Archive for November, 2008

Happy Birthday to Meeee

November 13, 2008

I’ve always loved birthdays for the simple fact that they are your day. You get to choose what you do, where you go, who comes to your party (lol my inner 8 year old coming out there) annnd you get to choose the food. Of course. The food. Though I love going out to dinner, staying in and cooking is often just as fun- and with birthdays just 5 days apart, the boyfriend and I decided to save some cash and just go all out with two days of awesome home birthday menus 🙂

For my day, I chose pizza. It’s such a fast and easy dish using my new fave dough recipe. I doubled it to get 2 pizzas, topping one with buffalo sauce, tomato sauce, chicken and mozzarella like the first time I made this, and for the second one I just coated the dough with olive oil and spread caramelized onions, walnuts, and Swiss cheese on top. In retrospect, I wish I had used some figs on this one too, but they weren’t totally necessary and both pizzas tasted fantastic.

What’s a birthday without cake?! For myself I chose to make this yellow cake with chocolate fudge frosting. So yum, a nice light crumb texture and nothing was cloyingly sweet. And there’s my sweetie placing candles on the cake in the shape of a ’23’. Awww 🙂

For his day, the birthday boy decided he didn’t want cake and challenged me to find a lower-fat sweet. Which really isn’t a challenge at all when you have Happy Herbivore recipes at your fingertips. I made her Pecan Cinnamon Buns and I was absolutely blown away by how good they were. I mean, of course having used her recipes before I expected perfection, but this…. These sticky buns were out of this world good. And so easy. They were definitely my favourite item on the birthday menu roundup and will be making many future Sunday morning appearances.

Naked buns, frosted buns! Hahaha

Then for dinner, we had Smitten Kitchen peanut sesame noodles, except that we had them hot, and had vegetables on the side so that each noodle bite could be as peanut buttery noodley as possible (birthday boy request).

Birthdays should also involve lots of wine- I think there’s a bottle visible in every picture except with the cinnamon buns. We had those at 10am so we held off on the wine. But just until noon.

Overcoming My Fear of Yeast

November 4, 2008

I love to read through recipes and start planning dinners around them- however, more often than not, when I’m scanning down the ingredients list and see the word “yeast”, I turn the page. Dealbreaker. I don’t do yeast. At least I didn’t, but yesterday that all changed and I couldn’t be happier.

The recipe to change my mind was none other than pizza dough. Basic, simple pizza dough. That’s what Deb told me, and though I feared that it couldn’t possibly work, I believed her (having already made her delicious pumpkin butter didn’t hurt in helping to instill a little trust).

All that was asked of me was to mix together flour, yeast (I used instant because my store was out of active dry somehow) salt, water and olive oil. Knead, form into a ball and place it in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1-2 hours somewhere warm- I preheated my oven at 200 for a few minutes, shut it off, and then stowed my growing dough in there. Push the air out of it. Let it rest another 20 minutes under the plastic wrap again, then take it out and roll in into desired shape (in my case, a deformed circular rectangle, in Deb’s case a perfect circle). Top it with whatever your heart desires and bake it quickly in a scorching hot oven. Enter pizza nirvana. Check!

I made mine buffalo chicken style, by mixing some sliced precooked chicken cubes with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1-2 tbsp buffalo chicken sauce. I also used mozzarella cheese and sliced green onions, but was really wishing I had blue cheese on hand to make this truly perfect.

Ta da! You can bet I was incredibly proud of my pizza. You can also bet that I will be making this again. Now that I’ve conquered my fear of yeast, I can’t wait to move onto more ambitious dishes (bread, or cinnamon rolls perhaps?).

The pizza dough recipe can be found here, and really now that I’ve done it you have no excuse not to try it. No one should be scared of yeast 🙂