Thursday, December 29, 2011

I can't spell Prosciutto

I've always been a fan of foods that walk the fine line between savory and sweet. I love pulled pork, salted caramels, chocolate covered pretzels. One of my favorite combinations is fig and prosciutto on a crispy flatbread. Usually billed in a restaurant as an appetizer, this pizza never fails to deliver all the sweet and salty goodness you could ever want.

I decided to try my hand at recreating the goodness at home with Todd English's recipe which includes a healthy quarter pound of tangy Gorgonzola and a sprinkling of minty rosemary. I will definitely be making this recipe again and again.

Fig-and-Prosciutto Flatbread (inspired by Todd English)
Serves 4

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (120-130 degrees)
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon olive oil
  • cornmeal, for sprinkling
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup fig jam
  • 1/4 pound Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
  • 3 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts thinly sliced

Place a pizza stone in the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 500°. Allow at least 45 minutes for the pizza stone to heat thoroughly.

Mix flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together in a mixing bowl. Add water and olive oil and stir till a ball of dough is formed. With a mixer or on a floured surface, knead dough for 10 minutes. Place dough in a medium mixing bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray or coated in olive oil. Cover with a dish towel and let sit for 30 minutes.

When dough has risen and oven has preheated, roll out one piece of the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal and slide the dough onto it. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Slide pizza on to the pizza stone and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Dollop fig jam all over the crust, being sure to leave a 1-inch border of dough all around. Scatter the cheese and prosciutto over the dough. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Transfer the flatbread to a cutting board and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Garnish with the sliced scallion and serve.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Catch Up

If there is a nice list and a naughty list this holiday season, I'm definitely on the bad one. Call it a break, a temporary hiatus, or just plain abandonment; I have been a very bad blogger. Between winning massive and awesome new projects at work and holiday shopping, I've been busy and absent from my favorite culinary pastime.

So, here is a quick catch up on the holidays and a favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and is looking forward to a great New Year.

Early in December, Alex and I got into the Christmas spirit with a quick trip to the National Christmas Tree on our way to dinner at Cava, a delicious Greek mezze restaurant in Capitol Hill. Though it was pretty tiny and unimpressive this year due to a run in with the hurricane in September, it was still fun to see.

I got some practice in taking night time pictures of the U.S. Capitol.

Then on to Cava where we shared a bottle of Assyrtiko, tons of great food, and some Greek Vin Santo dessert wine, or as I like to call it, heaven.

Later in December, we trimmed a tree and hung our stockings with care.

And even hung a few old ornaments this year that my mom let us take home from including our ugly angel tree topper who sports a horrifyingly tacky light-up face and light up hands

Lastly, we spent the holidays with both our families in New Hampshire and Maryland. Christmas Eve dinner at my mom's consisted of salad, garlic bread, lasagna, meatballs, broccoli and birthday cake, for Jesus. We aren't super religious or anything, it was just a good way to introduce us kids to the real meaning of Christmas.

Dinner at Alex's mom's consisted of roast beef, roasted root vegetables, green beans, baked potatoes, twice baked potatoes, pop-overs, and chocolate peppermint cake. Delicious.

More things to come this week as I get to start using my kitchen Christmas presents, but for now, a perfect sugar cookie recipe, made with love, by mom.

Mom's Sugar Cookies
Makes 4 dozen
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Sprinkles in assorted colors

Mix together all ingredients, except sprinkles, using a stand mixer. Mixture should come together as a dough ball. Roll into 4 equal size balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Take one ball of dough out of the fridge and roll to 1/8 of an inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into desired shapes and transfer to cookie sheet. Sprinkle cookies with sprinkles and bake for 7 minutes. Repeat with remaining balls of dough.