Wednesday, February 6, 2013

As Promised

I couldn't post the salad with the picture of that glorious pizza and not tell you about it. I was having a beverage with my bestie at our favorite bar/pizza joint, and although we weren't eating, the special that day was a similar pizza. It sounded somewhat interesting, but I'll admit slightly boring. However, I'm a sucker for anything goat cheese, so I thought it might be worth recreating.

What came out totally blew my mind. I don't think I've ever run across a bad recipe that included caramelized onions. Add the salty tang of goat cheese and... yes! Seriously, just make this. Have it with a salad or eat the entire pizza. That is not a decision I can make for you.

Billy Goat Pizza
sort of adapted from Brixx

1 pizza crust
2-4 tbsp. tomato sauce
4 oz. (at least) mozzarella
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small or medium onion, slivered
1 - 2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
2 oz. (at least) goat cheese
parsley, to taste

Toast the pine nuts. I prefer to do this in a dry skillet on the stovetop. I find whenever I put them in the oven I inevitably burn the nuts. Add the olive oil to a pan on the stove. When hot, add the onions. Heat the onions on medium heat until softened and lightly golden brown.

Prepare your favorite pizza crust (which should obviously be this one). This worked perfectly on the grill, so if you use that method, grill one side of the pizza dough first. If not, proceed with topping as directed. When you are ready to top the pizza, add the tomato sauce to taste. Top with mozzarella and add the caramelized onions.

When we do this on the grill we cook the pizza for about 5 minutes and as it is coming off, complete the toppings. If you cook your pizza in the oven you may want to add the remaining topics with 3 - 5 minutes left. At that point, sprinkle on the goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. At the very end, sprinkle on a bit of parsley.

Freak out at the amazing combination!

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Bribe

I was given a copy of the Smitten Kitchen cookbook for Christmas by some wonderful friends as what I think amounts to a bribe. They've been asking for updates, and I am pretty sure that they thought if they gave me some new recipes I would HAVE to put them onto the blog.

Luckily they are pretty great (the friends and the recipes!), so here I am posting something after eight million years. It seems only fitting that I would post a Smitten Kitchen recipe from the new book. I have tried a number of things, and of course they have all been delicious.

I'll start out with a simple lettuce wedge we had for dinner one night with a homemade pizza. A wedge salad seems pretty simple, but one thing I have always loved about Smitten Kitchen is that she shares the same taste for certain textures and flavors as I do. As such, I loved the addition of radishes, and I loved the light dressing.

Stay tuned for an amazing pizza recipe to follow!

Iceberg Stack
semi-adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic (minced)
salt & pepper, to taste
4 oz. bacon, sliced
1 celery stalk
1/3 c. radishes, diced
1 head iceberg lettuce, sliced into 1-inch rounds
1/2 c. blue cheese
1/4 c. chives, chopped

This salad can be served either as a traditional "wedge" or sliced into rounds, which allows the goodies and dressing to drip down in between all the lettuce leaves instead of cascading over the top.

Fry the bacon in a pan until crisp. Drain it and crumble the bacon. In the meantime, make the dressing. Whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise or yogurt, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Place your largest round onto a plate and add radishes, celery, bacon crumbles, and blue cheese. Drizzle with dressing and top with blue cheese. Stack another round on top and again add the radishes, celery, bacon, and blue cheese. Top off with dressing and chives.

Relish in the glory of a simple iceberg salad! (Also, don't forget to enjoy with pizza!)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Promise to Try

I know that I've previously made excuses for why posting slacked off on this here lil' blog of mine. This past lapse has been quite the break, and for those few of you who actually do check up on this, I apologize. I can do no more than promise to try. I can say that my personal life has settled into what I think will be a better groove. It's hard to blog when you're barely cooking in the evening! So many meals consisted of grilling some meat, throwing some veggies on the grill and cooking up some polenta. That's not much to blog about!

I'm looking forward to many things in the coming months (none of them being cold weather): the start of basketball season, the continuation of hockey season, being cozied up in the kitchen, and cooking some fabulous, hearty meals. I am getting back into reading other blogs and finding meals that appeal to me. When I find these meals and they turn out to be as delicious as I hope, all I can do is promise to try to share them. But hey, with so much time spent sitting on the couch in front of a game right now, it can't be that hard, right?!

The first recipe I will share was a direct request from my bro-in-law. I've made this dip a few times and it is a huge hit everytime. I haven't shared it previously because the finished version pulled out of the oven is not much to photograph and it's always gone by the time I remember to break out the camera after we dig in! So I will post what I have for a photo and those who are interested in the recipe won't really care.

Seriously, with football still on tv and many weekend get-togethers in the works, make this ASAP!

Jalapeno Popper Dip
from Annie's Eats by way of The Lushers

2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 c. mayonnaise
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles
3 tbsp. diced jalapenos (plus the liquid)
1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c. shredded mozarella
1 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, chiles, jalapenos, cheddar, and mozarella. Stir until well-combined. Scrape the mixture into a small-medium (about 8 x 8) baking dish. You can mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese on a separate plate or in a bowl, but I usually sprinkle them together on top of the mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips or pita wedges (my preference!) while warm.

Make sure to scrape the dish clean!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Goat Cheese Toasts

One of the most fun things about cooking is eating something delicious at a restaurant and attempting to recreate it at home. The inspiration for this recipe came from a delicious French restaurant near my dad's place in DC, Bistro du Coin. While all of the food was delicious, including the pasta dish my sister ordered and the steak that I chowed down, not everything is worth my attempt at recreating. Sometimes a great memory makes it impossible to recreate something to the taste I remember.

One thing my sister and I knew we could tackle, however, was the toast with goat cheese that came with the salad she ate. It took some trial and error to achieve the correct melti-ness of the cheese withoutmaking the bread too crispy, but when we did attain the correct taste it was amazingly delicious! I have made this a number of times since. I could probably eat it as a meal on its own, but it is perfect as a side for just about anything.

Goat Cheese Toasts

4 medium slices of baguette
2 oz. plain goat cheese, or try a flavored version
2 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (I prefer rosemary and thyme)

Preheat the oven to 425.

Slice the baguette into medium rounds. Pop them in the toaster and toast briefly to achieve a slight crisp. I set my toaster on level 2. Top the baguette slices with crumbles of goat cheese and then with the chopped herbs, evenly divided amongst all the slices. Pop in the oven and bake until the cheese is slightly melted and just golden brown. This takes about 8 - 10 minutes.

Enjoy the tang and crunch, I know you will!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spring & Summer Hash

Have you ever run across a recipe that totally saved you from a major food rut that you were unknowingly about to swerve into? That's what happened to me with this awesome recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I've been obsessed with lighter dinners that are still filling. Lighter doesn't have to be less flavorful. As soon as I saw this recipe I knew it would hit the spot, and you know what - mission accomplished.

Most of the time in the dishes I make I feel that the pancetta/prosciutto/bacon can be left out without much detriment to the overall flavor, but I'm not sure that's the case here. The proscuitto that we used really added another depth of flavor. The hubs and I both shoveled this down and I can't wait to make it again!

Asparagus and Proscuitto Hash
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/4 lb. proscuitto (original recipe calls for pancetta), diced
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
salt & pepper, to taste

In a cast iron skillet, over medium heat, fry the proscuitto until browned and crispy. With the drippings from the proscuitto or with a little added olive oil, add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let them brown on one side without without moving them. Then flip the potatoes and do the same. When the potatoes are about 3/4 of the way to being cooked, add the onions.

Let the onions cook for about 5 minutes and then add the asparagus. Cover the skillet and let cook until the potatoes are cooked through and the asparagus is cooked but slight crispy, about another 5 minutes. If desired, serve with a fried egg on top for a slightly more filling dinner.

Try to stop yourself from licking the plate clean!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Favorite Summer Pizza

I've been a bad little blogger. It's been far too long since I last posted. I'm not going to grovel or make excuses. What I am going to do is a share a recipe so good it's bound to make you forgive me. Trust me, one bite of this pizza and you'll be thinking of nothing other than how soon you can convince your husband to eat it again make it again.

I know that asparagus season is kinda over, so I apologize for not getting this out at exactly the right time. If you can make it happen though, you totally should. I thought I would like this pizza but I had no idea how much I would LOVE it. I crave it every night I don't eat it, ha! We have made so many pizzas on the grill this summer, and I am so surprised that this has become my favorite!

Raw asparagus sounds funny, but definitely taste a piece before you put it on the pizza, it's delicious! I was able to use a standard vegetable peerler to shave the asparagus. I found it easiest to hold onto the woody end of the asparagus and shave it away from me. Don't worry about making all the pieces equal, the texture of different sizes makes it even better. This pizza takes to the grill perfectly, so grill it according to this method, if you can!

Shaved Asparagus Pizza
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

½ lb. asparagus
¼ c. Parmesan (grated)
½ c. mozzarella (grated)
2 tsp. olive oil
Salt & black pepper, to taste
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 pizza dough

Thinly shave the asparagus using a vegetable peeler. Hold onto the woody end of the stem and slide the vegetable peeler toward the tip. It’s ok if the shavings are of varied thickness. Discard the woody stems. Toss the asparagus shavings with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Top the pizza with the Parmesan, mozzarella, and asparagus. Bake or grill the pizza according to your usual method or the directions for your crust. Remove the pizza and top with thinly sliced scallions. Let cool and then slice and enjoy.

Consider yourself surprised at how amazing this is!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower

Vegetables in general and I have never really been the best of friends. Overtime I learned that steamed vegetables have a really interesting cousin. Roasted veggies. Roasted veggies are more my style... a little crunch, a little extra flavor... and the seasoning possibilities are endless! I threw this together as a side one night and it ended up being too good not to share - or at least not to type out so that I wouldn't forget it!

(Excuse the poor photo, I will try to update when I remake this, which I will!)

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1/4 - 1/3 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. ground cumin
splash of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or use a grill, as we did. Mix the crushed red pepper flakes (which can grind into smaller pieces, if desired), cumin, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Let the mixture set for about 5 minutes. Mix well with the chopped cauliflower. Spread the cauliflower out in an even layer on a baking sheet or foil. Roast for 5 - 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is just beginning to brown.

Think about how much more you like roasted veggies than any other preparation!