Blogs, Recipes

Roasted Garlic & Lemon Butter Risotto

I love risotto! I much rather have a bowl of risotto than Mac and Cheese any day of the week. 

I’m not going to lie to you. This creamy risotto is hands on. You do have to stand there and stir, and add liquid, and stir, and monitor. But I promise it is worth every minute! My friend Amy says risotto is a labor of love. 

I have several risotto recipes, that’s how much I love it!

This recipe is  buttery with hints of lemon! And the roasted garlic takes it up a notch! 

Roast Garlic is absolutely delicious! It will fill your house with the most irresistible, and mouth-watering aromas imaginable. I’m talking about the whole head of garlic roasted with olive oil until each individual clove is completely golden and butter-soft. It will just squeeze out! Roasted garlic is perfect for spreading a piece of bread or mashing into dishes like this risotto. 

This risotto recipe is a perfect side with baked cod or breaded chicken!

Looking for wine to compliment this dish?

Try the Scout & Cellar 2019 ADELANTE SAUVIGNON BLANC, bright and clean with lemongrass, lime zest and green apple balanced by a subtle minerality on a zesty, light-bodied frame with a refreshing finish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic, roasted- see instructions below
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 3 tablespoon. Brandy, optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon. chopped fresh chives

Roasted Garlic 

  • 1 head of garlic
  • Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Roast Garlic 

Heat the oven to 400°F: Set a rack in the middle position.

Peel (most of) the paper off the garlic

Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.

Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.

Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves.

Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.

Risotto

In a medium saucepan, heat chicken broth stock to boiling; keep hot over low heat.

In a 2-1/2-quart saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to foam and turns brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add shallots, onions  and cook, stirring until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Stir in rice until coated with butter. Make a well in the middle of the coated risotto and squeeze the roasted garlic into the pot. Stir until combined. 

Add brandy and simmer, stirring, until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup of broth and lemon juice and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Add lemon zest and stir until combined. 

Continue adding broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each batch to absorb before pouring in the next. Cook until rice is tender but still firm to the bite, 15 to 20 minutes total. 

Remove from heat; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon of the chives; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer risotto to two serving plates and garnish with remaining chives.

Blogs, Recipes

Honey Garlic Salmon

I love salmon! This is one of my go to salmon recipes.  It’s garlic, sweet and sticky with simple ingredients. 

This salmon recipe pairs great with Scout & Cellar’s 2018 LITTLE JANE PINOT NOIR. Little Jane Pinot Noir is elegant and complex with red plum, black cherry and fresh raspberry balanced by garrigue, Asian spice, and a hint of coffee bean with soft tannins and a lingering finish.

Ingredients:

Sauce: 

  • 4 tbsp honey 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar, distilled 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Salmon

  • 2 salmon filets 
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper 

Instructions 

Take salmon out of the fridge, 20 minutes before cooking. 

Pat dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

In a bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. 

In a skillet, drizzle olive oil and gear over medium high heat. 

Place salmon in a hot pan and cook the first side for 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes. 

Pour sauce over salmon. Cook for 1 minute until the sauce starts to thicken. If the sauce thickens too much before the salmon has cooked to your temperature then just add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan and stir. 

Remove to plates & drizzle with sauce and serve. 

Tip: 

To determine the wellness of the salmon, check the side of the salmon to tell how cooked the salmon is- I like my salmon medium rare inside, if it’s coral inside (rare to medium rare). You can use a thermometer too. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the salmon- 120 F for medium rare and 130 degrees for medium

Remember the salmon will continue cooking for a minute after removing it from the skillet

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DIY Projects

Schnitzel

In the summer of 2013, I traveled to Europe with the best group of friends anyone could ask for and met new lifelong friends. It was an EPIC trip! 

We started off in Germany, working at Girls Scout camp in Frankenkaserne. The first day of the trip I was introduced to Schnitzel, the inspiration of this dish! 

A schnitzel is a thin slice of meat fried. Schnitzel can be made with pork, veal, chicken, beef or turkey. So use whatever meat you want. If you’re looking for a traditional German schnitzel, use pork. 

The key to achieving the perfect Schnitzel is to pound the pork very thin, no more than 1/4 inch thick.  The reason this is important is because you’ll need to fry it in butter at high heat for a short period of time to get that perfect crispy crust. Yes, I said “fry it on butter”. Trust me this is what gives it a rich crispy crust and juicy center.

First, marinate your pork chops for 30 minutes. Then place cutlets in a single layer on the cutting board and cover with plastic wrap (this prevents splatter). Pound cutlets with a meat mallet or the back of a heavy saucepan, until 1/4″ to 1/8″ thick.

Set out three separate shallow bowls. In the first combine 1/3 cup flour. In the second, use a fork to beat 3 eggs. In the third bowl, add 2 cups of bread crumbs.

Dip the pork into the flour, coating all sides.

Next dip the pork into the egg mixture, coating all sides.

Then coat the pork with the breadcrumbs. Tip: Do not press the breadcrumbs into the meat. Just softly coat the pork on both sides and all edges, and then gently shake off any excess.

Once all cutlets are breaded, heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add 4 tablespoons of butter. Once butter is melted and bubbling, add breaded cutlets a few at a time and sauté 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. You may need to add more butter to the pan for each cutlet, keep an eye on the pan. I used a whole stick. Reduce heat if cutlets are browning too quickly. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and squeeze a lemon wedge over each cutlet. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. 

Serve with Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted™️ 2018 The Resident Pinot Gris.
https://scoutandcellar.com/consultants?u=whiskawaykitchen

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • Chopped Parsley for serving

Marinate:

  • ½ Lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ cup vinegar

Marinate Instructions:

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.

Marinate pork chops for at least 30 minutes. 

Instructions

Place cutlets in a single layer on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound cutlets with a meat mallet or the back of a heavy saucepan, until 1/4″ to 1/8″ thick.

Set up three bowls. In the first flour. In the second, use a fork to beat 3 eggs. In the third bowl, add 2 cups of bread crumbs.


Dredge both sides of each pounded cutlet in flour then dip in beaten egg letting excess egg drip back into the bowl before breading in bread crumbs. It helps to use a fork for the dipping process to keep your hands clean. Repeat with remaining cutlets.

Once all cutlets are breaded, heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add 4 tablespoons of butter. Once butter is melted and bubbling, add breaded cutlets a few at a time and sauté 3-4 min per side or until cooked through. Reduce heat if browning too quickly. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and squeeze a lemon wedge over each cutlet. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. 

Serve. 

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Recipes

Creamy Spaghetti Squash Boats

Spaghetti squash is such a fun, underrated vegetable! 

Spaghetti squash is so healthy and versatile. You can simply enjoy it with some salt and pepper as a side dish, or drizzle it with melted butter or your favorite sauce.

Squash has little to no taste so it’s amazing the different flavor combinations you can come up with!  I wanted to do something a little different than just marinara so I thought it’d be fun to make individual squash boats tossed with a creamy sauce, broccoli and sausage. Chicken sausage that is.  Publix Greenwise Italian chicken sausage is DELICIOUS, but really you could use any type of sausage you’d like!  

Creating the “noodles” from this squash is so incredibly easy.  All you have to do is cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, bake them (cut side down) for about 30-40 minutes in the oven then start scraping with a fork!

The cream sauce is so flavorful and seriously so simple to make. To bring the sauce up a notch, I added a drizzle of truffle oil  but you can skip it, if you are not a truffle fan. 

Toss the spaghetti squash in with the broccoli and sausage and transfer everything into the squash boats.  Top with cheese, broil in the oven and enjoy!

This recipe pairs beautifully with Scout & Cellar Chardonnay!

Click the link to purchase a Clean-Crafted™️ bottle from Scout & Cellar!
https://scoutandcellar.com/?u=whiskawaykitchen

Spaghetti Squash Ingredients

  • 1 medium Spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning 
  • Salt & Pepper 

Stuffing Ingredients

  • 4 Italian chicken sausage, removed from casings
  • Head of Broccoli, chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, chopped 
  • 3 tablespoons of White wine

Cream Sauce Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 3 ounces truffle oil (black or white), optional
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Spaghetti Squash Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and ribbing. Drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Place the spaghetti squash cut side down on the baking sheet and use a fork to poke holes. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on the outside, fork tender, but still a little bit firm. The time will vary depending on the size of your squash. 

Remove from the oven and flip the squash so that it’s cut side up. When cool enough  to the touch, use a fork to scrape out the strands from the sides of the squash. Do not toss the empty squash halves. 

Stuffing Instructions

While the squash is roasting, prepare the stuffing. 

In a skillet, brown the sausage crumbles. Once browned transfer to a plate and deglaze the pan. 

Pour in 3 tablespoons or so (enough to cover the bottom of the pan 1/4″ or less) of white wine, with the heat still on, and scrape the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spatula vigorously as the liquid comes to a boil. 

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the same skillet, once the butter has melted saute the broccoli for 3-5 minutes. 

Move the broccoli to the sides of the skillet, creating a well to add the garlic and shallot. Saute for one minute and then combine broccoli, garlic and shallots- sauteing for an additional 3-5 minutes. 

Once the squash is done, scoop the strands into the skillet with the broccoli mixture. 

Add the cooked sausage to the skillet and stir to combine. 

Cream Sauce Instructions

Add butter to a sauce pot. Turn the heat on medium. 

Once the butter has melted, add 4 tablespoons of flour, whisk until combined.

Pour heavy creamy, wine and truffle oil into the pot, whisk to combine. 

Once the mixture is hot, slowly whisk in the cheeses. 

Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until it’s thickened, stir occasionally. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to low.

Assembling Instructions

Drizzle cream sauce into the bottom of the squash halves.

Divide sausage and broccoli mixture among the halves.

Drizzle Cream sauce over top.

Sprinkle it with mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. 

Broil until cheese is browned and squash warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes. 

Serve hot with a glass of Scout & Cellar Chardonnay!

Shop for the perfect Chardonnay on my Scout & Cellar page

https://scoutandcellar.com/wine?u=whiskawaykitchen

Recipes

Grandma’s Rum Cake

I’ll never forget the day I stopped by grandmother’s house to ask her to share the family recipes. I pulled up a chair at her kitchen counter, pen in hand and she asked “Where do you want to start?”

I remember being a little girl having family picnics at the lake down the street from her house and for dessert she always would make her famous rum cake. My cousins and I would always feel so grown up because we were eating rum cake. LOL

So I asked for her rum cake recipe. She laughed, opened her recipe box and handed me a recipe card. It was the Bacardi Rum Cake recipe card. “It’s that easy”, she laughed. We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing and writing down her recipes. 

This recipe makes the moistest cake you’ll ever eat. And it’s been popular since the 1970s, it’s soft, fluffy and super moist, bursting with rum and yellow cake flavor. Not to mention it’s easy to prepare, and perfect for any occasion.

You can use any rum. I use my favorite rum, 82°West 1911 Special Dark Rum. 82 West Distilling is a craft rum distillery in Tampa, right in Seminole Heights! 

It all starts with a cup of pecans sprinkled over the bottom of a bundt pan. Then you mix a package of yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and half a cup of rum until smooth. I did make one adjustment and added a tablespoon of Vanilla and mixed until combined. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for one hour.

Once the cake is done, you prepare a simple butter-rum glaze made of butter, sugar, water and rum. Spoon the sauce all over the warm cake. Let it sit to soak in all the delicious butter-rum glaze and serve.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (You just use the cake mix as is, do not add other ingredients listed on the cake box.)
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix (92 g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup cold water
  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 cup dark rum 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla 

GLAZE INGREDIENTS

  • 1⁄2 cup butter
  • 1⁄4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup dark rum or rum

CAKE DIRECTIONS

Sprinkle nuts over the bottom of a greased bundt pan.

Stir together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, vanilla, water, oil and rum.

Pour batter over nuts.

Bake at 325 in the oven for 1 hour.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan.

Transfer onto a serving plate and poke top with a toothpick.

GLAZE DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a saucepan.

Stir in water and sugar.

Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat.

Stir in rum.

Drizzle ½ of the glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

Allow cake to absorb glaze.

Drizzle the remaining glaze over the top of each slice right before serving.

Recipes

Citrus Sazon Beer Can Chicken

Beer can chicken is the best, easiest way to cook a whole chicken on the grill without any special equipment. The beer from the can steams the chicken, resulting in a perfectly-cooked and moist whole chicken. The chicken literally sits on the can and as the beer heats up, it streams and flavours the inside of the chicken. 

I start with marinating the chicken with  Sazon seasoning, vinegar, and stuffing lemon, lime and orange wedges inside the chicken overnight. 

Sazon is like the magic spice blend in many Latin dishes. It’s commonly found in the supermarket in small envelopes that you add to stews, beans, rice, etc. It gives yellow rice that yellow color and basically makes anything taste good! Goya is the most popular brand. If you can not find Sazon you can make your own, the recipe is at the bottom of this blog page. 

Next comes choosing the beer! 

Beer can chicken requires beer in a can. However, that doesn’t mean you have to buy canned beer. All you need is a can. I personally prefer to use an old soup can that I have cleaned and saved. Which opens up your beer possibilities immensely because many of the best beers are only sold in bottles. So it comes down to what type of flavor you want to add to your chicken. Does a sweeter bird sound good? How about something a little spicy, wheaty, or fruity? 

The most popular choice is lager, but I also like to use sour beer. I love citrus flavors, and the sour citrus seems to make the flavors come alive. It’s all a matter of personal preference. Get creative! 

Once you have marinated your chicken and chose the beer, you’re get the bird on the can and to get grilling! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (12-ounce) can lager beer, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoon Sazon Seasoning
  • 1 cup White distilled vinegar
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 lime,  cut into wedges
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges
  • 1 (4 to 4 1/2) pound whole chicken

Basting Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup beer, reserved from above
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of ½ a Lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Sazon seasoning
  • 1 Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

Marinate:

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. 

Place lemon, lime and orange wedges into the center of the chicken. 

Stir the Sazon seasoning, garlic powder and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl. 

Pour the seasoning mixture into a large Ziploc bag, slowly pour vinegar, and EVOO into the same bag. Combine. 

Drop the chicken into the bag, zip the bag and shake until the chicken is well coated.

Marinate overnight. 

Basting Sauce:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. 

Grilling:

Heat grill by heating 2 out of 3 (or 3 out of 4) of the burners to high heat. Keep the remaining burners off. 

Pour out or drink about half of the beer, reserving 1/4 cup for the basting sauce. 

Place the beer can inside a metal 9×13-inch aluminum pan. Lower the chicken leg-side down onto the beer until it is securely propped upright. Be careful when picking the pan up, have a firm grip on the chicken with one hand while holding the foil pan with the other. Trust me, I’ve totally lost my chicken by not doing that. 

Place the pan over indirect heat (over the turned-off burners) and grill for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, baste the chicken with the basting sauce. At this point, it will start to brown and look almost cooked through, even though it is not.

Baste the chicken with the sauce and continue to cook, covered, basting every 10 minutes, until the skin is deeply colored, crisp, and a probe thermometer in the deepest part of the thigh registers 165°F, about 25 to 35 minutes more depending the size of the chicken. 

Rotate the pan as needed so that the chicken browns evenly.

Remove the chicken and the pan with its drippings from the grill. (If you use a foil pan, slide the pan onto a baking sheet before moving it around)

Discard the beer can. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before slicing.

Sazon Substitute Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder 
  • 1 tablespoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano 

Instructions

Combine all ingredients and mix well

Recipes

Blackened Chicken Wings with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

These Blackened Chicken Wings are tender and juicy on the inside. The blackened seasoning spice mixture almost forms a crust on the chicken to seal in the juices. Of course, you have to serve the chicken wings with homemade Blue Cheese dressing! This easy homemade blue cheese dressing is better than anything you can buy at the store. 

My friend, Adam lives in Asheville, NC during one of this hikes he came across some Ramps, wild leeks. He dried and powdered the leaves and mailed Brian and I some to get creative in some of our recipes. I thought I’d sprinkle a 1/2 tablespoon into my Blackened seasoning, it was AMAZING! But don’t worry if you can’t find Ramps, the seasoning is still delicious!

I can not wait for football season so we can make these at our tailgate!

Thanks Adam for the special deviltry!

To make the blackened chicken, I mix all the spices together in a small bowl, and then generously coat the chicken wings with the seasoning on all sides, using my fingers to press the seasoning on to the chicken. 

The bright green seasoning is the Ramps from Adam.

Heat your skillet until it is searing hot skillet (use your cast iron skillet if you have one!). Drop 4 tablespoons of butter into the skillet and allow it to melt and bubble. Then place the chicken wings into the HOT skillet and cook until the chicken is blackened on each side and fully cooked inside. 

I used butter for this recipe to give the chicken a richer flavor, but you can certainly use a healthier oil, such as canola oil or coconut oil. I wouldn’t recommend olive oil because the skillet needs to be searing hot, and olive oil smokes at high temperature.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of chicken wings 
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning, divided

BLACKENED SEASONING

  • 4 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 ½  teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

Combine all the spices and herbs in a small bowl. Mix well. 

Place the chicken wings into the spice mixture on both sides to coat the chicken. 

In a large skillet heat 4 tablespoons of butter. 

Carefully place the spice-coated chicken wings into the butter, and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is fully cooked. 

If the chicken is blackened but not fully cooked, just lower the heat and cover with a lid, cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165F.

Serve the blackened chicken wings with blue cheese dressing.

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 to 4 ounces Blue Cheese crumbles, chunky
  • Milk, buttermilk or water to thin out the dressing, optional

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the blue cheese. Whisk until combined. 

Crumble in the blue cheese and fold together. 

Store in the refrigerator.

Recipes

Focaccia Bread Art

Abby and her work of art!

Have you seen the new trend in baking bread? Bakers are turning focaccia bread into beautiful works of bread art by layering on creative ingredients. Vineyard Baker on Instagram is the pro behind this new trend. Making focaccia bread art is not only fun for the whole family but it is delicious!

So since the world is in quarantine, I have been looking for fun projects to keep the kids and me busy. Abby, Brian’s daughter, loves to cook with her hands so this was the perfect fun project for us to do together.   

Start off with my easy focaccia bread recipe. Once the dough has risen, get your raw or pickled vegetables and fresh or dried herbs and get CREATIVE!

Here’s some suggestions:

  • Red onions – thinly sliced to look like flowers
  • Mini bell Peppers – sliced vertically to make big sunflowers!
  • Chives  – Make great flower stems
  • Green Onions –  Also make great flower stems or seaweed
  • Parsley – Perfect for leaves
  • Basil – Also great for leaves or seaweed
  • Cherry or regular Tomatoes – Sliced in half makes great flower centers
  • Olives – Rocks or centers of flowers
  • Carrots- make the sun or flowers
  • Capers – Also make great rocks or seed pods
  • Rosemary – Small plants
  • Thyme – Small plants
  • Green Beans- makes great grass
  • Pepperoni – can be shaped into fish or faces
  • Shredded Parmesan – Sand or dirt

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a cold medium skillet, combine olive oil, minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, and the black pepper. Place the skillet over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until aromatic, but before the garlic browns. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and honey. Stir a few times then let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup of the flour and a 1/4 cup of the infused garlic-olive oil mixture to the bowl with yeast and honey. Stir 3 to 4 times until the flour has moistened. Let sit for another 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour and the salt. When the dough comes together, transfer to a floured board and knead 10 to 15 times until smooth.
  5. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour. 
  6. After 1 hour, heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Use two tablespoons of the remaining garlic-olive oil mixture to oil a 9-inch by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet. 
  8. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet then press it down into the pan. Use your fingers to create dimples in the dough then drizzle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the garlic-olive oil mixture. Tip: Creating dimples with your fingers helps to prevent the dough from bubbling up while baking.
  9. Let the dough rise for 20 minutes until it puffs slightly.
  10. Now it is time to get creative! Grab your favorite colorful herbs, vegetables (fresh or pickled), and nuts and seeds. Decorate the dough with your ingredients, gently pressing down so they stay in place. Brush olive oil over the top.
  11. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  12. Cool baked focaccia bread on a wire rack.
Recipes

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Radishes

Who knew that roasted radishes actually taste like roasted red potatoes! Seriously!
I had a bag of radishes I was worried were going to go bad so I did a quick Google search and learned roasted radishes are a healthy alternative for roasted potatoes.
So I grabbed the radishes, a bag of brussel sprouts, some of my favorite seasonings and bacon. I mean what doesn’t bacon go good with!
I couldn’t believe how delicious this came out! I definitely will be roasting radishes again!

Here’s how I had prepared them.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices Bacon, cooked
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts quartered and outer layers peeled
  • 1 bunch Radishes halved
  • 4 strips bacon
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ tsp Italian Herb Seasoning
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook bacon and set aside.
  3. Toss the quartered brussels and halved radishes in a bowl with oil, seasonings, salt, and pepper and set aside.
  4. Drizzle EVOO over a baking sheet.
  5. Spread the brussels and radishes out in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the veggies are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
  7. Chop the bacon and sprinkle on top of the veggies.

Recipes

Family Pizza Night

Did someone say Pizza? Brian and I love making homemade pizza with the girls! 

Now of course, you can just go to the grocery store and buy the pre-made pizza dough but what’s the fun in that! While we practice the Stay at Home Order, get in the kitchen and make your own pizza dough. It’s super fun especially to do with loved ones! 

I have two recipes listed below; one for your regular pizza dough and one for deep dish pizza dough. They both are delicious!

Basic But Delicious Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for bowl to rest dough
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups All purpose flour, plus more to roll dough

Mix 1 cup warm water with the package active dry yeast and let the yeast bloom and foam, 5 minutes. Add EVOO, honey and salt and whisk together. 

Whisk together the 3 cups of flour and salt. 

If you have a food processor, slowly pour the honey mixture, to the food processor and pulse until the dough comes together in a sticky ball, about 20 to 30 seconds. No food processor, no worries, you can use a rubber spatula! 

Place the dough onto a floured work surface and knead, using the heel of your hand, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. This can totally count as your arm workout for the day!

Using a paper towel, pour a small amount of EVOO into a large bowl and coat the bottom and sides. Add the dough, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let the dough stand until it is doubled in size, about ten minutes to one hour. The longer you allow it to stand and rise, the more flavor you will have.  I totally just sounded like Yoda! LOL! Okay back to the recipe. 

After ten minutes, plop the dough onto a floured cutting board. Punch the dough, literally, punch down on it and then puff it back up. 

We like to make several different types of pizzas so we usually make 3- to 4-inch mini pizzas. If you want just one big pizza, skip this next step. 

To make 3- to 4-inch mini pizzas, cut each dough ball into 4 piece wedges, then press or stretch into shape into a ball.

Want one big pizza? Press the dough out on the work surface into a 9 to 12 inch round, a long rectangle or an oval. Now if you used to work at a pizza place like Brian, you can get fancy and toss the dough up in the air. Or you can be like me and start at the center and work outwards, using your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick.

Here’s a little tip: let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter. 

Use your fingertips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings). Let rest another 10-15 minutes.

Looking for Deep Dish?

Brian is from Chicgao and he absolutely loves Malnatis! So one night, we tried to recreate their famous pizza. I’m not saying we nailed it but we came pretty close! If you are looking for a Deep Dish Chicago style pizza, here you go!

Ingredients

  • 3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups slightly warm water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, 1/4 cup softened to room temperature)
  • olive oil for coating

Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, use your hand mixer and a very, very large bowl. If you do not have any mixer, you can do this all by hand. 

Make sure you are using a LARGE bowl! The first time, we made this pizza dough, flour flew everywhere, which the girls and I turned into a flour food fight! I’m pretty sure Brian is still finding flour in places in his kitchen that flour should not be. 

Give those ingredients a quick toss with your mixer on low or with a large wooden spoon. 

Into the flour mixture, slowly pour the warm water and 1/4 cup of melted butter. Make sure it is not very hot or it will kill the yeast. Likewise, make sure the butter isn’t boiling hot. If you melt it in the microwave, let it sit for a few minutes before adding into the bowl. On low speed, beat (or stir) the dough ingredients until everything begins to be moistened. Continue on low speed (or remove from the bowl and knead by hand if you do not own a mixer), beat the dough until it is soft and gently pull away from the sides of the bowl and falls off of the dough hook- about 4-5 minutes. If the dough is too hard (it will be textured from the cornmeal), but if it feels too tough, beat in a teaspoon of warm water. Alternatively, if it feels too soft, beat in a tablespoon of flour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, turning it around so that all sides of the dough are coated.  Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 1-2 hours or until double in size.

While we wait for the basic or deep dish dough to rise, we usually make the sauce but I’ll tell you more about the sauce soon, below.

After an hour, remove the dough and place it onto a floured surface. Roll it out into a 12-inch circle. You want to stretch it out as much as you can to make a large circle. The dough needs to be stretched out enough to cover the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Remember we are making a deep dish dough! 

Using a rolling pin as a guide, place over a 9×2-inch (23×5 cm) deep dish cake pan or cast-iron skillet. We use our cast iron. We love cast iron, check out my blog in the Tips & Tricks section and you’ll understand. : )

Using your fingers, press the dough into the skillet or pan. Make sure it is nice and tight fitting inside the pan. Trim any excess dough off the edges with a small knife. Brush the top edges of the dough with a little olive oil. 

Now for the sauce!

The sauce is just as important as the dough! Yes, you can buy the jar stuff but come on! Why not go all the way! I’m going to share with you my Sicilian Pizza sauce and then I’ll share with you the best replica Malnati’s sauce. 

Sicilian Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic, chopped
  • 3 14 oz cans Italian tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1 tbsp Italian herb
  • 1 bay leaf

Best Replica Malnati’s Sauce Ingredients. 

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated (about 1/3 cup)*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes*
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Sicilian Sauce Directions

Melt the butter and the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.

When all the butter is melted, add the onions and garlic, salt well, and saute over medium heat for about 7 – 8 minutes, until the onion rings begin to lose their shape and soften.

Add the canned tomatoes (with their juices) and bring to a simmer.

When simmering, reduce the heat and maintain a slow simmer for about two hours, stirring frequently.

Add the sugar, tomato paste and Italian herbs (if using dried herbs add now, if using fresh, add about 10 minutes before blending), stir and continue to simmer for about another hour.

Best Replica Malnati’s Sauce Directions

Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt. Once melted, add the grated onion, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Once the onion has slightly browned after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, tomatoes, and sugar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow it to simmer until it’s hearty, fragrant, and thick- about 30 minutes. You’ll have about 2 and 1/2 cups of sauce at this point. If you have more than that, keep simmering until the amount has reduced. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used. 

Now for the Pizza toppings, get creative! Brian and I have tried several combinations, I listed our favorites but honestly anything goes! 

Malnati’s Toppings

  • ½-1 cup of Malnati’s sauce, or more depending on how thick you like your sauce 
  • 2  cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Crumbled Italian sausage (about ½ lb)
  • Thinly Sliced Pepperoni 

Margherita Toppings

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Parmesan cheese
  • A few fresh basil leaves

Veggie Toppings 

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper 
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion 
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

Prosciutto Pizza

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • A few big handfuls of arugula

Lemon Arugula- no red sauce for this one.

  • EVOO, for drizzling
  • 6 ounces grated fontina cheese
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4-6 Prosciutto slices 
  • 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • 2 1/2 packed cups baby arugula
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • Fresh lemon zest, for garnishing