Discovering the Elementary, my dear Watson! – Bread Pizza!

Posted On October 26, 2010

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Mind you, I said, ‘Bread Pizza’ and not ‘Pizza Bread’. If I had said the latter, that would mean that I have the superior skill-set it takes to make pizza dough from scratch, that I would know what is yeast (including its properties, and why the heck exactly we need it in this recipe – I have no idea why), and that I have the upper arm strength to actually make pizza dough!

You know me too well, so I won’t elaborate on that!

Instead, what I did was, used my normal bread slices that I always have lying around at home, and turned it into something that would satisfy my perennial pizza craving. Yes, I do have a perennial craving for pizza. I think I was born with that technical fault! Something about the cheese and the sauce and all those carbs…

Anyway, if you suddenly have a craving for pizza, and want to fix a quick and painless dinner, make Bread Pizza.

Bread Pizza

Things you need:

– 1 tbsp oil – either olive oil or normal sunflower oil.

Psst, you could also use butter…or pretend I said nothing…

– bread slices (obvsly!)

– onions diced into not-so-large pieces

– green peppers (capsicum) diced

– red peppers (capsicum that’s red)diced

– yellow peppers (capsicum that’s … you get the idea.)

(you don’t need all of them, just one kind will also do just fine)

– 1 tsp black pepper (ha! No. This time it’s the black powder!)

– 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

– Pizza Sauce 1 tbsp per slice (I think FunFoods has a product that some Ngl grocery stores carry – Lynns to the rescue!)

– Mozarella cheese grated

– chopped canned-meat of your choice – chicken frankfurters, luncheon meat, or even cooked and shredded chicken – whatever you want your topping to be. As long as it’s not sweet – I don’t dig sweet pizza! Sorry, there are some things my palate won’t accept…

– oregano flakes

– soy sauce

– 1 tsp red-chilli powder, or 2-3 finely chopped green chillies

Here’s what you do:

Just make the topping and arrange on the bread, then microwave! Ba-ding! You’re done!

Okay. So making the topping takes a little longer…:P Sorry!

I just threw stuff together on the pan, and improvised as I went along. So, anything that caters to your taste/craving should do.

1. In a pan, pour in a tbsp of oil or melt some butter. When the oil heats up, drop in the diced peppers.

2. When the peppers are well sauteed, add the onion and a tbsp of ginger-garlic paste.

3. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on this, and saute well.

4. Now pour in the soy sauce. Then add the green chillies or red chilli powder if you need more heat. Note: if you have a palate that doesn’t take much heat, STOP with just adding black pepper powder.

5. Throw in the meat, and let it cook with all the veggies for a while. If you want to go vegetarian on this one, or if you didn’t have any meat on hand when your craving struck (you know who), skip this step.

6. Let the whole mixture simmer for a while, till all the water content in the veggies have released and reduced. Now you have yummy pizza-topping! Yaay!!

Note: You know, you could also arrange all the toppings raw on the slice, but what’s the fun in that?

7. Next, grease a baking pan or microwave dish that’s flat and arrange bread slices on it.

8. Spread some pizza sauce on the bread slice. Go easy on the sauce, because it has a distinct tangy flavor that you might not like too much of. I got so excited that I slathered on the sauce for a couple of slices, and regretted it with every bite. One spoon sauce per slice will do.

9. Place some of the pizza-topping on the bread. Arrange greens olives or just leave it like it is.

10. Finally, for the glorious part of the entire thing – grate some Mozarella cheese onto each slice. You can over-do it or under-do it, but I’d think you were weird, if you didn’t want too much cheese on your pizza! Hence, my culinary contempt for a certain cheese-hater’s preferences…

11. Now, just stick it into the oven or the microwave for 3 minutes or till the cheese melts. Let it sit for a while after you remove it from the oven.

12. Eat. And thank me for this pizza short-cut. Or not. Don’t have to thank me if your mouth is too full with wonderful pizza! I’ll understand ๐Ÿ™‚

Just want you to know that I failed, AGAIN, to take a picture of something I made! So, your pizza could look like this…

 

image not mine

Or this…

image not mine

…based on how colorful your pizza-topping is. Mine was pretty amazing – emphasis on ‘pretty’. Unfortunately, you know what transpired. I ate, and forgot everything else…sigh. This is getting to be a problem.

Note: These pictures are not mine.

Anyway, enjoy, until I come bug you with another recipe, complete with MY OWN pictures of the food! ๐Ÿ˜€

Discovering the Elementary, my dear Watson! – Pancakes!

Posted On October 25, 2010

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I have had many ‘Duh’ moments! In fact, 80% of my life is all about the ‘duh’ moments. You know, like stuff that everybody just KNOWS when they are put into a certain situation, but for which, I need a user’s manual, complete with detailed, labeled diagrams! Yeah, sometimes I make myself tired…

Anyway, cooking, by and large, has been that way for me, which you already know if you have closely followed this blog. I can’t cook. That should probably be my epitaph, or something. So, I used to think that making pizza, pancake, and brownies were like high-end magic, or at least stuff that I would never be able to do, without changing life as it was for myself!! HAHA! I have no idea what I just said! Oh yeah, what I said was that I thought pancakes and brownies were hard to make.

But then, (I love how you can break all rules of grammar on your personal blog!) I decided last week, that I am going to figure out the pancake and the pizza. One was, and the other wasn’t really…

So, here’s how I made pancake – those who make scrumptious pancakes on a daily basis and WOW your family every day, and are adventurous with their pancakes to turn them into 5-star restaurant cuisines, please…PLEASE ignore this post. Others, like me, who have no idea how a pancake is made, have never eaten one, or think that it is ‘Un-do-able’ follow me. It’s really elementary, my dear Watson!

Basic Pancake Recipe

pancake & image not mine! ๐Ÿ˜›

This is what you need:

– 1 egg

1 & 1/2 cup milk

1 cup flour (maida)

3 tbsp sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp baking powder

Here’s what you do:

1. Whisk together the egg, vanilla essence, sugar and salt. Whisk till the sugar is, at least partially, dissolved.

2. Now, add the flour and the baking powder, and combine well.

3. Pour in the milk and stir well, so that no lumps are formed. Remember, lumps are no good for any one, anywhere.

At this point, let me just say, that if you have ever made wheat dhosas for dinner on those totally uninspired evenings, you know that making a pancake is not very different. It’s the ingredients that are the fun part!

4. Anyway, make sure that your batter is not too watery (or milky!), and not too thick either. You know… your 1&1/2 cup of milk should be enough to make an easy-to-pour batter.

5. Heat up a flat pan (non-stick pan or your dhosa pan should do), and, if you don’t care about your diet, go ahead and dab some butter on the heated pan. If you do care about your diet, skip the butter. Nothing inedible will happen!

6. Take a large ladle-full of batter, and simply pour in the center of the pan. NOTE: Please, please DO NOT spread it around with your ladle!! If you, like me, have made one too many godhumai dhosas (wheat dhosas) and rice dhosas in your life, you will have the tendency to spread batter around on the pan. DON’T DO IT! Hold your hand back, and grit your teeth if necessary.

You see, pancake is wonderful like that. No effort at all, no stress to make perfect round-shaped things. Just pour and let it be.

7. You will see that the batter itself has the tendency to spread a wee-bit. After that it will stop spreading and start to fluff up nicely. YUM!

8. Wait till all the bubbles on the batter burst (now it’s back to the dhosa process again!). Flip it over on the pan, if you have crazy Julia-Child-skills! If not, just take a flat ladle and turn it over.

9. Let it brown up a bit on the other side too. You shouldn’t let any dark-spot, burn-marks, or scars form on the pancake. Treat it like a gentle flower…

10. Flip it back up onto a plate…and go make some more. Or…leave some one else to make their own breakfast (I only wish…) and pour some honey over your pancakes and stuff your pretty/handsome face with them!!! Usually, people use maple syrup. I have no idea what it is. So, I used honey, and I was anything but regretful…meaning, that I could not wipe the smile off my face…

Pancake, where were you all my life? Sigh!

pancake & image not mine! ๐Ÿ˜›

PS: If y0u are wondering what’s all this ‘pancake & image not mine!’ about, I just wanted to let you now, that I did NOT photograph even one part of the pancake-making process. Even though I seriously considered it for all of 2 seconds, I did not even stop to photograph the finished product. It was all already in my mouth! I made it twice last week, and still failed to get a picture. So, I used an image I found on the web. Just googled ‘basic pancake’ and got these images. These images are not mine. But, for the record, I would like to sincerely state that I did make pancakes and they did taste heavenly. And mine looked exactly like those in the pictures. So, There!

Learning from Karen: Apple Upside Down Cake

I baked again! And this time, I adapted a recipe from Karen’s Contemplations and Ruminations. I tried the Apple Upside Down Cake! And it was gooood! (Please say that like Bruce Almighty!)

I made it for my in-laws when we visited them this weekend, and I am glad to say they liked it! It was the kids and the husband who liked it the most, I think. My man is a lover of all baked stuff, so I couldn’t go very wrong with this one! Also, Karen’s instructions and pictures are really helpful, so it was a breeze! Here is Karen’s recipe.

And now…

Ingredients:

2 – 3 medium apples (or 2 large ones)

1 & 1/2 cup maida (flour)

2 heaped tsps baking powder

1 & 1/4 cup sugar

about 80 grams butter

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 egg

Equipment:

Baking dish

Baking oven (or microwave)

Method:

1. Peel the apples and slice them into wedges.

I like this dish with its pretty African shapes and colors

2. It will be very convenient if you have a helper to get rid of all the skins and seeds of the apples! My diligent helper did a pretty good job, I must say!

She emptied the skins onto the table and put them in the dish again to pose for this picture!!

Public announcement: At this point I felt like I will not be able to do any proper dinner-cooking, so I resorted to serving this and left over sambar from lunch, for dinner:

dhosa - a South Indian favorite and the savior of all working women throughout the country!

3. Next, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan, over a low flame, and add 1/2 cup of sugar to it. Stir constantly till the sugar melts.

I may have added a tad bit more butter than necessary...I'm not saying.

4. The sugar will melt to form a golden gooey liquid. This should probably be made into currency or something!! It’s that golden and precious!

The good stuff!

5. Please ignore the not-so-ideal-looking pan, and go to the next step before the sugar hardens into toffee. ‘Coz harden it will! I let it harden a bit too, just like Karen did! But don’t worry, you can totally dilute it again, but why bother if you can do it right the first time?

6. Now add the apples in and stir to coat them with the caramel syrup. Cook till the juice of the apples completely leaves them and mixes with the caramel and the entire thing becomes sticky, gooey, golden, sweet and brown, and you can’t resist sneaking a spoonful into your mouth!

7. Butter a baking dish and spread some flour over it. Now spread the apple caramel mixture at the base of the dish, making sure that the entire bottom of the pan is covered.

8. Let’s make the batter now. In a bowl, add all the remaining melted butter (I like the sound of that!), and the sugar and mix well.

I have no more pictures the next couple of steps. Seriously, do you think I was so skillful to photograph the ENTIRE process?!?! I’m glad I got this far without burning anything!!

9. To the mixture of sugar and butter, add the egg and beat well. You can also add the vanilla essence into the mixture.

10. Now add the flour and mix vigorously because you really want everything to blend together smoothly. You can add the milk gradually to loosen things up and form a smooth batter that is pourable. If you are greedy and disobedient like me, you can add some chopped nuts – I added cashews!

11. Pour the batter above the caramelized apple, and sit back and contemplate on how awesome this is going to turn out. Also, you can smell the divine perfume of vanilla and caramelized apples.

12. Stick it into the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes or you microwave it on high for 10 minutes. Open the oven and take a peek to make sure everything is going okay….if you are paranoid like me!

13. When it’s done, it should be brown, and slightly cracked in the middle – if you used the baking oven….head to Karen’s recipe to look at the picture. If you used the microwave, chances are you’re not really getting the brown look, rather it will look like this:

This looks alarmingly like the dhosa! But I assure you, it is very yummy apple cake!

I have poked a hole into the cake to make sure it is baked. I don’t have toothpicks at home (I have a 3-yr-old instead), so I used the end of my wooden spoon! You may now laugh your heart out at me…sigh.

Oh! Look at the pan from the side! It looks good enough to just scoop put and eat with some icecream!

14. Now comes the ‘Upside Down part. Take a large cake dish, or a stainless steel plate, if you don’t have those fancy things. I don’t have one because, never in my life did I expect I would be baking…So…

15. Place the plate upside down on the plate, and then carefully turn the entire thing upside down again.

16. Let the cake loosen itself from the pan and settle on the plate. Now you have the lovely apple top-side, and all is well with the world!

Oops! Sorry. I did it again!

Now, you can cut a piece, all warm and lovely, and eat it with vanilla icecream!

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