Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chorizo and Onion & Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Pizzas

I think if I had to pick only one food that I had to eat every day, I would very likely pick pizza. It is one of those things that you can reinvent so many different ways and it is almost always good. I decided to use a new recipe for my pizza dough this time around. David Rocco had a show air last week on The Cooking Channel that was completely devoted to pizza! It looked so good that I just had to give it a try. The pizza dough was super easy to make and tasted amazing too! The toppings from these pizzas were just some of my favorite things straight out of my refrigerator. This pizza dough recipe was enough to make one *really* big pizza, but I decided to split it up into two smaller pizzas so we had a little variety. Even the "smaller" pizzas were pretty darn big, so it worked out well. Thanks to David Rocco for the great pizza dough recipe!

Chorizo and Onion
Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Pizzas

For the pizza dough: Adapted from David Rocco (here)
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the chorizo pizza toppings:

  • 8oz chorizo
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 of a red onion sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • mozzarella cheese (however much you like)
For the prosciutto pizza toppings:
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • 1 1/2 oz goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut in a chiffonade
  • mozzarella (however much you like)
Start off by making the pizza dough. You can either do it the fun and messy way or the clean and boring way. I decided to go with the fun and messy way for today! :)

Measure out 2 cups warm water and add the yeast. Stir and let it sit for 2 minutes.

Dump the flour and salt together onto your counter surface and make a well in the center. When the yeast is ready, pour it into the well and use your hand to start incorporating the flour and yeast. When you have poured all of the yeast mixture into the flour, add the olive oil and continue to work the flour and liquid together until you have a nice dough start to come together. If your dough is too sticky, add a little flour (maybe a tablespoon at a time) to absorb a little of the liquid. Once the dough comes together, knead the dough for just a few minutes until the dough is smooth. If you plan to make two smaller pizzas, pull it apart to create two even pieces. Let the dough rest on a well floured surface, covered, for about an hour or until it has doubled in size. If you use plastic wrap to cover it, lightly coat it with cooking spray to prevent it from sticking to the top of the dough.

If you are making the chorizo pizza, prepare the topping while the dough is rising.

Cut the chorizo in thin pieces and slice the onion.

In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chorizo and cook until it has browned on the first side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the chorizo to the other side and add the onions. Lower the heat and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, or until the onions are cooked through.

When it is time to make the pizza, preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a pizza stone on the center rack.

Shape the pizza dough with your hands to create a round dough and then set it on a cornmeal dusted board. If you don't, your dough will stick when you try to move it to the oven. If you don't have a pizza stone, lightly spray your pan with cooking spray before putting the pizza on it so it doesn't stick.

For the chorizo pizza:

Spread the garlic on the dough and then cover with the mozarella cheese. Layer on the chorizo and onion mixture. Slide onto the pizza stone and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the prosciutto pizza:

Cover with however much mozarella you would like. Top with strips of the prosciutto and break the goat cheese up with your hands over the top of the pizza. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Do not add the basil until after the pizza comes out of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Now top with the basil


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Everything Brioche Hamburger Rolls

I've realized that in our house the nice weather = lots of grilling and salads. One of the staple foods during the summer months around here are burgers. Lots and lots of burgers. Every weekend our house seems to have a revolving door of company (which I love), but feeding them all is never an easy task. I will admit that I do keep frozen hamburgers and turkey burgers on hand for times when I have unexpected guests and nothing to feed them. If it is a planned event, or just the four of us, I like to go with homemade burgers. This last year of blogging has gotten me much more comfortable with making my own bread. One thing I hadn't gotten around to making yet were hamburger buns. I'm pretty sure I could have used a "no knead" recipe to make these, but I know how to knead bread dough and I wanted to give these a try. When I came across this recipe from The New York Times online they sounded *really* good. You can't really go wrong with brioche dough. It is soft, rich and delicious! If my house wasn't a total zoo this morning, I was considering making a video to show you how to knead the dough. I knew that it wouldn't be very helpful to you if you were to hear my little girls running around in the background playing :) I posted a video that I found on YouTube in the past that is helpful for anyone who may not be comfortable with kneading their own dough. I personally find it very relaxing and fun! It isn't difficult at all once you know the steps. Once you realize how easy it really is, you'll be so excited to start making all different kinds of breads and rolls. I hope you are all enjoying the weekend!

Brioche Hamburger Rolls
Adapted from: NY Times via
Hidefumi Kubota, Comme Ça, Los Angeles

For the dough:

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (not too hot or you will kill the yeast)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk (microwave for about 10 seconds)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the top of the rolls:
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water (for the egg wash)
  • sesame seeds
  • poppy seeds
  • minced onion
In a glass measuring cup, mix together the warm water, yeast, sugar and milk. Stir to combine and allow to sit for 5 minutes. It should be frothy when it is done.

In a large bowl, whisk the bread flour, all purpose flour and salt. Pour the softened butter on top and work it in with your fingers. You want to see some nice crumbs form from the butter. Just use your fingertips and blend the butter throughout the flour mixture.

Beat an egg in a small dish.

Pour the yeast mixture in with the flour mixture. The recipe says to use a dough scraper to work it in, but you really could just gently work it in with a spoon. I actually used a Pampered Chef scraper to work mine in. Now pour in the egg and work that in as well. Your dough should come together fairly easily.

Flour your counter well and begin to knead the dough. You will knead for about 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. You don't want to over knead the dough or you will make it tough.

When you are kneading, you are basically using your left hand as a positioner for the dough and your right palm to work the dough. You will bring the dough toward you with your right hand and then your palm to push it away from you. Your left hand will hold the dough in place and then after each push of the dough away from you, you will turn it counterclockwise and knead again. Continue kneading until you feel the dough become smooth and elastic.

Here is a video that will help show you how to knead.

How to knead dough

Once the dough is ready, place it back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and divide your dough into 8 equal pieces.

Form them into balls (the size you would like your rolls) by folding the dough under itself while turning the dough in your hands. Place them 2-3 inches apart on your baking sheet and allow them to rise for 1-2 hours.

Cover them during this rise with a piece of plastic wrap that has been coated with cooking spray so it doesn't stick to the top of your rolls.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place your broiler pan in the lower rack of your oven.

Combine the egg and water to make your egg wash and brush the top of the rolls. Sprinkle with your preferred toppings. If you want an "everything" bun, use the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion and even minced garlic. You can use whatever you like :)

When the oven comes to temperature, place the rolls in the oven and then pour some hot water in the broiler tray (about 1-2 cups). Close the door quickly (to trap the steam) and let the rolls cook for *exactly*15 minutes or until light golden brown. Mine were perfect at 15 minutes on the nose.

How fantastic do these look?!?!?

Place them on a wire rack to cool.

Serve them with your favorite burger or sandwich. Or you can do what I just did and just eat it all by itself! These were OUT OF THIS WORLD good! I *insist* that you go make them, right now!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Banana Split Pie

Every now and then there is perfect harmony in a recipe and every part of it seems like it came together flawlessly. This pie was a perfect dessert! We had my in-laws over for dinner tonight after not seeing them for the last 4 months!! I wanted to come up with a really nice meal for us all to enjoy. We decided to cook on the grill; I made porterhouse steaks, BBQ grilled shrimp, spaghetti salad and corn on the cob. I wanted to make something fun and different for dessert, so I went with a banana split pie. The flavor was perfection!! The only thing that I never like about desserts like this is how hard it is to "plate" it and have it look as good as it does in the pie plate! I did manage to stick it in the freezer for a few minutes before serving and it seemed to help a bit. Give this dessert a try for your next BBQ and I guarantee that you'll love it!

Banana Split Pie

For the crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
For the filling:

  • 8oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding (just use the packet, do not follow the package directions)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 strawberries (stems removed and sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 1 20oz can crushed pineapple, drained
To top it:

1 8oz container Cool Whip
2-3 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
Maraschino cherries

Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar. Pour the melted butter over the top and combine with a spoon until all the butter is absorbed. Spoon the graham cracker crumbs into a 9 inch pie plate and press them against the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. I find it easiest to use the palm of my hand for the bottom and a spoon on the sides. At this point stick the crust in the freezer to help it set up before you put the filling in it.

To make the filling, take the room temperature cream cheese and beat it with a hand mixer until it is smooth and fluffy. Mix in the confectioner sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the milk, vanilla and pudding mix and stir to combine. You might not want to use the mixer yet because it could get messy. Whisk it all together until the pudding starts to firm up a little. Pour the filling into the pie crust and refrigerate until you are just about to serve it. You can prepare the strawberries ahead of time, but I wouldn't suggest layering everything until you are closer to the time you want to eat it. The color from the strawberries and cherries will bleed into the cool whip and it won't look quite as nice.

Slice the strawberries, place them in a small bowl and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Stir to incorporate and let them sit for a good 30 minutes to an hour. This will sweeten them up a little and soften them too! You can actually do this hours ahead of time and stick them in the refrigerator if you want.

When it is time to serve the pie, drain the pineapple over a bowl (if you want to keep the juice) and press it with a spoon to remove any excess liquid that could make your pie runny. Layer the pineapple over the pudding filling.

Now cover the pineapple with the strawberry slices.

Slice 3 bananas and layer them over the strawberries.

Cover with Cool Whip
(I used the fat free version and it was still amazing!)

Top with the walnuts and a cherry!
I served each individual slice with a cherry, but only had one on the top of the pie for show.