Monday, June 24, 2013

Cinnamon Roasted Pineapple with Macadamia Nut Cream

I love free samples. When I was a kid and we'd go to Costco, my brother and I would try to sidle in to get second and thirds of samples we really liked, not realizing it's okay to take more than one. It was pretty funny and we thought we were so sneaky.

I got this recipe from a free sample at Whole Foods. It's pretty easy and without the macadamia cream, is universally popular. Try it on a cooler day this summer (or modify it for the grill).

Cinnamon Roasted Pineapple with Macadamia Nut Cream via Whole Foods:

Serves 4

¾ c. raw unsalted macadamia nuts or cashews
1/3 c. chopped pitted dates
1 c. boiling water
1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. sea salt
In a small bowl, combine the nuts and dates with boiling water and let soak 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange pineapple in a single layer over the paper and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roast until pineapple is very tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Pour nuts, dates, and soaking water into a blender and add vanilla and salt. Blend until very smooth, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender once or twice. Serve drizzled over the warm pineapple.

This recipe hits all the key diet trends: vegan, wheat free. Don't worry about all of that. No matter what your diet consists of, there is only one word for this and that word is delicious.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

So, the Smitten Kitchen cookbook is amazing. Yes, this recipe is also on her blog, but just know that you need to check out the cookbook. I have a couple more that are cookbook exclusives and then you'll know.

Shaved Asparagus Pizza via The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (and blog):

Makes 1 thin crust 12” pizza

Pizza dough:
1½ c. flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
1 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. active dry yeast
½ c. lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 Tb. olive oil

½ lb. Asparagus
¼ c. grated Parmesan
½ lb. mozzarella, shredded or cut into small cubes
2 tsp. olive oil
½ tsp. coarse salt
Several grinds black pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.

Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl where you had mixed it — one-bowl recipe! — dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size.

Dump it back on the floured counter and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under that plastic wrap for 20 more minutes.
Preheat your oven to the hottest temperature it goes, or about 500 in most cases. If you use a pizza stone, have it in there.

Prepare the asparagus. No need to snap off ends; they can be your “handles” as you peel the asparagus. Holding a single asparagus spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board and using a vegetable peeler create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with remaining stalks and don’t fret some pieces are unevenly thick (such as the end of the stalk, which might be too thin to peel); the mixed textures give a great character to the pizza. Discard tough ends. Toss peelings with olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and be sure to try one. It is incredibly good. I'd love to try it as a salad.
Assemble and bake the pizza. Roll or stretch out your pizza dough to a 12-inch round. Either transfer to a floured or cornmeal-dusted pizza peel (if using a pizza stone in the oven) or to a floured or cornmeal-dusted tray to bake it on. Sprinkle pizza dough with Parmesan, then mozzarella. Pile asparagus on top. Bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges are browned, the cheese is bubbly and the asparagus might be lightly charred. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with scallions, then slice and eat.
It is much more filling than you'd expect and super tasty. Make it before asparagus are totally out of season.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Risotto Rice Pudding with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

Sometimes you just need dessert and you need to not leave the house. Sure, cookies are always a good choice, but sometimes you just gotta do something different. Sometimes you gotta make rice pudding. This is a fabulous recipe, though it does take a little longer to come together than stated. Worth it. Add the caramel like we did. Also so worth it.

Risotto Rice Pudding with Brown Sugar and Vanilla via Joy the Baker:

Serves 4

2 Tb. unsalted butter
1 c. Arborio rice
3½ to 4 c. milk
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
large pinch allspice
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (seeds only) or 1 Tb. pure vanilla extract
Blackberries (or any berries) for topping
Caramel sauce for topping

In a medium saucepan, over low heat, scald 4 cups of milk. Bring the milk to just under boiling, turn off the flame and let it rest.

In a large saucepan, over low heat, melt the butter. Add the rice grains and stir to coat. Ladle in just enough hot milk to cover the rice. Stir (with a wooden spoon) over the low flame. The rice will begin to absorb the milk. When the milk is almost fully absorbed, ladle in more hot milk. Stir until absorbed. Continue this process, standing over the stove, stirring milky rice. Taste the rice as you near the end of the milk. You may only need 3½ cups instead of 4. As you add the last bit of milk, also incorporate the sugar, salt, spices, and scraped vanilla beans. Stir well to combine.
Stir over low heat until the milk is gone and the rice is tender, with just a hint of a toothsome bite.

If you want it thicker, continue to cook it for a bit longer. Serve warm or cold, with fresh berries or without. Or frozen berries. Or caramel sauce.

Rice pudding will last, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

Super tasty! Super easy! Do it now!
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