Tag-Archive for ◊ basil ◊

10 Sep 2010 Crockpot Pizza Sauce (and yummy extras)

I’ve finally found something that the crockpot (slow cooker for those of you offended by the term “crockpot”) excels in.  Excels in!  This is not just a recipe that can be cooked in the crockpot. It’s a recipe that should be cooked in a crockpot.  Yes, a recipe that tastes best cooked in the crockpot!  I found this recipe in “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann (San Joseans!), on page 250.

I have made my fair share of pizza sauces and this is, by far, my favorite.  The flavor is so rich and consistent.  I’m in love!  What’s more, one batch of this recipe makes about 6 cups of pizza sauce.  Use one portion, freeze four! That’s my type of batch cooking.

Crockpot Pizza Sauce

2 12 oz. cans tomato paste
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, crushed (to taste)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 cup minced fresh flat leafed parsley
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan (or similar) cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Place everything but the cheese, salt and pepper in the crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for at least 10 hours and no longer than 14 hours.  If at all possible, stir the sauce every few hours.  If you are sleeping, don’t worry about it.

Unplug crockpot.  Taste.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in cheese.  Let cool to room temperature.

I use just over 1 cup of sauce in my pizza.  Depending on the size of your pizza pan and your personal preference regarding the quantity of  sauce you might more or less than I do.

Sauce will keep, refrigerated, for at least four days.  Freeze for longer storage.

My Favorite Cheese Blend for Pizza

Like I said, I have made my share of pizza over the years.  I am finally getting good at it!  Last night’s pizza was fresh veggie…, sliced tomatoes, zucchini and basil, from my garden, and sliced fresh mushrooms and green onions.

Two of my three kids would holler, “Where’s the meat?”, but they are not home so I get to choose everything!

Whatever pizza I make, I always use this cheese blend.  I no longer have the cookbook I got it from, nor do I remember the name of the book, which is unfortunate now that I am going public with this blend.

2 parts shredded mozzarrella
1 part shredded smoked gouda
1 part shredded Italian Fontina
1 part freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano

Enjoy your creations! OH, you need a recipe for pizza dough, too?  Here you go… I hope you have a bread machine 🙂

Pizza Dough (for the bread machine)

1 1/3 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine.  Press “Quick Dough” or “Pizza Dough” cycle. Use immediately (as directed below), refrigerate overnight or freeze for up to three months.  Let frozen dough defrost overnight in refrigerator.  Let refrigerated dough rest for 20 minutes at room temperature before using.

Remove dough to a work surface sprinkled with flour or cornmeal. Divide into 2 parts (for large pizzas).  Roll or press dough into a circle about the size of your pizza pan.

Use dough immediately to make a pizza, or let rise 30 minutes or so for a thicker crust pizza.

When you have it all assembled, bake in preheated HOT oven (500 degrees) for 12-15 minutes.

Have fun assembling the perfect pizza!  Thanks for stopping by my pizzeria today. See you tomorrow!  Remember how much I like feedback.  I’d love to read your comments about this, or your experience making pizza at home.

02 Sep 2010 Fresh Tomato Tart

Fresh Tomato Tart

It’s been a long, cool summer here in California.  I’ve enjoyed it, loved it actually, but I did begin to wonder if we’d EVER “suffer” from our usual abundance of garden grown tomatoes.  Finally, the end of August, beginning of September 2010, we have an abundance of tomatoes.  My neighbors and Facebook friends have been asking for recipes to use up their tomatoes.  I have two good ones.  The Fresh Tomato Lasagna that I posted earlier this week, and this Fresh Tomato Tart which was a staple at our house last summer.  This year I’ve made it once, this afternoon, to welcome my daughter home for a quick 18-hour visit. I used 6 of my dry-farmed garden tomatoes.  I had better make another one, like I said, we finally have an abundance of organic, garden grown, dry-farmed tomatoes.  (I dry-farm my tomatoes every year.  The tomatoes are smaller, but oh so sweet and flavorful.  To dry-farm your own tomatoes, as soon as the fruit begins to set, stop watering.  YEP. No water. At all. Ever.) BTW…, I made this once without the feta cheese (not something I always have on hand) and it wasn’t nearly as good. My older daughter has substituted goat cheese for the feta, and she likes that.  But I hate (no, I loathe) goat cheese, so that doesn’t work for me. The inspiration for this recipe was from a 2009 Cooking Light magazine.  I used the cheese mixture from one of their recipes (can’t, for the life of me, remember which recipe), but then I changed everything else to get this…

Fresh Tomato Tart

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed 2 cups thinly sliced tomatoes (five or six medium tomatoes, discard the top and bottom slices) 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves 1 Tablespoon thinly sliced fresh oregano (or pinch of dried) salt, pepper 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella 1/2 cup crumbled feta 1/4 cup grated Parmesan AND 1/4 cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano (OR, 1/2 cup of just one cheese) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat an unrimmed cookie sheet with cornmeal, oil or spray (I prefer to use the cornmeal). Unroll puff pastry, thin out a bit by rolling, then prick all over with a fork. Place in hot oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes and place on 2 layers of paper towel. Roll towels with tomatoes, and set aside for tomatoes to drain while you mix the cheeses, basil and oregano together in a bowl. Remove puffed pastry from oven. Sprinkle 2/3 of cheese/herb mixture over hot pastry. Place drained tomato slices on top of cheese. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, sliced green onion, and remaining cheese/herb mixture. Return to oven and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Thanks for stopping by both my kitchen, and my garden, today.  It’s been a fun summer, but I am ready for fall.  If you make this, let me know how you like it!

10 Jul 2010 Hamburgers Italiano

The boy child cooks again! He likes all things sausage. So I gave him this recipe to try, a twist on the basic hamburger. It’s a pretty darn good burger, a very nice blend of beef and sausage accented with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. I taught him how to make his own “bun”, too, which often tastes better than those sesame covered packages ones. Toast two slices of good bread (in our case sourdough from Le Boulanger, although I love Trader Joe’s Cornbread Rye). Cut toast to fit the size and shape of the hamburger patty, slip the patty between the two slices of toast, and he was all set–after loading up on ketchup. I had him use a hamburger mold to form the patties. It’s a good tool for a beginner cook. I’ll have to add that to the growing list of kitchen essentials. I had him use a timer to cook the patties, too. It’s a skill to cook a patty all the way through. A timer helps.

Hamburgers Italiano

3/4 lb. ground beef
3/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 T. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper

Break beef and sausage into small pieces in a large bowl. Add cheese, basil, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Using a fork, lightly mix ingredients together. Divide meat into 4 or 6 portions (we make 6, about 4.5 oz. each) and flatten to 3/4 – 1 inch thick. Place on hot grill. Grill for 2-4 minutes on first side, and 3-4 minutes on second side. Drain on paper towel if you want, then place on bun, or toast cut to fit the burger, or a toasted English muffin. Add condiments and veggies as desired.

Thanks for visiting the kitchen today!