Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Friends don't let friends miss out on Spanakopizza

Some of my favorite recipes are those that have been tested and vetted by good, trusted friends. Such was the case with this Spanakopizza recipe given to me by my friends Emily and Michaela, complete with editorial comments (i.e. arugula makes for better presentation than parsley). Homemade pizzas are a weeknight staple in our house, so I was happy to add this fabulous recipe to our cache. I love this recipe because you get all your veggies and protein and, if you use whole grain pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's) your good carbs too. It was perfect for our Oscar night dinner in front of the TV:

1 pizza dough, refrigerated or from your favorite pizzeria
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, plus some for
1 teaspoon dried oregano, lightly crushed in the palm
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon grill seasoning, a palm full (recommended: Montreal Steak
Seasoning by McCormick)
2 (10-ounce) boxes, frozen spinach, defrosted
1 cup feta crumbles
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese or shredded provolone
2 jars roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup (10 to 12) pitted kalamata olives
1 cup arugula, coarsely chopped or shredded or 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf
1/3 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise
Hot pepper rings or pepperoncini, optional


1)Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
2)Stretch out your dough on to a pizza stone or into a pizza pan. Pierce
the dough with a fork, drizzle the dough with a touch of extra-virgin
olive oil and sprinkle it with oregano. Bake dough 10 minutes.
3)While the pizza dough bakes, heat a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
(1 turn of the pan) in a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium- high heat. Add butter to the warm oil, then the chicken or turkey.
4)Lightly brown the meat 3 to 4 minutes, then add the chopped red onion,
garlic and grill seasoning and cook 5 minutes more. Wring the defrosted
spinach dry by twisting it in a clean kitchen towel over your sink. Add
it to the meat, separating it with your fingers. Add in feta crumbles.
5)Once the pizza has cooked 10 minutes, remove dough and top evenly with
meat and spinach mixture. Cover the pizza with shredded mozzarella or
provolone, roasted peppers and olives. Bake pizza another 13 to 15
minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is crisp.
6)Remove pizza from oven, top with chopped parsley or arugula, cucumbers
and hot peppers and serve.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Just in case you need a little snack...

When I was home in Kalamazoo last weekend I came across a couple of recipes I had written at age six or seven. (Of which I have absolutely no recollection.) If you're craving a light snack this week, you could always give the Banana Boat a try. Hmmm....I can't remember exactly how this one ever turned out... Apparently I thought the instructions were self-explanatory, because I didn't include anything other than ingredients.
In case you can't read my ingredient list, it's:
1 Banana
Peanut Butter
2 Pretsel Sticks [sic]
1 peice [sic] of bread.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Head for The Hills

If you live in Columbus, you might want to know that The Hills Market now has their own blog, complete with new product reviews and store news. (Word on the street there is that the Barefoot Contessa's maple scone mix is very good.)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mardi Gras is tomorrow!

Mardi Gras is almost upon us, so don't forget to pick up a king cake tomorrow to celebrate! If you live here in Columbus they're available at Piece of Cake in the Short North, the Tremont Goodie Shop in UA, and The Suisse Shop on Polaris Parkway.

For more about the king cake tradition, read my story from last year's Dispatch. Laissez les bons temps roulez!

At this very moment, my companion is cooking up all kinds of spicy jambalaya and gumbo for tomorrow, and there are some fabulous smells coming out of the kitchen. Can't wait for a taste!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What to Drink with What You Eat

I don't know about you all, but I have an awfully hard time finding kitchen inspiration this time of year. Grocery store produce seems so lifeless and limp, and this year there isn't even any California citrus --like ruby red grapefruits on sale--to cheer us up.

During times like this I spend a lot of time reading about food and cooking. My latest find is What to Drink With What You Eat, a guide not only to pairing foods with wine, but also with drinks like juices, coffees, teas, beer--even water. For example, did you know that IKEA pear cider makes a great brunch drink? Who knew? This book takes the advice of expert sommeliers and compiles what ends up being an enormous resource organized by the alphabet. It's great fun to flip through, and I highly recommend it. Some pairing examples:

Cashews: Pinot Noir, Prosecco, spiced tea
Goat Cheese: Sauvignon Blanc, esp. California and/or dry, Chimay beer
Cheesecake: ice wine, espresso, Muscat-black or orange
Chili: beer-esp. lager, pilsner or wheat, Zinfandel
Gnocchi: Valpolicella
Hamburgers: Beaujolais (esp. w/ ketchup), milkshake, Cabernet Sauvignon
Macaroni and Cheese: Chardonnay, esp. with little to no oak
Kit Kat: tea

Authors Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page include two quotes in the book's introduction that I just love. I'm including them with the hope that they'll add a little inspiration to your day today:

"The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas." ~Linus Pauling

"Life is the sum of all your choices." ~Albert Camus

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wednesday Food News

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Today's New York Times featured a big story on red velvet cake, which is popping up (even in cupcake form) in bakeries all over the city. The story was the #2 most e-mailed today, and includes a recipe. I'm sure I'll try it one of these days, but I was disappointed that no cupcake recipe was included. Plus, the fact that the recipe calls for six tablespoons of red food coloring freaks me out a little.

A few other things you might want to check out from today's food news:
  • What's it like to be married to a restaurant owner? Find out here.
  • Are you a Foodinista? Read the results of the Splendid Table survey to find out. Sample question: Do you use cooking skills as a bargaining tool in your primary relationship?

Monday, February 12, 2007

With love from Mama Mimi's

If you live in Columbus and haven't yet made a Valentine's Day dinner reservation (and you can forget about even trying at this point) do not fear: Mama Mimi's is serving up heart-shaped pizzas.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Valentine Finds

Aw, isn't all this stuff great, and it's not too late to shop online:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Weather Report

So it finally snowed here in Columbus (four inches, maybe?) and we have something resembling a real winter. Unfortunately it took me an hour and 40 minutes to get home from work and it's usually an eight-minute drive. They don't know how to take care of the roads here like they do in Michigan, that's for sure. Ah, well, I digress. Tonight I cross-country skied under the night sky and in the midst of the softly falling snow. It was glorious, but alas, left me with little time for cooking or food blogging. G'night.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Must. Stay. Warm.

It's six degrees outside right now, and when it gets this cold I like to warm up from the inside out--with soups and hot chocolate, that is. This month's Cook's Illustrated features two great soup recipes: Thai Chicken and White Chicken Chili. I highly recommend both. (Even if you're not a CI subscriber you can sign up for a 14-day trial online membership and download recipes like crazy.) I especially like the Thai soup, because you can add a variety of toppings to tailor the flavor to your liking: lime wedges, serrano chiles, cilantro and scallions. I made the white chili for my friend (and former roommate) Beth who just had a baby. I'm looking forward to delivering it tomorrow after work.

If you live in Columbus and you seek real, homemade hot chocolate, look no further than Pistachio Bakery in the Short North. Their version is uber-chocolatey and has a bit of a kick, thanks to what I think are pinches of cinnamon and cayenne. The best part, however, is the homemade marshmallow--a square disk of pure white sugary goodness served on the side. We sampled the hot chocolate this weekend at Gallery Hop, and I'll certainly be back for more. (And check out their adorable Valentine's Day linzer cookies here.) Columbusites, a heads-up: Pistachio is moving to German Village this summer. They've purchased the property at 541 S. Third St., an address that has been home to bakers for over 75 years. If you're a longtime townie here you might have known the building as Thurn's or Reiner's.