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Tuesday
Aug302011

Herbed parmesan dipping oil

This post is part of a Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Crisco Olive Oil. As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received three bottles of Crisco Olive Oil to sample - Extra Virgin, Pure and Light. 

I LOVE olive oil. My first real experience with it was at a local sub shop in Omaha, Nebraska. It took me years to realize that the reason I loved their subs so much was because they put olive oil on them. So I started asking for olive oil at every sub shop I went to. Ever since, I've been an olive oil fanatic. I buy the extra large bottles at the grocery store because I go through them so quickly.

I was overjoyed to receive Crisco Olive Oil in the mail. My wheels instantly started turning. Should I make subs? Like the old days when I first discovered the beauty of olive oil? Naahhh. I decided to do something simple. Something that would really make me enjoy olive oil. Because I love the taste of it.

I threw this Parmesan dipping oil together in a matter of minutes and my husband and I gobbled it down after dinner. Yes, after dinner. It was deicious, what can I say?!

Throw the following ingredients together in a small, lidded mason jar:

1/2 cup Crisco Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 large clove garlic, finely minced

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Shake well and pour onto small plates. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese before serving. Use as a dip for crusty French or Italian bread.

Next on my list? An olive-oil-laden sub sandwich! Stay tuned.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Sunday
Aug282011

Spinach artichoke flatbread pizza

This post is part of a Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Sabra. Have you tasted Sabra hummus? If not, you must. It is my absolute favorite brand of hummus, hands down. Sabra hummus and I have a long history. We shared an intense love during my last pregnancy. We hung out together on the couch DAILY (thank you, four months of bed rest) and enjoyed watching movies together such as Mystic Pizza and Pretty in Pink. During that time, I began serving this very brand of hummus to my then 3-year-old, and he loved it! His favorite flavor quickly became Roasted Pine Nut, and I would serve it to him sandwiched in between pieces of flatbread three to four times per week. Still to this day, when I ask him what he would like for lunch, he occasionally will say, "A hummus sandwich, Mama!"

This post has special meaning for me. When I was asked to created an original recipe using Sabra hummus, I was brought back to that time when my family was just getting to know the brand. I wanted to create something meaningful and of course delicious, so I had a few requirements. It had to involve Sabra hummus (obviously), it had to involve flatbread of some sort and it had to involve a few of my other favorite ingredients. So this flatbread pizza is what I came up with, and it was supremely delicious! My husband is enjoying the "leftovers" as I type.

To begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Defrost 1 pound of frozen pizza dough, according to package directions.

Once thawed, cut the pizza dough in half and roll out two rounds, 10 inches in diameter, on a lightly floured work surface.

One at a time, place a pizza dough round onto a pizza stone. Top each round with:

1 tablespoon olive oil, spread out to 1/2 inch of edge of dough

3-4 tablespoons Sabra Spinach and Artichoke Hummus, spread out to 1/2 inch of edge of dough

1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped

1/4 of a small red onion, sliced

1/2 of a 14-ounce can of quartered artichokes, drained and patted dry with paper towels

1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese

Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

This would be a great finger food, complete dinner or appetizer for a cocktail party.

I hope you enjoy!

Spinach Artichoke Flatbread Pizza

Replace pizza sauce with hummus for a healthier meal and for a delicious twist!

Serves: 8

Total time: 35 min

Spinach Artichoke Flatbread Pizza


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6-8 tablespoons Sabra Spinach and Artichoke Hummus
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • 14-ounce can quartered artichokes, drained and patted dry with paper towels
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut pizza dough in half and roll out into two circles, 10 inches in diameter, on a lightly floured work surface.
  2. One at a time, place a pizza dough round onto a pizza stone. Top each round with (in this order): 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 3-4 tablespoons hummus, ½ cup spinach, ¼ of a small red onion, ½ of the artichokes and ½ cup of feta cheese.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

 

 

Friday
Aug262011

Birds Eye Voila! cheesy ranch chicken

This post is part of a Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Birds Eye Voila! I received a coupon for a free package of Birds Eye Voila!, and I decided to purchase the Cheesy Ranch Chicken variety. It sounded fabulous. Cheesy Ranch? Yum! I have made meals similar to these before, so I remembered how easy they were to make. What I did not remember from the others, however, was that they were totally delicious

(For the record, I'm being completely honest here. Nobody is paying me to say any of this.)

I took my first bite and made a noise similar to the moan my 14-month-old son makes when he is eating blueberries. MMmm-hmm-mm-ahh-mmm. This was one tasty meal. I had every intention of taking a picture of it, but it was in my belly too quickly. That is saying a lot when it comes to me photographing food. I do not pass up that opportunity often.

I am always happy to discover quick, easy and delicious meals for those nights when my husband is still at work and I have dinner to make for my two boys and myself. This meal was done in 10 minutes. It left me with extra time for a tickle session and a game of chase through the house. 

I have a stack of buy-one-get-one-free coupons for Family Size packages of Birds Eye Voila! meals to hand out if anyone is interested. Contact me if you are! 

Wednesday
Aug242011

Apricot and basil shortbread tart

This is Week #34 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

The end of August, and the end of SUMMER, my dear beloved summer, is approaching, which means I am attempting to squeeze in as many summer-time recipes as I can. I love summer recipes. Salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, anything on the grill, ice cream, cold cold margaritas, I could go on and on..  

I was excited to make this apricot tart because I thought it would be a fresh, light end-of-the-summer (sniff) treat. It was totally scrumptious. I have to mention that the shortbread crust on this thing? OMG! Better than the best Christmas cookie I've ever tasted. LOVED IT TO PIECES.

First, make the pastry cream.

In a saucepan, combine:

3/4 cup whole milk

5 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. 

Remove the basil from the pan.

In a bowl, whisk together:

1/4 cup whole milk

2 large egg yolks

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Slowly whisk the yolk mixture into the warm milk in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until melted. 

Scrape into a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.

Looks like lemon curd, doesn't it? Well it is a little bit shocking when it tastes nothing like lemon curd!

Now make the pastry (the yum yum delicious pastry that I'm madly in love with).

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 

Spray a 14x4-1/2-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Or do like I did and use a 9-inch round tart pan without a removable bottom.

Add to a medium bowl:

1 large hard-boiled egg yolk

1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

(Do you see a person in a coffin? Or perhaps a child sleeping?)

Beat with a hand mixer at medium speed until smooth, 2 minutes.

Add:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup potato starch

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

Beat at low speed until just combined.

Using lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate the crust for about 30 minutes, or until chilled.

Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until golden. Cool for 1 hour.

Now prepare the topping!

Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange 6 apricots, halved, cut side up, on the paper and sprinkle all over with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the apricots are tender and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Unmold the crust onto a serving plate and spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the apricots on the cream, cut side down, and brush all over with 1/3 cup melted apricot jam.

Cut tart crosswise into strips and serve.

You might notice that I left the tart in the tart pan and cut it like a pie. It worked just fine this way!

Decorate with basil leaves, if desired.

ENJOY!

Apricot and Basil Shortbread Tart

Better than the best Christmas cookie I've ever tasted. With apricots. (recipe source: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010)

Serves: 6

Total time: 3 hrs

Apricot and Basil Shortbread Tart


Ingredients:

  • PASTRY CREAM
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • PASTRY
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg yolk
  • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • TOPPING
  • 6 apricots (1 1/4 pounds), halved
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam, melted
Instructions:
  1. MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM: In a saucepan, combine ¾ cup of the milk with the sugar and basil; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the basil; squeeze any milk back into the pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the remaining ¼ cup of milk with the yolks and cornstarch. Slowly whisk the yolk mixture into the warm milk; bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted. Scrape into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.
  3. MAKE THE PASTRY: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 14x4 1/2 –inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. In a standing mixer, beat the hard-boiled egg yolk with the butter and confectioners’ sugar at medium speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Add the flour, potato starch and salt and beat at low speed until just combined. Using lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate the crust for about 30 minutes, or until chilled. Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until golden. Cool on a rack for 1 hour.
  4. MAKE THE TOPPING: Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the apricot halves cut side up on the paper and sprinkle all over with the sugar. Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  5. Unmold the crust onto a serving plate and spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the apricots on the cream, cut side down, and brush with the melted jam. Cut the tart crosswise into strips and serve.

 

 

Sunday
Aug212011

Our KODAK photo book

This post is part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with KODAK Gallery. I was honored to be asked to create a KODAK Photo Book for myself so that I could share the experience with all of you, and also offer a Photo Book discount to anyone who is interested. I'll get to that in a bit.

I was excited to create a Photo Book detailing this past year because it has been a momentus one. Ohhhh this past year. There is no way for me to describe the past 13 months in words. I'll type out a few key phrases that will give you an idea of the ride we have had. Non-sleeping newborn, hard-working and rarely-home husband, starting a food blog, lovely Fall, lots and lots of cooking and food blogging, nasty nasty winter, fun trip to North Carolina to visit my parents, Elijah's seventh heart cath, major work change, lots and lots of cooking and food blogging, Elijah's second bronchoscopy/laryngoscopy, major Mama anxiety, Elijah's third open heart surgery, Sammy's first awesome birthday, the unexpected and debilitating aftermath of Elijah's heart surgery, still lots and lots of cooking and food blogging, and here we are, enjoying our summer as best we can.. 

So that's our past 13 months in a nutshell.

Please click on this link to create a Photo Book detailing your own story! You will receive 40% off a medium hardcover or large Photo Book. Offer available through 8/31/11.