Steak Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Months and month ago now, I went out to dinner with some former co-workers at a restaurant/slash bar here in CT (Eli’s on Whitney for those who are local/interested). One of my friends got a seriously amazing looking steak salad, which totally gave me entree envy. My dinner was good, but hers looked so delicious that I just could not get it out of my head. This salad was composed of greens, candied walnuts, craisins, gorgonzola cheese, Granny Smith apples, and was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, and she had it topped with a perfectly cooked steak. I still have yet to have this specific salad, but I knew then and there that I would be putting steak salad on my dinner planning menu in the near future. Now, I knew Ron would not be thrilled about the craisins or apples in the salad (he’s not generally a fan of fruit, and especially not a fruit+meat person), but I knew he’d love the idea of steak in any form, so when I saw this salad in Rachel Ray’s magazine I immediately put it on our menu. She uses spinach and watercress in her version of this salad, but I decided to go with a more general baby greens mix, and I also changed out the Petit Filets for a more budget-friendly cut of beef. This salad turned out so well, that we immediately put in on the menu for the following week, and now looking at the pictures I wish I had the ingredients to make it again tonight.

Steak Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Steak Salad with Bacon Bits and Blue Cheese
Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 slices bacon
2 lbs steak (Petit Filets are suggested, but use your favorite tender cut- I used sirloin tip steak and cut it very thinly against the grain)
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (you could use Sherry, champagne or red wine vinegar as well)
8 cups salad greens (I like using a mix that contains baby spinach)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup blue cheese crumbles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a grill, or heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean up), place bacon on sheet, and cook for 15-18 minutes. When cooked, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of excess fat. Crumble when slightly cooled.

3. Season steak with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Cook on grill or skillet until cooked through to your liking. The timing will depend on the type of steak used, but for a petit filet, about 4-5 minutes per side will cook it to about medium-rare. Let rest for 5-10 minutes once cooked, and then slice against the grain very thinly.

4. In a small bowl, or salad dressing mixer (pretty sure that’s not the real name of that haha), whisk together the lemon juice, garlic clove, mustard and vinegar. Slowly stream and whisk in the olive oil if doing this in a bowl, otherwise just add the olive oil and shake to combine, or use the salad dressing plunger.

5. Place about 2 cups of greens on each plate, split sliced steak, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, and sliced red onion evenly among the plates, and top with dressing.

Source: EveryDay with Rachel Ray, May 2014

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Crab Cakes

Hello everyone! Long time no see!!!! I’m so happy to be back, and I’m really hoping to be back on here regularly from now on. I have many excuses for my absense… sickness, bridal shower planning… but I really do miss this space here. I have been cooking of course- despite how busy I’ve been I would never be able to stay away from my kitchen (except during my horrible flu/cold that I had). I still haven’t finished sharing my vacation recipes. Shame on me!!! This was probably the best thing i cooked on vacation. Blue crabs are in abundance down in the Chincoteague area, and while we didn’t catch our own this year, we did buy a bunch of local crabs. The first night we just ate them as is- steamed, and then we made crab cakes and a crab frittata with the leftovers. I love that we had an abundance of crab… this is the only place I’ve ever been able to say that. At first I was going to just make veggie-filled crab cakes. My aunt Annmarie and I made the best crab and veggie cakes one year when we were vacationing on Cape Cod, and these were my attempt to make something similar. I REALLY need to get that recipe! My dad however, likes the simple crab-only crab cakes. So I decided to make both…. and then I threw some jalapenos and Old Bay into a few too. I have to say my favorite were the veggie-filled crab cakes with the inclusion of the jalapeno and Old Bay seasoning. So much flavor!!!!

Simple Crab Cakes

Makes about 8-10 small crab cakes

Ingredients:

1 lb lump crab

1/2 cup cracker crumbs (I used Trader Joe’s Mulitgrain crackers- you could use those, ritz, or a similar type of crackers)

1 egg

2-4 Tbsp Mayonnaise

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 Jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced (optional)

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (optional)

Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp canola oil, more if needed (or other higher heat oil)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise(start with the smaller amount) and Dijon. Add the crab meat, cracker crumbs, jalapeno and Old Bay (if using) and season with salt and pepper, and gently mix together.

2. Carefully form your crab cakes. If they are having a hard time staying together you can add more mayo as needed. It helps if you wet your hands slightly. Place on a plate, and refrigerate for at least half an hour (this will help them firm up).

3. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of canola oil. When hot, add your crab cakes, making sure not to crowd the pan. You will have to fry them in 2 or 3 batches. Cook 4-5 minutes per side, until browned. Add additional oil to pan as needed between batches.

Source: Original recipe, but inspired by many recipes around the web

Vegetable Filled Crab Cakes

Makes about 10-12 small crab cakes

Ingredients:

1/4 red pepper, finely diced

1/4 green pepper, finely diced

1/4 summer squash, grated

1/4 red onion, finely diced)

1 Tbsp olive oil or butter

1 lb lump crab meat

1/2 cup cracker crumbs, crushed (I used Trader Joe’s Mulitgrain crackers- you could use those, ritz, or a similar type of crackers)

1 egg

2-4 Tbsp Mayonnaise

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 Jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced (optional)

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (optional)

Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp canola oil, more if needed (or other higher heat oil)

Directions:

1. Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil or butter. When hot, add the bell peppers, summer squash and red onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and saute until softened, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise(start with the smaller amount) and Dijon. Add the crab meat, cracker crumbs, jalapeno and Old Bay (if using), sauteed vegetables and season with salt and pepper, and gently mix together.

3. Carefully form your crab cakes. If they are having a hard time staying together you can add more mayo as needed. It helps if you wet your hands slightly. Place on a plate, and refrigerate for at least half an hour (this will help them firm up).

4. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of canola oil. When hot, add your crab cakes, making sure not to crowd the pan. You will have to fry them in 2 or 3 batches. Cook 4-5 minutes per side, until browned. Add additional oil to pan as needed between batches.

Source: Original recipe, but inspired by many recipes around the web, and my Aunt Annmarie’s Crab Cakes

Chicken Cobb Salad

Do you ever feel like you need to get some vegetables into your body, stat?! I do! Especially after many indulgences in a row, my body just craves veggies! This is a great way to incorporate vegetables into a meal in a guy-friendly way. I think a hearty salad that has the good stuff, but also some chicken, bacon and cheese is the perfect way to get my boyfriend to eat his vegetables, and be happy about it!  This classic salad was so tasty, and also very beautiful looking! Of course, when you eat it it becomes jumbled like any normal salad, but at least for a couple of minutes it looks so orderly and elegant! … and now I’m really inspired to try some other variations on the Cobb salad like this one, this one and this one.

Chicken Cobb Salad

Chicken Cobb Salad

Serves 4

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled

2 hard-boiled eggs

1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded

1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat broiler, place oven rack 6-inches from top. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet. Broil for 4-8 minutes until lightly browned. Flip chicken over, and broil for 6-8 minutes more, until chicken is fully cooked. Let cool until they can be handled. Chop into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the lettuce with the dressing.

3. To assemble salads, place a serving of lettuce on each plate, and then arrange the chicken, eggs, bacon, cheese, avocado, and tomato on top of the lettuce in rows.

Source: adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook and Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

 

Good Stuff Melts

Last winter, Ron and I visited my brother and his fiancee (Jeremy and Michelle) down in the Washington, D.C. area. We were able to fit in a lot in the two days we were there, including seeing a lot of the amazing monuments around the city, visiting the National Cathedral, and visiting the Museum of American History. We also were able to eat at some great restaurants, including Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery. Despite being extremely crowded, and having to eat standing up at a small counter, it was well worth the visit. Our burgers were awesome, the toasted marshmallow shake was incredible, and the village fries (fries tossed with rosemary, thyme and sea salt) sold there were some of the best I’ve ever had.

Several months later I received The Good Stuff Cookbook from Jeremy and Michelle. It is one of those cookbooks where I seriously want to make pretty much every recipe in the cookbook. There are recipes for the amazing salads, burgers, fries, and shakes sold at the restaurant, among other things. I really want to make the village fries at some point, but I have to gear myself up for actually frying something in my kitchen. The burgers seemed a little more approachable, and while there are some additional steps for the burgers, such as making homemade sauce, toppings, and then the technique of wrapping the burger is wax paper before eating, they really are not hard to make at all. These are definitely the best burgers I’ve made myself, in my kitchen, and I can’t wait to try the other recipes as well.

Good Stuff Melts

Good Stuff Melts

Makes 4 burgers

Ingredients:

20 oz. (1.25 lbs) ground sirloin

4 potato buns

1/4 cup canola oil

2 cups Spanish onions, thinly sliced

4 slices Muenster cheese

4 slices Cheddar cheese

Perfectly Roasted Wild Mushrooms (recipe follows)

About 1/2 cup Good Stuff Sauce (recipe follows)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Make patties by rolling 5 oz. ground sirloin into a ball, and then flattening it into a patty. Place the patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

2. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add oil. Add the onions, and stir around so that they are coated with the oil. Cook about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have browned and caramelized. Remove the onions from the pan, and place them in a bowl.

3. Season the patties with salt and pepper, and place the patties in the now empty skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes* on one side, and then flip and cook for 3 minutes. Then place a slice of each cheese, some mushrooms, and some caramelized onions on each patty, and cook for about 2 minutes more. Cover with the lid, and cook for 30 seconds more, until the cheese melts.

4. While the burgers are cooking, toast your potato buns. Heat the broiler, butter the buns, and place them face up on a cookie sheet. Place under the broiler for just a few seconds. Check every few seconds as they go from perfect to burnt quickly.

5. To assemble the patty melts, place a patty on a bun bottom, put on some of the good stuff sauce, place the top on the bun on, and wrap in a square of wax paper. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. This will allow the bun to absorb some flavor from the patty and the toppings. Eat and enjoy!

*The amount of time you cook it depends on how well-done you like your burger.

Perfectly Roasted Wild Mushrooms

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

12 oz mixed wild mushrooms (i.e. shiitake, oyster, and chanterelle)

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter

3/4 bunch fresh thyme, chopped

1 garlic clove, sliced

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes, until the liquid is released. Add 3/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, and cook about 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are browned.

2. Add the butter, thyme, and garlic and cook about 5 minutes more. Add remaining salt and pepper.

*The directions here are a bit different than what the cookbook says to do as it has you cook the mushrooms over high heat the entire time. I did that, and my mushrooms burned, even cutting down the cooking time. That said, maybe it was my stove misbehaving and not the directions. In either case, I don’t think cooking the mushrooms on a lower temperature will do any damage, it might just take a little longer.

Good Stuff Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 large egg*

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup grapeseed oil

1 Tbsp ketchup

1 Tbsp molasses

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Add the egg, mustard, vinegar, and salt to a blender or food processor. Blend for 30 seconds in a food processor, or 10 seconds in a blender.  With the motor running, slowly add the oil, in a thin, steady stream, until the mixture is smooth. Stop to taste and adjust thickness if needed. If too thick, add a little hot water, and blend. If too thin, blend for a bit longer. Stop here and you have a basic mayonnaise!!

2. Now add the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, and salt. Blend until combined. You can refrigerate this in an airtight container up to a week.

*This does contain raw egg. If you are skeeved out by this, or have a weak immune system, you can skip making the homemade mayonnaise portion and just use pre-made (I recommend Hellman’s). To do this, just mix 1 cup mayonnaise with the ketchup, molasses, rice vinegar and salt until combined.

Source: barely adapted from The Good Stuff Cookbook

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

Buffalo chicken has to be one of my favorite foods ever…. and of course it’s one of my boyfriend’s favorites! I love it in pretty much any incarnation, whether it be the classic buffalo chicken wings, or a twist on the classic, such as a topping on a pizza, inside egg rolls, in potato skins, etc. If it has buffalo chicken in the title, it can pretty much be guaranteed that I’ll try it.  When this recipe popped up on Smells Like Home a month ago, I immediately put it at the top of my “make after this detox” list. Ron was all for it because even though it’s a healthy salad, buffalo chicken makes everything exciting!

The buffalo chicken in this recipe is baked, which cuts the guilt down even further. It’s breaded in a toasted panko breadcrumb coating, and baked on a wire rack, which ensures that the chicken will stay crispy, rather than soggy.  The creamy avocado ranch dressing is a perfect accompaniment to the salad, although if you wanted, you could certainly serve it with a regular ranch or blue cheese dressing. I will most definitely be making this regularly. Ron has already requested a repeat of this meal, and I will be fulfilling that request soon.

Buffalo Chicken Salad
Serves 2-4 (Depending on how hungry you are!)

Ingredients:
1 recipe buffalo chicken (recipe follows)
Avocado ranch dressing (recipe follows)
Lettuce
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Blue, feta or cheddar cheese
Crumbled bacon(optional)
Scallions or red onions (optional)
Celery (optional)

Directions:
1. Assemble individual salads. Place buffalo chicken on top. Drizzle dressing over salad.

Buffalo Chicken
Ingredients:
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
3 large egg whites
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Dijon or whole grain mustard
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
Cooking spray
1 lb chicken tenderloins ( or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch strips
1 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot Original)
3 Tbsp salted butter

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, and place a wire rack on the sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add canola oil and breadcrumbs. Toss together and stir until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a shallow dish or pie plate when toasted.
3. In a second dish or pie plate, stir together the flour, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper, if using. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, mustard and thyme.
4. To prepare chicken, dredge each piece in the flour mixture, then the egg whites, then the breadcrumbs. Place on the prepared wire rack on the baking sheet. When all the chicken is coated, spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. (I highly recommend getting an oil mister- that way you can use your own oil, without all the other ingredients that the cooking spray usually contains.)
5. Place the chicken in the oven and make for 10-12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, and the coating is golden brown.
6. While the chicken cooks, place the butter and the wing sauce in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until the butter is melted. Whisk together to combine.
7. When chicken is cooked, dredge each piece carefully in the buffalo sauce to coat.

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 avocado, removed from skin and diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Up to 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 small bunch of chives, or 1 scallion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Place avocado, mayonnaise, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, 1/4 cup buttermilk, chives (or scallions), parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, in a blender. Blend for about 10 seconds. Scrape down side, add more buttermilk if desired to change consistency, and blend until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Smells Like Home

Buffalo Chicken Previously: Buffalo Chicken Melts

Here are some other buffalo chicken recipes from around the web that I’d love to try!
Buffalo Chicken Monkey Bread (Confections of a Foodie Bride)
Buffalo Chicken Bites (Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls (Smells Like Home)
Buffalo Chicken Sliders (Country Cleaver)
30-Minute Buffalo Chicken French Breads (How Sweet It Is)

Halibut with Roasted Beets

When I first looked at the title and ingredients in this recipe, I was hesitant. Halibut? Good! Spinach? Good! Beets? Goooood! But together? I wasn’t so sure. I’ve have never thought of beets and seafood going together. I persevered though, as I was determined to try every recipe in this cleanse, and I was having fun trying recipes that I normally would have passed over because they sounded boring, or were something that I knew Ron wouldn’t eat. Luckily, this recipe proved to be a winner. The combination of the mild fish, the sweet beets, and the spinach proved to be a really tasty combination! I used cod in place of halibut due to price, but any similar fish would do. I served this over brown rice because I wanted my meal to be a little more substantial, but you could serve it without any accompaniment, or serve it with any other whole grain. I imagine it would go well with quinoa, or farro, or whatever whole grain you happen to have on hand.

Halibut with Roasted Beets
Serves 1


Ingredients:
2 cups chopped spinach (or Kale or Swiss Chard)
1/2 cup roasted beets, diced*
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 5-oz skinless halibut filet (or similar fish such as cod, flounder, sole or tilapia)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small baking dish, toss together the spinach, beets, olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Whisk together the mustard and olive oil in a small bowl. Season the fish with salt and pepper, lay the fish on the beets and greens, and spread the mustard mixture on top of the fish. Cover with foil and bake 20-25 min until fish is cooked through.
3. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
Source: Whole Living, January/February 2013

*To roast beets, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the beets in foil. Then roast for about an hour, until tender. Let cool off, and then dice.

Grilled Pizza

Hey guys, long time no see!!!   I’m so sorry for the lack of posting recently.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, I definitely have, but I guess I’ve been lacking the drive to sit at the computer.  I’m going to blame the heat the last few weeks… easy excuse, right?  Anyway, I thought that tonight I’d post one of the delicious recipes I’ve made lately from my new favorite cookbook- Gourmet Today.  I’ve found so many great recipes so far, and I’m dying to make many many more.  There are seriously hundreds of recipes that jumped out at me when I read through the cookbook.  I am going on vacation tomorrow, down to Virginia, but when I get back I am hoping that my relaxing vacation reinspires me to jump back into blogging.

As you know from the title, this is a recipe for grilled pizza.  Before I made these, I’d never made any kind of pizza, but after seeing how awesome these came out I’ve been dreaming up many more pizza combos I’d love to try out.  I used the basic dough recipe from Gourmet Today, but obviously cooked it on the grill instead of the oven, and while I’d describe it more as “flatbready” I suppose, it was super-awesome.  I made 4 mini-pizza with 2 types of toppings- the first, a caramelized onion and mushroom pizza was amazing, and the second, a BLT pizza was just as good, but more of a summery pizza.  The caramelized onion and mushroom I’d consider a year-round pizza.  Both were incredible.

Basic Pizza Dough

Ingredients:
1 (1/4-ounce) package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
About 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dredging
3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
Directions:
1. In a measuring cup, stir together the yeast, 1 tbsp flour, and 1/4 cup warm water.  Let sit about 5 minutes, until the surface appears creamy- if this doesn’t happen, discard and try again with new yeast.)
2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/4 cup flour and salt.  Add the yeast mixture, olive oil, and remaining 1/2 cup warm water.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough comes away from the side of the bowl.  
3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface, with lightly floured hands, for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth, soft and elastic.  If the surface, or your hands become sticky, add more flour.  Form the kneaded dough into a ball, place in a lightly floured large bowl, dust the dough with flour, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Leave to rise in a warm, draft free place for 1 1/4 hours, until the dough doubles its size.
4. Once the dough is risen, carefully dredge in flour to coat, and transfer to a lightly floured work surface.  **Do not punch the dough down**  
5. At this point, you can either make one large 14-inch pizza, or smaller individual ones- I made 4 mini-pizzas.  Either way, carefully hold the dough with the bottom surface touching your work surface, and move the dough around with both hands as if holding a steering wheel, letting the weight of the dough stretch into a round.  Once to your desired size, place the round on a lightly floured surface, and work the edges with your fingers to get it to the desired size.
6.  Once formed, your dough is ready to top, bake or grill, depending on which recipe you are using for toppings.
** To grill, heat grill to medium-high heat.  Oil the grates well!  Brush the pizzas with olive oil on each side.  Place on grill over indirect heat (not over the coals- they’ll burn fast!).   Cook about 3 minutes, covered, until the dough begins to have large bubbles on the surface, and the underside is cooked.  If you are going to be putting on a topping that will warm up/melt cheese, remove the dough round to a clean surface with the cooked side facing up, and place your cheese/toppings on.  Return to grill and cook, covered for 4-6 minutes, until the dough is cooked, and the toppings/cheese are ready.  If you are putting a topping on that does not need to be cooked (like the BLT pizza), just flip the dough round over, and cook, covered for about 4 minutes.**  (Grilled pizza instructions adapted from Annie’s Eats)
Notes:
  • You can leave the dough to rise up to a day, covered and refridgerated.  Bring it to room temperature before you shape it.
  • After rising, the dough can be frozen up to 1 month.  Thaw and bring to room temperature before shaping.
  • My pizzas were definitely not round, but they were still tasty- this is a recipe where only practice will make perfect!
  • Watch your dough closely, as it can burn quickly.  My pizzas had a little char to them, but the smokiness just added some more delicious flavor.  Too much though, and it would probably overwhelm.

Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Pizza
Makes one 14-inch pizza, or 4 individual pizzas

Ingredients:
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound yellow onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white mushrooms, or mixed wild mushrooms (such as shitake, cremini and oyster), trimmed if   necessary and sliced
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 3/4 cups coarsely grated Swiss Emmental cheese, or Gruyere (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Basic Pizza Dough (recipe above)
Directions:
1. In a 12-inch heavy skillet heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the onions, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper.  Cover directly with a round of parchment paper.  Cook until the onions are softened and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the onions to a bowl.
2. To the same skillet, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, and heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and red wine vinegar, and cook about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and any liquid is evaporated.  Remove the mushrooms from the heat. 
3. Cook one side of your pizza dough on a grill preheated over medium high heat (as detailed above).  When done, remove to a clean surface.  Top the cooked side of the dough with the Emmental or gruyere cheese.  Scatter onions and mushrooms on top, and sprinkle with Parmesan.  
4. Place back on the grill over indirect heat, and cook, covered, 4-6 minutes, until the dough is cooked, and the cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with fresh thyme.
Notes:
  • The original recipe calls for Swiss Emmental cheese, but I had some gruyere left over so I used that instead, and it turned out wonderful.  Any type of Swiss cheese would probably do just fine, depending on how strong or mild you like it. 
  • I omitted the thyme because I thought I had some, but when I went to make the pizzas realized I didn’t, but I didn’t miss it at all.  I’m sure it would’ve been good, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
  • I halved this recipe to make 2 individual pizzas.

BLT Pizza
from Annie’s Eats, dressing from Annie’s Eats and Alton Brown via foodnetwork.com
Makes 4 individual pizzas

Ingredients:
Basic pizza dough (recipe above)

For salad topping:
4 cups green leaf lettuce, or mixed greens
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (drippings from cooking reserved for dressing)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
For bacon vinaigrette:
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp bacon drippings
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar (preferably dark)
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Directions:
1. Combine the ingredients for the bacon vinaigrette in a small bowl, or salad dressing bottle, and whisk (or use handy emulsification device) to combine.
2. Combine the lettuce, tomato and onion in a large bowl, and toss to combine.  Add 1/4 cup of dressing to the salad, and toss gently to coat.  Add the bacon and feta to the salad, and toss gently to combine.
3. Make your grilled pizzas (recipe above), cooking both sides.  Top your cooked pizza dough with some of the salad mixture, and serve!
Notes:
  • This salad is great on it’s own, so if you don’t want to make pizza, or if there is leftover, eat it plain!
  • You can also use the vinaigrette to dress any salad…. In Alton Brown’s original recipe he uses basically double the amount, and tops 2 quartered heads of radicchio.  For quantities for his recipe go here!
  • This is one of the most refreshing summery pizzas I’ve ever had, and although topping a pizza with salad may seem a bit unusual, I can’t wait to make some other summery salad pizzas.