Monday, October 22, 2012

J's Jalapeno Cornbread

Hubby is always laughing at me because...well, we live in NJ. We are both originally from NYC and I act like I'm from Mississippi (not that I've ever been there, but its a guess). I love when hubs buys flannel, even though its not 1994 and Kurt Cobain is long gone. I love BBQ and cornbread and fried chicken.. Oh and we went to Memphis once and had FRIED PICKLES OH MY GOODNESS.

I love the Pioneer woman, I want to homeschool our kids AND I even like some country music. So I'm thinking I was born in the wrong state.  I also think I was born in the wrong decade too, because. I love being a housewife, and there is nothing better then hubby going Mmm Mmm Mmm after hes eaten something I made.

This cornbread, is to die for...Its got heat, its got buttery crumbles and a deliciously crunchy edge that just melts in your mouth. SO GOOD!

This is a little tedious because you are not allowed to use your mixer... I know I know. stinks, sorry. But you will appreciate the hard work and upper arm exercise once you've tasted it...I promise.

Preheat oven to 350

In a large bowl goes 1 stick of butter, room temperature. I usually stick it in the microwave for 20 seconds and its good to go. Who remembers to take the butter out? not me.

1/2 cup of sugar and beat with a whisk until fully incorporated.

Add in 1 egg 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup cornmeal. 1 tablespoon baking powder and about 2 teaspoons of salt.

mix mix mix until your arms hurt and all the ingredients are like a sticky paste. Slowly stir in(or have your toddler do it) 3/4 cup of milk.

Whisk until its nice and creamy and incorporated. I used jalapeno cheddar slices from the deli. Delicious, but feel free to chop up fresh jalapenos and use regular cheddar cheese.

I crumbled 5 slices of jalapeno cheddar and mixed into the batter. In a well greased pan (I used a 8x8 brownie pan) pour your batter and good for 30-35 minutes.

I cooked mine for 32 minutes and it was PERFECT. moist, golden and oh so fabulous. But all ovens are different.

Enjoy with pork chops, uncooked baked beans (thats another story) or whatever your heart desires :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Kick-off Pizza Crust


Its delicious. Even crummy pizza is still good, you know?

Every once in a while I make a homemade pizza. It can be as easy as buying dough from the grocery store. Or as complicated as making all components from scratch.

A good pizza crust recipe will always include semolina flour, however its a touch pricey and unless you are making homemade bread and pasta you will rarely use it.

This recipe can be interchanged with semolina if you want to get fancy :)

Start out with 1 packet of active dry yeast and 1 cup of warm water. Set mixture aside and start with the dry ingredients...Try not to use your mixer, take your rings off and get your hands in there to mix this dough. It's worth it.

Like I said above, if you want to be a big shot, go with semolina, at a 50/50 ratio to white flour.

You could even use whole wheat flour but I've learned never to serve your husband a whole wheat pizza during a football game.

Start with] hb]= about 2 and 3/4 cups of flour. 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp sugar. Combine in a large bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons olive oil and once your yeast/water mixture has begun to get frothy, slowly pour into your dry ingredients. Mix with your hands until you get a solid sticky lump of dough.

Continue working the dough in circles until you get a smooth round ball. Place in a greased(olive oil) bowl and let the dough rest. Take a few pieces of wet paper towels and lay them over the bowl.

About 1 hour on the counter.

Since its been such a crazy weekend around here I used my freezer collection of homemade tomato sauce that I specifically save up for this reason. You can use your favorite jarred sauce if you like but a good pizza marinara is so simple you just need some crushed tomatoes and your favorite Italian spices. (I will share my recipe some day...maybe)

The trick to homemade pizza is that the dryer the cheese the better it melts. When you use fresh mozzarella,  which is a staple around here at the house of J, it turns into water and ruins the crust. Your best bet is a combination of a basic grocery mozzarella like Polly-o, and some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

For this pizza I used about 1.5 cups mozzarella and .5 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. I also picked up some really delicious pepperoni from the deli counter at Whole Foods. Make sure to put cheese underneath the toppings as well as above :)

bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.. This dough recipe makes 1 large medium crust pizza.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Black Beans...Refried

If anything at all is apparent with this blog, it's that we love Mexican food. A LOT.

We had some rockin' guacamole to use up so I decided to whip up some chicken enchiladas with my Mexican style chicken recipe-here.

What goes perfectly with enchiladas? Refried beans...

There are a few great things about making scratch refried beans... There's NO LARD and NO SALT. 

It is SO easy to make you may never buy the canned stuff again. I use canned black beans but you can absolutely use dried beans (they have to be soaked in water overnight).

If you use canned, drain and rinse.

Pour beans in a small sauce pan and add the following.

1/2 tsp of Chili, Cumin, Garlic, Onion powders and half of a finely minced jalapeƱo pepper. 

Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. 

When you see the beans start to look a bit dry, drizzle a bit of olive oil and stir. You can do this as much or as little as you would like. 

Once the black beans get nice and soft and smushy add in a pinch or two of salt and a dash of tabasco sauce.

Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to smush the beans into a chunky paste. We prefer it a little chunky but feel free to use a blender or chopper to really smooth it out.

Put the pot back on the heat and cook another 3-4 minutes on medium.  Enjoy with enchiladas, tacos, or any other delicious dinner you have planned.

Oh... did I mention they were so yummy that we forgot all about the guacamole in the fridge... WHOOPS!