Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Pizza is frequent dinner fare at our house. The kids can help by sprinkling on toppings they like, once they're convinced this is fun.

Jamie Oliver's grape rosemary pizza is so delicious it deserves special mention.  Ingredients for a migraine-free version are shown below.  (Jamie's site:  http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pizza-recipes/red-grape-pizza-with-honey-rosemary-and).

For each pizza:

1-2 large tortillas, depending on amount of toppings (check ingredients)
1/2 c tomato sauce (see "Staples")
sliced American cheese
1 T fresh basil or 1 t dried

Pizza topping suggestion:
1/4 chopped red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
8 olives, roughly chopped, Kalamata or black (check ingredients)

Other toppings you could use:
carmelized shallots(cook in olive oil and/or butter at low sizzle for 15 min, will be translucent or browned on edges, lightly salt),
cooked spinach (1 min in boiling water with lid off),
cooked broccoli,
roasted asparagus,
sauteed shallots,
dabs of ricotta cheese.

No tomato sauce:  basil pesto could be used as a base instead (basil, olive oil, and roasted pine nuts blended in a food processor or with morter and pestle)

Toppings for rosemary grape pizza:
(No tomato sauce)
1 large sprig fresh rosemary cut and crushed together with extra virgin olive oil
sliced American cheese
1 t honey drizzled off the end of an oval teaspoon
half a handfull of red seedless grapes, halved

General Pizza directions:
Bake at 400 degrees, 15 min.
1. Preheat oven.  Lightly brown torillas in medium size fry pan on stovetop with olive oil or butter to make a crispy crust.  Pizza's will be soggy without this step. 
2. Place tortillas on baking sheet. Spread tomato sauce, then sprinkle on cheese and basil.  Alternatives with no tomato sauce:  Jamie Oliver's pizza above, basil pesto pizza above.
3. Add pizza toppings. Bake (see "Bake" above) until cheese is melted and crust is crisp.


tomato sauce recipe (see "Staples")
12 oz whole wheat spaghetti noodles
a few slices of fresh mozerella log, cut into small cubes

1. Top cooked noodles with tomato sauce. I like including the optional beef, carrots, and zucchini to make a hearty spaghetti Balinese, like Mrs. Buchholz does in her recipe in "Heal Your Headache".
2. If desired, top servings with cubed mozzarella and sprinkle with fresh or dried basil. Microwave individual servings to melt cheese.

Tomato Sauce

I wish I could post aromas. There's a tradeoff when switching to cooking from scratch instead of grabbing pre-made items off the grocery store shelf. Benefits of cooking, besides better health, are the scent of sizzling shallots or simmering tomato sauce and the fresh, delicate taste of this sauce. I often make double batches and freeze the rest for later. For making a couple personal size pizzas later, freeze sauce in 1 c containers.


Optional, any or all:
1 lb ground beef (ground round works nicely, it's 15% fat)
1 carrot, finely shredded
1 zucchini, finely shredded
1 celery stalk, chopped

Basic sauce:
3 shallots, chopped
2 T olive oil
3 large tomatoes, mixed smooth in blender
14 oz can diced tomatoes or Roma tomatoes (or 3 more large tomatoes blended if tomatoes are in season)
1 t salt
½ t fresh ground pepper
1 t basil
1 t oregano
¼ t thyme
1 bay leaf
A pinch of garlic powder

Quick Sauce:
Same as basic sauce, except use a 14 oz can of tomatoes and 12 oz tomato paste. Simmer only 20 min, adding water as needed.


1. Brown hamburger with shallots in large, deep skillet. Add carrot, zucchini, and celery and simmer 3 min.
1. Heat olive oil in large pot on medium heat. Cook onions until tender, about 6-8 min., never reaching more than a slow sizzle.
2. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered 30 min. for 3 fresh tomatoes and 60 min for 6 fresh tomatoes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

This is adapted from a cookbook called "Dinner in Minutes,"* about which we joke, "How many minutes?" This recipe is, however, pretty quick and one of our favorites. When it's not good weather for grilling, this sauted recipe is just as much a treat.

In her latest cookbook, Julia Child* uses clarified butter (ghee) for sauteing. Due to a higher smoke point, it doesn't burn as easily as olive oil or butter. Instructions for making your own clarified butter can be found on the web. We purchased a jar at an Indian market for much less than the same amount of butter would have been.

1 shallot, chopped
1T+1t brown sugar
2 t freshly ground pepper
1 t salt
½ t nutmeg
2 t thyme
¼ t allspice

2T olive oil or clarified butter
4 chicken breasts

1. In a small mixing bowl, mix shallot, thyme, sugar, pepper, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. Poke holes in chicken, rub seasoning onto both sides of the meat with a soup spoon and your hand.
2. Marinate 20 min. to several hours. I avoid marinating as long as 24 hrs since some sources report increased tyramine levels as meat is marinated longer.
3. Heat oil or ghee in skillet. Sauté chicken on each side 5-10 min. (medium high heat for for 5 min, then medium). Be sure to brown the meat and carmelize the shallots. Test thickest part of chicken for doneness with meat thermometer or slicing open. Juices should run clear, and there should be no pink. Meat will still be juicy and moist.

Top chicken pieces with a generous portion of pan scrapings when serving! Brown rice and carrots or green beans accompany this dish well, with more pan scrapings on the rice. *(Linda Gassenheimer, 1995; Julia Child, 2009)