Tag Archives: Main Dish

No-Knead Pizza Dough

Simple as can be. The recipe readily scales up for a bigger crowd.
Makes two 11-inch pizzas
Shopping List

Type “00” soft wheat flour

Yeast

Measure the flour by weight: you can scale this recipe up. See the note at the end.

In a bowl, measure

  • 320g type “00” soft wheat flour
  • scant 11/2 tsp salt
  • 1/16 to 1/8  tsp yeast

Regarding the yeast, for a 6-pizza recipe, you need about 1/2 tsp yeast, so go easy and don’t worry about being too precise. Stir the dry ingredients together. Add

  • 1 cup cold water

Stir until a ball forms. Transfer it to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a lid. Let sit for 18 to 24 hours and leave at room temperature.

After the rising time, the mixture will look a bit bubbly. Gently dump it onto a floured board, shape into a rectangle. Divide into separate pieces for each pizza (two in this case). For each piece, pull the four corners into the center. Smooth into a ball, dust with flour and place on work surface with the seam down. Let rest for 1 hour covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel.

ATTN If you’re working ahead of time, you can place the balls of dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to use the refrigerated dough, remove it from the fridge one or two hours before you’re ready to bake.

Dual Pizza Stones
Dual pizza stones transmit the heat better.

Start preheating the oven. I bake my pizza on a pizza stone with ATTN another pizza stone on a shelf about 4 to 6 inches above it. I bake at the highest temperature, 550º F convection in my case, so it takes almost an hour for the oven to heat up and for the stones to get thoroughly hot. Be sure to wait until the stone(s) heat up completely.

Form the pizza by gently forming into a circle, handling the dough as little as possible. Be sure to leave a bit of an edge around the pizza to form a crusty edge. Stretch the dough to an 11-inch round. Transfer the shaped dough to a baker’s peel that is generously coated with cornmeal. Top the dough with ingredients. Bake for 61/2 minutes (adjusting for your own oven’s temperature).

When ATTNscaling up this recipe to make more pizzas, use this guide. Per pizza 160g flour, scant 3/4 tsp salt, speck of yeast (keep reading), and 1/2 cup water. For 6 pizzas the proper amounts are 1kg of flour, 4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp yeast and 3 cups water.

This caramelized onion pizza (pictured above) is made by slow-cooking chopped onions in olive oil. Cover the dough with mozzarella and bits of shaved romano cheese and then cover with a thick layer of the golden onions. Follow baking directions above.

Inspired by

 

Chicken Tikka

Traditionally made as kebabs, this version uses chicken pieces.
4 servings
Shopping List

2-inch piece of ginger

4 cloves of garlic

2 habanero chilis (or 1 jalapeño if you want a milder dish)

1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt

1 tsp salt

1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder (or paprika)

3/4 tsp hot chili powder

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp granulated sugar

1 tsp garam masala

2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces

In a blender, combine

  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 habanero chilis, stem removed seeds left in (or a jalapeño if you want a milder dish)
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder (or paprika)
  • 1/4 to 3/4 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp garam masala (or use a substitution, below)

Run the blender until a smooth paste forms, adding a tiny bit of water if needed to get it moving.

Trim excess fat from

  • 2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces

I’m partial to thighs, but any pieces can work. Large breasts, if used should be cut in half.

Combine the chicken and paste, mixing thoroughly. Refrigerate for for at least 4 hours. Cook on a grill, starting with the skin side up; indirect heat is better. Flip to finish cooking the skin side. (I haven’t cooked this in the oven, this but it should cook for 30-40 minutes at 425º F on a tray.)

Note that if you don’t have garam masala you can make a mixture of the following spices, ATTN using more of the earlier ones on the list and less of the later ones. Everyone’s idea of what’s in this spice mix is different so look around on the web, and if you don’t have one of the ingredients listed,  just omit it and fill in with the others: (all are ground herbs)  coriander, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves.

 

Chicken Pot Pie with Cornmeal Crust

Much better than those frozen pot pies of your childhood
Shopping List

1 pound cooked chicken meat or 4 chicken thighs

2 medium (or 1 large) turnips

1 parsnip

8 ounces mushrooms

3 medium or 2 large carrots

2 large onion

1 pound potatoes

3-4 TBL olive oil

5 ounces frozen peas

1 cup milk

13/4 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon chicken base (or 1 cube chicken bouillon)

1/4 cup cornmeal (we prefer the granularity of Quaker brand corn meal)

1/2 cup shortening

1 egg

If you have some cooked meat and broth available, skip this step and continue with the mushrooms, below.

Place in saute pan

  • 1 onion, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

placing

  • 4 chicken thighs on top of onion slices

add

  • 3 cups water

Bring to a boil, reducing heat to maintain a low, gentle simmer and cook ATTNcovered for 30 minutes. Remove chicken, reserving liquid, and let cool. Discard onion pieces. Strain liquid and measure: add water to bring amount to 3 cups. Discard chicken skin and bone the chicken meat, cutting into bite-size chunks.

Continue from this point if you already have cooked meat and broth available. Slice and saute on high heat:

  • 2 TBL oil
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms

cooking until well colored. Set aside. In the meantime, dice

  • 2 medium (or 1 large) turnips
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 medium-sized or 2 large carrots
  • 1 large onion

In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat

  • 1-2 TBL olive oil

and saute vegetables for 10 minutes. Then add

  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Continue cooking for 10 minutes stirring often. Stop cooking while vegetables are still a bit crisp, especially the potatoes. Add

  • chicken meat (1 pound or whatever you obtained from cooking the chicken thighs)
  • 5 ounces frozen peas

Spoon into a baking dish or gratin pan. Generally this is about the size of a 13- x 9-inch baking pan or a decorative dish. The pan should hold all the mixture with a bit of room to spare; broader is better because you get more crust surface.

In a small bowl, combine until smooth

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425º F. In a large saucepan, heat

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 tsp chicken base or 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt

to a boil. Then add the milk mixture. Stir until it thickens. Stir sauce and pour over chicken/vegetable mixture in the baking dish

In a mixing bowl, combine

  • scant 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in

  • 1/2 cup shortening

When mixture resembles coarse crumbs, sprinkle with

  • 1/3 cup ice water

ATTN1 TBL at a time, mixing with a fork in each area where you sprinkle. Add only enough water for the dough to bind together. Roll it out on a floured surface into a shape about 2 inches bigger than the top of the baking dish. Position over filling, folding the 1-inch overhang into a flute. Brush crust with

  • Milk or 1 beaten egg

ATTNCut slits in top of crust. Place on a cookie sheet to catch any drips and transfer to the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is hot and bubbling. You may need to cover the edge of the crust with foil to prevent over-browning. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Jerk Chicken

This is a recipe that really demands cooking on the grill with a source of smoke, such as wood chips. It’s probably good cooked in the oven, but it won’t be the same. Note that it’s pretty spicy, but you can tone it down by reducing the number of hot peppers or substituting milder peppers such as jalapeños.

In the jar of a blender (or food processor), measure the following:

  • 6 scallions, cut into 4″ pieces
  • 1 large or 2 medium shallots, peeled
  • 3-4 habanero or Scotch bonnet chilies, stems removed but the seeds left in.
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 11/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into slices across the grain
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 heaping TBL ground allspice
  • 1 generous TBL soy sauce
  • 1 heaping TBL brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp cider or white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Run blender until a smooth paste forms. If you taste it at this point, just be aware that it’s very concentrated and the flavors will soften somewhat when it’s on the chicken and cooked.

Trim excess fat from

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into quarters or 8-10 chicken thighs or 4-6 leg quarters

The amount of chicken the paste will service will vary with the surface area of the parts. Spread it around on all the outside surfaces and put the chicken in a bowl or zipper-sealable bag, and refrigerate for 18-36 hours.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, set up the grill and be sure to have soaked some kind of wood for smoke. I love hickory chips, but you might prefer something else. You’ll need enough fuel to cook the chicken for up to 45 minutes. If you’re using coal,  arrange them for indirect heat or cook at/under 300 if you’re using gas.  Make sure you have a lot of smoke going and place the chicken skin side up, cover the grill and let it cook for 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye on it just to make sure you don’t have any flare-ups. The chicken will be a lovely color at this point. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 10 minutes. Start to check whether the chicken is cooked through. The timing will vary depending on the thickness of the meat and the temperature of the grill. The chicken is going to be dark (not burnt) on the outside when it’s fully cooked.

 

Crabby Crab Cakes

Makes 4 servings

1 pound fresh lump crab meat

1 egg

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

6 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Gently combine

1 pound fresh lump crab meat

1 egg

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons flour

Cover mixture and put in freezer for 5 minutes. Shape mixture into four hamburger-shaped patties. Line plate with plastic wrap and put crab cakes on it. Cover crab cakes with more plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (or up to one day), or freeze for 15 minutes.

Combine in a 12-inch skillet

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Turn heat to medium. When butter melts and foam subsides, gently dredge crab cakes, one at a time, in

3 to 4 tablespoons flour

Tap off extra flour and add crab cake to pan; repeat with others. Raise heat to medium high. Cook, rotating cakes as needed to brown the first side, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn and brown other side (which cooks slightly faster).

Adapted from The New York Times

Seppie In Zimino

Served with salad and bread, this makes a rustic dinner.
Makes 4 servings as a main course, 6 to 8 as a first course

Shopping List

11/2 to 2 pounds fresh or thawed cuttlefish

1/4 cup olive oil

1 small onion

2 tablespoons minced parsley

A few leaves of minced basil

11/2 to 2 pounds fresh Swiss chard, beet greens, or spinach (or 20 ounces frozen spinach)

1 cup canned plum tomatoes

red pepper flakes


Clean and cut into bite-size pieces or strips (not rings)

  • 11/2 to 2 pounds fresh or thawed cuttlefish

Even if you have purchased cleaned cuttlefish, check that it is completely cleaned. In a pot (large enough to hold all the ingredients) on medium heat, place

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced

Cook until the onion is translucent. Add

  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • A few leaves of minced basil

Saute for another minute. Wash well to remove sand from

  • 11/2 to 2 pounds fresh Swiss chard, beet greens, or spinach

Cut across the stems of the the greens to make large strips, but only use the parts where there are greens. The strips are maybe 1/3-inch wide. Discard the stem-only parts of the greens and avoid including any really tough stems. ATTN If you’re not feeling motivated to use fresh greens you can substitute 20 ounces of thawed, frozen whole-leaf spinach that’s been coarsely chopped.

If using fresh greens, cook on high heat until it cooks down, stirring every minute or so. If using frozen spinach, cook until it is heated through. Add the cuttlefish and

  • 1 cup canned plum tomatoes (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 to 2 tsp red pepper flakes, according to your taste for spicy food
  • salt and pepper to taste

Break up the tomatoes with a spoon. ATTN Go lightly with the salt as the flavors will concentrate as this cooks down. Adjust heat so the pot stays at a simmer. Keep the pot covered and stir every now and then, till the fish is cooked and the sauce is thick. You may need to add some hot water to keep the mixture from drying out or remove the cover towards the end if it’s too watery. This will take about 40 minutes to cook.

Check the seasoning and cook 5 minutes more. ATTN Serve with slices of crusty bread.

Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Cabbage

A few basic ingredients make a delicious dish
Serves 4 as a main dish

Shopping List

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large onions

4 large cloves garlic

6 cups thinly sliced cabbage

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 pound pasta

Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Heat in a large heavy skillet

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

over medium-low heat. Add

  • 2 large onions, cut into 1/4-inch slices, broken into rings
  • Salt and pepper

Saute until soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Do not try to rush this step. Add

  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Stir well, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until very tender, about 45 minutes, stirring often and adding a little more water if it dries out. Meanwhile, cook

  • 1 pound pasta

in boiling salted water. Add drained pasta to pan when the cabbage is done, toss well to combine for about 5 minutes. Serve hot, with

  • freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Adapted from teriskitchen.com

Fideua

Clean really well:

  • 1 pound mussels
  • 18 little neck clams

Clean but leave in their shells

  • 8 or 12 shrimp, depending on size

Clean

  • 1/2 pound sea scallops, cut in half horizontally (producing shorter cylinders)

Cook the clams with 1/3 cup water, covered in a 2 quart sauce pan, until the clams open. Remove from heat, set clams aside. Separate  liquid so that the silty part is removed (pour carefully and you probably don’t need to use a filter paper).

In a large pot (10-12 inches across and nearly as deep) on a medium-high or medium heat, saute until the pasta has turned golden brown to brown

  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 3/4 pound angel hair pasta, broken into 2-inch pieces

Stir constantly but gently (or it flies out of the pot) until the the pasta is mostly browned. Don’t let it get black. Add..

  • 1/2 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 TBL garlic, minced
  • pepper

Stir and add the mussels and the reserved clam stock. Stir regularly, and as needed add additional water. If the pasta is firm and the liquid has run out, then it needs more water. (The pasta takes about 10 minutes from when you add the clam stock to finish cooking.) When you reach the point the mussels have all opened and the pasta is nearly done, add in the clams and shrimp. Cook for a few minutes more. When the shrimp are nearly done, stir in the scallops, turn off the heat and cover to let the scallops cook. After a minute or two, it will be done.

Check seasoning, it might need salt but usually we don’t need to add any because the clam stock provides enough. Transfer to warm serving platter and top with:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Serves 4 people.

Striped Bass with Braised Fennel

This recipe will serve 6-8 people. Prepare Tomato-Fennel Sauce in advance. You will need one piece of boneless (skin-on) Striped Bass per serving.

Cut up 2 fennel bulbs: trim root end slightly, cut off stems. With root sitting on cutting board, cut vertically to split the bulb in two. With cut side of bulb facing the cutting board, make 1/2-inch-thick slices by cutting in the same direction the plant grows. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet. When very hot, add a layer of fennel to pan and let brown on both sides. Remove from pan and work in batches until done. Put fennel in another skillet large enough to hold it all. All 1 to 11/2 cups of chicken stock. Cover skillet with lid.

When it’s time to cook dinner, preheat oven to 400 F and warm up the sauce. Heat the covered skillet containing the fennel to a simmer; let braise until tender but not overcooked while you proceed to cook the fish. Oil and heat a heavy oven-proof skillet or griddle on a high heat. When oil is smoking, place fish in pan, skin side down. Depending on thickness of fillets, cook 3-5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven until fish is done cooking, probably another 3-5 minutes.

To serve, ladle 1/2 cup sauce into bottom of bowl. Add a layer of braised fennel. Place fish on top of fennel and garnish with chopped parsley or basil. Serve with bread to mop up the sauce.

Stuffed Vegetarian Vine Leaves

Cook 1 cup brown rice with 1 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp dried thyme until almost cooked. Meanwhile finely chop 1 medium onion and saute in oil until tender; do not brown. Let onions and rice cool for 10 minutes, combine with 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/2 cup currants and a sprinkling of cinnamon — probably about 1/4 tsp. Stir thoroughly and season with additional salt and/or cinnamon to taste.

Rinse and drain vine leaves. Trim off any stems. (I used a jar that was marked “8 oz. drained weight” and was about the size of a 1 lb. jar of another brand.) With veined side up, stuff with a 1-2 tsp of filling according to the size of the leaves, rolling tightly (see Stuffed Vine Leaves for details). Place on steamer rack and when you’ve stuffed them all, cook for 45 minutes in the covered steamer, being sure it doesn’t dry out.

This made about 30 vine leaves.

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms

Heat oven to 350 F. In an overproof pot, heat oil to coat bottom and brown 6-8 skinless chicken thighs, in batches if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove from pan.

Over medium high heat add 1 stalk of sliced celery, 1-2 diced carrots and 1 diced onion. Season with salt and pepper, stirring until softened. Add 4 cloves chopped garlic, chopped mushrooms (see Note 1, below) and 4 sprigs of fresh thyme. Stir occasionally and cook for about 10 minutes, until all liquid is gone.

Add 1 cup white wine; raise heat and reduce by half. Add 2-3 cups chicken stock and bring to boil; add chicken, cover and place in oven for 2 hours. Meat will be so tender it falls right off the bone.

Remove meat from liquid. (You may stop at this point, see Note 2, below.) Pick meat from bone when cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, add 2/3 cup pitted black olives to sauce. (I like oil-cured Moroccan olives but I suggest you use olives that are not too salty which these tend to be.) Cook on stovetop until flavors have blended and sauce thickens a bit. Return meat to sauce and reheat. You can also stop at this point and reheat later.

Serve over Creamy Polenta or Whole Wheat Pappardelle.

Note 1: I like to use about 4 ounces of any exotic mushroom (such as Maitake or Oyster) except not Shiitake plus about 8 small Cremini mushrooms. I break or cut the caps of the exotics into recognizable pieces. chop up the stems finely and slice the Creminis finely. You could use button mushroom for a less expensive alternative.

Note 2: I often separate out the meat, drain off the liquid and leave it to cool in the freezer for a while so I can remove all the fat from the liquid, then resume the recipe 40-50 minutes before serving. This lets the final cooking happen just before serving.

Chicken Tikka ‘dempte

OK, this is neither Eastern European nor is it Indian, but I like how it tastes.

Saute 1 diced onion, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 seeded and minced jalapeno pepper. When onions are golden, push mixture aside and brown trimmed meat; I used chicken thighs (bone-in, but skinned and trimmed of all fat). When all pieces of meat are cooked on both sides, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup tandoori paste (I used Patak’s brand) and 1 cup water. Mix around a bit, reduce to a slow simmer and let cook covered for 45 minutes. Every 10-15 minutes, turn the pieces and move the ones on bottom to the top.

When meat is tender, whisk a little gravy into 6 ounces of yogurt, and then add the mixture back to the pot. Let cook 5 minutes more. Serve over rice

Chicken with Yogurt Sauce

Trim of excess fat and place 8 skinless chicken thighs in a skillet large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add water to cover, 1 TBL ground cardamom, 1 tsp ground white pepper and 1 tsp salt. Bring to slow simmer and cook for 20 minutes; chicken should be cooked through.

Remove chicken from pan. In a saucepan, combine 11/3 cup chicken broth (reserved from cooking chicken), an equal amount of thick Greek-style yogurt, 1 TBL cornstarch. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until thickened. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve sauce over chicken on platter, garnished with toasted pine nuts.

This dish has a lot of sauce, so consider serving it with couscous you’ve cooked with some turmeric and added minced carrots or red peppers. The main dish is so white you’ll want some contrast.

Adapted from a recipe in The New York Times, Feb 11, 2009.

Stuffed Vine Leaves

Start cooking 11/2 cups brown rice; you will want to stop it just short of being fully cooked. Meanwhile, chop 1-2 medium onions, finely: you will have about 11/2 cups onions. Saute the onions and 2 cloves minced garlic in olive oil. Season with salt pepper and herbs; I used a mixture of fresh thyme, dried thyme and dried oregano. Add 11/4 pounds ground meat; I used turkey, but lamb or beef will give a more flavorful result. Saute until cooked, but don’t dry it out, and be sure to keep it broken into small bits.

While the rice is finishing up, prepare the vine leaves. I used a 2-pound jar of leaves (but only used about half of the leaves in the jar). Fresh leaves would be better, but you’d need to pour boiling water over them to soften them up. Rinse the leaves, remove the stems and arrange them in stacks so the side with the veins is up. Don’t use torn leaves or ones with many holes.

When the rice is almost cooked, add the drained rice to the mixture and check the seasonings. Now start filling. With the stem end facing you and the veined side up, put a spoonful of filling at the center of the leaf. Fold the left and right lobes nearest the step over the filling at a 30-degree angle, then bring the sides in and finish rolling up. Squeeze it a bit to hold it in shape and put it in a steamer basket. (You want a steamer with a flat surface, not a basket made for steaming vegetables.) Pack them tightly.

Put the steamer into a pot with water in the bottom and a tight-fitting lid. Steam for 45 minutes: the leaves will have softened up. Check the water level from time-to-time because if it runs out, you’ll burn up all your hard work.

This makes a really large number of stuffed leaves, but the exact number will vary according to how large the leaves are that you use.