Friday, June 21, 2013

Week Two: Actual Cooking!

Last night I made garlic scape pizza and a cabbage Caesar salad - delicious! I was really impressed with the salad, actually. Caesar dressing is one of those things I sort of assumed you could make, but I'd never actually taken the time to, you know, look up how to do it. The pizza served four people, and so far the salad has only served "one"... but that's because I'm the only one eating it. I'd say it could serve 4 to 6 as a side at dinner.

Cabbage Caesar Salad (via the New York Times)
- 1 head cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 egg yolk*
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup (freshly) grated Parmesan cheese (I used Romano)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, or enough to thin out the yolk/cheese mixture
- chopped anchovies (I didn't use these)
- salt and pepper to taste

Peel the garlic and rub the inside of the bowl with it. I also minced mine and added it to the dressing, because I love garlic. Whisk together everything but the cabbage, then  toss the sliced cabbage into the dressing. Serve immediately or store in the fridge to let the flavors get friendly.

Coring and slicing the cabbage: I think I saw on a cooking show once that you're supposed to slam the cabbage on the counter in order to break up the tough bit in the middle. I tried this, but I don't think I was angry enough because it didn't seem to do anything useful. I found it easiest to stand the cabbage up on the stem end and slice down, then lay the cut sides down to quarter it. It took some creativity to slice through the core, but I managed to get all the potentially tough, connect-y bits out. Once all the tough stuff is out of the way, slice away and add to the dressing. I wasn't sure how much washing it needed, since everything's pretty much protected by the outer leaves (which I peeled off and tossed), but I gave everything a rinse anyway.

* Yes, this has a raw egg yolk in it. If you don't feel OK eating raw egg, I have no idea what your options are. I'm still alive and well :) But make sure, if you do use it, that you either eat it immediately, or keep it refrigerated. The rule of thumb for foods is that they should only be in the "danger zone" (between 40 F and 120 F, I think is the high end) for two hours for maximum safety.

Garlic Scape and Chicken Pizza (inspired by the smitten kitchen)
- 1 package pizza/bread dough, thawed if frozen (if you can make bread dough that actually turns into bread, do that, and then bring it on over to my house!)
- 10 garlic scapes, cut in half at the loop-de-loop (not sure if you can see this in the picture)
- 5-6 chicken breast tenderloins (probably 1 to 1.5 chicken breasts), cooked & diced or shredded
- 1/2 cup or so tomato sauce
- pizza cheese (I used provolone)

Pat the dough lightly with flour, and stretch/toss/roll out onto your baking sheet or pizza stone. Add tomato sauce to your preference, sprinkle with chicken, and top with cheese. Add the scapes last. Bake in a 425 F oven for about 20 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, if needed, slice and serve.

I tend to have difficulties with bread dough, so my crust felt a little tough. I tried to mess with it as little as possible, but that may still have been too much. I think next time I'll saute scapes, like SK did with the ramps, and probably chop them as well. They sort of dried out and lost their yummy garlic taste.

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