I have been gone for a while…busy with the letterpress print shop, preparing for upcoming Farmers’ Markets and so on. But we have a guest (maybe guests) visiting tomorrow. He will be talking to hubby about the possibility for us to design AND print his business cards. Together with his wife, they founded and sold great tasting shortbread cookies! They sort of inspired us to go ahead with our Cookie Companyletterpress print shop!
Anyway, our own (you can guess by the weird name) recipe below is what we will be serving him/them (not sure if wifey will show up) while we discuss future plans…
Ingredients for two medium-sized pizzas:
- 2 pizza doughs (bought frozen at WholeFoods)
- 1 generous cup of Romesco Sauce (prepared ahead)
- 1 1/2 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1 1/2 cup of shredded Smoked Gouda
- 4 large Portobello mushrooms, grilled and sliced
- 1 very large Zucchini, grilled and sliced
- 1 1/2 lbs of cooked chicken breast (though I prefer boneless chicken thighs), seasoned, grilled and sliced into bite sized pieces)
- 2 handfuls of thinly sliced Basil (optional)
Preheat (the pizza stones-if you have them) the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Roll the pizza doughs out thinly on a large, floured surface. Spread the Romesco Sauce evenly between both dough disks with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese. Next, evenly distribute the chicken, mushroom and zucchini over the pizzas. Bury the ingredients under shredded Smoked Gouda cheese. You may top the pizzas with thinly sliced Basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Slide the pizzas onto the pre-heated pizza stones-if you have them and) Bake in the oven until all the cheese has melted.
The dish is best enjoyed with a bottle of red wine or Beer – my personal preference would be a Pinot Noir or Pyramid Apricot Beer. We hope our guest(s) will enjoy it and same for you!
Last Saturday we invited my mother over for dinner. My mom is a very well-travelled woman with many different cultural and culinary experiences, so pleasing her can be somewhat demanding . However when I asked her what we she would like us to make fo her that evening she replied: pizza! That’s pretty easy! Now, I am not a big pizza fan unless they are more or less home-made. We were moonlighting in the garage the night before engaged in our new “hobby” , so we slept in the next day and didn’t have enough time make our own dough. Instead we bought the dough at Whole Foods. Now mind you, I am very picky when it comes to pizza dough. I am not a fan of commercial pizzas with their thick, bread-like crusts. My preference is thin (actually there is one commercially available pizza that I love: Dr. Oetker’s Ristorante Frozen Pizza that come in 8 different toppings), the Neapolitan-style pizza crust, which is made out of wheat flour, brewer’s yeast, salt and water.
The dough must be kneaded by hand and after it rises, rolled out by hand (again) into a 3mm (1/8″) thick pizza. You can garnish it with your favourite topping and then bake it 60-90 seconds in a wood-fired oven. At home you can use a pizza stone in your regular oven. Anyway, Whole Foods’ dough is pretty good, plus you can buy them frozen as well for use later!
My hubby and I decided on two different gourmet pizzas: BBQ Chicken and Prosciutto with Pear, Walnut and Arugula.
Part I will feature the Chicken BBQ Pizza. These are the ingredients you need:
One pizza dough
One large chicken breast, sliced and marinated for an hour in your favourite BBQ sauce (our favourite store-bought one is Rufus Teagues Touch O’ Heat)
Four to six 1/8″ slices of apple-smoked bacon
1-1/2 cup of coarsely chopped sweet onions
1 cup of shredded smoked gouda
1/4 cup of Apple Walnut smoked Promontory Cheese
- 4 tbsp of BBQ sauce
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
Prepare all toppings first. Sweat the chopped onions in a pan with the olive oil over medium heat until they turn translucent. Cover the pan and lower the heat and let the onions cook for another 10 minutes or until they are brown and caramelized. Set aside to cool. Cut the bacon into bite-size strips and cook. Then drain the cooked bits on a paper towel. Place the marinated chicken on a baking sheet and baked until cooked. Shred both cheeses and mix them in a bowl. Set aside.
Pre-heat the pizza stone in the oven to 425° – 450° Fahrenheit. Knead the pizza dough and roll it out thinly on a flour dusted cutting board. Using the back of a table-spoon, spread the BBQ sauce over the entire surface. Distribute the following in this order evenly over the pizza dough: caramelized onions, half of the cheese mix, the baked chicken slices and the bacon, then the rest of the cheese. Slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone and bake 15-20 minutes. Take out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
My mother enjoyed the savory flavor of this rich pizza. Beware, one slice can be quite filling – I call it a guy’s pizza! It pairs particularly well with a glass of Biale Black Chicken Zinfandel.
The recipe for the Prosciutto with Pear, Walnut and Arugula Pizza will be featured in Part II.
Last weekend my husband was poking around our modest vegetable garden in the corner of our yard. He decided to do some clean up around the green, fruit/vegetable bearing patches while the weather was still mild. In one particularly in-accessible spot, while pulling out some weeds, he found this yellow treasure – still intact (I say this, because we’ve harvested a handful of half-eaten vegetables in the past): a summer squash of respectable size!!
My husband and I marveled at the squash’s beauty – I just wanted to preserve it somehow, it was so pretty. That thought in my head was only fleeting as my stomach took over and I began to think of various ways to transform the squash into dinner. And since I was coming down with a cold, I craved for a simple pasta dish! And what better way to enjoy the harvest from your own garden! We decided to make Spaghetti with Summer Squash and Romesco Sauce.
This is a fairly easy recipe. It does however, require pre-made Romesco Sauce, which I had some sitting in the freezer. I got the instructions for this fantastic sauce from Elise Bauer’s food blog! If you want something more thrilling than just plain tomato sauce, you should try this! A-W-E-S-O-M-E! Elise says it is a Spanish recipe and is more like a pesto and will go with anything: pasta, rice, bread, vegetables, chicken, fish – hey, you name it! I’ve even tried dipping hardboiled egg in it when I couldn’t find the salt shaker! So yes, go to Elise’s inspiring website www.simplyrecipes.com and type ‘Romesco Sauce’ in the search box on the upper right-hand corner. Follow the recipe and I recommend making a big batch so you can distribute the sauce in smaller containers for freezing and future feasting!
Anyway, my Spaghetti with Summer Squash and Romesco Sauce is very basic!
Ingredients – this is very loosely measured for 3 people
- Spaghetti – good for three people
- Summer Squash (check the size above) or a couple of smaller zucchinis (they work, too) – cut into bite size pieces
- ½ to 1 cup of Romesco Sauce (if the sauce was kept in the freezer, defrost it first in the microwave)
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup grated pecorino romano cheese.
Boil water for the spaghetti. While waiting for the liquid to boil, cut the squash into bite-size pieces. Then heat 2 tbsp of EVOO in a deep pan. Add the crushed garlic to flavor the oil. Before the garlic browns, add the bite-size squash and sautee until the pieces turn translucent. Put the spaghetti in the boiling water and cook until al dente. Once the squash has softened, mix the Romesco Sauce in. Drain the spaghetti, reserve about 3 tbsp of the pasta water. Add the pasta and the pasta water to the Squash/Romesco and stir. Place a portion in a bowl and serve with a generous sprinkle of pecorino romano. Enjoy with a good bottle of red wine as my husband says – preferably an Oregon State Pinot Noir!