Month: August 2011

Quick and Delicious Chip Dip

Quick and Delicious Chip Dip

Almost every time I go to a party there is the standard chips and dips sitting out on a table or counter and almost everyone swipes a chip into this store bought dip, and repeats. What always surprises me is that it is always store…

Cevapi – Southeast European Kebab

Cevapi – Southeast European Kebab

I had a craving for something different lately. I think it could have been the idea of a flatbread, or maybe it was hummus, or something to eat with ajvar that I had recently made. I know we all get this way at times, and…

Mushroom and Cambozola Pizza

Mushroom and Cambozola Pizza

If you have never heard of cambozola before, well… now you have. I encountered this cheese when I was thinking of ideas to make for a wine party. In my case, I used the cheese on one of my crostini appetizers, and ever since then, I was hooked.

This cheese is unlike most cheeses. I get excited every time I slice a little bit off. Well, I get really excited. It is super creamy and has the subtle notes of gorgonzola cheese. Even my wife, who does not like most, if not all blue cheeses, loved this cheese. So as my first purchase of this wedge of cambozola, I returned again to purchase another wedge, but this time I was not going to make a crostini.

Mushroom and Cambozola Cheese

As I nibbled on this cheese in small bites, I looked around my kitchen, and as most busy weekday nights, I had to come up with something quick to make. So it be told, I made it a pizza night. I already had the dough ready, and saw some great cremini mushrooms on hand, so I decided I was going to make an excellent pizza, with everything I love in a steak, including mushrooms and blue cheese, but do it without meat.

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough, rolled out to about a 10-12″ circle
  • 1 cup of cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tbsp cambozola cheese
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • flour for rolling your dough
  • finely ground corn meal
  • pizza wheel (optional)

With any homemade pizza, heat your oven to as high as it gets, typically 500 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, even better. Place the pizza stone in the oven during the preheat, and let it heat for about 25 minutes before placing your pizza on it.

Begin by taking a softball size dough out and place on a floured surface.  Roll the dough out into about a quarter inch thick, 10-12 inch round.

Arrange your pizza by lightly coating your pizza wheel with the cornmeal. This helps you slide the pizza off of the wheel and onto the pizza stone.

Place your dough onto the pizza wheel. Sprinkle the garlic and black pepper onto the dough. Top with the mozzarella cheese. Take about a tablespoon of the cambozola cheese and arrange near the middle, to top area of the pizza. Repeat with three remaining tablespoons. Top with all of the sliced mushrooms and shallots.

Mushroom and Cambozola Cheese

Gently shake the pizza onto the pizza stone and place into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until everything a light golden brown.

I like to let my pizza rest about 5 minutes on a pizza tray before serving.

A really rewarding pizza, this was a huge hit. If you are looking for a pizza that is earthy and has that subtle bite of blue cheese, this is the one. Enjoy.

Craisin and Cheddar Bratwurst

Craisin and Cheddar Bratwurst

Wisconsin is known for their bratwurts, or as we know them, brats. Summertime is a time where everyone gets excited about brats, especially while tailgating at a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game. Most everyone that I know cooks Johnsonville, Usingers, or Klement’s throughout the summer, but…

Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

Like most weekends, I tend to make barbecue. The low and slow barbecue. Not the throw things on a grill and take it off within twelve minutes. Whether it is ribs, chicken, pork shoulder, or heck, even sausages, there is always something cooking in my…

Ajvar

Ajvar

The word ajvar is probably a word that many of us have never heard of before. It is a word that I bring to you today, and it is a word of Serbian decent. I am not too certain where I came across the name ajvar, but it did catch my attention when I began reading more about it. I have been having an itch lately to make some baba ghanoush, which is basically a Lebanese dish made with eggplant and olive oil. Maybe it was my recent making of garlic naan that had me craving this type of delicious dip, or condiment, if you will. Whatever the case, ajvar might possibly be your next favorite condiment to put on a sandwich.

Ajvar

Ajvar is very simple to make. It is basically red bell peppers, eggplant, a bit of garlic and lemon, and just like that you have a wonderful, lightly spicy and fresh condiment.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil

Simple ingredients. Begin by roasting the red bell peppers and the eggplants, either on a hot grill, or in the oven on high heat. The goal is blacken all of the skin on both the eggplants and the peppers. This process takes about 25 minutes. Once the skins are blackened, place them in a ziplock bag, or paper bag, and let them rest for about another 10 minutes. What happens when the vegetables are sealed in the bag, is that they begin to steam and allow you to easily remove the thicker skins on both vegetables.

Once the vegetables are slightly cooled, remove the skins off of all vegetables as well as their stems. Add the eggplant to a food processor. Before adding the red bell peppers, make sure you remove the seeds from them.

Next, toss in the remaining ingredients and begin pulsing the mixture down until it is nice and smooth. If you want more texture in your ajvar, by all means pulse it down to your desired consistency. Me? I like it nice and smooth.

Transfer this mixture to a large saucepan, and bring it to medium heat, covered, and cook for about one hour on a simmer. Let cool.

Once your ajvar is cooled, pour into storage containers, and when you are ready to eat, simply spread on bread such as naan, or heck, even some nice crostini. First bite, and you will understand how delicious this condiment is. The big question is why are we learning about how awesome ajvar is today?

Hope you enjoy.