Wish Upon A Dish

July 14, 2016

New England Bar Pie - Updated

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.

July 6, 2016

My Ultimate Healthy Turkey Burger

Why is it when a company develops an App, they never beta test it on real live shoppers?
My local, but fairly large chain supermarket has a pretty good app, now, but it wasn't always that way and I say, the last few month's they must have read the reviews and made the necessary changes.

They also got free WiFi so that their newly designed App can be used. We no longer get a paper delivered, so I do not have access to all those weekly circulars. And yes, I would hang out in bed with The Nudge, drink coffee and look through them while making my weekly menu, all based on what was on sale. I used the Reminders App that came with my iPad to set up a list called Menu.

Once that was filled out, I would add my menu foods to another list labeled Shopping List.
Now all that back and forth is all done on their app. They even have the next sale circular listed so that you can bookmark them to take advantage of future sales.

I love that and am one shopper who will use this weekly. With only a bloggers budget (meaning $0.00), sales are a good way to plan a recipe testing.

So, what does this have to do with this post? I happened to see that Jenny-O ground turkey would be on sale the next week, so I put off this post for my turkey burger/meatloaf mixture until I could stock up on that half-priced sale. I might have gone overboard so there will be a few ground turkey recipes upcoming.

My goal was a burger that was not filled with green vegetables but with grains that would absorb the turkey juices as they grilled and melt into the background. The Nudge isn't happy with those frou-frou dishes that seem to include every leftover from the previous week.

I wanted to create a mixture that could stand alone on its own, yet allow the addition of sauces and toppings that can be customized to the recipients tastes. I wanted the ultimate healthy turkey burger.

I think I accomplished that, but The Nudge is the final judge. One bite and no one would know there is quinoa, caramelized onions, navy beans and wheat bran. They blend perfectly into the texture and color of the ground turkey.

The key to this recipe is to plan on making enough to freeze for grilling all summer long. There is a bit of prep work involved such as cooking the quinoa and the onions but most of that can be prepared days before when you may be already cooking something on the stove top. I like to make a triple batch of both and use them all week. The onions are done in my small slow cooker and the quinoa takes only 20 minutes.

This recipe makes 4 (6oz) or 6 (4oz) uncooked burgers per pound of ground turkey. Will even work with ground chicken. Might seem like a large patty but remember, with the shrinkage famous for poultry burgers, these will perfectly fit on a standard hamburger bun.

Let's get cooking.....

Ultimate Healthy Turkey Burger
makes 4 (6oz) or 6 (4oz) burgers

* 1 pound lean ground turkey
* 2/3 cup cooked quinoa, cooked with 1 tablespoon Sazon seasoning
* 1/3 cup caramelized onions
* 1/4 cup pureed white beans
* 1/4 cup wheat bran
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/2 cup panko crumbs
* 1/3 cup milk
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients until mixed well.
Form a small (2") patty and fry to taste the seasonings.
Make any adjustments.
Divide the mixture into either 4 or 6 parts and form into patties. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours if cooking same day.
If freezing for later, place the wrapped burgers into a quart-sized deli container and freeze.
Make sure you label the container and date it. The burger will separate easily if you only need 1 or 2.

Grill until there is no give when pressed in the center. Remove to a platter, cover with foil and rest while you gather all the condiments.

I like to use a smoked Gouda or Swiss because they go so well with turkey.
The Nudge likes his with lettuce and tomato.
Since these are a blank slate, anything goes.

Now for the nutritionals.

This is exactly what I was going for. A strong on flavor,  basic turkey burger patty that can be adjusted to a person's tastes.

This label is for the 6oz burgers. The 4oz ones come under 200 calories each.

Now, that's a healthy, low fat, great tasting turkey burger.

June 22, 2016

Indian Spiced Rice Balls with a Ginger/Lime Yogurt Dipping Sauce.

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

Spice blend:
* 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!!!