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Parmesan and Potato Pizza

Alright, well thanks for hanging on there! I know it’s been a while since my last regular update to the blog, and I’ve definitely been meaning to post this recipe since last month. I have another one after this that I’ve gotta write and edit photos for as well.
I love pizza…anyone else out there feel the same way? Plain cheese, pepperoni, supreme, Hawaiian, “California” style, thin crust, regular crust, deep dish, etc. I decided to make a plain cheese, but had enough dough for two pizzas, so I also decided to use some leftover red potatoes and make a rosemary-parmesan and potato pizza. Potatoes on pizza? I’ve seen similar ideas in restaurants and such, so it’s not such a crazy idea.

What I did was use my mandolin slicer to create paper-thin potato slices that would cook quickly in a hot oven as the crust rose. I seasoned the potatoes with some salt, pepper, olive oil, parmesan cheese, oregano, and thyme. Delicious.

What You’ll Need:
– Pizza dough (use your favorite recipe, or if you have a favorite brand, try it out. I made mine. It was enough for 2 crusts for the 2 pizzas)
– 1 cup warm water (not HOT, or the yeast will not activate)
– 1 package active dry yeast
– 1 Tbsp honey
– 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– 2 to 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour (I used closer to 3 because of the humidity, and the dough was too wet as it kneaded) plus extra for rolling

– About 1 ½ to 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, give or take depending on how much you like
– ½ cup Parmesan cheese, divided into 2 portions
– About 2 tsp oregano (dried)
– About 2 tsp thyme (dried)
– 2 large red potatoes
– ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (more or less)
– ¼ tsp kosher salt
– ¼ tsp black pepper (more or less)

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The How-To:
– Make the dough ahead of time, at least to the stage where it is ready to use. This will depend on the recipe if you are making your own. I made mine and let it go through the 2 rising stages for at least 3 hours.
o Combine the warm water, honey, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix for a few seconds. Let sit until the yeast blooms (activates), during which you should see little plumes of yeast start to appear in the mixture. This will take 5-10 minutes.
o Attach the dough hook to the mixer
o After the yeast is activated, add the salt and olive oil. Mix briefly, then slowly add the flour ½ cup at a time, with the mixer on low. Let it knead until it starts to form a ball and is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. It should look smooth and only be slightly sticky. This could take about 5-7 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and cover.
o Let the dough rest for about 1 ½ to 2 hours, then punch it down. I then separated it into two halves, formed a ball for each, then placed on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. I covered each ball and let them rise again for another hour before using.

– When ready, PREHEAT OVEN to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and flour a large cutting board or clean countertop. Take one dough ball and roll it out to your desired thickness. I rolled these out to about ¼ inch thick. Make sure to flour the board, the dough, and rolling pin (if using) just enough to prevent sticking. Press the dough with your fingertips to make dimples in the dough.
– When the dough is rolled out, spread a few tablespoons of Olive oil on the dough evenly. Then use half of the oregano, thyme, and parmesan and sprinkle evenly around the oiled crust
– Using a mandolin (or a sharp knife and a keen eye), slice the potatoes on the thinnest setting. Spread these potatoes on the crust in a single layer, not overlapping too much to prevent undercooking part of them.
– Drizzle more oil on the potatoes (lightly), then season them using some salt and pepper, and the rest of the oregano, thyme, and parmesan.
– Bake until the crust is golden, and the potatoes and cheese are brown. This should be about 12 minutes, but check to your desired doneness.
– ENJOY! (For the cheese pizza, I used leftover marinara, but use your own favorite sauce and cheese. Or try out some other types of toppings!)

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Show Me Your Grill: Skirt Steak and Grilled Tarragon Potatoes

In the month and a half it has been “cold” here in South Florida, and probably a little longer before that, I had kinda forgotten that I had a grill sitting outside, being so busy with work and other things. Well, I figured it was time to bring it out of retirement and grill up some skirt steak.

It’s been at least 3 months since I last grilled up skirt steak, as posted in Thrill of the Grill: Sunday, September 19th, 2010. I didn’t have any recipes posted on that though, so here ya go! It’s a very simple recipe, with a quickly assembled dry rub spice mix. I didn’t make a whole lot of it, only lightly coating the steak in the seasoning instead of rubbing a ton of the rub on the steak, barbecue style.

If you want more seasoning, double the spice rub recipe. Add whichever spices you like as well, or take out any you don’t. If you like it a little sweeter, add a little brown sugar…just note that it may burn, leaving a charred taste if you cook it at too high a heat.

Here’s a quick tip, take the steak out about 30 minutes before cooking it to let it come to room temperature. This will help you avoid overcooking the outside and having a raw (not rare, raw) interior.

Also, to get things done fairly quickly, get the potatoes cooking about 10-15 minutes before you start to grilling the steak. This way, you can get them grilling soon after the steak is done. You just want to mark them on the grill over high heat for a couple minutes, then toss them in the tarragon dressing.

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Gnudi Colony (Pronounced “Nudie”): Spinach-Ricotta Gnudi with Quick Tomato Sauce

I know some of you may ask, “What are gnudi?” Is this post safe for work and safe for children? Should I not be looking at this post here?

Yes, yes it is. Gnudi can be thought of as ravioli filling without the actual pasta around it. They are more like dumplings made from the ricotta mixture, using eggs and flour as a binding agent. And they are delicious. They are similar to ricotta gnocchi, and if made well, should be light.

I’ve made gnudi before, and after cooking them in boiling water, have toasted them in some brown butter. They are delicious, and have a nice crispy texture on the outside, but I didn’t do that this time, instead opting to serve them with a quick tomato sauce.

I think with this batch, I used a little too much flour, so they were a little heavier than what I expected. But, they tasted good, and I know now to use less flour in the mixture. I’ll edit the ingredients below to reflect this reduction in flour.

What You’ll Need:

Sauce Ingredients:

– 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
– 2-3 Tbsp tomato paste
– 1 small onion, diced
– 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
– 1 tsp oregano or Italian seasoning
– ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste
– ¼ cup water
– red pepper flake (optional)

Gnudi Ingredients:

– 15 oz of ricotta cheese (use full-fat here if you know what’s good, lol)
– 2 eggs
– ½ cup flour (add extra 1 tsp at a time if the mixture seems too thin)
– 1 package of thawed spinach, drained very well (or you can use cooled sautéed spinach)
– 1 cup of parmesan or your favorite grated cheese
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– a few grates of fresh nutmeg
– Salt and pepper to taste

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The How-To:

Note: Before starting to cook the sauce and gnudi, set a pot of water over medium / medium-high heat so that it comes to a boil while you’re prepping everything else. Salt the water well after it starts to boil.

Sauce:

 
1: In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, until hot. Add the onion and garlic, salt and pepper, and stir. Let the onions and garlic sweat for a few minutes, making sure to stir to avoid burning anything. You can add the optional red pepper flake at this point to infuse the oil.

2: After the onions start to become soft, add the crushed tomatoes, the garlic paste, the water, and the oregano (or Italian seasoning). Stir, and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to stir occasionally while it cooks. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Gnudi:

1: If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop the spinach by hand, then place in a bowl. But I used my small one. In the bowl of the food processor, place the spinach, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and nutmeg, and pulse until finely chopped.

2: Add the ricotta, and pulse again until combined. Move to a medium sized bowl.

3: To the spinach and ricotta mixture, first add the grated cheese. Combine well.

4: Add the eggs next, mixing until the eggs are well combined.

5: Add the flour in small increments, making sure to mix well so that none of the flour remains.

6: Add some extra flour to a board, about 1 cup, and then using two spoons, make small ricotta dumplings. Place these in the flour, and roll until coated. Shape them lightly and set aside. Continue until all of the mixture is used up.

7: Cook the gnudi in batches, about 4-5 at a time if they are large, or more if they are smaller. They should float when they are done, which may take about 5-6 minutes or longer. Remove from the water, drain, and set aside.

8: When all are done, serve with the sauce and extra grated cheese.

Enjoy!

– Anthony

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