#SundaySupper Spooky Kid Pizzas

So when I originally imagined doing some Halloween inspired pizzas for our twin boys Oscar & Theo I was thinking something a bit more spooky than a pumpkin.  Of course, the spooky factor kind of suffered since my “spider legs” were to be built form slices of green peppers. Sadly I failed to double-check we still had a bell pepper in the fridge.  We did not when it came time to make this week’s Sunday Supper.

Instead of spooky, we have a bit more of a ridiculous look. Fortunately, the boys didn’t mind and loved their jack o’ lantern pizzas. I just simply took some slices of carrot and triangle cut a tomato slice for eyes and noses.

Tomato Pizza Sauce

28 oz. can crushed plum tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (avoid canned)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 small or 1/2 med. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, or 1 tsp. dried 1/4 tsp. each: salt, black pepper, sugar, dried oregano,
red pepper flakes

Mix together. Sometimes I sauté the garlic and onions in a little olive oil first. It depends upon what else I’m putting on the pizza. I sauté them if the toppings are more mild, and I don’t if the toppings are more aggressive. Basically, whatever you like.

Pizza Dough
(makes 2 — 12” rounds)

2 packets “rapid-rise” active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 – 110 degrees)
2 teaspoons sugar 6 cups all-purpose flour*
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil

In a bowl, proof the yeast by mixing yeast, warm water and sugar. Let stand until it becomes foamy. This will take about 5 minutes.

In a mixer or large food processor, mix the flour and salt. Add the proofed yeast mixture and combine. Add olive oil and combine until the moisture is well-mixed into the flour. Add as much additional warm water to produce a dough which is smooth and not sticky. When dough is smooth and can be formed into a ball, it has been sufficiently kneaded.

Place the ball of dough into an oiled bowl; turn to coat all over with oil; cover with a towel, or plastic-wrap, and set in a warm place. Allow it to double in size, which will take about 10-15 minutes, or 1 hour with regular yeast.

When ready to proceed, preheat oven to 450.

Punch dough down; cut into halves; form each half into a ball; roll-out each ball into about a 12” round. Oil pizza pans lightly, and place dough onto pans. Push the dough up slightly around edges to make a border to hold the fillings.

Top pizzas with desired fillings, and moisten top by drizzling on some olive oil. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until dough is golden-brown and fillings are slightly bubbling.

Spooky Kid Pizzas

Pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
Pizza sauce, homemade or store-bought
Mozzarella cheese
Toppings: Tomato triangles and carrot sticks for the mouth and teeth

Assemble pizzas with a layer of sauce and plenty of shredded mozzarella.  Then make your “spooky” or Halloween inspired masterpiece using toppings.

Heat in a toaster oven or oven at 400 degrees cooking for 15 minutes.

#SundaySupper Mint Marinated Beef Kebabs with Garlic Sauce

Moving to a new city has its challenges even if it is one you’ve lived in before, though 20 years ago. One challenge is finding where to buy local, grass-fed meat. The La Canada Farmers Market has one of the better reputation ranches at its event every Saturday morning.

Novy Ranch sounded similar to Burgundy Pasture Beef Ranch where we used buy our meats when we lived in Dallas. Both are smaller ranches that supply to some decent local restaurants and raise grass-fed Angus cattle.  So I was excited to finally get a chance to try Novy Ranch.

The vendor at the Farmers Market does not sell precut kabob meat; though, he recommended a lean steak that I later cut up into large cubes. The meat was promising. I’m not yet ready to say it is as excellent as Burgundy Pasture Beef, but it is a decent local choice that’s only 10 minutes from our house every Saturday morning.

Mint Marinated Beef Kebabs with Garlic Sauce
Serves 4

2 lbs kabob meat
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup packed mint, finely chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 onion, large cuts
1 bell pepper, large cuts

Combine the oil, mint, lemon, and garlic in a shallow dish that you can cover to marinate the meat.  Place the meat in and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or throughout the day.

Heat grill to about 300 degrees. Combine the meat cuts alternating pieces of onion and bell pepper on kabob skewers. Place kabobs on grill and cook turning a few times for about 10 minutes.

Serve with rice, garlic sauce and even some hummus if you have some around like I did this evening.

Enjoy!

For the Garlic Sauce, I recommend this recipe: Garlic Sauce. However, today I went with an excellent store bought one from Fresh ‘N Nova found at our local Whole Foods.

For more #SundaySupper inspiration checkout the recipes from some great bloggers!

Mother’s Day Vegetable Tart

It’s been a good month plus since I’ve participated in a Sunday Supper event with my fellow food bloggers. The theme this week is Mother’s Day. I had the perfect recipe picked out after asking my wife what she wanted me to make for her this weekend. She had her eye, or is it stomach, on a vegetable tart she found on Pinterest placed on her aptly named “Cook (or things Chris needs to make because I don’t cook)” board. I gathered the ingredients and was going to make it Saturday so we could enjoy Sunday spending time throughout southern California.

Saturday came and went pretty quickly. We spent the day at the Long Beach Queen Mary Barbecue Festival and ended a long day enjoying some taco truck tacos in Pasadena.  The vegetable tart had to wait until Sunday lunch.  Fortunately this is a fairly quick recipe, helped by my already having a finished pie crust in the freeze that was thawed out for this weekend.

I added some asparagus to the recipe and the pie crust is Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee recipe. The pie crust makes for buttery, flaky “tart.”  It’s good, but I think I prefer a basic tart recipe or perhaps some filo dough. That said, this is still a great recipe with the pie crust and makes for a great way to use some leftover pie dough.

While I didn’t get to do Sunday Supper this weekend, I definitely will make my return next weekend with the group’s Slow Cooking theme. For now, be sure to checkout all of the excellent Mother’s Day recipes from the other food bloggers.

Pork Tenderloin with Calvados Cream Sauce

This week’s #SundaySupper is all about apples as we celebrate the beginning of Fall with an Autumn Apple Party. Immersing ourselves into the apple theme we decided to spend Saturday at a couple apple orchards near San Bernadino about a hour and 20 minutes east of Pasadena.  Our first stop was Snow-Line Orchard where the boys watched donuts being made and tried about 15 different types of apples at the sampling table.

We stopped there to do u-pick raspberries since they didn’t do u-pick apples.  Sadly, by 1pm they had ran out of raspberries to pick so we enjoyed some donuts and drove down the road to Riley’s Los Rios Ranch. Riley’s was a lot of fun. The boys loved roaming around the rows of apple trees finding all kinds of varieties to pick.  We mostly ended up with some beautiful red delicious and granny smiths.

We brought home 5 pounds of apples, a pint of apple cider, and homemade caramel dip. Yes it’s a good weekend.

After a fun afternoon of apple picking, it was time to start cooking. I stopped by a store for some Calvados (Apple Brandy) and picked up an organic pork tenderloin at the market. I had some collard greens, sweet potato, and bunch of freshly picked apples to begin the night’s feast.

I paired this dish with a couple sides.  The first was some sauted collard greens.  Just chop some greens and slice half of an onion into thin half-moon.  Add some olive oil to a saute pan cooking the onions for a couple minutes then adding the greens and cooking them down for about 5-8 minutes. Toss a few times during cooking to mix the onions and greens together. You’re done.

For the second side, I chopped up two sweet potatoes and one apple into small cubes.  Tossed them with a handful of raisins, olive oil and salt and pepper .  Bake this in an oven proof casserole dish at 450 degrees for 30 minutes while you make the main the course.

Pork Tenderloin with Calvados Cream Sauce
Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ “steaks”
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in medium heat pan. Add the shallots and cook for two minutes.  While cooking pound the pork tenderloin “steaks” using a meat tenderizer, salt and pepper the pork and add to the pan.

Cook about 3 minutes on each side where the sides of the pork brown just a bit.  Don’t crowd the pan and set aside some of the tenderloin in a bowl.

With some pork tenderloins in the pan, add the apple brandy to the pan and if you feel daring ignite the brandy with a match after it heats in the pan for a second.  The flames will surge so be careful. Let it cook for a moment with the flames then carefully cover the pan to put out the flames. Cook the brandy on medium-high heat letting it reduce by half.

Once the brandy is reduced by half add the heavy cream and cut up apples.  Let this cook stirring together bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let it cook for about 3 minutes to let the sauce thicken.

Serve the pork with the sauce and sides.

Blacked Cajun Chicken with Wild Rice & Asparagus

This weekend’s #SundaySupper challenge is making a dish limited to 5 ingredients.  Being a fan of food author Michael Pollan I am very familiar with the 5 ingredient mantra.  See Pollan did a book called In Defense of Food that looked to provide some guidance for today’s conscience eater.  With so many foods, especially processed foods, having more ingredients than the Space Shuttle has parts, Pollan added a Rule that said to not eat anything with more than 5 ingredients as a way to avoid all the chemicals, added sugars, etc that affect our food choices more often than not.

Funny thing is Pollan backed off the 5 ingredient rule after he found Big Food pushing processed foods they made with 5 ingredients or less as healthy choices, even if they were not.  The best example of retarding this rule is Haagen Daz Five ice cream which repackaged their product as “Five” even though they didn’t change the anything and used it as a way to position their product against other ice cream as a smarter food choice.

Another great example is a TV commercial for Tostidos tortilla chips touting it as better chip decision over Pringels even though both chips are high-fat, high-calorie choices.  The ad confuses the issue and Pollan himself backed off the 5 Ingredient rule since the marketers found a way to pervert it.

So Pollan created a replacement rule, Don’t Eat What You See on TV:

The good news is no matter how many ingredients you use at home you can choose items that are healthy and considerate for your family.  Simply use real foods, not processed, and you’ll be fine no matter if there are 5 or 20 ingredients in your recipe.

If you want simple though here is a whole meal that requires only 5 ingredients

Blackened Cajun Chicken with Wild Rice & Asparagus
Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 Tablespoons Cajun spice blend
3 Tablespoons butter
2 cups wild rice
1 bunch asparagus

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Coat the chicken breasts in a bowl with the Cajun spice blend.  Heat a saute pan over medium high heat using 2 tablespoons of butter.  Add the chicken breasts letting them “blacken” in the pan for about 5 minutes on each side.  Place the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is in the oven…

Boil 2 1/2 cups of water and add 1 cup of wild rice once the water is boiling.  After adding the rice, reduce the heat to a simmer and heat uncovered for 15 minutes. It’s done when the water is all evaporated.

Heat some water in a small pan and add the asparagus once boiling and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and toss the cooked asparagus with 1 tablespoon of butter.

Remove the chicken from the oven and plate with the rice and asparagus.

Chicken Tikka Masala Poutine for #SundaySupper

When I heard what this week’s Sunday Supper theme was I knew exactly what I wanted to make, since I had tried making the dish a month before and knew I was close to getting it right.

The theme this week is Copycats Recipes. Basically, recreate a recipe from a restaurant. Badmaash is an unique take on Indian located in downtown Los Angeles. They call themselves an Indian-Gastropub and that’s exactly what they are. One of the dishes they showcase a lot on their Instagram feed that I follow is a Chicken Tikka Poutine. They use a gravy with curds and add grilled Chicken Tikka to top it off.   Mine is a bit different and instead uses the rich tomato heavy cream sauce of a Tikka Masala in place of gravy.

For those who do not know, poutine is a French Canadian dish with fries, gravy, and cheese curds. There are a lot of variations on the dish with some adding pulled pork, beef and other options to go along with gravy, fries and curds.

I was lucky this past week at the Studio City Farmer’s Market where I found some organic cheese curds from Spring Hill Jersey Cheese based in Petaluma, California.

While a Canadian friend of mine thinks the Badmaash dish here is blasphemous, I don’t care. It tastes great. Is it “poutine”? No, not by a strict definition, but it does taste amazing and is a great way to mix it up which is why I wanted to share it during this week’s Copycat Recipe for Sunday Supper!

Chicken Tikka Masala Poutine

Serves 2

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in bite-sized chunks
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice from half a small lemon
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon of ghee or butter
½ medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon garma masala
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon paprika
pinch of cayenne powder
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup cheese curds
chopped cilantro for garnish

Bag of frozen French Fries, Alexia is a good choice

Combine yogurt, lemon juice and spices in a bowl. Add the raw chicken and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

Cook fries per the package instruction if using frozen. You can also make your own using your favorite recipe.

When chicken is done marinating, heat broiler for 5 minutes moving rack so boiler is about 6-inches from rack. Place chicken evenly on aluminum foil, do not stack chicken pieces on top of each other and spread them out so they are easy to turn. Heat chicken for 4-6 minutes until you see chicken start to blacken, flip chicken using tongs and heat in broiler for another 3-5 minutes until browning occurs. Remove and set aside.

Heat ghee or butter in pan on medium-high heat. Add the onions and let them cook for 5 minutes until translucent and not brown. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another couple minutes. Then add the tomato paste and stir cooking for a minute. Add the spices and combine finally pour in the can of diced tomatoes with the juice and stir letting it heat up for 4 minutes. Finally add the heavy cream and mix, once combined add the chicken you removed from the broiler. Cook on low heat until your fries are ready.

When everything is done, place the fries on a dish and then add some of the Chicken Tikka Masala with sauce on top. Add some cheese curds and spoon over some more Chicken Tikka Masala letting the heat from the sauce melt the cheese. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and serve.

A Simple Pot Roast on Christmas Day

Slow cooking is one of the best ways to enjoy a home cooked after a busy day.  This busy day was Christmas here in Los Angeles where it was a crisp 80 degrees outside.  So we needed something comforting and cozy after opening gifts and sledding.

Sledding?

Yes, sledding. See we decided to get into the Christmas spirit by driving to Zuma Beach where we noticed they had large hills of sand.  We packed the station wagon with the proper winter cargo:  beach blankets and a snow sled.

Apparently we were not the only people in Southern California who realized Christmas Day 2013 was a perfect day for the beach. All along the coastline we saw cars parked and people playing on the beach as if it were mid-July.  We drove along the Pacific Coast Highway through Santa Monica and Malibu eventually arriving at Zuma Beach.  There were probably ten other families laying out enjoying the warm December sunshine.

We climbed up the sandhill with our sled and proceeded to cruise down the bumpy hill. After a few slides down, the sand became smooth as some other kids joined our boys to try it out.  We quickly found out that four kids on the sled really made it a fun, quick ride.

Eventually, our time sledding Zuma Beach came to an end and we hopped back into the car to head home.  The whole time, the pot roast was cooking slowly in the crockpot waiting for when we were ready for it; instead, of most meals that are ready when it’s ready.

I used the following recipe but instead of using a Dutch oven to slow cook the roast, I simply did steps 1-6 in a Dutch Oven and then transferred everything to a crockpot putting  it on low temperature for 8-10 hours. Just make sure you get all of the goodness of the pan when deglazing before transferring to a crockpot.

SundaySupper Louisiana Sloppy Joe’s

It’s officially football season with the start of the NFL this past week and college football last weekend.  Whether you are hosting a tailgate, barbecue or just hanging out at home with family watching the game, food is an important part of football season.

One of my favorites is sloppy joe’s. However, I’m not a fan of the traditional ketchup and water flavored sloppy joe’s served by most places and found in just about every 1970’s cookbook. I prefer a bit more flavor and use tomato paste and dijon mustard along with with several spices.

For the meat, I went with J&J Grassfed beef that is sold here in California. They have a vendor at the South Pasadena Farmers’ Market I frequent most weeks.  The rest of the vegetables also came from the same Farmers’ Market.

Louisiana Sloppy Joe’sServes 4

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups water
6 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the ground beef, onion, garlic and bell pepper over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until the meat is cooked.  Add everything else besides the water and bay leaf. Stir and cook together for about 2 minutes.  Add the water combining everything and then bringing to a gentle boil. Finally add the bay leaf then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Serve with hamburger buns, potato chips and some fruit.

Enjoy the game!

For more #SundaySupper Recipes this football season:

The Football Tailgating Menu Lineup

Please be sure you join us on Twitter all day for this special football season Sunday Supper Event. We’ll be chatting it up at 7:00 p.m. EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll share our Football Tailgating Menu!