Friday, February 25, 2011

Whole Wheat Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Spinach, and Mushrooms

It's been a busy week! I started working another tiny part-time job (I call it tiny because I am working every other Monday and Tuesday...does that count as "another job"?).  I'm working for a family (helping drive kids to activities, helping with homework, helping with dinner, making the mom's life a little bit less stressful, etc.) So yeah, I do that now. I am enjoying it a lot and am also still getting used to it. "It" up my time some afternoons because I have gotten SO used to doing whatever I wanna do, whenever I wanna do it when I leave job #1!
This new schedule has also affected our dinner a little bit. Not quite as much time to spend in the kitchen. The other day I literally threw this pasta together. It was so quick...and yummy...if you like sun-dried tomatoes as much as I do.  Having a busy week? Not sure what to do for dinner? Like sun-dried tomatoes? Try this...

serves about 6 ...
about 3/4 box of whole wheat penne pasta
2 huge handfulls fresh spinach
container of sun-dried tomatoes (from Whole Foods), cut in half or thirds
3-6 cloves garlic, minced
about a cup sliced mushrooms
red pepper flakes
olive oil
sea salt & pepper
shredded parmesan cheese
lemon to serve, if you'd like

what to do: cook pasta according to directions
while pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbs olive oil in pan
cook garlic for about 20 seconds
add mushrooms to pan, cook about 2 minutes
add spinach, a little more olive oil, red pepper flakes
remove from heat and stir (until spinach cooks down)
toss spinach and mushroom mixture with drained pasta
add sun-dried tomatoes (and more olive oil if needed!)
add salt, pepper, and more red pepper flakes to taste
toss in some shredded parmesan cheese
serve with another dash of parmesan cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (taste your pasta first before adding lemon. you might not need any more flavor.)


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dad's famous margaritas!!

Our heat is off. I ran in shorts and a t-shirt all week. I put my winter boots in the closet. We made margs! Thank you, little groundhog, looks like it really is going to be an early Spring. yahoo!!!!

Consider this your birthday and Christmas present for the next...well a long time (jk).  I'm about to share my Dad's margarita recipe.

bad lighting, picture doesn't do it justice, but here she all her glory!

What you need:
spring or summer weather, good company, and good food

1 can minute maid limeade (small) (don't throw limeadae can away, this is what you'll use to measure the other stuff)
1 can tequilla
1/2 can triple sec or cointreau
however much ice you want to make it the consistency you like
margarita salt
a spoonful of grand marnier on top, if you're fancy like my Dad :)

What to do:
Blend it.
Well, first put in limeade, tequilla, triple sec, and ice. Blend.
Rub lime on rim, dip in marg salt, pour deliciousness in your glass, and top with a spoonful of grand marnier.

No margarita mix flavor, just limey tequilla-y goodness.


whole wheat pizza dough

I don't know what happened. All of a sudden I totally and accidentally neglected my sweet little Shady Basil. I'm back (side note: you may notice that I like to blog like I have a massive group of readers... it's just more fun for me!! Don't worry, I know that just a couple friends and family check out my little site and I like that too. Maybe someday shady basil will be super cool like Fresh365 and Joy the Baker and Sprouted Kitchen, some of my blogging idols!) and I have lots of things to share. My new goal is to share at least 3 recipes a week.

First up.....homemade pizza dough!! Making my own pizza dough has been on my list of things I've really wanted to do in the kitchen for a while. I don't know why I waited so long. This stuff is soo easy..and delicious. A friend, who will remain nameless because he may have changed his mind by now,  even said, "oh my gosh, this dough is better than Mellow Mushroom!" That's a big deal. Trust me.

This recipe makes 6 individual pizza doughs. Last time I made it, I made double the dough. We had friends over and each made a little pizza. Then I put the remaining six doughs in individual ziplock bags and popped 'em in the freezer. It's been wonderful to have them on hand...just take them out of the freezer, leave in its bag, and set on the counter about 4-5 hours before you're going to make a pizza. Easy!

Now to the good stuff...

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (adapted from Fresh365)

4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold
a few Tbs chopped herbs (optional) I used rosemary and thyme
whole wheat flour or cornmeal for dusting

Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in large bowl. Using your hands stir in the oil and cold water until the flour is all absorbed. Add chopped herbs. By hand mix and knead all ingredients together (for a few minutes). Add a dash of water or flour to reach desired consistency. Dough should not stick to sides of bowl, but will stick a little bit to bottom of bowl. Dough should be springy, elastic, and a little sticky.

Transfer dough to a floured countertop. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces and mold each into a ball. Rub each ball with olive oil and slip into plastic sandwich bags. Refrigerate overnight.

When ready to make pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from refrigerator at least 1 hour before making pizza. Keep covered so they don't dry out.

Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you don't have a stone, use the back of a cookie sheet, but do not preheat it.

Dust countertop or small piece of parchment paper with cornmeal or flour and get ready to shape your pizza dough. Uncover dough and sprinkle with flour. Gently press a dough round into about a 12" disk. If dough is being fussy and keeps springing back, let it rest another 15-20 minutes.

Add your toppings and slide onto the baking stone. Bake until crust is crisp and nicely colored (about 12-16 minutes depending on your oven). Remove from oven and finish with more freshly grated parmesan!

Last night we made one vegetable pizza: olive oil and garlic base, lots of mushrooms, basil, bell pepper, and cheese and one hawaiian one: tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, ham, pineapple, and cheese.

Let me know how this goes for you...enjoy!!

ohhh's been TOO long!!