Monday, January 30, 2012

Gorgonzola and Honey Pizza

I made this pizza over New Years and it was delicious, if you love Gorgonzola.  Super easy to make and to eat.  I added some arugula on top to make it more "healthy."  To me it's similar to a dessert pizza but equally delicious.

On the left, BBQ Chicken/On the right, Gorgonzola and Honey sans Arugula

Gorgonzola and Honey Pizza:

1 whole wheat pizza dough ball
1/2 cup or so, of crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
thinly sliced red onion
honey bear
thinly sliced scallions
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
Parmesan for topping

Preheat oven to 450F.

Stretch out the pizza to make a circle.  I use a combo of my hands, rolling pin and sheer willpower to make this happen.  Make it fairly thin then move to a pizza transferring device (with cornmeal under it) or a baking sheet if you don't have a pizza stone.

Drizzle olive oil over the dough making sure to get the crust (it will help it brown).  Sprinkle the Gorgonzola and onion over the dough, add some salt and pepper.  Pop in the hot oven for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the dough in the middle is cooked.

Once out of the oven, drizzle with the honey add the arugula on top and then drizzle the balsamic vinegar on top of that adding a bit of olive oil too.  Cut up and serve warm.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chili con Carne

I'm trying to make a conscious effort to not overbuy groceries and see how long I can make things last.  I don't know if it's a new year resolution, but it's going well and I've surprised myself with what I can create from simple pantry and freezer items.  I realized that I have so much stuff in both the pantry and freezer, it's a waste to go out and buy more groceries when with a little creativity, and maybe a quick run to the corner store, I can make a really delicious dinner fairly quickly.

Here we come to Chili, I always have most of the stuff to make this and it always is delicious.  Serve it with Corn Bread and a Kale Salad and you have a lovely, healthy meal.  I used the leanest ground beef I can find, and only 2 slices of bacon which gives the Chili a smokey flavor without a ton of fat.  Using a lot of spice is the key to make a delicious and flavorful chili.

Chili con Carne:
2 slices of bacon, sliced into thin strips
1lb of extra lean ground beef
EVOO or some neutral oil
salt and pepper (at least a Tbsp. of each)
2 tbsp chili powder - I used both regular and ancho
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano and/or marjoram
1 large onion, diced
1 bell peppers, diced (I used yellow, choose a pretty color and go for it)
1/2 jalapeno, finely minced
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1-2 tbsp flour
1/2 -1 beer, I used a lager
1/2 small can of tomato paste
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce/puree
2-3 pinches of brown sugar
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 can of Pinto or Kidney Beans (I used Pinto)
1 bay leaf
red chili flakes for heat if you want

shredded cheese
green onion
diced red onion

In a Dutch oven (I used my new Le Creuset, that what a Christmas present from the lovely Miss J) one medium heat, add the sliced up bacon.  Let the fat render out and remove with a slotted spoon, keeping the bacon fat in the pan.  Drain the bacon on a paper towel.

Add the ground beef, break up with a wooden spoon and let brown in the bacon fat.  Add the spices and stir to combine.  Then add the onion, peppers, garlic and jalapeno.  Let the vegetables cook/sweat with the beef for 5 minutes.

Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Then add some beer, sip the beer, then add the rest.  Stir and let the beer cook off for 4 minutes.  Add the tomato paste, sauce, brown sugar, and broth.  Mix it up and taste for seasoning.  If you want more heat, add the red chili flakes, but it will probably need more salt and pepper.

Add the beans and cook for 30 minutes on medium low, longer if you want, but 30 minutes is enough time for the flavors to meld together and you to make your Corn Bread Muffins and some type of salad.

Serve in a bowl garnished with anything you want, slurp and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kale Salad

New Year, fresh start, new resolutions, and season full of snow (hopefully in Tahoe).  Christmas and New Years was lovely.  Very nice, low key, we cooked a lot, drank red wine and celebrated what's to come in this next year.

After all of that heavy holiday food, I've committed to eating healthier and detoxing from all of the celebrations that December brings.  A lunch spot in downtown SF called Urban Picnic has this amazing Kale and Quinoa salad that I recently tried (remember, trying to eat better).

Kale Salad:

1 small shallot, finely diced
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 a small lemon
1 tsp. soy sauce
few pinches of sugar
black back pepper
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 tsp. grapeseed oil

few cups of kale, chopped
handful of slivered almonds, toasted
handful of blueberries
handful of cherry tomatoes
3 small sheets of nori, thinly sliced
few pinches of toasted sesame seeds
5-6 pieces of fresh mozzarella (I used the little balls at TJ's called Ciliegine) 

Combine all the ingredients for the salad dressing and then whisk in the oils.  Add the kale first and toss to coat.  Then add the other ingredients.  Add a little bit more black pepper or sesame oil to your liking.

Ginger, Carrot, and Sweet Potato Soup

Last night, I came home from a work event late and had literally nothing in my fridge.  I remembered this recipe I saw at Simply Scrumptious and thought if I could make something out of nothing, it would have to be soup.  Carrots? Check. Onion? Check. Oh yea, I have a sweet potato lying in my vegetable bowl that's looking questionable, sure let's throw that in there.  Dinner was made in 30 minutes and it warmed my chilly body up thanks to this exceptionally cold weather we've been having in San Francisco.

Ginger, Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup:
Serves 1-2 people

1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup chopped lemongrass (I didn't have it but it would make a nice addition)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1ish cup low sodium vegetable stock
1/2 - 1 cup light coconut milk
zest and juice of 1 clementine
salt and pepper
chili powder
red pepper flakes
olive oil
cilantro or mint for garnish

Heat oil in small sauce pan.  Add the shallots, onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass.  Add salt and pepper to sweat.  After a few minutes, add the carrots and sweet potato.  Add a touch more salt along with the chili powder and red pepper flakes.  Let cook for a minute or two and add the veggie stock.  Let simmer on medium low for 10ish minutes, until the sweet potato and the carrot are tender.

CAREFULLY transfer the mixture into a food processor or blender and puree till smooth.  You may need to add a bit more veggie stock to thin it out a bit.  Transfer puree back to stove and add the coconut milk, stir to combine.  Let cook for a few more minutes, taste for seasoning and serve with fresh herbs.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Fort Lauderdale skyline

The Boy and I just got back from a lovely 3 day weekend in Ft. Lauderdale.  He had a work conference while I sat in the sun on my lazy booty drinking naughty drinks and reading.  We did go deep sea fishing when we first got there which was a lot of fun.  We caught 5 fish total, including a black fin tuna.

Yes, my legs are that pale
My man, waiting for fish


It was a lovely weekend filled with lots of crab!  I finally got to eat Stone Crab for the first time in my life, it was so delic!  We also went to the Rustic Inn Crab House for some more stone crab, a Conch Salad and we went balls to the wall, and ordered Blue Garlic Crab.  They give you mallets, bibs, the whole nine, and you go Gladiator style on these delicious crab legs and claws.

It was a great restful trip and I'm really lucky I could go.  A big thanks to the Boy for flying me out with him!