Category Archives: dough

Cauliflower and Olive Pizza

One of my colleagues recently returned from New York City where he had planned out an eating tour while being out there. One of the places he had on his list was Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Bakery. When he returned to the office, he told great stories of the places he went, but in particular he was excited about the bakery. A while back, he turned me on to Jim Lahey’s recent book as well, called ‘My Bread‘. I’ve been hooked on his pizza dough from that point, so when my colleague came back boasting about how good this cauliflower pizza was, I knew I had to give it a try, but put a little spin on it as well.

The beautiful thing about this pizza is not only the simplicity of it, but the fact that the cauliflower is so thinly sliced, it brought a whole new level of taste to a pizza, that along with the briny punch of the olive. It was a perfect pairing, and who knew it was going to be this good.

Cauliflower and Olive Pizza Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the pizza dough:

  • 3 3/4 cups of bread flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup room temperature water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for the pizza:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into quarters, leaves removed
  • 1/2 cup of green olives, no pimentos, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp Italian breadcrumbs

Start by making the dough. Now you can let this rise for 12 hours, or what I’ve been liking is letting it ferment on the counter, covered, for up to 3 days.  Add your water, yeast, and sugar to a small mixing bowl. Give that a simple stir, then let the yeast bloom, about 15 minutes. During this time, add the flour and salt to a larger mixing bowl. I use the same large mixing bowl to let the dough rise in. Give that a stir. Once the yeast has bloomed, pour it into the large mixing bowl, and if you have a mixer, gently mix the ingredients until the dough forms. Continue mixing for about 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, a towel, and set the bowl in a warm spot until the dough doubles or triples in size, about 4 hours. Again, I go longer on the rising process.

About one hour before you are ready to make the pizza, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Once the dough has risen, take some flour and lightly toss it onto a pastry board. Use a bench scraper or wooden spoon and take the dough out of the bowl and onto the board. Let it rest for a few minutes while you make the sauce, and prepare your cauliflower.

Cauliflower Pizza Ingredients

To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Once melted, add the flour, and cook the flour on medium heat, stirring for a few minutes. Once the flour is cooked through, add in the milk, and continue to stir until you have a nice thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and set it aside.

If you have a mandoline, I strongly encourage you to use it on this recipe. Thinly slice the cauliflower, almost paper thin if you can. Do the same with the garlic. Add both to a mixing bowl, and toss in the green olives, parmesan cheese, salt, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. Give that a good toss.

Add the olive oil to a large baking sheet and lightly coat the sheet. Use the dough and pull and stretch it, gently, to cover the baking sheet.

Add the sauce to lightly coat the dough. Cover the sauce with the cauliflower mixture, from edge to edge. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, and place into the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it is a golden brown.

Cauliflower and Olive Pizza Recipe

Remove the pizza from the baking sheet and place onto an aerated cookie sheet. Slice and serve.

When I first bit into the pizza, I was literally blown away. You get this creamy base, and the cauliflower had this light earthiness, great flavor along with the perfection of roasted garlic. When you bit into the olive, well, it was an explosion in your mouth. I never knew that the combination of cauliflower and olives would be so amazing! I was hesitant if my wife would try it as she is not a fan of olives, but she tried a slice, and fell in love. This cauliflower and olive pizza was dynamite, and I’m so glad my colleague talked about it and led me to make it. I hope you enjoy.

 

Apple Turnovers

Well, I still have not been able to make an apple pie with all of the apples we recently acquired from our apple picking a couple of weeks ago. Yes, even after every kid gets their daily apple for lunch, we are still left with plenty of more apples. As I thought of making another batch of apple crisp, I wanted to surprise my daughter with a new dessert, and one that she has never had before; the apple turnover. If you have never had an apple turnover, it is essentially a pastry that is stuffed with either something sweet, or something savory, but typically something sweet. When you see the baked pastry, it often reminds me of an empanada or strudel.

Apple Turnovers

This dessert is really easy to make, super delicious, and bakes in less than 20 minutes.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Puff Pastry Sheets
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 apples, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour

To a mixing bowl, add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cornstarch, and give a good mix.

To a large baking sheet, add a sheet of parchment paper and lightly brush with some of the butter.

Add the diced apples to the sugar mixture, and stir to coat. Add in the lemon juice, and stir again.

Heat the apple mixture on medium heat for about 5 minutes, then set aside and let cool.

How to make apple turnovers

During this time, lightly flour your pastry surface.

Unfold one sheet of the puff pastry onto the surface. Dust the top with a bit of flour, then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough so that it is about 12 inches long and wide.

Cut the dough into four squares.

Using the egg wash, brush the edges of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Add about 1/4 cup of the cooled apple mixture into the center of each square.

Fold over the dough to match each corner, then use a fork and gently push down onto the edges to seal each turnover. Use a strong spatula to move each sealed turnover onto the baking sheet.  Use a sharp knife and add two small slits onto the top of each turnover so that it release the steam while baking.

Repeat with remaining squares, and remaining sheet of puff pastry.

Once all of the turnovers are on the baking sheet, brush with the remaining egg mixture, the pour over any remaining sauce from the apple mixture.

Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Once cooked, remove the turnovers from the oven and set aside to let cool, about 10 minutes or so.

Apple Turnovers

When my daughter came home, and my wife for that matter, they were not only surprised by the awesome smell inside of the house (you can’t beat that apple, cinnamon smell), but their eyes lit up, and they both immediately asked ‘what are those!?’.

After I asked them to take one (I’m not a big fan of eating dessert before dinner), they were both blown away. They almost remind you of those warm apple pies you used to eat as a kid when you went to McDonalds, but much, much better. The exterior is nice and sticky from the sauce being cooked on top (I could just eat that alone), and then you get this warm, flaky crust that you can just peel apart the layers. The warm, and gooey interior is nothing short of comforting. The clove really makes the apple mixture pop and makes you wanting more.

These were a perfect dessert and a perfect snack for the family over the course of a couple of days. I hope you enjoy.

Apple Turnovers
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Puff Pastry Sheets
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 apples, peeled, cut into ¼ inch dice
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. To a mixing bowl, add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cornstarch, and give a good mix.
  2. To a large baking sheet, add a sheet of parchment paper and lightly brush with some of the butter.
  3. Add the diced apples to the sugar mixture, and stir to coat. Add in the lemon juice, and stir again.
  4. Heat the apple mixture on medium heat for about 5 minutes, then set aside and let cool.
  5. During this time, lightly flour your pastry surface.
  6. Unfold one sheet of the puff pastry onto the surface. Dust the top with a bit of flour, then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough so that it is about 12 inches long and wide.
  7. Cut the dough into four squares.
  8. Using the egg wash, brush the edges of the dough.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  10. Add about ¼ cup of the cooled apple mixture into the center of each square.
  11. Fold over the dough to match each corner, then use a fork and gently push down onto the edges to seal each turnover. Use a strong spatula to move each sealed turnover onto the baking sheet. Use a sharp knife and add two small slits onto the top of each turnover so that it release the steam while baking.
  12. Repeat with remaining squares, and remaining sheet of puff pastry.
  13. Once all of the turnovers are on the baking sheet, brush with the remaining egg mixture, the pour over any remaining sauce from the apple mixture.
  14. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  15. Once cooked, remove the turnovers from the oven and set aside to let cool, about 10 minutes or so.
  16. When my daughter came home, and my wife for that matter, they were not only surprised by the awesome smell inside of the house (you can't beat that apple, cinnamon smell), but their eyes lit up, and they both immediately asked 'what are those!?'.
  17. After I asked them to take one (I'm not a big fan of eating dessert before dinner), they were both blown away. They almost remind you of those warm apple pies you used to eat as a kid when you went to McDonalds, but much, much better. The exterior is nice and sticky from the sauce being cooked on top (I could just eat that alone), and then you get this warm, flaky crust that you can just peel apart the layers. The warm, and gooey interior is nothing short of comforting. The clove really makes the apple mixture pop and makes you wanting more.
  18. These were a perfect dessert and a perfect snack for the family over the course of a couple of days. I hope you enjoy.

 

Kale and Sausage Pizza

I was never a big fan with eating kale until a couple of years ago. I know, I know, but it was not one of those common household ingredients when growing up, nor was it something I was anxious to buy at the store. That all changed though when I started making kale chips. I fell in love with kale from that moment on, and to this day I probably go through a head of kale a week.  Recently I was on a pizza making kick, and I’m not that guy who simply rocks out a cheese and pepperoni pizza and call it a day. Granted I do make the cheese and pepperoni for the kids, but if I have any leftover pizza dough, then I typically scan the refrigerator and come up with a new pizza. This kale and sausage pizza is one of those, and let me tell you, it was awesome!

Kale and Sausage Pizza

I came up with this recipe because my sister-in-law send me a message that they had finally arrived in Philadelphia and their first stop was Tony Luke’s to grab a bite to eat. That triggered that whole idea of their pork and broccoli rabe sandwich. I’ve made something similar to that when I made my porchetta, and I loved how that pork played off of that bitterness, so this set me off to make the pizza.

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite pizza dough, to be hand tossed to about 16 inches
  • 2 cups of packed, fresh kale leaves, washed
  • 1 whole spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • water
  • bowl of ice water

Start by adding the kale to a small pot of boiling water. Cook the kale for approximately five minutes, just to get it a bit tender.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place the kale into the ice water to shock it. Drain the kale. Once drained, I placed into a salad spinner to remove a lot more water, trust me it holds a lot, then I balled it up, and gave another good squeeze, removing a lot more water. Slice into strips, then chop.

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Place a large circular baking sheet, or pizza pan into the oven to preheat while you make your pizza.

Lightly flour your dough ball, then begin pressing it with your fingers. Flip to repeat. Use a rolling pin if you desire to get the dough working, then begin to toss it. Here is a video as to how to toss a pizza. It’s fun, and the kids love seeing it be thrown into the air.

Once your dough is ready, and you have your desired thickness, remove the pizza pan out of the oven with your kitchen mitts. The pan will be really hot, so be ready to place it onto a wood cutting board, or a potholder.

How to make sausage and kale pizza

Drizzle the olive oil onto the large, circular baking sheet, or pizza pan and tilt the pan to make sure you get full coverage of the oil onto the pan before carefully placing your dough onto it. Once your dough is on the sheet, it is now time to build the pizza.

Sprinkle the minced garlic over the pizza dough, sprinkle with a bit of salt, then add the mozzarella cheese. Top the mozzarella with the chopped kale, then start dotting on your uncooked Italian sausage, covering the pizza. Shower on the parmesan cheese, and place back into the oven, cooking for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the sausage is cooked and the cheese is nice and golden.

Remove and serve.

Kale and Sausage Pizza

My first bite was nothing short of amazing. The kale got a bit crispy in certain places, which I loved and reminded me of those light kale chips, and then that spicy Italian sausage, along with the cheese, well, I’m done. This was super great pizza and I will definitely be making it more often. Just saying that pizza joints need to start offering kale as an option for a topping.

Kale and Sausage Pizza
Author: 
Cuisine: Pizza
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Your favorite pizza dough, to be hand tossed to about 16 inches
  • 2 cups of packed, fresh kale leaves, washed
  • 1 whole spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • water
  • bowl of ice water
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the kale to a small pot of boiling water. Cook the kale for approximately five minutes, just to get it a bit tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and place the kale into the ice water to shock it. Drain the kale. Once drained, I placed into a salad spinner to remove a lot more water, trust me it holds a lot, then I balled it up, and gave another good squeeze, removing a lot more water. Slice into strips, then chop.
  2. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Place a large circular baking sheet, or pizza pan into the oven to preheat while you make your pizza.
  3. Lightly flour your dough ball, then begin pressing it with your fingers. Flip to repeat. Use a rolling pin if you desire to get the dough working, then begin to toss it. Here is a video as to how to toss a pizza. It's fun, and the kids love seeing it be thrown into the air.
  4. Once your dough is ready, and you have your desired thickness, remove the pizza pan out of the oven with your kitchen mitts. The pan will be really hot, so be ready to place it onto a wood cutting board, or a potholder.
  5. How to make sausage and kale pizza
  6. Drizzle the olive oil onto the large, circular baking sheet, or pizza pan and tilt the pan to make sure you get full coverage of the oil onto the pan before carefully placing your dough onto it. Once your dough is on the sheet, it is now time to build the pizza.
  7. Sprinkle the minced garlic over the pizza dough, sprinkle with a bit of salt, then add the mozzarella cheese. Top the mozzarella with the chopped kale, then start dotting on your uncooked Italian sausage, covering the pizza. Shower on the parmesan cheese, and place back into the oven, cooking for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the sausage is cooked and the cheese is nice and golden.
  8. Remove and serve.
  9. Kale and Sausage Pizza
  10. My first bite was nothing short of amazing. The kale got a bit crispy in certain places, which I loved and reminded me of those light kale chips, and then that spicy Italian sausage, along with the cheese, well, I'm done. This was super great pizza and I will definitely be making it more often. Just saying that pizza joints need to start offering kale as an option for a topping.

 

Caramelized Mushroom and Onion Melt Sandwich

I know there is all this hype around ‘Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month’ going on right now, and I love that people get excited about that. Don’t get me wrong, I am in favor of awesome grilled cheese sandwiches, and I believe melts are right up there with the grilled cheese, heck, they should be in the same category as the grilled cheese, right?  You might have seen recipes of mine such as the Monte Cristo, the Beef and Cheddar Melt, the Korean Grilled Cheese, the Perfect Grilled Cheese, or heck, even the Shrimp Rangoon Grilled Cheese. As you can see, I love grilled cheese sandwiches, and that is why I am pleased to provide you a recipe for my recent creation, the caramelized mushroom and onion melt. This sandwich is a thing of beauty.

Caramelized Mushroom and Onion Melt Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Stecca’s, or your favorite rustic sandwich bread, sliced in half, lengthwise
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 16 oz cremini mushrooms, stems removed, cleaned, and quartered
  • 2 small onions, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 4 slices baby swiss cheese
  • 4 slices harvarti cheese
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Fresh greens, lightly tossed in olive oil, optional

Start by getting a large, nonstick skillet on medium heat. Toss in the mushrooms, onions, jalapeno, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, and add in one tablespoon of the butter. Let this just cooke for a couple of minutes, then give it a good flip, or stir, whatever you are comfortable with. Lower the heat a bit, and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring or flipping along the way. Your goal is to bring out those natural sugars and caramelize the mushrooms, and onions. The mixture will reduce in size as well. Once caramelized, set it aside.

How to make a caramelized mushroom and onion melt sandwich

Take the remaining butter and lightly butter all four slices of the bread. My skillet only holds two slices, so I laid them butter side down in a large, nonstick skillet on medium heat. Cook them until they are nice and toasted. Repeat with the remaining two slices.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Once toasted, lather the bottom stecca, or one slice of each bread with mayonnaise. Cover with two slices of swiss cheese, then top with the caramelized mushroom mixture. Top that with the two slices of harvarti cheese, then top with the other slice of bread.

Repeat with the other sandwich.

Place these onto a baking sheet and place into the oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted.

To plate, slice in half on the diagonal, and serve with a nice green salad.

Biting into this sandwich is freaking delicious. You get that wonderful earthiness from the caramelized mushrooms and the sweetness from the onions. Then boom, you get that flavor from the rosemary as a nice surprise. This was everything I was looking for when I came up with the idea, and that bread, well, don’t even get me started on that. Those steccas are not only super easy to make, but probably the best sandwich bread I have had, and that’s no lie.

Caramelized Mushroom and Onion Melt Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Sandwiches
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A simple and delicious vegetarian sandwich that is loaded with flavor.
Ingredients
  • 2 Stecca's, or your favorite rustic sandwich bread, sliced in half, lengthwise
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 16 oz cremini mushrooms, stems removed, cleaned, and quartered
  • 2 small onions, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • ½ tbsp fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 4 slices baby swiss cheese
  • 4 slices harvarti cheese
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Fresh greens, lightly tossed in olive oil, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by getting a large, nonstick skillet on medium heat. Toss in the mushrooms, onions, jalapeno, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, and add in one tablespoon of the butter. Let this just cooke for a couple of minutes, then give it a good flip, or stir, whatever you are comfortable with. Lower the heat a bit, and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring or flipping along the way. Your goal is to bring out those natural sugars and caramelize the mushrooms, and onions. The mixture will reduce in size as well. Once caramelized, set it aside.
  2. Take the remaining butter and lightly butter all four slices of the bread. My skillet only holds two slices, so I laid them butter side down in a large, nonstick skillet on medium heat. Cook them until they are nice and toasted. Repeat with the remaining two slices.
  3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  4. Once toasted, lather the bottom stecca, or one slice of each bread with mayonnaise. Cover with two slices of swiss cheese, then top with the caramelized mushroom mixture. Top that with the two slices of harvarti cheese, then top with the other slice of bread.
  5. Repeat with the other sandwich.
  6. Place these onto a baking sheet and place into the oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted.
  7. To plate, slice in half on the diagonal, and serve with a nice green salad.
  8. Biting into this sandwich is freaking delicious. You get that wonderful earthiness from the caramelized mushrooms and the sweetness from the onions. Then boom, you get that flavor from the rosemary as a nice surprise. This was everything I was looking for when I came up with the idea, and that bread, well, don't even get me started on that. Those steccas are not only super easy to make, but probably the best sandwich bread I have had, and that's no lie.