Showstopping Brussel Sprout and Pancetta Pizza

6 Mar

image

image

Are you looking for a last minute Friday night supper? A Brussels Sprout and Pancetta Pizza, a glass of good vino and a cute dog are all you need. This recipe is from The Candid Appetite – a beautiful and inspiring blog with lots of delicious photographs. I was taken with the idea of a sneaky (sort-of) healthy idea of brussels sprouts plus the most delicious salty cured Italian pancetta. Did I mention the egg? (Yes, save it for the weekend. )

This is a fun alternative to the normal homemade pizza night. Enjoy it with friends. It’s a showstopper. Meaning, don’t get it while watching House of Cards.

Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pizza, from The Candid Appetite

  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup pecorino cheese, grated
  • ½ pound thinly sliced pancetta
  • 4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a large bowl combine the warm water and yeast. Lightly stir and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Add the salt, sugar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a shaggy dough. Add a bit more water, a little at a time, if the dough is too dry. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 to 7 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, that has been greased and turn it over to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap, loosely, and a damp kitchen towel. Set in a warm place to double in size, about 1 hour.

In the meantime, prepare the other toppings. Separate the Brussels sprout leaves and throw them onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Toss to evenly coat and roast in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the leaves are crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Sauté the diced red onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper, for about 5 minutes, or until translucent and slightly browned. Allow to cool down.

In a small pot heat the remaining (¼ cup) olive oil with the whole garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Cook on low for about 5 to 10 minutes to develop the flavor. Remove from heat and allow to cool down.

Cut the dough in half and roll out each half on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a large thin circle. Place each rolled pizza crust onto two baking sheets. Brush the crusts liberally with the garlic herb infused oil. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Sprinkle each dough with the mozzarella and pecorino cheese, dividing it among both crusts. Top with the crispy Brussels sprouts, and sautéed onions. Lay a couple slices of pancetta on each pizza. Bake for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese and continue to brown the crust.

Remove the pizzas from the oven and crack two eggs onto each pizza. Return to the oven and continue to cook for another 5 minutes (for runny yolks). Remove from the oven and cut into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

 

Fireside Cocoa & Coffee Rubbed Ribeye Steaks & Spinach Gratin

28 Feb

imageimage

image

If your’e looking for the perfect fireside — or TV side (hello, House of Cards) — cozy meal this weekend, I got you covered. It’s hearty, spicy and stick-to-your-ribs good. Stop worrying about Spring waistlines, I see no way out of this frozen tundra anytime on the horizon.

So, here it is. Spicy, coffee and cocoa rubbed ribeye steaks. A hint of smoke from smoked salt and paprika. An unusual taste of espresso and cocoa crusted on a juicy steak with the help of a sprinkle of brown sugar. So delicious. And served with the most rich spinach gratin that comes out of the oven bubbling with cheese.

Ina’s recipe for spinach gratin is EXTREMELY rich and the recipe makes enough for an army of hungry men. It’s certainly delicious and the most tricky technique for hiding spinach. If you’re making this for two, I would recommend making a forth of the recipe.

What’s hold you back? Get the store. The Fresh Market has a sale for NY Strips this weekend – those will work too!

Cocoa & Coffee Rubbed Ribeye Steaks 

  • 1 or 2, thick cut ribeye steaks
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried fennel
  • 1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon smoked salt
  • pepper

Combine all spices and salt. Rub heavily on steaks. Cook in a cast iron skillet or on a grill to desired temperature. I like my ribeyes around medium-rare! Allow the steaks to rest and cut into nice thick slices.

Ina’s Spinach Gratin 

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 pounds frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (5 (10-ounce) packages)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Add the cream and milk and cook until thickened. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add the spinach to the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Transfer the spinach to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and the Gruyere on top. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

 

 

Grilled Gaucho Style Flank Steak

27 Feb

imageimageimage

This week, during all the winter snow and blizzard, I was dreaming of summer nights. Grilling outdoors, fruit filled deserts, cold cucumber salads and icy beverages. Oh, and rose wine. But we still have some time before those most desirable days.

So I put on my winter coat and grilled a big steak for friends with an herby chimichurri like gaucho sauce. It wasn’t the same. And it’s hard to grill meat outside in 17 degree temperatures (hot grill, freezing air, what to do?). But it’s very fun and worth the real grill taste. We enjoyed this simple steak with Florida stone crabs, Hasselback potatoes and a crisp salad. Oh, and a big roaring fire.

Stay warm out there!

Grilled Gaucho Style flank Steak

  • 1 bundle fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds skirt steak or flank steak, trimmed

In a food processor, pulse together the first nine ingredients. Save to serve with steak.

Season meat with salt, pepper and olive oil. Grill to desired temperature. Rest and serve with fresh sauce.

 

 

Masha’s Lemony Hearts of Palm Salad

24 Feb

image

 

When planning last weeks dinner party, I decided a hearts of palm salad would be a fun spin on the same old salad. And then…I assigned the task to my Russian friend, Masha, who had never heard of a heart of palm. What a friend I am! A challenging one, yes.

Masha did an excellent job coming up with a recipe. This salad is full of bite – crispy onions and celery mixed with bitter greens and a citrus dressing. Plus the unique star, the heart of palm.

This salad would be perfect for a summer picnic. It holds up extremely well over time. I had the leftovers the next day for a lunch.

From the photo, it looks like even Winston thought the salad looked delicious!

Lemony Hearts of Palm Salad

  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 2 cups sliced heart of palm
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • chopped parsley
  • arugula
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Mixed together all the vegetables. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Dress the salad. Toss and enjoy!

 

 

Smoked Paprika and Garlic Hasselback Potatoes

23 Feb

image

 

My Smoked Paprika and Garlic Hasselback Potatoes were a big hit of the  “just because it’s cold dinner party.” And, the hot oven helped keep the kitchen warm.

I’ve recently become very interested in incorporating smoked paprika into my cooking. For so long I judged plan old paprika – it was often lonely on a deviled egg or just used for color. But smoked paprika comes in sweet, hot, bittersweet and even sweet and spicy varieties! Check out Savory Spice Shop at Friendly Center for a complete run down and shopping spree. Smoked paprika is now landing itself on a simple grilled salmon, on top of hot popcorn or on these most delightful hasselback potatoes. The flavor is subtle but superb.  Check it out and Enjoy!

 

Smoked Paprika and Garlic Hasselback Potatoes

  • large potatoes (I like Yukon Gold)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon, minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon, smoked paprika (sweet or bittersweet – maybe a touch of hot!)

Heat the oven to 425°F . Cut slits in the potatoes, leaving the bottom intact: Cut slits into the potato, stopping just before you cut through so that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato. Space the slices 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch apart.

In the meantime, heat oil, butter, garlic, salt, pepper and smoked paprika in a small sauce pan until melted and aromatic. Arrange the potatoes in a baking dish. Brush the potatoes all over with butter mixture. Sprinkle with a touch more salt and pepper.

Bake 30 minutes, then brush with butter again. Bake the potatoes for about 30 more minutes. Once the potatoes are crispy on the outside and tender inside, serve them hot!

Just Because It’s Freezing Dinner Party

22 Feb

imageimage

This weekend, just because it was freezing out (and because there is always an excuse for a dinner party), I had some friends over for dinner. The restrictions of my 1923 bungalow required that the party included a big fire in the fireplace, the oven on 425 and a space heater in the dining room. And, lots of good wine (thank you Mark!) helped keep body temperatures high too.

With the help of my friend Masha, we pulled together a fabulous surf & turf menu complete with crispy smoked paprika hasselback potatos and a citrusy heart of palm salad. Masha also made the most indulgent brownies for a late night treat by the fireplace.

My dining room table was cluttered with wine glasses and plates with the noise of laughter and clinking glasses. It was a reminder that I needed to come up with more party excuses. I’ll share the recipes this week.

Just Because It’s Freezing Dinner Party Menu

  • Gaucho Style Flank Steak with Chimichuri Sauce 
  • Florida Stone Crabs
  • Smoke Paprika and Garlic Hasselback Potatoes
  • Hearts of Palm Salad

 

 

Fig and Red Wine Reduction on Crostini

18 Feb

image

Yesterday on my snow day, I knew I had enough staples for a good snack by the fireplace. An old baguette, some goat cheese, dried figs and wine (duh). Nothing beats a quick crostini, a toasty fire and a dog at your feet. Snow is coming again this week – stock up!

Fig and Red Wine Reduction on Crostini

 

  • 1 cup dried mission figs, chopped
  • 1 cup, red wine
  • 1 tablespoon, brown sugar
  • 1 sprig, fresh rosemary
  • fig and honey Goat Lady Dairy cheese
  • bread, olive oil, salt and pepper

In a small sauce pan, combine chopped figs, wine, brown sugar and rosemary. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced. Make sure you keep an eye on this – don’t burn any sugar! Meanwhile, toast slices of french brea with a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper. Once the bread is brown, smear with goat cheese and top with fig reduction!

 

 

Birthday Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins

16 Feb

IMG_0880

IMG_0855

 

This weekend we celebrated my friend Masha’s birthday in full gym style with a Sunday morning workout and post-party. It was the first time I’ve done an hour at the gym with a purple party hat on but we all made the most of the challenge. Post workout, we had blood orange mimosas and Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins in tiny “muffin-top” cups. Fitting for the gym, right??

I made these Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins for Masha because of her love of sour cream. They were a great birthday treat and the “muffin tops” were totally worth the laugh. I highly recommend surprising people with an unexpected picnic party. They make life that much more.

Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins, Food & Wine Magazine

topping

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 rounded cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 rounded cup frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon. Rub with your fingers to form coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Butter a 12-cup muffin pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the egg at medium speed until frothy. Add the sugar and melted butter and beat until pale yellow, 1 minute. Beat in the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until almost blended. In a bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold the blueberries into the batter.

Fill the muffin cups three-fourths full of batter and sprinkle with the topping. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a rack.

Spiced Lamb Hot Pockets

6 Feb

image

 

Last Friday night, Margaret and I experimented with Bon Appetit’s new recipe for Spice Lamb Hand Pies. We, of course, sang the Hot Pocket jingle the entire time they were baking…so I’ve changed the name for this purpose. While these meat-filled hot pockets were delicious – don’t skip the All Butter Crust – they are very heavy. Save this recipe for your man cave or the next viewing of Spartacus. And by no means should you make these when it’s warmer than 44 degrees outside.

 

Spiced Lamb Hot Pockets, from Bon Appetit Magazine

  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dried currants
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • All-Butter Pie Dough (click here for recipe)
  • All-purpose flour (for surface)
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomato paste, cumin, ginger, cardamom, and turmeric and cook until fragrant and sticky, about 1 minute. Add lamb and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Stir in peas; cook until bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain reserved currants and add to lamb along with parsley. Let cool.

 

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Working with one at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 12” squares. Cut each into 4 squares; transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Spoon filling onto one side of squares, leaving ½” border. Brush edges with egg and fold dough over filling. Press to seal; crimp with a fork. Cut a few vents in tops; brush with egg.

 

Bake until pies are golden brown, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Reinventing Ensalada de Kale

2 Feb

image

 

 

A couple days before I ventured back into my office for the start of 2015, my friend Andrew and I treated ourselves to dinner in Durham at Mateo. I had been dying to go and the extra long New Years weekend allowed enough time to make a trip. If you haven’t been to Mateo, make a date of it. From the small cozy atmosphere to the classic tapas menu – it’s practically perfect for any occasion. I also just love tapas and I’ve been lucky enough to visit Curate in Asheville and Mateo in Durham in the last six months.

At Mateo, we sampled almost everything on their menu from their signature deviled eggs with chorizo to a perfectly decadent farm egg with crispy manchego and romesco. My heart was literally heavy on the way home. An unexpected surprise was a simple salad of marinated kale, crispy artichokes, migas, chorizo, manchego, grapes, lemon vinaigretta. I’ll admit, we just ordered the salad to make ourselves feel better. Nothing offsets two egg and pork dishes like a kale salad. But, the salad stole the show. Crispy artichokes, spicy chorizo with a tart salad dressing and sweet bite of grape. It was a surprise to my taste buds and I put the recipe on my list to recreate.

I made a less fancy version on Friday night to pair with Bon Appetit’s new recipe for Spicy Lamb Handpockets. I whisked a lemon vinaigrette to coat over kale, grapes, jarred artichokes, slices of manchego cheese and slivers of good quality cured chorizo. It was almost the same as Mateo with the comfort of my home fireplace. Make this at home soon and book a reservation to Mateo as soon as possible.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,648 other followers