Showing posts with label Cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cheese. Show all posts

Thursday, September 29, 2016

You’ve Entered the Calzone Zone

I’ve never been a huge fan of the calzone, and I assume most people that don’t eat their pizza crusts feel the same way. However, since this has been requested hundreds of times, I thought I’d put my personal feelings aside, and give the recipe a shot.

I call it a recipe, but it’s actually a technique, since the calzone's greatest feature is its ability to accept any combination of cheese, meat, and vegetables as a filling. Today, calzones are most commonly stuffed with the exact same toppings that go on a pizza, which, besides the crust issue, was one of my main problems with it. I mean, why not just fold a pizza in half, and call it a day?

So, I decided to do what I hear is a more traditional filling, featuring ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and ham. The result was as enjoyable, as it was surprising. It was almost, but not quite, lasagna-like. The extra crust didn’t bother me as much, and everything seemed to work together beautifully.

I decided to recommend our Wolfgang Puck dough recipe, because it's fast and easy, and features a nice lightly textured dough, but any prepared pizza dough will work nicely. 

Just be sure to bake this long enough. If you make these the same size, it’s going to take about 15 minutes at 500 F. Your calzone may look nicely browned at 10 minutes, and it will be tempting to take out, but the dough will still be raw. You really want to push this to the point of almost burning.

And what happens if you go too far, and it does burn? No problem. Just order a pizza and fold it in half. So, whether you’re already a calzone lover, or a reluctant skeptic like me, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Calzones:
1 batch of our Wolfgang Puck pizza dough (get the recipe here), divided into 4 dough balls
8 slices prosciutto
2 cups ricotta, drained if necessary
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin, and drained on paper towel
1 1/2 cup finely diced smoked ham
freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
(note: before folding, I forgot to drizzle the top of the filling with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, which I think would have been a nice touch.)
corn meal for the pan
2 cups marina sauce for dipping, optional
1 egg for egg wash
Parmesan cheese for dusting tops
- Bake at 500 F. for 15 minutes
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches with Burrata and Basil – An Exceptional Summer Exception

There are many people, myself included, that think cooking prosciutto is basically a crime against nature; but there are exceptions, and this plate of grilled peaches with burrata is one incredibly delicious example. 

Having said that, I used a domestic version, which works beautifully here, so we’re not expecting you to use up your precious prosciutto di Parma.

As far as the peaches go, you want something ripe, and sweet, but still somewhat firm. Above and beyond not being too soft, you must also make sure you’re buying “freestone” peaches. Non-freestone varieties will not separate as seen in the video. Ask the produce person at the market, and if they’re not sure, have them cut one open. They’re usually happy to do so!

After you talk to them, head over to the cheese department, and pick up some burrata. This extra rich and creamy cousin of mozzarella is not that hard to find, and really puts this over the top. You could use a nice, fresh mozzarella, or even a full-fat ricotta instead, but, if at all possible, find some burrata, and treat yourself to one of the world’s great cheese experiences. I hope you give this great summer recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small portions:
2 ripe, sweet, but not soft peaches (must be “freestone”)
3 or 4 thin slices prosciutto, torn in ribbons
6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) burrata cheese
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil as needed
1 tbsp finely sliced fresh basil leaves
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fresh Fig and Goat Cheese…Tart?

There are worse problems in the kitchen than making something that tastes amazing, but is very difficult to name. Like, for example, something that’s easy to name, but tastes terrible. Luckily, this fresh fig and goat cheese “tart” was the former.

I wanted to make some sort of crostata, or galette-type, free-form tart, which I’ve done successfully in the past (and have the video to prove it), but instead of using standard pie crust dough, I decided to try something a little more rustic, and savory, using spelt flour and olive oil.

I knew this would pair beautifully with the sweet fruit, and tangy cheese, but what I didn’t know, was that it would end up being way too crumbly, and pretty much useless as a tart crust. So, I crumbled it into the bottom of a shallow ramekin, and the rest is history.

As predicted, the combination of flavors really worked extraordinarily well, and the somewhat gritty texture of the “crust,” added to the interest. But, what the heck is this? I don’t think it’s a tart. An upside-down crumble? Sandy tart? I give up, but if you have some time to kill, I’d love to know what you would call this delicious accident. Semantics aside, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


For  the crust (makes enough for about 4 small tarts):
1 cup sprouted spelt flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 or 4 tbsp water, or enough to form a crumbly dough

For one “tart:”
about 1/3 cup “crust” mixture
2 ounces creamy fresh goat cheese
1 black mission fig, sliced
tiny pinch of salt
very tiny pinch of cayenne
1 tbsp white sugar
spring of fresh lemon thyme
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Smoked Trout Schmear – Because There’s No Cool Way to Say, “Spread”

Schmear,” on the other hand, is impossible to say without sounding cool. Try it, you’ll see. You also have to love a recipe whose name describes what you’re supposed to do with it. You make a schmear, and then you schmear a schmear.

Names aside, this smoked trout schmear is incredibly easy, and very versatile. Obviously, it’s great spread on any kind of bread or crackers, but slathered atop a freshly toasted bagel may be it’s finest expression.

By the way, this is one of those recipes were you almost have to ignore the exact ingredient measurements I give below, since the ideal amount of salt, acidity, and heat are very subjective. Equal proportions of cream cheese and smoked trout is a good starting point, but everything else should be added “to taste.”

Smoked trout is relatively easy to find in any of your fancier grocery stores that sell smoke salmon, and unlike its more common cousin, I think it provides a richer, more interesting flavor, especially in spreads like this. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!



2 trout boneless, skinless fillets (about 5-6 ounces total), checked for bones and crumbled
6 ounces cream cheese (3/4 cup), softened to room temp
2 teaspoons capers, drained
1 rounded teaspoon hot prepared horseradish, preferably homemade
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
1/2  lemon, juiced (about 4 teaspoons), or to taste

2 teaspoons fresh chopped chives
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Crab Rangoon – Rhymes with Swoon

Many people are surprised when they find out that crab rangoons are about as Asian as Buffalo chicken wings, but it’s true. Even though they’re commonly found on Chinese and Thai menus, they were actually invented in San Francisco, at Trader Vic’s, in 1956.

While not “authentic,” these crispy crab and cream cheese wontons are one of the most addictive, delicious, and crowd-pleasing appetizers ever created. That is, if the filling has enough crab in it. Most of the restaurant versions I’ve had are probably 3 or 4 parts cream cheese, to 1 part crab, but here we’re using a 1 to 1 ratio, and the results are amazing.

Besides being generous with the crab (or lobster, or chicken), the other critical factor is the “warhead” fold. Even though you can fold these over once to make a simple triangle, I highly recommend using the method shown herein.

The “turnover” fold is easier, but you don’t get nearly as much crispy goodness, and that’s what makes these so great. It’s that contrast between the warm creamy center, and those four crunchy edges that makes this such a magical bite I really hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 60 Crab Rangoons:
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces crab meat, drained well
1 clove crushed garlic
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne
60 square wonton wrappers
canola oil for deep-frying

For the sauce:
(Note: I only made a half batch in the video. This should easily be enough for 60 rangoons)
1 cup ketchup
1/4 rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce, or to taste
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Monday, September 19, 2016

Bacon Cheddar and Spinach Strata – We’re Rocking the Breakfast Casserole

For such a simple dish, I sure have a lot of additional info to cover regarding the construction of this beautiful bacon, cheddar, and spinach strata. First of which, is the somewhat unusual name. Whoever invented this recipe apparently thought it looked like layers of rock, known in geological circles as, “strata.”

I guess it sort of does, and probably would a lot more, if we used a deeper dish, and did more layers. Regardless, even with just one layer of filling in the middle, you’ll still be looking at a gorgeous casserole, which should thoroughly impress your brunch guests…bottomless Mimosas or no.

As I mentioned in the video, if you want something a little eggier, a little more quiche-like, just simply increase the amount of egg custard used. As long as your pan is deep enough, you could as much as double the eggs and cream in this.

Speaking of the cream, this is a very rich dish, so you may want to cut the cream with milk. In fact, many people use all milk for this, but I do enjoy the extra butterfat the cream provides. As usual, let your conscience be your guide.

Above and beyond that, this recipe just begs for personalization. I’m not sure what your favorite omelet ingredients are, but I do know they would work in this, and work really well. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 portions:
1 pound loaf of day old bread, cubed
12 large eggs
2 1/2 cups heavy cream, milk, or any combination thereof
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne
pinch nutmeg
1 pound bacon, sliced and cooked crisp
1 pound fresh spinach, wilted, and squeezed dry (or enough thawed, drained frozen spinach to cover one layer)
12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided (use 1/2 over the first layer of bread, 1/4 over the spinach, and the last 1/4 over the top layer of bread)
- Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes or until set. Then broil for a minute or two to brown the top.
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