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Summertime Pizza

It all started with a pizza craving.  Gooey cheese, fattening meats, naughty for you crust..mmmmm. But I digress.  I wanted pizza and I was going to have it (and have it healthy).

In my CSA box this week was some basil and some summer squash.  I had a left over tomato from the prior week’s box.  I decided to forgo the traditional tomato sauce and use part-skim ricotta and the fresh basil.  I loaded it up with veggies, and sliced apple chicken sausages and topped with a very light sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.  What I got was nothing less than amazing.

The ricotta was so creamy and when you got a bite of the fresh basil..Heaven (seriously).  The veggies were beautifully crisp and fresh.

The produce from Highcross Farm is so gorgeous and so delicious, I really feel spoiled being a CSA member.

Supplies:

  • 1 tube (I know, I know) pizza crust
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 shallot sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 good handful mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Fresh basil
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tub part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 links chicken sausage (I used apple)

Preheat oven to 450.  Shape pizza dough on a greased cookie sheet according to package instructions.  Bake for 10 mins.  You want the edges to be at the point where they are just starting to turn brown.  Pre-baking your crust will prevent it from getting soggy from the vegetables.  Take out of the oven, but leave the oven still on.

Spread ricotta cheese over the crust and sprinkle whole basil leaves over the ricotta.  Sprinkle with garlic powder.

Layer your vegetables and sausage anyway you wish.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan and bake until the mushrooms and zucchini have just about to soften and the sausage is heated through.  For me it took about 15 or so minutes. Keep an eye on it.

If you feel your crust is getting too dark before your pizza is done, cover it with pieces of tin foil.

I enjoyed mine on my deck with a nice glass of wine.  I love summer.

 

 

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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Braciole

I love Italian food oh so much.  In my little corner of Wisconsin it’s hard to get authentic Italian cuisine. You pretty much have to make it yourself; which I did.

About once a month I head down to Milwaukee to make it to one of the best Italian supermarkets in the Midwest…Glorioso’s.  When I’m there I stock up.  I noticed they had thinly cut pieces of flank steak in their frozen section and decided that braciole (pronounced Brah-shool) would be what I would make my family that night.

Braciole is beef that has been pounded flat and stuffed with cheese and bread crumbs.  The braciole is rolled and tied and  simmered in tomato sauce for a few hours (or all day in a slow cooker on low).

Let me start off by staying making  braciole is a labor of love. It’s not hard to make per se, just time consuming.  It is worth every bit of effort.

Supplies:

  • 1 lb flank steak, thinly cut.  If you can get your meat guy to cut it, the ideal width is 1/4 in thick.
  • Kitchen twine
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 C shredded or diced mozzarella
  • 1/2 grated Parmesan (Fresh if you can get it.)
  • 1/2 bread crumbs
  • 1/4 C pine nuts
  • 4 pieces thick cut bacon, diced and browned
  • 3 gloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated with a microplane
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • S & P
  • Tomato sauce (I had some frozen that I had made with tomatoes from my CSA share.  One family sized jar of Ragu would be enough.)

You need to pound your flank steak until it’s as thin as you can get it.  You can leave the steak whole and and have one big roll or you can cut your steak into portions.  I opted to cut my steak into portions.

Put your meat between two pieces of wax paper and pound until thin. You will be rolling this with a filling so you don’t want it real thick.  You want something that looks like this:

Once you get your flank steak pounded thin set aside in the refrigerator and get going on the filling.

In a medium sized bowl mix mozzarella, parmesan, pine nuts, bacon,  bread crumbs and beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper and mix together with a fork.  The filling will be thick, yet spreadable.

Take your flank steak out of the refrigerator and lay a piece down on a cutting board.

Take as much filling as desired and spread across meat leaving about 1/4 in around the edges.  You don’t want to over fill or most of the filling will come out at the end when rolling.


Tightly roll up the flank steak and tie up with kitchen twine. You should get something that resembles this:

In a large skillet, heat  oil until you see wiffs of smoke. You want a good hot pan to sear your braciole.

In a dutch oven or slow cooker have your tomato sauce simmering.

Sear on all sides until you get a nice crust all the way around. Don’t worry if you get some darker spots on your meat, they will soften up and cook down while simmering in the tomato sauce.

Gently drop your browned braciole into simmering tomato sauces.  Cover and let simmer.  If you are simmering on a cook top, simmer for at least three hours stirring once or twice every hour.  If you are simmering in a slower cooker (like I did) set it at low and simmer at least 5 hours.  Stir once per hour to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.

Once done, your braciole will be fork tender.  Snip off the kitchen twine and serve with your favorite pasta. I like to top mine with more grated Parmesan.

I love this dish so much. I hope you do too.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Roasted Potato Pizza

I love that the cooler weather is allowing me to use my oven again.  I was getting to darn near grill overkill.  I was in the mood for pizza so I improvised.

In my CSA box was bag of potatoes.  Not just any potato, but one with a beautiful pink flesh.  I thought they might taste pretty good on top of a crust with cheese. I was right.  I decided to take my pizza to a new level.  I caramelized some onions and utilized the shredded mozzarella-provolone mix and crumbled goat cheese I had in the refrigerator.

Let me tell you, outstanding!  I used some fresh rosemary and thyme from my garden to bring the flavors all together.  It was pizza nirvana.  You got the sharpness from the mozz/prov cheese, the sweetness from the onions, topped off with the tangy-creaminess of the goat cheese.  Heaven.

Supplies:

  • 1 store bought tin of pizza dough
  • 5 small red potatoes, washed, dried and thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella/provolone cheese
  • 1/4 c crumbled goat cheese
  • fresh thyme and rosemary, chopped
  • S & P to taste

Line your sliced potatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil until just coated.  Bake at 400 until soft in the center (about 15- 20 mins).  Don’t cut your potatoes too thin, they will turn into potato chips if you do. You don’t want that. Once done, set off to the side to cool

Meanwhile as your potatoes are roasting, caramelize your onion.  Sautee onions in a large enough pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat.  Stir around until your onions turn a beautiful brownish color and get soft. Set off to the side to cool.

Heat a pizza stone at 450 until good and hot. I put the pizza stone in the oven when I took the potatoes out.

Take your pizza dough out of the tin and shape on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel.  Don’t have cornmeal? Grits work just fine too.

Drizzle a little olive oil over dough.  Add shredded cheese, then layer the potatoes.  Next add the onions, and chopped herbs.  Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese over the top and slide your pizza onto the hot pizza stone.

Let cook for 15-18 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese just melts.

My rustic (for lack of a better word) finished product…

Go..make..now!

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Cheesy Spaghetti Squash w/ Chick Peas & Arugula

I seriously have fallen in love with squash. I get picture perfect squash in my CSA boxes and I love it.  This week I received a beautiful spaghetti squash.

I love the versatility of squash. You can do just about anything with it.

Tonight I came home starved. I decided to steam the spaghetti squash in the microwave then sautee it on the stove with the arugula and tomatoes that were also in my box.  I threw in some chick peas to sneak in a little protein as well.  I brought it all together with a generous handful of fresh grated parmesan cheese.  Perfect!

This was amazing. I waited until the last minute to add the arugula and tomatoes as to keep their color and shape. It really helped keep the peppery bite of arugula in tact.

Supplies:

  • 1 spaghetti squah, but in half and seeded
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 good handful of arugula
  • 1/2 can of chick peas, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 c fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • S & P to taste

Put the squash in a microwave save dish and add water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high until fork tender (about 15 mins). Set aside and let cool.

In a deep skillet sautee the garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Don’t burn the garlic, it will taste bitter.

Add the chick peas and sautee until beans are warmed through.  Add squash, arugula  and tomatoes.  Sautee until warmed through.

Add cheese.  Continue to cook until cheese melts. You will see lovely strings of Parmesan when you stir it around.

Serve and enjoy!

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad)

I know it’s been done a million times.  Seriously though, it really doesn’t get any better than a fresh from the farm tomato, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil drizzled with a good olive oil.

Supplies:

  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • FRESH mozzarella, sliced
  • fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Layer the tomato, mozzarella and basil to desired height.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I like to go very light on the salt. I love the taste of fresh mozzarella and don’t want the salt to over power it.  This is my absolute favorite salad, and I hope it becomes yours.

By the way, Highcross Farm has the best tomatoes I have ever seen. They are perfect.

Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Paprika Roasted Red Potatoes w/ Kale Pesto

Ahhh Kale…

So pretty, so good for you.  I have to admit, when I first started being a CSA member I didn’t have a clue what to do with kale.  I’m still learning.  HighCross Farm has some of the prettiest Kale I’ve ever seen by the way…

While perusing  some of my favorite food sites, I happened upon a video from someone who calls himself The Hippy Gourmet.  He was making Paprika roasted potatoes and Kale pesto.  I simply had to try it.  Let me tell you, Kale pesto is AMAZING.  I think it’s even better than the basil or arugula pesto I’ve made in the past.

The crispiness from the potatoes with the creaminess of the Kale pesto and an added punch from the grated Romano is heaven in your mouth. You will LOVE this recipe.

Supplies

  • Red potatoes, cut into halves or quarters
  • Olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 C toasted walnuts
  • Grated Romano cheese (you can use Parm or Asiago as well)
  • Olive oil

Par boil your potatoes so they are soft, but not to the point of mush.  Drain and toss with enough oil to cover, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake on 450 until crispy (about 40 mins).

For the Pesto:

Remove the hard stem from the kale and drop into boiling water.  Boil kale until soft. This only takes a few minutes.

Drain off the kale and put into a food processor with the garlic, walnuts and cheese. Pulse until finely ground.

Drizzle in enough olive oil to bind it all together. You want it nice and thick, not oily and runny.

While the potatoes are still warm, dollop the pesto over the top.  Shave some cheese over the pesto and enjoy!

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Individual Parsley Scalloped Potatoes

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My CSA boxes have been packed with so much awesome-ness.  I took the new potatoes and flat leaf Italian parsley that were in this week’s box and made some individual scalloped potatoes.

I used the parsley to make a parsley bechamel sauce, and it was fantastic!  I also nuked the potatoes whole in the microwave for a little bit before cooking them in the oven.  It really made a difference in cooking time.

I also made this dish as low-fat as I possibly could. 🙂

Supplies:

  • 1 tablespoon blue bonnet spread
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 c. skim milk
  • S & P to taste
  • 5-6 new potatoes
  • a good handful of Italian flat leaf parsely, chopped
  • Shredded cheese of your choice (I had some sharp white cheddar in the fridge)
  • Ham, diced (I used small ham rounds since 2 sliced were only 50 calories)

In a sauce pan melt the margarine over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk.  Let it cook for a bout a minute to get out the floury taste.  Add milk and whisk until thick.  Add chopped parsley, salt and pepper and let sit (whisking occasionally).

Prick your potatoes with a fork and place on a microwaveable dish.  Cover with a damn paper towel and nuke for about 7 minutes.  You don’t want your potatoes cooked to the point of mush.  You still want a firmness to them so you can slice them.  They will finish cooking in the oven.  Slice into rounds and set aside.

Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray and start layering your scalloped potatoes.

  • Potatoes
  • ham
  • cheese
  • bechamel sauce

Repeat until you come to the top of the muffin tin.  It took about three potato rounds to come up to the top of my muffin tin.  I topped mine with a parsley leaf for aesthetic purposes only.

Before putting them into the oven…

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Pop into a 400 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes (or until nice and golden brown on top).

After…

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These are perfect! Perfect portion, perfect flavor, perfect everything.  I will make these again for sure. 

Note:  I did not salt my bechamel sauce since there is ham and cheese in the recipe.  It came out perfectly salted.  If you like salt, then by all means salt away.  I was pepper heavy, but that is just my taste.  Play with the recipe.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2009 in cheese, parsely, potatoes

 

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