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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€

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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! πŸ˜›

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! πŸ˜›

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!

Microwave Brownies… And my Baking Debut!

Posted On August 30, 2010

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My mother bakes the best cakes I have ever had. She is one of those rare people on the planet who can taste food and figure out the recipe all on their own. I think 99.9% of those people are master chefs!!! Okay, you guessed right…I am really proud of my mom and her culinary skills. I would also like to point out that my culinary skills are…well…no where in sight, so far!

The closest I ever got to a baking dish is when I dig in to my mom’s Dates Cake! (will get you the recipe soon) However, I decided that, having a chocolate-loving daughter, this state of affairs could not go on for very long! And, I have been craving brownies from the time I knew they existed. The local bakery sells brownies, but I came very close to asphyxiation when I tried them!!! I want to live, people!

And then, there is the fact that I have no oven…yes, I know, I sound like the pathetic soul that I am… But I do have a microwave!! Yaaay! So…

I Googled, found, learnt, revised, and etched into my memory…this recipe:

MICROWAVE BROWNIES

(Caps lock deliberate to indicate awesomeness!) This is my first attempt at baking, EVER. So, cheer me on, okay?

This is a small serving, but you can double it and it works out just fine, as I found out yesterday. I first made these 2 weeks ago, and the pictures are from that attempt.

Things you need: (Basic, non-fancy-schmancy stuff will do for this brownie! And that’s good, because, duh, I live in Nagercoil…)

1/2 cup flour (maida)

1/2 cup cocoa powder (Note for folks in Nagercoil πŸ˜› – I used the Cadbury cocoa powder that is available in a purple tin in local shops)

1 cup sugar (best to use powdered sugar, because the granules take a heck of a long time to dissolve in the butter – not good. If you don’t have powdered sugar, just powder the sugar you have, in your grinder/food processor!)

1 & 1/2 stick of butter (I used the Amul salted butter)

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla essence

Chocolate chips (So not optional, but I could not find this wonderful blessing anywhere in this town, and I had to do without it…*sniff*)

Chopped Nuts – any kind. I used cashews and almonds

Method:

In a bowl, mix the cocoa and flour well so that both have blended in.

Soften butter and mix the sugar in with it, until soft and creamy.

Add the 2 eggs and whisk till soft and blended in well. You can add the vanilla essence too.

Now, add the dry ingredients very gradually into the liquid mixture (one tbsp at a time) and keep stirring till your arms fall out! Or, if you are lucky like me to have a sweet, patient sister, get her to stir while you casually stand by and add the dry ingredients!! πŸ˜› Better, yet, use a hand-held or table-top mixer.

When the entire batter has been stirred well, pick the bowl up and sniff the awesome aroma of the entire thing. “People” have been known to eat a finger-full of batter right off the bowl…but that’s just “people”! You don’t have to do that…or you could, if you want to…*hint, hint*

Now, grease a round (or rectangular) glass baking dish* with butter, and sprinkle it with powdered sugar. I did not have powdered sugar, so I just powdered up some butter cookies that I had and lined the baking dish with it, over the butter! And it rocked!!!

*Use only glass dishes that are meant for microwaves. NEVER use metal, unless you plan to blow up your microwave oven!!

Now, just pour the batter into the baking dish. You might have to spread the batter equally to all parts of the baking dish, because sometimes the batter can be on the thicker side.

Now, stick it into your microwave and set it on high, and set the timer for 10 minutes.

I would strongly suggest that you take a peek at the 7th or 8th minute to check on things. Take a toothpick and insert it into the center of the brownie. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If there is almost-cakey batter stuck on it, you need it to go on for the remaining time.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule here. If after 10 minutes it still looks suspicious, give it another minute of baking.

At the end, let it sit in the oven for a few minutes. Then take it out and cool it completely, because warm brownies refuse to let go of the baking dish. They still want their mommy!

When cooled, eat the whole thing up without sharing…Oh, sorry…bad advice!!

When cooled, cut out a piece, place it on a small plate, top with vanilla ice cream and a cherry (optional)….eat and go to heaven!

Then come back and tell me how it was. Okay?? This part is NOT optional! Come one, I want to know how yours turned out!

This is the chewy, moist variety of brownie that I love! I am so not into the dry-cake kind of stuff…

Not the best picture possible, but it was after 10pm and I was not at my most patient self….

…as is obvious from this picture!

Wasn't me!

Anyway, she loved it… that’s what’s important.

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