2010-01-21

White pizza with blue cheese



White pizza (pizza bianca in Italian) is pizza without tomato sauce. This was a little invention I did some time last year, but didn't get around to blogging about until now. It was made from stuff that needed to be used up - overripe pears, cheese nearing expiration date - and it turned out really delicious. Sweet pears, salty juicy bacon (juicy, a nice euphemism for artery-clogging) and sharp blue cheese topped with fragrant rosemary: a real winner!

No real recipe this time, this one is super easy. You need:
A pear
A few slices of bacon
Some crumbly blue cheese (we have used Swedish Kvibille √Ądel as well as British Stilton)
Dried rosemary
Some mozzarella, if you want to

Make and shape your pizza dough. Slice a pear thinly and place the slices on the pizza base. Throw on a couple of strips of bacon. Crumble blue cheese on top and sprinkle with rosemary. If you feel like it, you could make it cheesier by putting some mozzarella on top as well. Bake at 275°C for 8-12 minutes.

2010-01-14

Daring Cooks January: Satay

It's a new year, both calender-wise and for us deer eaters: we just celebrated one year of food blogging! The highlight of this blogging year has definitely been the Daring Kitchen challenges. In the past twelve months, we have mastered the art of sushi making (ok, "mastered the art" might be a slight exaggeration if you ask a true Japanese sushi chef, but we're proud of ourselves, so there!); realized that if you find a macaron recipe that works for you, you should stick with it; we have turned disappointments around, ventured into vegan territory, put the pasta machine to use in two challenges, and even done molecular gastronomy à la Grant Achatz and Alinea.
In short: we have learned a lot, we have been challenged, and we have had loads of fun as members of this awesome community of food bloggers from all corners of the planet.

Enough with the retrospective, onwards to this month's challenge:
The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

Yay, we love satay! We have made it a couple of times at home but never really found a perfect recipe for the peanut sauce. This challenge was very easy (although you could make it more involved by for example making additional sauces or doing more types of satay using pork, chicken, veggies, tofu etc.). As we did this the very last minute (sounds familiar....?) and were both tired and hungry, we were happy that it was uncomplicated and didn't take much time. I made the marinade in the morning (chucked everything into the food processor - whiiiiiirl, and done!), stuck the chicken in the fridge during the day, and in the evening we had dinner on the table in about 40 minutes, the rice taking the longest to make.

This marinade is a real find, it made the chicken super-tender and super-tasty. It will definitely be put to use during the BBQ season (which feels far far away now - we have lots of snow and temperatures of about 10-15 below Celsius (5-14°F) - shudder!). The peanut sauce was good, but still not the satay sauce we're looking for. I guess the quest continues... It was really easy to make, and quite close to the satay sauce we've had in Malaysia and Indonesia, but there's something missing from all the recipes we have tried. Any ideas?

Thank you Cuppy for a nice challenge! I wouldn't call it challenging, but it was tasty, easy and we will definitely make it again. For the full recipe, go to Cuppy's blog or to the Daring Kitchen recipe archive.



Chicken satay

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ginger root, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil)
1 tbsp fish sauce (optional, but gives a more authentic Thai flavor)
3 chicken breasts

You could cut the chicken breasts into narrow strips, for skewering and grilling/broiling. We just kept them whole.
Anyhoo, either do the marinade by hand (chop the vegetables really fine) or do the cheater version: dump everything into the food processor and mix until smooth. Place the chicken breasts in a plastic bag, pour in the marinade, mush it around a little, seal well and place in the fridge for 2-12 hours.
Get the chicken out of the marinade. Broil or grill at 290°C/550°F (or pan fry on medium-high) for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another 8-10 minutes. We pan fried our chicken, and I didn't bother to wipe of any excess marinade, I just put the chicken into the pan. The marinade did get quite a bit of color quickly, but it wasn't a problem, we just lowered the heat and put a bit of foil over the pan to keep the heat in.

Peanut sauce

3/4 cup coconut milk (180 ml)
4 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.
Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.
All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.



Serve the satay as an appetizer, side dish or main course. Enjoy!

2010-01-09

Blogoversery!

It's been a year! Our first real post (the first with food in it) went up exactly one year ago!

Since then, we have participated in numerous blog events, becomming more or less regulars on Paper Chef, as well as full-blooded daring kitcheneers (both bakers and cooks). Jenny even won Paper Chef with this recipe!

We've also learned a lot of new stuff, most memorable to us is the art of making and lovingly devour macarons, how to put our ice cream maker to good use and the virtues of steaming over boiling *insert favorite food stuff here*.

In total we racked up 132 posts during the year, which is about one every three days (!), much due to vigorous posing in the beginning. Curiously enough, there's a negative correlation between the number of posts in a month and the number of visitors in that month: the more posts the fewer visitors. Probably has something to do with the vigorous posting in the beginning and the brand build-up over time :-)

Since we didn't add Google Analytics until a bit later we don't have statistics for the whole year, but on the other hand, we didn't have many visitors in the beginning either, so just think of this as one years worth of statistics!

We had 2,539 absolute unique visitors, which is more than we ever dreamed of achieving, thank you all, and especially those of you who actually return! That some just drop by for a short visit never to return again is evident from the fact that we had a grand total of
3,857 visits, so some of you had to return to make those two numbers agree.

Some people got to our blog by searching for something, and if you typed
"black cherry ice cream recipe" in the Google search field, you're really trend sensitive, that's our top search phrase. Weirdly enough, you don't end up on the most popular page (excluding the front page) with that search phrase. The most popular page was Berries in fizzy jelly.

For a long time, our typical visitor was a Swede running Firefox on a Windows machine, but for the whole year, Americans are now more numerous than Swedes. Still running Firefox on a Windows machine though. The year has also seen some technological breakthroughs as well, some people reached our blog on their iPhones, one even through a Playstation 3! (If you have any experience viewing the blog on a small (hand held) device, please let us know if it looks awful, or at least if it looks awfuller than other similar sites.)

So, there you have it! Happy blogoversery to us, and please come again (both you, our esteemed visitor, and blogoverseries)!