Tuesday, August 26, 2008

White Pizza With Fennel Goat Cheese Rosemary And More Recipe

Homemade pizza dough is so easy, its not funny - so I share that here, then I share with you my latest pizza concoction that included fresh ingredients such as rosemary, garlic, goat cheese, parmesan and even sliced thin fennel creating a wonderful bright tasting pizza. It is also a nice flat bread you can use to supplement dinner with. As I type this recipe out, I think I might make more of this for tonight.


  • The prep time could be less, depending upon how long it takes your dough to double in size. The first list is for your basic pizza dough, which you can then use to make your own pizza with your favorite toppings....I then list what I used for my fennel inspired white pizza.
Pizza Dough:
  • 1 entire package of yeast
  • 1 cup hot water 110 degrees
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-1/2 - 3 cups flour
  • 1/8 cup of corn meal
  • cookie sheet
  • bowl
  • olive oil
Leah's White Pizza with Fennel:
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced thin with reserved frawns set aside
  • 2 tablespoons or less fresh chopped fine rosemary (I love rosemary, can never get enough, so I use about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper
  • red chili flakes (totally optional)
  • 1/4 cup or more of parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup of shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or less

  1. To make pizza dough, by hand or with mixer with dough hook, add yeast to bottom and add hot water to yeast, let yeast 'bloom' for five minutes.
  2. Add olive oil, then flour.
  3. Add flour and mix by hand or with electric mixer and start slowly at first. Add salt and mix again.
  4. Line bowl and gently drizzle a little olive oil into bowl.
  5. Turn out dough onto working surface and knead for four minutes.
  6. Create ball and put into bowl, greasing the top of the ball dough with the olive oil.
  7. Cover with clean dish towel and set in a warm spot in your kitchen to allow dough to double in size - anywhere from 30 to 80 minutes...
  8. I usually place my dough in the oven with it turned off, it doubles very quickly this way.
  9. Once doubled, turn out onto floured working surface, work with fingers or rolling pin, and roll out into a pie or rectangular shape.
  10. Sprinkler corn meal onto cookie sheet and place pie dough onto cookie sheet. Top with your favorite toppings and cook in 450 degree preheated hot oven for 15-20 minutes.
To Make Leah's White Pizza with Fennel:
  1. After you have made the pizza dough, add crumbled goat cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese on top of dough.
  2. Add thinly slice up onions and sprinkle over the pizza dough.
  3. Add garlic, sliced fennel, salt, pepper, rosemary.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil, then add parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until pie dough is ready.
  6. Cut into strips to serve as a side, or slices to serve up as a meal.
OK, Off I go to make more of this wonderful side dish.... so crispy and light.

Fresh Beet Salad With Cilantro And Scallions A La Leah Recipe

My guy adores beets, and I encourage him to eat as many beets as he ever wants due to the beets' abilities to lower cholesterol quickly. This is a fun dish, easy to make, sweet and bright and super colorful.


  • 5-8 raw beets medium sized to be peeled and sliced.
  • Large pot of water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (preferred) or parsley
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  1. This recipe yields about 5 cups of cooked and chilled beets
  2. There are two streams of thought in cooking beets, cooking them whole, then peeling which brings more vitamits to its water which is great to use in smoothies or peel first, then slice and cook which is what I do.
  3. I still reserve the beet water - which as mentioned can be used to add to fruit smoothies, as a cleansing tonic for doing cleansing diets or quite frankly to use as a dye when crafting....
  4. I used my cuisine art to slice up beets quickly after I peeled them.
  5. Place sliced beets in pot, add enough water to cover.
  6. Add sugar and salt and allow to come to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and allow to cook on a medium simmer until they are just fork tender - maybe 10 minutes depending upon how much you are cooking at once.
  8. Strain reserving juice.
  9. Place now cooked beets into bowl and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator.
  10. Once chilled,take out and add vinegar, chopped garlic, chopped scallions and chopped parsley, stir till combined.
  11. Add additional salt if necessary and serve.
Side Notes:
  1. Keeps quite well in the fridge for up to one week in a sealed container.
  2. I served this up last Saturday as a side dish at my guy's b-day party - I was shocked at how well it went over....
  3. Super healthy beets are great for you, filled with vitamins and the ability to lower bad cholesterol.

Creme Puffs and Vanilla Creme Filling a la Leah - Homemade from Scratch

These extra big and fluffy creme puffs have been made by my mother and I for years, the homemade vanilla filling t'aint bad either! I make them extra big 4 x 5 inches and are usually 3-4 inches tall when completed. As a funny true story, these usually were pre-bought at the yearly church festival when the people knew we were bringing them down...we would usually have to make at least 4 batches....and we would sell them for $5 a piece easily!

Who knew making 'slow food' could be so good!


  • I will list for both the creme puffs and the vanilla filling, though you can easily make these creme puffs half their size and fill with savory foods as well.
  • I include variations on the fillings as well as tips and tricks here for having great fluffy creme puff results.
  • This creme filling can be used as pie filling as well....
  • ****Creme Puffs Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter unsalted preferred - can use 50/50 ratio of shortening and butter mix as long as butter is at least 1/2 of the ratio.
  • 1 cup boiling hot water
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 quart pot with lid
  • wood spoon
  • whisk
  • timer
  • parchment paper OR clean brown paper bags
  • large cookie sheet
  • ****Vanilla Filling Ingredients:
  • double boiler - or bowl over simmering water in pot
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs or 4 egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • + 2 Tablespoons sugar if not using optional additional flavorings
  • 2-3 tablespoons optional flavorings: godiva chocolate liqueur, etc.

  1. Oven needs rack on middle shelf and should be very well preheated to 425 degrees before you start to make your pastry dough.
  2. This will ensure your creme puffs bake as high as possible.
  3. Once in, do not open oven door for any reason until at least 30 minutes have past.... seriously =-0 - or your creme puffs might deflate :-(
  4. Crack eggs into small bowl so they are ready to be added once at a time without having to stop while stirring them in when you are ready.
  5. With pot on stove over medium heat, add all your dry ingredients and whisk till combined: flour, sugar, salt.
  6. Add 1 cup of boiling water to dry ingredients all at once.
  7. Stir with wooden spoon over medium heat till dough is formed and started to come away from walls of pot/pan.
  8. Let dough (while stirring) cook over heat for at least 3-4 minutes then remove from heat.
  9. I usually place pot onto trivet on counter while adding eggs.
  10. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition until eggs has been completely incorporated into dough. The color of the dough will change from light creme to a nice light yellow yellow.
  11. Once done, take parchment paper or cut up brown paper bags which is what my mom used to do all the time instead of using parchment paper, and line cookie sheet.
  12. Lightly grease parchment paper before adding pastry dough onto cookie sheet and parchment paper.
  13. With large spoon create and divide from bowl: six dollops of pastry dough onto cookie sheet leaving at least 2 inches in between globs of pastry dough.
  14. They will double in size easily once they start baking.
  15. Taking a fork, create small peaks in the pastry dough by pulling up dough slightly with fork....like you might do with the top of a cake when frosting or with meringue to make it look pretty.
  16. Once ready, with oven mitt handy, place cookie sheet onto middle rack of oven and close door gently and immediately.
  17. Bake for 30 minutes - DO NOT PEEK or OPEN DOOR for first two thirds of baking time. After 25 or 30 minutes, your creme puffs are done.
  18. You should though allow them to stay in oven, with oven turned off and oven door ajar (left open slightly) to ensure any beads of moisture no longer is seen on the tops of your creme puffs have dried away - maybe ten minutes.
  19. Keep in a dry and warm place until ready to fill and serve.
  20. This will ensure a dry and crispy creme puff that has more staying power then one which is soggy and flat, think not pretty.
  21. Once cooled, fill with creme filling noted below, or with a filling of your choice including savory fillings such as lumped crab mix salad, mushroom mousse, etc.
  22. ***Creme Filling directions:
  23. In double boiler, add the following ingredients: all dry ingredients, sugar, flour, salt over medium heat.
  24. Add 2 cups of milk slowly and whisk in milk.
  25. Stirring constantly, cook over heat until mixture starts to thicken - 5 minutes.
  26. Cover with lid, and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  27. While that cooks, crack eggs into bowl and stir to mix eggs.
  28. Remove from heat (take out that trivet again) add a little bit of the hot mixture to the eggs to temper them, then add beaten eggs back into the hot mixture and stir to quickly combine eggs with hot mixture.
  29. Put back onto stove over heat and allow to cook for 2 full minutes. Remove from heat.
  30. Add butter and vanilla extract and allow to cool.
  31. Once slightly cooled, add to fridge with lid to completely chill.
  32. Once chilled, whip up heavy cream, adding the additional sugar and any extra flavorings you might like, then add whipped cream to creme filling which will be rather stiff now.
  33. The whipped cream will 'lighten' the creme filling which you can now use to fill your creme puffs.
  34. You can slice them in half, or cut slits in them and fill with spoon or pastry bag if you are so inclined to use your kitchen gadgets.
  35. Serve creme puffs on pretty plates, serve up plain or the preferred way: sprinkle with confectioner's sugar plain or with a bit of cocoa in it for extra flair.....
  36. Enjoy these crowd-pleasing favorites which are not too sweet, but instead something really fancy that people will think you labored more than you actually did!
  37. Make 'em drool with jealousy!!!!
  38. Should there be leftovers - they can stay in the fridge over night, but I would suggest eating them up the next day.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Navy Bean Soup ala Leah - Learn to Make Authentic Navy Bean Soup like Grandma Used to do

Now who doesn't recall growing up with bean soup?!? It was a favorite of mine of those people who put soup in those red and white cans. This is my mom's version that I have tweaked making it affordable and yet another reason not to throw out that ham bone just yet. For extra fun add sliced hot dogs for those kids in your family - you can easily substitute lentils, dried back or pea beans for this amazing hearty meal.

And yes, yet another recipe to make with a left over ham bone.


  • Prep Time does not include soaking dried beans overnight. Please note.
  • This may be a big list of ingredients, but it really adds to the overall complexity of savory taste of real authentic bean soup.
  • I also show how to avoid soaking beans overnight in the directions if you are in a hurry....
  • 1 bag of dried navy beans
  • 2-1/2 quarts of water
  • 1/3 cup diced salt pork or bacon (I prefer bacon - use 5 or so slices)
  • 3/4 cup finely diced carrots - 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion diced finely
  • 3/4 cup celery diced finely - 2 stalks
  • 1/2 can of tomato paste (the small can)
  • 1 cup potato - diced finely, 1 large potato
  • 2 garlic cloves minced finely
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 leftover ham bone or shank
  • 4 hot dogs sliced (optional - but oh so good and homey)
  • stock pot with lid


  1. I will try and keep the how to short, but it is worth every step. This recipe will do great on a Saturday or Sunday and when you need to feed dinner with only a few funds...its super delicious, and as mentioned in the description, you may substitute the navy beans for black bean, lentils or even pea beans.
  2. Take large soup pot and put water in half way.
  3. Rinse beans, looking for any pebbles or icky things that shouldn't be there.
  4. Add rinsed beans to pot and let sit on counter over night or at least 10 hours. Change water at least once.
  5. In A HURRY? After soaking for 30 minutes, drain water, and add enough water to cover beans plus 2 added cups water and let simmer for 3 hours.
  6. Proceed as directed without adding additional water.
  7. ***Back to normal directions***
  8. In morning, or after 10 hours, rinse beans completely and set aside for the moment.
  9. To stock pot, add a little drizzle of olive oil, add salt pork or bacon and cook for at least 5 minutes.
  10. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to pot and sweat till soft NOT brown for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add navy beans to pot, all remaining ingredients (except for hot dogs) including 2-1/2 quarts water and let come to a boil.
  12. Turn down and let simmer for 2 hours.
  13. Remove ham bone and bay leaves.
  14. Add sliced hot dogs to pot and simmer for additional 10 minutes and serve it up in large soup bowls.
  15. Add freshly minced chives or parsley for added garnish.
  16. Photo I grabbed from tasteofhome.com

Ham Leftovers and Fresh Corn Chowder Recipe with Ham, Bacon and Pimentos

I have been writing a variety of recipes as of late, in how to reuse leftover chicken and/or ham to happily and enjoyably create a new meal that has no link to its precooked past. And since with my previous posts, I thought to add more delicious recipes and how to ideas on what to do with a ham.

Now one thing I have learned from my mother and was a famous quote by Dorothy Parker is that: "Eternity is two people and a ham". Now I couldn't agree more with Dorothy Parker or my mother. In fact this quote has been repeated by many other people, but I do believe that good 'ol Dorothy said it first - it sounds like her anyway if you are familiar with her work.

So you have a left over ham, now what!? Ham has become a wonderful way to affordably serve many people, and recently I noticed rather good prices in the stores for Ham and will probably pick one up next week. But as with all hams, I know I will have leftovers once I glaze that baby in the oven.

So as I mentioned the other day, I can easily make, egg omlettes with ham, quick quiche Leah, Split Pea Soup - which I made at the end of the 'ham's life', and spaghetti carbonara and chowder of some sort.

So today, I will share my Fresh Corn Chowder recipe:

Easy quick chowder idea for using up leftover ham and doing something with the corn you bought the other day since it was in season. Affordable meal goes a long way to feeding everyone nicely, served up with nice hearty garlic bread and a salad, and you have made yourself a meal to be remembered!


  • 1/2 cup or more diced cooked ham
  • 1 can of cream style corn (no. 2 can)
  • 2-4 ears of fresh corn on the cob, with corn removed and 'milk' reserved
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1-2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 quart milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour (optional thickener)
  • 4 cups potatoes, skins removed and diced - keep in large bowl of water to prevent browning until ready to throw in soup pot
  • 1/2 cup minced and drained of their juices pimento
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parlsey chopped for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons green onions/scallions for garnish and extra zing
  • salt and pepper
  • soup pot/stock pot
  • could be done in slow cooker while first browning bacon, ham, onions and fresh corn.
  • tablespoon or two of olive oil

  1. Either in stock pot, add olive oil to cool pot.
  2. Add bacon and onions and let saute and brown slightly and add garlic, diced ham and cook for two more minutes to heat through.
  3. Remove and drain from pot and set aside but reserve fat.
  4. Add one tablespoon of the bacon fat back into the pot and add drained fresh corn (remember to save the milk from the fresh corn - you can add it to the milk you will be adding)
  5. Cook corn till slightly browned, then if using flower to thicken soup, add flour now stirring it until absorbed.
  6. Add milk and stir in slowly.
  7. Add potatoes, and all other ingredients to the pot (except for green onions and parsley).
  8. Taste first, then add salt and pepper per your liking.
  9. Once at a boil, turn down heat and let cook for 30 minutes.
  10. Serve in pretty bowls and top with fresh garnishes of minced chives/green onions and parsley. Add some fresh cracked pepper to the top and serve it up.
  11. I grabbed photo from tesco.com but looks quote close to my version indeed, except for mine has larger pieces of potatoes and its missing fresh garnishes!
  12. Enjoy this affordable quick meal to feed your family fast and deliciously!

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich Ala Leah

Easy to do dinner/lunch idea with left over chicken or w/ one of those rotisserie chickens from the store - use your own BBQ sauce or already pre-made, add your cheese on toasted heart bread - its a quick winner with wow taste your family will love.


  • Cooking time is mentioned if using to make your own BBQ sauce.
  • **************
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken or more pulled apart with hands per person
  • 1 ounce or more of cheese of your choosing per person (I used fresh mozzarella for its oozing melting factor)
  • Hearty slices of Italian Bread toasted or rolls toasted slightly. (I used my honey lavender bread I had made and froze a few weeks ago.)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • *********
  • For a version of my Super Tangy BBQ Sauce yields 1-1/2 cup BBQ sauce:
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons lite mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons spicy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water or vinegar (try apple cider vinegar)
  • microwave or broiler to heat chicken through and to melt cheese

  1. Shred chicken with fingers like you would if making pulled pork and place into bowl and set aside.
  2. If using pre-made BBQ sauce, add 2 tablespoons per 1/2 cup cooked shredded chicken to bowl.
  3. If making your own BBQ sauce or doing mine:
  4. Add olive oil to pan, add onions, let saute till yellow, then add garlic and allow to cook for one minute.
  5. Add remaining ingredients, stir till combined and let cook for 15 minutes on a low simmer or longer.
  6. Add a little of the BBQ sauce to chicken and stir so that each piece of chicken is coated - don't over do it, you will want to save sauce for dipping...as I did - lol
  7. Toast rolls or bread slices, then rub garlic on insides of bread for extra flavor.
  8. Assemble chicken onto one side of toasted roll/bread then add sliced cheese of your choice - great choices include cheddar, goat, gouda, swiss, etc.
  9. Place on safe broiling pan or microwavable plate and heat through till cheese has melted.
  10. If using the microwave, you will do better to heat at 50% power for a longer period, so that the cheese gets the chance to melt slowly versus just bubble down away from the chicken.
  11. Add additional sauce on top of melted cheese, add the top of the roll or slice of bread - and serve with your fave side.
  12. Recipe adapted from one I saw on foodnetwork last week.
  13. I served mine up last night with NotYourMommas' Garlic Rosemary Oven FF's - oh yeah - and oh no, I did not tell my doctor!

Cooking Terms - What is the Difference Between Roasting and Baking?

I did my very best yesterday to keep mum at a particular time, while out with my girlfriends on our weekly get together, when during a heated conversation, the differences between baking and roasting came up.

I wondered why the big problem; but it made me realize, well you can 'roast' a chicken, but you can also allow a chicken casserole to 'bake' in the oven... I wondered were these cooking terms confusing to others as well?

I even joked to one of the GF's not involved like me, in the said 'cooking term' conversation of confusion, that I must write an article on the differences, since it seemed too much of an argument between these two other women. So much so, by the way, I was intrigued as their voices rose up in volume - were we not out together only for some fresh air and nice conversation?

In particular, the argument was between 'roasting' and 'baking' terms and what did they really mean? So, what was their actual difference? Are these terms used safely interchangeably? Or are we using these terms loosely in exchange for the other? The answer is now solved - whew! I thank my lucky oven mitts!

Here is what I found out:

Roast v. To oven-cook food in an uncovered pan, a method that usually produces a well-browned exterior and ideally a moist interior. Roasting requires reasonably tender pieces of meat or poultry. Tougher pieces of meat need moist cooking methods such as braising.

Bake v.– To cook in the oven. The terms baking and roasting are often used interchangeably, but roasting usually implies cooking at a higher temperature—at least at the beginning—to get the surface of the foods to brown.

I was going to intervene the conversation between these two ladies and let them know this, but really wanted to make sure of my own assumptions. Since, I too had been using these terms interchangeably, but was I in fact correct when I did so? Well, yes, it turns out, and I am so relieved, as is my frilly apron.

I will make sure my lady friends receive this post so that the 'argument' is now settled and they will see both that they were correct...

Happy roasting and baking everyone!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How to Stretch Your Bacon - Leftover Ideas Revisited - Ideas for Chicken and Ham

With the price of food these days, I am finding myself being further encouraged in creating new ways and revisited ideas in stretching the food I do buy for my family.

Recently while visiting a food site I belong to, we have been discussing in a new 'sub group' I created allowing us to share recipes and ideas for leftover food, and thought I would share here with what I have learned there.

So some of you cannot stand them, leftovers that is, and if you should have leftovers from a restaurant or take out, you simply might end up throwing them out, but you might be surprised the variety of new dishes you can create from leftover food, saving you money. And isn't that the point I am making? Exactly....

So if you are those who are interested in learning some ideas on what to do with leftover cooked chicken or cooked ham, you have come to the right place. Feel free to click on any link which are simply recipes I have shared already here at my Dinner and Jam blog...

So here I go and list them for you:

Ideas for Leftover Cooked Chicken:

Ideas for Leftover Cooked Ham:
Please share how you use your leftovers and create new dishes... Me and my readers would love to hear from you! Leah