Category Archives: Bread

Italian Easter Pie

ProciuttoA Lot of EggsPie CrustMozzarellaRicottaPecorino Romano
Cheese & Meat MixEggMeat, Cheese, EggInto the CrustDSC_1030Top Crust
Pizza RusticaSoppresatta

Italian Easter Pie, a set on Flickr.

A traditional Italian Pie served on Easter – also known as Pizza Rustica. They’re all similar in the fact that it’s meat and cheese baked into a crust. The differences lie in the type of meats and cheese used and the crust it’s baked in. This is a simple version that features ricotta, mozzarella, pecorino Romano, soppressata, dry sausage, prosciutto, and is baked in a pie crust. Very tasty, easy, and makes a great addition to the Easter spread.

..Happy Easter..


Greek Lamb Souvlaki w. Grilled Flat Bread

This is rugged, rough around the edges, uncomplicated, and unpretentious – just the way we like it. It’s a meaty, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty kinda meal. Every now and then it’s cool to delve into dishes characteristic of other cultures and try to eat as they would. Imagine living in old world Greece – where the lamb was slaughtered that morning, herbs were all picked fresh from the garden, and the dough rose on the counter under a cotton towel while tzatziki sauce was stirred together by a wooden spoon gripped by a rough and weathered hand. Meals don’t exactly come together like that in this house – but like I said it’s cool to imagine. Regardless though, this dish is money, and putting all cultural characteristics aside I think you will agree – this is damn close to authentic Greek Souvlaki.

p.s. I know this recipe is so far from something you would cook in fall/winter when everyone else is cooking with root veggies, making beef stew, and cozying up with hot toddy’s and apple pie…but when that inevitably gets played out and you start yearning to fire up the grill – you can break out this recipe and get your Greek on.

Printable Recipe: http://bit.ly/9WG5La

Boneless Leg of Lamb

grab the beast – trim excess fat – slice into big chunks

Cubed Lamb

season lamb with kosher salt and cracked pepper

Fresh Herbs

finely chop the parsley and mint

Marinade

time for the marinade – combine lamb, oil, vinegar, herbs, onions, and garlic in a Ziploc and mix it up

Marinate in Ziploc

cubes should be coated with marinade – now forget about it for a while

Grilled Lamb

grill lamb chunks over medium high a few minutes on each side – yard will smell like the San Gennaro feast

Grilled Flat Bread

my new addiction is grilled flat bread – take my recipe for effin’ Artisan bread http://bit.ly/cAF5yJ and instead of making a loaf you make a pizza round – brush it with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper – grill ~5mins each side – make some now…

here’s how I get down and dirty: grab some flat bread – slap on some tzatziki – pile on the meat – top with thinly sliced tomato, red onion, and lettuce – drizzle more tzatziki – finish off with a sprinkle of feta

roll up your sleeves and dig in!

Grilled Flat-bread

It’s 100 degrees outside and the last thing I’m doing is cranking the oven to 500 to bake a loaf of bread. So to me that translates to another excuse to use the grill. Plus, grilled flat-bread is a lighter twist to the usual rustic style bread I bake up on the regular. Best part…no stone!  Cook these directly on the grill grates!

Prep time: 30mins (after dough has been made)
Grill time: ~6mins

Get yourself:

  • Batch of bread dough
  • Sea salt or Kosher
  • Cracked black pepper
  • .25C Olive oil
  • Basting brush
  • Spray oil
  • Parchment paper
  • Tongs

Let’s get it poppin’

Form dough balls into 6-8oz balls and let rest covered for about 30mins

Preheat grill on high while dough rests

Flour your surface and flatten out dough into a round, size does not matter…

…neither does shape…

I made these two ways:

1) Hand method – best results: soft, airy, and fluffy

2) Rolling pin – Not so good: chewy and dense

Roll ’em out, not too thin or they will be cracker-y

You want them to be thick enough to puff up a bit on the grill…

…soft and fluffy is texture we are going for

Line sheet pan with parchment and brush with a little oil

Lay dough on top and brush with oil

Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper

Pattern…parchment, oil, dough, oil, parchment, repeat

Make sure the dough is not holding any pools of oil…

…or you will experience great conflagration…

Grill grates should be smoking hot…

Quickly – shut off flame, spray grates with spray oil like Pam olive oil…

…turn flame back on to medium high

Grab the parchment and slap the dough onto the grill…

…peel the parchment back

If you feel you might destroy the dough doing this than I recommend you…

…roll out the dough rounds and grill one at a time using a pizza peel to transfer dough to grill

Grill for a few mins on each side

Flip and grill for a few more mins

Keep knockin’ ’em out and stack the flat-breads as they come off the grill

Serve warm on the side of whatever you happen to be eating…

…everything goes with grilled flat-bread…

…yum…

Here’s another version I did…

This one is the pizza peel version that I mentioned above…

Either way is off the hook

Enjoy!

Mozzarella in Carrozza

Leave it to those crazy Italians to take a grilled cheese sandwich and batter it up then deep fry it. Mozzarella in Carrozza (Mozzarella in a carriage) is like a gangsta’ grilled cheese mozzarella stick hybrid sorta thing. You’ve probably seen it on an Italian restaurant menu and you may have even ordered it or its cousin Spiedini di Mozzarella. So…since I’m all about bringing the restaurant experience home…I decided to throw this recipe up so you can do the same…

You feel me?!

Prep time: ~10mins
Cook time: ~10mins

Get yourself:

  • 8 Slices sandwich bread or Italian bread sliced at least 1/4″ thick with crusts trimmed off
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1T Parsley
  • 4T Pecorino-Romano
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 4 Slices block mozzarella sliced thick and about the size of the bread
  • 2 Fresh mozzarella balls
  • 1.5C Plain Panko breadcrumbs
  • .5C Seasoned bread crumb (I use 4C)
  • 1C AP Flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Enough vegetable oil for frying
  • Deep fryer or heavy bottomed pot for frying
  • Tongs
  • Plate lined with paper towels
  • Candy thermometer if you’re not using a deep fryer

Printable Recipe

Ready for this?!

Get the fryer going @ 350F

If you don’t have one…definitely worth the investment..

I’m just throwin’ it out there…

Combine eggs, parsley, grated cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl

Beat it up

Should be fluffy with no visible unbroken egg whites

Combine your crumbs

My assembly line

Ford would be proud

Slice up the block and fresh mozz

You can use either or, but I like the combo

Make a cheese sandwich

Block mozzarella goes down first followed by the fresh mozz

Ready to get dunked

Dredge all sides in flour

Tap lightly to get rid of excess flour

Then hit it with the egg and pack on the crumbs

Set aside and repeat with the rest of sandwiches

Drop it in the oil…

That’s a beautiful site…

Dry on a plate lined with paper towels

It’s like the most awesome mozzarella stick ever…

Look at that…

Break into that crust like a molten lava cake…

Let the cheese ooze out…

Dip in a little fresh marinara sauce…

Stare at the other 3 sandwiches fresh out the fryer and debate eating them…

…all

Mangia!!

Focaccia 2 Ways

It’s Friday night. You cooked all week and you’re probably looking for something uncomplicated to cook tonight.

[enter stage left] Focaccia

[shocked audience] But Focaccia, you are boring compared to Pepperoni pizza!

[an insulted Foccacia] How dare you say this! I am far better than a greasy slice of pizza. I have depth of flavor, I’m voluminous, I smell fantastic, and I can wear almost anything.

[pondering audience] Well, if you are so much better than why don’t we see more of you?!

[defensive Focaccia] Ah! You see, my dear peoples, you are afraid to embrace me. You say I am hard to understand, “Is he a bread or is he a pizza?!”  You misjudge me as being fickle and cumbersome. You say I’m a bit of a prima donna because I like to be gently massaged with oil then baked in a pan . My friends, these are shameful lies! Please know I am not who you have painted me as. I beg you to see past these misconceptions and accept me for the easy, versatile,  and delicious food that I am.

[confused audience] Ummm…OK, but seriously, what are you a bread or a pizza?!

[fed up focaccia] Simpleton’s!

[audience storms stage; Focaccia makes a run for it; screams heard in the distance]

Before you get started, click here for a refresher on making dough.

Apply the same dough making techniques, except use the slightly modified recipe below.

You can easily halve the recipe

Focaccia Dough
Inspired by ABin5
  • 6C AP flour
  • 2 1/4C lukewarm water
  • 1 1/4T active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 3/4T Sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 2T
  • 8 Cloves roasted garlic mash (optional)

Here’s what you’re going to do:

  • Whip up a batch of this dough and let it proof until it doubles in size
  • Punch it down
  • Cut off 1lb portions (I made two and stored the rest of the dough in the fridge)
  • Form the dough into balls; dust with a little flour
  • Let rest in oiled pan for ~20mins

Caramelized Onion & Rosemary Focaccia

  • 1lb Dough ball
  • .5 Onion sliced into strips
  • 1T Dried Rosemary
  • 2T EVOO
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper

Brush a 9″ nonstick round pan with 1T EVOO

Plop your dough in and roll it around in the oil

Let dough rest for 20mins

Chop half an onion into strips

Add 1T of oil to frying pan, add onions, fry over medium-high heat

Toss…it’s fun

Onions are done when they turn a light golden brown

Don’t over-cook, they will caramelize in the oven

Spread the dough out to fill the pan

Use your fingers to make indentations into the dough

Top with the onions, don’t smother

Sprinkle with rosemary, sea salt, and cracked black pepper

Bake in a 375F oven for ~30mins

Dough will poof up in the oven

Focaccia is ready when it’s golden brown

Fresh Mozzarella Focaccia

  • 1lb Dough ball
  • Pizza sauce
  • 6oz Fresh mozzarella sliced
  • Salt & Pepper

Bake focaccia with a little bit of sauce in a 375F oven

Take it out when it doubles in size, ~20mins

Top with fresh mozz and a little more sauce

Pop in oven for ~5mins

Cheese should be melted

Carefully remove from pan

Let cool a little bit

After you stop staring at this pic…

Go make some and dig in!

Mangia, mangia!!

Potato & Egg Frittata

Here’s a great meal for a weekend breakfast/lunch or even a lazy weeknight dinner any day. Buttery crisp yet soft potatoes and bacon are suspended in a creamy egg mix infused with American cheese, Pecorino Romano, and fresh parsley. This cheesy omelet certainly lends itself to interpretation, but any traditionalist making it won’t veer too far from the basic ingredients that meld so well together. Of course I had to tweak mine just a little bit, you know me…and since it disappeared lighting fast I guess I made the right moves. Make this for just the two of you, the whole family, or even as a breakfast for the post Friday night cocktail party that resulted in one person passed out on top of the dining room table…hey look it happens to the best of us, swallow your pride, take a sip of humility, and eat some of this damn good potatoes & eggs!!

p.s. follow my recipe for Artisan Bread here and make some hero’s (yes I called it a hero, you got a problem with that?!) OR make a batch of the effin’ White Bread here, toast some slices, spread with homemade butter here and spoil that inner hedonist!!

  • Serves: 6
  • Time: 30mins

Get yourself:

  • 8-10 Fresh eggs (I use Organic, free range)
  • 1 Big fat white potato weighing in ~1lb
  • 6 Strips of bacon cut into 1″ thick pieces
  • .5 Vidalia onion diced up
  • 5 Slices American cheese broken up into little squares
  • 1C Pecorino Romano
  • 2T Heavy cream or half-n-half
  • 2T Butter
  • 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2T Fresh Parsley
  • s&cracked pep
  • A large skillet (now’s the time to break out the cast iron!)
  • Bread-n-Buttah
  • OJ (it’s just the right thing to do in this situation)

Let’s do this!Cube the potatoes

In the past I’ve sliced thin into chips and fried

Just get the potatoes fried up one way or another

Fry ’em up over medium-high in the butter and olive oil

Season with some s&cracked pep

While they cook, prep your other ingredients

Ahhhhh Bacon…it’ll never let you down, a true friend in good times and in bad

Chop it up (I like to use kitchen shears it’s easier)

Dice ’em up

Chopped American slices…don’t forget the Pecorino Romano

Scramble up your eggs then add the cream, Pecorino Romano, American, Parsley, a little s&cracked pep

Set aside while the potatoes finish up

Oh yea, if you haven’t already…

Bake up one of these bad boys

A classic NY style–come on say it with me…

HERO!

Once the potatoes are golden brown toss in your bacon and onions

Cook until onions get soft and bacon firms up

You can fry the bacon separately, cool, crumble, and then add to the egg mix…

…But I like to cook the bacon right in there so the fatty bacon goodness gets all over everything

Reduce flame to medium-low and dump in the egg mix

If the pan looks a little dried up add 1T butter to prevent any sticking

Using a rubber spatula work the sides of the omelet…

Let the egg set a bit then lift a side of the omelet with your spatula, lift the pan and let some runny egg fill in the gap

Do this all around until the egg sets nicely and it’s not too runny on top

Turn on your broiler with a rack set about 6″ away from flame

Pop it under the broiler to finish off

Keep oven door open and watch like a hawk or it will scorch

After all that work…you don’t want to be the person to scorch the eggs, not cool

After a couple of minutes take the pan out and work around the edges loosening up the omelet

If it’s still runny then pop it under the broiler for a little longer

Gently slide the omelet on a level cutting surface

Take your time to admire this artfully crafted potatoes & eggs

Slice it up like a pizza pie

Oh damn!

Look at that beauty!

So simple yet so delicious

Enjoy your potatoes & eggs!

(Post) Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day Objectives: RELAX and EAT.

…and so we did…all day.

We decided to kick things off with leftover cinnamon rolls from the Pioneer Woman (wifey froze half of the disturbingly delicious cinnamon roll dough from last time). Perfect.

And so the deliberate yet destructive eating began…

Our next venture was Oreo cookies…homemade, super chocolate-y, creamy, straight up milk dunkin’ OREO’s!…yea that’s right I made ’em and even colored the center…pause. Thanks to a little inspiration from Smitten Kitchen, I whipped up a big batch of V-day O’s, all pun intended…

The day turned to night…

We started dinner off with a lite, weight watchers friendly appetizer…

Swiss fondue with homemade bread

Take bread, dip repeatedly in warm, melty, gooey cheese. groan.

Repeat.

Note: Use a fondue pot if you have one. I battled it out with the cheese in this sauce pot for a good 20mins. You see, stainless steel pots heat too quickly and if the cheese gets too hot too fast it seizes up. I had to beat the seize outta my cheese. Here’s the recipe (click the pic to enlarge)…

Needless to say, dinner did not come immediately after. As a matter of fact, we both fell into a deep food coma and woke up an hour later. Of course I get blamed…

“Why’d you let me sleep that long?!”

“I didn’t let you, I was sleeping myself.”

“But, I thought you were cooking dinner?!”

“Are you seriously hungry after we just inhaled a pound of melted cheese and a loaf of bread?!”

“Well, I’m not starving…but we have to eat dinner.”

“We’ll eat later, in the meantime let’s drink.”

Drink of the night….

Chocolate Covered Cherry Martini

This seriously tastes like a chocolate covered cherry…got wasted

Get yourself: 2oz Chocolate vodka, 20z Black Cherry vodka, 2oz half and half, 2oz simple syrup, 6t Maraschino cherry juice + 4 cherries, 1T Ghiradelli Double Chocolate-Hot Cocoa mix, Chocolate syrup.

To make: Combine all your liquids into a shaker over ice and shake. Line rim of glass with chocolate syrup. Place cherries at bottom of glass. Pour drink in. Dust top of drink by putting cocoa powder in a sieve and tapping it. Sit down. If standing, grab hold of something stable such as a counter top or banister or such as…drink, enjoy, thank me later.

Okay, now that we’re feelin’ loose…let’s, uh, cook dinner?

Dinner

Sherry Baby Bella’s

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan (s)mashed Potatoes

Porterhouse for Two — Ruth’s Chris style

I wanted some classic sides to go with the 2.5lb hunk of beast I was serving so I thought sautéed mushrooms and mashed potatoes would be perfect. Then I thought, that’s boring.  So I tweaked them a little and now, lucky me, I can never go back to the classic way because it just pales in comparison.

Sherry Baby Bella’s

These mushrooms are bangin’!

Get yourself: 1 shallot, 5T butter, 2T extra virgin, 6 cloves roasted garlic mash, 2 packages of sliced baby bella’s, 1/4 cup dry sherry cooking wine, salt and cracked black pepper, 1T fresh chopped parsley

To make: In a skillet over medium flame heat up your 3T butter and 1T of oil. When butter foam subsides toss in your roasted garlic mash and stir to break up. Then add your shallots and cook for 5 mins until soft and starting to brown. Now toss in 1T of butter, let it melt, and then add the mushrooms. Toss to coat. Let mushrooms cook down a bit and get nice and soft. Now, raise the flame to high, add in your sherry wine and cook for a few mins scraping bottom of pan to deglaze. Reduce flame to medium and stir all together.Continue to cook mushrooms, they should be shrunken and slightly browned at this point. Add your last T of butter and olive oil. This will create a buttery, and velvety sauce for the mushrooms. Kill the flame. Toss in your parsley. Put the fork down.

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan (s)mashed Potatoes

This recipe yields a batch of (s)mashed potatoes like no other. There’s a hint of roasted garlic and Parmesan and the texture is silky smooth. Roughly mashing the potatoes leaves some chunks of potato and skin which gives the dish  contrasting textures.

Get yourself: 3lbs new baby red potatoes, 1 cup heavy cream, 2T butter, 6-8 cloves roasted garlic mash, 1T extra virgin, 3 handfuls of grated Parmesan, salt&cracked pepper.

First things first, cook your potatoes until fork tender. I like to throw mine in a huge Pyrex bowl, add 1/4 cup of water to the bowl, cover, and heat in microwave for 6-8 mins/lb. They will pierce easily with a fork. Dump any remaining water from the bowl and smash the potatoes.

Leave it chunky (it’ll break down when you stir later). In a large pot heat your butter and roasted garlic mash. When foam subsides on butter add the heavy cream, black pepper and Parmesan. Stir to make saucy. Toss in your potato mash and stir until the potatoes are somewhat creamy and take on a sheen.

I’m warning you may be tempted to eat half before it even gets to the plate!

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…our headliner this evening….

weighing in @ 2.5lb and measuring 2″ thick…

Porterhouse (for 2)

Get yourself: a big slab of Porterhouse beef (I put in a special request at the local butcher), 2T butter, 1T fresh parsley, oven-safe serving platter, s&cracked pepper.

Can’t picture a 2.5lb porterhouse, see for yourself…

To make: All it takes to cook this is a quick sear ea. side over high heat and then it gets finished in the oven. First you will take the meat out at least 15mins before cooking so it gets to room temp. Preheat oven to 450F. Next, liberally salt and pepper the beef.  Heat a cast iron skillet grill pan until smoking hot. Sear the steak on one side for ~3mins then flip. Place 1T of butter on top of beef. Place skillet in middle of oven and check for doneness after 8-10mins. Once beef is done, put 1T butter on oven-safe platter and put under broiler for a few mins (watch that butter doesn’t burn). Take out and sprinkle with parsley.  Then place meat on platter and carve.

Make sure you have your stove exhaust on high bc this steak will hiss and smoke like crazy!

And there you have it…

be VERY careful, the plate is hot!