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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