Fresh Mozzarella & Fig Pizza

It’s all about new obsessions.  Fall is here and the world (including myself) is obsessed with pumpkin.  Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin martinis, pumpkin soup, scones, bagels, raviolis, etc etc etc.  Like I said… I’m all about the pumpkin too… but let’s get a little more creative than that…

Personally, I have a few new obsessions brought on by the fall season already.  The first absolutely has to be this watch:

img-thing

… I’m in love.

I’m also preemptively calling the new movie Gravity a new obsession.  I just have a good feeling about this one.

gravity-movie-photo-550x309

I’d say my most important new obsession however would have to be my discovery of homemade pizza.  My mind was absolutely blown away by making my first very own homemade pizza.  (In case you missed it)  I look at pictures of it and am craving it every day since.  Oh my godddddddddddddddddddd…………….. yum!

MMMMMMMM!

MMMMMMMM!

Today I decided to combine my new infatuation for homemade pizza with an old obsession of my dear friend Ricki- FIGS.  Ricki and I have been friends since we were 6.  We have grown up together and have been friends for 21 years!  Pretty cool, right?  I can’t eat figs or dates without thinking of her, and because of her obsession with figs- I dedicate this recipe to her!  She absolutely loves them… and so do I now too!

This recipe uses fresh mozzarella, pre-made pizza dough, some sliced fresh figs, olive oil, basil, grated parm, and lots and lots of garlic.  What could be better?  I decided to use just the basic garlic/olive oil sauce on the base of this pizza to bring out the delicate flavors from the figs and mozzarella.  Top with some fresh basil, another drizzle of olive oil and call it a night!

Fresh Mozzarella & Fig Pizza

Ingredients:

1 Prepared Pizza Dough, raw – I like Trader Joe’s!

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1-2 Tablespoons Crushed Garlic- I use Gourmet Garden Herb Tubes!

1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper, Sea Salt, and Black Pepper

4oz Fresh Mozzarella, thinly sliced

8 Fresh Figs, thinly sliced

2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, sliced

1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Directions:

1.  Let dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2.  Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in the oven.  Preheat to 500, keeping the stone or baking sheet in the oven.

3.  Roll dough as large as possible (14 inches or so), on a floured surface.  Piece entire surface with a fork.  Carefully remove the stone or baking sheet from the oven and arrange the dough on the surface.  

4.  Spread the Olive Oil and Crushed Garlic over the pizza crust.  Sprinkle crushed red pepper, sea salt, and black pepper over the oil.  Now, distribute the fresh mozzarella and fresh figs all over the pizza.  

5.  Bake at 500 for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is browned and crisp.  Top with the 2 Tablespoons of sliced fresh basil and sea salt.  (Crushed red pepper an an extra little drizzle of EVOO optional!)

Now get ready for some serious food porn!  It tasted as amazing as it looked.  Next time, I’d love to add some prosciutto, dressed arugula, and a balsamic drizzle!  :)

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P1020122

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What are your fall obsessions?  Please share!

Fresh Mozz, Organic Jersey Tomato, & Basil Pizza

I did it.  I made my first homemade pizza.  And let me tell you, it’s life changing.

In order to avoid missing out any longer, I’ve done what I do best (made a list) of why homemade pizza will be my new “thing”:

1.  First and foremost- it tastes AMAZING

2.  It’s so EASY!

3.  It takes LESS TIME to cook than most other dinners I’ve ever made.

4.  DAVE loved it.

5.  You can make it with whatever you want!  CREATIVITY strongly encouraged.

So I have been reading so many of my favorite bloggers raving about their pizza recipes for a while now.  What finally pushed me over the edge was this picture…

mozzarella-heirloom-tomato-basil-pizza-ck-l

… right?!

I saw this and immediately had to try it out.  The original recipe called for Heirloom Tomatoes which I fully intended to use until I saw the display of bright red Organic Jersey tomatoes practically calling out my name.  I couldn’t resist.

Fresh Mozzarella, Organic Jersey Tomato, & Basil Pizza

Ingredients:

1 Pre-Made Pizza Crust**

1 cup fresh Basil leaves + 2 Tbsp for garnish

6 cloves of Garlic

3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (divided!)

4oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese- thinly sliced

2 Organic Jersey Tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices

1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

Directions:

1.  Let dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2.  Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in the oven.  Preheat to 500, keeping the stone or baking sheet in the oven.

3.  Place basil, garlic, and 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a mini food processor (I used our Magic Bullet for the first time in 3 years).  Pulse a few times to form a paste.  Add remaining 1 Tablespoon of oil and pulse until smooth.

4.  Roll dough as large as possible (14 inches or so), on a floured surface.  Piece entire surface with a fork.  Carefully remove the stone or baking sheet from the oven and arrange the dough on the surface.  Spread the basil mixture over the dough.  Top evenly with cheese, tomatoes, and black pepper.  

5.  Bake at 500 for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is browned and crisp.  Top with the remaining 2 Tablespoons of sliced fresh basil and sea salt.  (Crushed red pepper an an extra little drizzle of EVOO optional!)

Recipe adapted from:  Cooking Light

**So I don’t feel like I’m cheating because the original recipe says you should use refrigerated dough.  Maybe one day I’ll make my own, but for now, I’ll recommend using Trader Joe’s dough.  I also have to admit that for this pizza I used dough from Lazaro’s- a famous pizza place in Philly down the street from us.  I just had to.  YUM**

I could sit here and rave about the pizza, but it might be more fun to just shut up and let you look at some really naughty pizza porn.  I think that’s what we’ll do.  ENJOY!

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Since this is only my first pizza- I don't even have a rolling pin!  Will have to add that to my list this year :)

Since this is only my first pizza- I don’t even have a rolling pin! Will have to add that to my list this year :)

Was able to use my mandolin for the second time ever!  Cut these gorgeous tom's perfectly!  (I also used it for the Mozz)

Was able to use my mandolin for the second time ever! Cut these gorgeous tom’s perfectly! (I also used it for the Mozz)

Fork'd dough!

Fork’d dough!

Delightful basil sauce... so bright!

Delightful basil sauce… so bright!

Ready to pop in the oven

Ready to pop in the oven

golden crust...

golden crust…

So much flavor!  Love the globs of fresh mozz...

So much flavor! Love the globs of fresh mozz…

MMMMMMMM!

MMMMMMMM!

And hey… look… it’s Meatless MONDAY!

Smoked Salmon Hash w/ a Baked Egg and Fried Basil

Please excuse the interruption of this month’s Low-Carb menu, and allow me to introduce today’s post… Smoked Salmon Hash w/ a Baked Egg and Fried Basil.  What a mouthful!

One It’s Good to be the Cook’s awesome twitter followers @StephanieMcSher recommended I try to enter Fabio’s Kitchen Academy Challenge.  Wait a second Stephanie… Fabio?  As in Fabio, my all-time FAVORITE Top Chef contestant?!  AHHH!  I had to check this out.

The Contest-  Create a dish using (not exclusively) the following five ingredients:

Eggs

Olive Oil

Potatoes

Parmesan Cheese

Basil

Oh, there’s one small tiny little factor… the challenge for November ends in ONE DAY!  I put my thinking cap on and started brainstorming.  After tearing up Trader Joe’s like the Tasmanian Devil in a Looney Tunes Short, I bought what I needed and headed home to get cookin’.

Smoked Salmon Hash w/ a Baked Egg and Fried Basil

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook

Serves:  4

What you’ll need:

3 Russet Potatoes, peeled

1 Sweet Onion

Olive Oil (you’ll need enough to cover the bottom of a large pan + a little bit more for drizzling)

1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic

1 Package Smoked Salmon, maybe 8oz (I used Trader Joe’s Smoked Salmon Pieces since it was going to be cut up anyway!)

Fresh Basil (1/2 cup Chopped plus 8 leaves)

1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated (1/2 Cup or less)

Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and Smoked Paprika

4 Eggs

Directions:

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 450.  Cut the Potatoes into small cubes, as evenly as possible.  Throw them into a big bowl with a few shakes of salt and cold water.  Soak for at least 10 minutes to remove some of the starch.  Drain and place on a few papertowels to pat off as much water as possible.  Meanwhile, chop the onion and chop the smoked salmon.  

2.  Meanwhile, heat enough Olive Oil to coat the bottom of a large non-stick skillet (with high sides if possible).  Once the oil is hot enough (test with a drop of water), place the Fresh Basil Leaves in the oil.  Let frizzle in the oil for 30 seconds, then using tongs, flip the basil over and cook for another 30 seconds on that side.  Remove to a paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt.  

3.  Using the basil oil, dump the soaked then drained and dried potato chunks into the oil (carefully!).  Add a sprinkle of Sea Salt, a few grinds of Black Pepper, and a few shakes of Smoked Paprika (will give it GREAT flavor and color!).  Leave the potatoes alone frying in the oil for about 5 minutes, then flip/stir and add the onion right ontop.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Flip/stir.  Add garlic , flip/stir again.  

4.  Test a chunk of potato with a fork.  It should go in very easily, but taste it to make sure it’s cooked and also for seasoning, you probably need to add a bit more salt (be careful, you’re going to add salty smoked salmon so don’t oversalt).  

5.  Once the potatoes are cooked but not browning, add a handful of chopped basil (between 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup, reserving some for garnish) and your chopped Smoked Salmon.  Flip and stir.  Now you’re going to want to leave it be for 5 minutes to let the cooked potato mixture brown and get a little crispy.  Flip/Stir and wait again for 5 minutes for the next side to brown up.  Once it’s reached your desired crispiness, take the entire mixture and drain in a colander to remove extra grease.

6.  Prepare individual ramekins, crocks or a baking dish* with non-stick spray.  Spoon the drained salmon/potato mixture into the dishes.  Sprinkle a small coating of Panko Bread Crumbs onto the top (don’t overdo it!).  Next, grate some fresh Parmesan Cheese ontop to fully coat the top of the surface.  Season with Sea Salt, Black Pepper, a sprinkle of Fresh Basil, and a pinch of Smoked Paprika.  

7.  Using a spoon, make a small indentation or divot into the center of the surface.  Crack an Egg into a separate dish, then pour onto the top into the divot.  This will keep the egg in place.  Spray with a touch of Olive Oil.  Place in the oven for about 10 minutes, checking after 5.  Keep in the oven until the whites are fully cooked (they will appear WHITE instead of clear).  

8.  Carefully remove the ramekins or baking dish once the egg whites are cooked (leave in longer if you don’t want a runny yolk).  Top with 2 of the reserved Fried Basil Leaves and serve hot!

 

WHEW!!!!!!!!!!  I know it’s a LOT of steps, but it really is easy and sooooo worth it.  This recipe passed not only the Boyfriend Dave test, but the Mom and Sister test too.  The flavors of this dish are so warm with the smoky Paprika and Salmon.  I also loved how the potatoes were nice and soft against the crispy Panko/Parmesan topping and the crunchy Fried Basil.  YUM!

So, there you have it- my very first entry into TC Fan Favorite Fabio’s Kitchen Academy Challenge!  Now it’s up to you to help me win when the recipes are posted on Fabio’s Pinterest.  Stay tuned for info on how to help me win!!!

Could he get more adorable?

Could he get more adorable?

Check out Fabio’s Kitchen Academy Challenge Here!

Now, time for some serious food porn… MMMMMMMMM!

The 5 Ingredients for the Challenge:  Potatoes, Parmesan, Basil, Olive Oil, and Eggs.  MMM

The 5 Ingredients for the Challenge: Potatoes, Parmesan, Basil, Olive Oil, and Eggs. MMM

Sizzlin' Basil

Sizzlin’ Basil

Set aside your fried basil for later... okay maybe snitch one... and make a few extra while you're at it. :)

Set aside your fried basil for later… okay maybe snitch one… and make a few extra while you’re at it. :)

This is the size I got my potatoes down to, thanks to my brand new knife :)  What a lifesaver!

This is the size I got my potatoes down to, thanks to my brand new knife :) What a lifesaver!

Here we are with the fried potatoes, onion, garlic, basil, and smoked salmon.  Right now I'm letting it sit to get a little crispy and browned.

Here we are with the fried potatoes, onion, garlic, basil, and smoked salmon. Right now I’m letting it sit to get a little crispy and browned.

This picture is of the SS Hash in my individual baking dish topped with the Panko and Parm.

This picture is of the SS Hash in my individual baking dish topped with the Panko and Parm.

I also made a batch of the hash without the egg to be split into 3 for my family.  For this version, I fried up eggs on the stove and topped each individual serving.

I also made a batch of the hash without the egg to be split into 3 for my family. For this version, I fried up eggs on the stove and topped each individual serving.

The beautiful finished product.  Wow.

The beautiful finished product. Wow.

Close Up!

Close Up!

Seriously... nom nom nom

Seriously… nom nom nom

 

I LOVE me some runny yolk.  On anything... seriously.  Wow.

I LOVE me some runny yolk. On anything… seriously. Wow.

Smoked Salmon Hash

 

 

 

Goat Sausage & Peppers

 

We ate GOAT!  Although I’d like to feel super brave for doing this… honestly goat did not taste any different than any other meat I’ve ever tried.

The Goat came from a vendor called Many Rocks Farm @ the JFX Farmers Market in Baltimore (so did this week’s Purple Basil!).  Donny suggested we try it, and the vendor told us that the Goat Chorizo Sausage was a great bet “if we like spicy”… duh.

(Goat) Sausage & Peppers

A recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook

Serves:  4 Sandwiches, with some sausage/peppers leftover!

Ingredients:

4 Fresh Hoagie Rolls

2 Red Bell Peppers, seeded and chopped into small strips

2 Green Bell Peppers, seeded and chopped into small strips

1 Onion, sliced on the thinner side

1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic

Olive Oil Spray (or 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil)

4 links Goat Chorizo Sausage (or other sausage!)

1 Can Tomato Paste

1 Can Tomato Sauce

Fresh Basil (I used maybe 12 leaves, chopped)

Italian Seasoning Blend, Red Pepper Flakes (optional) Salt, Pepper, Asiago Cheese (Grated)

Directions:

1.  Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the Olive Oil Spray, then the garlic, onions and peppers.  Sprinkle with just a touch of salt and pepper.  Stir occasionally and let cook for 10-12 minutes. 

2.  Meanwhile, cut the sausage into small circles.  Try to keep the sizes the same so they cook evenly.  Once the peppers are starting to soften, add the sausage.  Cook for 5 minutes, then stir around or flip them to cook the sausage evenly. 

3.  Add the Tomato Paste, Sauce, Basil, Italian Seasonings, Red Pepper Flakes, and again- a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Stir around to combine.  Cook for another 5-8 minutes.  Take out a piece of sausage and cut it to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. 

4.  Carefully spoon onto dug-out hoagie rolls.  Top with desired amount of grated Asiago Cheese. 

 

So pretty! Lots and lots of peppers and onions cooking up first.

Peppers, Onions, Basil, Seasonings, and Sauce… gettin’ hotter!

These were so good! I want to make them again…

Dave and I were really surprised how much we liked the goat sausage!  Granted, if you put anything with tomato sauce and peppers, it will probably taste great… but we loved it.  The Chorizo had a nice kick too.  Believe it or not, goat is actually one of the healthiest meats out there.  I wished we lived closer and could get the Goat Sausage again. YUMMY!

I made a nice fresh TBM stack to go along side using Jersey Tomatoes and some super Fresh Mozz. My new fav. salad.

The saucy finished product

 

Green Hummus (2 Ways)

It so happens that St. Patty’s Day is the same week as my friend Donny’s Birthday.  What a perfect time for a party :)  Donny is a friend of ours that we met on our trip to Israel and also happens to be a MAJOR foodie.  Dare I even say more than I am?  Let me just tell you that the last time we visited, he sliced his own slab of bacon to cook up for us in the morning.  MMM!

Us hanging out at Donny's amazing townhouse in Baltimore last spring!

Needless to say, I felt like Donny’s birthday would be the perfect event to try out a few new recipes.  Donny suggested I try to make some kind of GREEN hummus for St. Patty’s holiday.  I found two completely different recipes that I had to test.  And so should you… they are delish!  If the green hummus is intimidating, try to start out with my basic hummus recipe.  It’s so easy and you’ll never buy it at the store again!

Four Herb Hummus

Ingredients:

1 handful Fresh Cilantro Leaves (1)

1 Tablespoon Dill (2)

1 teaspoon Parsley (3)

1 Tablespoon Basil (4, I used the fresh basil in a tube… sounds gross but its GREAT.  You can get it at the grocery store… or use fresh  leaves!)

Juice from 1/2 of a Lemon

2 teaspoons Minced Garlic

2 teaspoons Tahini Paste

1 can Chickpeas (save the liquid to use to make the right consistency if necessary)

1 teaspoon Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Salt

sprinkle or to taste Cayenne Pepper

Directions:


Blend everything together in a food processor.  Let it blend until all of the herbs are finely chopped and the chickpeas are no longer chunky.  Taste and season if necessary.  I garnished mine with a few cilantro leaves and a sprinkle of dill.  YUM!

Four Herb Hummus

Edamame Hummus

Inspired by Trader Joe’s Edamame Hummus

Ingredients:

2 cups Frozen Shelled Edamame Beans (I used Trader Joe’s)

1.5 Tablespoons Tahini Paste

1 Tablespoon EVOO

1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic

Juice from almost a whole Lemon

1 teaspoon Salt

sprinkle Cayenne Pepper

Directions:

1.  Put the edamame in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until beans are tender.  Drain and rinse under cold water to preserve the bright green color.

2.  Put everything in a food processor except a few edamame beans (save them for garnish).  Process until smooth and adjust seasoning if necessary.

3.  Serve chilled and garnish with a few edamame beans if you want.

Stelly wanted a taste! She didn't like that I was trying to use our hardwood floor as background for my pic lol

Edamame Hummus

HAPPY ST. PATTY’S DAY EVERYONE!  

HAVE FUN AND BE SAFE!