Monday, April 27, 2009

Italian Pizza Chena ("Full Pie")

Naomi sent me this new food blog to check out and I came across this recipe.  It was quite an adventure and took about 4 hours start to finish but a lot of that time was spent in the bread machine and the oven.  I used her ingredients for the dough but just had the bread machine do all the work on the dough cycle.  It was a fun cooking adventure and was definitely a crowd pleaser!

Makes approximately 2 pounds.

1 packet of active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups of warm water
5-6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 pound fresh, hot Italian sausage (in casing)
1/2 pound capocollo, thinly sliced
1/3 pound Genoa salami, thinly sliced
1/3 pound pepperoni, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh basket cheese***
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 dozen eggs (8 will be beaten, 4 will be hard boiled)
1/3 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
15-20 cranks freshly ground black pepper
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash

In a large bowl, dissolve in 2 cups of warm water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Using a spoon, gently blend. Add 5 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to start. Blend with a spoon just until the dough starts to form, then using your hands, transfer to a floured surface.

Knead well, adding flour if it’s too sticky, until the dough becomes springy and smooth. It should take a good 5-10 minutes of vigorous kneading. It will be soft and silky when done.

Place the dough in a large, clean bowl coated with olive oil and rub some olive oil on top of the dough. Cover with a clean, dry dishtowel and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size (at least 2 hours).

Meanwhile, fill a large, heavy-bottom saucepan halfway with water. Bring to a light, rolling boil, and place four eggs (preferably room temperature) in the water. Maintaining a light, rolling boil, cook them for 18-20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs, place in a colander, and run under cool water. Tap the eggs against the counter top to crack the shells; remove the shells, and rinse the boiled eggs under cool water. Slice thinly and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove the sausage from its casing and add to the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Place oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Brush the inside surface of a 10 X 3 spring form pan with olive oil.

Once the dough is risen, punch it down to release air bubbles. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, divide in half, and roll one half into a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 10-inch spring form pan. Using your hands, fit the dough snugly in the pan, gently stretching it to hang 1 inch over the edge of the pan. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with the tip of a fork.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 8 eggs, parsley, and black pepper.

Fill the inside of the dough with alternating layers of sliced meats, cheeses, and sliced hard-boiled eggs. After 5-6 layers, pour half of the egg mixture over the filling allowing it to seep down. Continue layering the meats and cheeses, then pour the remainder of the the egg mixture evenly over the top. You should have enough for 10-12 layers.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the second half of the dough to a 12-inch round. Place the dough over the filling, and using a sharp knife, trim excess dough until it just meets the rim of the pan. Using your fingertips, pinch the edges of the dough together, and gently roll the bottom layer over the top layer creating a seal. Then pinch the dough between your thumb and index finger creating a slightly fluted edge all around. Brush the top of pie with the egg wash.

Bake pie for 60- 75 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 20-25 minutes. Release the spring and transfer the pie to a serving plate. Cut into wedges and enjoy at room temperature.

Leftover pizza chena can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Individual slices can also be wrapped tightly in tinfoil and placed in a heavy-duty freezer bag for up to two months.

***Fresh basket cheese is a semi-soft cheese that is used primarily for binding ingredients together. It can be found at Italian markets and cheese shops. If you can't find it, then substitute one (15-ounce) container of ricotta cheese (drained) and whisk it with 2 large eggs.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

One of my favorite summertime salads!

1 lemon 
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 
1/3 cup granulated sugar 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

1/4 cup sliced natural almonds, toasted 
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 medium cucumber, sliced and cut in half
1/4 small red onion, sliced into thin wedges (1/4 cup)
1 (6 ounce) package baby spinach

For dressing, zest lemon using Lemon Zester/Scorer to measure 1/2 teaspoon zest. Juice lemon using Juicer to measure 2 tablespoons juice. Combine zest, juice, vinegar, sugar, oil and poppy seeds in Small Batter Bowl. Whisk until well blended using Mini-Whipper. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

For salad, spread almonds in single layer over bottom of Small Bar Pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven; cool almonds in bar pan.

Meanwhile, hull strawberries using Cook’s Corer; cut strawberries into quarters.

Score cucumber lengthwise using Lemon Zester/Scorer; remove seeds using The Corer. Using Ultimate Slice & Grate fitted with v-shaped blade, slice cucumber; cut slices in half/ Slice onion into thin wedges.

Place spinach in large serving bowl; add strawberries, cucumber and onion. Whisk dressing; pour over salad, gently tossing to coat using 3-Way Tongs. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately.

Southwestern Egg Rolls with Cilantro Dipping Sauce

These egg rolls are so delicious and then when paired with the cilantro dipping sauce (thanks Angela!) they are out of this world.  The recipe only makes 5  so I'd recommend quadrupling it! The cilantro sauce is just as amazing with chips. 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half
2 tablespoons minced green onion
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
5 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1 quart oil for deep frying

Rub 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over chicken breast. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook chicken approximately 5 minutes per side, until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until tender.
Dice chicken and mix into the pan with onion and red pepper. Mix in corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until well blended and tender. Remove from heat and stir in Monterey Jack cheese so that it melts.
Wrap tortillas with a clean, lightly moist cloth. Microwave on high approximately 1 minute, or until hot and pliable.
Spoon even amounts of the mixture into each tortilla. Fold ends of tortillas, then roll tightly around mixture. Secure with toothpicks. Arrange in a medium dish, cover with plastic, and place in the freezer. Freeze at least 4 hours.
In a large, deep skillet, heat oil for deep frying to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Deep fry frozen, stuffed tortillas 10 minutes each, or until dark golden brown. Drain on paper towels before serving.

Cilantro Dipping Sauce

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 (7 ounce) can tomatillo salsa
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt (I used regular salt)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about one cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Combine everything in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a serving bowl.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Presto Italian Flag Chicken

My sister Becky made this recipe first and gave it five stars.  I didn't have pine nuts so I left them out so maybe that would have bumped it up to a five star.  However, it was really good and any sort of chicken stuffed with a creamy herb cheese is a winner in my book!

5 to 6 leaves basil
1/4 cup (about a handful) flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 block soft garlic and herb cheese, such as Boursin
1/2 cup (about 2 handfuls) grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling (eyeball it)
Salt and ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, pine nuts, soft cheese, 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (about a handful), some salt and pepper. Process into a smooth paste. Reserve.

Butterfly each of the chicken breasts and pound them out lightly in a plastic bag with a dash of water using a skillet or meat mallet. Season both sides of the chicken and divide the herb-cheese mixture between the four breasts, placing a scoop on one half of each breast. Fold the flap over to enclose the cheese mixture.

Transfer the chicken pockets to a baking sheet and shingle 3 slices of tomato over each breast. Season with some salt and pepper, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons EVOO and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano (about a handful).

Bake the chicken pockets until cooked through and light golden brown, 20-25 minutes. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

This is a super-duper easy recipe that is perfect for a weeknight!

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg.  (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water
2 cloves  garlic, minced
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp.  dried basil leaves
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.  
Layer chicken, basil and cheese in 3-qt. casserole or 13x9-inch baking dish. 
Top with stuffing. Bake 30 min. or until chicken is done.

Tex-Mex Stuffed Shells

Thank you KaeCee for this very tasty twist on stuffed shells!

1 12 oz. stuffed shells
1 lb. ground beef
2 lb. ricotta cheese
1 can corn with red peppers, drained
8 oz. moterey jack cheese
3 T chopped cilantro
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 10 oz. can of enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook pasta according to package directions.
Brown ground beef in skillet (cook through)
Combine beef with rocotta, corn, 1 c. monterey jack cheese, cilantro, salt and pepper
Fill shells with meat mixture
Spread 1/2 enchilada sauce on bottom of 9 x 13 baking pan
Place shells in pan and cover with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 min.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 min.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Asparagus, Leek and Gruyere Quiche

I got this out of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food.  Of course I did have to save the other half of the gruyere block to make this.

1 tablespoon butter
1 leek (white and light green parts only), halved and thinly sliced, then well washed
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus, tough ends removed, thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
ground nutmeg
One 9 in. pie crust, well chilled
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack in lowest position. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium. Add leek and asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Place pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheese; top with asparagus mixture. Pour egg mixture on top.

Bake until center of quiche is just set, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. (To store, let cool, then refrigerate, up to 1 day. Reheat at 350 degrees until warm in center, about 30 minutes.)

Thai Steak Salad

My friend Carol (who just had a baby- congrats Johnson family!) gave me a bunch of her favorite recipes and I had to try them all because they sounded so delicious.  They were all hits!

1 clove garlic, minced
2 T lemon juice
2 T rice wine vinegar
3 T fresh mint leaves, minced
1 T soy sauce
2 t sugar
1 fresh green chili, seeded and finely chopped
6 T olive oil

1 lb. sirloin steak (1" thick)
marinate for 2 hours (or overnight in fridge): 2 T soy sauce, 2 T red wine vinegar, 1 T olive oil

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
3 green onions thinly sliced
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups mixed salad greens
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges

Prepare dressing and set aside
BBQ (or broil) steak and slice
Toss salad ingredients together
Add steak on top
Drizzle more dressing on steak

Barbeque Salmon with Northwest Autumn Salad

Thank you Carol for this awesome recipe.  The sauce for the salmon was perfect.

BBQ Salmon

1/2 c. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
4 T soy sauce
2 T mustard
1/4 c. catsup
1 T Worcestershire sauce

Heat ingredients over low heat until all combined.  While cooking on grill, baste the salmon with the sauce.

Northwest Autumn Salad
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 head bibb lettuce
1 c. watercress
2 Red Delicious Apples
3/4 c. blue cheese crumbles

1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. cider vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1 T maple syrup
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Sauteed Chicken with Pear, Bell Pepper and Cilantro Salsa

Thank you Carol for this twist on chicken!

2 firm but ripe Anjou or Bosc pears (about 1 1/4 pounds total), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup finely diced seeded red bell pepper (about 1 large)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped seeded jalapeo chiles (about 2 medium)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

3 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds total), halved horizontally
1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2/3 cup low-salt chicken broth
2/3 cup pear nectar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


For salsa:
Mix all ingredients except cilantro in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Stir in cilantro.

For chicken:
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place flour in wide shallow bowl. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Place on baking sheet.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add 3 chicken breast pieces to skillet and cook until brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and cook remaining chicken. Transfer to plate; tent chicken with foil to keep warm. Add broth to skillet and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Stir in pear nectar, mustard, and lemon juice. Boil until thick enough to coat spoon, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place 1 chicken breast piece on each plate. Spoon sauce over. Divide salsa among plates.

Buffalo Chicken Stromboli

Mark wanted to eat the entire 6-serving stromboli, but I had to hold him back.  This was delicious!  It also traveled well since we packed it up for a picnic at the park.

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 to 4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot
1 pizza dough, defrosted
1 cup Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 scallions, sliced
1 egg
A sprinkle of sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the EVOO and cook the celery and carrots until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken and hot sauce to the pan and toss everything together with some salt and ground black pepper. Set aside and let cool.

When the filling is cool, roll out the pizza dough into a rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the cooled filling evenly out onto the entire dough, making sure not to get too close the any of the edges. Top with cheeses and scallions.

Roll the stromboli, starting at one of the long sides, tucking in both ends firmly. Press the seam with you fingers to seal. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a splash of water then lightly brush it over the stromboli, covering the entire surface. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, transfer to a baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden brown, about 40 minutes.


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