THINKING OUTSIDE THE MAC&CHEESE BOX

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Lucky Pesto Pizza

It is a perfectly perfect green shamrock
My family loves making pesto pizza, and we make it often. To celebrate St. Patricks Day this year, have fun and create your own lucky shamrock-shaped pizza just like we did below.


measuring the flour for the simple pizza dough

Let the dough rise

I enjoy punching the dough!


Cut the dough into 3  equal portions, and a small bit for the clover tail
 

roll and shape the crust

Look at all of that homemade pesto!

Top the pizzas with pesto


baked to perfection on our pizza stone


So pretty, you won't want to eat it.
 Mom's Note:   These pizzas are fun, easy, and ideal for St. Patrick's Day! The kids love rolling their own dough, and adding toppings to their liking.  We use a very easy recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, for Roman Pizza Dough. 

 We preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone in it, which helps to make the crust crunch.  After we have shaped the pizzas, topped them with pesto and shredded mozzarella cheese, we park them for a minute on a cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.  The cornmeal sticks to the dough, when we place the pizzas directly on the stone, and adds a nice texture once baked.  This Lucky Shamrock Pizza was deliberately made in 3 separate individual pizzas, and a breadstick, so we could piece it together as a shamrock--FUN!!

The pizza dough recipe is below, and the homemade pesto recipe is in yesterday's post. The pizzas are best when baked on a pizza stone, but you could also use a cookie sheet.  Bake them at 450 degrees for roughly 8-11 minutes.   Enjoy!!

Pizza Dough:

1/2 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl


Mix the warm water and yeast in a small bowl to blend. Let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor to blend. Blend in the oil. With the machine running, add the yeast mixture and blend just until the dough forms. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draft-free area until the dough doubles in volume, about 1 hour. Punch the down dough and form into ball. The dough can be used immediately or stored airtight in the refrigerator for 1 day.



If you need a pizza stone, Amazon has 'em available!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saint Patrick's Day Pesto


In honor of St. Patrick's Day,  we thought we'd whip up a batch of tasty green pesto.  I never knew how easy it was to make this!


Start with a food processor or blender, then pack it with fresh basil.

Add the fresh pine nuts...

Add 2 cloves of pressed garlic, and your fresh parmesan

Look at all that olive oil!!!

Drizzle in the olive oil as the processor whirrs....

And you have a lovely green pesto! 

Add to cooked pasta, and toss

A little more parmesan to top it off, and you are ready to serve!

Of course, my mom loves hers topped with sauteed mushrooms.


Mom's Note: This recipe is easy and comes together nicely.  It is a perfect St. Patrick's Day meal for you and your little ones to make together.

St. Patrick's Day Pesto
6 cups chopped fresh basil
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

Place all ingredients except for olive oil a blender or food processer, blend until everything in the bowl is chopped finely and combined, then slowly pour in the olive oil in as you continue to run the processor. Continue until all olive oil is incorporated into the pesto.
ENJOY





Saturday, March 12, 2011

St. Patty's Cookie Patties


Look at my pretty nails against the cookie
Do you want an easy cookie? Do you still want to be festive at the same time though? Then you have come to the right place. Now presenting: The amazing Pillsbury St. Patties Cookie Patties! They are actually called Pillsbury Ready to Bake Shamrock Cookies.  These cookies are perfect for St. Patrick themed parties or just if you want to snack on a treat and still have the Patty's Day spirit. It is already pre-cut and all you have to do is stick them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and toss them into the oven for 8-10 minutes. It's easy as pie. YUM!



These are fast fun and yummy



Pre-shaped, right out of the box




Place the dough on parchment lined sheet




The Lucky Cookie 10 minutes later

A special thanks to my friend Lisa at Sweet as Sugar Cookie for including me in her Sweets for a Saturday #8!  There are soo many fun recipes in this post from other great bloggers.   Click the button below to check them out.



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras!!! My Ode to Blueberry Beignets


Happy Fat Tuesday!  In honor of Mardi Gras, we decided to make beignets. Here's the funny thing, though, I have never had a beignet, but I've seen pictures, and I do know that they are a specialty in New Orleans, and that they are yummy donut-like bits of fried pastry, sprinkled with powdered sugar.  They seem like they'd be delicious!

My mom, being overly ambitious, selected a special recipe for blueberry beignets, but when the time came(yesterday after school, and violin practice), we found that it was getting late, and just thinking about making a dough, waiting for it to rise, and then frying it, was a little much.

So, we decided to make a Beignet look-alike.  We did this with an Ebelskiver pan.  Ebelskivers are little round filled pancakes made in a special pan.  They are puffy rounds bits of joy!  The best part is, they are pretty quick to make, too.  We adapted a recipe from the cookbook Ebelskivers, by Kevin Crafts, which we had in the pantry with our pan.  We bought the pan about a year ago, and love it! If you don't have the pan, or the vanilla bean paste, don't worry, you can order one from Williams Sonoma, through the link on the right side of my blog.


Beignet Doppelganger Batter
Once my mom had made her changes to the original Vanilla batter, by adding fresh blueberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla bean paste, we had a whole new recipe: Brown Sugar Blueberry Beignet Doppelgangers!

Ebelskiver Pan



Flipping the Beignets

Golden Puffs

Mom's note: here's our recipe adaptation. This recipe makes about 20 yummy treats.  Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Blueberry Beignet Doppelgangers

1 Cup All- Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup milk
2 Tbs melted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup fresh organic blueberries

powdered sugar for dusting

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla paste.  Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture, and blend with wooden spoon.  Batter will be lumpy.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until still, but not dry, peaks form  Fold the egg whites into the batter.  Then fold the blueberries into the batter.

Heat the ebelskiver pan, to medium/high, brush the pancake wells with melted butter, then fill almost to the top with batter.  Keep an eye on them, and gently turn them,  when bottom half is golden.  When they are done, dust with powdered sugar.  Enjoy!!!


Dusting with Powdered Sugar



Getting Ready for Mardi Gras!


Happy Fat Tuesday!!
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