Purple Potato Pizza

CPK, eat your heart out.

Garry had a bag of Peruvian purple potatoes in his crisper for the last couple of weeks and I've been eyeing them with purple mashed potatoes in mind.  Today we were going to do a chicken stir-fry with mushrooms and bean sprouts, but I looked at the contents of his fridge and realized we had all the makings of a fantaaaaastic pizza.  

The first time I saw potato pizza on a menu, I was skeptical, but Pizza Antica changed my mind.  The starch-on-starch may sound redundant, but it's fantastic in texture and flavor.  You can't just use any old potato though--a nice rich one like a Yukon Gold or these purple potatoes works best.

  • TJ's herb pizza dough.  Next time we may try whole wheat instead.
  • TJ's pesto (soo good!)
  • Barely grilled chicken breast, cut into cubes (it doesn't need to be cooked all the way through because it'll keep cooking when you bake the pizza and you don't want it to get tough)
  • 3 purple potatoes, sliced and zapped in the microwave for 1 min.
  • Sliced crimini mushrooms, toasted in the toaster oven to get rid of the juices
  • A bit of thinly sliced white onions
  • Mozzarella cheese

We're slowly learning that when it comes to pizza, one had best exercise restraint.  Usually we're tempted to load a zillion toppings on our pizza, and while hearty and tasty, it sometimes gets soggy and just comes off as kind of...crass.  We're not quite where we need to be in terms of pizza-minimalism, but today was a step in the right direction: every ingredient was necessary, and the whole was a lot greater than the sum of all parts.  The only thing I might have added is a drizzle of truffle oil.

Needless to say, you can't get a pizza like this anywhere, but if you could, it would probably cost like $25 (with the generous amt of toppings involved).  Plus I like how, as Garry quipped, it's "shaped like Oregon."

First time making pancakes from scratch--successfully.

Behold, homemade chocolate chip pancakes with maple syrup and bananas!

I only tried making pancakes from scratch once before.  I've been meaning to try Reggie's Rule-of-1 pancakes for a while, and I finally did this morning.  Results: decidedly superior to the store-bought mix (even TJ's!).  I actually didn't use a whole egg, but rather all egg whites, because I had them left over from the eggnog I made.  And I 1.5x'd the recipe.  Other than that--no changes.

The texture was perfectly fluffy but the pancakes had a sort of bland taste... I wonder if using buttermilk or even just adding a bit of salt would make any difference in flavor.

Skipping Foodie Tuesday but giving you: Egg-white Quiche

I had almost 1 dozen egg whites to use up after I used the yolks in my eggnog.  The other day I was at Costco and saw egg white quiches and knew that's exactly what I wanted to make, esp. since I had an extra pastry shell in the freezer. 

I was very vigilant about the pastry shell this time--I pulled it out halfway through baking to poke out the air bubbles forming.  I sauteed broccoli, onions, and mushrooms before adding them to the bottom of the pastry shell.  Sprinkled goat cheese, then laid out 6 slices of canadian bacon on top, and then poured in my egg/milk mixture.  Next time I would use more egg and less milk, again.  Topped with the rest of the goat cheese and a bit of mozarella.  Turned out a beautiful golden brown!

Thanksgiving saga: Last of the leftovers

This was the last bit of leftover turkey, from the second Thanksgiving dinner we had with Garry's family, which we used to make... pizza!  I forgot to take a picture of the turkey sandwich I made this afternoon (turkey, cranberry sauce, La Brea Bakery bread, and vegetable tian).

It was not really planned.  Garry had a couple friends who wanted to get In-n-Out but I was like, hey, we have all this stuff in the fridge, and I looked and realized we had everything we needed to make two scrumptious pizzas:

In the Fridge
  • Leftover turkey
  • Cut up broccoli (part of the crudite I was going to serve with my aioli that broke)
  • Canadian bacon (I used part of it to make a quiche, pictures forthcoming)
  • Mushrooms (also from the quiche I made)
In the Freezer
  • Pizza sauce
  • Pepperoni (from the last pizza-making party)
  • Frozen artichokes from TJ's--something I always like to have around
  • Shredded mozzarella, parmesan and crumbled gorgonzola

Ours was very nicely assembled--the only problem was that the mushrooms leeched so much liquid that it came out all watery.  After sopping it up with a paper towel though, it was perfectly tasty: half was turkey/artichoke/broccoli and the other half was canadian bacon/mushroom/broccoli.  

Garry's friends made a monstrosity with all of the above ingredients, plus pepperoni, a sprinkling of gorgonzola and even a stuffed crust on one side!

Thanksgiving saga: The feast!

It was, indeed, a feast for all posterity.  Pretty much everything was top-notch delicious, made tastier by good friends.

Some photo highlights:
  • Wendy basting the turkey with, yes, a syringe!  With Vince looking on.
  • Vince grappling with a newly-dead carp fish.
  • The fish, steamed with ginger and scallions.
  • Scott & G's beautiful vegetable tian.
  • The full spread.
  • Candace's butternut squash risotto.
  • Wendy's turkey with Grace's rich gravy at the ready.
  • Gilbert's virgin attempt at an apple pie--great execution, and very yummy besides (plus his mulled wine was outrageously good).

Thanksgiving saga: Aioli FAIL

I didn't know this was possible, but I broke my aoili yesterday.  I have made this recipe for aioli a bunch of times before with perfect, trembly, buttery-creamy results every time.  This time, I got greedy.  There was a point at which I knew I had added enough oil (lots of really good olive oil too), but I thought, since I was using a jumbo egg yolk, that I could maybe add a bit more.  And a bit more.  So greedy.  I put the aioli to chill overnight.

The next day, I saw that it looked kind of sickly--whitish spots all over it, and sort of "sweating" or oozing oil.  This was not good.  Wendy said it would be fine, but I was unhappy serving less-than-perfect aoili.  I knew I had added more oil than my egg yolk could emulsify.  I thought, maybe I can put it back in the kitchen-aid and add another bit of egg yolk, and it would be fine.

As soon as I started whisking it though, it liquified immediately.  No longer nice and stiff like it had been before--no matter how much I whisked it, it was toast, as they say.  Apparently over-whisking will deteriorate the egg.  It's like the egg had just thrown in the towel and said, "Forget it!  If you are going to abuse me like this, I'm not going to work for you at all." 

I gave up and stopped whisking.  I was so sad.  After letting the mixture sit for a while, all the eggy stuff had floated to the top and the oil was there at the bottom, but it was truly inedible.  Sad.

Thanksgiving saga: My actual cranberry sauce.

I decided on regular sauce because I didn't have a grinder, but to spice it up I cut up a persimmon (they're in season!) and added it to the mixture.  Started with a bit less than 1 c. sugar and 1 c. water.  Added cranberries--after just a few minutes they started splitting or "popping open."  Soon the mixture began to boil in earnest, and the cranberries started breaking down, at which point I helped them along by mashing them against the sides of the saucepan.  

Careful not to over-cook the cranberries.

Thanksgiving saga: Steps to a beautiful eggnog

Man, I'm so sorry I forgot to take pictures of the first two steps.  -__-  I will probably make this again though.  I adapted the recipe from one I found on AllRecipes.com.

1. Warm 4 c. milk in a saucepan with 5 whole cloves (6 if you are feeling sassy), 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon on low heat for 5 min.  Slowly bring to a boil, using a spatula to stir it so the milk doesn't crystallize at the bottom.

2. Separate 12 yolks from their egg whites (okay--or 8-10 if you think using an entire dozen is nutty).  Save the egg whites for later use, like the egg white quiche they sell at Costco now.  Whisk the yolks in a large bowl with about 1.5 c. sugar until "fluffy."  To really get your eggs fluffy, it helps to have a KitchenAid and turn it to the highest speed for a few minutes, and you may even want to throw in an egg white or two.

3. While still whisking the eggs, slowly pour the hot milk mixture in.  You don't want to put the eggs into the milk because they will curdle.  

4. When eggs and milk are fully combined, pour the whole thing back into a saucepan over the stove and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, until the eggs thicken.  Do not allow mixture to boil.  Remove cloves and let mixture cool for an hour.

5. If mixture has formed chunks, use a hand blender to smoothen it.

6. Stir in rum (to taste... up to 2.5 c. if you're an alcoholic and as little as 1/2 c.  I don't recommend going totally alcohol-free because rum really gives this drink a whole 'nother dimension), 3-4 c. light cream or half-and-half, 2 tsp. vanilla, and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg.

7. Refrigerate overnight.  This step is key, to allow all the wonderful flavors to meld and work their magic.

I also added pictures of my final cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving Saga : Cranberries

Cranberry sauce is one thing I put myself in charge of this Thanksgiving, and I take my task very seriously.  I bought two separate bags of fresh cranberries.  I was just going to make a crapton of regular sauce (even though people typically don't eat a lot of sauce), but I googled 'cranberry sauce' and the first thing that came up was this interesting-looking recipe for raw cranberry relish.  It sounds dubious (calls for 1 whole orange, pith and all) but I think I really want to try it.

Then I will probably make a batch of regular cranberry sauce too.