Search
This is Us!

We are here to bring you our life through food. Especially Italian food. You can learn more about us here.

Navigation
Friday
Aug022013

Oh You Sweet Tater, You Are, You Are!

Another day, another adventure. In eating and in living.

Here we are in the beginning of August, and what do I have to show for it? Quite a lot, actually. There's a lot I haven't been telling you. I'm sorry. It's not personal. It's not you. It's me.

But let's reconcile. Kiss and make up? I'll fill you in on the details, and hopefully win you back with this recipe for Sweet Potato Tarts. They're gluten and dairy free. And totally delicious.

Did the words gluten-free just freak you out a bit? I hope so, they freak me out. Truth is, I've been experimenting with some gluten-free cooking. Readers of this blog know that I do a lot of physical activity, triathlon training and whatnot.

All this exercise has made me a bit sensitive to certain foods. It's also made me a VERY cheap date. One beer and I'm a very happy person. VERY happy. Just sayin'.

Anyway, I've started my own line of endurance snacks - Ciao Cycling Snacks. They're endurance snacks straight from your Italian Grandma's kitchen. If you'd like more info, you can check out the website here.

They will make you feel like this:

And that is how you want to feel, people, with a bike or without.

And speaking of bikes, as you may know I fractured my hip in a biking accident at the end of April. It's been a downer, as I haven't been able to run...that is, until a few weeks ago.

But the running...well, it's HARD. For this past NYC Triathlon, I wasn't in the running shape I wanted to be in. 

This was disappointing to me to say the least. But, I changed my goal for the race. I decided to run happy. Meaning, I would smile the ENTIRE 6.2 miles. I must take a moment to shout out to my teammate and friend Tommy who ran with me the whole time, ensuring that I neither went too fast (I have a broken hip, people!) nor stopped smiling. Thank you, Tommy.

Here is the evidence:

In addition to happy running, there are a few food-related things that are making me happy. Including:

Awesome tacos on the Upper West Side at Oaxaca. If you happen to go on a day when the Korean taco (pictured on the left) is a special, you are in luck.

The Classic Bibimbop on the Good Fork brunch menu. Ground beef, sticky rice, pickled carrots, some other pickled things...and a fried EGG. Bam. I travelled all the way to Red Hook for this. On the ferry. With Ikea goers. And I would do it again. So there.

Joe Coffee's cold brewed latte. With soy milk. And hot pink. Get the large. You'll be zooming the rest of the day.

And....finally, the Sweet Tater Tarts. These started with the graham crackers, featured here. I then used these to create a fantastically moist and flavorful crust. Let's go:

For the Crust
What You Need:

1 1/2 cup walnuts

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (just pulse some graham crackers in a food processor)

1 large egg (optional, you can do without it if you are vegan)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

What To Do:

Coarsely chop walnuts and graham crackers in a food processor until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.

Add the egg and melted butter to the crumb mixture and pulse to combine. The mixture should start to hold together in clumps.

Place a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan on a baking sheet. Crumble the mixture over the surface of the tart pan and press to form the crust. Alternately, you can use four small tart tins with removable bottoms (that's what I used).

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until set.

For the Filling:
What You Need:

1 1/2 large sweet potatoes, baked until soft.

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon coconut sugar (you can use regular sugar if you must)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

What To Do:

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend!! Like you mean it. Spoon the resulting magical mixture into your tins or large pie dish. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, until set.

For the Coconut Cream
What You Need:

1 can of full fat coconut milk (the kind that comes in a can)

2 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What To Do:

Chill a large mixing bowl and the can of coconut cream in the freezer for 15 minutes.

After chilling, open the can coconut milk and spoon out JUST the top later of extra thick and rich and luxurious coconut cream into the chilled bowl.

Add the sugar and vanilla and whip on high speed with a hand-held mixer until it starts to firm up. You won't get stiff peaks of cream like you would with heavy cream. But after about 5-7 minutes of mixing it will start to hold together and get very thick. You can even place the resulting cream in the freezer after whipping to keep it extra chilled and thick.

When you are ready to serve, spoon the cream onto the tart and serve! Feel free to dust the top with a little cacao powder or maple sugar crystals.

Monday
Jul292013

Birthday Pizza on the Grill for The Box

I make people pizza. It's what I do. If you have an oven, or better yet a grill, and some people, I'll come over and make pizza for you. Really. Sometimes my family even gets lucky, and I'll come over and make pizza for them.

Two weekends ago it was The Box's birthday. So I hurried home like a dutiful daughter for the celebrations (which also occurred in tandem with Aunt Emily's 99th birthday. Yes, 99.)

A party just isn't a party unless it's a pizza party. Therefore, I set to work over a hot grill making fresh pies for The Box, Marmo, John and even Toby.

This isn't going to be your usual exhaustive instructional on how to make pizza. This will be a handy list and basic how to on how to GRILL pizza. In order to successfully grill pizza, you need a few things:

1. A reckless disregard for eyebrow singe.

2. Quick hands.

3. An assistant (one who will preferably keep pouring you good wine).

4. Pizza dough. You can use our basic recipe here, or our whole wheat recipe here.

5. Mise en place. This is a French term meaning everything should be in its place. This means your toppings. Slice the cheese, put seasonings in bowls, have that olive oil bottle handy, along with a brush to apply it. Get the cutting board ready for the finished pie, etc. That grill gets HOT and you don't have much time to get everything in its place ON the pie, so everything should be in its place BEFOREHAND. This minimizes disaster.

6. Oven mitt and tongs are useful in hot situations (not always grill related).

7. Oil your dough beforehand (use aforementioned pastry brush). 

8. Stretch the dough out.

9. Place it on the grill. Close the lid. Bake for 2 minutes.

10. Flip the dough.

11. Put the toppings on. Close the lid. Bake for 2 minutes.

12. Remove the pizza. Eat.

13. Repeat.

14. Where is that assistant with the wine???

For The Box, I made two pizzas: Cherry Tomato, Salami, Goat Cheese and Arugula Pizza and Apple, Smoked Gouda, Onion Jam and Arugula Pizza. You can see how it all played out here:

Here are the finished results:

and

Sometimes, the grill gets a little crazy and the flipping and placing of the dough gets a little wonky:

Pizzas are not always round. And the irregular shapes are good for grabbing. This was not the result of too much wine. 

You may be wondering how to make onion jam. Check out Martha Stewart's super easy recipe. Mess around with it and see how it turns out for you. 

Everyone was very pleased with the results.

Except for John who looks moderately skeptical.

And just downright angry. It could've been the golf. Or the hair. Or perhaps he didn't like the wine. But you can't blame the pizza. Not if I'm making it, anyway.

Even Toby got some.

And see how happy he was?

Friday
Jul262013

It's About the Process – Gluten Free Graham Crackers

I'm writing today about process. In cooking and in life.

Whoa. This is a heavy topic for a Friday, yes? Not really.

A few things have gotten away from me this year. I've been very focused on end results. And in doing so, I've been forgetting the most enjoyable part – the process of getting there (or not getting there, as the case may be).

So, I've been taking more detours and trying to focus on the step-by-step process, regardless of where I am going. 

I've been doing this in the kitchen too. Often, I get very caught up in presenting to you the whole shebang. Eight million photos of the in-depth process of pizza making! 

You don't always need this. And I don't always have time to do it. So I'm going to give you something simple today. It's the first of a many-part series. I'll eventually get to the other steps, but I'm going to take a moment to celebrate this first one: Graham Crackers.

These grahams are also gluten-free. Why? I felt like it, that's why. I know gluten is a hot-button ingredient these days. It may also be a hot-button issue for me. I'm in the process of finding out. So while I await some blood-work, I decided to embrace some experimental baking in the form of these crackers.

They are delicious. They're not exactly like regular graham crackers. I used molasses to stick everything together and sweeten, so they are a bit firmer than a regular crumbly graham. I might like these better.

See what happens when you deviate from the path? Happy accidents. Here's a recipe for Happy Accident Gluten Free Graham Crackers:

What You Need:

3/4 cup almond flour

3/4 cup brown rice flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch (yes cornstarch is gluten free! You can also use arrowroot powder)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons molasses (you might need a bit more, you can be the judge)

What You Do:

1. In a food processor combine almond flour, cornstarch, salt and molasses.

2. Blend until everything starts to stick together. You may need to add more molasses. Go ahead - a little at a time.

3. Form the dough into a ball and roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper to ¼ inch thick.

4. Cut dough into rectangles (however large you like your crackers).

5. Score rectangles into 4 equal parts and poke holes in the surface – make a fun pattern!

6. Bake at 350° for 6-9 minutes.

7. Cool completely, then serve!

Thursday
Jul252013

Keep on Truckin' -The Pizza Vita Truck in Hoboken

Is Hoboken getting hip before my very eyes?  Not long ago, it got its own artisinal pizzeria, Dozzino.  Then, it opened up a pretty bad ass biergarten.  More boutique shops are opening. Even the residents it seems like are sporting more pompadours and thick framed glasses than Eli Manning jerseys.  And now, we have an awesome food truck strip giving way to a beautiful outdoor bar scene at Pier 13, one of Hoboken's greatest developments in recent memory.

One of the food trucks is from Piza Vita, an actual pizzeria in Summit New Jersey with, apparently, it's own mobile brick oven.  And, make no mistake, this is a full functioning, hot as hell, brick oven that breathes fire out the side of a truck.  A tatted up pizzaiolo named Ernesto expertly slings dough and peels blistering pies from the oven's scorching mouth with a skillful swag.  This is a serious, Neapolitan-like operation.  The last Italian that I can remember with this cool of a truck was Lincoln Hawk. I order a margherita at the slightly-below market price of $10.00. 

Upon tasting the pie, my lofty suspicions are pretty much confirmed: this is very good.   Does the setting help?  It sure doesn't hurt, but this pizza is wonderful on its own.  The pie has a perfectly crisp, yet soft, salted and cooked dough.  The tomato is tangy, rich, but not overpowering; the cheese is creamy and perfectly melted, and the basil leaves gently grace certain bites with a cool, minty tingle.  Consistency is just about perfect: charred, yet floppy, sturdy but soft. Bravo.

But back to that setting.  Where else can you enjoy beautiful an expertly cooked Neapolitan pie with a view like this?

Soon, I'll have to head to Summit to try Pizza Vita itself but, for now, this will more than do.  Bravo.

Friday
Jul192013

July Slice of the Month - Fig & Pesto Picnic Pizza

We are all of us melting here on the East Coast (and beyond) in a heat wave. It is July. This stuff happens. However, don't let it happen to your pizza. Melted cheese = good. Flopping, listless pizza with frizzy hair and disengaged toppings = bad.

This has not happened to you? Clearly, you do not eat enough pizza in the mid summer sun's direct light.

Picture yourself in a bucolic field, surrounded by daisies, tweeting birds and copious amounts of sunshine. You have just produced a picnic basket of epic proportions and your companion looks on, eagerly anticipating the delicious contents. As you pull napkins, utensils and other non-perishables from it's wickery depths, you reach for the pizza, when - GASP! - you realize it has dematerialized into something resembling the Wicked Witch of the West at ending credits. Hmmm.

Time to rethink everything. 

To combat this all-to-prevalent problem, I present you with PICNIC PIZZA (did you hear an echo?). This is thick crust pizza at it's best, stuffed with an assortment of the high summer fruit, figs, jammed with ricotta cheese and prosciutto, and slathered in arugula pesto. You keep the pesto in a jar and slather on-site to reduce transport-related mess.

Genius, no? YES!

You should make some. In order to do so, head on over to Colavita's Facebook Page, like them and download the cookbook. You will find:

1. Instructions on toppings and assembly

2. A thick crust pizza recipe

3. An arugula pesto recipe


4. The photographical stylings of yours truly.

Go do it!! You've got a weekend ahead!

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 107 Next 5 Entries »