|March 14, 2015: Happy Pi Day (3/14/15)|
|March 14, 2015: Happy Pi Day (3/14/15)|
Thanks so much for your support in this time of change... http://t.co/X4tyQqLjAr— Giada De Laurentiis (@GDeLaurentiis) December 30, 2014
The very beautiful and lovable Giada, 44, is known for her Italian cooking on the Food Network with such dishes as chicken piccata and spaghetti with meatballs. Giada and Todd have one child, Jade Marie, together born in March 2008. Jade was named after her mom since the word "Giada" is Italian for "Jade". It is rumored that Giada cheated on her husband with Today Show anchor Matt Lauer (that guy is such a douche bag). On a side note, doesn't Giada kind of resemble Black Swan actress Natalie Portman? Check her out in a bikini below.
|Food Network Chef Giada De Laurentiis|
|Giada in Paradise (Bora Bora)|
|America's Test Kitchen: New York Thin Crust Pizza|
|See how thin a New York style pizza turns out.|
Another technique which I have never seen before until now is how they make the dough. They make the dough and then run it through a food processor. You're probably wondering why would you use a food processor since you don't intend to puree the dough. The thing is, when making bread dough, you must knead it in order for it to develop gluten which will give the dough structure and allow it to rise again. The trapped the gases from the yeast give your bread flavor and the gluten gives the bread a chewy texture. Back in the day, people would simply knead the dough by hand which could take a long time. You can also knead the dough with an electric mixer with the proper dough hook attachment which could still take a few minutes. The food processor, however, can knead the dough in a mere seconds saving you a whole lot of time. Be aware that if you plan to use a food processor to knead your pizza dough, be sure it's powerful enough for dough. When I first tried this recipe, I used a food processor that wasn't strong enough for the dough that the dough made the food processor stop in its tracks. As a result, I ended up just getting the same exact food processor that Bridget Lancaster uses in the video since I already knew that that model of food processor could do the job.
|The bottom of a New York style thin crust pizza turns golden brown and charred.|
Another part of making a pizza at home which proved to be challenging was sliding the pizza onto the baking stone from the pizza peel. I know they mentioned to use a lot of cornmeal which would allow you to easily transfer the pizza, but they always seem to make it look easier on tv than in reality. Whenever I tried sliding the pizza from the peel, the pizza would stick to the peel and the toppings would fly off as I'm trying to transfer the pizza. As an alternative, I formed the pizza on an oiled metal pizza sheet. I used 1 tablespoon of canola oil on the pizza sheet and put the stretched out dough on the sheet and prepared the pizza on that. I then put both the pizza and the pizza sheet in the oven to bake for a few minutes. What's great about this method is that the oil on the baking sheet allows the bottom of the pizza to fry a bit which gives good flavor. Half way through the baking process, you can then slide easily slide the pizza off from the pan directly on the baking stone since the dough is cooked enough that it no longer sticks to the pan.
|Homemade pizza fresh out of the oven.|
2. Add salt and oil to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 30-60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 min. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hrs and up to 3 days.
3. FOR THE SAUCE: Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to medium bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. TO BAKE THE PIZZA: 1 hr before baking pizza, adjust oven rack to second highest position (rack should be about 4 to 5 inches below broiler), set pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Shape each half into smooth, tight ball. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart; cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick cooking spray; let stand for 1 hr.
5. Coat 1 ball of dough generously with flour and place on well-floured countertop. Using fingertips, gently flatten into 8 inch disk, leaving 1 inch of outer edge slightly thicker than center. Using hands, gently stretch disk into 12 inch round, working along edges and giving disk quarter turns as you stretch. Transfer dough to well-floured peel and stretch into 13 inch round. Using back of spoon or ladle, spread .5 cup tomato sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving 1/4-inch border around edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese evenly over sauce, followed by 1 cup mozzarella. Slide pizza carefully onto stone and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 10-12 mins, rotating pizza halfway through. Remove pizza and place on wire rack for 5 mins before slicing and serving. Repeat step 5 to shape, top, and bake second pizza.
TOPPING TIPS: We like our Thin-Crust Pizza simply dressed with tomato sauce and handfuls of shredded mozzarella and Parmesan, but additional toppings are always an option - provided they're prepared correctly and added judiciously. (An overloaded pie will bake up soggy.) Here are a few guidelines for how to handle different types of toppings:
MEATS Proteins (no more than 4 oz per pie) should be precooked and drained to remove excess fat. We like to poach meats like sausage (broken up into 1/2-inch chunks), pepperoni, or ground beef for 4 to 5 mins in a wide skillet along with 1/4 cup of water, which helps to render the fat while keeping the meat moist.
DELICATE VEGETABLES AND HERBS Leafy greens and herbs like basil and spinach are best placed beneath the cheese to protect them or added raw to the fully cooked pizza.
HEARTY VEGETABLES Aim for a maximum of 6 oz per pie, spread out in a single layer. Vegetables such as mushrooms, peppers, and onions should be thinly sliced and lightly sautéed (or microwaved for a minute or two along with a little olive oil) before using.
|ATK Chef Bridget Lancaster shows Chris Kimball how to make a New York style thin crust pizza at home.|
|Classic BBQ: Pulled Pork Sandwich served with a pickle|
If you don't know, pulled pork usually comes from pork shoulder or pork butt (often called Boston butt). And no, the pork butt is NOT the same as the pig's butt if you were wondering. It's a completely different cut altogether that comes from the upper portion of the shoulder. It's an inexpensive cut, but when cooked properly (usually low and slow), it can turn out to be quite flavorful, tasty, and tender. I ended up using a three pound boneless pork shoulder when making this recipe. I think 3 pounds is considered small when it comes to pork shoulders, but I would definitely use a bigger cut anytime I had to make this for a party or family get together.
|Pork after being pulled and ready to be eaten.|
I do like adding sliced pickles to the pulled pork sandwich or eating a pickle on the side with the sandwich. I also like coleslaw in my sandwich or at least some cornbread, baked beans, mac & cheese, or collared greens on the side. I find the crunch from the cabbage to be a nice contrast to the tenderness of the pork. I usually just buy coleslaw from the store deli if I'm making pulled pork sandwiches since I haven't found a good slaw recipe that works for me unless there's someone out there that has a good recommendation. Anyone know of a good coleslaw recipe? Anyone? Bueller? Lastly, bread selection is key to a good pulled pork sandwich. I've tried hamburger buns, brioche buns, and sliced bread (I prefer wheat bread over white bread though) which work well. I don't like the hard, crusty breads like ciabatta because it's too heavy/doughy and I like a softer bread for a pulled pork sandwich. I do, however, like using King's Hawaiian bread rolls for pulled pork sliders. I find that King's Hawaiian rolls have a sweet flavor that really complements the bbq sauce. These sliders work well for tailgating if you prepare the meat the night before the big game. Basically, just choose a bread that you like and whichever bread you do choose, toast it on the side where it was cut if using a roll or hamburger bun. I like bread toasted in this fashion - it's toasted on the side where the pork is and it is still soft on the other.
2. While pork brines, combine remaining 2 tsp liquid smoke and mustard in small bowl; set aside. Combine paprika, black pepper, cayenne, remaining 2 tsp salt, and remaining 2 tbsp sugar in second small bowl; set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
3. Remove pork from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Rub mustard mixture over entire surface of each piece of pork. Sprinkle entire surface of each piece with spice mixture. Place pork on wire rack set inside foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place piece of parchment paper over pork, then cover with sheet of aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping. Roast pork for 3 hrs.
4. Remove pork from oven; remove and discard parchment and foil. Carefully pour off liquid in bottom of baking sheet into fat separator and reserve for sauce. Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender, and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1.5 hrs. Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 mins.
5. FOR THE SAUCE: While pork rests, pour .5 cup of defatted cooking liquid from fat separator into medium bowl; whisk in sauce ingredients.
6. TO SERVE: Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 cup sauce and season with pepper and salt. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.
|Video: America's Test Kitchen Indoor Pulled Pork|
|America's Test Kitchen Old Fashioned Stuffed Turkey & Gravy|
|Carved Thanksgiving Turkey|
I never thought of roasting the turkey on its breast in the oven. Although I've seen it done before, I just never put it to practice until now. It does make sense though to do so since the breast (the white meat) easily dries out easily. And if you're a dark meat person like I am, you definitely don't want the white meat to be so dry that it would have the texture of sandpaper as your chewing. I do like how in America's Test Kitchen they use salt pork. The pork gives it a nice, "meaty" flavor. However, I skipped the salt pork simply because it's not something that was on our Thanksgiving turkey growing up. One of these days, I'll probably try it using bacon or pancetta (thick Italian bacon) instead because it's more readily available and I always seem to have a pack of it inside my refrigerator. I would think that bacon would work just as well because bacon is one of those magical ingredients that makes everything taste better. Add bacon to your omelets, burgers, sandwiches, and even chocolate and it'll just make it taste a whole lot better. I also used a different recipe for the gravy which has been in my family for a long time. A quick tip to get the skin of your turkey to be nice and crispy is to rub some butter in between the skin and flesh before roasting in the oven. As the temperature rises in the oven, the butter will melt, naturally basting the turkey with fat and allowing hot air to crisp the skin to a gorgeous golden brown.
If this is the first time preparing a turkey, I highly suggest testing this recipe in a practice run prior to Thanksgiving. That way, you'll be better prepared for the big day and can anticipate possible trouble along the way. You definitely don't want something to go wrong with the main dish during Thanksgiving and a house full of hungry guests. Now that'd be very embarrassing! And remember, you'll be sure to have plenty of good leftovers for Black Friday shopping (only if you haven't overdosed on tryptophan) and even the next few days, so you can make turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pies (chicken pot pie but using turkey instead), or turkey and dumplings (instead of chicken and dumplings). If you plan to start your Christmas shopping bright and early the next day, these leftovers could easily sustain you for the Black Friday deals in your area. You definitely need the energy to fight the Black Friday crowds to find the best deal in town.
2. For the stuffing: adjust oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until the edges have dried but the centers are slightly moist (the cubes should yield to pressure), about 45 mins, stirring several times during baking. Transfer to a large bowl and increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
3. While the bread dries, heat the butter in a 12 in. skillet over medium/high heat; when the foaming subsides, add the celery, onion, 1 tsp pepper, and 2 tsp salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften and brown slightly, 7 - 10 mins. Stir in the herbs; cook until fragrant, about 1 min. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the dried bread; add 1 cup of the broth and toss until evenly moistened.
4. To roast the turkey: combine the baking powder and remaining 2 tsp salt in a small bowl. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and unwrap. Thoroughly dry the turkey inside and out with paper towels. Using a skewer, poke 15 - 20 holes in the fat deposits on top of the breast halves and thighs, 4 - 5 holes in each deposit. Sprinkle the surface of the turkey with the salt/baking powder mixture and rub in the mixture with your hands, coating the skin evenly. Tuck the wings underneath the turkey. Line the turkey cavity with the cheesecloth, pack with 4-5 cups stuffing, and tie the ends of the cheesecloth together. Cover the remaining stuffing with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Using twine, loosely tie the turkey legs together. Place the turkey breast side down in a V-rack set in a roasting pan and drape the salt pork slices over the back [I didn't use salt pork].
5. Roast the turkey breast side down until the thickest part of the breast registers 130 degrees on an instant read thermometer, 2 - 2.5 hrs. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Transfer the turkey in the V-rack to a rimmed baking sheet. Remove and discard the salt pork. Using clean potholders or kitchen towels, rotate the turkey breast side up. Cut the twine binding the legs and remove the stuffing bag; empty into the reserved stuffing in the bowl. Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a fat separator and rsever for gravy, if making.
6. Once the oven has come to temperature, return the turkey in the V-rack to the roasting pan and roast until the skin is crisp and golden brown, the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees, and the thickest part of the thigh registers 175 degrees, about 45 mins, rotating the pan halfway through. Transfers the turkey to a carving board and let rest, uncovered, for 30 mins.
7. While the turkey rests, reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Whisk the eggs and remaining half cup broth together ina small bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the stuffing and toss to combine, breaking up any large chunks; spread in a buttered 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Bake until the stuffing registers 165 degrees and the top is golden brown, about 15 mins. Carve the turkey and serve with stuffing.
|Video: America's Test Kitchen Old Fashioned Stuffed Turkey (part 1)|
|Video: America's Test Kitchen Old Fashioned Stuffed Turkey (part 1)|
|Starbucks Coffee (based in Seattle, WA)|
|Peet's Coffee & Tea (based in Berkeley, CA)|
Lastly, this last tip probably affects me the most. When I go to Starbucks, my "go to" drink is usually a cappuccino (equal parts espresso shot, milk, froth), but this applies to those people who like cappuccinos and/or lattes (espresso shot with more milk and less froth). When ordering a cappuccino or latte, don't bother ordering a large (or venti at Starbucks). When you order a large latte/cappuccino, all you get is extra steamed milk to fill in the extra volume for your larger cup. Unless you order a double espresso shot in your large (venti) latte/cappuccino, stick to the medium (or grande) size so that you don't get a diluted latte. You'll end up paying extra not for more coffee, but for more milk rather. And remember at Starbucks that the sizes from small to large is short, tall, grande, and venti. If you're like me, I tend to forget. Or you could do what a lot of people do: make your own cup of coffee at home. Nowadays, people have those single serve coffee machines made by Nespresso or Keurig.
MadeinMyKitchen is a blog about anything food, cooking, and anything kitchen related. You can find recipes, product reviews for a new kitchen gadget, how-to videos to make your favorite dish, etc. Visit us if you're a foodie, a chef, a home cook, or you just like to eat good food and are a big fan of America's Test Kitchen (ATK), Cook's Country, or Cook's Illustrated.