Yep you read that right – this week I decided to make a pizza with apples and blue cheese on it. I originally got the idea from a recipe that I can no longer find, but it was an apple and gorgonzola pizza. My issue with it though, was that it was just a crap ton of cheese and apple. I needed something with more vegetables. I make two little personal-sized pizzas, since I just cook for me. You can always double the recipe to get something closer to a full pizza.
1/2 recipe pizza dough
1 medium shallot, diced
1 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and drained (or 3 cups fresh)
1 medium apple – honeycrisp, granny smith, or fuji would all work
2 ounces mozzarella, shredded
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese.
Roll out the pizza dough (I make mine from my all-purpose yeast dough) and stick it on the pizza stone. Cover with a bottom layer of spinach. If you use frozen like me, make sure you remove all the excess water or it will make the pizza soggy. On top of the spinach, scatter the shallot. Thinly slice the apple and place the slices on the spinach. Scatter the cheese on top and bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes.
This was really good. I was surprised how much I liked it actually. My only complaint was that I could have used a bit more shallot but the combo of flavors was awesome. Definitely making this again. And it’s perfect for fall. Song of the Week: No Diggity by Blackstreet. I have absolutely no idea what sparked this, but for whatever reason I’ve listening to the song a ton this week. And hey, it’s a pretty great song.
There is one thing I hate about living in DC (besides the weather) – the tomatoes are just bad here. I know I grew up spoiled eating tomatoes growing in my backyard, but still. Disappointing. But baking the tomatoes or sticking them in dishes works fairly well, and I wanted to make Ottolenghi’s Herb-Stuffed Tomatoes recipe ever since I saw the picture. So this week I did, adjusting the recipe based on my fridge as always.
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
6 chopped kalamata olives
handful of toasted pine nuts
parmesan for serving (optional)
Cut off the tops of the tomatoes and using a spoon, clear out the middle part of them. Lightly salt the insides of the tomatoes and turn them upside down so the juice comes out. Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic until the onion is transparent and fragrant. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, olives, and pine nuts and mix them in. Take the filling and use it to stuff the tomatoes. Bake at 325 for 3o minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Sprinkle on parmensan if you want and serve.
I really liked this recipe. It was pretty simple and tasty and hey, if you don’t add the cheese it’s even vegan! It’s not a wow of a recipe, but it’s good. I actually thought it tasted better when I had it as leftovers the next day for lunch. My only warning is that the tomatoes kept tipping over on the pan, which was slightly messy and worrisome. Definitely pair with dry white wine – anything else would be overpowering. Song of the Week: Good as Hell by Lizzo. I heard this song a couple weeks ago on the amazing podcast Soooo Many White Guys, and have been in love with it ever since. It just makes you feel better and more awesome. Also, the background on the chorus. If you can, watch the video too cause it’s also friggin awesome ode to black female beauty.
I have been continuing with my favorite summer cooking theme – desserts made with fruit this week. I actually called one of my best friends and asked her if she had any suggestions a she mentioned a tart, that was really more of a galette and she said was super quick and easy. The one she recommended called for apples but I went with peaches instead, and added some spices.
1/2 recipe pie crust dough
2-3 large mostly ripe peaches
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Slice the peaches. Stick them in a large bowl and toss with the sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla until the peaches are evenly coated. Roll the pie crust dough into a large circle and place it on a baking sheet (or pie plate if you prefer. Dump the peaches in the midd of the crust and spread them out, leaving a two inch ring of dough around it. Fold the dough over the peaches – it won’t be totally covered, the center shouldn’t have any dough over it. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or so – until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm or cold – both are tasty!
Honestly, my only complaint with this dish is that I should have used more peaches. Also that I used white peaches which I don’t like as much as the yellow ones, but they were on sale, so, c’est la vie. This is super easy and quick to make, and it is very tasty. A solid dessert that you can totally eat for breakfast too. Song of the Week: Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky. I’ve been on a solid Russian composer kick for the past week, and mostly listening to the darker stuff. This was one of the many, but it is excellent.
I decided to cook another dessert with rhubarb this week, although not one of the several I’ve made before (although the Strawberry-Rhubarb dessert crepes are still amazing). So I was going through a list of a bunch of different rhubarb recipes on Saveur’s website and I came across this one for Rhubarb Tarte Tatin. I made very few adjustments, mostly just made it smaller so it would be 3-4 servings in an 8 inch pan.
3 large-ish stalks of rhubarb, chopped into maybe one-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
juice from 1/2 of a small lemon (like a tablespoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
Melt the butter in an 8-inch, oven-safe pan. Once the butter has melted, add all the other ingredients and stir so that everything is combined and the rhubarb are coated. Keep cooking on medium, stirring every few minutes until the sugar has melted and the rhubarb is soft (I couldn’t tell if they were caramelizing, so I stopped when they were all soft). About 10 minutes. Make the topping while the rhubarb is cooking (or before hand)
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
7 tablespoons butter
1/4-1/3 cup milk
pinch of salt
Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Cut in the butter until it is mostly incorporated and there are only a few little lumps. Add the egg and 1/4 cup milk. Add more milk, a little at a time, if you need to to for a soft, sticky dough. Once the rhubarb is done cooking, take the dough and flatten it out, not too thick, (I just used my hands, too sticky for a rolling pin) and cover the rhubarb. There is a little more dough than needed for the pan so I just baked the leftovers like a scone, which totally worked. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes ish or until the crust is golden brown. Flip it onto a plate and let it cool before serving.
Omg, this was freaking delicious. I dunno how, but the topping stayed soft, cake-like and didn’t dry out two days later. Just the right amount of sweet with a hint of tart. Seriously, this is a 10. Go buy rhubarb and make it now. Song of the week: Counting Stars by OneRepublic. I’ve always really liked this song, and I finally got around to buying it on iTunes this week. It’s just such a solidly good song.
I finally finished moving!! All my crap, including all my hundreds of books, have been unpacked and I’m starting to feel settled in my new place. As a housewarming present to myself (along with all the other new furniture and stuff I bought) I got a new cookbook – Plenty by Yotan Ottolenghi. I bought one of his cookbooks for my sister a couple years back, and the pictures are like food porn at its finest. The recipes looked good once I read them too. I didn’t want to make anything too complicated but I also wanted to do something definitely different. So I decided on Artichoke Gratin since the weather was totally gross out yet it was late spring.
1 bag frozen artichoke hearts
1 small crown broccoli, cut into florets
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
1-2 pinches dried thyme
Zest and juice from 1 very large lemon
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2-3 tablespoons parmesan
Squeeze the lemon juice into a pot of water, and par-boil the broccoli and artichokes in it. You don’t need to cook them totally, it’s still gonna bake, but do at least par-boil/make the artichokes not frozen. Drain and set aside. Sauté the onions in olive oil until soft and getting a bit golden. Add the broccoli, artichokes, parsley, lemon zest, thyme and salt and pepper to taste Once the veggies are ready, make the béchamel sauce.
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
In a saucepan, melt the butter, then quickly stir in the flour so a paste forms. Pour in the milk and stir, constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom so nothing settles there, until the sauce has thickened. Mix the bechamel with the veggie mixture and stick in an baking dish. Dot the dish with little spoonfuls of ricotta and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Pull out the dish and sprinkle with the parmesan, then bake for another 10 minutes, or until the parmesan has become nice and golden. Serve warm.
I really loved this dish. It’s perfect for a stormy spring day, because it tastes like spring, and it’s all full of veggies, but it’s still a warming gratin. The lemon zest just makes the whole thing smell fresh in my opinion, especially when you eat it as leftovers. And there is a pretty good amount of cheese in there as well. I’d never cooked with frozen artichoke hearts, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to use fresh ones when they are crazy expensive on the east coast. I think they turned out perfectly good (and infinitely more cost effective). Song of the Week: Take a Bow by Rihanna. Now for the record, I don’t like Rihanna. Or 99% percent of her music (I will never forgive Umbrella). But this is actually a surprisingly good song and for whatever reason I listened to it a lot this week.