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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

PIzza Dough

I love homemade pizza.  Most recipes make enough for four or more people. So I created this recipe for dough for a smaller batch.  It is great for one or two people and can be doubled.

Pizza Dough © 2012 Wes Davis – all rights reserved

2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oil
¾ to 1 cup of warm water
1 teaspoon Williams Sonoma Pizza Seasoning – (optional)
¼ cup of shredded Parmesan Cheese – optional but highly recommended!

Put all ingredients in mixing bowl and mix on low speed using a dough hook.  Once combined, raise speed to 2 or 3 and knead until dough is smooth.  It may still be a bit sticky and may look soft.  Scrape dough into a greased bowl; turn to coat and then cover.  Let rise until double in size. 

Punch down and roll or pat dough into the shape desired in the pan.  You may want to coat the pan with oil.  If you are using a pizza stone, roll the dough out on floured board then transfer to the stone.  This will make enough for 2 - 12” thin crusts or one 12” deep dish.  Let rest for 30 minutes in fridge. This gives the dough time to rest and will add a lot of flavor to the dough.

Then - take out while oven is preheating – cover with sauce, add cheese and toppings.  Bake at 450 for 12 - 20 minutes or until the cheese and toppings are done.

You can also use a pizza stone. If you use regular yeast, you will want to proof it.  Here is how I do it.

Use the water from the recipe and add ½ teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Dissolve the yeast and wait until it is foamy then follow the recipe.  If the yeast does not get foamy it may not work and you will have to start over.  The water should be about 105 degrees F/

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quick Chicken Soup

Ever have one of those days when you want a nice homemade soup but don't have a lot time? Here is a solution. 

Quick Chicken Soup

2 - 3 chicken breasts - skin on and on the bone

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Dice 1 carrot, 4 stocks of Celery and half of a white onion

Chicken base - NOT bullion - chicken base - I use Better Than Bullion

Water

Use 1 Tablespoon of Olive oil to coat the chicken. Season with DAVIS DUST or your favorite seasoning. Roast at 375 for about 35 minutes.  The temperature should be 170.  Remove from oven - tent with foil and let rest until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile dice your carrot, celery and onion.  Use the other tablespoon of Olive Oil to saute the diced veggies in a soup pot until translucent.   Then add your chicken base and water - just follow the directions on the packaging to make a good broth.

Remove the chicken from the bone, discard the skin and cut in small pieces.  Add to the pot. At this point you can add noodles or left over rice or any other item you wish. Bring to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. You can also add a bay leaf if you wish.

Simple easy and quick.

Monday, February 27, 2012

NEW FACEBOOK PAGE

I just created a Facebook page for DAVIS DUST. Please stop by and "Like".  If you have not tried it yet you can go to the website and order there or send me an email or comment here.

website  


Some of the reviews:

" I use the DUST now instead of seasoned salt.  It has more flavor and less sodium." SP - Portland OR

" I love Davis Dust. Reaching for it all the time, veggies, various meats. Adds just the right flavor zip." JW Boise ID

"LOVED IT on salmon - Yum!!"  JP Las Vegas

So give it a try!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eggplant tip

Many people like Eggplant. There are several varieties and sizes.  Most will need some attention before you do anything with them.  I recommend that you wash the Eggplant and then slice in 1/2 inch slices.  Place a layer of in a colander and salt.  Follow with another layer until all the eggplant is used.  Place a plate on top with a weight such as a 2 cans of tomatoes or a pot.  put a bowl under the colander and let it sit for about 1 - 1/2 hours.  What will happen is that salt will draw out the bitter juices and make your Eggplant much more enjoyable.  Discard the juice and rinse the Eggplant thoroughly to get the salt off.  Place the Eggplant slices on paper towels and pat dry.  I sometimes do this the day before. If I do I will roll the slices up in paper towels. (this take some paper towels  as you want to have each slice in contact with the towel.)  I place the slices in the towels in a bowl, cover with plastic an put in the refrigerator.  The next day they are ready when I am ready to cook.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Food Find

Yesterday I joined friends at Opus Two - The dining room for the Art Institutes's Culinary Program in Henderson. The room is used a practicum for the students.  They cook the food and provide the service. I was very impressed with the students and Chef Claude who oversees the facility.  The menu was wonderful!  You get your choice of an appetizer, choice of entree and choice of desert for $10.95 plus tax and tip. The food was very good! The plate presentation and attention to detail was spot on.  The service was top notch. I recommend this experience to anyone.  But be warned - the room is small and reservations are required. We made our reservations two weeks ahead of time.  It is good to see people who care about food being trained by professional who know what they are doing.

Well Done!

Here is a link to their page with information about Opus Too and how to make reservations.

http://www.artinstitutes.edu/las-vegas/about/opus-too-restaurant.aspx

Don't miss this opportunity.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review of M Resort

Yesterday while playing tourist with family from Oregon, we went to check out the M Resort.  I must say I was impressed!  It is a bright contemporary and elegant resort.  The restaurants are not cheap.  However given the high end feel of the resort they are not out of line and are about the same as you would find elsewhere on the Strip.

The Bakery was the exception.  It was reasonably priced and the food looked wonderful.

If you visit Las Vegas, take the time to get out of the main tourist corridor and look at the M.  There is a lot more to Las Vegas than just the Strip or downtown.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

OOPS!

Sory for the break in posting.  I have family in town for a few days. So make up for that, I am positng one of the recipes from my book. I have referred to this recipe on different posts and some of you have asked that I post it.  So here is Tacos My Way


TACOS MY WAY - (c) Wes Davis 2011 - all rights reserved
This is one of my favorite recipes. You can use it for hard or soft tacos, burritos, enchiladas and nachos.

1          pound ground meat. (Beef or chicken both work fine)
1          package of taco seasoning (Yes I know it has a lot of salt but this makes the rest so easy)
½         white onion – diced
1          can of green chilies diced – mild hatch not Jalapenos
1          small can dice tomatoes + one can of water.

Brown the meat and then add the onions. When the meat is done and the onions are translucent, drain off any extra fat.  Return the meat to the hot pan and add the taco mix.  Cook for a few moments to wake up the spices.  Add the green chilies and cook a little longer. Add the tomatoes and the can of water.  Stir up any loose bits from the bottom and sides.  Turn down the heat and simmer for at least one hour. The tomatoes will melt into the mixture making a rich and tasty sauce. 

Variations
Add 1 teaspoon cumin for an earthy taste
Add cheese sauce for a great Fundito Dip

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Knives

I posted this last March and I wanted to update it.

"
A sharp knife it the cooks best tool. Even if you have a less expensive knife, keeping it sharp will keep your fingers safe. Knives develop burs on the edge  as we use them. These burrs are the natural result of the knife cutting through food. The best way to keep a knife sharp is with a "Steel".  That is a long file in a the shape of a rod.  They are easy to use and will keep your knife sharp.  When needed, either take your knives to a professional for renewing the edge or buy a good knife sharpener for the home.  I use a Chef Choice that has four different guides that allow me to sharpen everything from a Chef knife to scissors. They can be expensive, but they last a lifetime.

Sharp knives do not slip.  That is what causes most knife accidents. Be Sharp  and Be Safe!"

There are many different types of knives. Most people use three or four all the time but also have some special knives for certain tasks.  All of them are safer when they are sharp. If you read the post above and wondered how to keep your knives sharp I have a great opportunity to share with you. This Sunday the class will be on knife skills and how to use and sharpen your knives.  We will also be offering free sharpening for one knife per household for those who attend.

Drop by and learn how to improve your knife skills and how to keep your knives sharp.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

If you need an idea on what to make for this fine occasion ( other than reservations at a great restaurant) you might want to look at some earlier posts.

The one on Salmon in Parchment is a great one for dinner tonight  That post is titled Packet Cooking is from 1-13-12

Or
Baked Brie  form 12- 29-11

and there is the the post on Butternut Squash Soup from10-22-11

There is a lot of help in the blog if you want to make something for your significant other.  So have a Happy Valentine's Day !!

Monday, February 13, 2012

SOUP DAY!!

Old Man Winter has returned to the desert.  Time to clean out the freezer and make soup. Whenever I buy a whole chicken I always save the parts I don't use like the back or neck or whatever is not going to be cooked that day to make stock.  So I have a bag of frozen chicken parts that is ready to go into the soup pot.  Today I will make a nice chicken stock and then use that to make some easy chicken and dumplings.  Check back later and I will share the recipe for the chicken and dumplings.

To make the stock I just put the chicken parts - still frozen - in the soup pot.  Then I add water to cover,  add the ends of celery, some onions and garlic.  Bring this to boil and then turn down to simmer.  I simmer all of this for about 4 hours.  Then I turn off the heat and strain out the solids.  By the way I use the end pieces of veggies to make stock.  Today I even used green onions.  I don't worry about cutting or dicing. I put them in the pot and let them cook. If you have any left over veggies you can certainly throw them in too. Use whatever you have on hand and remember that it will all be strained before you use the stock.

Don't forget to add a bay leaf and other herbs like rosemary and thyme. You can make stock out of anything - veggies - beef - chicken - turkey.  What ever you have.  It is easy and very economical.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Soup - From class today

Here is the recipe that I developed for the class today.

ROASTED WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP

Wes Davis © 2012  - all rights reserved

BUTTERNUT SQUASH - 1
RED PEPPER - 1
RED ONION - 1
SWEET POTATO - 1 LARGE
PARSNIP 2 SMALL
CARROTS – ABOUT 3 LARGE
SEEDED FRESH TOMATOES - (ROMA – ABOUT 3- 4)
1 HEAD OF GARLIC
OLIVE OIL
CHICKEN BROTH

OPTIONAL
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Thyme

Peel all the veggies and cut in 2 inch pieces.  Cut off the top of the head of garlic and wrap in foil.  Place all the veggies and the garlic on sheet pan and drizzle vegigies with olive oil.  Add salt and pepper.  Make sure that they are not too crowded.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for 1 – ½ hours until caramelized.

Add veggies to stock pot - deglaze the sheet pan with broth and add to pot. Unwrap the garlic and squeeze the roasted garlic into the soup.  Add enough broth to use an immersion blender and puree.  Add more broth and adjust consistency to your taste.  Heat soup and serve with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt and some chopped parsley.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter Vegetables

There are a lot of really good winter veggies. Most people tend to overlook some of the more exotic ones like Kale or Parsnips going for the more predictable ones like Broccoli and Cauliflower or Brussels Sprouts. However if you try some thing different you may just find out that you like them. This Sunday's class is on winter Vegetables.  Here are some of my favorites that I will not be able to fix for the class.

Kale - I use this in a great soup with spicy sausage and potatoes. 
Beets - roast these and use the greens in beans and other dishes
Parsnips - I add some to my mashed potatoes. These give a great flavor
Sweet Potatoes - I use these as fries - in the oven; I also layer them in a Gratin with Russets and I love them baked and topped with butter and Cinnamon.

These are just a few.  Of course you can also make a great soup just by roasting some and then pureeing them.   Good food and it is good for you.

Come by the Class on Sunday and see more!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Salt

I am sure you have heard the recent news about salt in our diet. We all know that we need to cut back and that as a nation USA eats way too much salt.  But do you know where most of the salt is in your diet? If you eat a lot of prepared food you get a lot of salt that is not needed. Just take a look at any snack. They are very high in sodium. If you cook at home you can control what you eat and how much sodium you add.

Some things that help flavor but do not add salt -

Lemon - juice and zest  These can really perk up the flavor.  So will orange by the way
Try using more aromatics ( Onion, Garlic, Celery and carrots) in your food.  You will find that these add a lot of flavor and do need a lot of salt.
Read the labels of food.  Tomato paste is not all the same. Nor is Beef or Chicken stock and/or bases for soup. Use ones that have less sodium.
Use a Dry Vermouth or wine to add flavor. Let it reduce to concentrate the flavor. DO NOT USE COOKING WINE!! It has a TON of salt in it.  Use one that you would drink with the meal.

I know many people are saying "But it won't taste the same!!" it may not be what you are used to but it can taste better than you think.  Learn how to cook without adding a ton of salt.  You will be surprised how good food can be without a lot of salt

Monday, February 6, 2012

Yeast

I have been working on Sourdough Bread for about 2 months now.  I just found a different yeast that is remarkable. SAF -Instant Yeast from King Arthur Flour is incredible. The results speak for themselves.  Before I was using the little packets that you find in the grocery store.  Those were good but this is ten times better. Often you get some yeast that is slow or even dead.  The SAF yeast came in a one pound bag and I also ordered the container and measuring spoon. I found that it made a huge difference in my bread.  I cannot wait to try in on my Cinnamon Rolls and other recipes.

So check it out at King Arthur Flour.. The cost seems high until you figure the yield you get. Compared to the little packets it is about 1/3 of the cost with much better results.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cincinnatti Chili

Cincinnati Chili is different from most chili recipes in that it does not use chili powder. Instead it uses Cinnamon, cloves and other spices we normally think of for sweet dishes.  Originally started by immigrants in Cincinnati it also served over spaghetti and topped with Cheddar Cheese on other toppings.  I will be featuring this and some white Chili in the class on Sunday.  Come by and taste the difference.

Class - Big Bowls of Chili - Williams Sonoma - The District at Green Valley Ranch  12 noon 2/5/2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sorry for not posting sooner!!

Computers - can't live without them and some days we want to shoot em!!  My apologies for not posting sooner.  I had a computer issue that is now resolved.

So How is your weather?  Are you ready for the big game? If it is cold where you are try some Chili - that will warm you up! it is also good for a Super Bowl party.  I always have some ready to go to watch a game.  I use it as is and I also put it over some home made chips for Nachos. Making homemade corn chips is very easy.  All you need is some corn Tortillas and some hot oil.  Just cut the tortillas in 8 pieces and fry until they are crisp.  Drain on some paper towels and make sure you salt them while they are hot.  Easy!!

I am teaching a class on Chili this Sunday at WS.  Drop by and have a taste!