Friday, November 30, 2012

My Handy Dandy Pizza Dough pt. 2

Sorry, I've been a bit heavy on the food posts lately. It's the holidays so I feel like all I've been doing is cooking and eating. I've got another great recipe today using Jamie Oliver's pizza dough. This one is a little more pizza-y, but the flavors are very unexpected (and pretty great, if I do say so myself).  Speaking of the holidays, this would be a great appetizer for a party.  It's elegant and delicious, but really easy to throw together.  I'm a big fan of recipes that make me seem like an awesome cook, but in actuality, were really simple to make.

Raspberry, Red Onion and Gorgonzola Flat Bread

Make pizza dough ( recipe here)

Separate dough in half. Spread half of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. I like to spread it a bit unevenly; it gives the flat bread a more rustic look. Let rise for ten minutes.
Spread entire dough with raspberry jam. Now, not to play favorites, but I only use Polaner's All-Fruit. When making this recipe, look for this stuff.  It's just fruit, there is no added sugar.  You don't want a sweet jam, you need a tart jam.

Now cover the flat bread with sliced red onion. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese. So......a quick word on Gorgonzola. It is funky. I mean.......super funky. But don't be afraid!  The onions and the raspberry jam really mellow it out.  These flavors really complement each other.

Slide the flat bread into a 500 degree oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.  This is super yummy.  And really easy.  Take this to your next holiday party.  Its minimal work, with maximum impact.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Handy Dandy Pizza Dough pt. 1

Im a pizza fanatic. I make pizza at least once a week. What makes this possible is the fantastic pizza dough recipe I somehow found by divine intervention. I may have mentioned it once or twice? It's Jamie Oliver's recipe and it is the bomb. (Click here for recipe)

The other day I got to thinking.......this dough is so great, I wonder what else could I do with it? The answer came to me almost immediately: cinnamon rolls.  Who doesn't love cinnamon rolls?

I was a little nervous about how these would turn out.  But I shouldn't have been. This dough is amazing and it made the most delicious cinnamon rolls!  Since these were such a success, I've been trying to think of what else I can do with this dough.  More to come :)

If you saw my recipe for Pizza Rolls, the technique for cinnamon rolls is basically the same. Press your dough out into a large rectangle. Now let it rise for another ten minutes. Do not skip this part!

Melt half a stick of butter. Once the ten minutes are up, brush the dough with an even coating of melted butter (don't use it all). Now sprinkle a heavy, but even coating of cinnamon. Cover the dough with brown sugar. Now sprinkle white sugar over dough. Season with nutmeg and ground ginger. Add one more heavy coating of cinnamon. Add pecans or walnuts, if desired.

Gently roll up the dough into a log. Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 and 1/2 inch slices. Gently place on a greased cookie sheet. You may have to tighten the roll, and that's ok. If they are falling apart just smush them back together.  Brush cinnamon rolls with butter (if you haven't noticed already, these cinnamon rolls are not part of a balanced breakfast).

Place in a 500 degree oven (or as high as your oven will go, this dough requires a hot hot hot oven). Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

 Top with cream cheese icing.  I normally make cream cheese icing with butter, but I wanted a lighter icing, so I left it out.  You just mix up 1/2 package of cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Keep adding powdered sugar until you get the consistency and flavor that you want.  I added a lot.
Now that your cinnamon rolls are complete, try not to eat them all. Be sure to share. This might be difficult.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's in the Fridge?

We've all had those moments: there is nothing in the fridge but a few random things. Applesauce, pickles and brown rice? Sounds.........hmmm.  A lot of times, we end up getting take-out in these moments, but I find that some of my most delicious meals come out having limited (and strange) ingredients. I found myself in this predicament yesterday during lunch, and I ended up with one of my finest hodge-podge meals ever.

Normally, when dealing with limited supplies, I make a pizza. Applesauce, pickles and brown rice would probably be delicious on a pizza. Bad pizza is good pizza. But yesterday, I went for tacos. Tacos are quickly becoming a standard in the Olinger household. They are fast, fresh, healthy (most of the time), and delicious. Here is what I came up with:

Kale and Onion Tacos with Black Bean and Pumpkin Purée Topped with Spicy Greek Yogurt

Whew! That's a mouthful! (literally I was shoveling them into my mouth)

I made these tacos for myself, so all measurements are for one person.

For the kale and onion: rip the leaves off of two small stalks of kale. Chop half of a small onion into rings. Sauté until onion is soft and kale has softened, but still has a bite to it. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  I cooked the kale and onion on a griddle, so I went ahead and cooked my corn tortillas at the same time.  Cook tortillas on medium heat for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side.

For the black bean and pumpkin purée: purée half of a can of black beans with a quarter of a can of pumpkin (a ratio of 2 to 1).   Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. Heat on a low setting, stirring often so that it doesn't scorch.  You can add a little water to this mixture if it starts to dry out.
For the spicy Greek yogurt: place three tablespoons of Greek yogurt in a small bowl. Mix in a teaspoon of diced jalapeño, a tablespoon of lime juice, a small palm-full of cilantro, salt and pepper.

Smear black bean and pumpkin purée onto cooked corn tortillas.  Top with onions and kale and a small dollop of spicy Greek yogurt.

I was amazed at how yummy these were.  Next time you have nothing in your fridge, try and get creative.  If you need some inspiration, Google the ingredients you have and see what comes up.  These tacos are an instant classic for this Starving Artist.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Black, Blue, and Lace

I'm obsessed with this color blue right now.  Could it be my Grizz fever?

Black Dress (worn as a jacket): Old Navy, Blue Dress: New York and Company, Lace Leggings: Forever 21, Black Flats: Urban Outfitters, Bracelets: Forever 21, Earrings: Charlotte Russe

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vietnamese Soup

Sorry for the lack of posts; my Thanksgiving day was more like a Thanksgiving week.  I hope you all had a fun and family-filled Thanksgiving.

I'm sure we all have a bit of a food hangover from this past week.  I know I do.  So today I thought I would post something light and full of veggies (I ate veggies last week, but when they are covered in cream cheese and Ritz crackers, I don't think they really count).

If you've never had Vietnamese soup, or Pho, you are missing out on one of the most delicious things ever.  The first time I had it was at Pho Saigon (on Poplar near the Central library if you live in Memphis).  The flavor combinations were unlike anything I had ever experienced.  Basil and cilantro together?! What?!  I was totally hooked.  If you don't try my easy at-home recipe, check out your local Vietnamese restaurant.  This stuff rocks.  

So, I kind of cheated with this recipe.  Get ready for it........ I used Ramen noodles.  Yes, it's true.  I even used the little pack of salty, beefy stuff.  This saved me about $8.  You can use Udon noodles (which are a bit on the pricy side) and you could buy beef broth (or make it yourself), but using Ramen noodles keeps this simple and cheap.

Vietnamese Soup

2 packs of beef flavored Ramen
6 cups of water
fresh ginger, grated (find a piece of ginger about 2 inches long)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 big carrot, sliced
1 big onion, diced
1 pound ground pork
soy sauce (I use lower sodium)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf

Toppings (these are very important)

lime wedges 
fresh jalepeno
green onions 
Siracha sauce

In a big pot, saute onions and carrots on medium-high until they start to soften.  Add ginger and garlic and pork.  Cook until pork is no longer pink.  Add 6 cups of water, 2 Ramen beef flavor packs, fish sauce, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf.  Add a couple of shakes of soy sauce.  Simmer this mixture for at least 20 minutes.  Don't be alarmed if it starts to smell really cinnamon-y.  The cinnamon really deepens the flavor. 

Cook the ramen noodles.  Add desired amount of noodles to individual bowls and top with soup.  Now it is topping time!  This is my favorite part.

I generally go a bit nuts with toppings, but start small and see what you like.  I like a lot of everything.  The fresh jalepenos add a lot of heat to the soup, so be careful.  The Siracha is pretty spicy as well, but it adds so much flavor.  So there you have it: easy at-home Vietnamese soup!  These flavors together are incredible.  Have fun!  

P. S. If you are getting a cold, make this recipe.  It'll clear you right up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gettin' My Grizz On

I went to my first Grizzlies game last night.  It was also my first time at the Fed Ex Forum (I must live under a rock).  What a great experience!  We didn't end up winning, but it was so great to actually be at the game.  We sat in the nose-bleed section and drank $8 beers and had a blast.  Definitely add a Grizzlies game to your to-do list.  But plan on spending $8 on beers.  

I've got a full outfit post of my awesome Grizz attire to come!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

A Few of My Favorite Things: New shoes, red, black tights, $3 thrifted dresses, murals, Memphis

Big shout-out to Urban Art Commission for these awesome I Love Memphis murals!

Dress: Thrifted, Sash: Forever 21, Shoes: Urban Outfitters, Black Tights: Target, Bracelets: Forever 21

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pizza Rolls

The other night I was craving pizza (big shock), but I wasn't in the mood for the usual thing.  So I came up with this little number: pizza rolls.  I used my regular pizza dough recipe (thank you Jamie Oliver for this life-changing recipe).  All I did was spread it out into a rectangle, added toppings (I used cheese, pepperoni, spinach, and basil), then rolled up the dough into a log.  This dough is pretty easy to handle, so this shouldn't be hard, but don't force it.  Just gently roll it.  Then I sliced the dough into 1 1/2 inch size slices. Turn your oven on as high as it will go, and bake for about 12-15 minutes.  Keep an eye on these, you don't want them to burn.  I put out a bowl of my homemade marinara for dipping.  These were super yummy and surprisingly beautiful.  They would be perfect for a party, dressed up with a little prosciutto or pancetta and some gourmet cheeses.  But for a weeknight, they made for a super fun and unexpected dinner!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wild Thing

Shirt: Old Navy, Pants: Forever 21, Boots: Khol's, Bracelets: Forever 21, Earrings: Charlotte Russe

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hearty Pumpkin Muffins

I always have a batch of muffins made up.  They make for fast, delicious breakfasts. I mix up the dough, put it in individual muffin tins, and then freeze them. The dough can cook straight from the freezer.  I try to make them as healthy as possible, since Olie and I end up eating them pretty much every day.  We change out the pumpkin for other delicious additions: bananas, blueberries, chocolate chips, etc.  Use this recipe as a guide for lots of different flavors.  Go crazy!

Hearty Pumpkin Muffins

Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1 heaping teaspoon nutmeg

Wet Ingredients
2 large eggs
1 cup milk or plain yogurt (I prefer yogurt, but I don't always have it, and milk is fine)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar (regular sugar works too)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup oats (I use quick oats)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Do not over mix!

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  If the dough is frozen, just add 5 minutes to the baking time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How I Shop

As I was putting this outfit post together, I realized that each of these pieces is from one of my three favorite places to shop.  The sweater is from Forever 21, the blue top is from Urban Outfitters, and the harem pants are from American Apparel.  Now I love clothes, but I hate shopping.  Shopping makes me want things I don't need and spend money I don't have.  So spending hours in the mall, roaming from store to store is not really on my to-do list.  I shop at  Urban Outfitters and American Apparel for a couple of reasons.  1). Both stores have a small collection of great, high quality clothes.  2).  Both are super close to my house 3.) Both are not in a mall.  The rest of my wardrobe is mostly from Forever 21.  I know I can get trendy, cheap clothes there.

For most people, myself included, buying clothes all the time is not practical.  I try to do a lot of shopping in my own closet.  I know we all get that I-have-nothing-to wear feeling from time to time, but look again.  If you are like me, you have tons of great clothes that are waiting to be remixed into new and interesting outfits.

When I really want something new, but I'm flat broke, I'll head to the thrift store.  I can pick up something that I know no one else will be wearing for 5 bucks or less.  Sometimes, you just need to scratch the I-need-something-new itch.