May 29, 2012

BLT Pizza

B.L.T. Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. One of my two favorite sandwiches. (The other is egg salad, in case you were wondering.)

I've always eaten my BLTs on toasted white bread with a shmear of mayo. Then I came across this recipe. BLT pizza. BLT pizza? Yes, BLT pizza.

It really is as good as you're thinking, though somewhat different than the original. The tomato is less juicy, but more intense, for being baked. The cheese adds some saltiness. And the crust gives you more chew than toasted bread. 

You can still taste the bacon in every bite. And there's still lettuce and mayo, but tossed together and spread on the pizza after it's been baked. (If the thought of mayonnaise-y lettuce turns you off, just leave out the mayo.)

As for the crust, you can make your own. Or you can buy ready-made pizza dough at the grocery store. But honestly, with bacon, lettuce, cheese and tomato, who's going to notice the crust?

Thinly slice tomatoes. Place them in a colander on top of a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let them sit for 15 minutes while some of their extra juice collects in the bowl.

Fry up your bacon until it's nice and crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Then break into small pieces.

Spread pizza dough out onto an oiled baking sheet.

Cover with tomato slices.

Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Top with bacon crumbles.

Bake in a hot oven until the crust is cooked through and the cheese is melted.

While the pizza is baking, combine shredded lettuce and mayo.

Let the pizza cool for a few minutes, then top with lettuce.

Slice and serve!

BLT Pizza

Recipe from Union Street Eats

1 pizza dough, either homemade (follow recipe here) or store-bought
3–4 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 package of bacon
1 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 cups romaine lettuce, sliced into thin shreds
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

1.    Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

2.    Place sliced tomatoes into a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit 10-15 minutes. This will dry the tomatoes out and prevent them from making the pizza dough soggy while baking.
3.    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon strips. Cook until brown and crispy. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. When cool, break bacon into bits. 

4.    Meanwhile (whether you're using homemade or store-bought dough), press the dough onto an oiled baking sheet. Spread to within two inches of the rim on all sides. Cover with an oiled sheet of aluminum foil (oiled side down) and let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Take the dough out of the fridge, lightly flour your hands, and press dough out towards the edge of the baking sheet. (The time in the fridge gives the dough a chance to relax and makes it easier to spread out later.)

5.    Place tomato slices on dough. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of tomatoes. Top the cheese with the bacon crumbles.

6.    Bake pizza for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cooked through and the cheese is melted.

7.    While pizza is baking, combine shredded lettuce with the mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8.    Remove pizza from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Arrange lettuce mixture on top of cooked pizza.

9.    Slice and serve!

Makes one 13 x 18 inch pizza

May 23, 2012

White Bean Burgers with Tomato Salad


I have been so excited to share this post with you! But not for the usual reason. Yes, the food is good and you should definitely try this recipe.

The reason I'm so excited is that this my first post taking photos with my Mother's Day present -- a new digital SLR camera! My husband is a smart guy. He knows the more excited I am about blogging, the more good food he gets to eat! (I actually feel a little bad for my son. These days he's always asking if I'm taking pictures of him or the food.)

I haven't even read the instruction manual and already my photos are so much better. The light, focus, background blur, it's great. Okay, truth be told I will probably never read the instruction manual. I'll wait for my husband to read it and then pick his brain. 

This blog is about food, though, not photography, so back to the white bean burgers. First, they're super healthy. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber. I've been trying to get in the habit of using them instead of meat every now and then.

This recipe has very simple flavors. Cannelini beans are pretty mild, so the lemon and scallion really come through. And the tomato salad makes a nice topping.

You can use the basic recipe and experiment with your own flavors. Next time I might add Indian spices. The texture of mashed beans is similar to that of patties made with mashed potatoes. So these could be a healthier alternative to Indian style potato pattice. I could also see making them with black beans, adding some chili powder and topping them with guacamole. Or using chickpeas and topping them with hummus. The possibilities are endless!

Place beans in a bowl. (Yeah, you probably didn't need a picture of this step. What can I say? I got a little shutter happy!)


Add garlic, lemon zest and juice, scallions, bread crumbs, eggs, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.

Mix until well combined.

Form into hamburger-size patties.

Fry until golden brown on both sides.

For tomato salad, combine tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

To serve, top warm bean burger with tomato salad. Enjoy!

White Bean Patties with Tomato Salad

Recipe from The Gouda Life

2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 large cloves garlic, minced
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chopped scallions
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
few grinds of black pepper
vegetable oil for frying

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil

1.    In a large bowl, mash the beans using a potato masher or a fork.

2.    Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well until combined. Form the bean mixture into patties about the size of a hamburger bun.

3.    Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Drizzle a little vegetable oil in the pan and wait until its hot and rippled. Fry the patties, a few at a time for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until deep golden brown.

4.    For the tomato salad, combine tomatoes, cheese, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. 

Makes 6 patties

May 17, 2012

Tandoori Chicken Naan Pizza

Tandoori chicken naan pizza. This is pizza that gives you real bang for your bite. Pillowy naan, spicy chicken, sharp onion, sweet mango, and salty cheese.

Patak's tandoori paste
And the best part is, with just a little bit of advance prep, you can put the pizza together in less than 30 minutes. The night before, cut up and marinate the chicken. The next day, quickly saute the chicken. Then put it on the naan along with the onion, cheese and mango.

Mango and chicken on pizza might sound a little strange. But it's no stranger than a ham and pineapple pizza, right? I think it's delicious. But if you're not convinced, leave it out. Or substitute it with something else -- cilantro, bell pepper, scallions, whatever sounds good to you.

Mix together yogurt and tandoori paste.

Combine with cubed chicken breast. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, saute the chicken until it's just cooked through. Don't worry if it's saucy -- this will become your pizza sauce.

Place the chicken, along with the tandoori sauce it cooked in, on the naan. My naan heats up in just 3 minutes, so I put the chicken on still-frozen naan. If your naan takes several minutes to heat, then you might want to heat it a little first, then add the toppings.

Put some sliced red onion on top of the chicken.

Add some sliced mango.

Top with shredded cheese.

Bake until the cheese melts and starts to bubble.


Tandoori Chicken Naan Pizza

Recipe adapted from Bev Cooks

2 chicken breasts, cut into a small dice
3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp (or more) tandoori paste
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 mango, cut into small pieces (or use frozen mango that's been thawed and sliced)
2 store bought naan breads
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1.    In a bowl, stir together the yogurt and tandoori paste. Add the chicken. Cover and marinate at least an hour or overnight.

2.    Preheat oven to 400°F.

3.    Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan with the marinade. Saute until chicken is cooked through and the sauce reduces a little, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat.

4.    Layer the chicken and sauce over each naan. Top with sliced red onions and sliced mango. Then top with shredded cheese.

5.    Place in the oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is bubbly.

Makes 4 pizzas

May 14, 2012

Beef Bourguignon

Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us
to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.

A few years ago, when my son was in preschool, his teacher asked him what he'd eaten for dinner the night before. As his teacher laughingly recounted to me, my then 4-year old turned to her and said, "Beef Bourguignon!"

So this isn't the first time I've made this dish. But it's something I'm happy to make again and again.

If you've never made beef Bourguignon, I urge you to try. And not just any recipe. This recipe. Julia Child's recipe. 

Yes, it's a little daunting. And a little time-, effort- (and saucepan-) consuming. But it's worth it. Because by making the effort to render the bacon fat, pat the meat cubes dry, braise the onions, sauté the mushrooms, and wait patiently for the whole thing to cook up, you are rewarded with the best possible version of this dish. You end up with meat that's flavorful and fork tender. With tasty mushrooms and tender onions. And the pièce de résistance — a rich, thick, complex, glossy sauce that has layers and layers of flavor.

I started with a large piece of beef.

Then cut it into cubes.

Pat the meat cubes dry with a paper towel. This is an important step that helps the meat to brown nicely.

Fry the bacon until it crisps up. Remove the bacon but leave the fat in the pan.

Add the beef to the fat, a few pieces at a time.

Sear the beef until it's golden brown on all sides.

Once all the beef has been seared, set it aside. In the same pan, brown the carrots and onions.

Add the beef back to the pan. Season with salt, pepper and flour and put the pan in a hot oven for 4 minutes.

Take it out, toss the beef around, then put it back in the oven for another 4 minutes. This browns the flour and gives the meat a light crust.

Put the pan back on the stove. Add the wine, broth and tomato paste. Then add the garlic and herbs. Bring it to a simmer.

Put the cover on the pan then let it simmer gently in the oven for a few hours until the meat is tender.

While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Peel the onions.

Brown them in a mixture of butter and olive oil.

Then let them simmer away in beef stock until they are tender but still intact.

For the mushrooms, heat them on high heat in a mixture of butter and olive oil.

Cook until golden brown.

Remove the stew from the oven when the meat is tender. It will look like this.

Now pour the stew into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Clean out your Dutch oven or whatever pan you cooked the stew in. Then put the meat and veggies right back in. Add the onions and carrots to the pan too.

Simmer your sauce until it thickens to the proper consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Pour it over the meat and veggies.

Serve in a large bowl with a slice of good bread to soak up the sauce. Bon appétit!

Beef Bourguignon

Recipe very slightly adapted from Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking

6 oz streaky bacon
1 Tbsp Olive oil
3 lbs stewing beef cut into 2 inches cubes (rump pot roast is best)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp flour
3 cups young red wine (Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Chianti —
a good wine, but not necessarily an expensive one)
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 to 3 cups beef stock
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ tsp thyme leaves (I added extra)
1 bay leaf
the blanched bacon rind
18-24 small onions, brown-braised in stock (see recipe, below)
1 lb mushrooms, sautéed in butter (see recipe, below)
Fresh parsley sprigs to serve

1.    Prepare the bacon. If necessary, remove the rind. Cut the bacon into lardons (sticks, ¼ inch thick and ½ inch long). Simmer everything in 4 cups of water for 10 minutes. Drain and dry carefully with paper towels. (Okay, I admit it, I didn't blanch the bacon. I did the first time I made this dish and honestly, I didn't think it made much difference.)

2.    Dry the meat cubes carefully with paper towels.

3.    Preheat oven to 450º F.

4.    In a Dutch oven, sauté the bacon lardons in a tablespoon of olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes until they’re lightly browned. Remove them to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

5.     In the same pan, add the beef, a few pieces at a time. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or the beef will steam, not sear. Sauté the beef until it’s golden brown on all sides. Remove beef and set aside.

6.    In the same pan, lightly brown the carrot and the onion.

7.    Return the beef to the casserole. Toss with the salt and pepper, then add the flour and toss again to lightly coat the beef with the flour.

8.    Set Dutch oven uncovered in the middle position of the oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to the oven for 4 more minutes. This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.

9.    Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven down to 325 º F.

10. Stir in the wine, and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and blanched bacon.

11.  Bring it to a simmer on the stove.

12.  Cover the pan and set it in the lower third of the oven. Adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

13.  While the stew is cooking, prepare onions and mushrooms. (See below).

14.  When the meat is tender, pour the stew into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Put the onions and mushrooms over the meat.

15.  Skim the fat off the sauce in the saucepan. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If the sauce is too thick, stir in some stock to thin it out.

16.  Carefully taste the sauce for seasoning. When it's right, pour the sauce over the stew. Put the pan on the stove or in the oven and reheat for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley.

17.  Serve with good French bread for dipping. Potatoes, noodles or rice are also good accompaniments.

Brown-braised Onions:
18-24 small onions, peeled (I used cipolline)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup beef broth

1.    Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

2.    When the butter and oil are bubbling, add the onions and sauté them for 10 minutes, rolling the onions around so they brown as evenly as possible.

3.    Pour in the beef broth, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape.

4.    Discard remaining liquid.

Sautéed Mushrooms:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and quartered (I used crimini)

1.    Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over high heat.

2.    As soon as the butter foam begins to subside, add the mushrooms.

3.    Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as the mushrooms have browned lightly, remove from heat then season with salt.

Serves 6