Mar 18, 2009

Napa Valley Marathon

two (okay, three now) weekends ago, hubby ran the Napa Valley marathon in 3 hrs, 5 minutes and 58 seconds. very, very fast.

and you would think this photo was taken of him lounging around after the race, but no, this is him trying to relax the day before.

in our lovely hotel room

the lovely view from our lovely hotel room

it's been super busy lately. i'm still working full-time and going to school part-time. that MA will be mine by the end of this semester. but i have to make it through first. in my way are two classes and my thesis project (and that APA manual that i've drop-kicked numerous times).

in the past couple weeks, i've had barely enough time to make food to eat, let alone take pictures, edit pictures (couldn't tell they've been edited, huh? goes to show just how much more i have to learn), and blog. it takes more time than i have. and that thesis project isn't going to format itself. if i have the chance to post a recipe in the next two months, it will be b/c i'm slacking off on my academics. oh well, c'est la vie.

Mar 1, 2009

odd-looking vegetable and some southern comfort (not the drink)

Romanesco - it's like an alien vegetable, isn't it?  And yet, strangely beautiful.  

I had no idea how to cook this vegetable.  Some recipes said to steam the whole thing . . . but I have nothing that can steam something this large.  It was the same size as a large head of cauliflower.  So I just ended up chopping it up like cauliflower and roasting it.  It didn't look nearly as pretty all chopped up and cooked, but still strange.

But the main star of our dinner that night wasn't the alien vegetable, it was biscuits.  Sweet potato biscuits to be exact.  Hubby loves these.  They're sweet and light, not heavy like some other biscuit types.  These are not flaky, very little butter.  Very little fat, actually.  

And they're made with wheat flour, just like most everything else I bake.  I made these per a special request from hubby after his Napa Valley Marathon - where he set a personal record.  More to come on that later.

Here is the recipe:

Sweet Potato Biscuits 

1 cup mashed baked sweet potato (one large)
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tbsp non-fat plain yogurt
1/2 stick melted butter
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt

preheat oven to 400

mix the sweet potato, milk, yogurt and butter in a large bowl.  then mix the remaining ingredients: flour, baking powder, brown sugar, salt.  pour dry into wet, stir until just combined.  
line baking sheet with parchment paper.  or grease a baking sheet.
i form the biscuits by measuring them into a 1/3 dry measure cup and dumping it onto the sheet.  you could also use a tablespoon measure and just make it bigger.
Bake for about 20 min, I like longer until it's brown, not just golden brown.
Eat warm!!!
i like to split them and make little sandwiches with roasted pork loin with gravy.  

pizza! with wheat flour

after having tried multiple pizza dough recipes and trying to modify them to include wheat flour, i have finally found one that is pretty good.  not perfect yet, but good.  recipe at bottom.
i keep trying b/c hubby really likes pizza at home.  and i try to feed hubby food he likes b/c he does nice things for me like get digital tv.  

lack of counter space means rolling out dough into a recognizable shape is a little difficult.  and i know you're supposed to stretch the dough by hand, but i couldn't.  it was too uneven when i tried it that way, so i started over again with the rolling pin.  if you've got the skills to do it without a rolling pin, go for it.
top pizza with yummy things.  we went with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, caramelized onions and arugula.  

bake pizza at 500 degrees.  we have no pizza stone, so i actually heat up the glass pyrex in the oven, then invert it and place the pizza on top (with parchment paper).  we loved this pizza and will be making it again very, very soon!

whole wheat pizza dough
makes 4 small pizzas - we only needed half the dough for dinner for 2

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten

mix the water, yeast and sugar together.  once it foams, you know the yeast is good, then you can add the flour and salt and mix.  i used the stand mixer and the dough hook.  i let it go for a good while (about 10 min).  walked away and watched tv and came back and checked on the dough.  turn out dough into a greased bowl, let it rise, double in size and then it's ready to go.  you can chill it if you want, up to 4 days.  my dough kept on rising in the fridge, popped out of it's container, so be careful.  the dough is supposed to taste better after a day or two, but we couldn't wait and had half of it for pizza the same night.  

roasted cauliflower

One of the simple, simple dishes that I make is roasted cauliflower. hubby LOVES these. they are so simple, quick and delicious. we would have them more often, but cauliflower isn't always available . . . well, that's not true, we can always find it in the grocery store, but sometimes, it's $3.99 a head. and i dunno, i just feel like that's a lot when i know i can get it other times for $1.99 a head. but i got this one through our CSA, which i love, they rock.

preheat oven to 400
so rinse and cut whole head of cauliflower into small-ish peices. and yes, small-ish is a technical term that adequately describes size. if you would like more clarification, please feel free to ask. i will most likely elaborate with a description like, "not big, but not small, not quite medium."
get out some garlic (4 or 5 cloves), smash them with your knife, peel off the outside and toss them in with cauliflower.

drizzle on some olive oil, and then add salt, fresh-ground pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of what ever else you'd like. i'm not sure how much i put in . . . just sprinkle it on, toss to combine and taste a small piece and add more if you need to.

i pour it all onto a baking sheet, i suppose a roasting pan to roast the cauliflower would work too, but mine was under all this stuff in the cabinet above my head. hubby wasn't home yet and i had sweaters laid out on our chairs (the wash cold in delicate, lay flat to dry kind). so i got the baking sheet. i need a step-stool. sucks being short. hate getting jeans hemmed.

mmmm, yummy goodness. and look, there's one of the pieces of roasted garlic. brush teeth and rinse before kissing loved one after this.