Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Homemade Pizza and my son with ipad

As I have said before, I don't care much for pizza. I like it but I almost never crave for it. However, once in a while there is a time I think about pizza and this was one of those time and instead of ordering or buying frozen one, I decided to make it from scratch this time.

The reason I decided to make pizza at home was because I borrowed this cook book from the library called "The Pioneer woman cooks". Actually, she has two cookbooks and i borrowed both of them. Since Hurricane Sandy hit our town and our library is still closed, I had these books with me for more than 2 months. So I had lots of time to check out this book. She makes her own pizza in this book and it looked super simple and yummy so that is why I decided to try it.

Anyways, you can also find her pizza recipe on line. Click here for Pioneer Woman's pizza recipe.

I made the dough a day before and let it rest and rise in the fridge. Then, I took the dough out, roll it out and add tomato sauce and toppings.

Half of them was tomato, mozzarella and basil pizza and the other half was picadillo pizza. (Yes, the leftover picadillo)

My son helped me with rolling out the dough and adding some toppings. He loves helping me lately. Whatever I am doing, he wants to do also. I know it takes longer and it's messier if I let him do it but I think these are great activities which I can do with my son.

The pizza was great! My husband loved it and my son liked it also. This is much much cheaper than ordering or frozen pizza.

One of my friends make pizza dough herself and roll out and bake it for a little bit and then freeze it. Whenever she feels like eating pizza, she takes it out from the freezer, add sauce and topping and bake. This is a great idea for busy night dinner. I think I should start doing this also. I need to learn her pizza dough recipe.

By the way, my son is turning two soon. Time flies and I am so amazed how much he has grown and learned over this two years. (Also how much I learned :-) He started to talk a lot. Most of the time, we don't really understand what he is saying but he also says some words and sentences which we can understand.

We try not to show much TV or not let him play with ipad. We normally hide ipad but sometimes we forget and if he finds it, then he gets so excited.

He comes over with a big smile and says "ipad? ipad? ipad? ipad?" then he put his hands next to his cheeks and says "Mickey? Minnie? Mickey? Minnie?"since we have this mickey mouse Apps on ipad.

Sometimes, we let him play but most of the time we say no. He cries but we can not give him everything he wants whenever he wants it.

However, one thing I realized by raising him is that if I try to explain why he can not do something, then often times he understands and repeat it by himself on his own words. If I just say no, he gets angry and cry but with a good explanation, often times it works. You would think that small children would not understand the reasoning but I guess they do. This is something I learned and was impressed.

Anyways, when I go to Japan next time, I would love to bring my son to Disneyland and Anpanman museum. (Anpanman is a Japanese superhero whose head was made of bread filled with sweet bean paste. I know. Strange, right?) Japanese kids love this character and my son also love him. he always ask me to draw this character for him.

Kids are fun to watch and they are so free. I have a lot to learn from them :-)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cuban Picadillo and Mexican Rice

A few years ago, my husband and I went to a culinary school in Manhattan to take a class for Cuban dishes. One of our friends gave this as a gift. (Here is the post of the Cuban Surf and Turf class)

In that class, we learned many dishes but one of our favorite dish was Picadillo. We made this dish many times after the class and every time we make it, we think about the cooking class we took together. I think this is a great gift for a couple or friends or family who love cooking.

Anyways, because of the Hurricane Sandy, we lost most of our stuff and the recipe for all the cuban dish we learned that day was one of the things we lost.

So, I looked some picadillo recipe online and found a one I might like and tried.
It was great and I love it! I found the recipe in All Recipes website. (Click here for the recipe I used)

I used the Le Creuset which I bought at the end of last year. It is wonderful. The recipe is for big portion but I was having friends over and stuff so this worked out perfect this time.

Picadillo is a tomato based ground beef dish with olives, capers and spices like cinnamon and cloves. This one also has some vinegar in it which I really like. I didn't like olive before but ever since I start making this dish, I started to like olives in some dishes. I still don't love it just like that but I think it is great in small amount with some other ingredients.

Also, even though the recipe didn't call for it but we added lots of cilantro at the end. I think this made it even better for us since we love cilantro.

We made this also on Thanksgiving last year at our friends house and everyone loved it. Our friend wanted to learn how to make this since he had a potluck party in his work. So we made it together again and he brought it to the office. It was a great success!

My son like this dish also.

For rice, we made Mexican rice which has onion, tomato sauce and some spices like cumin. I also used some chicken stock which I made the other day.

Picadillo is becoming one of our signature dish to make. We normally make Tostones when we make picadillo but I think tostones is quite a lot of work so I didn't make it this time. But Tostones is also a great dish to make. I love hot crispy Tostones!!

Well, we are very thankful for the friends who gave this gift to us!!!

If you want to try something different and if you like olive, caper and tangy flavor, you should try this Picadillo.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ludi's Chicken from Tessa Kiros

I made this chicken before (click here for 2011 June post) and I think this is one of the best roasted chicken I made. When I made this last time, I said I am making this again for sure but for some reason I didn't make roasted chicken for more than a year. Mainly because I can but pretty good roasted chicken for $4.99 from Costco and also we had pretty good Peruvian restaurant which sells delicious roasted chicken with reasonable price.

Anyways, enough of my excuses. The other day, I went to a Korean supermarket called "H Mart". Close to the are we moved in, there is this one area where there are so many Korean and Chinese stores/restaurants. So I decided to go to this Korean supermarket and found lots of ingredients which I use for Japanese cooking. Also, vegetables are much cheaper than normal supermarket. And I found this whole chicken for $4.99. I decided to make this roasted chicken again.

I found this recipe in a book called "Falling Cloudberries" by Tessa Kiros. I have one of her other book which my mother in-law gave me but I borrowed this "Falling Cloudberries" from a library in 2011. Since I don't have the book anymore, I searched in on the internet and I found the recipe.

This roast chicken use lots of lemon, grainy mustard and some white wine. I love the combination of those flavors.

I baked for two hours.

 I love making roast chicken because it is cheap, looks great and you can make chicken stock after we eat chicken. (Click here for how I make my chicken stock at home)

The chicken was great and the sauce is lemony and perfect. I started to think again that maybe I should buy this book.

I remember I also made this fabulous Finnish meatball from this book in 2011. (Click here for the post about Danish meatball dish)

I remember that I made these meatballs while I was pregnant and I was feeling morning sickness. After I made these meatballs for the party, I couldn't even think about meatballs anymore. Just hearing a word "meatball" made me feel sick. But now I have a wonderful healthy boy (thank god) and I don't feel sick anymore when I think about meatballs so maybe it is time to make these delicious Finnish meatballs again!!! Those meatballs are perfect for pot luck party.

Anyways, my son is almost 2. It is amazing how he grow and how much he learns everyday. I am very thankful that I have him and he came to me. When I think about those meatballs I get nostalgic since that was when I had my baby in my belly and I was so anxious to meet him. Well, maybe it is time for him to ear those meatballs. I will tell him this story when he eat this meatballs :-)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

No Knead bread in Le Creuset

Happy New Year! Finally, we moved to a new place and we are settling down.

We moved little bit before Christmas and my husband's parents were here from Germany to help us move and spend Christmas with us. Since we were trying to finish everything before Christmas, it was quite busy and stressful but we were able to get most of the stuff done by Christmas and was able to spend nice relaxing Christmas.

About a week before the move, my son got sick and he was throwing up all day for one day. Thank god it lasted only one day. Then, right when we were about to move, my husband started feeling sick and he was not feeling well for about a week. Now, he feels fine and we were able to start a new year with healthy bodies.

Since we didn't have any furniture, we had to buy everything. We bought all the furniture from IKEA. IKEA is great. I think it would have cost a lot more if we didn't have IKEA. Even with IKEA stuff, buying all the furniture you need cost a lot of money. But I was able to get furnitures I like and the house is coming together.

I really love my house and the town I used to like before the Hurricane so I am still sad about it but the new house started to feel like home and I think it will grow on us with time. Plus, the town I used to live is about 30mins away so I will be going there at least once a week to see my friends and neighbors.

I don't know anything about this area so I just have to figure out what is around here.

Yesterday, I went to the library in the area. This library is very small and old but it seems like they have a program for my son once a week so I am going to sign him up for it. Hopefully I can make some new friends there.

Anyhow, enough about my life and let's talk about cooking.

In previous post, I told you that I finally bought Le creuset dutch oven.

There was this one thing I really really wanted to try making it when I get Le Creuset. It is no knead bread! This is how it came out.

Doesn't it look great? It really like bread you buy from bakery and it is super super super easy to make!

I think this bread started out as one person from NY bakery (Jim Lahey from Sullivan Street Bakery) invented this method so everyone can make real bread easily at home. Then, Mark Bittman wrote an article about it in New York Times and it got very very popular.

I don't remember how I found this out but I always wanted to try.

Here is the recipe in New York Times. 

But I used this website to make it myself since it is much easier to see and it explain the steps very well.
Click here for the recipe I used from "Simply So Good".

My husband loves bread so he was very happy when he saw this bread. He is excited that now he can eat this anytime at home. (Well it need to be rested for at least 18hours so I have to plan it though)

My husband's father (my father-in-law) also loves bread so he was also very happy to have this bread. I am happy that everyone loves it and it is really easy to make.

I don't need to knead the bread. I just mix the ingredients and let it sit for 18 hours and bake.

When you buy bread at supermarket, often time there are many chemicals to prevent it from spoiling but this one is all natural and it is a lot more economical and it taste better!

So if you have Le creuset, please try to bread. If you love bread, you will love this homemade bread!

Now I have all the cooking tools and I am excited about making new dishes and sharing it with you.