Friday, February 27, 2009

When the moon hits your eye a big pizza pie that's amore...
Did you know that song was played in the credits of the award winning Moonstruck in 1987 staring Cher? Well neither did I until a Trivia night with some great friends in the city of pizza, Chicago.

While I'll never be able to toss a crust or slice a deep dish like those pros, I still love to make homemade pizza. In the winter or summer or anytime of the year they just seem to hit the spot. It's a meal my husband and I can have fun planning and making together. Every pie tastes different and each makes great cold leftovers!

Rustic Sausage and Red Onion Pizza

Herb Crust – prep time: 1 hr
1 packet (2 1/4 tbsp) yeast
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp diced sage

Combine yeast, sugar, and water in a large bowl and let sit until the mixture has turned foamy, about 8-10 minutes. Add olive oil, salt, and herbs. Slowly mix in flour until it forms a ball, you may not need to use all of it. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes on a floured surface or until it is no longer sticky. Place in an olive oil lined bowl and cover with a towel. Place in a warm location and let rise for at least 20 minutes.

On a floured surface roll out or hand toss the dough to a large pizza sized circle. When hand tossing it is easier to work slow and work from the inside out to stretch the dough. Place on a pizza stone or tray and fold edges over to create the crust. Let rise another 20-30 minutes.

1 lbs ground sausage or other meat
1 red bell pepper
1/2 red onion
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 lbs spinach, washed and de-stemmed
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup provolone cheese (about 4 slices)

In a pan cook sausage until done, set aside in a large bowl. Slice red onion thinly and place in pan heating till soft with olive oil.

Cut pepper into bite sized squares and heat with onions. Once veggies are slightly soft remove and let sit with sausage.
Cut the spinach up and heat till wilted with a little salt.

Heat tomato sauce till warm in a small pot. Spread the sauce around the pizza crust. Layer sausage, peppers, onions, mozzarella, spinach, and provolone.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is melted. Let sit 5 minutes and slice.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wrapped in Flavor

I'm a huge Food Network fan. I Tivo Ace of Cakes and I'll watch Good Eats when ever it's on. The combination of cooking and food science is really interesting to me. So when Alton did a show on wontons I just had to try making my own Potstickers.

There's an Asian market in my home town (I know weird) that happened to have them in the frozen section. I grabbed up a couple packages and brought them back to Minnesota to try out.

They were so easy! I made a little assembly line and finished the packages off. I froze what I didn't use that night and seriously, 4 months later I defrosted them and they tasted just as good.

Potstickers can be served with Chinese, Thai, Japanese, really any Asian food or any appetizer occasion. And since they are so fast (even frozen) to make it's worth the prep time to put them together before hand.

Alton Brown's Perfect Potstickers


1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
35 to 40 small wonton wrappers
Water, for sealing wontons
3 to 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 1/3 cups chicken or beef stock


Combine the first 11 ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl (pork through cayenne). Set aside.

To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth keeping them damp. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of the wrapper. Fold over, seal edges, and shape as desired - either crimp sides for press with a fork. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone.

Heat a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Coat bottom with olive oil once hot. Add 8 to 10 potstickers at a time to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, without moving letting the bottoms brown. Once the 2 minutes are up, gently add 1/3 cup chicken stock to the pan, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook tightly for another 2 minutes, letting steam. Quickly remove the top causing the wontons to crinkle. Repeat until all the wontons are cooked. Serve immediately.