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Monday, July 12, 2010

Absolutely the BEST Homemade Barbeque Sauce

I have a lot of things to thank Jamie Oliver for. And one of those things is this barbeque sauce. It is the tastiest that I have ever had, and so easy to make! I have used it on chicken, beef, lamb, pork and I was even thinking of using it as a base for a pizza or sandwich.  The depth of flavor from the freshly ground spices and herbs, the tang of citrus, and the sweetness of the ketchup.... the sauce has now become a staple in our household!

The BEST Homemade Barbeque Sauce
Makes enough to marinate meat for about 6 people
Slightly adjusted from Jamie Oliver’s Recipe

1 1/2 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
2 tbsp Fennel Seeds
5 Cloves
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 bunch Fresh Oregano or Thyme
1 bunch Fresh Rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
The Zest and Juice of 1 Orange
1 Bulb of Garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
1 1/2 tsp Paprika
6 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2/3 cup Tomato Ketchup
1 tbsp Olive Oil
5 Dried Bay leaves

Place the cumin, fennel, cloves, salt and pepper into a mortar and grind. Chop the thyme and rosemary leaves, orange zest and garlic together finely. Put into a bowl with the ground spices, then add the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix together.

Now for the meat…. Slash your chosen meat and rub all over with the marinade (reserving a little for basting).

Jamie suggests for ease of cooking to roast the meats in a 180 degree oven, covered, for about and hour and then finishing them on the barbeque. I have found that this method work, as does putting the meat directly on a low to medium heat grill and covering for about the same amount of time. It really depends how much time you want to spend over the grill.

Regardless of which method you choose, when the meat is on the grill, be sure to baste with the reserved barbeque sauce. If you roasted first, you can also baste with the roasting pan liquids.

Then, all that’s left is for you to enjoy your perfectly cooked meat with sticky, slightly charred, full of flavor, homemade barbeque sauce!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Perfect Pizza

I am not perfect. And neither is this pizza. It isn’t perfectly round and the toppings aren’t perfectly even, but it is delicious and homemade. And that makes it far better than any take away kind.

This pizza can be made just as easily as picking up the phone and ordering one. Plus, it is topped and cooked just the way I like it. Just enough cheese, perfect seasonings, and a thin, crisp crust.

So, in my eyes, it is perfect.

The Perfect Pizza
Makes 2- 10 inch pizzas

For the crust
1 cup White Flour
2/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Salt
2 1/4 tsp Instant Yeast
3/4 cup Warm Water
1 tsp Olive Oil

In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, and yeast. Make a well in the middle and pour in the water and olive oil. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 3-5 minutes until a smooth dough is formed. Shape into a ball and place back into the bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size (about 30-45 minutes).

Once doubled, punch down the dough and divide into 2 balls. Roll out into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Place the dough onto a pizza stone if you have, or a baking sheet.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Top the crusts with your favorite toppings. I like the following combinations:
- a thin layer of tomato paste on the base, thinly sliced tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese
- anchovy fillets, sliced onions, dried oregano, and mozzarella topped with an egg (the egg is cracked onto the pizza when it has only about 3 minutes left to bake)

Place the pizza in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden. Enjoy!

Healthier Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad. That thicky, creamy, garlicky dressing! Who can resist? And of course, eating salad must be healthy right? WRONG!

Caesar salad is usually anything but healthy. Except for my version of course, which is packed with flavor and can be eaten without a guilty conscience!

In this recipe, I use yogurt for the creaminess and lots of lemon, anchovies and dijon to give maximum impact. I do use parmesan in the dressing, but only 1/4 cup of the grated good stuff. Try to stay away from the pre-grated, processed kind.

I served mine as a main course with some grilled, shredded chicken leg, but you could serve yours plain, or top it with whatever you like (try a piece of grilled fish, canned tuna, or even olives and walnuts for some protein!).

Give it a try and I am sure you will add this to your list of everyday meals!

Healthier Caesar Salad
Serves 2 as a main course

1/2 Head Romaine Lettuce, washed and cut
5 Anchovy Fillets, mashed to a paste
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp Yogurt
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a bowl, mash the anchovy fillets. Add the garlic and mustard and mix together well. Then stir in the yogurt, lemon juice and olive oil. Stir in the parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the chopped romaine in the caesar dressing. Garnish with some parmesan shavings and extra toppings (chicken, fish, etc) as desired.