Monday, March 29, 2010

Homemade Fettucine Noodles with Spinach, Bacon, and Grilled Halibut Carbonara

About 10-12 years ago I dabbled with my hand crank pasta maker. At some point I pretty much said forget it. I wasn't thrilled with the work to make super soft noodles.

For some reason I've been wanting to try it again. Saturday night I made the most exquisite homemade pasta. (My sister tells me I shouldn't always claim that each of these recipes I'm posting is fabulous. I should be more critical. I agree but what happens when I think each recipe IS really good? Lyndie, REALLY, this one is awesome ;)

The tricks - hand kneading the pasta dough and cooking it for only about 2 minutes. It seemed effortless. I guess the Hub was watching me make it because he even commented on how easy it looked.

Pasta Dough
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
extra flour for dusting

2 8 ounce grouper fillets
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup Parmesan finely grated on a microplaner
2 egg yolks
1 cup reserved cooking water from the pasta
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 red onion
2 slices thick cut bacon - chopped
2 cloves garlic minced

Begin to make the pasta dough a few hours before you plan to enjoy. Pile the flour and semolina on the counter. With your hands, toss in the salt. Create a well in the center and add in the eggs. With a fork, slowly combine the flour with the eggs by pulling the flour over and folding into the eggs. Once the dough looks roughly combined pull together into a ball. Wrap in saran wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Once the dough is done resting, place on a lightly floured surface and knead until the texture of the dough is even in consistency and smooth. Lightly flour as needed to avoid the dough becoming too sticky.

Flatten the dough with the heel of your hand enough so you can run the dough through a pasta roller. With a hand crank pasta maker, roll the dough from the thickest setting to about setting 6. I was able to create 4 sheets about 18 inches long. Once you have the sheets rolled out, run the sheets through the fettuccine cutter on the pasta machine. **If you don't have a pasta roller. Hand roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Roll the sheet up and thinly cut the roll into strips.

As you roll the pasta through the machine, wrap the noodles around your hand to create a ball and place on a towel. At this point you can allow to dry for 24 hour, store in a plastic bag, and use anytime in the future. Or use immediately.

Sprinkle the grouper fillets with salt, pepper and paprika. Grill on medium heat for about 4 minutes per side. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillet. Once you remove the fish from the grill tent the plate with tin foil to seal in the heat.

Bring a pot of water to boil with 2 tbsp kosher salt. Once the water comes to a boil, drop in the pasta and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the pasta from the water and strain making sure to reserve 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce.

In a skillet on medium high heat, add the olive oil and saute the onions and garlic. Once the onions are transparent, add the spinach to wilt. Add in the cooked strained pasta, Parmesan cheese, bacon, and reserved cooking liquid. Turn the heat off and stir in the egg yolk, folding through the pasta. Grate more Parmesan on top if desired.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Busy, Busy BEE

Yup, that's me. I love this food blog thing but for some reason I haven't been able to get myself to the keyboard lately.

I've been travelling, potting (clay), and dealing with a newborn. That is a new born puppy. Whoa!!!! Stop in your tracks before you think about getting one of those things (puppies).

Unbelievable. I took the week off work to get the puppy acclimated. I have no idea where the week went besides cleaning, picking up poop, picking up pee, walking the dog, and doing it all over again. Literally. I was not prepared for the level of responsibility I would have for this other little guy.

I'll get through it...hopefully. But, I do respect mothers even more than I already did.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

BBQ Smoked Pork Pizza with Red Onions, Poblano Peppers, and Smoked Provolone on Grilled Cornmeal Pizza Dough

I don't know what can be more satisfying than getting outside to smoke meat as soon as the weather starts to warm up. This past weekend we had temps in the mid 60's -low 70's. How better to celebrate than with smoking a pork butt? It was delicious!

It was a large butt so we had a lot left over. Smoked pork is leftover's best friend. I can think of a ton of ways to use it up. This time, the creative juices were flowing. BBQ pizza isn't exactly new. But if you jack it up a few notches with smoked provolone, poblano peppers, and a cornmeal pizza dough, your taste buds will take notice.

1 tsp dry active yeast
1 cup luke warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 cup coarse cornmeal
1 cup white bread flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 pound smoked provolone - shredded (I'm able to get smoked provolone in one of our local stores.)
3 cups smoked pork - chopped into bite size pieces
1 poblano pepper - cut in slivers
1/2 red onion - cut in thin slices
about 1 cup your favorite BBQ sauce (mine is Famous Dave's - one of the most wonderful BBQ sauces I've ever come across)
1 tsp olive oil

In a large bowl add the water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes. With a fork, gradually add in the cornmeal and 1/2 a cup of bread flour. Mix with the fork, mixing in the same direction to build the gluten. Add the salt, 1/2 tbsp olive oil and remaining flour. As always when building a dough, amounts of flour may vary depending on the moisture content of the flour and humidity in the air. Mix for about 3 minutes. Gently add in the remaining flour stopping if the dough appears to be dry and is not absorbing the flour. Once you've combined the ingredients, knead the dough with the heel of your hand right in the bowl for about 1 minute. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 tbsp olive oil and rub over the dough ball. Allow to rise for about 1 1/2 hour.

In a saute pan on medium high heat, drizzle the olive oil. Toss in the pork pieces and cook until heated through. Toss in the onions and peppers and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Heat your grill. Roll out the dough. Once the grill is hot gently layout your dough on the hot grill top. Grill for about 3-4 minutes. Time may vary depending on the heat of your grill. The dough will move very easily once it is ready to be flipped. Cook on the other side for another couple of minutes (2-3). The grilled pizza crust should be golden brown. Place the crust on a sheet pan.

Heat the oven on broil.

Spread the BBQ sauce over the crust. Evenly top with the pork, onions and poblano peppers.

Spread the cheese evenly over the pizza. Place in the oven on broil, on the bottom shelf so that the pizza is not directly under the broiler. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Check frequently because each oven will cook at a different pace.

Have your friends over for a dinner party. This will surely be a hit!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Maryland Lump Crab Cakes

The Hub was travelling this weekend. I'm so glad he's home. Crab cakes are one of his favorites so I planned to baby him a little.

I never realized how easy crab cakes are to make - And, so much cheaper to make at home compared to eating out!

Maryland Lump Crab Cakes

16 ounces lump crab meat
1/3 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
10 saltines or butter crackers - crushed
1 egg
2 tbsp low fat mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp butter

In a small bowl mix the egg, mayonnaise, Dijon salt and pepper. Place the crab meat in a small bowl and gently filter through the crab meat with your fingers to make sure there are no shells. Add the bread crumbs and parsley. Gently fold in the the egg mixture. Divide into 4 equal crab cakes, flattening and compressing each one in your hands.

In a skillet with a lid, melt the butter on medium heat. Gently add the crab cakes, cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Gently flip the crab cakes and cook without the lid for another 3 minutes. Serve with your favorite spring vegetable.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chicken Sausage Calzone

You know you are an obsessed Foodie when you go to visit people and you request to go check out the different supermarkets. Is that rude? I hope not because I'm guilty. I visited my Sis last weekend and she made a really yummy pizza on Friday night that had a delicious chicken sausage on one of them.

Chicken in sausage? I may be a snob but until that night I've not had a chicken sausage worth trying. Typically they are dry and bland. But, she surprised me with deliciously tasty sausage stuffed with chicken, spinach, fontina and roasted garlic. AHHHH! Maybe we have found the answer! It had Garlic in it! Anything with garlic can't be that bad right!?!

Then I asked her to take me to the source. I'll be damned. It was Costco. So we went to Costco and I got myself some sausage to bring home. We also went to an amazing Latin American supermarket. I'll have to share more on that later.

All week I've been dreaming of encasing that sausage in a calzone pocket stuffed with cheese and tomato sauce. I was not disappointed. It was really good.

(This dough can make 4 calzones. I made 2 and put the remaining dough in the fridge for another use later in the week.)
1 cup warm water
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup white bread flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
plus all purpose flour for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp olive oil

Mix the water, sugar and yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes. With a food mixer, mix in the 1 cup of bread flour. Add the salt and oil. Mix in remaining flour slowly. Remember, weather can impact how much flour a dough can take. Use your instincts. Stop adding flour when the dough is still a little sticky but not sticking to the side of the bowl. Allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

Stuffing for Calzone
1/4 cup of tomato sauce per calzone
1 sausage per calzone - sliced
1/2 cup Really Good Provolone per calzone (I like the Boars Head brand.)

1/2 cup Parmesan
1 egg
Cornmeal for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Saute the sausage in a skillet for about 8 minutes.

Grate the cheese.

Cut the risen dough in half. At this point I put 1/2 the dough away for later use. I took the remaining half and cut it in half again so I had two little balls. Allow the balls to rest for about 5 minutes.

Roll each ball out into approximately 8-10 inch discs.

On the half of each disk add 1/4 cup of cheese, spoon over the tomato sauce, sausage slices, and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. Fold the other half of dough over, press down and crimp with a fork.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg with about a tbsp of cold water.

Lightly dust a pizza stone with cornmeal. Place each calzone on the stone and brush with the egg mixture.
The egg mixture will help you get a perfectly browned crust. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Once baked, sprinkle with finely grated parmesean cheese.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

Tomatoes. They aren't in season but I came across some Roma tomatoes that looked like they actually had flavor. With temperatures coming up over 70 degrees, I was looking for teaser to summer. What could be more perfect than fresh tomato bruschetta?

4 large Roma's - diced
1/3 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1/4 jalapeno - minced
1/4 cup red onions - small diced
juice from 1/4 lemon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 loaf of crusty bread - sliced
olive oil for drizzling

Combine the Roma's, parsley, jalapeno, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Let sit for about 15 minutes so the flavors can blend together.

Drizzle olive oil over the bread and place under the broiler until toasted (3-4 minutes.

Serve the toasted bread slices on a platter with the tomato topping as a dip or go ahead and top each slice with the topping and then serve.

You'll have some happy guests if you serve this at your next get together!