Garlic/Basil Pizza Dough

One thing we love around here is PIZZA! And, since I became fairly proficient with a few bread recipes, I figured I could probably do the same with pizza dough, right?

I found a good basic crust recipe in a cookbook we picked up along the way, and I had a recipe from my sister-in-law… both were similar, and both were pretty good. But the crust was rather bland. So, I got creative and added a few pizza-ish herbs! Thus was born my Garlic-Basil Pizza Dough!

Ingredients

2 cups warm water (~110ºF)
2 packets of yeast (3 1/2 tsp)
4 Tbps Olive Oil (I use mild)
2 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
5-6 Cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, then add the rest of the ingredients. I generally do five cups of flour first, and then mix in the final cup (or less) till the dough is the perfect consistency. Put a little olive oil in the base of your mixing bowl, cover, and let the dough rise for around an hour in a warm place. I preheat the oven on the lowest temperature while making the dough, then turn it off and let it rise inside the oven.

This amount makes enough dough for two large cookie-sheet pizzas.

Enjoy!

Arepas!

The final piece of the pabellón meal (that I am going to post here) is a piece that can actually stand on its own. Arepas are little cakes made of precooked, white corn flour that are usually cooked on a griddle in a little bit of oil, and then cut and filled with all sorts of good things. Sometimes it’s cheese, sometimes it’s meat, or vegetables, or a combination of any of those.

They come in all sizes, but for the pabellón meal, generally I make them about 2 1/2-3 inches in diameter. (If the arepa is the meal, they are generally 5 inches or so.) Also, they are formed to about 3/4″ thick.

Arepas
2 cups harina de maiz blanco precocido*
3 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
Canola Oil

Mix the flour and salt and water until a nice, wet dough is formed. Form round cakes by hand to the desired size. Add just enough oil to cover the cooking surface (I like to use a griddle) and cook until brown and crispy on the outside. Be sure to cook evenly on both sides. (Arepas can also be baked in the oven, usually after browning in the hot oil first. I do not usually bake mine.)

Once finished, allow to cool for a few minutes then slice open and add cheese (we use Queso De Freir, but most any white cheese will do) or whatever filling you’d like. Then enjoy!

* There are several places to get the precooked white corn flour … here are a couple of good options: Harina P.A.N. (from AmigoFoods.com), or Goya’s (white) Masarepa. I am actually able to find both at our local Wegmans.

Also, someday, I hope to visit the Caracas Arepa Bar in New York City. Check out their menu for some good ideas on what to put inside your arepas!

Lomitos (de Argentina)

Today’s “recipe” is more of a “how to.” Lomitos are a sandwich that is common in Argentina. We have a friend from there who has familiarized us with some of the cultural favorites of her country, and this is one of the Campbell family favorites! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Sirloin Tip Steak (sliced very thin)
Deli-sliced ham
Eggs (optional)
Lettuce
Tomato
Mayonnaise
Bread

Cut the steak into pieces that will fit well onto whatever bread you are using. In frying pans, brown the steak and the ham in a tiny bit of olive oil. If you’re going to add an egg to the sandwich, you’ll want to have it cooking as well (in a separate pan or the same one). Cook the egg as you’d like (just not scrambled…) :-)

Once the meats and egg are ready, assemble the sandwich. Mayonnaise on both slices of bread, then steak, ham, egg, lettuce, tomato. It’s that easy, and it’s delicious!

Enjoy! Buen provecho!

Fantastic French Bread

INGREDIENTS:
4 Tbps Butter (softened)
2 1/4 Cups Water (warm, ~110ºF)
3 1/2 tsp yeast
7 Cups flour
1 Tbps Salt
2 Tbps Sugar

Preheat oven just enough that it’s a nice warm place for rising.  (Make sure it’s not too hot!)  I like to even put my mixing bowl in the oven for a few minutes to make sure it’s warm, too.  Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add butter.  Add flour, salt, sugar.  Mix with bread hook until dough is removed from the side of the mixing bowl.  Should be not too sticky, not too dry.

Remove dough from bowl and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the bottom of the bowl the dough will rise in.  Roll the dough in the oil until it is sufficiently covered, then cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, and half.  Spread each half out on a floured surface and roll tightly into a long roll, tucking the ends in.  Cut small slices in the top of the loaf, 4 or 5 per loaf, 1/4″ deep or so.  Place on a stone (covered with a dusting of corn meal) and place the shaped bread back in the warm oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  (Do not let it rise too much as this will flatten your bread!)

At the end of the second rise, turn oven to 425ºF and bake for 20-25 minutes (depends on your oven).  Watch carefully.  Bread should sound hollow when you tap on it.  Should be a nice golden brown.  An egg wash can also be applied if a crunchier crust is desired.

Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes, then ENJOY!

Aunt Leah’s Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 C warm water
2 packages of yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
3.5 oz. instant vanilla pudding
1/2C melted butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
8 C flour
app. 1/2 C melted butter

Topping:
2 C packed brown sugar and 2 Tbsp cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz/ cream cheese – softened
1/2 C soft butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 C powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp milk, just enough for fluffing

In a small bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. In a large bowl, make pudding according to package. Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix well. Add the yeast mixture, blend. Gradually add flour and knead until smooth. Adding flour as needed. When dough is smooth, place in a large bowl, cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 hr.). Punch down and let rise again for about 45 minutes.

Roll out onto a floured surface – into a rectangle. Spread 1/2 C melted (I think really soft butter might be better as it won’t run as much) and then sprinkle the topping on. Roll up very tightly. Make a notch every 2 inches. Use some thread to go under dough and criss-cross at notch to make a clean cut. Place on greased baking pan 2 inches apart and press down slightly. Cover and let rise again – 1 h our. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Take them out just as they turn brown. Don’t overbake. Frost when they are warm and serve when they are warm!!

That is a lot of rising. One thing to note is that on the first rise cycle, the dough does not rise much as the ingredients are cold. It rises a LOT the second and third times though!

Enjoy!