June 28, 2016
I have made my share of pizza pies in many different ways. A few on the grill, a few in the oven on a pizza pan, a few in a cast iron pan and a few on a standard sheet pan. It was always hit and miss. For a long time it was easier to recommend our local bar when The Nudge got a hankering, using the excuse "tough day, not cooking".
When I saw this recipe in the August/September 2014 Cook's Country magazine, I had to try it. Not only did it look good, it was totally ease-free and it just so happened I had a new set of 9" cake pans fresh out of the box. This I felt sure I could do.
I read the directions carefully, most recipes from the famed Cook's Illustrated family usually have a spot in the directions that is their key in the discovery of a no-fail dish. Their recipes really require no substitutions or changes in direction and one best never wing it. If it says "bake it for 15 minutes", I highly recommend you stand by the stove with timer and oven mitt in hand.
If you like to tweak, don't thunk it.
You might ask yourself what makes it a "bar pie" instead of a standard pie?
A bar pie is usually 'for one' where a regular pie is usually enough for 2-4 people. To make it easy, they have you bake two pies in highly lubed (with EVOO) 9" cake pans. Halving this recipe is not an option, trust me, you will want one all to yourself.
I find that this recipe has now become our Friday night pizza and The Nudge has stopped suggesting (with the excuse he's giving me a break from cooking) that we go out for our local bar pie.
He had found his Gotta-Da-Vida.
I promise to highlight the important parts that unless you have a death wish, you will not sway from. Trust me, I have screwed up a few by changing one of the cheeses to a store brand because I couldn't believe the price difference. Oh, baby. That was a BIG mistake. Another time I let the prepared but unbaked pizza sit on the counter too long and the dough rose to a height of a Sicilian pizza instead of a bar pie. Not what we are going for. Timing is of the essence. I would rather you bake it before everyone was home and reheat when ready.
Next time I am going to roll out the dough, put into the pans and then place them in the fridge to halt the rise and pull them out, sauce and cheese them and then right into the hot oven.
The best part of this pie is the crunchy edge that forms when the cheese melts down behind the crust and hits the olive oil slick in the pan.
Oh babee, this pie is really good. Don't even think of adding toppings until to try it one time. Cook's Country does offer a pepperoni version if you must, but remember, there is already a perfect oil slick on the surface from the cheddar cheese.
You would think it was impossible to get that edge in 15 minutes but at 500 degrees, it is perfect every time.
It is important to use both cheddar and mozzarella cheeses as long as you grate the one that is the square package of manufactured mozzarella, not any that dare be labeled "fresh".
I can guarantee you will consider buying a third or fourth cake pan just for the leftovers.
A double batch of dough will easily fit in the bowl of a standard processor. While waiting the hour for the dough to rise, one can preheat the oven, grate the cheese and make the sauce (if you don't already have a jar in your fridge).
Let's get cooking............
New England Bar Pie
makes 2 (9") bar pies
* 1 2/3 cups (8 1/3 ounces) AP flour
* 1 teaspoon rapid-rise yeast
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 2/3 cup water
* 1 1/2 teaspoon EVOO
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 1 teaspoon EVOO
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon oregano & sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper & red pepper flakes
* 4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, hand shredded (1 cup)
* 4 ounces whole milk mozzarella, hand shredded (1 cup)
* 1 tablespoon EVOO
For the Dough:
1, Process flour, sugar, and yeast in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds.
With processor running, slowly add water;process until just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough sand for 10 minutes. Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of work bowl, 30 to 60 seconds.
2. Transfer dough to lightly oiled counter and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until almost doubled in six, 2 to 2 1/2 hours (this would be the time to roll the crusts into the oiled pans and place in the fridge).
For the Sauce:
1. Process all ingredients in clean, dry food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds; set aside. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 day or frozen for up to 1 month.)
For the Topping:
1.Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine Cheddar and mozzarella in bowl. Using pastry brush, grease bottom and sides of 2 dark-colored 9-inch round cake pans with 1 1/2 teaspoon oil each.
2. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, divide in half and shape into balls.
Gently flatten 1 dough ball into 6-inch disk using your fingertips. Using rolling pin, roll disk into 10-inch round. Transfer dough to prepared pan and press into corners, forcing 1/4-inch lip of dough up sides of pan. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
3. Spread 1/3 cup sauce in thin layer over entire surface of 1 dough. Using pastry brush, brush sauce over lip of dough. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese mixture evenly over pizza, including lip. Repeat with remaining dough, 1/3 cup sauce and remaining cheese.
4. Bake until crust is browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown about 12 minutes, switching and rotating pans halfway through the baking. To remove pizzas from pans, run an offset spatula along the top edge of pizza crust. Once loosened, slide spatula underneath pizza and slide pizza onto a wire rack. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Slice and serve.
June 22, 2016
It's that time again.
Recipe ReDux monthly challenge. I wasn't sure I would have the time to post anything but there was a dish I have wanted to make for too long to remember, so I put the ingredients on my shopping list and crossed my fingers.
I figured if I miss the deadline I could still post the recipe.
June Theme: Celebrate a ReDuxer!
For ReDux’s birthday month, let’s celebrate each other! Pick a fellow ReDuxer, go to their blog and either make one of their recipes or create one of your own inspired by theirs. In your post, give your readers a little intro to this blogger, what you like about this blogger/their blog and either link to their recipe you made or share your brand new “inspired” creation.
My Reduxer is The Foodie Physician and her recipe was Shrimp Biriyani and can be found here at Cooking with the Doc. Sonali (The Doc) won our California Dairy contest a few months back and her entry impressed me enough to want to spend some time checking her other recipes out.
I always wanted to make Biryani (or Biriyani) but the fact that The Nudge will not eat Indian food, I put this into my wish list. When I saw this challenge I knew it was time.
I thought if I made a small side using Indian spices I could persuade him to be more adventurous.
It worked. I served him a small scoop of just the rice a few days ago (which he thought tasted good) and it was time to check my dish off my list.
By the way, I did not tell him it was of Indian origin. He thinks curry is in all of them. And until recently I could not figure out what spice made the curry unpalatable to us. It was fenugreek. Now I make my own without the fenugreek.
I took that rice and make an Indian version of that iconic Italian appetizer Arancini.
I have to say, these came out perfect and with an orange/ginger/line yogurt dipping sauce, were delicious.
Biryani Rice Balls
Makes about 24 balls
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 star anise
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1 cup dried Jasmine rice, rinsed
* 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil like safflower or grapeseed
* 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
* 1 1/2 teaspoons grated or minced garlic
* 1 teaspoon grated or minced ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
* 1/2 cup white sauce
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in saucepan. Mix 1/2 cup flour with 1/4 cup milk and add it to the butter. Once it thickens remove from the heat and let it cool. Mix 1 egg into cooled sauce.
* 1 cup dried bread crumbs in a shallow bowl (I use aluminum pie plates)
* Low moisture mozzarella (Sorrento is my go to)
* 1/2 cup minced chicken, ham, or beef
* 2 cups prepared biryani (recipe above)
* Vegetable oil for frying
1 container plain Greek yogurt
Mandarin Orange Ginger Vinaigrette
Cook the rice at least the day before and refrigerate. All the spices get into the rice and it does make a huge difference.
I made my rice in the microwave.
Rinse the rice and place it into a microwave safe casserole dish with a lid.
Add the spices and the vegetables.
Cook on high for 5 minutes.
Cook on medium power (#5) for 15 minutes. Let it sit, covered until it cools.
Starting with 1/4 of white sauce, add to rice mixture and stir. We want a consistency of wet sand. Something moist enough to hold a ball shape but dry enough that it won't stick to your hands. If it's too dry add 1 tablespoon at a time until it is moist but not mushy (like a moist meatloaf mix).
Using a 1 ounce scoop (medium), wet your hands, release the scoop into the palm of your hand and with a melon baller, make a divot in the rice and stuff some meat and a mozzarella cube into the divot, wet your fingers and work the rice up, around and over the cheese. Roll like a meatball and drop into the dry breadcrumbs. Coat the balls with the crumbs and place on a sheet pan. The white sauce acts as the glue that will adhere the crumbs. Place the balls into the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Fill a dutch oven with 1 1/2 inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees.
Using a slotted spider, slide 2 balls into the oil at one time. These fry up quickly, probably only 2-3 minutes.
I served these at room temperature and could have eaten them all!!!
June 12, 2016
Can we talk?
I am about to share a little secret with you. Up till last week I rarely ate walnuts except in a salad, as long as they were glazed and came in little bags.
You're probably wondering why I would participate in a recipe contest where the main ingredient was walnuts.
California walnuts challenged us Recipe Reduxers to incorporate whole foods and walnuts into creative pairings to share with our readers. I knew they were healthy but that was about it, so before I took on this challenge I did research (especially for an ingredient not at the top of my culinary list).
I will make this short and sweet because we are all busy people and nothing bores us more than science talk.
Walnuts are bitter. No, they aren't mad. They fall into the taste category 'bitter' (along with sweet, sour & salty). Walnuts contain iodine. When they are fresh off the tree, they are green and sweet. This is when they are best for pickling. As the nut matures, that iodine tempers and folks in the know will often store them in burlap bags to age.
Most of us don't want to plan that far in advance. We want to toss and eat. Don't blame you, I am all about the toss. So, how do you make that bitter taste better?
Here comes the secret.....
Walnuts have the ability to balance out high-fat foods because they have a fair amount of polyunsaturated fat and have a rich, buttery texture.
Bitter vegetables like sour cherries or grapefruits, along with cabbage and endive, have the same effect on walnuts that walnuts have on sweet ingredients.
Bitter foods + Walnuts = Perfect Bite
Walnuts + Sweets = Perfect Balance
Too much richness or sweet would result in an unbalanced dish, so the key to taming is in the pairings. Who doesn't strive for that perfect bite?
"I received free samples of California Walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time."
There are 3 walnut pairings in this dish, mushrooms/walnuts for the stuffing, walnuts/Parmesan for the sauce and walnuts/kale for the base.
I used one skillet, 3 times and a processor, 2 times. No need to even clean them out after use.
Kale? Oh, yes.
See the sauteed kale under all that goodness?
There she is.........
Did you know that kale is also a 'bitter' food?
Secret. The Nudge thought it was sweet spinach. A great way to fool those who aren't enamored about kale.
I used pre-sliced turkey cutlets from the meat counter but chicken, while having less flavor than turkey, is much easier to find.
I sprinkled seasoned salt on both sides of the cutlets and sauteed in olive oil.
I shingled the cutlets over the kale.
Processed and sauteed onions, mushrooms and walnuts were added to a cooked brown & wild rice mix and spooned between each cutlet.
I blended walnuts to a fine crumb & added Parmesan cheese & brandy to make a creamy sauce.
Under the broiler right before serving to caramelize the top and dinner is ready.
This dinner is loaded with nutrition. Kale, brown rice, lean turkey, mushrooms and the star, California walnuts.
As you can see by the chart, walnuts rank second in essential plant-based omega-3 as well as 4g of protein and 2g of fiber.
Now you see why California walnuts should become a staple in your pantry.
I am so sold on this nut that I am even going to make a promise to myself to add walnuts to as many meals & snacks as I can.
I plan on living to 100. Want to join me?
Let's get cooking......
Layered Turkey Cutlets with Walnut-Mushroom Stuffing and Kale
makes 6 servings (2 cutlets each)
* 12 thin sliced turkey cutlets
* Seasoned salt
* 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
* 1 pound button mushrooms
* 2 cups chopped onions
* 2 cups cooked long grain & brown rice
* 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
* 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces, divided (1 + 1/2c)
* 1 bunch chiffonade dinosaur kale
* salt & pepper to taste
* 3 ounces reduced fat goat cheese
* 1/4 cup cognac or brandy
* 1 egg yolk
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute seasoned cutlets on both sides until they get some color. Remove to a platter.
2. Process onions, walnuts and mushrooms until fine texture.
3. In the same skillet you cooked the cutlets in, add another tablespoon olive oil and saute processed onion/mushroom/walnut stuffing mixture until it is dry and add that to the rice mixture. Remove to a bowl and add the tarragon.
4. To the same skillet, add the kale and a 1/4 cup water. Cover and steam until wilted. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Remove to a platter and spread evenly from end to end.
5. In the processor, process remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, goat cheese, cognac and egg yolk. Thin with water if too thick. Should be the consistency as a heavy cream. Remove to a bowl and stir in Parmesan.
6. Layer the cutlets over the kale mixture.
7. Divide the rice/mushroom mixture into 11 portions. Starting with a cutlet, spoon 1 portion of stuffing over cutlet. Repeat with the remaining cutlets, ending with just a cutlet.
8. Spoon the sauce over the layered cutlets and place under the broiler until browned, about 4 minutes. Watch this carefully.