Monday, January 23, 2012

Breakfast Pizza

I'm sure I'm not the first, nor will I be the last person to dream of someday owning and operating a little restaurant, pub, bakery or B&B. Lately, the fantasy has been primarily of opening up a little cookie & coffee shop in the town near our home. Since just about the time I started this blog, I've been especially working on my repetoire of cookies - trying to come up with recipes of my own or my own take on the recipes of others and I have been baking up a storm. I sold 4 dozen decorated cookies to my employer to give to our guests in their Christmas goody bags from Santa and I've started selling some in the resort gift shop/store as well. So far, it's coming along slow and that's ok since I'll have to find a commercial kitchen to bake in if it gets too big.

My current business dream idea includes some other menu items in addition to cookies and I've been trying to come up with some breakfast items that would be unique amongst the already existing businesses in town.

So yesterday a couple of weeks ago I decided I would play with either breakfast pizza or calzone today. I made a batch of my mom's pizza dough - I use my bread machine to do the mixing and raising, then finish it by hand. I'm really proud of myself on this project because I didn't purchase any special ingredients from the store - I used only ingredients that I had on hand already and the pizzas turned out very extremely tasty. There were no complaints from the family and the kids actually inhaled theirs. I made 2 pizzas and we only managed to eat one of them during dinner - so we had plenty of leftovers for tomorrow's breakfast or lunch.

We've been experiencing some crazy this past week out here on the west coast and as a result, my power's been out at home for 5 days already. Luckily I only ended up missing one day of work but to ensure I don't miss a bunch of them (and honestly, so I could catch up on my blogs, facebook, etc.) I'm spending the night at work - again. Lucky for me, I work at a resort with wireless internet for our guests and I'm very cozily put up in a 2 story condo-like room with almost all the comforts of home. So I'm FINALLY able to make an attempt at finishing this post and getting it out for you all to read and hopefully enjoy!

I had hoped to spend one of my days off last week making some calzone and getting some better photos than what we came up with originally, but we spent a lovely family snow day together Wednesday and then the power went out very early Thursday morning - best laid plans, right? Oh well, we'll make do with what we have for now and I promise I'll post new photos as soon as I'm able. I also realize, as I sit here typing and reviewing that I never posted my mom's pizza dough recipe - I'll be sure to get that up for you too - so please keep an eye out for updates to this one!

I prebaked the crusts for just 5 minutes or so (after docking them with a fork). Then brushed both crusts with EVOO. I topped both pizzas with spinach, green bell pepper, scallions, artichoke hearts, bacon, scrambled eggs, cream cheese and monterey jack cheese. I wasn't sure if all the toppings would work together, but I thought it was worth trying and as I said before - the combination was quite really tasty!

This one's ready to go in the oven. I baked them at 425 for about 12-15 minutes. One of them was baked on a pizza stone (I only have one - a second stone is on my list to buy), the other was baked on a pizza pan that I lightly brushed with olive oil.

Mom's Pizza Dough

1 1/4 Cups warm water
1 Pkg dry yeast
1 Tsp salt
4 Tbsp cooking oil
4 Cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water, let it sit for 5 minutes. Add salt, oil and gradually stire in the flour. Knead until it forms a smooth ball. Put it in a bowl coated with oil and cover with a warm, damp cloth. Allow dough to rise until doubled. Knead again. Divide in half and roll each half out to fit your pizza pan. "Dock" the dough by pricking it with a fork all over - this well keep it from forming large air bubbles in the oven. If you prefer, you can pre-bake it at this point for about 5 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Add your favorite sauce and toppings and bake 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees or until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown slightly.

Update: This morning I finally made another round of breakfast pizza/breakfast calzone. This time, I filled them with breakfast sausage, artichoke hearts, scallions, spinach, scrambled egg & queso quesadilla cheese. The combination of flavors was really good. The queso quesadilla cheese was a great choice - it's creamy like a Monterey Jack and melts beautifully but it has a tang similar to a sharp chedder, plus it's not an oily cheese, so it's really nice for breakfast. Goat cheese or feta would be really nice too.

Calzone Filling

1 lb chicken breakfast sausage
3 scallions, shopped
1 box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and tossed in EVOO, salt & pepper
1/2 bag baby spinach, chopped
6 eggs
10 oz queso quesadilla cheese, grated
1 batch pizza dough, divided into 4 equal dough balls

Bake at 450 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.

I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as we have!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Taking a Short Break

Please pardon me while I work on getting my "ducks" in a row. I should be back soon with a new post!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rice and Turkey Meatballs

Did I tell you I'm a henna artist? Shortly after our nieces and nephew moved in with us, I learned to do henna body art and spent the following 3 summers plying my trade at the local fairs and festivals. I still do henna every June when I work for an event company at Graduation parties.

To keep costs down and to ensure I actually ate something, I always packed an assortment of items for my crew and I to eat. I liked to keep the items small and easy to eat like cubes of cheese, grapes, sliced turkey or ham and nuts. The meats were fine, but messier than I liked and on longer days I'd be starving at the end of the day - not having really managed to get anything much in my stomach in between clients. I thought a meatball might would be a good solution.

I wanted a meatball that would be tasty cold, right out of the cooler and I wanted them to be simple to make but full of flavor and satisfying but fairly healthy. Finally, since my assistant artist and some of my other henna artist friends have issues with wheat, gluten and dairy I wanted to make them without breadcrumbs or cheese (I always put parmesan in my Italian meatballs). This is the recipe I came up with. They are great hot, but I honestly like them best right out of the fridge or cooler the next day. You could, of course, switch up the flavors and serve them with the sauce of your choice, or gravy, but if you're looking for something that packs well for lunches or picnics, these fit the bill well.

Rice and Turkey Meatballs

1 lb ground Turkey
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin, ground
1/2 tsp coriander, ground
pinch of chili powder
salt & pepper
2 tbls fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup cooked rice, cold

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet or cast iron skillet with pam or a thin coating of Olive Oil. In a medium bowl, mix turkey and seasonings, then add rice until it just comes together. Scoop out and roll into small meatballs and place cookie sheet or in skillet. Bake approx. 12-15 minutes for bite-sized meatballs, or until browned and cooked through.

I think these would be great served with tzatziki sauce or Raita.