Monday, July 29, 2013

Now We're Cooking

I'm in!  I'm finally in! 

I am officially enrolled at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.

Santa Fe School of Cooking

Every time I have been to Santa Fe, I've never been able to get in.  But this time it's different.  I made plans, and we are in! 
I write "we" because I also enrolled my husband.  Now, don't get me wrong, he really is a great guy.  He's very cute and an outrageously smart engineer.  So he basically can fix anything....
Well, anything except for dinner that is..... 
Cooking class

I know he'll get into this because we are making TACOS!  Not just ordinary tacos but technical tacos.  He's a technical guy and loves tacos. 
I think I've got myself a winner. 
Technical Tacos
These tacos are the real deal.  No offense, but I don't think there will be any Ortega or 
Chi Chi's products going on here. 
We're talking tacos like:  potato, poblano chile and spinach tacos; hot and smoky shrimp tacos; chicken and guacamole tacos; and tacos al Pastor with blue corn tortillas and salsa fresca.    

Oh, how I love you Santa Fe.  Can't wait to see you again!
Red Chile Wreath


Monday, July 22, 2013

Pizza Friday

In our family, for as long as I can remember, Friday night has always been Pizza Night.

Mom's Deep Dish Pie
Growing up in a few states, there were many variations of Pizza Night and favorite pizzas along the way. 

In Michigan there was Clover Bar Pizza, complete with its pinball arcade for the kids while the parents enjoyed libations back at the table. 

In Kentucky, Snappy Tomato Pizza ruled, along with its goofy jingle (imagine fingers snapping here) "Snap, snap, Snappy Tomato Pizza, oooh." 

In Ohio, J & G Pizza Palace has a Greek style thin crust pie and décor that remains untouched over the restaurant's thousands of years in existence.

Chicago style - thick and cheesy

Years ago while on a high school trip to the Windy City, I bought my Mom a Chicago pizza cookbook.  She kept if for a few years before deciding to give pizza making a whirl.  She worked and worked and perfected it to become her specialty. 

I should know.  I'm eating the last two leftover pieces from Friday Pizza Night as we speak. Yum!

The final two leftover slices.  Lucky me!

 This recipe makes three 8" pies.

Use three 8" pizza pans

For the dough, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar and stir well. 
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and cornmeal.  Add the yeast mixture and a 1/4 c vegetable oil.  Mix until the dough forms a ball.

On a floured surface, need and pound the dough for about 4 minutes.  Coat a bowl with a little olive oil, add the dough and cover with plastic wrap.  Place bowl in a warm spot and let it raise until it doubles in size.

Oil the bottoms and sides of three 8" pizza pans with olive oil.  Spread dough in pans with your palms and fingers.
Check out my Mom's natural nails.  Clearly, I was adopted.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Pierce dough with fork, then par bake it for 4 minutes on the lowest oven rack.

Dough after par baking

Combine tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic and salt.

Lay cheese over the crust. (If using pepperoni, add it before the cheese).  Spoon tomatoes over cheese.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
Ready for the oven.
Bake pizzas on lowest rack for 5 minutes.  Move pizzas to middle rack and bake for an additional 20 - 25 minutes until the crusts are lightly browned.

Let pizzas rest for a few minutes.  Slice and enjoy!

What you need for the dough:
1 package dry yeast
1/3 c. warm water
1/2 tsp. sugar
3 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
1/4 c. vegetable oil
For the toppings:
1 28 oz. can diced San Marzano tomatoes, drained
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. minced garlic
Salt to taste
1 1/2 lbs. sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Thinly sliced pepperoni, if desired 
Olive oil

Mouthwatering deliciousness!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Queen for a Day - The Someday Cowgirl in Paris, Part Trois

Imagine being the Queen…..

The Queen of England, the Queen of the Nile, the Queen of Sheba, or the Queen of Everything.

Chateau de Versailles
A day trip to the Palace of Versailles gave me some insight on what it would be like to be Queen. 
Or at least what it was like to be Marie Antoinette who lived at Versailles in over-the-top opulence with her husband Louis XVI in the 1700s.

Sitting room of Marie Antoinette
For if you were Marie Antoinette, you’d have a whole slew of people who would do anything for you…… every day. 
Pick out your clothes, do your hair, make you breakfast in bed, take out the trash, grocery shop, clean your bathrooms (okay, they really didn't have bathrooms)……
They’d probably even exercise for you.

Gilded Fireplace

You’d never need anything…… jewels, designer clothes, silks and tapestries, fine chocolates, exquisite statues and light fixtures like the ones below..... all yours.
Statues and crystal light fixture

Unfortunately, things didn't work out well for Marie Antoinette in the end. 


View of the garden at Versailles

Perhaps she would have enjoyed being a regular gal..... just like the rest of us.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Star Spangled 4th

Okay.  So I went a little crazy. 

But it was, after all, my first time hosting family on the 4th. 

The 4th was never my thing.

It was always my brother's thing, until he moved far away a few years ago.  He and his family always hosted the big pool party with tons of friends and neighbors and great views of the fireworks.

All I did was bring a side, and maybe a carafe of margaritas.

You see, my thing is my annual Kentucky Derby party.  I love Christmas and hosting family.  And then there are the fall holidays - Halloween and Thanksgiving, which I love everything about.

But the 4th?

Red and white okay, but I don't own a single thing that is blue...nada.

Until this year...

My niece and nephew happened to be visiting for the holiday, so I invited more family and decided to go for it.

Like I said, I went a little crazy...  Hope you enjoyed your 4th as much as I did!