Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Howl-oween!

We make our dogs dress up in costumes b/c we think it's funny. They are not big fans. They kind of freeze up and then start pawing frantically at their heads to get the hats off. But they'll sit still long enough for pictures as long as I have treats in my hand. Ginger is looking forward to Halloween, b/c lots of friendly strangers come to the door and most of them want to pet her. Mia's biggest fears are: children, the doorbell ringing, and people dressed strangely. So we're pretty sure Halloween will be the worst night of her life.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Steak and Parmesan Risotto

There is no better dinner, IMHO, than a delicious steak and a cheesy starch. I usually throw in a salad or some asparagus for the hubby, but it didn't happen this time. I cooked the steaks on the stovetop, which is my new favorite way of cooking a good thick steak. Shocking, considering I grill out at least 4 nights a week, but I've found that a pan seared steak is hard to beat! Here are the recipes for this meal:

Heat up an 8" skillet (I use non-stick b/c that's what I have, but I think you are supposed to sear with stainless cookware). While it's heating up, put a few sprinkles of Mrs. Dash on one side of the steaks, topped with a small sliver of butter (very small, think like 1/4 teaspoon). When the pan is hot, throw the steaks on, butter side down. While that side is searing (about 30 seconds on high), sprinkle some garlic salt on the other side of the steak. The flip and sear that side. After both sides are seared, turn the heat down to medium low and finish cooking. I cook 1" steaks for about 6 minutes total, but keep in mind that I like mine still mooing.

Parmesan risotto:

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cans of chicken broth to a simmer (you can also use 1 can broth, 1 can water). In a medium saucepan, melt 2 T butter/margerine (or you can use 3 T olive oil) and 1 clove garlic. Add 1.5 cups risotto (also known as arborrio, just in case your husband comes home empty handed from the store insisting that they don't sell risotto) and stir. Turn heat to medium and add 1.5 cups white wine. Stir continually until the liquid is gone. Then begin adding broth, about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is gone. After about 15 minutes, taste to see if risotto is cooked. Once it is cooked, add salt, cracked black pepper, and 1 cup of freshly grated cheese. I usually use Parmesan, but Gruyere is also very good! This is one of those dishes that you'll perfect after a couple of times of making it. You can also add a little onion in with the butter and garlic if you want a little extra flavor.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mini Pesto Pizzas

I am making these for a PC show next week, so I wanted to try them out. I made them for dinner and they were delish! DH doesn't really love pesto, so I don't think he was looking forward to these, but he ended up eating 9 of them, soooo....guess he liked them! They tasted yummier than they look on the pan. I served them with soup because it was a gloomy day, but they'd go well with a salad too (if you don't hate salad of course!). Anyway, here's the recipe if you want to try them!

2 plum tomatoes
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts
1 package (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
1/3 cup prepared basil pesto or Basil-Walnut Pesto (I made my own, recipe below)
1 cup (4 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese

Basil-Walnut Pesto
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, divided
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, divided
1 ounce grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1. Finely chop half of the basil and half of the walnuts together in cap of Food Chopper (mixture should resemble a thick paste); place into Classic Batter Bowl. Repeat with remaining basil and walnuts.
2. Using Microplane(R) Adjustable Grater, finely grate cheese. Add cheese, oil and garlic pressed with Garlic Press to batter bowl. Mix well using Small Mix 'N Scraper(R).

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice tomatoes using Ultimate Mandoline fitted with v-shaped blade; set aside. Grate Parmesan cheese using Microplane(R) Adjustable Grater. Coarsely chop walnuts using Food Chopper. Combine walnuts and Parmesan cheese in Prep Bowl; mix well.

2. Place dough onto Cutting Board (do not unroll dough). Using a sawing motion, slice dough into 15 disks (about 1/2 inch thick) using Utility Knife. Place disks onto Large Bar Pan; lightly press to flatten and seal seams.

3. Spread 1 teaspoon pesto over each crust with back of Easy Adjustable Measuring Spoon. Divide mozzarella cheese evenly among pizzas. Top each pizza with one tomato slice and Parmesan mixture. Bake 12-15 minutes or until crusts are golden brown. Remove pan from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack. Serve using Mini-Serving Spatula.

Yield: 15 servings

Thursday, October 25, 2007

First Entry

So I'm starting a blog because my life is just that interesting! Ok, not really. This will mostly be a cooking/dog blog. But definitely not a blog about cooking dogs. That's gross.