Saturday, October 9, 2010

Caprese Pizza with Bresaola






Over the last 6 months or so Udi's brand gluten free items have started showing up in grocery stores in my area.  If you are gf and haven't tried their stuff, you definitely should.  They make the only gf bread I have found that doesn't need to be toasted.  One of their products is a frozen pizza crust.  Here is my first test with the crust, enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • Pizza
    • Udi's frozen pizza crust
    • Fresh Basil
    • Bresaola (awesome, like prosciutto made with beef tenderloin!)
    • Heirloom Tomatoes
    • Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
    • Black Pepper
    • Garlic Salt
    • Olive Oil
  • Soup
    • Amy's Tomato Bisque
    • Black Pepper
    • Fresh Basil


Procedure:
This pizza was really easy.  I used no sauce and just layered the ingredients from in the order they are listed above, except for the olive oil which was drizzled on just before serving.  I followed the baking instructions on the Udi's package, total time to make was about 10-15 minutes.  While it was baking I heated up some Amy's tomato soup as a side, so the dinner was kind of de-constructed since the pizza had no sauce.  The soup was garnished with black pepper and fresh basil.


Resulting Deliciousness:
This was a really quick, easy, and delicious meal.  Using a pre-made crust and soup is certainly not cooking from scratch, which I think is the most fun.  But for a quick light meal after work, this can't really be beat.  Bresaola can be found at specialty cheese and charcuterie shops, delis, and some grocery stores.  It is a delicious cured meat, very similar to prosciutto, but made from lean beef tenderloin instead of pork.  It crisped up while baking on the pizza and added a huge amount of flavor.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Roast Chicken with Celery Root



I haven't roasted fowl in quite some time, so I decided to roast some chicken. I added my favorite starchy vegetable, celery root, and some broccoli and herbs from our CSA.

Ingredients:
  • Roast Chicken
  • Rub
    • Ground mustard
    • Garlic salt
    • Paprika
    • Smoked Paprika
    • Celery Salt
    • Black Pepper
    • Cayenne Pepper
    • Kosher Salt
    • Honey
  • Celery Root
  • Broccoli
  • Shallots
  • Thyme
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Oregano
  • Lime
  • Apple Cider

Procedure:
First, I mixed up the rub - mostly mustard, then less of the other spices. I added about 2 tablespoons of honey to make it a wet rub rather than a dry rub. The honey also caramelizes and burns easily at oven temperatures. The honey plus the crustiness that mustard based rubs provide means this bird will be dark in color and will have a skin that feels thicker than usual and crispy.

After cutting up the garlic scapes, celery root, and shallots, I put them in the bottom of a baking pan with a chicken roasting rack and seasoned with salt and pepper. I then stuffed the chicken with the herbs and slices of lime. I worked the rub into the chicken and placed it on the roasting rack breast down. I added a little apple cider so the vegetables would have some moisture.

Everything went in the oven at 450 for about 50 minutes total. About 30 minutes through I flipped the chicken to allow the breast skin to brown. After removing it from the oven, I covered it with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Resulting Deliciousness:
I got just what I was going for with the bird. The skin was thick and crispy and flavorful. The pictures make it look burnt, but there was no burnt taste. The meat underneath was extremely moist thanks to the lime and upside down roasting. Roasting fowl breast down helps keep the breast moist and flavorful. This is because most of the fat in chickens is near the back and around the dark meat. Roasting breast down allows that fat to run down over and through the breast instead of straight out of the chicken. Any citrus is great to stuff a bird with. I like a sliced up lime for chicken, or an orange or two for a turkey. The moisture and flavor really makes a difference.

The roasted vegetables were very flavorful, but just a bit greasy. This is a risk when you roast vegetables under a chicken or other meat. The fat from the chicken adds lots of flavor, but if there is too much it can backfire. For that reason, they are often roasted separately. You can also strain the vegetables right after roasting, but I didn't think to do that. This is less of a problem for vegetables that benefit from soaking up moisture and fat, like potatoes. But, celery root is less porous and can't handle as much fat. Everything tasted great, but the excess fat on the vegetables definitely took away from the dish.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tempeh and Pac Choy Stir Fry


We got some pac choy and garlic scapes from our CSA. So, we threw them together with some tempeh, onion, and ginger. Served over some brown rice, it was a good, light, quick meal.

Ingredients:
  • Tempeh
  • Pac Choy
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Onion
  • Ginger
  • Brown Rice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Soy Sauce
  • Olive Oil

Procedure:
This was a simple one. I just cut up the ingredients, stir fried them starting with onion and garlic scapes, then ginger, then pac choy last. Served over brown rice.

Resulting Deliciousness:
The stir fry was nice, light, and healthy. The garlic scapes were overcooked and should have been added later with the pac choy. I'm new to garlic scapes, and evidently they lose a good bit of their flavor when cooked well.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cucumber Braised Chicken Breast




Soooo...... miss me? Somehow, over a year has gone by since I posted anything to this, my little cooking blog. I haven't stopped cooking, and I haven't stopped taking pictures of my food, I just got out of the habit of writing things down. Since my last post, I've basically got a whole new life - I bought a house, I have an amazing girlfriend (who happened to come with an awesome dog), and I've got two nieces or nephews on the way. I hope to get back in the habit of posting something roughly every week. Now, to the food!

Today was the first pickup for the CSA we joined this summer, Bull Run Mountain Farm (http://www.bullrunfarm.com/). If you aren't aware, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. When you join, you are buying a share in a local farm. You pay a lump sum up front and get a weekly share of the farm's crop for the season. It is a great way to support small local farms, be more aware of where your food is coming from, and get amazing produce that blows away the best grocery store food.

Tonight I made a sauce using cucumber, oregano, and garlic scapes from the CSA. I braised some chicken breasts in the sauce and made some brown rice and a salad to go with it.
Ingredients:
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Butter
  • Braising Sauce
    • 1 sprig fresh Oregano from CSA
    • 1/2 cup Cucumber from CSA
    • 4 Garlic Scapes from CSA
    • Paprika
    • 3/4 cup Half and Half
    • Kosher Salt
    • Black Pepper
  • Salad
    • Two kinds of lettuce from the CSA
    • Heirloom tomatoes (from a farmers market, not the CSA)
    • Fresh Basil from the CSA
    • Fresh Mozzarella
    • Black Pepper
    • Balsamic Vinegar
    • Olive Oil
    • Pickled red peppers
  • Brown Rice

Procedure:
This was a pretty quick, simple meal. I made the sauce by blending the ingredients until smooth. I started the chicken breast by seasoning it with black pepper and searing it in a cast iron skillet in butter. Once both sides were lightly seared, I lowered the heat and added the sauce. I braised the chicken for about 10 minutes, keeping it simmering and turning them halfway through. For the salad, I just washed the lettuce and threw on the other ingredients. I then served the chicken over a bread of brown rice.

Resulting Deliciousness:
This was a very nice, light and fresh meal. Cucumber is a very mild and fresh flavor and it came out better than I hoped. I figured the garlic scapes might overwhelm it, but the flavor was very balanced. I ended up adding some of the sauce over the chicken because the flavor didn't penetrate particularly far. The sauce definitely kicked it up a notch. The salad was great, very simple, very good flavors. All in all, a good, health, and quick meal.