Tag Archives: onion

Caramelized Onion, Bacon and Goat Cheese Pizza

22 Apr

Before a few years ago, I had never really made homemade pizza.  Growing up, pizza was always ordered in, we never made it ourselves.  There is certainly a time and place for take-out pizza, and to me, it’s totally different from homemade.  But homemade pizza has its time and place too – and it’s less expensive and you can have much more creative liberty with it than takeout.

There are a lot of options in the store these days for pizza dough at home.  Dry mixes (like Betty Crocker), refrigerated vacuum-packed (like Pillsbury), pre-baked crusts (like Boboli), or store-made fresh dough (often found near the deli/refrigerated section).  I’m sure I’m missing some options, but as you can see, the possibilities are endless.

I personally tend to resort to using the store-made doughs or making my own.  I’m not a huge fan of pre-baked crusts like Boboli, but I do like using store-bought Naan as a crust sometimes.  Generally, I usually like to use whole wheat dough, which I can usually find available in the store-made dough selection.  Sometimes it’s not available though, so making my own  is the best option.  This also ensures that I know what’s in the crust, and it allows me to customize the flavor a little more too.  It does obviously take a little more time, but not much.  Making pizza dough is simple, but it certainly feels impressive, so I’d definitely encourage you to try it (just like making homemade pasta – but this is actually even easier than that!).

I think one of the other reasons I hadn’t made homemade pizza before a few years ago was that I didn’t know what sort of pan to use to bake a pizza at home.  Then, one of my aunts bought me a pizza stone, like this,  as a birthday present, and that changed everything :).  But, you can also use a pizza pan like this or like this.  If all else fails, you can use a heavy-duty cookie sheet.  There are a few things to remember when using a pizza stone, so make sure to read the directions (For example, you have to put the stone in a cold oven, then turn it on to preheat so the stone doesn’t crack.  Also, you can’t use soap to wash it, and depending on your stone, you may or may not be able to use a pizza cutter directly on the stone).

The pizza dough recipe below could be used to make any pizza you want – I just happened to feel like caramelized onions, bacon and goat cheese :).  I used the caramelized onions essentially as the sauce, but you could just as easily use a store-bought tomato pizza sauce and layer on any other toppings you want.  This dough recipe is for a Thin, Whole Wheat Crust.  The mixture of white and wheat flours gives a better flavor and texture than using all whole wheat flour.  This recipe yields enough dough for one large pizza, with a thin to medium crust, or, two small/medium pizzas with thinner crust.  The thickness will depend on how thin you roll the dough.

White/Wheat Pizza Dough

(I use half whole wheat and half white flour, but you could use all white or all wheat, though it will change the texture)

Time: 25 active, 30 inactive  Yield: 1 large or 2 medium/small pizzas

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 ounce active dry yeast (found in the baking aisle)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1 cup warm water (not hot – this could kill the yeast)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, optional
  • Cornmeal, for coating pizza stone to prevent sticking

Add half the tablespoon of sugar to the warm water and dissolve.  Sprinkle the yeast on top.  After about 10 minutes, it should be all foamy – this is how you know the yeast is now active:

Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt, other half tablespoon of sugar, spices and olive oil in a large bowl (preferably of an electric mixer with dough hook attachment.  If you do not have one, this can be done in a regular bowl with a spoon, and can be kneaded by hand).  Add the yeast/water mixture and stir with dough hook/spoon until moistened and combined.

Continue to knead, either by hand or with a dough hook, for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  If too sticky, add more flour (a tablespoon at a time); if too dry, add water.  The dough should be moist but not sticky.  Below you can see the elasticity of the dough – keep kneading until it holds its shape as a nice ball.

Place the dough on a lightly floured counter and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes, covered with a damp towel.

Meanwhile, place your pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.  Alternatively, lightly grease a 12″ metal pizza pan.

Once the dough has rested, gently roll/pat/stretch the dough out to the size you need.  When using a pre-heated pizza stone, I normally try to stretch out the dough as much as possible, then I take the stone out of the oven, sprinkle with cornmeal, then as swiftly as possible, place the dough on the stone and add the toppings.  Then I return it to the oven, usually 12-15 minutes, depending on the toppings.

Caramelized Onion, Bacon and Goat Cheese Pizza

Time: 20 active, 35 inactive Yield: One 14″ pizza

  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste, optional
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Fresh basil, julienned
  • Olive oil, dried oregano and pepper for seasoning before serving

Preheat the oven (and pizza stone) at 425°F.

Over medium heat, heat the butter and olive oil in a saute pan and add onions.  Season with salt and pepper, and cook, until caramelized 15-20 minutes (low and slow is the best way for caramelized onions – you want them to become translucent, then gradually get golden brown, without actually browning or burning them).  Once caramelized, add white wine and tomato paste and cook until wine is evaporated.

See above recipe for dough or use store-bought.  Stretch to fit pizza stone or pan (as directed above).  Except try to make it prettier than mine.  I was being a little too hasty and not gentle enough, so I got a few wholes in my dough.  Be gentle and patient, unlike me.  Spread with caramelized onions, then sprinkle on goat cheese, bacon and mozzarella.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh basil, dried oregano, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Slice (preferably on a cutting board), and serve immediately.

Mmmmm bacon and goat cheese.  Doesn’t get much better than that…even if the dough doesn’t look pretty, it will taste delicious, I promise.

So who’s feeling like pizza?  Was that a clear dough tutorial, or did I miss something?  Let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them in the Comments Section.

Rachael Ray’s Turkey Club Salad

6 Mar

Today’s recipe is really more of an endorsement for a Rachael Ray recipe I’ve made several times.  It’s for a very hearty Turkey Club Salad with Avocado Dressing.  Since I don’t change much about this recipe when I make it, it’s better that I just send you over to the original recipe on Food Network’s site (see below).

The one requirement I have when I eat salads for dinner is that they have to have some substance.  I don’t want to eat dinner and then be hungry an hour later!  That’s what I like about this salad – it has turkey, bacon, avocado, etc and it really satisfies.  It’s obviously not the healthiest of salads, but there are some switches you could do to make it healthier (eliminate the bacon, or use turkey bacon, reduce the EVOO in the dressing, etc).

I won’t reprint all of the original recipe, but rather give you the link and tell you about the modifications I made and some helpful hints.

Turkey Club Salad with Avocado Dressing

For the complete recipe, click here

This recipe calls for rotisserie turkey breast (which is sometimes hard to find) or store-roasted turkey breast (which is real turkey breast, cooked in the store, as opposed to lunch meat style turkey).  Last time I made this, I couldn’t find either of these in my store, so I substituted a high-quality, thick sliced (just ask at the deli), lunch meat turkey.  Rotisserie chicken or roasted chicken breast would work fine too.  The beauty of this recipe is that there’s no cooking of the meat involved.

Since I could only find lunch meat turkey, I wanted to heat it slightly, so I julienned it and then briefly browned it in a saute pan on the stove top to heat it through and give it a little color.

The original recipe also calls for pea shoots or sprouts, which I did not include.  But I did add crumbled blue cheese :-D

The last thing is the dressing.  Since I love the texture of avocados, I left some of it out of the dressing, and left it chopped on the salad instead.  I also didn’t want to use quite the whole 1/3 cup olive oil in my dressing, since that seemed like a lot of extra fat, so I used less and used a little bit of water to thin it, if needed.

Enjoy!

Did you know? Fixing Smelly Garlic Hands

21 Feb

Have you ever noticed how chopping garlic and onions can make your hands reek for hours?  I hate that!  I think I’m particularly paranoid about it, so the tip of the day is how to fix it!

Just use one of these to wash your hands:

…It’s a stainless steel bar of soap!  They’re inexpensive, and when used like a normal bar of soap, completely eliminate odors from your hands.  They’re available at cooking stores or from Amazon (like this one).

If you don’t want to buy one like that, you can actually use any piece of stainless steel in your kitchen and just rub your hands against it (like your knife or sink faucet – just be careful with the knife option! ha).

Hooray for no more stinky garlic hands!  Now only if it worked for garlic breath…….. hmmm.

Day 5: Homemade Sour Cream & Onion Dip

18 Dec

I’m here today with another easy but impressive appetizer idea for the holidays (Or any time of year! This would be perfect for a Superbowl party).  This chip dip recipe is from Everyday Food magazine, and it blows the store-bought kind out of the water.  So impress your party guests with this homemade version.

Homemade Sour Cream and Onion Chip Dip (recipe from Everyday Food)

Time: 20 min + 1 hour to chill, Yield: 2 cups

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Vidalia or sweet onions (1 lb), finely diced (*see tutorial below to learn how to chop an onion like a chef)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup reduced fat sour cream (I only had regular on hand – oops! now it’s extra delicious)
  • 2 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature (makes it easier to mix)
  • 1.5 teaspoons white wine vinegar (I only had red wine and rice wine on hand so I used half of each)
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives (cut them with kitchen shears to make it super easy)
  • Potato chips (I like kettle chips or some other sturdy chip for this dip.  Colorful vegetable chips would be great too)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden brown (about 15 min).  Let cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheeses, vinegar, chives, a little more salt and pepper, and the onions.  Chill the dip about an hour before serving with potato chips.

The dip can keep in the refrigerator for 2 days – so make it ahead or keep it on hand during the holidays!

*How to chop an onion like a chef (also discussed in my post here)

1. Cut off the stem of the onion.  Leave the root end intact.  Cut in half and peel.

2.  Slice the onion into thin strips length-wise (while holding the  onion – I didn’t have enough hands to photograph too)3. Slice horizontally twice.  This step can come before or after the previous one (usually I do this first but it’s up to you)

4.  Chop the onion moving towards the root end – it will result in a nice, uniform dice every time. (Please excuse my weird looking hand and blurry picture).  If that was clear as mud, and you really want to learn, here’s a helpful video.