Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sweet Cinnamon Breakfast Pizza

This Sweet Cinnamon Breakfast Pizza has been on my must-make list ever since Giada made it on her original cooking show, Everyday Italian, which was quite frankly many years ago.  I suppose this proves my must-make list is way too long. I mean I actually have recurring nightmares about my list. In my dream someone is chasing me and I tell them I can't die because I have way too many recipes left to cook! The pressure...

I'm so happy I finally got around to this Sweet Cinnamon Breakfast Pizza. It's so pretty! Imagine sweet buttery crust dusted with cinnamon-sugar, spread with a heavy-hand of creamy mascarpone cheese, topped with ripe juicy fruit. It's a little bit of heaven on a plate.

It's also the perfect treat for the season, whether you serve it for Easter Brunch, Mother's Day, Bridal Showers, Graduation, or any other spring celebration.  I also love that you can make this ahead of time. Let's face it. Hosting parties is always stressful and we all need as many make ahead gems as possible.  Feel free to change up the berries as you like. Use whatever is in season in your part of the world.  Just do me a favor and keep it in mind for your upcoming celebrations. You won't be sorry.

Sweet Cinnamon Breakfast Pizza
Adapted from Food Network
By Giada Delaurentiis
Serves 4-6

1 store-bought pizza dough
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons Cinnamon-Sugar, divided, recipe follows
2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
2 cups mixed berries

1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To Make Cinnamon-Sugar: Cut the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise. Using the back of a knife, scrape along the inside of the vanilla bean to collect the seeds. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into a small bowl. Add sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Set aside in a small serving bowl.

To Make Pizza:  Using a rolling pin, roll out the pizza dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch (Keep in mind how thick you'd like your pizza to be. I wish I had made mine a bit thinner).  Transfer the pizza dough to the lined baking sheet and brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Cinnamon-Sugar and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool the pizza crust on a wire rack.

To Make The Topping:  In a medium bowl, mix together the cheese, cream, lemon juice, and zest. Spread the cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Top with mixed berries and sprinkle with the remaining Cinnamon-Sugar. Slice like a pizza and serve.
Theme: March Potluck!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spaghetti with Bacon, Egg, and Cheese

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs we're celebrating dishes that are Suitable For The Screen, or food that you can enjoy while watching TV.  I will confess that anything, and I do mean ANYTHING, is suitable TV fare.  Fruit, chips, nuts, popcorn, chips, candy, ice cream, cookies, cereal, fried chicken, fries, soup, pizza, and pasta to name a few.

For this particular screening, I wanted to be a total couch potato so I was looking for something extravagant, calorie-laden, and comforting. This Spaghetti with Bacon, Egg, and Cheese seemed like the perfect dish to enjoy while snuggled up on the couch settling in for a good old TV marathon.  Reminiscent of Fettuccine Alfredo, this dish is creamy, cheesy, and the epitome of comfort food. The bacon and fried eggs add that special touch that make this dish simply over the top. We're talking food coma. You can happily while away the afternoon cleaning off your DVR after enjoying a bowl. After all, someone has to clean off the DVR.

Cue the remote and grab a bowl.
Spaghetti with Bacon, Egg, and Cheese
Recipe found on Kitchen Flavours 
Adapted from Pure Simple Cooking
by Diana Henry 

12 ounces spaghetti
3-4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
8 ounces of bacon, sliced
4 large eggs
1 cup cream*
1/2 cup Parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
3 to 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Note: The cream is my addition to this recipe. You could add a splash of cream or up to 1 cup of cream. I found my pasta to be somewhat dry so I added around 3/4 cup of cream. If you have leftovers simply add a splash of cream or milk and reheat.

Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. When it's almost ready, heat 1 tbsp of the butter, or olive oil, in a large frying pan and cook the bacon until crisp and well coloured. Transfer bacon to a dish. Fry the eggs in remaining bacon fat, spooning the warm oil up over the top of the eggs to cook the yolks. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta, then put it back in the saucepan. To the pasta, add the remaining butter or extra virgin olive oil, a little salt, pepper, the bacon, cream, Parmesan, parsley and, and toss. Sprinkle on extra grated Parmesan, and top each serving with a fried egg. Serve immediately.

Theme:Suitable For The Screen

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Donna Hay's Irish Beef Stew w/ Puff Pastry Dippers

A lovely beef stew to celebrate St. Patrick's Day! The puff pastry dippers are a fun twist to this hearty Irish inspired Beef Stew. After all, who can argue with a puff pastry dipper?  Especially when you can dunk into this thick, herbaceous, meaty, and veggie-packed stew?

We're cooking with our mystery box ingredients over at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week. Participants are asked to choose at least three of the following ingredients: bacon, mushrooms, thyme, cucumber, cumin, leeks, apricots, pistachios, ricotta,and orange flower water. We can then chose any recipe from one of these illustrious chefs: Nigella Lawson, Mark Bittman, Giada de LaurentiisJamie Oliver, Tessa Kiros, Rick Bayless, Madjur Jaffrey, Yotam Ottolenghi, Donna Hay, Nigel Slater, or Diana Henry

I knew I wanted to make a beef stew so I chose bacon, mushrooms, and thyme as my ingredients. Then I searched high and lo for a hearty beef stew recipe until this one caught my eye! I loved the idea of adding cornstarch to thicken the soup, but I must admit it was the puff pastry dippers that won me over! This stew was a massive hit! I highly recommend it!

Beef Stew with Puff Pastry Dippers
Adapted from Donna Hay's Seasons
Serves 4-6

5-6 slices of bacon, cut into lardons
1 pound beef chuck, cubed
1 onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup potato, cubed
1 cup peas
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 cups beef broth
1 cup Stout/Dark Lager, or water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water, to make a slurry
1 block puff pastry, thawed
herbs to garnish puff pastry, if desired

  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Coat with oil, and add the bacon and cook until it becomes crisp.
  3. Remove bacon from the pan with slotted spoon. Brown beef in bacon fat. Remove from pan.
  4. Add mushrooms, onion, carrot, and potato, and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaves, and cook for 30 seconds. 
  6. Add the beef and three-fourths of the bacon (reserving some for garnish) back into the pot.
  7. Add the beef broth and 1 cup of water to the pot and bring to a boil.
  8. Simmer for 1½ hours or until the beef is tender.
  9. While the stew is simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  10. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into 6–8 strips.
  11. If desired, brush the puff pastry with melted butter and fresh herbs.
  12. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and perfectly puffed.
  13. Prepare a slurry of cornstarch and water.
  14. Add slurry to simmering beef stew and simmer, stirring, until it is thickened.
  15. Stir in the peas and allow to cook for a few minutes.
  16. Serve ladle-fulls of the stew with the golden strips of puff pastry.

Theme:March Mystery Box Madness
Souper Sundays: Every Sunday at Kahakai Kitchen

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Roast Chicken with Dijon and Maple Syrup

"I came downstairs to see what smells so good" my daughter said. That girl and her nose...they don't ever miss a beat.  Chicken roasting, sauce simmering, or bread baking. She smells it all.  She can even smell pasta boiling. I'm not really sure how she's mastered the scent of pasta hitting boiling water, but her nose never seems to betray her.  

In this case her little sniffer was smelling the heavenly scent of this savory roast chicken bathed in Dijon mustard and maple syrup. To her credit, the smell was enough to make anyone's mouth water. The comforting aroma of chicken roasting on a cold, snowy day...I'm pretty sure there's nothing better.

Roast Chicken with Dijon and Maple Syrup 
Adapted from The Telegraph
by Diana Henry
Serves 4

5-6 chicken legs or thighs*
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp maple syrup
2 carrots, chopped into large chunks
1 shallot, cut into rings
salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Notes: You can roast a whole chicken using the spatchcocking method or use chicken pieces.  I used legs because it's what I had on hand.  Cooking times vary depending on the size of your chicken. I served this chicken with brown rice and broccoli.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place chicken and carrots in a cast iron skillet or casserole dish. Top with Dijon mustard, maple syrup, shallot, and salt and pepper, to taste.  Mix well to incorporate.  Place into the preheated oven and bake for around 60 minutes, or until juices run clear.

Theme: Heaven Scent