Monday, August 14, 2017

Caramelized Onion and Arugula Goat Cheese Pizza

Today I needed to make a vegetarian meal because my friend Kevin was over. I knew I wanted to make pizza and I had some arugula to use up and plenty of onions.  I looked at a bunch of recipes for different kinds of pizza, many had figs on them (which my grocery store doesn't carry) or meat (not today!).  I settled on a recipe and loosely followed it, cutting the cheese by over half, I promise, you won't miss it if I am telling you it would have been way way too much.  (Matt calls me the cheese queen).
This turned out delicious!  I served a salad on the side and it was a great meal!  The only problem was that there weren't any leftovers!  Well, there were, but after a few glasses of wine, we finished the last pieces right up!

Caramelized Onion and Arugula Goat Cheese Pizza


Caramelized Onion and Arugula Goat Cheese Pizza

Ingredients:
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 pound pizza dough, either homemade or store bought
2 medium onions, sliced thin
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp.  olive oil
2 oz. arugula
Cornmeal, optional
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Balsamic reduction, to taste

Preparation:
Preheat your oven to 425F.
In a large skillet over medium low heat, melt butter.  Add onions and cook stirring occasionally until the onions are caramelized. This will take about 25-30 minutes. (I did this while waiting for my dough to rise).
Meanwhile, on a flat surface, like your kitchen counter, place some flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll out your pizza dough with a rolling pin.  Sprinkle cornmeal on the baking sheet.  Place the pizza dough onto a baking sheet.
Spread oil all over the dough, as you would sauce.  It might not seem like enough, but you don't want too much in one place, so really spread it around.
Add mozzarella, goat cheese, and onions on top of pizza.
Bake the pizza in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes. Take out and let cool for 5 minutes.  Add arugula and drizzle balsamic on top.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Miryam at Eat Good 4 Life.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Spaghetti Carbonara

I'm getting back to my Italian roots today with some spaghetti carbonara.  This dish is great when you have a limited pantry and you need to make a quick dinner.  I used bacon in place of pancetta in order to skip a trip to the grocery store and it turned out delicious!  
The most important step is to make sure to continuously whisk the egg mixture when adding the hot reserved pasta water or else you will end up with scrambled eggs and dry spaghetti.  
This is a dish with high cholesterol and fat levels so make sure to serve with a nice side salad!

Spaghetti Carbonara 

Spaghetti Carbonara

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
5 oz. bacon (or pancetta) cut into 1/2 inch strips
1⁄3 cup white wine
1/2 lb. dried spaghetti
1/3 cup shaved parmesan 
2 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella
1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 egg
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Remove and discard garlic. Add bacon, and cook until edges are crisp and the fat is rendered, about 8 minutes. (At this point I took out about 2 spoonfuls of bacon grease because the bacon I used was super oily, you can choose what you want to do).  Add wine, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, according to box directions. Drain, reserving 1⁄4 cup pasta water. In a large bowl, whisk together parmesan, parsley, and eggs; while whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in reserved pasta water until smooth. Add spaghetti along with reserved pancetta mixture. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Toss to combine, and serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Cuban Sandwich

My obsession with Cubans started when I watched the movie Chef. (It's really good!)  If you haven't seen it, a chef decides to open a food truck that sells Cubans.  They looked so delicious that I decided to try my hand at them.  I have made this recipe a few times, but this one was the best.  The key is to make sure you have really fresh bread.  I stopped at the grocery store this morning and picked up a baguette.
The other thing that started my quest to make a great Cuban was that while we were in London, Matt ordered a Cuban at a burger restaurant we went to.  It was terrible!  I told him that I would try to erase the memory of that terrible sandwich and I think I delivered!  These turned out great!
It is important to mention that Cubans are supposed to be pressed.  If you get a real Cuban, they use a machine, kind of like a panini press.  I don't have that so I used a cast iron pan.  I then pressed down on the pan (using pot holders so you don't burn your hands) and got them pretty flat.
I understand that you're supposed to use roasted pork on these, but I didn't have any so I improvised and got thin cut pork chops which I cooked for 3 minutes on one side and 2 on the other and seasoned with adobo seasoning.  If you have roast pork, feel free to use that instead!

Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

Ingredients:
2 tsp. canola oil
2 sandwich-sized piece of baguette (about 1/2 of baguette)
Yellow mustard
2 thin pork chops, cooked
4 slices deli ham
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 sliced dill pickles (the long ones)

Preparation:
Slice baguette open to assemble sandwiches.
Spread a liberal amount of mustard on one side of the bread per sandwich.  (You might think you used too much, but use a little bit more, it will be delicious, I promise!)
Top with Swiss cheese, ham, pork, pickles, and the other slice of cheese.  Close sandwich.
In the same pan you cooked the pork chop in, or a medium sized skillet over medium heat with 2 tsp. canola oil, place the sandwiches.
Top with a heavy pot and cook about 5 minutes.  Place pot holders inside of pot on top and press down in order to flatten the sandwiches.
Flip the sandwiches and cook, flattening, for another 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve with a simple arugula salad.
Enjoy!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Garlic Parsley Roasted Salmon

Salmon is my favorite fish and my favorite fish to cook.  I especially like it roasted.  It comes out perfect, every time.  (If you like roasted salmon, you could also try Cilantro Lime Salmon or Rosemary Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes).  The thing with roasted salmon however, is that you have to turn on the oven.  It's been so hot in Philly lately that I haven't wanted to turn on the oven, even with the air conditioning on.  Today it was much cooler and I thought I could afford to turn the oven on for a half hour.  It was worth it!
This salmon is simple with butter, garlic, and parsley and a touch of lemon.  How could you go wrong with those ingredients?  Yum!
I made tomato and arugula risotto as a side dish and it was a perfect meal!



Garlic Parsley Roasted Salmon


Garlic Parsley Roasted Salmon

Ingredients:
10 oz salmon fillet, cut into two pieces
2 Tbsp. melted butter
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 400.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place salmon on baking sheet.
Combine butter, garlic, parsley, salt, lemon, and pepper in a small bowl.
Use the back of a spatula and spread the butter mixture onto the salmon.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Tomato and Arugula Risotto

Tonight was a rainy, gross day in Philly and I thought it would be a perfect day to make risotto because who wants to stand over a hot stove when it's hot?  Cherry tomatoes and arugula were both on sale this week so this was a no brainer.  Plus, it served as the perfect side to Garlic Parsley Roasted Salmon.
This was my first try at risotto, but it turned out great!  You could serve this as a side or a main dish.  A wonderful vegetarian dish!

Tomato and Arugula Risotto

Tomato and Arugula Risotto

Ingredients:
1 cup arborio rice
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
½ cup white wine
3 cups hot vegetable stock (plus 1 just in case)
2 cups arugula, washed and dried
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
Salt, to taste
Shaved parmesan, to serve

Preparation:
Start by setting your vegetable stock to simmer in a separate pot. It has to be hot by the time you add it to the rice.
In a large skillet, over medium high heat add the olive oil and once it's hot, add the shallots.
Once the shallots are translucent, add the rice and fry it so that all the rice is coated.
Reduce the heat to medium low.
Add the white wine and cook until it evaporates completely.
Add the first cup of vegetable stock and cook, stirring regularly until it is absorbed by the rice.
Repeat the process with the other 2 cups of stock, one at a time.
If your rice is still hard, add the stock, stirring the rice, until the stock is absorbed.
Turn the heat off and add the tomatoes and arugula.  Stir until everything is incorporated.
Add the mozzarella and stir gently.
Taste to check seasoning and add salt if necessary.
Serve immediately, top with the shaved parmesan.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Olivia at Olivia's Cuisine.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pasta with Sausage, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes

Phew!  What a long time since I've posted anything!  As I'm sure you know, I tend to start posting again in the summer when I'm not crazy with school; this summer has been nuts though!  Matt and I went back to upstate NY to work at the music camp we always work at and a week later left for our (very delayed) honeymoon.  We spent 10 days in Dublin and London and had a wonderful time.
Since I haven't really cooked in 2 months, I wanted to get back to my roots.  Last time I was in the grocery store I noticed that they started selling Swiss chard and was so excited to grab some!  I found sausage in the freezer and this recipe came right together.  It was super easy and very tasty!
This dish can easily be made gluten free by using GF pasta!
This dish only used 2 sausage links out of my package of 4, so I used the other 2 to make a half-batch of Zucchini Glop (don't let the name throw you off, it's really good).

Pasta with Sausage, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes

Pasta with Sausage, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes

Ingredients:
Kosher salt
8 ounces small shape pasta, I used rotini
2 hot or sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed (I used sweet)
1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, roughly chopped (stems and leaves separated) 
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preparation:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the label.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. (Don't worry if it's sticking to the bottom of the pan, when you add the chard and onions, you can scrape it off.)
Add the onion, garlic, and chard stems; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. 
Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes start blistering, about 5 minutes.  
Add the chard leaves to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start wilting, about 2 minutes. Lightly mash the tomatoes with the back of your spoon to create more of a sauce.
Add the pasta and cheese; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. 
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food Network