Archive for October, 2008
Do you ever wonder what to do with your old French (or Italian) bread after a day or two? Have a ton of breadcrumbs already? Want an alternative to ordering crappy delivery pizza on game day? Rejoice friends, for my Day Old French Bread Pizzas are your salvation from the ordinary and from tossing perfectly awesome bread.
I did this for my Gorumet From the Tailgate series this week, because I had leftover French bread from pasta night. It’s really hearty, filling and the best possible alternative to delivery.
- Day old French Bread (about a foot of bread is best)
- 1/8 cup black olives, quartered
- 15 pieces of spicy pepperoni
- 1/2 a cup of pizza sauce
- 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Garlic Salt to taste
1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
2. Slice your 12-inch section of bread into equal halves. Then, carefully slice off the upper crust vertically. Use a spoon to dig out the soft insides and the edges. Be careful not to break the crust (which should be firm since this is day or two old bread), as it will be the reservoir for your sauce and toppings.
3. Lay down a base layer of pizza sauce (I use about a 1/8 cup toppings, and another 1/8 cup per section of bread), followed by your toppings of choice. I used spicy pepperoni and Greek black olives. Then, use the rest of the sauce to pour over your toppings. Layering your toppings in the center, assures that the sauce will warm them from both sides during cooking.
4. Toss on your Mozzarella over the top, drizzle it with olive oil and then lightly spread some garlic salt over the top. Place it on the center rack of your oven or a cookie sheet. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
These little pizzas are awesome. By hollowing out the French Bread, you have a little deep dish area for a ton of sauce. I’m huge on sauce and even bigger on toppings, so a 6 inch area can be really filling if you pack it in.
Alas, the Lions are still not performing as efficiently as my ovens. We’re 0-4 folks, with little hope of recovery. At least the Red Wings will provide me some excitement soon!
I’m resolving to start cooking fresh daily. I’ve found that since I commute so far, it’s getting difficult to come home, pull everything out and then get cooking. Now, I shop on my lunch hour, prep the meal in my head and I’m straight to cooking with almost all the ingredients I need, right in my shopping bag. So, yesterday when I was on my shopping excursion I couldn’t pass up some fresh made pasta or the spinach and garlic Italian Sausages (chicken) that they had just placed at the meat counter.
What I ended up making last night was a nice spicy pasta with the fresh linguine and made a tomato and Insalata Caprese as a side. Nice and quick, and very hearty meal for an October night that reminded me just how cold it’s going to get in Michigan soon.
- 2 large Roma Tomatoes
- About 8 medallions of fresh Mozzarella cheese
- Four fresh Italian Sausages of your Choice (we did Spinach,Garlic and Wine)
- 1 pound of fresh semolina linguine
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (15-ounce) cans pasta sauce
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/2 cup of diced mushrooms
- 3 tabespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
1. In a saucepan, cook onion, carrot and garlic in olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add tomato sauce, mushrooms and crushed red pepper to the mix and stir well. Add any additional spices you like. I usually toss in a few tablespoons of oregano and basil and an extra pinch of garlic salt and a splash of red wine. Allow the sauce to simmer for at least 10 minutes if not 15 to 20 to allow the flavors to merry.
2. While your sauce is cooking, use a grill pan or your outdoor grill to start cooking your sausages. I cook with gas in my house and since it was raining out, I used the grill pan we got for our wedding. It’s pretty amazing and super speedy.
3. Cook the sausages thoroughly, turning after about 4 to 6 minutes. Once they’ve got a nice brown crust on each side, pull them from your pan and set them aside to rest for a few minutes. While you’re letting them rest, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
4. Cut the sausages into bite sized medallions and promptly add them to your sauce.
5. Once your pasta water comes to temperature toss the fresh linguine into the pot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes tops. Fresh pasta is a totally different beast than the dried, and if you want any sort of texture to the pasta, you have to mind the clock and be quick about stopping the cooking process.
6. Once you’re done, combine everything in the pasta pot and serve. It’s really hearty, warming and the sausage really does a nice flavor job on the sauce as well. We toss a little Parmesan Reggiano over the top as well.
7. The Insalatta Caprese is really easy. Slice your tomatoes into thin medallions, layer it on a plate with your mozzarella medallions and either sprinkle with some chopped fresh basil or tear off whole leaves as we did.
8. Drizzle olive oil and dress the plate with some kosher salt and some cracked black pepper.
That’s it! Serve it with a wedge or two of crusty bread to mop up your excess sauce and you’ve got a great, hearty Italian meal.
I’m back from the dead. I’m happy to report that I wasn’t even really close to death. Alas, work, a few days off and a lot of family needs took me away from posting for a bit, but I’m back and ready to rededicate myself and redesign. And to kick things back off, I’ll tell you a bit about the Lobster and Shrimp Scampi Over Whole Wheat Pasta I surprised my wife with last night.
Vita has been working very, very hard lately and she did some awesome stuff for my birthday recently. So to make up for it, I plotted all day. Ernesto, my fish guy, scored me some really nice 4 oz. slipper lobster tails, which come from a number of lobster species related to the rock lobster. They were frozen, so they were a little tougher than normal lobster, but they’re just as flavorful and really great for the price.
- 1 pound of medium to large shrimp, raw, de-veined and shelled
- 2 4 oz. slipper lobster tails
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
- 5 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 large shallot minced
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 and a half cups whole wheat spaghetti
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your spaghetti according to the package.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Toss the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink. Remove the shrimp from the pan immediately; set aside and keep em warm.
4.Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add the rest of your butter and oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.
For the Lobster:
Be sure your lobster tails are thawed fully. You can cook them frozen, but they tend to be more tender if thawed first. If you don’t want them to curl, slide a wooden skewer through the base of the tail to the tip. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tails with a little butter and some olive oil before they go into the oven. Bake the tails for 8 to 10 minutes, a bit longer if they’re frozen. Serve with lemon juice or butter.
There you have it.
Sorry I’ve been absent guys. I’m back in the blogging habit now!