Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tomato Jam

It is potluck week at IHCC. I wanted something spicy, tangy and a little sweet. I chose Mark Bittman's Tomato Jam recipe for this week's pot luck theme.

Never have I thought to make jam out of tomatoes! I am a tomato lover and enjoy tomatoes in many ways. I look forward each summer to those locally grown tomatoes for toasted tomato sandwiches. Toasted bread, mayo, salt and pepper together are awesome! A simple tomato sauce with pasta is addictive and comforting. Oh and I can't leave out tomato dumplings.(That is another post and I wonder if anyone else has ever had Tomato dumplings?) Back to the recipe as I check back in from my tomato dreams.

I saw this recipe and thought sweet,tangy and spicy all together with one of my most favorite foods.

The recipe is very EASY! I literally threw everything into the pot and left it! Well I did go back to stir here and there, I just wanted to inhale deeply over the pot. I also used "regular" vine tomatoes. The recipe yields about a pint. I think next time I will double the recipe.

The jam keeps very well in the fridge and I slathered it on toasted french bread.

IHCC Side Dish Showdown Blogger Event

Tomato Jam Mark Bittman

1-1/2 pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeno or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.

Yield: About 1 pint.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pan Fried Pizza. with a Friend

It's movie theme night at IHCC this week. While I did not watch a movie this weekend, I did travel and spent time shopping and cooking with a friend(s). (If you count the two pound puppy nipping at our ankles!) I chose Mark Bittman's pan fried pizza recipe and we added a few of our own ingredients. One of my all time favorite movies is the God Father. I haven't lounged and watched the movie in quite some time. However, it is on my "to do" list.

The pizza was very tasty and the possibilities are endless on what to use as toppings.
We snacked on leftovers the following day and the pizza tasted even better.

The recipe was easy and made an eatable pizza but might not replace the classic baking method but a nice change to a traditional pizza taste. The pizza comes out more as a pan style pizza.

The recipe makes four servings and all small enough to be slipped into a freezer bag for later enjoyment!

On our pizza we used fresh basil, mushrooms, garlic, roasted red peppers, and artichoke hearts along with a nice mound of mozzarella cheese.

Placing the lid on the skillet to melt the cheese worked very well. Also as we prepared the pizza, we learned that the first side that is fried/cooked really needs to cook a good time to prevent the center from being "gooey".

Use oil sparingly in the pan as well.

Mark Bittman's Pan Fried Pizza: (see the link below for a video of Mark!)

Time: About 2 hours
2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more as needed
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for cooking
About 2 cups any light, fresh tomato sauce, warmed
Sliced mozzarella to taste
Salt and black pepper
Prosciutto slices and basil leaves for topping (optional).
1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a food processor. Turn machine on and add 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons oil through feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a tablespoon or so at a time, until mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. (If mixture becomes too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time.)
2. Put one tablespoon olive oil in a bowl and turn dough ball in it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. When dough is ready, re-form into a ball and divide it into 4 pieces; roll each piece into a ball. Place each piece on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with a little flour, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rest until each puffs slightly, about 20 minutes.
3. When ready to cook, press one ball into about a 10-inch round. Use a little flour, if needed, to prevent sticking and a rolling pin, if desired. Film a 10-inch skillet with olive oil and turn heat to medium. When oil shimmers, put dough in pan and adjust heat so it browns evenly without burning. (If dough puffs up unevenly in spots, push bubbles down.)
4. Turn dough, then top browned side with tomato sauce, cheese, a bit of salt and pepper, and, if you like, prosciutto and/or basil leaves. If top is now heavily laden, cover pan and continue cooking, or run it under broiler, just until toppings become hot. With only a couple of toppings, just cook until bottom browns. Repeat with remaining dough; serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls and a memory of my Maw Maw

This week's theme at IHCC is breakfast in bed. I thought this such an appropriate theme with Mother's Day weekend right around the corner. There is nothing like waking up, smelling something wonderful coming from your kitchen and focusing your sleepy eyes on a delicious tray of food being served to you in bed. Thinks silently: "Pamper me, pamper me!" Why I would not even have to paint my face or "do" my hair. (note to self: put sticky notes on fridge as hints for my special guys.)

I chose Mark Bittman's Basic cinnamon Rolls recipe for my treat in bed. Okay, I prepared it, but I did lay across my bed and watched a few minutes of Lifetime television as I bit into the warm, iced, sugary cinnamony(not a word according to spell check, but is now an adjective in my home.) goodness that melted in my mouth. The cinnamon roll was warm, gooey and heavenly. I hardly noticed what was happening on the lifetime movie, no hero hunk, or sexy villain, not even someone professing love and desire could grab my attention.The cinnamon roll had my full attention! I was in the cinnamon roll zone!

Have you ever smelled something, or ate something that took them back in time, or perhaps brought back to your memory a special moment in your life? As I fought the urge to peek into the oven, and the smells wafted throughout my home it happened to me.

My Maw Maw, grandmother, baked cinnamon rolls. I remember Saturday mornings waking up, turning on cartoons and waiting for Maw Maw to finish breakfast. It was a special Saturday when Maw Maw would bake cinnamon rolls. She made them perfectly and mine today did not compare. What a sweet remembrance I experienced today in my kitchen. Doing something I love doing and remembering my Maw Maw, someone I love and my "mom" who played a huge part in raising me.

So yes, a very appropriate recipe for breakfast in bed, and for Mother's day. A recipe that brought back a special memory of my Maw Maw.

This is not a health conscious recipe. Perhaps some of the fat and calories could be tweaked if one used fat free cream cheese, and maybe just used less icing. Hey, it's Mother's Day soon, every mom deserves a treat.

***For the icing I used Honey nut cream cheese and I also buttered my cake pan. No way was I going to risk stickage. This is a basic recipe. Gosh, the possibilities could be endless..YUM. I was a patient,hungry and lurking grasshopper and let the dough rise for three hours.

Mark Bittman's Basic Cinnamon rolls:


    For the dough:
    2 1/2 cups All purpose flour
    1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/3 cup sugar.
    2 Tb. butter
    1 egg
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tsp cinnamon

    Cream Cheese Icing

    8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    1/4 cup (2 oz) cream cheese
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    pinch of salt
    2-4 tbs cream (optional)


In food processor with steel blade, combine:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar.
Pulse for 5 seconds. Then add:
2 Tb. butter
1 egg
and ****1/2 cup milk, drizzling in slowly*****
Process until dough ball forms, then knead dough until smooth and elastic. Place in a buttered bowl, let rise until doubled (at least 2 hours).
After rising, roll out dough into 1/2 inch-thick rectangle. Brush liberally with melted butter, spread with a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Roll it up, seal the edges, and cut into 1- to 1-1/2- inch slices. Place individually in muffin tin or nestled together in round cake pan (Nadia notes: nestled snugly tastes better; they get too crispy in muffin tins), and let rise about 1 hour longer. Brush with additional butter and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar, bake in 400-degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Cream Cheese Icing

8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz) cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2-4 tbs cream (optional)

Mix all the ingredients except for the cream together in a medium bowl until fluffy. If it's too thick for your tastes, add some of the cream. Try not to eat it all before getting it onto the cinnamon buns.

makes 8 huge rolls

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