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Healthy recipes
What to do when your 8-year old nephew comes to visit? Make pizza, of course! Well, not of course, actually. I didn’t think of it until we exhausted Sorry, Monopoly, and gin rummy. But it did turn out to be a brilliant idea as dad had just received a baking stone for Christmas, and my nephew Austin loves pizza. And we both enjoyed a great dinner together.

I told him if he helped me make it and didn’t make too many faces I would put him on my website and he would be famous. That seemed to get his attention. He thought the dough was “slimy and gross” but he loved picking his own toppings, and the finished product was awesome.

The following method I patched together from recipes in both Joy of Cooking and Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe. I made two batches of dough, four pizzas in all, with varied toppings. Next time I’ll be a bit more patient with stretching out the dough so I can get it even thinner. Look to the end of this post for some excellent links about pizza from other food bloggers. You can use all purpose flour instead of the bread flour that is called for in the recipe, but bread flour is higher in gluten than all-purpose flour and will make a crispier crust for your pizza.

The term pizza was first recorded in the 10th century, in a Latin manuscript from Gaeta in Central Italy.[1] Modern pizza was invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish and its variants have since become popular and common in many areas of the world.[2] In 2009, upon Italy‘s request, Neapolitan pizza was safeguarded in the European Union as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed dish.[3][4] Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (True Neapolitan Pizza Association), a non-profit organization founded in 1984 with headquarters in Naples, aims to “promote and protect… the true Neapolitan pizza”.

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Cooking time: 40 min
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Reading time: 2 min
French toast, also known as eggy bread, Bombay toast, German toast, gypsy toast, poor knights (of Windsor), or Torrija, is a dish made of bread soaked in milk, then in beaten eggs and then fried. The earliest known reference to French toast is in the Apicius, a collection of Latin recipes dating to the 4th or 5th century; the recipe mentions soaking in milk, but not egg, and gives it no special name, just aliter dulcia “another sweet dish”.

Under the names suppe dorate, soupys yn dorye, tostées dorées, and payn purdyeu, the dish was widely known in medieval Europe. For example,  Martino da Como offers a recipe. French toast was often served with game birds and meats. The word “soup” in these names refers to bread soaked in a liquid, a sop.

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Cooking time: 45 min
Risotto is one of those dishes that we love to eat, but neither my father nor mother have the patience to make often. It takes about 25 minutes of careful stirring, and every few minutes adding a half cup of hot stock to the rice, as the rice slowly absorbs the liquid it’s in. For this mushroom risotto, mushrooms are sautéed first, then cooked in brandy (or vermouth). Arborio (or any other kind of risotto rice) is cooked slowly with stock and when done, you stir in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (Hungry yet?)

I actually don’t mind watching over risotto, it’s easy enough to do, and you can prepare other things while keeping the corner of your eye on the risotto. The result is so worth the effort!

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Reading time: 2 min