Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guest Post with Victor from Random Cuisine



It is with great pleasure to introduce you to Victor from Random Cuisine he is a gifted cook, baker and food blogger and super smart read below :-), despite being poorly (as the Brits would say) I said I would post today and really wanted to. I had a temp of 101 yesterday but its down now and on the mend and we got to hear the little heart beat of our baby at the OB appointment today, little one is feeling good. Poor little Jasmine has it now but thats life we get stronger and appreciate the days we feel well more - enjoy :-)


Bonjour! My name is Victor, I’m the author of Random Cuisine (http://victor-recipe.blogspot.com). I’m a Canadian-born Chinese, lived all my life in the beautiful city of Montreal, Quebec. Recently received my Master’s degree at McGill University, I’m now in my PhD currently doing research in ultra-low temperature physics and nanotechnology. Outside work, I cook, bake, take food pictures with my Nikon Coolpix S210, organize cooking sessions and blog about recipes, so I’m pretty much keeping myself busy. Working in a cold temperature lab, I have sort of free access to liquid nitrogen, so I made once liquid nitrogen vanilla ice cream with a group of Montreal food bloggers. You can check out the video here.

First, I would like to thank Rebecca for giving me this opportunity to talk about my blog and to share with you one of my favorite recipes. Rebecca tweets quite a few of my recipes so I am honored to write this guest post.

If you’re new to my blog, you will notice that I take a lot of pictures of every preparation step, making sure that anyone who adapts my recipes, every cooking step is well executed. After all, isn’t every picture worth a thousand words?

The recipes found on my blog are random recipes made by random people at random places. I launched this blog as a mean to keep track of all the recipes made by me and my cooking groups. Life as a college student might be difficult as some of us live on a tight budget. Henceforth, the first cooking group was formed about the time I started my Masters. We were 6 members in which 4 of us are coworkers and one agreed graciously to lend his place for cooking. We enjoy our first meeting so much that we continue organizing these cooking sessions once every two weeks. We invite anyone we know: friends, colleagues, food admirers, unhealthy eaters, lazy cooks, or just skeptics, they are all welcome. These cooking meetings have been running with great success up until now since November 2008; you can read all about it on my blog on History of Random Cuisine. This group continues to expand and over 70 people have joined at least one of these meetings. I’m amazed of its success, not only that, I’m also proud that these meetings have converted some of my friends from kitchen zero to kitchen hero.

When my friends ask me to teach them to cook good food, two things that I like to teach: baking and making a sauce. Baking techniques like beating egg whites to stiff peaks, raising the dough or kneading are not common among those who never baked before. Also, I believe that any main dish must be served with a sauce to provide an extra layer of flavor. Making a pizza is the easiest way to teach both of these skills. For this pizza, I chose not to go for the traditional tomato sauce; instead I went for the basil pesto topped with chicken strips and the sweetness of pineapple. You will sure enjoy this blend of flavor. Bon appétit!


Basil Pesto Chicken Pizza with Pineapple 


Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Baking Time: 20-25 mins
Printable Recipe

Ingredients


Pizza Dough
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil



Basil Pesto



  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano) 
  • about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste



Toppings

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated



Procedure

1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, salt and Italian seasonings. Stir in water and olive oil into flour mixture.

2. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead dough on a lightly flour surface until smooth and elastic. Make sure you are kneading on a warm surface.

3. Place dough in a clean bowl. Cover with a cloth, place beneath a light source e.g. inside the oven with the light opened. Let it rise until double in size.

4. Oil two 12-inch pizza pans. Cut the dough in half and spread it onto the prepared pans. Prick dough with fork.



5. Preheat oven to 400F.

6. Prebake the pizza dough until it starts to turn brown, about 10-15 mins.


7. Meanwhile, prepare basil pesto. In a food processor, blend all the ingredients until thick and creamy. Add more olive oil if necessary.


8. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken breasts until it turns white and still a bit undercooked in the middle. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.



9. Spread pesto onto the prebaked dough. Top with chicken strips and pineapple. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.





10. Bake for 10 mins until the cheese has melted. Serve.





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