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Rosemary Potato Pizza

21 Oct

This pizza has been haunting me for months and months–it combines so many of my favorite things, how am I supposed to resist it??  This is definitely a meal idea you want to keep on hand because it’s fast, delicious, and uses ingredients that you’ll likely already have (and if not, it’s just a quick run to Trader Joe’s).  I’m not sure which part I like best–the rosemary (my favorite herb), the mozzarella (which is light and not too much), the creamy potatoes or the crispy chewy crust.

This was also the first time I tried a secret trick to get a crispy pizza crust without a pizza stone…and wouldn’t ya know, it worked!  By putting the baking sheet into the oven ahead of time, while the oven is heating up, it helps the bottom of the crust crisp up while the top bakes normally–it was perfect!  I admit I didn’t make the crust dough myself, but I think sometimes it’s more important to get healthy, stress-free food into you than making EVERYthing handmade and, besides, Trader Joe’s refrigerated pizza dough is delicious!

Rosemary Potato Pizza
Adapted from Stone Soup via Elephantine

  • refrigerated pre-made pizza crust (Trader Joe’s suggested – you’ll find it near the pre-made salads, it should make about 3 decent sized pizzas or 4 slightly smaller pizzas)
  • 1 small-medium red potato per pizza
  • 1 sprig rosemary per pizza
  • 1-2 small balls of fresh mozzarella (the kind floating in water)
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • salt for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 and place a lightly oiled baking sheet in oven as it warms
  2. Divide the dough into the number of pizzas you want and gently stretch dough into thin rounds, leave on counter workspace while you prepare the other ingredients
  3. Slice the potatoes extremely thinly (this is another job the mandolin slicer came in very handy for) and slice the mozzarella balls as thinly as they can go, likely 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick.
  4. Once the oven is preheated, using oven mitts, take the hot baking sheet out of the oven and place on a safe surface.  Transfer the dough rounds to the hot baking sheet (you may have to bake in batches) and brush olive oil over the raw dough.  Arrange the potato slices in a single layer, slightly overlapping, sprinkle rosemary leaves over the pizza, arrange the mozzarella bits and drizzle with a second round of olive oil.
  5. Put sheet with pizzas back into oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese and crust are just starting to brown.
  6. Sprinkle with salt to taste.  Enjoy hot out of the oven!
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Curried Butternut Squash Soup

9 Oct

I can’t lie, I considered skipping this week’s Project Pastry Queen assignment.  I have a go-to recipe for Butternut Squash soup that I created myself and I just can’t bear to leave it behind.  That said, I’m glad I gave this one a try because it certainly gave my normal recipe a run for its money!

I had just come back from a weekend trip away so I wasn’t particularly looking forward to standing over a hot stove, but  it’s soup so it’s a cinch to throw together and let simmer while you take a disco nap in the hopes that you can sort of maybe catch up on the rest you didn’t catch up on over the weekend because you were having too much fun.  I don’t know why I always think soup is a long complicated process so I shouldn’t hesitate in the future.

This soup is a great recipe to keep for a cool Fall evening–the spices will warm you right up!

Note: 1 1/2 lbs of butternut squash is a relatively small squash compared to what I normally see at the grocery store.  Either make sure to get one that’s close (I had to do a 2 pounder), make a double batch of soup, or save the extra squash for something else, like Butternut Squash Risotto (my first recipe on the blog ever!)

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from The Pastry Queen, by Rebecca Rather
serves 4 to 6

  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Tbs curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Greek yogurt, for garnish
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and carrot and saute over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften.
  2. Add the squash potato, ginger, cinnamon, curry powder, and salt;  Saute for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the stock, milk, cream, honey, and paprika and bring the soup to a boil.
  4. Decrease the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Puree the soup with a stick blender (what? you don’t have one yet?!) until smooth.
  6. Add black pepper and additional salt to taste.  If the soup seems too thick, add more milk or chicken stock.
  7. Serve hot with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top–it adds a wonderful tangy flavor!

Acorn Squash Bisque

28 Sep

I have just been beside myself with glee watching all of the squash and pumpkin recipes popping up all over Pinterest and the food blogging community!  I love love love the Fall for cooking and I wasn’t sure where to start diving in but, I have to say, this bisque is an excellent start to the deluge of Fall recipes coming at you!

I admit that I was hesitant to switch it up from my normal Butternut Squash soup but was delighted with the results.  The recipe makes a delicious, almost delicate, bisque that would make a fantastic start to a large hearty meal, or just as a light meal in itself.  It does thicken up as leftovers, but reheat it very very gently, as mine started to curdle very quickly.  (You wouldn’t think it, but a quick whirl with the stick blender gets rid of all those unsightly white specks in an instant)

The soup was excellent with just the little bit of thyme seasoning it, yet I could tell I wanted just a teensy bit more flavor.  I make a mean Butternut Squash soup so I had to physically restrain myself from adding all the normal spices I add to that–I wasn’t making a clone, after all.  I left the nutmeg, the cinnamon, bay leaf, and rosemary behind (but it was almost painful to do so) and stared at the rest of my spice shelf.  I hesitated for a second before grabbing the cloves, knowing they would be overpowering if I wasn’t careful.  It was just what I was looking for!  1/8 of a teaspoon is honestly all that is needed for the whole big pot to give the soup that warm spiced flavor without losing the delicate acorn squash flavor.  It doesn’t have the stunning orange color that butternut squash soup or pumpkin soup does, but it is absolutely a wonderful addition to the Fall dinner table.


Acorn Squash Bisque
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 4 as a main dish or more as a starter appetizer

  • 2 acorn squashes (3 pounds total)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 – 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Halve squash lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds. Place squash, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet; cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast until almost tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes minutes. When cool enough to handle, scrape out flesh and discard skin.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add squash, thyme, broth and water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to medium, and cook until squash is very tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Working in batches, puree mixture in a blender until very smooth (or leave it in the pan and use a stick blender, the most useful soup tool ever). Return to pan; add half-and-half, cloves and season to taste with salt and pepper (mine didn’t need any extra).
  6. Serve garnished with thyme sprigs.

End-of-Summer Vegetable Soup

16 Sep

All summer I was thinking, “Man, I should be making vegetable soup.”  Of course now it’s September and I never got around to making vegetable soup.  And then Real Simple dropped this recipe in my inbox last week and I thought: “it’s a sign!”  So I went to the co-op and sorted through the last of their summer veggies and I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised at how quickly this soup was thrown together.  Just slice it all up and throw it in the pot and it’s ready in 10 minutes!

I added a few spices to the recipe I received–the original had only the fresh dill.  First and foremost, I added cayenne which is my all time favorite spice to add to vegetable soups.  I feel like some veggie soups’ flavor can just glide over your tongue and disappear as soon as you swallow.  Just a little cayenne gives it a just a touch of heat that keeps the flavor lingering on your tongue.  I also added garlic powder because it grounded the flavors.  A toasty bit of garlic bread would have made this a perfect complete meal to close out the summer!

End-of-Summer Vegetable Soup
Adapted from Real Simple

Serves 4

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 medium), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 large yellow squash (or 3 small-medium), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 pound green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups corn kernels (cut from 2 ears, or frozen)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill springs
  1. In a stock pot or large sauce pan, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
  2. Add all of the vegetables and spices except for the dill and turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Let everything simmer for about 10 minutes until the veggies are soft.
  4. Stir in the dill and serve with crostini!

Roasted Carrot Soup

31 Aug

Last week I received a big, beautiful bunch of carrots in my CSA box and I hadn’t the slightest idea what I wanted to do with them.  When I say “big, beautiful” I don’t mean they were just a gorgeous bright orange, which they were, but they had giant green tops on them that were three times the size of the carrots themselves.  I’d never seen carrots like this!  It makes you realize how artificially manicured the carrots are in the supermarket and that we should probably think just a little bit harder about where your food comes from.  Do you want something that came straight from the ground, grown by a farmer who cares about his crops or something that was spit out from a machine?

That all said, I hadn’t the slightest idea what to do with this bunch of carrots.  It took a week and then some, but I finally realized exactly what I wanted: despite it still being a hot summer here in Beachtown, CA, I wanted Roasted Carrot Soup.  Roasting brings out the sweetness in carrots and even the sweetness in the onions in the soup, too (if you know me, I hate onions but loved them in this soup; a testament to the great recipe).  I was surprised at the lack of spices in this soup, save for the standard salt and pepper plus a little garlic and bay leaf.  Roasting the vegetables absolutely gives all the complex, nutty, spicy flavor the soup might need without all the extra spices.

I think the best testimony, however, comes from the boyfriend eating the soup, who had been rather blase about my making it: “I knew it would be okay, but I didn’t know it would be THIS good!” So make it now while the carrots are fresh and local or save this recipe for the Fall when you need to warm up over something hearty.

Note: I tried using my food processor to slice the carrots, but it was an experiment gone wrong.  Wish I had used my mandolin slicer instead!

Roasted Carrot Soup
Makes 3-4 bowls of soup
Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated, Nov 2007

  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 8 medium), peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • Ground black pepper
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the carrots, onion on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until the vegetables are well browned and softened, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the roasted vegetables to a large saucepan. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, cover, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the carrots soften further, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and bay leaf; cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the broths. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the soup is flavorful, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the bay leaf and puree the mixture in a blender until smooth (I have a stick blender that I swear by).  Add the half-and-half and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste (although mine did not need any salt whatsoever, just the pepper).  I sprinkled a little bit of thyme over my bowl of leftover soup, but it’s good with or without it!

Fried Yellow Squash

26 Aug

Food Memory #2,398: Fried Squash.

Mom is a pro at yellow squash.  Her squash casserole is one of the most requested dishes at family gatherings and fried squash is something that would always draw my sister and I to the stove as it was frying.  Mom would pull them out of the hot oil, lay them on a paper towel lined plate or a paper bag and season them.  I would pop them into my mouth long before they were cool enough to actually be edible, never learning and burning my mouth ten times over.  While grilled squash is a treat for sure, I think fried squash has to be my all time favorite.  I know that the boyfriend and I wolfed the whole batch down way too fast and were left wishing there was much more.  Take advantage of the bounty of summer squash right now before it’s gone and create a new food memory for your own home!

Fried Yellow Squash

  • 1 lb yellow squash
  • 16 oz milk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • salt & pepper
  • oil for frying (peanut oil is by far the best for frying, but it’s more expensive)
  1. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a heavy pan.
  2. While the oil is heating, pour the milk into a bowl and set it next to your cutting board.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the flour and season with salt and pepper, about 1 teaspoon of each, and stir.
  4. Slice the squash into 1/4 inch slices and drop them into the bowl of milk as you go.
  5. Once the oil is hot enough, drop the milky slices of squash into the flour mixture and toss until coated thoroughly.
  6. Gently drop the slices into the oil, a few batches at a time–make sure that all of the slices in the oil have room to float on the top of the oil.
  7. Pull the slices out when they are golden brown and place on a plate lined with a stack of 6 or so paper towels and season with salt and a little additional pepper.

I remember Mom would dirty one less bowl by putting the flour mixture in a large plastic bag, add the squash, and shake it all up until the slices were all evenly coated.  I didn’t remember until I was tossing the slices in the bowl and felt like something wasn’t quite right in my methods…of course either method you use will be delicious!

Garlic Corn on the Cob

3 Aug

For those of you who didn’t see my ecstatic posts on Facebook this weekend (follow A Gilt Nutmeg on Facebook here!), I was at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA last weekend.  The boyfriend and I can actually eat garlic raw and were disappointed with the lack of garlic at the entirely garlic-centric menu at “The Stinking Rose.”  So finally we were going to get a proper dose of garlic!  And proper dose we did: garlic bread, garlic tamales, deep fried garlic, garlic pesto, garlic ice cream (which is actually one of my favorite flavors of ice cream ever)…but one of the best things we ate was garlic corn on the cob.

Daniel and our friend, Rhianan, enjoying their corn.  I was digging into the deep fried garlic at the time, but I snuck bites of Daniel’s corn whenever he wasn’t looking.

So home we went, stopping on the way for those amazing strawberries from Monday’s post and fresh picked corn, 6 for $1.  Is there any need to guess what my plans for the corn were?  It was my mission to try to recreate the amazing clean, clear butter-garlic flavor on the sweet fresh corn we ate the day before.

One of the cooking tricks I pulled out of the hat for this one was something called “blooming”.  As spices get older, they lose flavor and heat (if they’re spicy).  The remedy for this is to “bloom” the spices by heating them in oil or butter for a minute or so.  It magically brings back all the flavorful oils in them and your taste buds will thank you!  I’ve also discovered that clarifying your butter really set the garlic and sweet corn flavors off the best–I’m never going back to slapping a cold pat of butter onto my corn again.

Aim for farmers markets or farm stands for your corn.  Dad taught me long ago that there are few things better than fresh farm corn–he used to drive all the way to New Jersey to get fresh corn from the farm stands.

Garlic Corn on the Cob

  • fresh ears of corn, stripped of leaves and “silk” (the stringy bits)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of butter per ear of corn
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
  • high quality salt
  1. Set a large pot of water boiling and toss in approx 2 sliced cloves of garlic.  Set ears of corn into boiling water and boil for approx 15 minutes or to desired doneness.  I remember growing up we just turned off the burner and left the corn in the pot of hot water until we went back for seconds, so I don’t think there’s really a danger of overcooking it.
  2. In the meantime, gently melt the butter in a small saucepan.  After it’s completely melted, tilt the pot forward and carefully use a spoon to remove just the white floaty bits–these are called the milk solids.  Voila, clarified butter!  You’re ready for lobster…or really amazing corn.
  3. Add the rest of the sliced garlic plus the garlic powder to the butter and stir.  Remove from heat after a few minutes and brush the butter over the ears of corn.  I leave the garlic slices behind, but if you want to brush them over the corn as well, be my guest–there’s really never too much garlic in my book!  You’ll probably want them minced instead of just sliced if you plan on doing this, so the garlic bits can stick to the ears of corn.
  4. Sprinkle with some good salt and get ready for a delicious treat!  On one final note: I mentioned that there is never enough garlic for me.  This recipe will give you a delicate, even garlic flavor for your corn.  I absolutely kicked it up an extra notch by sprinkling additional garlic powder directly on the corn as well, but that level of garlic is not for everybody 🙂
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