Thursday, July 20, 2017

Smoked Salmon Pizza

I'm not sure how or when I came across this recipe for Smoked Salmon Pizza, but every time I looked through my huge stack of printed recipes I'd see it. While we're on the subject, yes I print recipes I want to make because I like having a hard copy in front of me while I'm cooking so I can make notes. And yes, I desperately need a better filing system than stuffing the pile of papers into a reusable grocery bag.

Ahem.

Smoked salmon pizza

I've been eyeing up this recipe for a while but I could never find a good time to make it. Then our friends invited us over for brunch and I finally got a chance to try it. As an aside, I love that my friend didn't blink when I asked if I could use her kitchen, or when I busted out my pizza stone, parchment paper and all the various toppings I'd put in individual containers.

This was a cinch to make and I loved the crispy pizza crust with the luscious smoked salmon, salty capers and the tang of the red onion. Next time I think I'll swap the sour cream (which I subbed for crème fraiche) for cream cheese to make it more like a bagel, while also adding some of the same seasonings found on my favorite bagel of all time, the everything bagel. I hear Trader Joes makes an everything bagel seasoning blend. I really need to get my hands on some of that!

Our Best Ever Smoked Salmon Pizza
Modified from Spoon, Fork, Bacon

1/2 a ball of pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
Olive oil
1/2 cup cream cheese, sour cream or crème fraiche
4oz sliced smoked salmon or lox
Thinly sliced tomato
Thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup capers, drained
1/2 cup baby arugula
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dried dill

Preheat the oven to 425°F with a pizza stone on the center rack.

Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour. Pierce the surface all over with a fork and brush with small amount olive oil. Remove the pizza stone from the oven and transfer the parchment paper to the stone. If you have a pizza peel (I really need to get one of these) just put the pizza dough directly on the heated stone.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and allow crust to cool a bit before adding the toppings.

Spread the cream cheese/sour cream/crème fraiche on the crust and top with pieces of the salmon and tomato. Sprinkle on the red onions and capers. Toss the arugula with some lemon juice, salt and pepper and add that to the pizza. Add a sprinkling of dill, cut into wedges and serve.
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Philly Cheesesteak One Pot Pasta

I grew up, and still live, about 45 minutes outside of Philly so I know a thing or two about cheesesteaks. And I'm sure purists would balk at one of the most popular posts on my blog, these Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes that I adapted from Rachael Ray, as well as this amazing one pot recipe for Philly Cheesesteak One Pot Pasta. That's their loss. All the busy parents I know love having one post pasta recipes in their back pocket for those busy weeknights and this one is a real winner.

Philly cheesesteak pasta

I made a few slight modifications from my friend Melissa's take on the recipe - I added flour to tighten up the sauce and swapped the cheese because I'm just not a huge fan of provolone when it's the only cheese. I also left off the parsley.

There's not much more to say except we'll be enjoying this one often.

Philly Cheesesteak One Pot Pasta
Slightly Modified from Hunt, Cook, Eat

1 pound ground beef
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
12 ounces button mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 quart beef or chicken broth
8oz elbow macaroni
4oz provolone cheese, shredded (or 3oz cheddar plus 1oz American cheeses, shredded)

Heat a large, deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until a brown crust starts to form before breaking the beef apart with the back of a wooden spoon.

Add the onions, green pepper and mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and the mushrooms have released their liquid. Add the flour and stir to incorporate it.

Add the broth, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then add the macaroni. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes or until noodles are just barely al dente, stirring once halfway through to make sure the pasta isn't sticking.

Remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes to thicken. Turn off the heat, then add the cheese. Stir until all the cheese melts. Let sit for another few minutes, then serve.
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

{Product Review} Chef Remi Cheese Grater

The nice folks over at Chef Remi recently contacted me about doing some product reviews. I love kitchen tools so I was quite excited to receive the Chef Remi Cheese Grater. According to the product page:
  • It grates both hard and soft cheese such as Parmesan, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and more.
  • You can also use the grater for vegetables like cucumber, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, onion, potato, and zucchini.
  • Or use the fine blades as a zester for oranges or lemons, as well as coconut, chocolate, nuts, ginger, garlic, and other spices.
Chef Remi cheese grater

I was very excited to give it a try with mozzarella cheese. I grate a lot of mozzarella cheese, especially in the cooler months when I make homemade pizza every Friday. The nonslip surface, and the fact that I can hold the grater flat while grating the cheese were huge selling points for me. I hate my old box grater that would always slip because you had to hold it vertically.

Chef Remi cheese grater

Grating the mozzarella was pretty easy. The surface area of the grater is not quite as large as I'd like - a few pieces of cheese made a break for it off the sides - but I absolutely loved how sturdy it was on my prep table.

Chef Remi cheese grater

So far I've only tried grating mozzarella, which can be a little flaky:

Chef Remi cheese grater

I'd recommend having a small bowl nearby, or grating on top of a clean surface, so you can use any cheese that ends up on top of the grater. 

Chef Remi cheese grater

Most of the cheese did end up in the container base, that comes with a snap-on lid. I grated this cheese yesterday for tonight's dinner. The whole thing is dishwasher safe, too, which I'm sure is great for people with a functioning dishwasher (I'm, sadly, not one of them).

Overall I'm very happy with this grater. And you can't beat the price, which is currently $10! They're also offering 15% off your order right now and they always offer free shipping (woohoo!).

Disclaimer: Chef Remi sent me the cheese grater to try at no cost, but all opinions are my own.
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Monday, July 03, 2017

Creamy Shrimp Boil Pasta

I love the idea of a shrimp boil when we're down the shore, but on a weeknight I need something quicker, easier and less messy. That's where this Creamy Shrimp Boil Pasta comes in. All the flavors of a classic shrimp boil served with pasta instead of potatoes.

Shrimp boil pasta

I lightened it up a bit by subbing half-and-half for the heavy cream. As I was making the sauce I realized the cream/half-and-half isn't even necessary. It was a nice treat, but I think the pasta could stand alone with the other ingredients. Totally your call. We also thought it needed more corn, so I upped the amount in the recipe below. This was so delicious and easy to make on a busy summer weeknight.

Creamy Shrimp Boil Pasta
As seen on Damn Delicious

1 pound cavatappi or rotini pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (my shrimp were larger so I cut them in half)
3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2-2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Save 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain well.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until sausage is lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Place the sausage in a large bowl and set aside.

Season the shrimp with 1 1/2 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook until pink, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan to the same bowl as the sausage.

Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, half-and-half, Parmesan, thyme and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more broth as needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir in the pasta, sausage, shrimp and corn. Toss to combine. Thin with some of the pasta cooking water, if needed. Serve immediately, garnished with chives, if desired.
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Do you ever see a recipe and just know, instinctively, that it's going to be amazingly delicious? That's how I felt when I read my friend Kylee's post about this Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart . I could practically taste the buttery, flaky crust, the ripe, juicy tomatoes and the tang of the goat cheese. I couldn't wait to make it.

Goat cheese and tomato tart

I tried to find the Nature Sweet tomatoes Kylee mentions in her post (Eclipse tomatoes), but the stores near me don't seem to carry them (despite the Nature Sweet site claiming they did). I ended up splurging on heirloom tomatoes and I'm so glad I did. All I can say is wow. I'm lucky to live in an area known for amazing tomatoes, but it's not quite peak season yet. The heirlooms I picked up were stunning and really brought the whole tart together.

Katie helped me mix up the goat cheese spread the day before and then I assembled and baked the tart at my parent's house. We ate it as an app and holy guacamole was it delicious. Everything comes together beautifully and we were all sad when it was gone. My aunt is coming for a visit this weekend and since a pack of puff pastry comes with two sheets I'll be using her visit as an excuse to make this again. It's the perfect summer treat since you really want to make this when tomatoes are at their best. The only downside is that this wouldn't reheat well, so plan to devour the whole thing in one sitting. Maybe that's not such a bad thing...

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart
Slightly modified from Kylee Cooks

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed in the fridge
1 egg, beaten
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
4 oz goat cheese, softened (a small log, the ones in my supermarket are 4oz)
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced then cut into half-moons
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped roughly
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

Place the sheet of puff pastry on a piece of parchment laid on a pizza stone or baking sheet. Use a rolling pin to gently flatten and spread out the pastry so it's smooth as well as longer and wider than when you started.

Using a sharp knife, cut a 1/2-inch strip off the pastry on all four sides. Keep the strips - you'll be adding them back onto the pastry in a minute. Brush all the pastry with the beaten egg, then put each strip you just cut back onto the dough, essentially making a border around the edges (Katie said it looked like a picture frame). Use the tines of a fork to press the strips down so they stick to the pastry underneath. Prick the entire surface (where the picture would go) with a fork. Sprinkle with some Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes until puffed and golden.

Mix together the goat cheese, garlic and Italian seasoning. This can be done a day or two ahead of time. Once the puff pastry is golden brown, remove it from the oven. Spread the goat cheese mixture over the center area of the pastry (now you'll really see what Katie meant by it looking like a picture frame).

Top the goat cheese with slices of tomato. I bought different colored heirlooms so I alternated the colors to make it look pretty. Keep the tomato slices close together - you really want to pack them on for maximum flavor. Sprinkle the chopped basil and extra Parmesan or Pecorino cheese on top, then season with a little salt and pepper. Cut the tart into slices and serve.
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw

Wow, wow, WOW!! What a showstopper. As soon as I saw Caroline post this recipe for Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw I had a feeling they'd be good, but I wasn't expecting them to be amazing.

Crispy shrimp tacos

The ingredients are actually very simple and there's almost no prep work. The shrimp take next to no time to cook and the result is a wonderful medley of textures - crispy shrimp, creamy slaw, slightly chewy tortilla combined with the heat of the Sriracha mayo. Steve and I added extra Sriracha to our tacos because I can't use too much spice or Katie complains. The only thing that would make these better is buttery slices of avocado nestled next to the shrimp, so I included that in the recipe below.

Make these soon! I know I'll be putting them on the menu again ASAP.

Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw
Slightly modified from The Barbee Housewife

Cilantro-Lime Slaw:
2 cups coleslaw mix
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or to taste, I eyeballed it)
Juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Sriracha-Lime Sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Sriracha, to taste
Juice of half a lime

Crispy Shrimp:
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup panko
Vegetable oil, for frying

To serve:
Flour tortillas, warmed in a dry skillet
Sliced avocado

Combine the coleslaw mix, mayonnaise, lime juice, salt and pepper and cilantro in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Stir the mayonnaise, Sriracha and lime juice together. Taste and adjust the heat to your preference. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Put the flour, along with some salt and pepper, in a plastic food storage bag. Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl. Put the panko in another food storage bag. Place the shrimp in the bag with the flour first. Seal the bag, then toss to coat all the shrimp with the flour. Remove the shrimp from the bag, shaking off any excess flour (I like to use a colander for this), then place them in the bowl with the egg. Toss to coat all the shrimp with the egg. Add the shrimp to the bag with the panko, seal the bag and toss to coat all the shrimp with the panko.

Heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Put the shrimp in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd them, and cook for about 2 minutes, until the panko is nicely browned. Remove the shrimp to a paper-towel lined plate.

Build your taco starting with some of the slaw, a few shrimp, and a drizzle of the Sriracha-lime sauce. Nestle a few slices of avocado alongside the shrimp and enjoy!
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Thursday, June 01, 2017

One-Pot Bacon and Feta Pasta

One-pot meals are amazing, right? I know they're so 2015, but what busy family doesn't love a meal that combines minimal effort with maximum flavor? Ashley's recipe for One-Pot Chicken Feta Alfredo sounded perfect for a busy weeknight.

One pot pasta

I decided to make a few changes to the recipe - I left out the chicken, swapped the pancetta for bacon (although my family LOVES pancetta) and left the tomatoes and basil as a garnish rather than cooking them with the pasta (because I simply cannot stand loose tomato skin - blech).

The result was a creamy, cheesy, simply delicious and EASY weeknight meal. This is absolutely going in the permanent rotation, although I'll need to double it next time if we want leftovers.

One-Pot Bacon and Feta Pasta
Modified from Cheesecurd in Paradise

4 slices of bacon, cut into pieces (I like to use kitchen shears)
8 oz bow tie pasta
6 oz crumbled feta, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
2 tomatoes, chopped

In a large non-stick skillet with a lid, cook the bacon until it's crispy. If there's a lot of fat, drain most of it off. Add the pasta, 4 oz of the feta, Parmesan, chicken broth, half-and-half and garlic powder.

Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, just until the pasta is al dente (with a little bite left).

Add the basil, tomatoes and remaining 2 oz of feta. Stir to combine and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
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