Pizza Redemption!

January 31, 2011

Bacon Kale and Egg Pizza

After weeks of suspense and anticipation (or forgetfulness), I bring you redemption! And while this may not look like the Margherita pizza that won the poll, you are going to love this twist on a classic. Because the margherita is everything we love about pizza; the sweetness and tanginess of the sauce, the richness and saltiness of the mozzarella, and the crispiness of the crust go together to make what can only be described as simplistic brilliance. (yeah, I went that far!)

So rather than work up a great dough recipe and sharing the basics with you, I wanted to take the components of the margherita and offer them in a whole new way. And this bacon egg and kale pie did exactly that! Salty, rich, and sweet: all of the components in one bite made for an explosion of flavor. Give this one a shot (recipe card attached) and let me know how it goes!

But just in case my “new twist” hadn’t turned out so great, I went for a more classic approach for our second pie! Using a basic tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella as the base, this pizza also turned out delicious. But the real kicker was the homemade sausage. Using my new meat grinder and some delicious pork shoulder, I was able to make a fantastic (and simple) crumbled topping for the pizza. Seasoned with fennel seed, paprika, and garlic, it was the perfect addition!

Pork Sausage Margherita

But the real show stealer in the case of both pies was the crust. And while I know there are some fantastic store bought or even pizza shop bough crusts available, it’s really fun making your own. I’ve added the recipe (from Simply Recipes) to the attachment because I’ve found this one to be spot on.

So there it is! Homemade pizza, redeemed! On to last week’s poll winner: Rabbit!



Nights at the Roxbury

January 27, 2011

Sea Cliff in the Arctic

While at first I thought I was lucky to have missed this latest winter storm, I’m actually kinda bummed. For all those with tough commutes and huge driveways to shovel I know you probably want to kill me. But it sounds like the city was a lot of fun. I do love myself a crazy blizzard!

And with all this amazing snow that continues to pummel the Northeast ski season in NY looks a whole lot better this year. Last weekend’s trip to Belleayre may not have been post 12 inches of snowfall but we did have some fresh powder nevertheless. And as I mentioned before we left, the annual trips we make up North are just partially to do with Skiing. Because when you stay at the Roxbury, you are guaranteed to have an awesome weekend.

The Roxbury

I won’t do much in the way of describing this one of a kind hotel because I wouldn’t do it justice. But check out their website for pictures and trust me when I say it’s worth a stay! The accommodations are the perfect balance of pampering and comforting from the awesome rooms to the wonderful continental breakfast that feels like a trip home. We always love our stays and can’t wait to come back to try some of the new additions!

Something Crunchy

January 25, 2011

Roasted Beet and Apple Salad w/ Panko Crusted Turkey Cutlets

I know, I know! You were expecting some pizza. But after an awesome weekend in Belleayre (more on that tomorrow) and a last minute trip scheduled for the week, the pizza stone will have to wait: just until Friday night though, I promise.

But that didn’t stop me from cooking up this delicious (albeit a lot quicker to make) meal packed with comforting flavor. And while this roasted beet and apple salad w/ panko crusted turkey cutlet seems to be a perfect match of components, it was truly the third or fourth distillation of ideas that got me here. And that is exactly why I love to cook.

The more you cook, the more you learn what you enjoy, the more fun the process can be. In this case, my brain was stuck on one word. And it wasn’t even an ingredient! All I was sure of was that I wanted something “crunchy”. Leaves the door kinda wide open huh? But then came the beet and apple salad I saw on The Bitten Word. And then came the vision of the three boxes of panko sitting in the cupboard (because I never remember I have it when I need it) that would be perfect for fried goat cheese. And lastly, when the Plainville Farms turkey cutlets caught my attention, I had it all!

What an awesome dish! Definitely crunchy!

Game’s On!

January 21, 2011

Ski Trip 2009

We are off for a weekend of skiing! To be honest, these weekends are mainly about hysterics and just partially to do with skiing which is just one reason why I’ve been non-stop looking forward to the trip. The other reason…the T BAR!!! But more on that another time.

So being up in the mountains (high of 7 degrees on Sunday, yikes!), I thought it would be fun to have this week’s poll be all about game! Because while I’ve had game meat at a number of places, I’ve never worked with any cuts myself. So who knows how this ones gonna go! I know I’ve taken some license with my selections but I wanted to make sure I’d find the winner somewhere in the city. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about the redemption winner of Margherita Pizza. Check back in next week for an awesome recipe!

Sorry Winter, It’s not you…It’s me

January 20, 2011

Black Beans and Rice Salad

While grabbing a beer with a buddy the other day, we couldn’t help but laugh at our pathetic complaints over the weather. Mainly because we’ve always been winter lovers. Growing up playing hockey certainly was a factor, but beyond that, winter’s personality is as distinct as any season. But neither of us were thrilled on this day. Blistering cold, consistent rain and windy conditions make for an awful combination. Even still, what could complaining do? Well certainly nothing a few beers couldn’t…

Luckily for us, I know I’m not alone; northeast winters tend to drag much longer than anyone would like. But it’s amazing what a little food therapy can do for you. And even though the farmer’s markets have dried up a bit these days, you can find some amazing ingredients, like the watermelon radish in this dish, that spark your creativity and get you thinking of warmer days to come.

The watermelon radish really is a beautiful thing. While it tends to be a little sweeter than your average radish, the color is really where this vegetable gets its name. And with watermelon representing the summer better than almost anything, I was inspired to make a meal to forget the cold days to come.

Spinning the idea of black beans and rice more towards a salad made this dish light and packed with flavor. With layers of black beans cooked with those roasted peppers from the other night, brown rice, avocado, hard boiled egg, and quick pickled radish, the meal was delicious and really fun to eat. I think I must have watched a few too many episodes of Top Chef re-runs after Juror Duty last night, but the parallel plating made for perfect combinations of flavors and textures. And the outcome was ideal. Light and crispy flavors all coming together for a hearty meal. So screw you Winter! It’s been fun, but I think were through until next year.

Meatloaf Malaise

January 19, 2011

Ginger and Miso Meatloaf with Cucumber Udon Salad

One of the first meals I was excited to make after I purchased the kitchenaid meat grinder attachment was meatloaf. It’s never been a meal I’ve craved. In fact, it’s never really been a dish I’ve liked. But with the freedom of choosing certain beef cuts to grind on my own, and the added bonus of anything homemade, I was sure my meatloaf would change it all.

My lack of meatloaf enthusiasm was even bigger than I thought however. Because even after choosing two cuts of local beef (fatty brisket and leaner round), grinding them with the awesome attachment, and flavoring the loaf with ginger, miso, and mushrooms to change the typical flavor profile, I wanted nothing to do with my home cooked meal. In the fridge it went, and out to the bar we went for Burgers. I know it sounds crazy! I spent all this time making meatloaf and chose to go out for a burger?

Well it ended up being the perfect decision. Because the Waterfront Ale House burger was delicious, and while the meatloaf rested for later consumption, my brain clicked into action. Serving the meatloaf with something cold, something light, something refreshing would be just what the dish needed. And this udon noodle, cucumber, and arugula salad was just the answer. And the fresh ground brisket and round really came through; true beef flavor. So I may not be making meatloaf consistently, but with the grinder and a new attitude, I’m excited to see what other flavor profiles will work in this classic preparation.

Also, don’t forget to vote in the redemption poll. Today’s your last chance!

Out of Bacon’s League?

January 18, 2011

Braised Cabbage w/ Roasted Pepper and Fennel Topped Haddock

There are some flavor combinations that never cease to amaze me. This one, cabbage and bacon, is one of my favorites and not just because of the deliciousness. Because it’s like that gut reaction when you see a beautiful girl with not so good-looking guy. I know, it’s superficial. But really bacon? You’re with cabbage!

But bacon must have seen passed the grocery store cole-slaw to cabbage’s true potential. Because the delicate flavors of the crunchy, earthy vegetable are just perfect for braising. And sauteing bacon with onions and fennel before adding the tomatoes and red wine for the braising liquid helped bring out the smokiness that the cabbage loves to absorb. It’s a simple, delicious side that is perfect for this time of year.

And combined with this North Atlantic Haddock topped with roasted red and long hot peppers, the cabbage proved it’s worth. Bacon has got good taste after all! In fact, the NY Times dining section posted a bunch of cabbage recipes this past week if you need further proof. So here’s to cabbage and bacon! A match made in heaven.

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