Salmon Picnic Empanadas

No matter what the stuffing or style is, love for the empanada is not a difficult one to understand. They are cheap, easy to eat, transportable, and versatile.

Empanadas look as good as they taste; perfect food for a picnic. Eating outdoors, spaced apart is probably one of the safest ways to gather during the ongoing pandemic crisis. The great thing about picnicking is that you can do it practically anywhere you can throw a blanket down. If you can’t make it to a park or field, your yard, porch or any flat surface with a little grass (or sand), some sun (& shade) will do.

Empanadas can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can be served as appetizers or snacks (hot or cold), but they can easily make a full and satisfying main course.

The very basics for an empanada are a combination of three things; dough, filling and a cooking method. The dough can be made from wheat flour, cornmeal, mashed plantains, potatoes, yuca, sweet potatoes etc. and the fillings can consist of meat, fish or vegetables. The cooking method is usually to be baked or fried although some can be cooked on a griddle or grill.

According to food historians, empanadas with seafood filling first appeared in a 1520 cookbook, published during the Moorish invasions.

I was real interested to see what I could do to make some salmon empanadas taste special. We found they were good as a hot meal served with the remaining ‘sauce’ or eaten COLD for a picnic lunch.

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Salmon Picnic Empanadas
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6 inch EMPANADAS
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6 inch EMPANADAS
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Instructions
Cornmeal Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or finger tips, cut in butter until mixture resembles both coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. Do NOT overwork dough.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour.
Soy Sauce
  1. In a skillet, melt butter & sprinkle with flour. Allow to cook for a few minutes. In a bowl, whisk together broth, milk & soy sauce. Slowly add to flour/butter mixture, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Remove from skillet & set aside.
Filling
  1. In the skillet, sauté salmon filet in 1 Tbsp oil until JUST cooked. Remove to a dish. With a fork, 'shred' salmon; set aside.
  2. In the skillet, sauté vegetables in remaining Tbsp of oil for a couple of minutes. Add seasonings, shredded salmon, 1/3 cup prepared soy sauce & grated cheddar. Toss to combine; set aside to cool.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Divide chilled pastry into 10 balls. Roll each one in cornmeal. Place a ball between 2 sheets of plastic wrap & roll into a 6-inch circle.
  2. Divide filling into 10 portions. Place a portion on one side of the pastry circle, leaving about a 1/2-inch border (on filled side). With your fingertips, moisten edge of pastry with a bit of milk or water. Flip opposite side over filling & press edges together to enclose it well. Use a fork to make the classic look.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Repeat with remaining pastry & filling. Lay empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until pastry is baked & slightly browned.

Pulled Turkey Pizza w/ Rhubarb Chutney

In a time when people chatted over the fence rather than the internet, backyards had rhubarb patches. The big, old-fashioned plant with its huge ruffled green leaves is easy to grow and its extremely hardy. The same roots can produce rhubarb for up to 15 years. Pioneer women smuggled rhubarb cuttings across the plains, even though they were not supposed to take anything worth less than a dollar a pound because of the crowded covered wagon conditions.

Most often we cloak rhubarb in sugar for cake, cheesecake or pies. This recipe shifts rhubarb to the savory side, a chutney that is fabulous in pulled turkey pizza. This pizza concept changes up the usual tomato sauce base with a spiced rhubarb chutney. Chutney is good with pretty much everything and takes on unexpected flavors when paired with different foods.

This pizza was an experiment that turned out to be amazing with the combination of salty and sweet. The addition of a potato crust and some caramelized onions, what’s not to like?! Of course, you have to start with being a rhubarb lover.

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Pulled Turkey Pizza w/ Rhubarb Chutney
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Ingredients
Rhubarb Chutney
Caramelized Onions
Potato Pizza Crust
Pulled Turkey
  • 250 gm pulled turkey Either slow roast some turkey thighs or pick up at a deli counter already cooked
Servings
SLICES
Ingredients
Rhubarb Chutney
Caramelized Onions
Potato Pizza Crust
Pulled Turkey
  • 250 gm pulled turkey Either slow roast some turkey thighs or pick up at a deli counter already cooked
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Instructions
Rhubarb Chutney
  1. In a large heavy pot, combine sugar, vinegar, ginger, cumin, cinnamon & pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add rhubarb & onion; increase heat to medium high & cook until rhubarb is tender & mixture thickens. Cool completely. (I prefer to make this a day ahead).
Caramelized Onions
  1. In a skillet, heat oil until hot. Add onion & sprinkle with salt. Cook & stir about 15 minutes or until moisture has evaporated & onion is soft. Reduce heat; sprinkle with vinegar. Cook & stir until golden. Add brown sugar, stirring until caramel brown in color. Remove from heat & cool. ( I prefer to make these a day ahead as well).
Potato Pizza Crust
  1. Cook potato in microwave, peel, mash & cool.
  2. Combine yeast with lukewarm water & allow to sit about 3 minutes until foamy. Add butter, salt, sour cream & potato; mix well.
  3. Stir in flour until completely blended. Turn onto lightly floured work surface. Knead dough until elastic & smooth. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap & allow to rise in a draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Turkey & Cheese
  1. If you are slow roasting your turkey thighs its best to have done this a day ahead so you had ample time to 'pull' the meat. Shred the cheese & set aside.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll or press potato dough into a 16-inch circle. Transfer dough (& paper) to a 14-inch pizza pan.
  3. Carefully spread 1 1/3 cups rhubarb chutney over bottom of pizza crust. Sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese.
  4. Layer with the pulled turkey meat & caramelized onions. Top with remaining grated cheese & bake 15-20 minutes or until crust is baked & cheese is melted. Remove from oven; cool slightly & slice.
Recipe Notes
  • When I slow roasted my turkey thighs for this pizza I used a covered roasting pan. To give them a nice flavor I poured a bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing over them. They were super tender & so flavorful, perfect for this pizza.
  • Alternatively, you can purchase the meat (either turkey or pork) as well as a pre-made pizza crust if time is of the essence.
  • We have also tried this pizza with pulled pork.
  • Any extra rhubarb chutney will come in handy for another kind of meal.

Roast Chicken & Stuffing Pie

Meals like pot pies are classics for a good reason which makes them the foundation for endless inspiration. When you chose to ‘reinvent’ classic dishes, you must keep some of the elements that make the dish familiar and at the same time, you want to make the dish better, not just new. Taking a new approach to an ‘old school’ dish gives a chance to appreciate what was great about the original but making it new again.

Pot pie is a comfort food favorite which I have posted on this blog in many renditions over the years. Along with chicken I have featured seafood, beef as well as some pork & oyster pot pies.

Chicken is arguably one of the most favored proteins to put on the dinner table. Its valued for its nutrition, accessibility, low cost and most importantly its extreme versatility. Poultry serves as a blank slate and flavor absorbing foundation for every type of cuisine imaginable.

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Roast Chicken & Stuffing Pie
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Sour Cream Cornmeal Pastry
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Ingredients
Sour Cream Cornmeal Pastry
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Instructions
Cornmeal Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or finger tips, cut in butter until mixture resembles both coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it.
  2. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough. Press dough into 2 disks & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Chicken Filling
  1. Dice previously roast or pan fried chicken; set aside. In a saucepan, melt oil & butter & add leek, mushrooms & garlic. Cook until fragrant & the leek has softened. Toss in the bacon & continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes; stirring to combine. Add diced roast chicken.
  2. Sprinkle with the flour & seasonings; stir to combine. Add the stock & milk. Cook to reduce the sauce as well as it thickening it. Remove from heat & transfer to a bowl to cool then refrigerate for 20 minutes. Prepare Stove Top stuffing as directed on package.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare the egg wash in a small dish.
  2. Remove pastry disks & filling from refrigerator. Allow pastry to sit for a few minutes to become workable. Roll out first disk to about 10 1/2-inches in diameter. Line a 9 1/2-inch pie dish with it. Fill case with chicken filling. Fold top inch of pastry over filling in a cupping fashion. Using about 2/3 of remaining pastry, roll it into a 9-inch diameter & place on top of filled pie.
  3. Divide remaining dough into 8 strips. Place over covered pie resembling spokes of a wheel. On alternate wedges place chicken stuffing. Use egg wash on remaining four sections & on top of the narrow pastry strips.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden & cooked through. If the top is browning too quickly, loosely cover with a layer of foil until done. Remove from oven & allow to cool somewhat before serving.

Shrimp Pierogis w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Like many recipes with folk origins, pierogi dough can be made in a variety of ways with some people using eggs & sour cream & others don’t. Making your own pierogis is actually an easier job than you might expect (just a little time consuming).

Like all ‘dumplings’, pierogis can pretty much do no wrong. They’re great as a side, as the main event or you guessed it ….. in a casserole or even dessert.

What makes it even better is that the filling possibilities are endless ….. the pierogi knows no boundaries!

Brion & I always enjoy a seafood meal. On a quest to come up with something different it occurred to me I had never put shrimp in a pierogi filling before. If it works in seafood lasagna why not a pierogis?!

Last summer I had posted a meal using a sun-dried tomato sauce. The once, incredibly popular, sun-dried tomatoes have become an underrated, ingredient that few people stock in their pantries anymore.

Sun-dried tomatoes are very versatile & can be used in unlimited ways, Because they’re dried, the flavors of the tomatoes are intensified. This sauce, with its bold & rich garlic & herb flavors was the perfect accompaniment for these shrimp pierogis. Definitely a keeper!

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Shrimp Pierogis w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
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Pierogi Dough
Shrimp Filling
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
Pierogi Dough
Shrimp Filling
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
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Instructions
Pierogi Dough ( Yield = 18)
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, beaten egg, butter & sour cream. Mix until dough comes together. On a work surface, knead dough for 3-4 minutes until elastic. Place in a plastic container with a lid & refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Shrimp Filling
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt 1 Tbsp each, oil & butter. Saute leeks, mushrooms & garlic until tender.
  2. Stir in half of the bottle of clam juice & the 1/4 cup chicken broth; bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add shrimp & 1/8 tsp pepper. Return to a boil, then reduce heat & let simmer for 4-5 minutes. Drain the filling, reserving liquid. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter. Stir in flour & mix until smooth. Gradually add in the milk & reserved liquid (from filling), while stirring constantly. Sprinkle in the rest of the salt & pepper. Bring sauce to a boil & cook for about 2 minutes until thickened, continuing to stir.
  4. Remove the sauce from heat & mix in the heavy cream & Parmesan cheese. Take about 1/3 cup of the sauce & mix it with the shrimp filling. Place remaining sauce in a bowl & set aside to be added to the SUN-DRIED TOMATO SAUCE later.
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
  1. Add oil to skillet & heat on a medium heat. Add onion & saute until it starts to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, oregano & smoked paprika.
  2. Cook for 2 minutes, while stirring, then add remaining clam juice, sea salt & RESERVED sauce. Gently combine. Set aside until pierogis are cooked & ready to serve.
Roll & Fill Pierogis
  1. Remove pierogi dough from refrigerator & cut into 18 equal pieces (about 30 gm each). Roll each piece into about a 3 1/2-inch round. Place a heaping Tbsp of shrimp filling (about 30 gm) in the middle of pierogi. Dip your finger in a bowl of water & run it along the edge of the dough. Fold pierogi in half, carefully pinching together edges to seal it completely.
Cook & Serve
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully drop pierogis in & boil until all the pierogis float to the surface & dough becomes somewhat translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Remove pierogis with a slotted spoon, making sure to let as much of the excess water drip off as possible.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a Tbsp of butter. Place drained pierogis in skillet. Do not over-crowd so that they can all lightly brown on both sides. Reheat sun-dried tomato sauce & place in a serving dish. When pierogis have fried a bit, (blot on paper towel if you wish), then add to sauce on serving dish.
Recipe Notes
  • When making the pierogis, nothing wrong with rolling out all the dough at the same time & cutting your circles with a cookie cutter. I just personally like dividing the dough so I don't have to do any re-rolling with the scraps. Just personal preference.
  • If you happened to have any filling leftover, just add it to you sun-dried tomato sauce.

Christmas Turkey Pizza

In 2019, Boston Pizza, a Canadian pizza chain created a Christmas pizza which literally consisted of a turkey dinner on top of a pizza crust.

The most notable aspect of their Christmas pizza was the ‘singing box’ it came in. The company had an advertising agency create a caroling delivery box. Using a play on ‘Carol of the Bells’, the jingle ran through the components of the holiday menu item: ‘cranberry sauce, gravy on top, turkey as well and also cheese. Why the cheese? Cause we love cheese, turkey & cheese, four kinds of cheese’.

Like those musical greeting cards that emit tinny tunes when you open them, the ‘Chorus of the Pizza’, playing box reportedly operated using a light senor device. When the box was opened, the music played, as soon as it closed, silence.

The singing box was to replicate carolers coming to your door, but it was better because they brought pizza and you didn’t have to stand awkwardly listening to people sing to you.

I’m not sure if Boston Pizza is using this kind of promotion in 2020, but based on their ad from 2019, I developed a Christmas pizza ‘copy cat’ recipe. Great taste and a nice way to use some leftover turkey.

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Christmas Turkey Pizza
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Instructions
Pizza Dough
  1. Cook potato, peel, mash & cool. In a small container, combine yeast with lukewarm water; whisk until yeast is dissolved. Let stand about 3 minutes until foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, combine yeast/water, butter, salt, sour cream & potato; mix well.
  3. Stir in flour, one cup at a time. When dough is completely blended, turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough about 5-10 minutes, until smooth & elastic. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a draft-free place until doubled in size, about an hour.
Herb Sauce
  1. In a skillet, melt butter; add herbs & cook for 2 minutes. Pour in your choice of either heavy cream OR chicken broth. Heat until hot, about 2 minutes more. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll or press dough into a 16-inch circle. Transfer with paper to either a 14-inch pizza pan or a flat baking sheet.
  3. Carefully spread the 1/2 cup herb sauce over the bottom of the pizza (leaving the outside ring without sauce). Sprinkle a bit of the cheese over sauce then layer with turkey & stuffing. Drizzle with turkey gravy & top with remaining cheese. If you prefer, brush the outside edge of the pizza ring with egg wash.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven & slice.
  5. When you are ready to serve, dot pizza with cranberry sauce or just let everyone put on their own.
Recipe Notes
  • As an alternate to the herb sauce, using 1/2 cup bottled lite Alfredo sauce w/ Parmesan cheese makes a good choice.

German Spekulatius Scones

Speculaas‘ is actually not just a flavor that’s known in the Netherlands. In Germany & Austria its called ‘spekulatius’ and in Belgium & France it s called ‘speculoos’.

I love spices and everything about them …. their history, their applications and how they can add such a depth of flavor to cooking and baking. I first became aware of this Dutch spice mix (speculaaskruiden) some years ago. It isn’t the same as British Mixed Spice or American Pumpkin Pie Spice but they are similar as they share many of the same ingredients. The smell of speculaaskruiden is amazing …. a deliciously warm and woody aroma. Making your own is not difficult but it does require about nine different spices.

In the mid 18th century, the recipe for ‘spekulatius’ made its way to Germany from Holland. The origin of the cookies name may have derived from the Latin word ‘spekulum’, signifying ‘mirror image’, which alludes to the wooden mold whose mirror image appears on the cookie.

In the course of time, many recipes using speculaas spices have been created. For many German folk, spekulatius are as much a part of Christmas as are Christmas trees. Sometimes bakers make dough three months in advance so the flavor will permeate the dough thoroughly.

As the holiday season approaches, I thought it would be nice to try incorporating the speculaas spice into some breakfast scones. I didn’t have any wooden molds so I baked them in those little sandbakkel tins I had spoke of in a blog at the end of November (Fig, Pear & Gorgonzola Tartlets). The flavor and tenderness of the scones is just amazing.

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German Spekulatius Scones
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine orange zest, sugar & spice mix. Set aside 1 Tbsp. of sugar mixture reserving it for the tops.
  3. To the remaining orange/sugar, add flour, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt; mix well. Add butter, cutting in until mixture forms fine crumbs.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs & vanilla, blending well. Add to flour mixture; stir ONLY until soft dough forms.
  5. Drop by heaping 1/4 cupful's, 2-inches apart on to baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved sugar mixture & sprinkle with almonds. Alternately you can use some baking tins as I did in which case only use a couple of Tbsp per scone.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes (for the larger size) or until scones are golden on top. Remove to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe Notes

HOMEMADE SPECULAAS SPICE MIX:   (yield: 6 Tbsp)

  • 5 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp  EACH nutmeg & cloves
  • 1/2 tsp  EACH ground aniseed, white pepper, ground coriander, ginger, cardamom & mace
  • Mix spices together & either use right away or store in an airtight jar.
  • This recipe can easily be incorporated into many recipes or just make the amount you need.

Rugelach in Six Flavors

Rugelach is an irresistible baked treat which is both delicious and versatile. So is it a pastry or a cookie? Rugelach’s unique buttery, tender dough wrapped around any variety of tasty fillings seems to straddle the line.

Traditionally, rugelach was made with yeast dough but the pastry has evolved and is now made with cream cheese which is both quicker and easier to make. The cream cheese dough was first used by North American bakers in the 1940’s, and now forms the staple of the modern rugelach we know today.

At this time of year it is a good idea to have rugelach in your entertaining ‘tool box’. Make some up when you have the time and tuck away in the freezer. At a moments notice, flick on the oven, put them on a baking sheet and bake. Fresh pastries …. just like that!

I recall my mother making endless kinds of cookies for the Christmas season. It seems, especially in the European countries, the baking of cookies for Christmas was the barometer of domestic excellence. Baking six kinds normally would generate applause, 12 kinds was regarded with such awe that it was like announcing you had just climbed Mount Everest in high heels.

I thought I’d go for six kinds …. of course when you can use the same cookie dough for 5 or 6 different fillings I suppose that is cheating a bit!

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Rugelach in Six Flavors
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Course dessert
Cuisine Jewish
Keyword Rugelach
Servings
COOKIES
Course dessert
Cuisine Jewish
Keyword Rugelach
Servings
COOKIES
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Rating: 5
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Instructions
  1. Using a food processor, add flour & salt to bowl & pulse briefly to combine. Cut in butter & cream cheese & add along with sour cream. Pulse just until dough forms chunks. You can also make the dough by hand quite easily if a processor is not available.
  2. Divide the dough into six equal portions, about 250 gm each. Press each gently into a disk. Make the disks as round as possible, smoothing their edges. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap & chill the dough about 1 hour or until firm but not hard. While the dough is chilling, assemble your choices of fillings so they are ready to use.
  3. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place it on a floured work surface. Roll it into a 10-inch circle. Spread with one of your filling choices all the way to the edges.
  4. Using a ruler or pizza cutter, divide the circle into 12 wedges. I found using the straight edge of a ruler & pressing it straight down gave me a nice clean cut.
  5. Roll each wedge up from the wide end to the narrow end. Place the rolls point-side down on parchment lined baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining 5 disks & fillings, placing prepared rugelach in the refrigerator until all 72 are made.
  6. At this point, if you wish to freeze the rugelach for later use, place them in the freezer. When the rugelach is firm, transfer to air-tight containers & label.
  7. If you wish to bake them (or some of them) at this time, preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove rugelach from refrigerator, brush carefully with egg wash.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven & cool right on pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe Notes
  • Personalize your rugelach with the filling you prepare or purchase.
  • I found that it worked the best if the filling is of a smooth consistency for cutting purposes. You can add a bit of texture with the toppings.
  • Nothing says it can't just be cream cheese sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar.

The fillings I chose to use were:

  • Saskatoon Berry w/ Lemon
  • Quince & Walnuts
  • Spiced Apricot & Mango w/ Pumpkin Seeds
  • Cranberry Orange w/ Cream Cheese
  • Apple Butter w/ Gouda & Walnuts
  • Fig & Gorgonzola w/ Nuts

Marinated Chicken & Artichoke Pizza

Pizza is one of the easiest meals you can make at home. I most always prefer to make my own crust but nothing wrong with a purchased one or some focaccia bread pizza crust. Once that crust part has been taken care of, its really just a matter of topping the pie with all your favorite ingredients and waiting for it to come out of the oven.

But of course, there are a number of things that can go wrong even so. You might think that there’s no such thing as too much cheese …. but there is. Cheese normally means a lot of grease, your pizza could fall apart under the weight of all that dairy.

Too many toppings can cause overly cooked crust or under-cooked toppings. Another thing I find super important, is making sure the toppings are sauteed so they are not releasing too much moisture into the crust.

Since Brion & I are both lovers of marinated artichokes, putting them on a pizza sounds real good. Artichokes are technically the flower buds of a thistle plant that hasn’t blossomed yet. Its kind of amazing to think we can enjoy these odd little culinary treats in so many ways.

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Marinated Chicken & Artichoke Pizza
Instructions
Pizza Dough
  1. Cook potato, peel, mash & cool. Combine yeast with lukewarm water; whisk until yeast is dissolved. Let stand about 3 minutes until foamy. Add butter, salt, sour cream & potato, mix well.
  2. Stir in flour, one cup at a time. When dough is completely blended, turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough about 10 minutes, until smooth & elastic. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap & let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Pizza Topping Prep
  1. Slice chicken into strips, saute in some drained artichoke marinade until most of it evaporates. Set aside.
  2. Saute mushrooms & onions in a teaspoon of butter until moisture evaporates. Set aside.
  3. Shred cheese. In a small dish combine spices.
  4. Drain sun-dried tomatoes & black olives, blot on paper towel & slice tomatoes.
  5. Cut each piece of (drained) artichoke in half.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll or press dough into a 16-inch circle. Transfer on paper to a baking sheet.
  3. Carefully spread the 1/2 cup marinara sauce over the bottom of pizza. Season with spice mixture. Sprinkle with a bit of cheese then layer with mushrooms, onion, chicken, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives & remaining cheese.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven & slice. If you prefer, brush the top of the outside (dough) ring with artichoke marinade either before or after baking.
Recipe Notes
  • If you like, press pizza dough into a 16 X 12-inch rectangle instead of a circular shape.

Zucchini Omelette Roll w/ Chicken & Cheese

The best quality of an omelet is its versatility. Not all omelet recipes are made in a pan & rolled, you can bake and fill them, much the same as you would a cake roll.

Every country has its own combination of ingredients and flavors. Your probably familiar with many of these omelet creations such as Western, Coastal, BBQ, Veggie, Greek, Arizona, Mediterranean, Creole, Lorraine & Spanish.

This recipe makes an easy alternative to the traditional omelet. The eggs bake in the oven so you don’t have to keep a constant eye on them like an omelet made in a pan. A perfect choice for a hardy main dish entree.

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Zucchini Omelette Roll w/ Chicken & Cheese
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut zucchini into thin slices & lightly salt. If zucchini is quite 'wet', dry on paper towel.
  3. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper, grease it lightly with olive oil or cooking spray. Arrange zucchini slices in rows.
  4. In a bowl & using a hand mixer, whisk eggs, salt & pepper, baking powder & 2 Tbsp milk. Pour egg mixture over zucchini slices & bake for 10 minutes.
  5. In a saucepan, melt butter & add red onion & garlic; cook until JUST tender. Add chicken & cook for about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the flour; cook briefly, add chicken broth & cream; bring to a simmer. Add sour cream & salt & pepper to taste; mix well.
  6. Adjust oven to 325 F. Remove the omelet from baking sheet, leaving parchment paper on it. Sprinkle cheese over the zucchini omelet then spread with creamed chicken to within 1/2-inch from edges. Roll up zucchini omelet, removing the parchment paper & bake for 15 minutes.

Raspberry Sour Cream Pie

The perfect pie for a summer evening. First off, if your not accustomed to using sour cream in a sweet pie filling you will probably cringe. My first encounter with this idea was many years ago and I’m still addicted.

Sour Cream has worked its way into many facets of my baking and cooking, so for me its a basic fridge staple. I know for some people it happens all too often … you pick up a container of sour cream to have on some tacos and then what to do with the rest before it spoils??

This pie recipe makes an extra deep dessert. It works well in a spring-form pan or a deep pie dish. The crunchy, buttery brown sugar streusel on top is lightly accented with cardamom spice & fresh lemon zest. It is the perfect foil to the lush, rich sour cream and raspberry filling.

I should mention, its best not to use light or fat-free sour cream. Another thing, is to bake the pie until the filling is set THEN top with the streusel and bake until golden. This is a pie that is best served cold or just slightly warm as it will not be firm enough to slice if it is hot.

Raspberries lovers … this one is for you!!

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Raspberry Sour Cream Pie
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Shortbread Crust
Raspberry Filling
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Shortbread Crust
Raspberry Filling
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Instructions
Shortbread Crust
  1. In a bowl, combine butter & sugar; beat until light & fluffy. Mix in flour & baking powder; blend together. Pat dough in a 9-inch spring form pan or a deep dish pie pan.
Raspberry Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a bowl, combine sugar, flour & salt; whisk in eggs, sour cream & vanilla until smooth. Place raspberries in pie shell & pour filling over top. Bake for 30-35 minutes OR UNTIL FILLING IS JUST SET.
Streusel
  1. In a bowl, combine all streusel ingredients until well blended. After the pie filling is set, remove from the oven & turn the heat down to 350 F. Squeeze the streusel between your fingers & palms to create clumps ranging in size from small to large grapes then top pie with it. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes OR until streusel is golden brown.
  2. Remove from oven & allow pie to cool completely on a wire rack to thicken further. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover pie.
Recipe Notes
  • Even though I mentioned you should use a full fat sour cream, I chose to use a fat free one too lighten up on the calories.
  • The only difference is, it will take longer to bake & the filling is not quite as firm in the end result.
  • As far as the taste goes, there is no difference. It's heavenly!!