Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

This recipe was a warm comforting and healthy meal. I only used one teaspoon of oil for the whole recipe and omitted all the butter in the end, and none of it was missed. Roasting the garlic also serves as a great accompaniment to the chicken when you smash and smear it all over your bread...nummmmm.

When I googled the recipe on the Internet there were SEVERAL different variations. Two of the most popular were this one and Ina Garten's. I chose to use the one from Cook's Illustrated b/c their recipes are always on point. However next time I think I'll try the other one too just to see if there's a big difference in taste. This recipe is a two step process and results in a tasty broth to flavor the chicken. You pan-roast the chicken first, then braise it in the oven to finish it off. The end result is a moist and tender chicken...even the breasts stayed moist. My favorite part was swirling the individual chicken bites in the broth giving it extra good.

Note: Even though forty cloves of garlic equals KICKIN' breath. If you're eating this with your significant other-two garlics cancel each other out so you can still smooch afterwards. So pucker up buttercup :)

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic
3 to 4 servings
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated and this website

CI note: Try not to purchase heads of garlic that contain enormous cloves; if unavoidable, increase the foil-covered baking time to 40 to 45 minutes so that the largest cloves soften fully. A large Dutch oven can be used in place of a skillet, if you prefer. Broiling the chicken for a few minutes at the end of cooking crisps the skin, but this step is optional. Serve the dish with slices of crusty baguette for dipping into the sauce and onto which the roasted garlic cloves can be spread.

Table salt
1 whole chicken (3½ to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks) and trimmed of excess fat. [I just made 10 pieces, wings included - why waste?]
Ground black pepper
3 large heads garlic (about 8 ounces), outer papery skins removed, cloves separated and unpeeled
2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered pole to pole
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
¾ cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Dissolve ¼-cup salt in 2 quarts cold tap water in large container or bowl; submerge chicken pieces in brine and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 30 minutes. Rinse chicken pieces under running water and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of chicken pieces with pepper.
2. Meanwhile, toss garlic and shallots with 2 teaspoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste in 9-inch pie plate; cover tightly with foil and roast until softened and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes, shaking pan once to toss contents after 15 minutes (foil can be left on during tossing). Uncover, stir, and continue to roast, uncovered, until browned and fully tender, 10 minutes longer, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
3. Using kitchen twine, tie together thyme, rosemary, and bay; set aside. Heat remaining 1-teaspoon oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke; swirl to coat pan with oil. Brown chicken pieces skin-side down until deep golden, about 5 minutes; using tongs, turn chicken pieces and brown until golden on second side, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to large plate and discard fat; off heat, add vermouth, chicken broth, and herbs, scraping bottom of skillet with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Set skillet over medium heat, add garlic/shallot mixture to pan, then return chicken, skin-side up, to pan, nestling pieces on top of and between garlic cloves.
4. Place skillet in oven and roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers about 160 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes. If desired, increase heat to broil and broil to crisp skin, 3 to 5 minutes. Using potholders or oven mitts, remove skillet from oven and transfer chicken to serving dish. Remove 10 to 12 garlic cloves to mesh sieve and reserve; using slotted spoon, scatter remaining garlic cloves and shallots around chicken and discard herbs. With rubber spatula push reserved garlic cloves through sieve and into bowl; discard skins. Add garlic paste to skillet. Bring liquid to simmer over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally to incorporate garlic; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in butter; pour sauce into sauceboat and serve

Moroccan Rack of Lamb with POM Reduction and Cauliflower Puree

OH....MY....GASHEE...this was SOOOO GOOOOOD!!! It was truly restaurant quality. So good it made me want to do the happy dance. Valentine's Day is coming up and I would HIGHLY suggest making this for your honey. The only disclaimer is that it takes quite a bit of time to make. BUT, they'll love you so much more for the fact since you were slaving away in the kitchen. THEN, right when they're enjoying your nummy meal, that's when you sucker them into washing the pile of dishes in the kitchen for you ^_^

Anyway the meal itself is pretty easy to put together, it just takes a while to make the POM reduction but it's well worth it. (However that could be due to my skills since I'm still a little slow in the kitchen) The reduction has an intense sweet/meaty flavor which gives a nice contrast to the spicy moroccan's the perfect combination. Oooh, and the cauliflower puree is INSANE. It literally tastes like mashed potatoes. If you're watching your diet, this is a PERFECT dish to make and I will definetely be making it more often from now on. This is another dish I could've tricked lobster with but he helped me and cut the cauliflower so it was too late by then...but seriously it is GOOOOOOD!!! You must try it. Happy eating!!

**The only difficult thing about this recipe is that you have to throw out the meat after you make the reduction which seems like a waste but it's worth it b/c it gives a deep flavor to the sauce. Also since stew meat is a cheap cut of meat it's not so bad.

Moroccan Rack of Lamb with POM Reduction and Cauliflower Puree
Adapted from this website

Serves 4 (2 lamb chops each)

POM sauce
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1.5 pounds of stew meat
• .5 pound onions, coarsely chopped
• 1 large carrot, chopped
• 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
• 2 cups POM
• 1.5 cups low-salt chicken broth
• .5 tablespoon butter, room temperature
• 1 teaspoons all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
• 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 1 rack of lamb, frenched
• 1 carrot, peeled & cut into diagonal pieces
• 20 pearl onions, blanched in boiling water 1 min, peeled

Cauliflower Puree
• 1 head cauliflower
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/3 grated Parmesan
• 1/4 - 1/2 cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Lamb & Sauce
For sauce:
1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add lamb and sauté until deep brown, turning occasionally, about 18 minutes. Transfer lamb to a bowl & set aside.
3. Add onions, carrot, garlic, to pot. Sauté until vegetables are lightly browned, 8-10 min.
4. Add POM, broth & lamb to pot with veggies.
5. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 1 1/2 hours.
6. Strain sauce into large bowl. Spoon off any fat from surface of stock; return stock to same large pot. Simmer another 15 minutes.
7. Mix butter and flour in small bowl and then whisk into sauce. Simmer sauce until slightly thickened another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.

**Rose says if you don't want to deal with sauteeing the meat for that long you can make the reduction in the same sauce you use to brown the lamb chops. Just add 1 Tbsp oil, add vegetables and saute until softened and then deglaze with POM (turn heat to med-hi) add 1/2 of POM and scrape up any browned bits into sauce. Then add rest of POM, chicken broth, seasoning and reduce by half (simmer on medium)

For lamb:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F Mix all spices in a bowl to blend.
2. Rub rack of lamb with olive oil to coat.
3. Coat lamb with ras el hanout (spice) blend and apply liberally.
4. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add rack to skillet, spiced side down.
5. Sauté until browned, about 4 minutes.
6. Turn rack over and sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
7. Place rack, spiced side up, on rimmed baking sheet covered with baking foil.
8. Toss carrots & pearl onions with olive oil, salt & pepper and arrange around rack of lamb.
9. Roast lamb for 25 minutes. (I roasted until it reached an internal temperature of 125F-which was a perfect medium after it rested for 15 minutes)
10. Remove from oven, tent with foil and rest for 15 minutes.
11. Cut lamb between bones into chops.

Cauliflower Puree
1. Pull the leaves off the cauliflower and core.
2. Pull the florets off the head . Cut the florets into smaller, regular pieces.
3. Steam caulfilower until tender about 15 minutes.
4. Process the cauliflower in 3 batches in your food processor with 1/3 of the cauliflower, a touch of steaming water, 1 Tsbpsour cream, salt, pepper, & 1 Tbsp butter.
5. Add more liquid only as necessary. You want to add as little liquid as possible so that it's not runny.
6. Serve on plate, top with lamb chops, drizzle with sauce & surround with carrots & onions.

**For 2 servings, I steamed half a head of cauliflower then blended it in the food processor w/o any liquid, and seasoned to taste. I added about a tablespoon and a half of "I can't believe it's not butter" 1to 2 tablespoons of low fat sour cream and S&P.

Butternut Squash Galette

This was our appetizer for our fabulous lamb chops. This crostata was pretty savory with a slight hint of tangyness from the goat cheese. The crust however was VERY GOOD. It had hints of sage in every bite and gave a warm earthiness to the dish which made it hearty but light. I could have used a little stronger taste of the cheese but that's my own fault since I only used 4 oz instead of 6oz. I think I'll try the crust with my all time favorite crostata and see how that turns out :)

UPDATE: After eating this the next day, I realized I'm not really a fan of it. Although the flavor is good and I still enjoyed the crust, the sage was a bit overwhelming for me. After doing some research on the Internet, apparently sage imparts a meat "taste" to whatever it's added to so this galette tasted somewhat like a meat pie to me. Lobster still enjoyed it so if you're a fan of meat pie then go for, not so much.

Butternut Squash Galette
Adapted from a recipe in Gourmet magazine, February 2009

For pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves or rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
For filling:
1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced crosswise
6 ounces soft mild goat cheese, crumbled and mix with gruyere too if run out of goat cheese

Make dough:
Pulse flour, butter, sage, and sea salt in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle ice water evenly over mixture and pulse until it just forms a ball. (Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.) Gently press dough into a 5-inch disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Make filling while dough chills:
Preheat oven to 425
Toss squash with sea salt and 1 Tbsp oil and arrange in 1 layer in a 17-by 12-inch shallow baking pan. Roast until golden brown on edges and undersides, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove squash from oven and reduce oven temperature to 400°F.
Meanwhile, wash leeks, then cook in remaining 2 tablespoons oil with a pinch of sea salt in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly. Add squash, goat cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss gently.

Make galette:
Roll out dough into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Transfer to a baking sheet. Arrange filling in an even layer in center of dough, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border. Fold dough in on itself to cover outer rim of filling, pleating dough as necessary. Brush pastry with beaten egg and bake galette until crust is cooked through and golden on edges, 35 to 45 minutes. (I baked mine for 40 minutes) Cool on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes before serving.

Cooks’ note: Pastry dough can be chilled up to 1 day. Filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Lighter Eggplant Parmesan

I tricked lobster tonight and made a "healthy" eggplant parmesan and it was num num. I replaced all of the ricotta with extra firm tofu and he didn't even realize it was in there. The tofu gives a similar consistency as the ricotta and combined with all the melted cheese, you can't distinguish one from the other. (Much like this recipe) I also added half a small container which was probably about 3 oz of Tofutti cream cheese to make it extra probably a little less healthier b/c of that :) I also deviated from the recipe a bit and didn't make the tomato sauce from scratch. Instead, I took a bottle of Classico Sweet Basil jarred sauce, two cans of diced tomatoes, reduced down to the consistency I wanted and adjusted the seasonings with S&P, dried basil, oregano, and italian seasonings. For the last few minutes I also popped this under the broiler to get the cheese extra crispy. This eggplant parmesan was very tasty and tastes even better the next day when all the flavors have gotten better acquainted.

I also made a side of roasted cauliflower. If you've never had roasted cauliflower you should definetely try this. Lobster was equally intrigued b/c roasting them at such a high temperature gives the cauliflower a nutty taste, almost like popcorn. Okay, that might be a FAAAR stretch but you'll have to try it and see for yourself. I simply roasted it with some sliced garlic, sprayed PAM, sprinkled with pepper and threw them in a 450F oven on the top rack of the oven for 15 minutes or until they get brown and crispy. AFTER I pulled the cauliflower out of the oven I THEN sprinkled some salt on top. I waited till the last minute to sat them b/c I read if you wait till after you roast them it retains their crunch and speeds up caramelizing...theory tested and approved. Num num in my belly :D

Lighter Eggplant Parmesan - 6 servings - 250 per serving
Adapted from here

• 1 large eggplant (2 lbs)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 12 oz fat free ricotta (10 oz extra firm tofu and 1/2 container of Tofutti OR 14 oz extra firm tofu)
• 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Pecorino Romano
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 egg
• 2 cups reduced fat mozzarella (I used Sargento)
• 3 cups homemade tomato sauce

Start by making the sauce if you don't have one any already made.

Tomato sauce
• 2 (28 oz) cans imported tomatoes (Tuttoroso)
• 3 cloves garlic, smashed
• 1 tbs olive oil
• 1/2 large onion finely chopped
• 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup fat free chicken stock
• fresh basil

Saute garlic in oil, add onions and carrots and saute on medium-low for about 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add tomatoes and chicken broth and simmer 45 minutes on low.

Add fresh basil last 10 minutes (herbs will become bitter if cooked more than 20 minutes). Julia always adds herbs into the sauce near the end.

Taste for acidity, if sauce is a bit tangy (acidic) then add 1 tbsp of sugar. For a calorie free way to cut the acidity in the sauce add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.

While the sauce simmers, slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices. Lightly salt the slices and put in a colander to release excess moisture for about 1/2 hour. Lay on paper towels to soak up any extra moisture.

Preheat oven to 450°. Brush eggplant lightly with olive oil on both sides and place on cookie sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning half way through until eggplant is golden brown.

In a medium bowl combine ricotta, egg, parsley and 1/4 cup of grated cheese.

In a 9x12 baking dish, put a little sauce on the bottom of the dish and put a layer of eggplant to cover the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese and sauce. Add another layer of eggplant and repeat the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and sauce until everything is used up. Top with sauce and the mozzarella cheese and the remaining grated cheese.

Cover with foil and bake until cheese is melted and everything is bubbling, about 30 minutes at 400°. Remove foil and bake an additional 8-10 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!

Tomato Feta Salad

Tonight was leftovers night. Lobster made us some sammies from our pumpkin meatballs and I made a turkey burger and this tomato feta salad. The salad was very refreshing and a nice compliment with the burger and sammie. It's so nice when you're able to make a meal and morph the leftovers into something completely different. I have also discovered a new love for burgers and will be making them more and more and more often :)

*The turkey burgers were based off this recipe.

Tomato Feta Salad - 20 servings
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

4 pints grape tomatoes, red or mixed colors
1 1/2 cups small-diced red onion (2 onions)
1/4 cup good white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 pounds feta cheese
Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in a large bowl. Add the onion, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and parsley and toss well. Dice the feta in 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes, crumbling it as little as possible. Gently fold it into the salad and serve at room temperature.

A January Thanksgiving dinner

Tonight we had a modern version of your standard Thanksgiving dinner, just two months later. These cute little guys are not only delicious, they're healthy too. They were made with ground turkey meat, baked in the oven and kissed with a tangy/sweet cranberry sauce. They were so moist and full of flavor. I was a little apprehensive about making these due to the interesting flavor combo, but these were scrumptious!!! It was like a warm hug on a plate :)

Pumpkin-Turkey Meatloaf Muffins with Cranberry Glaze
Makes 12 muffins. 103 calories each
Adapted from here

1 cup finely chopped onion
1 8oz package mushrooms, chopped finely
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 lb 93% lean ground turkey breast
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg white
1/3 cup rolled oats (can substitute bread crumbs)
1 tsp each minced fresh thyme and rosemary
Freshly ground salt and pepper
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the onions until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes more, until vegetables are tender. Let mixture cool before adding to the meat. Add to a bowl with the turkey, pumpkin, egg white, oats, herbs, worcestershire, salt & pepper. Toss gently to combine. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin tin. Place in the oven, bake for 20 minutes.

Combine cranberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Spoon onto the meatloaf muffins, and bake for another 15 minutes. (Internal temperature of meat should register 160F) Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Happy Birthday to my seester :)

Today I cooked a birthday dinner for my sister. She chose the menu and I was her slave in the kitchen. I made a pear crostata, chicken cordon bleu and these yummy red velvet cupcakes. The recipe comes from a famous bakery in London known for their red velvet cupcakes and these did not disappoint. They were a pretty deep red and NuM NuM!!! These were yummy in your tummy, not going to share the last bite, people!

Along with the chicken I also made zucchini pappardelle with roasted tomatoes. I got to use my fancy mandoline slicer again and sliced them super thin. The thinly sliced zucchini basically replaces pasta in the recipe so it's very figure friendly. By the end of the night my sister had a smile on her face and warmth in her belly. Happy Birthday Un ^_^

Red Velvet Cupcakes
recipe from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
makes one dozen cupcakes, double recipe to make 2 9-inch layer cakes

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons red food coloring (I used Wilton's no taste red color)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.
Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan 2/3 way full and bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
double recipe to frost a 2 layer 9-inch cake

2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, cold (I used room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat the powdered sugar, vanilla, and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-slow speed until it comes together and is well mixed.
Add the cream cheese all at once and beat on medium to medium-high until incorporated.
Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for at least 5 minutes.
Do not over-beat as the frosting can quickly become runny.

Zucchini Pappardelle with roasted tomatoes

Zucchini Pappardelle with roasted tomatoes - 4 servings
From this website

• 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon honey
• Big pinch gray salt
• 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 3 pounds zucchini
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons thyme, minced
• 1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
• 1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika
• Cherry tomatoes (20 large or 40 small)
• 2 bunches arugula
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta, preferably French (about 3 ounces)
• 1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives (about 3 ounces)

Preheat the broiler.
To make the dressing, in a small bowl mix the vinegar, mustard, honey, and salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season with the zest and pepper.
Using a mandoline, slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick pappardelle turning the zucchini and slicing on 4 sides only until the seeds in the center are reached. Discard the centers.
In a small bowl combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and paprika with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Spread the zucchini slices on a large baking sheet and brush them with the garlic mixture. Broil for 3 minutes until light brown.
Coat the cherry tomatoes with the remaining garlic mixture in a bowl. Put them on another baking sheet and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until some skins pop and the tomatoes get slightly caramelized.
Put the arugula in a serving bowl and top with the zucchini and tomatoes. Drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle the feta and olives on top and serve.

**My zucchini took about 7 minutes to turn a light brown. I omitted the arugula, feta and olives. I tossed the zucchini and tomatoes with the dressing, then drizzled the remainder on top. Drizzling the dressing on top really made the dish.

Sauteed Cauliflower

This was a simple and elegant side dish. It's fun trying out new recipes, especially when they taste just as good as you had anticipated. The recipe comes from this blog which highlights mostly seasonal, fresh and healthy cooking. I have bookmarked many of her recipes and plan on making several of them in the upcoming weeks - so stay tuned ^_^

Simple Cauliflower Recipe
2 Servings

2 - 3 heads of small cauliflower (or 1/2 head large)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
a couple pinches of sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch of chives, chopped
zest of one lemon
freshly grated Parmesan (omit if putting it in curry)
a bit of flaky sea salt

To prep the cauliflower, remove any leaves at the base and trim the stem. Now cut it into tiny trees - and by tiny, I mean most florets aren't much larger than a table grape. Make sure the pieces are relatively equal in size, so they cook in the same amount of time. Rinse under running water, and set aside.
Heat the olive oil and fine grain salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated. Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom, then toss the cauliflower with a spatula. Brown a bit more and continue to saute until the pieces are deeply golden - all told about six minutes. In the last 30 seconds stir in the garlic and some curry powder
Remove from heat and stir in the chives, lemon zest, and dust with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately

**You can alternate this recipe several ways as well by adding in different spices such as curry powder, garam masala, or making them spicy with some red pepper flakes.

Crispy Roasted Chicken with scalloped potatoes

Tonight I was able to bust out my mandoline slicer for the first time. OMG...this tool is SOOO COOOOOL!!! It's so fun to use and gets the job done FAST!! I'm already thinking of all the different ways I can use it. Making my own potato chips, potatoes au gratin, sweet potato chips...nummmm. These potatoes were roasted in a broiler pan underneath the chicken and absorbed all the yummy chicken juices. Some tasted like the chicken jus, while others were crispy and crunchy (my fav) and tasted like potato chips. I served these with a side of sauteed cauliflower which I will post about later which were fab!!

Now back to the recipe. This was a different way to cook chicken because you have to cut out the backbone and roast it flat instead of your standard roasted chicken. It was fun trying out a different technique. If you are a lover of crispy chicken skin then you should definetely try roasting your bird this way. By cooking it this way the chicken roasts faster and produces crispy skin all over.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly but used it more as a reference. For my chicken, I did not brine it or use the butter, but seasoned it like the Zuni chicken recipe. I also splurged and bought a free-range, organic chicken at the farmer's market which really enhances the chicken flavor. For the potatoes, I just sprayed pam, minced some rosemary and mixed it all together with some S&P. Yum-may in my tum-may :)

Chicken resting on a bed of yummyness

Crisp-Skin High-Roast Butterflied Chicken with Potatoes
Serves 4
Published March 1, 2000 from Cook's Illustrated

If you prefer not to brine, use a kosher chicken - it is salted and has a taste and texture similar to a brined bird. For extra crisp skin, after applying the flavored butter (if using -- see related recipes), let the chicken dry uncovered in the refrigerator 8 to 24 hours. Russet potatoes have the best potato flavor, but Yukon Golds have beautiful color and better retain their shape after cooking. Either works well in this recipe. A food processor makes quick and easy work of slicing the potatoes.

Preparing to Roast

1. Cut through bones on either side of backbone, then remove and discard backbone.

2. Flip chicken over as shown and use the heel of your hand to flatten breastbone.

3. If using a compound butter, slip your fingers between skin and breast, loosening the membrane.

4. Scoop some of the butter onto a spoon, slide it under breast skin, and push off with your fingers.

5. Work butter under skin to cover breast evenly. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with each drumstick and thigh.

6. Transfer to broiling rack and push legs up to rest between thighs and the breast.

1 cup kosher salt (or 1/2 cup table salt), for brine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 whole chicken , 3 1/2 to 4 lbs, preferably free-range or other high-quality chicken such as Bell and Evans, giblets removed and reserved for another use, fat around cavity removed and discarded
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (4 to 5 medium), or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick
Vegetable cooking spray (nonstick)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon table salt (for potatoes)
Ground black pepper

1. Dissolve salt and sugar in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Immerse chicken and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Line bottom of broiler pan with foil and spray with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Remove chicken from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Following illustrations 1 through 6, butterfly chicken, flatten breastbone, apply flavored butter (if using), and position chicken on broiler pan rack; thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.
2. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper to taste in medium bowl. Spread potatoes in even layer in foil-lined broiler pan bottom. Place broiler pan rack with chicken on top. Rub chicken with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with pepper.
3. Roast chicken until spotty brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate pan and continue to roast until skin has crisped and turned a deep brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees in thickest part of breast, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to cutting board. With potholders, remove broiler pan rack; soak up excess grease from potatoes with several sheets paper towels. Remove foil liner with potatoes from broiler pan bottom and invert foil and potatoes onto cookie sheet or second cutting board. Carefully peel back foil, using a metal spatula to help scrape potatoes off foil as needed. With additional paper towels, pat off remaining grease. Cut chicken into serving pieces and serve with potatoes.

Sausage and Peppers Sandwiches

What to do with leftover sausages?? Make some yummy sauage and peppers sammies. I made this dish tonight for dinner along with a broccoli side dish, which was horrible, HORRIBLE!!! At least the sammie made up for it :)

Sausage and Peppers sandwiches– 4-6 servings
Adapted from Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentiis

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 yellow onions, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup Marsala wine
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
4 to 6 fresh Italian sandwich rolls, optional

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain.
Keeping the pan over medium heat, add the peppers, onions, salt, and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, and garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the Marsala wine, tomatoes, and chili flakes, if using. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the browned bits. Bring to a simmer.
Cut the sausages into 4 to 6 pieces each, about 1-inch cubes. Add the sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
Serve in bowls. Or, if serving as a sandwich, split the rolls in half lengthwise. Hollow out the bread from the bottom side of each roll, being careful not to puncture the crust. Fill the bottom half of the roll with sausage mixture. Top and serve sandwiches immediately.

Pork with Sweet Onion Marmelatta

Have you ever cooked onions down till they get nice and sweet. If you've never done that, or you love caramelizied onions then give this recipe a try. It gives the perfect blend between sweet and savory and I absolutely LOVE it.

Pork with Sweet Onion Marmelatta
From Everyday Italian

Onion Marmellata:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large onions, thinly sliced (about 3 pounds)
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (or more to taste)

Pork Chops:
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 pork chops
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the onion marmellata, place a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the onions. Stir to combine and cook until starting to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes to scrape up any brown bits. The onions should be a soft, jam-like consistency and a deep mahogany color.
Meanwhile, for the pork chops, combine the rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Using your fingers, work all the ingredients together until well combined. Rub the herb mixture over the pork chops. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve in the refrigerator.
About 20 minutes before the onions are finished, remove the pork chops from the refrigerator. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Grill the pork chops to medium, about 7 minutes a side depending on thickness. To serve, spoon the onion marmellata over the pork chops. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Hooray for Cooray - Golden Box Curry

Tonight's meal was a comforting pot of curry. I'm sure everyone has had curry out of a box. Even since I was a little girl I always thought my mom made THE BEST curry. Little did I know, it was instant curry out of a box. Now that's just cheating. But then again, it's easy, yummy and gets dinner on the table in a flash so I don't blame her. I think I'll always use this boxed curry when I'm craving it and don't want to deal with the hassle of making it from scratch, but I think my next venture will be a home made one.

Golden Box Sauce Mix by S&B - 5 servings
Cube 1 ½ lb of lean beef, chicken, lamb or shrimp and finely chop 1 onion. Brown the meat and onion in a pan for 3 minutes. When onions have browned add a selection of other desired vegetables such as carrots, celery and green pepper.

Add just enough water to barely cover all the ingredients. Remember, you can always add more water if your curry is too thick. If you add too much water-like I did, you can boil it down to your desired consistency. After you add the water, bring the ingredients to a boil. Simmer until the meat is tender (maybe 10 minutes) When the meat is tender, add Golden Curry Sauce Mix to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with rice.

Rao's Cookbook - Frankie's Meatballs

Rao's is an Italian restaurant in New York famous for their amazing food and difficulty for booking a reservation. I've heard people book a year in advance for a table. Since I live in LA I can only enjoy their food through their jarred pasta sauces. You may have seen these unassuming pasta sauces at your local grocery store. They're pretty expensive, but they're the tastiest pasta sauces I've ever tried. Needless to say I was very excited to try this recipe...until I actually made it.

I'm still debating whether or not I really like this recipe. The meatballs were delicious on their own, but the sauce was not as tasty as I had hoped. However, together they made a pretty good weeknight meal. I actually found myself enjoying the meal the more I ate it, but it wasn't a love at first bite, party in my mouth feeling...woe is me. If the meal was insanely good like this, then I don't mind slaving away in the kitchen. Well, all was not lost because I got to play with my food and roll the meat into cute little meatballs.

The greatest part about this meal was the meatballs actually. The original recipe cooks them in oil but I broiled mine in the oven instead to make them a bit healthier. I don't think this is a meal I'll be craving and next time I want to play with my food I'll just stick to meatloaf.

**I learned a fancy trick to check the seasonings of your meatballs. Make a small bite size patty from your ground meat and cook it in a skillet to check the taste. That way you don't end up making a huge batch of bland meatballs.

Marinara – 1 1/2 cups - 2 servings with leftover meatballs for meatball subs :)
1 28 oz chento brand whole plum tomatoes with basil
1/8 cup fine quality olive oil
1 ounces fatback or salt pork, optional
1 1/2 tbs minced onion
1 garlic cloves minced
Salt to taste
3 leaves of fresh basil, torn
Pinch dried oregano
Pepper and sugar to taste

1. Remove tomatoes from can, reserving juice. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes, gently remove and discard the hard core from the stem end, and remove and discard any skin and tough membrane. Set aside
2. Put oil in a large, nonreactive saucepan over medium low heat. If using fatback, cut it into small pieces and add to pan. Saute for about 5 minutes or until all fat has been rendered. Remove and discard fatback.
3. Sautee onion and sauté for 3 minutes or until translucent and just beginning to brown. Stir in garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, reserved juice and salt. Raise heat, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook for about 1 hour until flavors have combined and sauce is slightly thickened. (if you prefer thicker sauce, cook additional 15 minutes)
4. Stir in basil, oregano and pepper and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and sugar.

1 pound ground turkey (15% fat)
1 large egg
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese
3/4 tbs chopped Italian parsley
1 small garlic glove, peeled and minced
1 cups bread crumbs
1/4 to 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Salt and fresh ground pepper

1. Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic and S&P to taste. Using your hands, blend ingredients together. Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. Slowly add water, until the mixture is quite moist.
2. Shape dough into a one inch thick rectangle and cut into squares roughly the size you want your meatballs to be. (I made mine the size of golf balls)
3. Place them under a broiler in a broiler pan and broil for 10 minutes, (watch them carefully since they can burn until they get nice, brown and crispy) then flip for another 5 minutes
4. Lower cooked meatballs into simmering marinara sauce and cook for 15 minutes. Serve over pasta or on their own.

Crab cakes with dill sauce & roasted broccoli with shrimp

Crab cakes...num, dill sauce...num, broccoli...num, This dinner was a group effort between lobster and I. He made the yummy dill sauce and removed the gross veins from the shrimp-I get squeemish, and I made the crab cakes and broccoli. This was a great light meal to start off the new year right. These crab cakes were a healthy treat because they were not fried but baked in the oven. Also, there's very little mayo in the recipe and the mayo I did use was light so we saved some calories there. They had a good crab to breadcrumb ratio, more crabby then just eating straight up breadcrumbs. However, next time I make them I will have to remember a few things. I should omit the last bit of salt to the panko. When I tasted the crab mixture it was pretty salty already due to the crab, so it really didn't need the extra salt in the panko. Also, when I tried to form my cakes they would not stay together so I had to add a little more panko to the mixture and that helped them stay together.

Now for the roasted broccoli with shrimp, this is my new favorite way to eat broccoli. Roasting the shrimp didn't really do much for me, but roasting the broccoli is nummmmmmm. The edges get nice and brown and caramelized and it brings out a nuttyness that you wouldn't get from steaming or pan must try it!! This is my second time making the recipe and I pretty much follow it to the T, but I don't use nearly as much olive oil as the recipe calls for. I just drizzle a tiny bit over the vegetables and spray them with pam so the seasonings will adhere to them. Also, I just eyeball the S&P, lemon zest, and amount of juice I squirt over the lemons, so it's easy peezy.

Crab cakes
Makes 4 crab cakes
Adapted from here

1/2 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over and coarsely shredded (I used king crab legs)
1 1/2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1/8 cup minced fresh chives
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon salt

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
Stir crabmeat, mayonnaise, chives, lemon juice, mustard, pepper, and 1 tablespoon panko in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.
Melt butter in a medium skillet over moderate heat, add garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden and starts to smell garlicky, about 2 minutes. Add herbes de Provence, salt, and remaining panko and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Discard garlic.
Form crabmeat mixture into four small patties, and carefully turn each patty in the crumb mixture until it is coated. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Serve crab cakes with sauce.

Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp
Serves 4
Adapted from here

2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot chili powder
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 1/4 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
Lemon wedges, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss broccoli with 2 tablespoons oil, coriander, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and chili powder. In a separate bowl, combine shrimp, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
2. Spread broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Add shrimp to baking sheet and toss with broccoli. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until shrimp are just opaque and broccoli is tender and golden around edges, about 10 minutes more. Serve with lemon wedges, or squeeze lemon juice all over shrimp and broccoli just before serving

Lemon Dill Sauce:
Adapted from here

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced

To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerate until chilled. The sauce will thicken as it chills

Pizza Smackdown!

This New Year's Eve was pretty mellow for lobster and I. Normally we'd go to a club and I'll dance with my girls and lobster will get his shuffle on. But this year, we decided to have a quiet one at home. Another couple friend of ours stopped by (we'll call them sushi boy and friend) and we had a pizza making party, drinks and lobster made a seafood bisque/pan roast concoction.

We decided to make a pizza dough from scratch ever since we got back from our honeymoon. When we were in Rome, lobster and I ate at this AMAZING pizza restaurant. I had done a little research before we went and knew we had to try this place. We were the first customers to arrive when the restaurant opened, but within fifteen minutes, every seat was full. Ever since then, we have been craving the pizza and wanted to re-create the meal at home. I found a bunch of recipes for pizza doughs on the Internet and this one was a winner!!

First up was lobster's pizza. Please do not be distracted by the funny shaped dough b/c this was damn good!!

Lobster cooked his entire pizza on his dalmation (gas grill). He first grilled both sides of the dough, then layered on the toppings. I'd never had grilled pizza before but now I am a believer! I don't think I'll ever go back to oven baked pizzas again. Lobster made his with mozzarella, sausage, mushrooms, and pepperoni. Cooking the pizza on the grill resulted in a perfect crust. Crispy on the outside, but not like a cracker, with a soft middle.

Next up was sushi boy and friend: made with a traditional shaped dough :)

Theirs was equally delicious. They cooked it in the oven for 15 minutes on a pizza pan that I pre-heated for 45 minutes in a 500F oven. It was a "fancier" pizza made with goat cheese, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, sausage, mushrooms, and pepperoni. The cheese gave the pizza a nice tang which was GRUB!

Then, there was my pizza...BOOOOOO!!

I used a different dough then theirs and made a rosemary wheat dough. The dough flavor was a bit strong for my delicate little toppings. I tried to make mine gourmet and apparently, pizza should not be gourmet. Well, I take that back. I think if I made mine with their dough, it would have been much better. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! Anyway, mine had figs, dates, caramelized onions, goat cheese, and gruyere. In the end I ended up eating the topping like it was a cheese plate, so that made up for it.

After drinking and grazing on pizzas, lobster made a delicious seafood soup to round out the meal, and our final meal of 2009 were my cinnamon rolls. One last glutinous meal to ring in the new year. Happy New Year!!

Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough
Makes 6 10-inch pizzas
Adapted from this website

4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) unbleached high-gluten, bread, or all-purpose flour, chilled (I used bread flour)
1 3/4 (.44 ounce) teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast (I used active dry yeast)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil (optional)
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) water, ice cold (40°F)
Semolina flour OR cornmeal for dusting

1. Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). With a large metal spoon, stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment), If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into cold water and use it, much like a dough hook, to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. Reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a tea- spoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50 to 55F.
2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with baking parchment and misting the parchment with spray oil (or lightly oil the parchment). Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping large pizzas), You can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it, Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, Mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food-grade plastic bag.
3. Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days. (Note: If you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.)
4. On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Before letting the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours, dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Now let rest for 2 hours. (The dough will not rise like a traditional dough but will become pliable and supple to work with)
5. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens), or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven as hot as possible, up to 800F (most home ovens will go only to 500 to 550F, but some will go higher). If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.
6. Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. (Make sure you use enough cornmeal so the pizza can easily slide off the pan onto the pizza stone or baking sheet) Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift I piece of dough by getting under it with a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue shaping it. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss as shown on page 208. If you have trouble tossing the dough, or if the dough keeps springing back, let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes so the gluten can relax, and try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, though this isn't as effective as the toss method. (I moved it around with my fists first and when the dough became really thin, laid it on the work surface and pressed it out to the desired size with my fingers)
7. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 9 to 12 inches in diameter for a 6-ounce piece of dough), lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough semolina flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide. Lightly top it with sauce and then with your other top- pings, remembering that the best pizzas are topped with a less-is-more philosophy. The American "kitchen sink" approach is counterproductive, as it makes the crust more difficult to bake. A few, usually no more than 3 or 4 toppings, including sauce and cheese is sufficient.
8. Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peek. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower self before the next round. if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone for subsequent bakes.
9. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving, to allow the cheese to set slightly.