Tag Archives: oregano

Cheesy Cauliflower Dippers

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Photo Credit: Super Health Kids, 2014.

Cauliflower is kind of a rockstar when it comes to eating well. Not only is it a delicious side veggie to include with dinners or a great veggie to serve raw on a veggie platter; it can also turn many of your favorite guilty pleasure foods into healthier, but still tasty, options. This idea from Super Healthy Kids is another great way for cauliflower to shine as a snack or meal. Check it out.

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided in half
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 ° F.

Rinse a head of cauliflower thoroughly. Then, roughly chop. Put chopped cauliflower into the food processor until it has broken down into very fine bits.

Heat an inch of water in a pot until it boils. Put the cauliflower mixture into the water and steam for 4-5 minutes. Cover with a lid while it cooks, but be sure to keep an eye on it so the water doesn’t boil over.

Once steamed, put cauliflower through a fine mesh strainer to drain the water. Use a spoon to squeeze as much water out as you can. Then, use a clean dry towel to squeeze out the rest of the extra water. Be careful though – water will be hot!

Combine cauliflower with the rest of your ingredients (using half the mozzarella and none of the Parmesan). Mix until well combined.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon cauliflower mixture onto parchment paper and form a kind of “loaf” with your hands – recipe should form a rectangle that’s about 8 1/2″ x 11″.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake for another 10 or so minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

Remove from oven, slice and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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Stove-top Pork Ribs

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Today, we are presenting our Stove top braised pork ribs in a soy sauce and balsamic vinegar reduction…..

Need we say more?

As you know, ribs are one of the most popular foods in the entire world, yet most people still have difficulty making them at home. Here is a foolproof braising technique that does not require any special equipment, just one pot and your stove top!

By cooking your ribs in a cooking liquid  we can guarantee that you will have a moist, tender and extremely flavorful rib. Perfectly salted with soy sauce and totally herbaceous, with taste of fresh lime to add zip to every bite. You do not have to grill your ribs over hot coals or smother them in barbecue sauce, for an authentic foodie experience and this recipe proves it just fine!

 

Adapted From
by Michael Bednarz
shared.com
May 11, 2017

Serves 4

Ingredients:
10 pork spareribs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
10 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons granulated onion powder
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
3-4 sprigs fresh oregano
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 chicken bullion cube
Kosher salt, to taste*
ground black pepper to taste
2 limes, cut into wedges, for garnish
3-4 tablespoons snipped fresh chives, for garnish

Directions:
Place the spareribs into a large pot, and fill with just enough water to cover. Add the cup soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, granulated white sugar, garlic, cumin, onion powder, fresh oregano,thyme, bay leaves, lime juice, red wine vinegar,chicken bullion cube and salt and pepper,to taste. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered over medium heat until the water has completely evaporated, about 45 minutes to an hour.

When all of the water has evaporated, remove the bay leaves, and allow meat to brown, turning occasionally using tongs. Use a spatula to scrape up browned bits and softened garlic from the bottom of the pot, and toss them with the pork. The garlic will dissolve into the meat.

Remove the meat, and drain on paper towels. Season with black pepper and garnish with lime wedges and chives.

Cook’s Notes:
Depending on the brand of soy sauce that you will use, you can completely eliminate the use of salt in this recipe if desired.

Dark soy sauce is one of the two types of soy sauce used most often in Chinese cooking. The light variety of soy sauce tends to be the other one used in Asian cuisine.

Dark soy sauce is aged for longer periods of time and usually contain molasses or caramel and a bit of cornstarch added, making it s thicker and darker in color than light soy sauce. Also note that dark soy sauce varieties tend to have a high sodium content, although not as high as light soy sauce. Because it tends to be a more full-bodied flavor, dark soy sauce is frequently added to marinades and sauces to add color and flavor to a dish.

Although dark soy sauce is used primarily in cooking, as it needs heating to bring out its full flavor, you will also sometimes find it in dipping sauce recipes.

To see how this recipe was originally made, see the video from shared.com in the video below:

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Polenta Pizza

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Gooey cheese melting into baked polenta—crisp on the outside with a creamy interior—is as satisfying as a pizza but it’s gluten-free. Serve with a green salad for a satisfying meatless Monday meal.

 Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the polenta crust:
1 1/3 cups  gluten-free medium-ground cornmeal
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2  tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

For the topping:
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
1/4 cup thin asparagus spears, sliced into  1 1/2 inch lengths
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2  tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup  freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Directions:
To make the polenta crust, in a microwave-safe bowl, mix 4 cups  water, the cornmeal and 1 3/4 teaspoon salt. Place in the microwave and cook at the high setting for 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly, then return to the microwave and cook at the high setting for 5 more minutes. Stir well. Return to the microwave and cook at the high setting until very thick, about 5 minutes longer. Stir again, and then mix in the 1 1/2  tablespoons olive oil and a generous amount of pepper.

Brush a large pizza pan generously with olive oil. Spread the cornmeal mixture out on the pan in a circle about 1/3 inch thick and about 12 inches  in diameter, building up the edges slightly.

Preheat an oven to 375°F .

Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the pizza crust on the pizza pan, leaving a border.

In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes,  asparagus, shallot, 1 1/2  tablespoons olive oil, garlic and the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato mixture over the cheese. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake the pizza until it is beginning to brown in spots, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes to set up. Sprinkle with the oregano and serve immediately with forks and knives for eating.

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Sautéed Mushrooms with Polenta

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A savory appetizer or main dish full with of flavorful mushrooms sautéed in herbs and a rich balsamic vinegar sauce, spooned over creamy polenta with melted  smoked gouda cheese.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the  mushrooms:
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Baby Bella  mushrooms, sliced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt, to taste

For the  polenta  (See Cook’s Notes):
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups instant polenta
8 ounces  smoked gouda  cheese, shredded (See Cook’s Notes)
Salt, to taste

Directions:

For  the mushrooms:Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add mushrooms; and cook stirring occasionally for 7 minutes. Stir in thyme, oregano, pepper and garlic; continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in balsamic vinegar, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan, stirring constantly about 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth, reduce to low. Stir in butter.  Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste. Keep warm.

For polenta: In a saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups milk and 2 1/4 cups chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; gradually stir in polenta; cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add more liquid (broth, milk or water) as needed to achieve desired consistency. Remove from heat. Add shredded cheese; stir to combine until smooth. Salt to taste. Serve polenta warm topped with mushrooms.

*Cook’s Notes:
Other cheeses may be substituted. A few recommendations: Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Fontina,  or Cheddar.

For a homemade polenta, follow the link here: Creamy Polenta

 

 

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Thank you so much!

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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Milanesa a la Napolitana

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The milanesa is a dish common in Latin American countries where generic types of breaded meat fillet preparations are known as a milanesa.

As with much of Argentine cuisine and culture, the roots of the Argentine milanesa are traced back to Italy. The milanesa was brought to the Southern Cone of South America by Italian immigrantspict--political-map-southern-cone-southern-cone-political-map.png during the mass emigration called the Italian diaspora between 1860-1920s. Its name probably reflects an original Milanese preparation, cotoletta alla Milanese, a thin steak or veal chop, dipped in breadcrumbs and friedwhich is similar to the Austrian Wiener Schnitzel.

Generally, a milanesa consists of a thin slice of beef, chicken, veal, or sometimes pork, and even eggplants or soy. In its most basic form, the Argentine milanesa is a simply breaded, thin slice of prime beef from the peceto(round roast cut) or the nalga (eye of round). When selecting your steaks, make sure to look for steaks with little fat and no sinew, which makes the milanesa curl up as you cook it.Ask your local butcher to thinly cut the meat for your milanesas to about 1/4-inch. Once you get them home, soak them in the fridge for an hour or so in a mixture of beaten egg, a splash of milk, a sprinkle of salt, and some finely chopped parsley and garlic. Add a touch of oregano or dried chilies if you crave a spicy taste. When you are ready to cook, dip cutlets in the breadcrumbs (or occasionally flour). I personally like to use Japanese Panko breadcrumbs. You can use whatever yo unlike, as long the breadcrumbs are dry.

Traditionally, milansesa are shallow-fried in oil, one at a time. Some people prefer to use very little oil and then bake them in the oven as a healthier alternative.

There are a million if not more recipes and variations for milanesas. If you wcaballo.jpgant the pure and traditional milanesa experience, squeeze lemon over the crispy hot delicacies and serve with creamy mashed potatoes or fries. But if you want to go a bit fancy, serve it a caballo – on horseback – where a fried egg tops the delicious concoction.

Milanesa napolitana is a variation of the breaded fried steak dish that is popular in Argentina and Uruguay. Milanesa a la Napolitana did not originate from Milan or Naples – it’s thought to have been invented in the 1940’s at a Buenos Aires restaurant called “Nápoli”.

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                                                                       Sandwich de milanesa.   Photo Credit:  Ian Carvell, 2015

Milanesa napolitana is also very  similar to veal Parmesan, but with South American touches – after the steak is breaded and fried, it’s topped with a slice of ham, tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese, and served with french fries.Leftovers make great sandwiches, especially when paired with a soft but crusty roll, just like the lunchtime classic – the sándwich de milanesa. For a basic sandwich, add tomato and lettuce, and you are good to go. Milanesa completa is the slightly souped up version with lettuce, tomato, cheese and ham.

 

Serves 6
 
Ingredients:

6  thinly sliced skillet steaks, such as top round
3 eggs
Dried  oregano, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2  cups panko  bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 slices of deli ham (or proscuitto)
2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
Lemon wedges, for serving
Fresh chopped  or sliced tomatoes,  for garnish (optional)
Oven baked fries, for serving

Directions:
Whisk together the eggs, parsley, milk, garlic and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.Place the steaks in the egg mixture, cover with plastic wrap and leave the steaks soaking for 30 minutes to one hour in the fridge. The more time the better.

In another shallow pan, stir the Parmesan cheese and garlic into the bread crumbs and set aside.

Remove the steaks from the egg mixture and one by one, dredge the steaks in the crumbs, turning and pressing firmly until they are well coated.

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet, and cook steaks for several minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Drain steaks on paper towels. See the Cook’s Notes for the oven baked cooking method.

Place the  cooked steaks on a  baking sheet. Turn on the oven broiler. Top each steak with a slice of ham, 2-3 tablespoons tomato sauce, and 1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with oregano  over the cheese and place steaks under broiler until cheese melts.

If desired, top the finished dish with chopped  or sliced tomatoes and serve warm, with fries.

 

Cook’s Notes:
Alternative Oven Baked Cooking Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush   a baking sheet with oil and heat it up in the oven.

Place the milanesas on the prepared baking sheet and place the steaks in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown.

Turn over the milanesas and spread on a layer of 2-3 tablespoons tomato sauce, a slice of ham, 1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese and  sprinkle with oregano. Turn on oven broiler. Place steaks under broiler until cheese melts.

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TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Lobster and Artichoke Pizza

This pizza was inspired by the Old Port Lobster Flatbread appetizer served at the  Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company in Topsham, Maine. Instead using a standard pizza dough to make the crust, I opted for a puff pastry. Pepperidge Farm’s Puff Pasty is the one I like to use, but you can use any standard commerically made products that can be found in your local supermarkets. This decadent treat  It is perfect for a Sunday afternoon lunch.

Ingredients:

For the Lemon Butter Herb Marinade:
Makes About 1 Cup

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 Tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 Tablespoon lemon peel
1/4 cup melted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

Directions:
Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt cayenne pepper in a nonreactive (glass, ceramic, or stainless steel) bowl and whisk until the salt crystals are dissolved. Add the rosemary, parsley, garlic and lemon zest. Stir or whisk in the butter to combine. The virtue of this marinade is its freshness: Use it within 1 to 2 hours of making. Stir again before using.

For the toppings:
Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4  cup  Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Asiago Cheese
1/4 cup Fontina Cheese
1/2 pound lobster meat (click here for the resource)
1/2 cup  Suns of Italy Marinated Artichoke Hearts, chopped (click here for the resource)
2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
Crush red pepper flakes, to taste
Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry (click here for the site)

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 430 degrees F.

Make the marinade. Add about 1/2 cup of the marinade to a small non reactive bowl. Add the lobster meat and cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator to marinade for about 20 minutes.

Roll out the puff pastry and  place on a foil-covered pizza pan. Blind bake the pastry

In a small bowl, combine olive oil and minced garlic and using a pastry brush, brush onto the dough.

Sprinkle about 1/3 cup of the cheeses on top.

Remove the lobster meat from the marinade and drain. And a layer of the lobster and artichokes on top of the pastry. Sprinkle on the parsley, the red pepper flakes, and the rest of the remaining  cheeses.

Bake at 430 degrees for about 18-22 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisped, to your liking.

Fried Ravioli

DSC08960 Ravioli have been around for centuries. Stuffed with meat, cheese, herbs and spices, the pasta shells would then be boiled and served with a red sauce, meat or marinara. The earliest known mention of ravioli appears in the writings of Francesco di Marco, a merchant of Prato in the 14th century.

In Venice, the mid-14th-century manuscript Libro per cuoco offers ravioli of green herbs blanched and minced, mixed with beaten egg and fresh cheese, simmered in broth and seasoned with “sweet and strong spices”. In Tuscany, some of the earliest mentions of the dish come from the personal letters of Francesco di Marco Datini, a merchant of Prato in the 14th century. In Rome, ravioli were already well-known when Bartolomeo Scappi served them with boiled chicken to the papal conclave of 1549.

Ravioli were  also well  known in 14th century England, appearing in the Anglo-Norman vellum manuscript Forme of Cury under the name of rauioles. Sicilian ravioli and Malta’s ravjul may thus be older than North Italian ones. Maltese ravjul are stuffed with irkotta, the locally produced sheep’s-milk ricotta, or with gbejna, the traditional fresh sheep’s-milk cheese.

But the fried version, also known as toasted ravioli, at least in the U.S., appears to be St. Louis, Missouri original. While the origins are unclear, a few things are agreed upon that the most prevalent story is that the dish emerged in the late 1940s at a restaurant owned by Angelo Oldani, at what is now Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill, 5226 Shaw Avenue. Back then, it was known as Angelo’s (Oldani) Pasta House.  It appears that the toasted ravioli was the result of a mistake made by a non-Italian cook. A waiter told a cook to “drop some raviolis” for an order. The cook dropped the pasta squares into hot oil instead of boiling water. When the mistake was discovered, the cook plated the raviolis for the kitchen help to eat. Everyone loved the little “fried pillows, ” and the dish was served first as bar food and then added to the main menu.

Unlike Buffalo’s hot chicken wings, or Nathan’s Coney Island Hot Dogs, the dish has not developed a national following. But in any event, if you can’t make it Charlie Gitto’s in St. Louis, you can certainly enjoy them at home with this simple recipe. It is a great little late night snack…….and trust me, you will not be able to get enough of these crispy pillows of heaven!

For this recipe, I used some left over Shrimp and Lobster Ravioli that I made this winter and froze them for a future use, so I used them straight from the freezer. Nothing ever goes to waste in a cook’s kitchen! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
For the Ravioli:
4 cups Vegetable Oil
6 whole Eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose Flour
2 cups Japanese Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon crushed basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
A pinch of salt
24 whole frozen ravioli
2 cups marinara sauce, heated (Recipe Follows)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

For the Marinara Sauce:
Makes 4 Cups
One 28-ounce can Roma tomatoes
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/2 cup burgundy red wine

Directions:
For the Marinara Sauce: In a food processor or blender place Italian tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

In a large skillet over medium heat saute the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and white wine. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. the marinara sauce can be made up a day ahead of time, cooled and stored,covered in the refrigerator until ready for use. Rewarm over medium heat before using.

For the Ravioli: Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat until it reaches 400 degrees F.

Set up the breading station. Place the flour in a separate dish. Whisk together the eggs and the milk in a dish. Pour the breadcrumbs into a third dish and add the basil, oregano, garlic powder and salt and thoroughly mix.

Retrieve the ravioli from the freezer. One at a time, drop the ravioli into flour, shaking off the excess, then dip in the egg mixture, then dredge them in flour again, and then dip them once again in the egg mixture, coat them in the seasoned breadcrumbs. Set them aside on a parchment lined baking sheet as you go.

When the oil reached the correct temperature, carefully add 2 or 3 at a time, the breaded ravioli into the oil and fry them for 25 seconds, until the surface is golden brown and the filling is hot and the ravioli floats to the top of the frying oil. Remove them to a paper towel and repeat with the rest of the ravioli in batches.

Allow the oil to come back to temperature between batches. Transfer the cooked ravioli to a serving platter, sprinkle on the Parmesan and parsley, and serve with the marinara sauce.

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Stove Top Pizza

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There is an Australian company called “The Chef’s Toolbox” that has an extraordinary line of culinary tools and kitchen gadget to make the home cook’s life a little easier. Their specialty line of cookware that is featured by the company is the Como Advanced™  line, which is touted as  exceptional cookware for serious cooking. The cookware come in a   a modern charcoal matte finish,  with a hard-anodized exterior and non-stick interior. The cookware is perfect for stovetop (including induction) and oven cooking.

The also have a collection of amazing recipe showing you how to use their tools bakeware and cookware  as well.

I found out about the company when  a friend shared a Chef’s Toolbox Video demonstrating the recipe for “Stove Top Pizza”, which was cooked in a specialized Como Advanced™ 28 cm saute pan as seen below.The pan sells for $235.00 AUD, which is about $182.00 U. S. Dollars. I have seen the Como Advanced line featured on Amazon.com, but I do not think the saute pan is widely available in the United States.

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Photo Credit: Chef’s Toolbox, 2015

I did not have a Como Advanced™ saute pan, but I do have a 12 inch cast iron skillet by Lodge  and a heavy glass lid, which worked out as perfectly in making this dish.

Here is the recipe and I hope that you will enjoy this one skillet meal that takes less than 25 minutes. It makes for on small pizza that is perfectly suited to serve two people.Making a freshly homemade  pizza on a stove top is much more  quicker than waiting via delivery or take out or even baking a frozen pizza in your oven. Trust me, you are going to love it.

Serve 2

Ingredients:
1/2 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour*
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast**
1 teaspoon honey
2/3 cup warm water, 110-115 Degrees F


For the Sauce:

1 can diced roma tomatoes, drained
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon good quality red wine


For the Toppings:
***
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 cooked Italian sausage links, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
1/8 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup baby spinach, torn


Directions:

Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a 12-inch oven proof skillet with 1 tablespoon oil.

For the Sauce:Pulse drained tomatoes, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon olive oil  and the red wine together in a small food processor until coarsely ground. Remove from the processor and set aside.

To the skillet, add dry ingredients (self-rising flour, all-purpose flour, salt, yeast) and stir until combined. Add the honey and the water and stir until a stick dough forms. Spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the skillet.

Spread the sauce over dough, leaving ½-inch border at edge. Sprinkle most of the mozzarella evenly over sauce. Add sausage and spread it evenly on top. Scatter the shallots an sprinkle the basil and oregano evenly over the pizza. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Set skillet over medium heat and cover with a tight fitting lid and cook until outside edge of dough is set, pizza is lightly puffed, and bottom crust is starting to get cooked when gently lifted with spatula, about 4 to 6 minutes

Reduce the heat to low , rotate the skillet 180 degrees and continue to cook covered with a lid for another 10 minutes. When done, the cheese should be nicely melted. Carefully remove skillet from burner. With two  flat spatulas, carefully lift pizza out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Sprinkle with fresh torn spinach. Let pizza cool for a couple minutes before slicing into wedges and serving.
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Cook’s Notes:
In using quick rapid rise yeast, there are two very good brands to consider:

Red Star and Fleischmann’s, both which come in a jar and in individual packets.
The jars sell for about $5.00 and the individual sell for about $1.80 at most local grocery stores. I prefer buying it buy the jar, because I do bake a lot. Once the jar is opened, it must be refrigerated.

Fleischmann’s also offers a yeast specifically made to be used in pizza dough. I have not tried this product yet, but it does look promising.

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*SUBSTITUTION TIP: You can use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose white flour, if desired.

Also note that you desire a chewier crust, use bread flour. If you desire a  Neapolitan style pizza (made with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala Campana, cheese made with the milk from water buffalo) , use San Felice Tipo 00 Flour or  Anna Tipo “00” Extra Fine Flour which creates a light crust that is crisp on the outside but tender to the bite.

Tipo 0 or Tipo 00 denotes that it is a tender wheat flour.

When making authentic Neapolitan pizza, I prefer Anna Tipo “00” Extra Fine Flour,  because it an is an old world, authentic Naples-style flour that holds up to the high temperatures required for pizza making. It is finely milled with a soft texture, yielding a crispy crust every time. Anna Type “00” Flour is an excellent choice for any of your baking needs.It is also more widely available in most local grocery stores.

**SUBSTITUTION TIP: If you don’t have instant or rapid rise yeast, use 1 teaspoon (instead of ¾ teaspoon) of active dry yeast and proof it first. Just dissolve it in a little warm (110 degrees) tap water and a pinch of sugar. Wait until it gets foamy, like a beer from the tap. When the mixture is foamy, add it to the flour mixture and proceed as normal.

***ABOUT THE TOPPINGS: You can use any toppings of your choice, as desired.

Crispy Tuscan Chicken with Lemon Salsa Verde

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Inspired by a chicken dish served with  lemons and capers at the Ristorante Masolino in Panicale, Italy,  this version is marinated over night and served with a charred herbed lemon sauce that can also be an excellent accompaniment to roasted fish or grilled root vegetables.

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
For the chicken:
12 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
24 sage leaves
16 garlic cloves—6 cut into 4 slices each, the rest gently smashed and peeled
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 slices
Strips of zest from 2 lemons
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon chopped thyme
1 Tablespoon chopped oregano
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
12 fresh bay leaves

For the Salsa Verde:
1 lemon, cut into 1/2-inch slices and seeded
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped oregano
1/4 cup chopped mint
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, crushed
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup baby arugula

Directions:
To prepare the chicken, run your fingers under the skin of each chicken thigh to create a pocket. Stuff each pocket with 2 sage leaves, 2 slices of garlic and 1 slice of butter. Transfer the stuffed thighs to a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir the lemon zest strips with the smashed garlic, olive oil, chopped herbs and crushed red pepper. Pour the mixture over the chicken and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile make the salsa verde by preheating  the oven to 450°F. On a baking sheet, toss the lemon slices with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread the lemon slices in an even layer and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until charred on the bottom. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Chop the slices into 1/4 -inch pieces. Leave the oven on.

In a mortar, mash the basil, oregano, mint, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts with the chopped garlic, and the 1 teaspoon of salt until a smooth paste forms. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil, stirring to create a sauce. Stir in the chopped lemon.

Heat a very large ovenproof skillet. Season the chicken thighs evenly with 4 teaspoons of salt; reserve the lemon zest and smashed garlic from the marinade. Arrange the chicken thighs skin side down in the skillet and cover with another large skillet or pot weighted down with a few heavy cans. Cook the chicken over moderate heat until the skin is golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Remove the weight and turn the chicken. Scatter the reserved lemon zest and garlic and the bay leaves, if using, among the thighs. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve with the salsa verde and scatter with arugula.

Carrot Hotdogs

Every once in a while, I come across a recipe that redefines how I see food and how it can behotcarrotdogs transformed.

Such is the case with Carrot Hotdogs….Yes, Carrots as an alternative to the hot dogs we have seen in the supermarket made with  either with whole meats or a combination of beef, pork, turkey or chicken.

I know, you are a little skeptical, so was I, but I am willing to test my self with a culinary challenge. And believe it or not, the carrot hotdogs turned out rather well. And did I mention, they are gluten-free without the hot dog buns……..

So score the perfect game day meal with these vegan carrot dogs! It’s a great, healthy substitution for any game-watching party.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
8 large carrots
8 whole wheat hot dog buns
1/2 cup red wine
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons Siracha sauce
½ Tablespoon ancho chili powder
½ Tablespoon smoked paprika
½ Tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons oregano
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add carrots to the boiling water and cook until soft for about 15 minutes.

In a casserole dish, mix the marinade of red wine or soy sauce, BBQ sauce, chili powder, paprika, oregano, garlic powder. Once the carrots are done, put the carrots directly into the casserole dish with the marinade. Be careful, as the carrots will be fragile. Allow the carrots to soak these juices in, for about 5 to 10 minutes.

On the stove, heat up a pan, with a little oil or non-stick cooking spray or even vegetable broth or water to be completely vegan, to medium to high heat. Place the carrots on the pan and “flash grill” them for approximately 90-seconds to 2 minutes on each side until the texture that is desired is achieve to your liking.

Toast buns the if you like, prepare condiments, and enjoy!