Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Culinary Creativity

Lately, for some reason, I've had the desire to experiment a little more than usual with my cooking.

Sometimes, I am called upon to use my resources to help celebrate a special occasion:

The frosting on the above cake was created using the recipe found here. I ended up using more like 3 cups of powdered sugar. I separated a bit out and put it in a bag to write the words on the cake; to the rest I added approximately 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. It turned out so deliciously chocolatey...!

On Tuesday night, I was in the mood for Chinese food. Lacking the funds to go out, I decided to see what I could whip up. Having inherited a couple cans of pineapple over the weekend, I thought I'd try to figure out how to make some sweet and sour sauce. I need to perfect the recipe before I post it, but I can tell you that my sauce was made up of pineapple chunks & juice, vinegar, flour, sugar, and water. The sauce was paired with chicken pieces that I breaded and fried, and I rounded out the meal with some fried rice! Yum.

And now for tonight's masterpiece!

When Thomas and I got together today and began planning out our evening, pizza was the dinner buzzword. We set out to go to my apartment with a block of cheddar cheese. With few topping options, here's what we came up with:

Bacon Pizza

Dough Ingredients:

2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
~ 1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
2 Tbsp olive oil

Begin by dissolving the yeast in the warm water (warm, not lukewarm, not hot) with the sugar. I normally add less sugar, but tonight I added about a tablespoon and the dough turned out better than it ever has before. Let stand a few minutes. The yeast will begin to bubble & grow.

Next, mix the salt in with the flour in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and yeast mixture. Stir.

Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface. You may want to remove any rings or bracelets before doing so in order to avoid plastering your jewelry with pizza dough. Add more flour if your dough is sticky. Afterward, put dough back into mixing bowl. It's best to cover the bowl and let your dough rise in a warm place for a couple hours; however, if you are short on time, let your dough rise while you prepare your toppings and you should be fine.

Topping Ingredients:

Pizza sauce - we used Ragu pizza sauce in a jar. You can use any sort of bottled or canned pasta or pizza sauce.
Cheddar cheese, shredded

Thoroughly cook your bacon.

In honor of the upcoming Valentine's Day: a heart-shaped piece of bacon!

When you're ready to assemble your pizza, begin by punching down the dough in its bowl. Remove it from the bowl and stretch/roll it out to fit your baking dish of choice. We used a pizza pan; you can use a cookie-sheet or whatever baking utensils you have on hand.

Then, spread your sauce onto your dough. Notice another heart:

Next, add your cheese and bacon (or other toppings).

Stick your beautiful creation in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes and here's what you'll get:

Be careful when removing your pizza from the pan. Slice it up with a pizza cutter and enjoy!


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