{Tuesdays With Dorie} Baking With Julia Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica, this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie/Baking with Julia recipe, is not exactly what most people think of when they hear the word pizza.  This is actually a traditional Italian dish translated as “rustic pie” that is made with a  sweet pie crust and a cheesy, meaty, egg based filling.  It is usually eaten at room temperature or even cold, and often as an appetizer according to Nick Malgieri, the contributor of the recipe.  The Italian version of quiche maybe?

The major difference is in the crust.  It is a basic Italian pastry dough called pasta frolla which is used in most of their pie recipes, either sweet or savory.  It is made with a good amount of sugar added to the flour with eggs to bind it together.  The recipe did not call for chilling the dough or pre-baking it, but it rolled out without problem and baked up just perfectly.

In the filling you will find ricotta cheese, eggs, mozzarella cheese and Pecorino Romano, along with prosciutto and parsley.  This savory filling, especially with the salty Romano cheese and prosciutto, is used to provide a pleasing contrast to the sweet crust.  I thought it was an interesting combination but I did feel like the filling lacked a little “oomph” which might possibly be cured by adding more of the Romano cheese, another salty meat, or a few more seasonings.

We had a slice warm with our dinner the night is was made, then I tried a bite once it was completely cool, and then had a cold slice for breakfast the next day and I liked it equally well at all temperatures!  This was a really fun recipe to make and not extremely complicated either.  I’m sure the other TwD’ers will provide a ton of ideas for additions and variations of it too.

If you’d like to try this one out, visit our lovely hostesses for the week, Emily of Capitol Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home where you will find this recipe!

Secret Ingredient Broccoli And White Bean Soup

 

Broccoli and White Bean Soup

To me, homemade soup is one the best things ever, especially in the winter and especially at lunch time.  The only negative is that it can be somewhat time consuming to prepare.  But if I can carve out one morning to spend putting together a fresh pot of soup, it can be divided up into freezer bags or containers and taken out as needed to defrost on days when I’m pressed for time.

This Broccoli and White Bean Soup is an example of one that really doesn’t take a lot of time to make, and the reward is three-fold:  warm, comforting, and so good for you.  The beans are what I call a ‘secret ingredient’ because at the same time they thicken the soup and make it incredibly creamy when you blend everything together.  The recipe calls for fresh broccoli, but frozen works too – just skip the steaming step and add it in along with the beans.

Broccoli and White Bean Soup

 

Broccoli and White Bean Soup

adapted from Whole Living Magazine

makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted, for serving
  • 1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat water to simmering in a pot with a steamer basket or insert. Add broccoli florets and steam until tender
    and bright green, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly. Set aside 1 cup of the florets to stir in at the end.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Saute onion until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes. Add beans and stock and turn up heat to medium until it simmers.
  3. Remove pot from the heat and stir in broccoli. Let cool slightly, then puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a stand blender until smooth.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in reserved florets.
  5. When ready to serve, garnish each bowl with toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmesan.

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Embrace The Summer Squash Pie

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Need a plan for that bounty of squash you may have received from your CSA basket/farmers market/generous neighbor?  I did, when I was given my basket from Big Moon Farm, the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm that I’m a member of.  This sunshine-y Squash Pie is the perfect plan, and you can use any type of summer squash you have in abundance like yellow squash, zucchini, patty pan or a mixture.

This pie is something between a crust-less quiche and a frittata, and is baked in the oven.  It’s open to many variations of not just the squash, but also the herbs and cheese depending on what you have on hand.  Make sure to completely drain the squash so the pie doesn’t become runny.

Now, embrace that bag of squash and savor the summer.

squashpie01

Squash Pie

makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound (about 2 or 3) yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the squash, green onions, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until squash has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
  3. Drain the cooled squash in a colander, pressing gently to remove extra liquid. Return to the bowl.
  4. Add the basil, parsley, and eggs to the squash, stir to combine. Pour into a round, deep baking dish. Cover with the tomato slices and sprinkle with feta. Bake until set, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Dreamy Greek Salad

I have a dream.  To live on the side of a Greek island overlooking the beautiful sea, where I can walk or bike all over the town making stops at market stalls to buy fresh produce and seafood all year long.  The ocean waves would lull me to sleep at every night.

Maybe in another life.  For today, I’ll have to pacify myself by making My Favorite Greek Salad.  Probably not authentic, but close enough for me.  This salad is so very easy, but so very delicious, and perfect as a main course or appetizer size before a meal.

My Favorite Greek Salad

from Shortbread

serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • large pinch kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 cups romaine lettuce, chopped, washed and dried
  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, chopped into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 8-12 pepperoncini peppers

Directions

  1. In a large salad bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.  Whisk with a fork or small whisk until combined.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except pepperoncini peppers to the bowl and toss with hands or salad servers.
  3. Divide salad between bowls and serve with peppers on the side. Top with additional black pepper, if desired.

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Caesar Club Sandwich {Barefoot Bloggers}

My Mother-in-Law tells my children that she’s 35.  Once when my children asked how old I would be on my birthday and I told them, they said “Oh, you’ll be older than Granna!”  Ummm, I don’t think so!  I had to set them straight right away.

Having your turn come around to choose a recipe for everyone to make for the Barefoot Bloggers group is kind of like having a birthday.  Having to choose from all those delicious-sounding Ina Garten recipes is like having to choose just one gift to ask for!  After seeing this Caesar Club Sandwich, however, I really didn’t have to look much further.  This recipe is full of all of my favorite things – roasted chicken, homemade caesar dressing, sun-dried tomatoes, pancetta, parmesan cheese, and arugula – piled high on crispy ciabatta bread.  It sounded just perfect for the beginning of Spring.

And it was perfect.  All the layers of flavor melded together to make one fabulous sandwich (anchovy paste and all).  I even ate some of the leftovers the next day from the fridge, and they were still tasty.  Perfect for a picnic or party, I know I will be making this again and again.

Caesar Club Sandwich

from Barefoot Contessa at Home

Ingredients

  • 2 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 large ciabatta bread
  • 2 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes, in oil
  • 2 to 3 ounces Parmesan, shaved

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan skin side up. Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. Cool slightly, discard the skin and bones, and slice the meat thickly. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the pancetta on another sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until minced. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, and mayonnaise and process again to make a smooth dressing. (Refrigerate the Caesar dressing if not using it immediately.)

Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally and separate the top from the bottom. Toast the bread in the oven, cut side up, for 5 to 7 minutes; cool slightly. Spread the cut sides of each piece with the Caesar dressing. Place half the arugula on the bottom piece of bread and then layer in order: the sun-dried tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, crispy pancetta, and sliced chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and finish with another layer of arugula. Place the top slice of ciabatta on top and cut in thirds crosswise. Serve at room temperature.

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Ray Of Sunshine Kaiser Rolls {The Bread Baker’s Apprentice}

I dreamed last night that I woke up and it was snowing.  The schools were on a two hour delay and my kids were getting their clothes and boots on to go outside.  When I finally woke up, I realized it was just a dream, remembering that instead it was going to be sunny and in the 60’s.  You know that grateful feeling you get – ‘thank goodness, it was only a dream’ –  that’s what I felt.

How ’bout these Kaiser Rolls?  They’re like a ray of sunshine, a light from above.  The best thing about them is that they start out as a humble dough of just a few ingredients, and then somehow miraculously turn into gorgeous rolls with an intense depth of flavor.

Turkey, Havarti, Red Onion, Romaine and Lite Mayo

If you want to make a batch of these fantastic rolls, or any other recipe from Peter Reinhart’s terrific baking handbook, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, you can preview or buy the book here.

 

Southern Traditions And Ham Salad {The Kitchen Reader}

I remember the first time I saw Paula Deen on television doing the show Ready…Set…Cook! on The Food Network.  She was just so hilarious, and she looked like my aunt and had the personality of my college roommate.  It was like a (crazy) member of my family was right there on the t.v.

Soon afterward, she began starring in her own show, frying chicken and baking cakes and cooking up all kinds of good Southern food.  I was so glad to see the food I grew up with being given the attention it deserved, in a time when, as Paula states, “health-food diet mania” was consuming America.

The rest is history, and Paula Deen is now a household name.  In her autobiography, It Ain’t All About the Cookin’, however, Paula proves that everybody seems normal until you get to know them.  I guess I just assumed that she was always a success, but she reveals in her book how she spent many years of her life just struggling to make it through the day.

Growing up in Georgia, Paula says she had an idyllic childhood, with her family, grandparents, aunts and uncles all close together running a resort.  Her teen years were spent being cute, having fun, and cheering.  But at eighteen she met a boy she couldn’t resist, and wanted nothing more than to get married and be a wife and mother.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Paula to realize that marriage wasn’t all smooth sailing all the time, and she began struggling with the fact that she couldn’t make it all better.  As is often the case, I think, being sheltered and loved by her family, and possessing the gift of “Southern charm”, that niceness that girls in the South are brought up with, caused an inner struggle for Paula.  She felt that “if being protected and cherished by my parents was being spoiled, then I guess I was.”

Then as a result of tragically loosing both her parents within four years of each other, while Paula was still in her early twenties she really began to struggle to keep her sanity.  Suffering from panic attacks and agoraphobia while raising two small children tested her every day, until she finally discovered what exactly she suffered from and began to slowly overcome it,  and eventually end her marriage.

As a single mother Paula returned to what she knew best, good Southern food.  Beginning with a catering company and expanding to a full restaurant, she kept up the traditions of the South.  She knew that “the South is all about tradition, and most of those traditions have their origins in the cooking pots and the recipes we pass down from generation to generation” and that “Southern cooking is nothing but Southern – we don’t fly in our ingredients or menus from distant parts of the world. What’s in our pots and on our plates is all home-grown.”  And keeping true to this philosophy has meant nothing but success for Paula Deen.

This book is full of Southern charm and wit, and had me laughing one minute and crying the next.  If you are from the South, you’ll find yourself nodding along with it, and if you aren’t, you’ll hopefully learn a little about what drives a Southern woman.  As Paula says, “Some people call Southern women steel magnolias to show our unfailing survival instinct. Well, if we got dimples of steel, so what. Things have to be right.”

I whipped up this Ham Salad recipe found in Paula’s autobiography, and it turned out to be just right, too.

My Best Ham Salad (Sandwich)

adapted from It Ain’t All About the Cookin’ by Paula Deen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups leftover ham, chopped in a food processor
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 1/4 cup hot pickle relish, drained
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Mix all the ingredients until well blended.
  2. Spread on white bread to make a sandwich, or serve with crackers.

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What We Eat When We Eat Alone Turkey Fapita {The Kitchen Reader}

“Women (and some men) who are tired of cooking for those ingrates called children and the occasional spouse, who are weary of cleaning up after meals and bored with eating on a schedule . . . know the pleasure of being alone at last in one’s kitchen. It’s an enjoyable moment when we get to eat whatever and whenever we want – and wherever, too, for that matter”, writes Deborah Madison in her book, written with her husband Patrick McFarlin, What We Eat When We Eat Alone.

This basically sums where I am in life related to alone time in the kitchen.  Most of my time in the kitchen is spent cooking for others, trying to provide meals that are healthy, that everyone will eat and (mostly) enjoy, and cleaning up the mess afterward.  When I find myself alone, cooking for only me, I absolutely relish that time and try to make the most of it.  And if this time happens to be on an extremely rare night alone, it will include “more red wine than usual”, as many of the interviewees in Madison’s book confided.

In Madison and McFarlin’s book they interviewed anyone they encountered to find out their preferences when faced with eating alone.  It was discovered that often people felt that cooking for one was not worth a big production, and as a result people usually threw together a few pantry items, like toast and sardines, crackers and milk, or soup from a can, and called it a night.

Others, however, shared some relatively simple but tasty recipes they save for alone times, usually because they are things only they like (kidneys) or they are a little embarrassed to admit to liking them (Frito pie).  The authors took many of these recipes and tested them out themselves, finding that indeed they were worthy of preparing, and shared them in the book.  A couple I plan to try in my own kitchen – Asparagus with Chopped Egg, Torn Bread, and Mustard Vinaigrette; and Potato Wedges with Red Chile.

I spent many years before marriage cooking for one, and I would say the only drawback was having to scale everything down so you didn’t end up eating a whole cake alone, or ending up with gallons of soup to eat for the rest of the year.  But being someone who really enjoys cooking and eating good tasting food, I didn’t compromise just because I was the only one eating.  And even now when I am alone, if I have a little energy to spare, I will whip up something just for me.  Because like one contributor to the book admitted, “Eating alone is nothing less than a luxurious, even decadent, act, because I get to thing about myself. I don’t have to think about someone else.”  That could even mean chips and a really good dip for dinner, even, just because I can.

Here’s a recipe I might have shared with the authors if asked, an easy but tasty recipe I’ve been making for myself since my school days, called a Turkey Fapita.  Deli turkey, onion, Worcestershire or soy sauce, and a pita or tortilla wrap are all you need to make it.  Of course it can be embellished with anything else you have on hand, such as peppers, cheese, salsa, a squeeze of lime, etc., but it is perfectly good and filling as is.

Turkey Fapita

from Shortbread

makes one

Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup onion, sliced
  • 4 slices deli turkey, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
  • hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 1 pita or tortilla

Directions

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned.
  3. Add turkey to pan and stir for one minute.
  4. Add sauce(s) to pan and cook another minute. Remove from heat.
  5. Warm pita or tortilla (in microwave, skillet, or over stove flame). Put turkey mixture on top and roll up.

Barefoot Bloggers Curried Couscous

bb curried couscous

If I had a million dollars, I would first hire a cleaning lady, then I would hire a personal chef to prepare healthy, flavorful meals for us every day.  I would still cook and bake at leisure, but the rest of the time I could choose recipes with my chef that he/she could prepare, like this Curried Couscous from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

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Barefoot Bloggers Tuna Salad Ina Style

BB Tuna Salad

HELP!!  I’m drowning in parent-of-school-age-children-end-of-the-year–hectic-ness!  Field trips, dance recitals, baseball games, school carnivals….STOP!  I need to come up for air!

I’m always so glad to see the end of the school year, not just because I’ll no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to rouse children that are dead to the world, but also because after the stressful month of May I just need to decompress.

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Barefoot Bloggers Croque Monsieur

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Not the most photogenic sandwich in the world, but soooo rich and cheesy.

The Barefoot Bloggers pick this week comes from Kathy of All Food Considered.  This French sandwich recipe appears in Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook.  It’s basically a seriously over-the-top grilled cheese.  Dijon, ham, Gruyere, and a white sauce with more cheese makes ONE SERIOUS SANDWICH.  Not necessarily something you would just throw together everyday, but after you make it once, you know it won’t be the last.

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Barefoot Bloggers Chinese Chicken Salad

bb-chinese-chicken-salad

Today I received an email from my best friend/college roommate saying she joined Facebook and that I should “get my butt on there, girl!”  Apparently, she has recently joined and reunited with all our sorority sisters, her high school graduating class, her first boyfriend in kindergarten – well, maybe not him (yet).

I have other friends who are on it, too, but I just can’t bring myself to put it all out there like that.  I know, I know, you can choose who can see your page, and refuse to be “friends”, but this is a Southern girl you’re talking to and we don’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings, you know?

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Not So Guilty Pleasure Black Bean Nachos

black-bean-nachos

Most of the time I try to cook and eat wholesome, homemade food.  I try to avoid a lot of processed foods, additives and preservatives.  But when it comes to stadium food, my will power goes out the door.  I’m a sucker for hot dogs, peanuts, nachos, popcorn and pretzels.  These things just don’t taste the same at home, good thing.

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Barefoot Bloggers Tomato And Goat Cheese Tarts

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Let’s just get something out of the way right now, before going any further.  I have a serious love for food, and I don’t discriminate.  If you read through all these posts, you would definitely notice the words I LOVE in probably every one.

My kids have been into this game lately where they say, “If you had to choose between chocolate and cake, which would you choose?”, “How about cake or ice cream?”, or “If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?”.  They can’t seem to understand when I say I don’t know, that for Mommy, this is the hardest question in the world.  I just can’t choose favorites when it comes to food. It would be like choosing between my children.

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No Cereal Bar Charleston Shrimp

shrimp salad

My husband’s favorite food is cereal.  He could eat it for every meal and snack, with a little chocolate thrown in for good measure, and never get tired of it.  Doesn’t allow me much room for creativity, does it?

Thankfully, he is willing to change it up at dinnertime and eat what I cook.  Lucky for him, he can now get his vitamins from something other than the powdered ones sprayed on his Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

His second favorite food is shrimp, which was his only request for our wedding reception (after being told we couldn’t have a cereal bar).  He loves them in any form (except jumbo) and any flavor, but loves them the most with a big helping of creamy grits.

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Muscle Building Homemade Mayo And Cashew Curry Chicken Salad

cashew chicken salad

I was inspired to make my own mayonnaise this weekend.  Let me tell you, it was TOUGH ON THE FOREARM.  You have to whisk, whisk, whisk, the whole time you are S-L-O-W-L-Y adding the oil.  A cup and a half of oil didn’t seem like a lot to whisk at first, but I think it multiplied while I was working!  The kitchen got a little shower of oil when I found out I’m not quite as coordinated with my left hand.  It makes me wonder whether you could make it work in the ol’ Kitchenaid.  I’m trying that next time.

We don’t really use much mayonnaise in my house, actually, I’m the only one who eats it and not that often.  The husband has sworn it off, along with Chinese fast food and pretty much lunch altogether (it’s a lot like this).  I don’t tell him it’s in the pimento cheese.

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My Grandmother Was Green Peanut Noodle Salad

peanut noodle salad

My Grandmother was green.

Not the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba Thropp kind of green, but the eco-friendly, earth-preserving kind of green.  She kept her thermostat turned way down in the winter and way up in the summer (if on at all).  She never let the water run while washing the dishes.  She hung her clothes on a clothes line.  She re-used plastic wrap and aluminum foil.  She had a garden that grew a lot of her food.  She used her coffee grounds and egg shells in her flower garden.  And she never threw away food.

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Parts Is Parts Venison Stew

Venison Stew

My husband is a hunter.  It’s his hobby, pastime, passion.  He brings home the bacon in both senses.  And I like the idea of getting some of our meat from the wild instead of a grocery store.

I was raised, however, in the era of the cleaned and washed, plastic wrapped, part-labeled meat package.  Very neat and tidy with no confusion as to what piece of meat you have.  To my dismay, the person who does the packaging of the meat my husband brings him is not too concerned with which part is which, there are no labels at all.  Obviously, to him “parts is parts”.

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Rapper GP Turkey Olive Panini

Olive Turkey Panini

We have what I call a small zoo at our house.  Two dogs, a bunny and a guinea pig that all eat, drink and make waste, to put it mildly.  The kids have to be reminded quite often who these animals belong to and whose responsibility they are.  We have threatened to give away said animals quite often, also.  But as I was looking through my photos this weekend, I discovered that the animals do find a way to get a little attention.  This was just too funny not to share. Continue reading