Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Clams in Cider and Cream Sauce

We found a stand at our farmer's market called HamaHama Oyster that sells delicious and fresh shellfish from a town about 30 miles away from our house.  We have tried clams three times from this place and every time we get 100% open rate on the clams, a feat in this day and age.  Here we made a cream sauce with some left over cider and the flavor really goes well with these fresh shellfish.  Serve with homemade bread to dip in the extra sauce.

2 lbs clams
2 tablespoons butter
1 celery stalk chopped finely
1 large shallot chopped finely
1 large carrot chopped finely
1 small yukon potato peeled and chopped finely
2 cloves garlic chopped finely
1 12 oz bottle hard cider (we used Hornsby's Amber)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
salt/pepper to taste

1. Heat deep pot or dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add butter until melted
2. Cook celery, shallot, carrot, potato and garlic over medium high heat about 8-10 minutes until softened.
3. Meanwhile clean the clams making sure there are no muddy ones in the batch
4. When veggies are ready, add cider to the pot and then add the clams.  You might need to add a cup or so of water to cover the clams.
5. Let cook until clams open, as they open fully move them to another serving dish
6. If a clam doesn't open after 8 minutes, discard the loser.
7. Reduce heat to medium low and add cream, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary
8. Add cream sauce to the clams and serve!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pizza Puff Gougeres!

I really should rename this blog "I love pizza" for the recent amount of pizza posts.  This recipe is a game changer people...if you bring this to a party you will be invited back for the rest of your life.  Here we combine pizza and my favorite appetizer ever, the gougere (read CHEESE PUFF).  Simply swap in some tomato sauce and oregano into Alain Ducasse's recipe for regular gougeres and you will change the world!


1/2 cup water
1/3 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons milk
1 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 cup gruyere
2 tablespoons oregano
ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
2. In medium saucepan add water, milk, tomato sauce butter and salt and bring to boil.
3. Add the flour slowly and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate into a dough type mixture.  Stir about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and put in a mixing bowl and let cool 5 minutes.
4. Beat the eggs into the dough one at a time until fully incorporated
5. Add cheese and oregano a bit at a time until incorporated
6. Use two spoons to make 1 1/2 inch size diameter puffs on the parchment paper.  Try and not crowd the puffs on the paper
7. Sprinkle with pepper and cook about 20 minutes until golden brown/red
8. Serve immediately!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hummus - With several variations

I've been holding off on buying tahini for quite a long time, but I finally found a good deal at Safeway and decided I would try making my own hummus.  I have to say it was totally worth it and I can't believe I waited this long.  The basic recipe is pretty easy (especially using canned chickpeas) and the variations you can add are endless.  Here are some of my suggestions plus a pretty picture of the hummus on some homemade pita bread stuffed with cucumber, tomato and pepprocinis.  Delish!

Ingredients for basic hummus

1 can drained chickpea or garbanzo beans
1/4 cup tahini paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  If still chunky, add a bit more olive oil at a time to get a nice puree.
2. Serve as you wish!
3. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container up to one week.


Jalapenos                               Roasted Red Pepper                      Eggplant
Cilantro                                  Feta                                                Roasted Garlic
Cayenne Pepper

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower and Onion Soup

There is nothing better than a delicious and easy homemade soup.  My friend Betsy recently told me about a roasted cauliflower soup she had so I decided to make my own version.  It literally is four ingredients (including the olive oil) so you have no excuse not to make this as your next weeknight quick dinner.  Serve with cheesy toasts and salad for a complete meal.


1 head cauliflower cut into bite size pieces
1 red onion diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Add chopped cauliflower and onion to a bowl and add olive oil.  Mix to coat evenly.
3. Evenly scatter on cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven until roasted and golden brown, which will be about 25 minutes
4. Remove from oven, let cook a few minutes and add to soup pan.
5. Cover with stock (about 4 cups) and use immersion blender to puree the soup.  If you want a more soupy consistency, add more stock.
5. Salt/pepper to taste and serve

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chicken Marsala Pizza

I made chicken marsala a while back and had a pretty hefty amount of marsala left over after the final product.  By now it is obvious how much I love pizza so it should not come as much of a surprise that I decided to turn my leftover marsala wine into a pizza.  This pizza is not to be really captures a wide range of flavors and will please anyone!  There are several steps that can be made ahead of time to have this ready in under 30 minutes at dinner.

Ingredients (Pizza Dough, Meatballs + Marsala Sauce)

Pizza Dough
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
1 egg
1 cup breadcrumbs

Marsala Sauce
1/4 pound mushrooms thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves chopped
olive oil
1 cup marsala wine
1/2 lemon juiced
1 teaspoon capers
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Pizza Dough (prepare at least two hours before you are ready to make pizza)

Mix yeast and sugar in 1 cup measuring cup.  Add room temp water and let sit for five minutes.  Meanwhile add flour and salt to the food processor and process for 10 seconds to mix together.  When yeast mixture is ready, add to the flour while the processor is running.  If dough is still not combined add another 1/4 of water at a time until dough forms a ball.

Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with kitchen towel.  Allow to rest for at least two hours (you can even let this sit for 24 hours!).

While dough is rising it is time to make the meatballs.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine meat, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until well combined.  Create bite size meatballs and drop them on a greased cookie sheet until all the meat is used up.  When oven is preheated place meatballs in oven and cook about 25 minutes or until browned and meat is cooked through.

Turn heat up to 450 degrees.  This will make your oven hot enough to get your pizza crust nice and brown like a true pizza shop.

The marsala sauce is easier than it looks.  Trust me.  Take 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat in a saute pan over medium high heat.  When hot, add garlic and stir for a minute.  Next add mushrooms and stir to coat about 3 minutes.  Add marsala wine, lemon juice, capers and tomato paste and stir to combine.  This will need to cook about 7 minutes to condense down into a thick consistency.  When done, remove from heat and add meatballs and stir to coat.  Set aside.

Roll out pizza dough on parchment paper until about 3/4 inch thick.  Brush 1/4 cup olive oil on the dough.  Evenly distribute meatball and marsala mixture over the dough and carefully pour any extra liquids on the pizza.  Top with mozzarella cheese

Bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is golden as well.