friday afternoon to call back about a new job offer. We chatted with Luke and his friends for awhile. We almost lost Jachin to the college dorm life: playing video games all day long only to take a break to eat mac and cheese out of same bowl you use for every meal.

We left UMD and by this time Kate and Shanna were probably ahead of us in route to Lutsen. We decided to take the scenic route to Two Harbors and somehow two cars full of seven people managed to miss three large signs saying detour ahead. Eventually when there was a big sign in the middle of the road saying road closed and we were forced to turn around. Kate and Shanna were in Two Harbors by then so we met up with them there and headed to Gooseberry Falls together.

Most of us had never been to Gooseberry in the winter, so we thought it would be fun to stop and see the falls in the winter. Well, some of us should have been a little more prepared in the shoe department. You don't really think about proper shoes when you plan on spending a majority of the weekend in your ski boots. Here is Kate attempting the icy stairs at Gooseberry. She did make it down all in one piece, although I think even the people that stopped at the bathroom on the way beat her down the stairs.

Kate Sliding Down Gooseberry Stairs

Here are a couple pictures of Gooseberry Falls in the winter. Patrick and I stopped at Gooseberry on our way home from Grand Marais last summer and it was kind of neat to see how different the falls are in the winter.

Winter Gooseberry

After a stop at Sven & Ole's carry out pizza location in Tofte we finally arrived at Caribou Highlands our resort on the Lusten Mountains. We stayed in a Poplar Ridge Home this year and it was really nice. Last year we stayed in a townhouse and the space was much older and smaller. Our Poplar Ridge Home was three stories with 2500 square feet of living space. The main living area was very nice with a nice sized kitchen, a large dining table for 12 and a decent sized living room with a flat screen television, perfect for watching the rest of the Olympics. The home was decorated in cabin decor. Here are some of the cabin details.

Caribou Highlands Details

Caribou Highlands Lodge

Saturday was our first day of skiing, so we tried to get up and ready fairly early to go get our lift passes and rentals for those who were renting skis. We didn't end up getting out to ski until at least 10am and we went back to the cabin to eat lunch at 1pm. By the time we got back out skiing it was already close to 2:30, so that didn't leave much time before the lifts close at 4:30. A group of skiers only made it down a couple times because of some wipeouts at Moose Mountain. It was so warm skiing that we had to take multiple layers off at our lunch break. It had to have been at least 35 degrees out that day.

Here is Elysia and Nick on Ullr Mountain getting ready for a run down Big Bunny.

Skiing Day 1

And Kate and Jachin on the Ullr chair lift and Patrick on Eagle Mountain getting ready to conquer Charlotte's Web.

Skiing Day 1

Here we all are after our lunch break. The skiers: Elysia, Sara, Patrick, Jachin, Heather, David, Kate & Le. The snowboarders: Nick, Shanna & Ty.

The Group on the Slopes

That night me, Patrick, Shanna, Le & Ty took a sleigh ride through Cascade State Park. It was a great night for a ride through the woods. It wasn't too cold and the banjo player kept us entertained throughout the ride. Shanna even met a friend, an 18 month old boy who was more interested in sitting on her lap than on his mom's lap.

Sleigh Ride Group

Sleigh Ride

And of course I can't add a post to this blog without including something food related. For the trip I did all the meal planning and grocery shopping. We had Baked Ziti for dinner on Saturday night and Mexican Lasagna on Sunday night. We also had pancakes for breakfast on Saturday and two different kinds of Egg Strata on Sunday. I am pretty behind on my recipe posts, too much Olympic watching probably, but I plan on posting the recipes for these meals eventually.

Lutsen Food

Our second day of skiing was pretty uneventful. Patrick, David & I took on the double black diamonds of Eagle Mountain, but no Plunge. Heather conquered Mystery Mountain, next year she will be ready for Moose, maybe even the feared Plunge. Kate and Shanna didn't end up skiing or snowboarding, but they did go on a snowshoeing adventure up Ullr Mountain. Here I am on Mystery Mountain and the view of Eagle Mountain from Mystery.

Skiing Day 2

That night after we were done on the slopes we watched the US lose to the Canadians in the gold medal game of men's hockey. Then we ate dinner, played a couple games including Bummer and a couple intense games of spoons.


Then came the Olympic competitions. The competitions included Alpine Cabin Racing, Sumo Wresting, Table Sliding, Strongest Man and Most Flexible. Below are the participants in our pregame photos with random cabin accessories.

Olympic Participants

The next day we had to head back home, but before we left we took a group picture at the Caribou Highlands Olympic Podium.

From left to right: me, Patrick, Jachin, Ty, Elysia, Nick, Heather, Le, Shanna, Kate & David.

Olympic Ceremonies

It was great to get away for a few days and enjoy winter. We all had a great time and I hope we continue the annual tradition of a long weekend at Lutsen.