Monday, January 23, 2012

Deep Dish Pizza

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This deep dish pizza is reminiscent of Zachary's pizza in the Bay Area, but the recipe is simplified using uncooked pizza dough from Trader Joe's.  It is so rich and delicious, warm oozing mozzarella embedded between two layers of pizza crust with a rich pizza sauce on top.  It tastes like a casserole pie and will appease even the hungriest appetite.  You can vary the ingredients to your liking.  For best results use a 12" deep dish pizza pan.

2 packages Trader Joe's unflavored pizza crust dough (uncooked)
1 pkg (16 oz) Trader Joe's shredded mozarella cheese
1/4 cup each,  parmesan and romano cheeses
1 (23 oz) can crushed tomatoes with puree
1-1/2 tsp oregano
2-3 T fresh chopped basil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Toppings:  Pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green pepper, onions, mushrooms, olives (your choice)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Prepare your toppings, i.e., saute the mushrooms, green peppers, onions until done.  In a separate saucepan mix the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper over medium-high heat, then simmer for 30 minutes.

Grease the deep dish pan with Crisco.  Flour your hands and roll one package of the pizza dough out on a floured surface, stretching it to fit into the pan and up the sides of the pan.  Sprinkle the cheeses and all your toppings on top of the dough.  Roll the second pizza crust out and place it on top.  Seal the edges of the crust, tearing off and discarding the excess crust.  Make 8 small slits with a knife in the top crust.  Pour the pizza sauce on top to 1/4" of the edge (note: you may not need to use all of the sauce).  Sprinkle chopped fresh basil on top (optional).  Bake 35 minutes at 475 degrees.  Absolutely the best deep dish pizza you have ever eaten!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stephen's Easy Grilled Lobster

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What a treat - on Christmas eve, my son, Stephen Loase, brought lobster which he barbequed for us.  This is a super simple recipe.  The lobster turned out moist and delicious.

5 lobster tails - halved
1 stick of butter
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter with the chopped garlic in the microwave for 15 seconds.  Cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise.  Baste the lobster with the melted butter, and season with salt and pepper.  Grill flesh side down on the barbeque for 4-5 minutes.  Do not overcook. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Betty's Millionaire's Shortbread Cookies

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Betty Yuasa brought these cookies to a recent gathering and they were a big hit.  Who doesn't love a buttery shortbread crust with a smooth, gooey caramel layer topped with chocolate?  It is the perfect ending to any meal -- the ultimate indulgence.  Here's Betty (left) pictured with Reiko Obatake.

2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
1-1/2 cups cold, unsalted butter, divided
1-1/2 tsp vanilla, divided
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1, 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 lb. milk or dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan, layer the pan with parchment paper (the edges of the paper should hang over the top of the pan), and butter the paper.  Make the shortbread by measuring the flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 tsp salt in a food processor and pulse just until mixed.  Add 1 cup butter in chunks and pulse until roughly mixed.  Sprinkle 1/2 tsp vanilla; process until a ball is formed.  Press evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Bake 35-40 min, turning the pan halfway through to brown evenly.

Make the caramel by melting the remaining 1/2 cup butter over low heat.  Stir in the remaining 1 cup brown sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk.  Raise heat to medium-low; bring to boil, stirring constantly for 10 min.  Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla.  Pour over the baked crust; let cool.  Melt chocolate, then pour over the caramel layer.  Cool completely in pan, then use parchment paper to lift the shortbread out of the pan.  Cut into squares.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Corinne's Stout Coffee Cake

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Corinne Gooden's coffee cake is an unusual blend of flavors including stout beer and caraway seeds that work surprisingly well together.  The coffee cakes are made in small individual size tart pans.  All you need to accompany them is a freshly-brewed double Americano, and you will be in heaven.  Pictured below is Corinne's latest knitting project, a one-piece stylish knitted vest.  Her stitching is absolutely perfect!  She is a woman of many talents.

For the batter:
1/2 cup currants
1-1/2 cups whole rolled oats
1-1/2 cups imperial stout beer
10 T butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-3/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
2-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda

For the streusel:
1-1/2 cups pecans, chopped
1 stick butter, cold, cut into cubes
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp caraway seeds

Two hours before you mix the cake, combine oatmeal, currants and stout in a container.  Set aside.  Beat butter on medium speed until smooth 45-60 seconds.  Combine sugar, brown sugar and salt in a separate bowl.  Add sugars to butter and mix on low until well combined.  Increase speed to medium, mix until light and fluffy about 4-5 min.  Ensure eggs are at room temperature and whisk to lightly combine.  Slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar on low speed.  Scrape down often.  Drain the oat/currant/stout mixture and reserve the stout and soaked oat-currant mixture in separate bowls.  Sift flour and baking soda.  On low speed, incorporate the flour and stout into the butter-sugar-egg mixture in three batches, by alternating dry and liquid (begin and end with the flour).  Mix just until moistened.  Scrape down at least once.  Decant the batter/dough in a large mixing bowl.  With a rubber spatula, ensure the mixture is well incorporated from top to bottom.  Gently fold in the currants and oats.

Make the streusel:
Roughly chop the pecans.  Mix brown sugar, sugar, flour, caraway seeds and salt on low speed until combined.  Add cold, diced butter and mix on low until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Add the nuts.  Combine just until mixture clumps together.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 350.  Spread 13, 4-inch diameter paper baking moulds on two baking sheets and fill each mould halfway with batter.  Top generously with streusel.  Bake 14-19 min.  Turn trays once during baking.  Cakes are done when they are golden brown and spring back to touch.  Delish!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Carrot Cake

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This is one of the best carrots cakes I have ever tasted...super rich and moist.  The frosting is cooked and has a light, buttery, cream cheese taste.  I hope you enjoy it. 

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Grease and flour a 9x13 cake pan.  Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, mix the oil with the sugar, add the eggs and beat until well-blended, then add the vanilla.  Mix for 3 minutes.  Add the flour mixture and stir until blended.  Add the carrots, walnut and raisins.  Bake at 325 degrees for 45-55 min.  Cool before frosting.  Store in the refrigerator until serving time.

1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
3 oz. cream cheese

Cook the milk, flour and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat until the mixture is thick (mashed potato consistency).  Cool to room temperature.  Beat the sugar, cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add the cooled flour mixture.  Mix thoroughly.  Frost the cake.  Keep refrigerated.

Bara Sushi

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This colorful dish is called Bara Sushi, which can be served as a meal in itself or as a side dish.  Basically you mix sushi rice with various ingredients to get a "rice salad".  You can add any vegetable, fish, omelet, ginger, or whatever you like.  Some people like it with a strong vinegar taste, but my family recipe is a sweeter version.  We sometimes use this dish to stuff inari skins (seasoned tofu skins) to make inari sushi. 

3 cups short grain rice
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

4-5 dry shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup Yoshida sauce or any bottled teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted or chopped cooked green beans
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/3 sheet of nori (seaweed)
1-2 T red pickled ginger - shoga

Make the rice according to package directions.  Set aside to cool.  Mix the vinegar and sugar together and microwave for a 15-20 seconds until the sugar dissolves.  Mix the dry shiitake mushrooms with the teriyaki or Yoshida sauce with 1/3 cup water and microwave 3 min. until the mushrooms puff up and become reconstituted.  Let set for 30 min.  Squeeze the mushrooms to release some of the juice, then chop up the mushrooms. Grate the carrot and saute in a little butter until cooked.  Tear the nori into little bits and set aside.  When the rice has cooled, pour about 3/4 of the vinegar solution over the rice.  Add the mushrooms, carrots, sesame seeds and peas.  Mix well.  Important:  Right before serving, add more of the vinegar solution (to taste) as the rice will absorb it.  Then sprinkle the seaweed and red ginger over all.  Serve at room temperature.

Liz's Pastry Wrapped Brie

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Liz Olschefski's pastry wrapped brie was the hit of the party.  Who can resist warm melted brie topped with a savory mixture of dates, bacon, chutney, nuts and rosemary, then encrusted in flaky puff pastry?  When served with crackers and a glass of wine, who needs anything else?  Here's Liz (on the right) with her dear friend Elsie Palmquist on a recent trip to Palm Desert. 

1/2 cup chopped dates (approximately 8 dates)
4 slices thick bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled (1/4 cup)
2 T mango chutney or apricot preserves
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 - 1T fresh rosemary, chopped
1 sheet puff pastry
1 brie cheese
Milk for brushing pastry

In a medium bowl, stir dates, bacon, chutney, nuts and rosemary.  Place puff pastry on a board, roll out to make thinner, mound date mixture in center.  Place brie on top and brush with milk.  Gather and pleat pastry over brie and snip off excess pastry.  Press together and invert onto a cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 min. until golden brown.  Serve warm.