Basic Pizza Dough


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This is one pizza dough that you don't have to plan days ahead to make. 


Decide early in the morning, or even early afternoon that you want pizza for dinner and this will probably end up being your go-to recipe. 
Or maybe you want a stromboli or calzone, this recipe has you covered.  


I have to admit, I enjoy playing with my food and nothing beats a pillowy ball of dough. 

My original intent for this dough was to make a Stromboli, but shame on me, I let some of my ingredients languish too long in the fridge so I ended up making a pizza with what I had on hand, and a very good one at that I might add. 


I made a quick pizza sauce using a 15 oz can of tomato sauce and just enough red wine to rinse the rest of the sauce out of the can, roughly a tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning, a generous pinch of red pepper flakes, and a couple of tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Let that simmer for about half an hour then set aside to cool off before using. 
After I slathered some pizza sauce on the rolled-out dough, I topped that with some Mozzarella and Ricotta cheese that I bought fresh from our local little Italian Mkt topped it all with ribbons of Prosciutto, and then for good measure grated some Parmesan cheese over it all. 
Served with a nice tossed green salad.


Basic Pizza Dough


Basic Pizza Dough

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups warm water 105 to 115F

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons honey (I omit this)

2 tablespoons olive oil

To make the dough by hand:

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt and yeast. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, then pour in the water, honey and oil. Using a wooden spoon vigorously stir the flour mixture into the well beginning in the center and working toward the sides of the bowl until the flour mixture Is incorporated and just begins to hold together. Now turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and using the heel of your hands, knead the dough gently by pushing it slightly away from you on the counter. Fold it back over itself and keep kneading for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough seems sticky sprinkle on a little extra flour. Form the dough into a ball, place into a lightly oiled plastic container, and cover until risen and double in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Food Processor Dough

Place the flour, salt, yeast, honey and oil in the processor bowl with the metal blade attached. Attach the lid and process 5 seconds to mix the ingredients.  Now slowly with the machine running, pour the water through the feed tube until the dough forms a single ball, about 30 seconds. If the dough seems too sticky and won’t come together add a little bit more flour through the feed tube until it does. If the dough seems too dry add 1 to 2 tablespoons more of water until the dough comes together. Remove the ball to a lightly floured work surface, hand knead for 1 minute then place into an oiled plastic container and cover until risen and doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Heavy-Duty Stand Mixer Dough

In the mixer bowl add the flour, salt, yeast, honey and oil. Attach the flat beater, put the machine on to low speed, and with the machine running slowly add the water until it forms a shaggy mass around the paddle about 1 minute. Now replace the flat beater with the dough hook and knead at medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic and forms a round ball, around 4 to 5 minutes. If the dough seems sticky and won’t form a ball, add a little bit more flour until it does. If the dough seems too dry add 1 to 2 tablespoons more of water until the dough comes together. Remove the ball to a lightly floured work surface, hand knead for 1 minute, then place into an oiled plastic container and cover until risen and doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.


Street Food Chicago Cookbook

And that's that!

Spaghetti and Radishes, let's use the whole radish

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In my Farmer's Market Box were these beautiful radishes, along with some other beautiful produce, and not to mention the most awesome, delicious strawberries I do believe I've_ever_had 


While looking around for ideas as to what to make using some of my goodies, I ran across this interesting spaghetti recipe that uses the whole radish, leaves and all in the sauce. 
K let's do it. 


I knew I was going to like it because the optional ingredient the recipe calls for is an anchovy fillet. Don't run away now, you'll never taste it, but you do need that umami level in the sauce. You'll also need not only the spaghetti but some pine nuts, it you don't have any you can substitute walnuts and it would still be great, some radishes of course, garlic, shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. And of course your standard olive oil and salt and pepper. 


After a bit of chopping, slicing, and dicing we can get the show on the road. 


I don't find it necessary to chop or dice the anchovy, I just smush it around in the oil and it disappears while it's sizzling away. 


Then you'll add the garlic and shallot and cook until it's soft, then throw in the radishes, cover, and cook until they are tender.


Now it's time for the greens and the drained pasta. (don't forget to save some of the pasta water) Once the greens are wilted and you checked to see if you need to add some of the pasta water, now's the time to add the lemon zest and juice. 
As you can see I only had a lime and that worked out just fine. 


Don't forget to hit it up with the nuts and cheese when you serve it. As you can see I like a lot of freshly ground black pepper on my pasta dishes. 

I enjoyed it and it was very good. I did have some leftovers and had it the next day, but for my taste, it wasn't as good, YMMV

Root to Leaf Radish Spaghetti

 Yield one serving

2 tablespoons pine nuts

4 radishes with their leafy green tops attached

3 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, very finely chopped

1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced crosswise

Zest of 1 lemon plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more if needed

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Optional Ingredient: 1 anchovy fillet finely chopped

Toast the pine nuts: In a small skillet set over medium heat, add the pine nuts and cook, shaking the pan often, until they are fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the pine nuts to a plate to cool.

Halve the radishes root to tip, then slice them into 1/4-inch-thick half-circles. Stack the radish greens and roll lengthwise into a tight cylinder. Use a chef's knife to slice them crosswise into thin ribbons.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and the kosher salt and cook, following the package instructions, until the pasta is almost cooked to al dente (it should still have an undercooked core that would benefit from 1 minute more of cooking). Drain in a colander, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce: To a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, after 1 to 2 minutes, add the anchovy, if using, and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and shallot and cook until soft, stirring often, about 3 minutes.

Add the matchstick-cut radishes and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the skillet and cook until the radishes become tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the radish greens, cooking until they wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. To the radishes, add the drained pasta, the lemon zest and juice, sea salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the pasta is al dente, 1 to 2 minutes longer, adding some of the reserved pasta water if the pasta looks dry. Taste and season with more sea salt, if needed. Serve sprinkled with the pine nuts and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Source: Tasting Table


And that's that!

Rice and Vegetable Salad

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A chilled salad of green beans, peas, carrots, and legumes with rice,


what's not to like about this on a hot, muggy summer day!


The recipe that I somewhat followed is posted below. I didn't vary too far but here's what I did. 

The ingredients I used were organic brown rice, green beans, carrots, peas, scallions, fresh herbs, and cannellini beans. 
Please use fresh green beans, I used frozen French cut and they were just o.k. When I use green beans in salads I prefer fresh. 


The only fresh herbs I had on hand were parsley and Thai basil so I used those and the salad was just fine. 

I have this handy mini chopper that is the absolute best thing for mincing fresh herbs. 


I got it for like about $15.00 off Amazon. Money well spent. 

So here's the original recipe but like all recipes, they can be subject to change. 


Bountiful Beautiful Salad

Bountiful, Beautiful Bean & Barley Salad
Serves 6-8

1 cup frozen peas (do not thaw)
2 to 3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 pound chilled, cooked green beans
1 1/2cups cooked or canned beans (preferably chickpeas or kidney beans; canned beans should be rinsed well and drained)
4 cups pearled barley, cooked and chilled
3 scallions, derooted, whites and 2 inches of green sliced
1 small unwaxed cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1/2 to 3/4 cup minced fresh herbs
About 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 lemons, halved
Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Lettuce leaves, for serving
Red and yellow cherry tomatoes, for serving
Crumbled feta or ricotta salata cheese, for serving (optional)

Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Place the peas in a colander in the sink, then drop the carrot pieces into the boiling water and cook briefly, until their color brightens, about 30 seconds. When the carrots are ready, drain them over the peas (if you like, place a bowl beneath the colander to trap the carrot cooking water for a stock). Rinse the carrots and peas with cold water, and drain well. In a large bowl, combine the carrots and peas with the green beans, chickpeas, barley, scallions, cucumber, and herbs. Toss together well. Drizzle with the olive oil and squeeze the lemons over the salad (through a strainer to catch the seeds, or pick them out if you don’t mind fiddly work). Season with salt and pepper, toss again, and add more oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste—whatever you think it needs. But the beauty of this dish is that it is not swimming in dressing; the good grainy flavors and the vegetables are not obscured.
Serve the salad on lettuce leaves, surrounded by cherry tomatoes and sprinkled with crumbled feta, if you like. Serves 6 to 8 Note: If you buy your pearled barley in a box, simply prepare it according to the package directions. If you purchase it in bulk, however, follow these basic cooking instructions: Combine 1 cup pearled barley and 2 cups water in a medium-size pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes. After the time is up, turn off the heat and let the barley sit, still covered, until the grain is soft and tender, another 10 minutes.

Source: Bean by Bean Cookbook


And that's that!

Kohlrabi Slaw with Fennel and Apple

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Cool, crunchy and refreshing,


This can be a nice light lunch or a great side dish with dinner. 

All you need is, 


kohlrabi, fennel, and apple for the slaw and some shallot, mustard, vinegar, honey, salt pepper, and oil for the dressing. 
No, I'm not trying to pass off jicama as kohlrabi; after hitting up two supermarkets, neither of which had kohlrabi I opted to substitute it with the jicama. 


Having a good Mandoline makes the prep work a breeze. Don't forget to use your cut-resistant glove. (you're welcome)

I hope you try it, it's really easy and refreshing when it's too hot to cook or even want to eat. 

Kohlrabi Slaw with Fennel & Apple


1 medium fennel bulb with fronds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons minced shallot
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 small apple, cored and cut into matchsticks

Chop enough fennel fronds to equal 1/4 cup. Thinly slice the bulb.
Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, shallot, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the fennel and fronds, kohlrabi and apple; gently stir to coat.

Source: Eating Well


And that's that!

Eggfree pancakes

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With pancakes this good, who needs butter and syrup!


I was eating these as fast as they came off the griddle. 

Using the flaxseed meal recipe (1 T ground flaxseed meal mixed with 2 1/2 T water and let sit for 5 minutes) as an egg substitute,added a nice little crunch to the pancakes.


  Using a 1/4 cup measure the recipe yielded about 12 pancakes.

These pancakes are cooling so they can be packaged for the freezer. I placed the pancakes between sheets of waxed paper and then into a plastic freezer bag. Now I can have a pancake snack any time I want. I really like them warmed up with a bit of cheese melting on top. 

Here's the original recipe I tweaked a little, o.k. a lot. I hope you try both. 
Instead of the nut butter I used the flaxseed mixture as my egg substitute. 


koko's version of Eggless Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons light coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons avocado oil
egg substitute 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 5 tablespoons water, let sit for 5 minutes
1 1/4 cup buttermilk, or more to reach desired consistency 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour with the baking powder, sugar, and kosher salt.
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the oil, flaxseed mixture, and buttermilk.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The batter will be thick, add regular milk (whole, 2% etc..) if needed to reach desired consistency. 

Lightly grease a skillet with oil over medium-low heat. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, ladle batter onto the skillet. Cook the pancakes until the bubbles pop on the top, flip them and cook until done. Place pancakes on a platter and cover them with a kitchen towel to keep warm until served. 


And that's that!