Showing posts with label flatbread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flatbread. Show all posts

Friday, June 4, 2010

Quickies Challenge: MISSION...POSSIBLE!


SECURITY LEVEL:
Eyes Only

THE MISSION:
Take on the Quickies Morning, Noon and Night Cooking Challenge

KEY INGREDIENTS:
Avocado and Feta Cheese must be used!

VARIABLES:
Open – add any ingredients to complete the dish

THE JUDGES:

Chef and author Denise Fletcher of Quickies on the Dinner Table; Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks; and Natasha of Five Star Foodie Culinary Adventures.

FULL DISCLOSURE: 
Although one of the prizes for winning this challenge is Denise’s gorgeous cookbook, Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night, I must confess that I already purchased it, and I’m so very glad I did.



Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night
by Denise Fletcher
Denise's Quickies is not just a book of recipes. It's a joyous, vividly illustrated trek through breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, and desserts with a knowledgeable culinary professional by your side chatting wonderfully witty insights as you go. The recipes themselves are by turns eclectic, exciting, comforting, and inspiring. (I LOVE this book!)

In fact, inspired by the many useful tips she includes throughout (like how to pair wine and food or choose a tender cut of meat), I decided to make my own cheap, little visual aid to go with this recipe. Just click the arrow in the window below (and please hold your guffaws until you've finished reading the entire post…).




So what is my mission here? Amuse Denise, Lazaro, and Natasha with my own fumbling attempts at a recipe using any ingredients I wish as long as they include avocado and feta cheese.

Okay, here we go…

My first try working feta and avocado into the same recipe was this savory cheese tart. Pretty, isn’t she?

The filling for my tart (ricotta and feta) was delicious with the tomatoes and thyme. I planned on creating an avocado-cilantro coulis to drizzle over the slices, but ... I took a wrong turn with the crust. Instead of pastry dough, I wanted to try something very different. Too different as it turned out. You see, I’d just made a graham cracker crust for a frozen key lime pie (a Terry Odell special, stay tuned for that delicious recipe) by pulverizing sweet crackers and mixing in butter.

I decided to try the same kind of press-in crust method by swapping seasoned bread crumbs for the graham crackers and olive oil for the butter. Sounded logical. Tasted like shite.

Try, try again, right? But as I prepared to re-make the tart, another thought struck me. With the start of summer here in the USA, many households will be looking for meals to make on the grill or stovetop—anything to keep from using that oven.

I also thought about the ricotta, which is a very neutral carrier of flavor, just like...avocado. So, why not just mix the avocado pulp with the feta cheese? A generous squeeze of lime was a no-brainer for flavor and to keep the avocado pulp nice and green. (Note better living through food chemistry – an acid will prevent your avocado’s flesh from darkening right away.)

While you can certainly eat this yummy feta guacamole with tortilla chips, I had a much better idea for lunch. You see, I live in Queens, New York, a short hike from the neighborhood of Astoria, where Greek immigrants bake the most delicious pita bread in the US (IMO). So I decided to make the base a pita bread—Naan bread, flatbread, or a pre-baked round of pizza dough will work just as well.

Toppings? When nobody’s looking, I’ll be piling it on (red onions, roasted peppers, black olives, anchovies…) but since my Quickies pita pizza needs to be photographed, I decided to stick with sweet, brilliant and currently plentiful grape tomatoes. A little chopped cilantro adds aromatic floral fun for the olfactory senses as you bite and chew.

And that’s the ticket. Probably not a dish that will get me hired onto Wolfgang Puck’s gourmet pizza brigade, but a nice, light summer lunch just the same—easy, healthy, colorful, and best of all Quickies-inspired.





Quickies Challenge

A “Quickie”
Fresh Summer Pizza
with Feta Guacamole

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

1 round of pita bread (or Naan or 8-inch round of flatbread or baked pizza dough)
1 tablespoon olive oil (approximately)
1 small ripe avocado (I use Hass)
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 ounces (about 50 grams) feta cheese
8 grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Method:

Step 1 - Toast the pita bread: For an outdoor grill: lightly coat the pita on both sides with olive oil. Place the round over the heat of your grill and turn several times until bread is toasted and crusty. For a stovetop: Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil. When the pan is good and hot, add the pita bread, turning several times. Bread should not be soft when you remove it. You are doing more here than simply heating the bread; you are making it firm and crunchy. Plate the bread.

Step 2 – Make the feta guacamole: Remove the flesh from the avocado and mash it with the prongs of a fork. Mix in the lime juice. Crumble the feta cheese and continue mixing with a fork or spoon until you’ve created a smooth paste.

Step 3 – Assemble, top, and serve: Spoon the feta guacamole onto the toasted pita and use the back of the spoon to work it into a smooth, even layer. Place the grape tomato halves on top of the pizza, sprinkle on the cilantro. Slice into quarters and serve.

Additional topping ideas: This pizza is also delicious with roasted red peppers, black olives, anchovies, and red onions. Instead of cilantro, you might try chopped parsley or thyme leaves. You might also try tossing the grape tomato halves with olive oil, cumin, oregano, and sea salt before placing on the pizza. Then...







Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Caprese Flatbread

WE HAVE A WINNER!!
Helen K. suggested our next Secret Ingredient and because she did, Helen has won a $25 gift of chocolate from Fannie May Chocolates (mmm... my favorite!).

But... we here at Mystery Lovers Kitchen were so excited about *another* ingredient, submitted by our good friend and grill-guy, Dave, that we've been inspired to try something new. Stay tuned and we may have some surprises in store in the coming months. Thanks, Dave!

Helen - feel free to contact me at JulieHyzy(at)gmail(dot)com. Otherwise, I'll be in touch soon.

The fun part of this is that Helen suggested so many ingredients that I'm sure she doesn't even know which one it is! We'll reveal our Secret Ingredient during our next Iron Chef week. (Hint - late February.)

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog...

For my birthday a couple of months back, my family and I went out to one of our favorite local restaurants, Cooper's Hawk, which is also a wonderful winery. I love the place - good energy, fabulous service, consistently great food.

They had recently added some new flatbreads to the appetizer menu and we opted to try the Caprese version. Heck, we all love Caprese salads, so why not?

Was it fabulous? Oh, yes. My vegetarian daughter loved it most of all, and we've ordered it again and again...

But what to do between visits? I decided to try to make a Caprese Flatbread at home.

First of all, remember that you can change/adjust/eliminate/add any ingredients to suit your tastes. Feel free to build on this basic recipe. It's fun.

CAPRESE FLATBREAD

1 pkg frozen bread dough. (These usually come in packs of three. I defrost
one at a time, and then cut the loaf in thirds. One-third of a loaf makes a good-sized flatbread)

Fresh tomatoes, sliced

Fresh Mozzarella, sliced

Fresh basil leaves, chopped

Fresh garlic cloves, crushed and minced

Purple onion, sliced in to super-slim half-rounds

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Italian salad dressing

Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Knead, then roll out the 1/3 chunk of defrosted frozen bread dough. The last photo is of two 1/3 chunks, rolled out. The rolling can get a little bit frustrating because the dough really, really wants to stay in chunk form. But it eventually behaves. I intended to make nice, straight rectangles -- I wanted them to look just like the ones at Coopers Hawk -- as you can see, the shapes turned out more like paramecium =) I could have cut off the edges, but why? This was for my family and the more flatbread, the better.

Spray a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray and transfer the rolled-out dough onto the sheet. Combine olive oil (about 2 - 3 TBSP) with minced garlic. Brush the dough with it. Bake until the flattened bread begins to brown. Bubbles may form during baking, and you can just pop them with the sharp end of a knife or a fork. My bread took about 20 minutes to brown, but I would suggest you leave it in just a little bit longer.

Once it's nicely browned, bring it topside on your stove, and decide if you think it needs more olive oil/garlic. We love garlic, so we usually add a bit more. Add sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, onions and top with chopped basil leaves. Once it's all arranged and looks pretty, drizzle a little Italian salad dressing and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Return the flatbread to the oven and bake until edges start to crisp. In these photos, I didn't leave them in quite long enough and the edges are still a little
soft. They tasted great, but we discovered that we prefer them just a little bit more crispy.




As I mentioned, you can add any ingredients you prefer. Other cheeses, other herbs. I bet this would be fabulous with roasted peppers. Hope you have fun eggsperimenting!


(Sorry, couldn't resist throwing in a plug for Eggsecutive Orders! LOL)

Enjoy,
Julie

www.juliehyzy.com