Tag Archives: Baking

One dough, two pizzas a continent apart

By Lakshmi:

Home made pizza is a staple in our household.  We make it in a myriad of flavors, each one vanishing off the tray as soon as it comes out of the oven.  Last week, I had a bunch of kids come home from school and decided to do two pizzas with one dough.  The first was a good old Margarita and the second? A Mexican pizza with salsa, avocados and cheese!  Here are simple instructions to create both.  We’d love to hear about your favorite pizza making experiences as well!

Recipe and how to for dough

1 tbsp sugar

2.5 tsps dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tbsps olive oil

3 cups all purpose flour

Salt to taste

Dissolve the sugar in a cup of warm water, add the dry yeast and let bubble for five minutes.  Next add the 3 cups flour, salt and olive oil and knead the dough with your hand or Kitchen Aid with a dough hook till the dough is gathered and springy.  Set aside for 30 minutes till the dough doubles in size.  Divide into two balls for two pizzas.

Recipe and how to for Margarita pizza

Half a cup of tomato sauce

A cup of fresh mozzarella

A few basil leaves torn

Preheat over to 500 degrees F.  Roll out one ball of pizza dough and lay on a pizza tray.  Use a spoon to spread the sauce in a concentric circle around the dough.  Arrange fresh mozzarella and torn basil leaves on the sauced up pizza dough.  Bake in the top rack of the oven for 5-10 minutes (till the circumference bubbles and is brown).  Take out and serve!

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Recipe and how to for Mexican pizza

Half a cup of fresh or store bought salsa (I used fresh home-made chunky salsa made with two tomatoes, a garlic clove, half a red onion, a green chilly, two tbsps of cilantro pulsed in a blender with salt and pepper)

One avocado sliced into thin slices

A cup of Mexican cheese blend or queso fresco

A few tbsps of fresh cilantro

Preheat over to 500 degrees F.  Roll out one ball of pizza dough and lay on a pizza tray.  Use a spoon to spread the salsa in a concentric circle around the dough.  Arrange the sliced avocado, cheese and cilantro on the sauced up pizza dough.  Bake in the top rack of the oven for 5-10 minutes (till the circumference bubbles and is brown).  Take out and serve!

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I cannot begin to tell you how much the kids loved these pizzas.  And it really is not that much work!

 

Pat-A-Cake, Welsh Cake – A Tea Time Treat

By Lakshmi:

Prior to even setting foot in South Wales, my husband’s colleagues insisted that we eat this local delicacy called Welsh Cake.  Never having heard of this dish (ok go ahead say it…did you not profess to be a gourmand?), I assumed it was a baked delicacy to be served at tea time.

So imagine my surprise when on day one at Abergavenny market I came upon a woman making fresh Welsh cakes.  She was cooking them right there on a hot griddle!  The golden cakes came off the griddle on to a plate and after a dusting of fine sugar were ready to be eaten.  My younger daughter was so enticed that I’m positive she practically gulped them down.  I got chatting with the lady making these delicacies and within moments, I had the recipe to make these delicious treats stateside.  Here’s how simple it is.

Ingredients:

1 lb self-raising flour

8 oz butter or margarine

4 oz powdered or fine sugar

4 oz dried fruit (raisins, craisins, cranberries, sultanas…take your pick)

1 whole egg

A bit of milk if needed

Method:

Take the self-raising flour in a bowl and rub the butter or margarine into it till you have a breadcrumb like consistency.  Now add the sugar, dried fruit and egg to form a dough.  If the dough is too tight, add a bit of milk to moisten.

Roll the dough into a 1/4″ thick circle and cut it out with a biscuit cutter.

Heat a griddle and spray with some non stick spray or swipe some butter.  Now cook the cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side till golden brown.  Arrange them on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Serve them plain or with some jam and watch them disappear 🙂

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Could The Humble Banana Bread Generate This Much Interest?

By Lakshmi:

As a recent subscriber to Bon Appetit magazine, I’m loving the armchair journeys that I get to take to kitchens, dishes and places around the world.  I was thumbing halfway through the March issue when I glanced at a title that said, “A Slice of Paradise.”  The byline was “Twelve hours in coach for a loaf of banana bread.”  It took me seconds to be transported to Maui from the comfort of my home.  Once there, I discovered the magic created in so many places across the island by that humble combination of locally abundant bananas, sugar, eggs and oil.

Andrew McCarthy’s prose made me want to sample every kind available.  Why were you so late writing this Andrew?  We were in Maui twice and missed this local treasure.  On a day long trip on the Road to Hana, Julia’s banana bread would have added that perfect start to our day.

Julia’s roadside stand sells some of the best banana bread on the island.  Given that an actual meeting with Julia’s concoction may not happen for some time, I decided to pay her a virtual reality visit – I baked a loaf of her famous banana bread from the recipe provided in the article.

The bread was scrumptious.  Crisp on the outside, soft flecks of banana creating a mosaic like landscape on the interior.  A bread that was more indulgent and rich than the many dozens I had baked in the past.

I was not alone in my reaction to the article.  A quick web search revealed a legion of travelers and bakers opining on the merits and demerits of the bread….I discovered an entire discussion thread on Tripadvisor talking about the taste differences between various types of bananas.

If you’d like to escape to McCarthy’s Maui, you can read his article here:

http://bonapp.it/U9VdLE

Julia’s Banana Best Bread recipe can be found here:

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/julias-best-banana-bread

PS:  The picture featured in this article is my output of Julia’s recipe:)