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30 January 2012

Popover Pizza

I saw this recipe on a friend's blog, and decided to try it for 4 reasons: 1-we have a minor pizza obsession in our house, 2) I love popovers and the idea of taking popover batter and turning it into pizza, brilliant! 3) We had some leftover mozzarella from our last pizza adventure. 4) I got to use my new immersion blender from Motherdear to make the batter. Hopefully I'll have more with the immersion blender soon. In the meantime, here's how I made it.

Vegetarian Popover Pizza Casserole

Preheat oven to 400.

Prepare batter (can be done ahead of time or when your filling is simmering as given in the other recipe)

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 glug of your favorite cooking oil (a glug is a highly unprecise measurement, you pour until you see/imagine the oil "glugging," it's about one tablespoon)

Now prepare your topping. Here's what I did, but you can see the other recipe and the link to the original recipe with other ideas for the meat eaters out there.

a bunch of mushrooms (about 14 oz), sliced
1 onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
10 oz frozen spinach
1 can diced tomatoes
dried basil to taste
salt and pepper to taste
lots of grated mozzarella
a good bit of grated parmesan

Saute the mushrooms until they release their water and shrink, add the onions and continue to cook until they start to soften. Add the garlic and continue to saute for a few minutes. Add the spinach and canned tomatoes and spices and let simmer for a few minutes.

Pour the topping into a 9 x 13 inch pan (I actually used a 7 x 11 inch pan and it worked fine, but I think bigger might be better for this amount of stuff), top with all but 1/4 cup of the cheeses. Pour the batter over the topping, make sure it covers to the edges and corners, top with the remaining cheese and get it quickish into the preheated oven.

It will get puffy and browned, I forgot to watch the clock, but I imagine it was about 30 minutes (and I'll admit I turned up the oven to 425 about 2 minutes into it and I was already impatient) then take it out and let it cool/collapse for a minute, scoop it out and eat it like the pizza lover you know you are.

23 January 2012

Winter Fruit Pie

Today, in honor of National Pie Day, I made this winter fruit pie, based on this recipe at epicurious. I didn't make the streusel topping because I didn't have any walnuts. I used my trusty pie crust recipe and made a lattice top, and used honey and a little brown sugar for sweetener, and cinnamon and cardamom for spices, and instant tapioca as the thickener. I think it turned out pretty well, not too sweet, not soggy, but some juiciness. I'm glad I freeze cranberries when they're available, because I like them for other things besides sauce at Thanksgiving. The figs were a little weird, very seedy and crunchy, I would leave them out next time.

Winter Fruits Pie

Happy National Pie Day!

15 January 2012

Into 2012, Hurrah!

Wrapping up the holiday posting a couple of weeks late, but that is one of my holiday traditions, I think.

I first want to send a huge THANKS! out to MIL for her generosity in having all of us out to her place in Germany, and to the family for their general awesomeness, I had such a lot of fun with all of them. The whole time there was pretty awesome, filled with feasting and other fun things, and also with enough long, brisk walks that I didn't outgrow my pants. Some of my favorite (food related) parts teaching my nephew to say "delicious," and cooking with him. We made quiche together and he insisted on having a turn cracking the eggs.

cooking with Nephew
Mmm, look at all that wurst!
Cooking with Lovemuffin and J

Mussel Mustache

I received several awesome gifts, and want to send out another huge THANK YOU! to everyone for their thoughtfulness and generosity.

"Gooey Somethings" personalized apron and hotpad, from MIL
Build Your Own Earth Oven by Kiko Denzer, from Dad
beautiful hand made ceramic egg separator, from Older Sister
quince balsamic vinegar and black pumpkin seed oil, also from MIL
incredibly sharp Japanese knife, from Aunt K
Immersion blender (not pictured) from Motherdear

Stay tuned for some (hopefully) exciting experiments using the new tools and ingredients!

I also have a goal to keep doing all the things that I love to do, the things that make me feel alive and happy. That includes cooking, baking, eating, and writing in this blog, and some other favorite activities, of course. In fact, a friend invited me to participate in this 50/50 challenge and so far I'm doing pretty good! I hope this new year, and all the time, sees you doing the things you love and that make you feel alive.

11 January 2012

(non-alcoholic) Glöggfest

While in Germany, we had several feasting opportunities and accompanied our food with spiced juices, or non-alcoholic glögg, or just glögg for short. Apparently my in-laws have had a glögg tradition for years now and didn't realize it. Every year on the evening when they decorated their Christmas tree, they would have hot spiced apple cider and snacks, the perfect glöggfest. 

Making non-alcoholic glögg is super easy. Get your favorite fruit juice, add some whole spices, and heat it to just below boiling for an hour or so to let the spice flavors blend with the juice. It also smells good during this time, so don't rush, enjoy the process. 

Good juices to use: 
apple cider
blackcurrant juice
blueberry juice 
cranberry juice 
pomegranate juice
grape juice 
orange/citrus juices  
blends of any of those 
anything else you can imagine (for example, I saw some rhubarb juice in a German grocery store, that could make an awesome spiced drink too)

Good spices to use:
cinnamon stick
black peppercorn (trust me on this one - so good!)
fresh ginger
orange peel 
whole allspice 
star anise  
whole cloves 

Sweeten with sugar or honey, if desired. 

I didn't get any pictures of spiced juice, but I can tell you that it looks a lot like normal juice. So I'll send you to the virtual goody plate where she has pictures and specific recipes for more spiced juices. Like cranberry (good hot or cold) and grapefruit (why didn't I think of this?).