Friday, July 18, 2014

BBQ'd Au Gratin Potatoes

Durning the summer we grill. A. Lot. The grill gets as much use as the oven does during the colder months...and that's pretty telling. We LOVE the grill.

The only problem I have, is that when we are outdoors grilling, I want everything to be made on the grill, outdoors, in one location. I do all the prep and marinating indoors, but when that's done, and the grill is turned on, I don't want to go back inside. I want to be outside, with my friends and family, and not give the kitchen another thought.

This side dish was born out of that desire, and the wish for a starch other than potato or macaroni salad. It's prepped indoors, but cooks outside, utilizing the heat omitted by grill to serve as an oven.


Ingredients:

6 small leeks, thinly sliced white and pale green only
A bag of Yukon B potatoes (about 15 small potatoes), thinly sliced
1 cup of 2% milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 TBSP horseradish 
2 TBSP whipped cream cheese
2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter (about 3/4 of a stick), thinly sliced

Directions: 

Leeks are tricky things. You have to wash them. I'll repeat that again. You have to wash them. They grow in sandy soil, which becomes trapped between their layers. In order to prevent a mouthful of sand, the easiest thing is to slice them first, dump the pieces into a strainer, and rinse. Thoroughly.

Once all sand is removed, pat dry and add them to the bottom of a heavy duty foil pan. I use foil on the grill, because the flames and smoke can easily damage non-disposable pans.  This way, I can throw away the whole mess when done; which makes my clean-up easier, and we all know how much I love anything that makes clean-up easier!


Add in the potatoes, and pats of butter.


In a separate bowl, wisk together milk, cream, horseradish, salt and cream cheese. Pour mixture over potatoes, leeks, and butter. Toss to coat vegetables.


Cover with tin foil and place on grill out of the way, on indirect heat. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces potatoes.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Roasted Garlic Salsa



Ingredients:

1 head of garlic, top sliced off to expose cloves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 red pepper
3 large poblano peppers
2 TBSP fresh cilantro leaves
1 large heirloom tomato (beefsteak tomato size), cut in large pieces
1 shallot
Juice of one lime
Juice of one lemon
2 tsp cracked black pepper 
Sea salt, divided uses

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450. Place garlic head in center of a tin foil square. Pour a generous amount of olive oil over garlic cloves, and gereously salt the top. Wrap garlic in tinfoil, bringing up edges and crimp closed. Place tin foil bundle on top shelf of oven. Place bell pepper next to garlic. Bake for at least 30 minutes, until garlic is soft, turning pepper over periodically to blister all sides. Add poblano peppers during last 10 minutes. 

Remove from oven, cover and let cool. 

Squeeze garlic cloves out of their peel into a blender bowl, along with any olive oil that pooled to the bottom of the tin foil. Remove stem, skin and seeds from red bell pepper, and add to blender. Remove stem and seeds from poblano peppers and add to bowl. Add tomatoes, shallots, cilantro, 1tsp of salt, pepper, and citrus juice. Combine all ingredients using high pulse. Salsa should have texture without being chunky. Taste for additional salt. Salsa will be relatively mild. 

Melon Mint Sangria

This? Is the summer of Sangria.


It seems like every summer I get focused on a particular food item. Having the time to really work out the kinks, developing flavors, and perfecting the recipe, always works best during the lazy days of summer.  It doesn't hurt that we eat most meals outdoors, have friends over for bbq's, and have access to some really great local ingredients. It's how I perfected my ribs, garlic shrimp, and summer salads. And now, it's coming up with the perfect summer drink. 

I got started on the Fourth of July, wanting to have a fun fruity drink for our annual BBQ...and really, putting together the fruit, liquor, wine, and method was fun.  So fun, that I've now done two other versions, and have a few more percolating around in my brain. 

This particular version however? Might leave them all in the dust. It's that good. However, to quote Levar Burton (as it's also the summer of Reading Rainbow), you don't have to take my word for it. Try it. I guarantee it won't be the only time you do!

Ingredients: 

1/2 mini watermelon, balled
1/2 french baby melon, balled
1/2 ogen melon, melon
1/2 sugar cube melon, balled
2 limes, thinly sliced
2 TBSP honey
1/4 cup Remy Martin
1 1/2 bottles of Savignion Blanc
1 can of sprite
Handful of fresh mint


Directions:

Using a melon baller, remove seeds, and ball the flesh of each 1/2 melon. Place half of the melon balls in a large pitcher, and half in a Tupperware container. Place the Tupperware in the freezer. Add lime slices, Remy Martin, and honey to the pitcher. Stir. Pour in wine and mix to combine. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

To serve, place 4-6 frozen melon balls in the bottom of a glass, add 3-4 fresh mint leaves, and fill the glass 1/4 way with sprite. Add 2 lime slices, and 6 melon balls from the pitcher to glass. Pour wine to fill, and serve.

Bloody Mary Marinated Tri-Tip



This is perhaps my all time favorite beef marinade. It works equally well with tri-tip as it does with flank or skirt steak. It's got a hint of heat, a dash of sweet, some great salt, and the lime and tomato work together to break down some of the toughness you can find with this cut of meat. Once cooked, the subtle flavors of the meat compliment so many things without overpowering other flavors, that I've used as a base for many different recipes. From beef fajitas to skirt steak topped with chimichurri sauce; a cous-cous steak salad to a cheese steak sandwich, it's a versatile* marinade you need to have in your repitoire. Plus, it's super easy to make, and you can use the left over ingredients to make yourself an actual Bloody Mary while you wait.

Ingredients:
2 tri-tip cuts of beef, approximately 4lbs of meat
4 cups of tomato juice
1/4 cup of grapeseed oil
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons creamy horseradish
1 TBlsp celery seed
1 tsp celery salt
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp white pepper
I garlic clove, minced
2 tsp salt 
Dash of Tabasco sauce

Directions:

Place tri-tip in a large (gallon) ziplock bag. Pour in tomato juice, oil, Worchestershire, and lime. Add dry ingredients. Seal bag, omitting all air, and manipulate liquid around meat until combined. Place in fridge for 4-6 hours. 1/2 hour before grilling, remove meat, pat dry, and let sit out to rest.

Grill on a medium flame, turning every 8 or so minutes, until meat feels firm, but still has some give. (About 25 minutes). Remove from heat and lest rest for 20 minutes. Carve against the grain. 

*lest you think I was over confident about its versatility, we originally served this particular tri-tip as fajitas with grilled veggies. Today I repurposed it as a salad tossed with leftover taco toppings, rose vinegar, evoo, and topped with smoked sea salt. It's the marinade that keeps on giving.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Caprese Salad


Looking for a quick and easy lunch option? Not only does this salad require no heat, but it's just as easy to make and eat at home, as it is to pack up and take on the go. It's a perfect no-fuss, no-muss recipe.

Ingredients:

1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
2 oz burrata
1 TBSP micro basil
Rose vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes
Sun-ripened tomato finishing salt

Directions:

Place tomato slices on plate. Top with spoon of burrata. Sprinkle basil over top. Drizzle a small amount of vinegar and oil over top. Sprinkle sea salt over top, and place tomato salt directly on burrata.


And that? Is it. You can easily layer and place in a Tupperware to go.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sangria



We have a BBQ every 4th of July. It's been going on for at least 12 years, if not longer. Since we've had kids, the day has included a trip to our small town parade- the same parade I attended every year as a child- followed by "swimming" and food back at our place.

While we tend to serve traditional American fare... Hotdogs, hamburgers, grilled corn-on-the cob, I also try to include a few fun surprises every year.  This year, I decided to play around with Sangria. It worked, almost a little too well, some might say, but it was the perfect addition to a summer BBQ. 

Sangria can be subjective, and it's fun to play around with the wine and fruit you use... But if you want a no-fuss, easy go-to recipe, try mine. I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Ingredients:

2 rip peaches, pitted and sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, sliced (I cut mine into stars for the 4th)
4 ripe plums, pitted and quartered
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Cointreau
1 and a half bottles of Savigon Blanc



Directions:

Place sliced fruit at the bottom of a large pitcher. Toss with Cointreau. Add wine and sugar, stir. Refrigerate overnight if serving in morning or early afternoon. Can be made the morning of, and refrigerated all day, if serving at night.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sweet and Tangy Brussel Sprouts



So Brussels weren't part of our FMB this week- but when your three year-old points them out at the store, and squeals in anticipation- you buy them. As, I did.

Always experimenting with different ways to do Brussels, since they are a commonly requested side 'round these parts, I tried a new marinade before roasting them...Delish! Tangy and sweet, you are sure to love it as much as we did.

Ingredients:

30 Brussels, washed, cleaned, and halved
2 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP Apple Cider vinegar
1 TBSP honey
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread Brussels evenly on sheet. Drizzle olive oil, vinegar, and honey over the top. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top. Using your hands, toss Brussels, distributing liquids, and reposition evenly.

Place sheet in top quarter of oven, and roast 20-25 minutes, until Brussels are fork tender.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Fresh Corn and Arugula Salad with Rose Vinagrette



We received some beautiful fresh corn on the cob with our box last Thursday, and immediately I knew I wanted to make a corn salad. I make several varieties of corn salad- and almost all of them during the summer. Corn screams summer, and this salad is a great alternative to grilling corn for the forth of July!


The key here, is to make sure all your ingredients are dry before combining. That way, they are enhanced by the Vinagrette, as opposed to soaking it in and becoming soggy. You can make the dressing ahead of time, and simply toss right before serving.

Ingredients:

4 ears of corn, husks removed
2 cups of arugula, washed and patted dry
1 16oz container of fresh mozzarella bites in water, strained, patted dry, and halved 
1 carton of cherry heirloom tomatoes


2 avocados, chopped, run through cold water, and dried
8 basil leaves, chiffonade  

Directions:

Bring a pot of water to boil. Using a sharp knife, remove corn kernels from cob. (If you do this over a kitchen towel, the kernels will stick to the towel, and not all over the floor). Place kernels in boiling water for 3 minutes. Strain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Dry.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, gently tossing to combine. 

For the Dressing

Ingredients:

1/2 cup rose vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine in Tupperware, cover, and shake until combined. Add to salad, a little bit at a time, being careful not to overdress, just before serving.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Simple Summer Strawberry Salad


Are we loving the alliteration? No? Just me then... So, in last week's FMB loot, I received some amazing fresh Stawberries (or Strawbs as my Aussie friend Alex is want to call them), Red Romaine, and leftover spring onions. Perfect for a BBQ side salad!



Ingredients:

1 head Red Romaine Lettuce, washed and torn
1 head Butter Lettuce, washed and torn
1 carton Fresh Strawberries, sliced
1 bunch (about 6) spring onions, primarily the light green part 
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled 

For the Dressing

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Pomegranate Vinegar
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1-2 tsp sugar, adjusted to taste depending on sweetness of vinegar 
Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Combine dressing ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to blend.

Place lettuce in a large bowl. Toss with just enough dressing to coat leaves. Sprinkle strawberries, onions and pistachios on top.



Monday, June 23, 2014

Avocado Crema



We grilled this weekend. Tri tip and shrimp, which I served with fresh tortillas and cabbage. I wanted to create a mild sauce that would go with both proteins and not overpower either marinade. We got some really great avocados in this weeks Farmer's Market Box, and even though I have some earmarked for pasta later in the week, I used one to make a crema (fancy word for flavored sour cream). Sounds complex, but is about as easy as it comes.

Ingredients:

1 avocado
1/2 cup of sour cream
Juice of one small lemon
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of white pepper
Salt to taste

Directions:

Halve avocado and remove seed. Peel, dice, and run under cold water. (Rinsing cut avocados under cold water prevents them from turning brown). In a small bowl, mash avocado with a fork. Add in sour cream, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Continue using a fork until ingredients are incorporated. If you are not planning on using immediately, lay Saran Wrap directly on top of Crema, so that the mixture has no exposure to oxygen (this will further prevent browning), and refrigerate.



Sunday, June 22, 2014

Grilled and Chilled Veggie Pasta Salad with Basil dressing

This was a fun one! It's super simple to replicate, and easy to change up depending on what you have in your fridge and your pantry. You can use the basil dressing as a marinade, to coat lettuce for a green salad, drizzled over fish, or eaten straight out of the bowl with a spoon (yes, I have been known to do this...shhhhhh). I used orzo, but any small bite sized pasta would work just as well. 

To start, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and add in one package of orzo. After cooking for about 7 minutes, remove pasta, rinse with cold water (I only rinse my pasta if I am going to chill it, the cold water helps the pasta not stick together in one large pasta blob, otherwise it's a no-no). When pasta reaches room temperature, remove from cold water, drain and place in bowl. Drizzle a small amount of grapeseed oil over pasta, toss, and refrigerate.


For the dressing:

Ingredients:

10 large basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon honey
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
A dash of salt and pepper
1/2 cup white balsamic dressing
1/3 cup grapeseed oil

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except for oil in a blender. Blend until combined. While blender runs on low, slowly drizzle in oil, only until mixture is combined.


Reserve at least 1/2 cup of dressing, and refrigerate. Toss pasta with just enough dressing to coat, and return to fridge. Let pasta sit in fridge for a bit to absorb flavor. 


For Veggies:

Ingredients

4 assorted varieties of summer squash, thinly sliced
6 green onions
1 bunch of pencil asparagus
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil

Directions:

In a large ziplock baggy add vegetables, oil, and vinegar. Sprinkle in a dash of salt and pepper. Close bag and shake to coat. Let vegetables rest for at least 30 minutes at room temp.

Heat indoor grill pan to medium. Grill veggies until barely tender, about 4-6 minutes a side. Veggies should have slight-brown grill marks, but not be falling apart. Cool. 


Cut asparagus into bite sized pieces, squash into strips, and slice the green onions.

To composes salad. Chiffonade 10 fresh basil leaves, and add to pasta. Add veggies to pasta. Add leftover salad dressing to pasta dish, 1/4 cup at a time, tasting I between additions, to make sure that salad is not overdressed. Refrigerate until serving time.







Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer of Fun: Recipe Challange

I totally outed myself on Facebook yesterday...

Me, and my lack of commitment to actually write down the recipes I create on a weekly basis. 

I cook. All. The. Time. That's not the problem... The problem I have is pausing to photograph what I do, write down measurements for people to duplicate (and trust me, for someone who tends not to measure when she cooks, that is a much more difficult task than it sounds like), and then find time to sit in front of the iPad and actually write out the recipes. This? Is what I need to get better at, or there is no hope of me ever creating a cookbook. Ever.

So, I made the rather bold announcement yesterday, that I am committing myself to write out 3 new recipes a week. Yes, Three. To give myself a jumping-off point, and to have a little fun in the kitchen, I am going to highlight the items found in my weekly Specialty Produce Farmer's Market Produce Box, along with add-ons I order additionally. I play my own personal Chopped game each week when I receive my delivery- and this way, we are guaranteed a variety of fresh, seasonal, local, and sustainable ingredients from which to create our recipes from. Plus, if you get a box, it's easy to "play" along, and if you don't, the ingredients will be readily available to you. Some recipes may just be super simple sides, marinades or dressings, others may utilize proteins and starches I have around the house...I'm not limiting myself to only FMB items, just making sure I include them in what I do.  'Cause let's face it, that's how I cook regardless of if I'm writing it down or not- fresh, local, seasonal- it's what's on the menu! 

So let's get started, shall we? I'm getting a new delivery today, can't wait to see what I'll be working with. To get your appetites ready, I'll be posting a recipe today that highlights two ingredients from last weeks box...and bacon.  

Pesto Tortellini with bacon, spring onions, and grape tomatoes

Here's a little insight into what I'll be doing over the summer: last week's box included some amazing spring onions and grape tomatoes which I incorporated into an amazing pasta dish. 

It's super simple to make, and easily interchangeable. You can use a homemade pesto, or save a step and dump in a jar of your favorite store-bought version. While I used tortellini, if you are avoiding dairy you could substitute a different type of pasta that you have on hand (I would suggest a thicker pasta like a rotelle or parpadelle). And, if you avoid meat, you could skip the bacon and start the recipe by substituting grapeseed oil in place of bacon fat. 


Ingredients:

Bacon, 8-10 pieces roughly chopped
1 carton of grape tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch of spring onions, whites only, thinly sliced
1 cup of corn, kernels off the cob, can use frozen as well
1lb fresh pasta, I prefer tortellini 
8oz of your favorite pesto sauce

Directions

In a large skillet on medium heat, brown bacon.


Remove from pan and drain, leaving a thin layer of bacon fat covering the bottom of the pan. (Here's where you would heat grapeseed oil until shimmering, if you were wanting to leave out the meat).


Add sliced spring onions to fat. Make sure you stir, as onions are thin, and you want them to slightly crisp, without burning. Add in tomatoes. Turn heat to low, and let simmer until tomatoes are soft.

While tomatoes are softening, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add in fresh tortellini and cook according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Add corn to tomato mixture. Cook for 2-4 minutes until just tender. Return bacon to pan. Add tortellini to vegetable/bacon mixture and add pesto. Stir to coat with sauce. Remove from heat and serve.





Wednesday, March 5, 2014

BBQ Pork Lettuce Wraps with a Cabbage/Radish Slaw



BBQ Pork. Lettuce Wrap. Cabbage/Radish Slaw. It's pretty much the perfect marriage. A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy with both a crunch and a melt-in-your mouth creaminess. It's what's for dinner.

BBQ Pork

Ingredients

3 1/2 - 4 lb pork shoulder roast
1 sweet onion, peeled and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 cups, two boxes, of chicken stock
Your favorite sweet BBQ sauce
Sugar, salt, and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 450. Let pork rest outside the fridge for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel. Season all over with sugar, salt and pepper. Pour BBQ sauce in hand (about 4 TBSP) and rub all over meat. Layer sliced onions on the bottom of a heavy, oven safe Dutch oven. Add minced garlic. Coat with 2 TBSP off BBQ sauce. Place pork roast on top of onions.

Roast for 15 minutes at 450, to seal in juices. Turn heat down to 325. Add 8 cups of chicken stock to pan. Liquid should almost cover roast. Roast for 3 1/2 hours. 

Remove from oven. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid, and all of the onions. Place roast in large bowl. Remove any ties, and shred meat with forks. Add cooking liquid, onions, and 1 cup BBQ sauce to bowl. Stir.

Cabbage/Radish Slaw

Ingredients

1 large head of green cabbage, core removed and shredded
6 radishes, sliced thinly
1/2 bunch of Italian parsley, leaves diced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 TBSP sugar

In a small bowl wisk sugar into vinegar until dissolved. Stream in vegetable oil while whisking. Set aside.

In a large bowl toss shredded cabbage, radishes, and parsley. Pour dressing over and toss. Let sit in fridge for several hours.

Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

Butter lettuce, leaves removed and intact
BBQ pork
Cabbage/Radish Slaw

Directions

For each cup take one lettuce leaf, add heaping spoonful of pork, and top with slaw.



Sub"lime" Cake Bar



I am a self proclaimed horrible baker. Horrible. I have a half dozen desserts that I can do well, and I make them anytime I need to make dessert. For someone, like me, who is organized, specific, and loves to plan; baking should come easily.  Baking is about following directions, precise measurements, and sticking to the original. You know, everything I aspire to in everyday life. So it's shocking, honestly, how bad I am at it. And, conversely, how much better I am at cooking off the fly, ignoring recipes, and "feeling out" what ingredients work together.

All that being said, I got a bug to try a dessert recipe on my own. It's a little bit cookie bar, a little bit cake, and a whole lotta bit easy. I cheat a little bit and use a cake mix for the base, but that's how I bake, so bear with me.

Ingredients

1 box yellow extra moist cake mix
4 eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) melted butter
8oz cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), softened
Zest and juice of 4 limes

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Butter the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 pan.

Whisk two eggs in a bowl. Add cake mix and 8 TBSP melted butter. Combine. Batter will be thick and sticky. Layer batter in the bottom of the 13 x 9 pan.


Using an electric mixer, combine softened cream cheese, and softened 4 TBSP butter. When fluffy, add remaining two eggs, lime zest, and juice.


1 cup at a time, add powdered sugar. Spread mixture on top of cake batter. Place pan on the middle rack. Bake for 45 minutes. Cake should still jiggle in the middle when you pull it out. 

That's it! Enjoy!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chicken Apple Sausage and Artichoke Pizza with Roasted Tomato Sauce



As some of you might know, I'm obsessed with Specialty Produce. For those of you who don't...I'm obsessed with Specialty Produce. Like a CSA, without fees, and without a single farm produce limit, Specialty Produce provides you with fresh, organic, and locally grown fruits and vegetables each week. You can also add on meats, cheeses, eggs, butter, local/sustainable fresh caught fish, pasta, breads, chocolate, coffee, jams, local honey... you get the idea. All local, all vetted, all delivered to my door once a week. It's amazing. Plus, since I love to cook, I like being surprised by what was picked that week, and coming up with a meal to make out of it. (And, have I mentioned that we can feed our family of six for the week for less than $100?!?!) 

Along with the produce and fruit, this week I also ordered some fresh chicken/apple sausages, and fresh pizza dough. I had some tomatoes that were starting to soften and needed to be used, so pizza was the perfect vehicle.

This was by far my favorite homemade pizza I've done.  To quote the kids, "this pizza tastes expensive... I bet you could get $100 a slice!"

I used pre-made, but raw, pizza dough from Specialty. If you don't have access to the dough from Specialty, you could make your own dough...I have a recipe that I use.  But, to be honest, I find that Trader Joes and/or Whole Foods make an acceptable substitute, and cut down on the time it takes to make. If you want a recipe for your own, let me know and I'll get you mine.

Roasted Tomato Sauce


Ingredients

8 Roma Tomatoes, quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
12 tiny basil leaves (I used the tops of my basil plants I headed to stop them from seeding)
6 large basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 450. In a parchment lined jelly roll pan, toss tomatoes, tiny basil, and garlic in enough olive oil to coat. Salt and pepper.

Roast for 30-40 minutes, until tomatoes just start to brown. Empty tomatoes, basil, garlic, and juice into a bowl. Add fresh basil. Using an immersion blender, purée. Set sauce aside.

Steamed Artichokes

Ingredients

4 cups of chicken broth
3 limes, halved
4 cloves of garlic
Large handful (or a bunch) of fresh dill
4 artichokes

Directions

Bring chicken stock, dill, garlic, and 2 of the limes to boil in a large stock pot.


Meanwhile, remove stems of the artichokes and trim the top off.  Remove majority of outside hard leaves. Rub cut edges with the remaing lime. Place artichokes in the boiling liquid, bottoms up.


Turn heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a knife in the bottom. It should be easily pierced. 

Remove artichokes from liquid and cut the heart from bottom. (If you were me, you would use this opportunity to scrape and eat all the artichoke yuminess from the leaves with your teeth, as you won't be using them on the pizza). Make sure to remove all the spikey choke from the hearts. Chop artichoke hearts and set aside.

Sausage

3 uncooked chicken and apple sausages, casing removed
1 T of olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium high. Add loose sausage meat, and crumble while cooking. When browned, remove from heat and set to rest on a paper towel to drain the excess fat.

Pizza

Ingredients

Pizza Dough
Artichoke Hearts, diced
Chicken Apple Sausage, cooked and drained
2 cups of shredded mozzarella 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400.

Stretch pizza dough on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or directly on a pizza stone if you have one. Spoon tomato sauce onto the dough. Sprinkle artichokes over sauce. Cover pizza with cheese. Top with sausage.

Bake on bottom rack for 10 minutes. Bake on top rack for 5 minutes, or until cheese starts to get golden brown.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Roasted Turkey Breast



Having cooked Thanksgiving for the past 17 years, I consider myself quite the turkey expert. I have cooking the whole bird down to a T. This past Thanksgiving, Jamie and I were remarking that for a family who is as large as ours is, and who loves turkey as much as we do, it's surprising that we only have turkey once a year. On Thanksgiving. We could quite easily roast a smaller bird, and eat it, throughout the year, but we just never do it.

Yesterday I was at the grocery store, tracking down snack items for Buggys class, when I ran across a bone-in, skin-on Turkey breast, and thought...why not? It's got the bone and the skin for flavor- one of the reasons I have been against cooking just a breast...Really, what good is turkey without all the built-in flavor enhancers?!? So I brought it home with me and cooked it.

Life changing. I kid you not. Turkey, pan gravy, and all the thanksgiving yuminess in no time. I served it with steamed zucchini and artichoke risotto. Perfect family meal. Life changing. Guess what we will be having for dinner regularly? I can't wait to play around with flavors, now that I've nailed the cooking technique. And trust me when I say this... It's easy. 

And have I mentioned... life changing?!?

Ingredients

4 - 5 lb turkey breast, skin-on, bone in
1 cup of butter (2 sticks), softened 
2 sweet onions, peeled and sliced
Handful of Italian Parsley
8 stalks of fresh Thyme
4 stalks of fresh Rosemary
1/2 cup of Chardonnay
1/2 cup of chicken stock
3 T of flour
1/2 cup of milk, warmed 
2-3 cups of chicken stock (separate use)
Salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat Oven to 450.

In a stove-top safe roasting pan, layer onions on top of each other in center of the pan. Top with fresh herbs. Rub softened butter all over turkey breast, under skin, in cavity, and under the bone. (If you don't plan on making gravy, you can coat the breast in olive oil instead). Salt and pepper the breast, top and bottom. Lay breast skin side up, over onions and herbs, using them to create a natural roasting rack. The flavor will infuse the breast, and also flavor the drippings for pan gravy. Pour liquid into the bottom of the pan.

Roast at 450 for 25 minutes. Lower heat to 375, basting turkey with pan liquid when you do so. Continue to cook for one hour, basting every 20 minutes. Using a meat thermometer make sure breast has reached 165 degrees. 

Remove turkey to carving board and tent with tin foil. Let rest 20 minutes before carving.

While turkey is resting, make gravy. Place pan on stove top, and turn heat to medium. Add flour 1 TSP at a time, whisking vigorously several minutes between each addition. Once pan drippings and flour have been combined, whisk in warmed milk. Add chicken stock in 1/2 cup increments, whisking every time, until mixture is slightly thick. 

Serve gravy over sliced turkey.