Pizza with bacon and dandelion greens – 23 December 2012

•2012/12/23 • Leave a Comment


We have some really happy looking dandelion greens in the front yard, and I thought I should make something with them – possible something related to Georgeanne Brennan’s excellent recipe for savory pancakes with bacon and dandelion greens. I googled “pizza dandelion bacon,” and the second listing was…. my own blog! It seems I had made this before. I had some good suggestions for myself, too, which are reflected in today’s recipe.

I used a defrosted half-crust (Chez Panisse Calzone recipe plus 1 tsp sugar), and cooked it for 1 1/2 minutes at 500 degrees or so before decorating it. I uplled about 5 dozen 5″ leaves from dandelions in the front yard, washed them, stemmed them, cut them crosswise about 3/4″ to 1″ long, and re-rinsed in the lettuce spinner. I dumped the fragments out to dry on a towel. I had five frozen thick slices of bacon from Berkeley Bowl, and cut off 1/4 of the stack and let it defrost somewhat. Then I cut it into 4 or so slices lengthwise, and cut it crosswise into little squares. I cooked this in a random pour of olive oil – less that 1 Tbsp – for about 2 minutes, possibly longer. Don’t let it get too crisp. I spooned the bacon bits out onto a paper towel to cool. I sliced five scallions, white and green parts, and took the leaves off several stems of parsley I bought the other day (no reason to chop), and cooked these for 2-3 minutes in 2 Tbsp butter. Extravagant, I know.  I grated something on the order of 4 oz part-skim mozzarella (Precious, from Costco).

After pre-cooking the crust, I made an attempt to get butter from the scallion/parsley pan onto a brush to brush the rim of the pizza, but was only minimally successful. I covered the pizza with 1) grated mozz, 2) parsley and scallions, in their butter, and 3) bacon bits, and cooked 5 minutes at 500 degrees. I strewed the chopped daldelion greens over the pizza and then drizzled with lemon juice/olive oil dressing – 2 tsp of each.

I still had a HANNA Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge that we did not open for yesterday’s dinner, and realized we could easily compare it to the CalStar SB we had yesterday. I think the CalStar is the better wine, but both were good, and strikingly similar in gestalt. The Hanna is from the Russian River Valley, and the CalStar is also from up north a bit. We got it at Costco or about $12.


Spaghetti with tomato-basil sauce; broccoli – 8 December 2012

•2012/12/08 • Leave a Comment

D cooked since I was busy packing for a trip. He used up a pack of basil that I had bought for the Margherita pizza, and the rest of the lovely broccoli from (I think) Kaki farm, at the Tuesday Berkeley farmers’ market.

main121208D (without actually consulting it) used a recipe from 100 best pasta recipes by Diane Seed – has to be the easiest ever: heat olive oil, toss in a can of tomatoes, salt, and pepper, cook on high 5 minutes, stir in basil leaves.

bread121208He boiled the broccoli and then tossed in butter with salt and pepper. We had a baguette with dinner – adding this the 29th(!) so am not sure but it looks like an Acme sourdough.






D took out the second bottle of a wine we got recently at Vino, the Grape Expectations store on 4th St in Berkeley. It’s called “Chateau Bas / L’Alvernegue” with the appellation “Coteaux d’Aix en Provence











R made some excellent gingerbreaddy cookies with frosting – addictive!


Just another table shot for fun:


Spaghetti with mushrooms, pinenuts, parsley, and Romano; Brussels sprouts – 7 December 2012

•2012/12/07 • Leave a Comment

We had some mushrooms we have to use up, and also a bit more parsley, so D suggested we (actually he) make his signature pasta for dinner. It goes great with our Friday wine, too, so all to the good. He cut up the last of the large Brussels sprouts I got on sale at the Bowl – quartered them, then boiled about 4-5 minutes, drained, and reheated in butter. D also cooked some no-knead bread today, having mixed it (obviously) yesterday. He used mainly King Arthur bread flour, with some Central Milling Company white flour, and some… breadcrumbs! I think these were from a dinner when we used breadcrumbs but had too many – ah! the passatelli! Anyway, the bread was delicious.

This was an especially good bottle of our Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (2008). This was still from the cases we’ve gotten at Costco.

Chicken piccata; baby bok choy – 5 December 2012

•2012/12/05 • Leave a Comment

I was thinking of making that chicken “bruschetta” with grilled tomato and lettuce, but realized that the choreography of leftovers would not work well at this point. I decided to defrost the chicken (2 breasts in a Costco packet) anyway and make chicken piccata with capers.

main121205I used the recipe as written except: I left the chicken in the cast iron frying pan after browning it, and just cooked everything all together, and I doubled the capers and lemon juice.

121205-chickenprepI took out the leftover Thai jasmine rice from the grilled pork dinner and microwaved that (with a bit of water added for steam). I also washed (almost unnecessary!), sliced crosswise, and sauteed in butter, two moderate heads of baby bok choy that I got at the Bowl last Friday. All good.

wine121205Since white wine is used in the recipe and also goes well with the meal, I brought up a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that we got at Costco, “Kim Crawford” 2012. It’s a delicious wine, but not quite at the price point I’d like for a Marlborough SB. Only 12.5% alcohol, which is really good for nowadays, so we finished off what was not in the chicken. Tomorrow I’ll make a pasta with the leftovers.

Spaghetti with tomato-mushroom sauce; broccoli – 4 December 2012

•2012/12/04 • Leave a Comment

I knew I’d be late again, and planned on using up the tomato sauce that D made several days ago, adding in some of the mushrooms I bought at the Bowl on Friday.

main121204I went to the farmers’ market on my way home, just to pay the man from Primavera the $3 I owed him from last week, but I realized while there that we could use some good veggies. I bought a beautiful head of broccoli from Kaki farms…

121204-broccoli1 121204-broccoli2…and while there, also noticed a huge onion, and bought them both for $2.60. We had half the broccoli tonight, too: I cut off the florets into bite-sized bits, peeled the stems, steamed for 4 minutes, then reheated in about a Tbsp of butter till the pasta was done, salting a bit in the process. The broccoli was the best I’ve tasted in ages. Is this better broccoli, or did I just cook it especially well?

I washed and sliced up some of the “grade 2” white mushrooms I’d gotten at the Bowl, and cooked them in another Tbsp of butter “a la Julia Child” – drying them first, then cooking on moderate to high heat as they gave up their juices, then reclaimed them, and began to dry. I didn’t cook them till they got a crispy exterior since I was going to add the tomato sauce anyway. Which I did. Also finely grated Pecorino Romano over the spaghetti and sauce. Very good!

We had the leftover wines from the last two nights with this. Interestingly, the one we liked better when fresh – the Aix-en-Provence – did not hold up as well during storage. But both worth trying again – and fortunately D bought two bottles of each, so it will be easy to do that.

Later on, we had an amaetto cookie that came in a gift from D’s dad P, and it was scrumptious!


Beef stew; baby bok choy – 3 December 2012

•2012/12/03 • Leave a Comment

Knowing I’d be at work late, I planned to have leftover beef stew tonight. Which was a good idea.

main121203I heated up the stash I’d made for the occasion. I bought five baby bok bhoy heads at the Bowl on Friday and I washed and cut up three of those into about 1″ pieces, and cooked them in about 1 Tbsp of butter, with a bit of salt, until they were seriously cooked.

bread121203D made a new no-knead bread today. He thinks he used (yesterday, when mixing the dough)  2 cups Central Milling Company white flour and 1 cup King Arthur bread flour (blue), adding in the Grape Nuts fines (not visible in the bread!).

wine121203D picked out another of the new “tester” wines we got at Vino yesterday: Chateau Bas L’Alvernegue, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, 2010. It’s a really delicious light red wine, and cost only $9.95 – imported by Grape Expectations, which usually suggests a winner. Bonus: only 12.5% alcohol! So we will definitely buy more of this one.

Pizza margherita – 2 December 2012

•2012/12/02 • Leave a Comment

Knew we were running out of bread at lunch, so I planned a pizza margherita, though knowing I’d have to go out to buy the fresh mozzarella (at The Pasta Shop on Fourth St this time) and also make the margherita sauce.

main121202The sauce recipe is in the post for 13 January of this year, but I added 1/2 tsp instead of 1/4 tsp of salt to the 3-pizza recipe. Went to the Bowl for basil (and got a bunch of other stuff too).

wine121202At Fourth St. D chose three new wines (2 copies each) to try from Vino, and we had one tonight, which we enjoyed. It’s a Marselan called “Racines de la terre” – Pays d’Oc (from Carcasonne!) – imported by Petronius Wine of Santa Rosa. It’s only 13.5% alcohol, which is reasonable. We think it has promise. Fortunately, we have another bottle of it 🙂