Montgomery Food Truck Competition

So I’m checking my Facebook page, as I do all too often and I stumble across this little gem posted by the City of Montgomery Department of Development.  Edibly Driven: Montgomery Food Truck Competition.

Edibly Driven

Is there any information about this?  Any dates?  No.  Nothing.  I think they are doing this to me on purpose!

If anyone finds anything out about this please let me know!  I can only imagine how much fun it would be.

Thai Basil Pepper Jelly


So canning season has pretty much rapidly drawn to an end for me. Sad, I know. But I wanted to make one last thing before all the homegrown peppers and such are gone from both the curb market and my fledgling pepper plants.

In my travels along the information superhighway, I found this great recipe for Thai Basil Pepper Jelly. I really wanted to try it since I’ve got this huge thai basil plant that I don’t use all that often.

This is a simple recipe, it just takes a little planning ahead. The majority of the planning ahead comes in the form of making your own Thai basil vinegar.

Gather up the following: 2 cups of fresh Thai basil, cleaned and roughly chopped, a quart of white vinegar and a jar to store it all in. Once you’ve got the basil and the vinegar in a jar together, give it a good shake and store in a cool, shady place. I made sure to shake it up again every few days over the next TWO WEEKS. Yes, you read that right… it needs to sit for two weeks to properly infuse.

And thru the magic of the interwebz, here is what it will look like after two weeks.

Strain the vinegar/basil mixture and toss the leaves.  You’ll end up with this:
Roughly chop and measure out two cups of green peppers, one cup hot peppers (use any kind you like) and one cup red onion.  Add them to the food processor.
Pulse until not quite pureed.  You still want a little texture, but not much.  It should look like this:
Transfer to a large pot, add dried basil, thai basil infused vinegar and sugar.  Mix well.
Bring mixture to a full boil and then add 3 pouches of liquid pectin. (If you want the jelly to have a less natural color to it, this is the time to add your green food coloring or food gel.)  Return to a hard boil and stir constantly for 1 full minute.
After a minute is up, turn the heat to low while you fill your prepared canning jars.
Place jars back into hot water canner (like the one below) and process for 10 minutes.
On a side note, I found this monster canner at an estate sale for $4.00!  It’s a little rusty and nothing super fancy, but it does the job very well!  Before you run out an buy a canner, check out estate, garage and yard sales or even a flea market.  They can also be a great place to find jars too!
Once processed, remove the jars from hot water and place on a dish towel at least 6 inches apart from one another and allow them to cool.  If you’ve sealed them properly, you will hear several loud metallic pops coming from the kitchen over the next hour or so as the jars cool and the seals suck themselves in.
I had a little leftover that didn’t fit into a jar and let me tell you… it is amazing!  It’s got the familiar look of pepper jelly but when you taste it, it’s got this depth from the thai basil and then this creeping heat.  Oh man, this is a definite keeper!

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Thai Basil Pepper Jelly

Thai Basil Vinegar Ingredients:
2 cups fresh Thai basil, cleaned, roughly chopped
1 qt. white vinegar
>glass jar for storage

Jelly Ingredients:
2 cups green pepper, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh hot pepper, roughly chopped
1 cup red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 cups thai basil vinegar
6 cups sugar
3 (3 oz.) packets liquid pectin

Instructions for Thai Basil Vinegar
Put fresh Thai Basil and white vinegar in a jar.

Place lid on jar, give it a good shake and let vinegar mixture sit at room temperature (in a cool, shaded spot) for 2 weeks.

Shake the infusion up a little every couple of days.  

After two weeks, strain vinegar and discard basil.

Instructions for Jelly
Put vegetables in food processor and pulse until minced well.

Pour into a large pot and add dried basil, 1 1/2 cup of thai basil vinegar and sugar in a large saucepan.

Bring to a rolling boil and then add the pectin.

Return to a rolling boil and stir constantly for 1 full minute.

Turn heat to low and ladle hot jelly into prepared canning jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Jalapeno and Bacon Poppers

As usual, its been awhile since I’ve posted.  Yeah yeah…I know.  I think i’m just going to stop apologizing for the huge gaps in between my posts b/c it seems to be how I’ve started every one lately.

That being said, here is a quick little recipe that will serve you well for any football tailgates/parties or holiday entertaining you might be doing over the next few weeks or couple of months.  (I DO plan on doing at least one holiday cooking post though!)

These jalapeno bacon poppers are AWESOME and so easy to make, by the way.

Go ahead and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Now let’s get started guttin’ those jalapenos. Medium to large sized ones will work best.  Next, I would put on some gloves.  I used to not wear them but after the pickling incident, I always wear gloves when working with peppers.

Slice them in half and using your thumb scrap out the membrane and seeds.

Once you’ve gotten them all cleaned out, take a small spoon and scoop out a good sized portion of cream cheese.  (You can use either the tub or a block of it.  It doesn’t matter.  I just had a block on hand.)

Drag the spoon along the edge of the jalapeno so the cream cheese fills it in.  (This process is not the neatest one in the world and a lot of times I end up helping smoosh the cream cheese into the cavity with my fingers.  But not to worry, soon it will all be covered up with a tasty bacon wrapping and no one will care.)

Speaking of bacon…next, you’ll want to slice your bacon strips in half.
Before we wrap these little guys up in their bacon-y blankets, Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet.  This is where they are gonna hang out while in the oven.

Now we wrap!  Now the jalapenos I used were kind of on the large size and needed two halves of a slice of bacon.  Feel free to adjust the bacon coverage for your tastes and jalapeno sizes.

I start with one end in the middle of the filling and the other end normally goes perfectly around it.  If this isn’t the case for you, use toothpicks to secure the bacon to the jalapenos.  I would probably do that either way b/c I made them yesterday sans toothpicks and the bacon tended to curl up and or off of the jalapenos.

Once they are all wrapped up, pop them into the oven for 22-27 minutes depending on how crispy you want the bacon and how roasted you want the jalapenos.  I think I did 27 minutes for these guys.  Next time, I might even try it a little longer b/c I am a crispy bacon fanatic!
Let them cool for a few minutes after removing them from the oven.  They will be EXTREMELY HOT!  The roof of my mouth can vouch for that!  They are equally as good hot as they are room temperature!

Here are a few tweaks I thought of as I ate the leftovers for lunch today:
– blue cheese crumbles as a filling
– serve with ranch or blue cheese as a dipping sauce< - some sort of sweet dipping sauce would be good too, but I'd need to think on that one a little more. Enjoy!

Jalapeno-Bacon Poppers

INGREDIENTS:
jalapenos
cream cheese
bacon

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Slice jalapenos in half, length-wise.

Using your thumb or a spoon remove the seeds and membranes from inside the jalapeños.

Smoosh softened cream cheese into each of the jalapeno halves.

Wrap jalapeno with bacon slices. (Use a toothpick to secure the bacon, if necessary).

Place on a cooling rack on a baking sheet and bake for 22-27 minutes.  If the bacon isn’t crispy enough increase the time a little or turn on the broiler.  If you decide to use the broiler at the end, watch them closely.  The broiler will do its job fast!

Serve hot, or at room temperature.

Canning is Awesome. That’s All There is to It.

I need to preface this with the fact that I’m being lazy and using the post I created for this month’s MidtownMontomeryLiving.com, which I’m now a contributing author for their gardening and DIY section.

Now that i’ve remembered how to log into my blogger account (which yes, I know needs to be self-hosted and use wordpress.org), hopefully I’ll be posting more.  I have several recipes that I’ve taken photos of that I need to blog about.

With that being said, here’s “Canning is Awesome. That’s All There is to It.”

Last summer, I tried my hand at canning for the first time and I was really quite pleased with the results.  I had 6 jars of homemade watermelon rind pickle, which I gave to my dad for Father’s Day.

So with a successful canning attempt under my belt, I thought I would expand my repertoire this year.  I made peach preserves using fresh Chilton County peaches and a recipe from a 1928 cookbook (10 lbs. of peaches, 10 lbs. of sugar) and the other weekend, I canned peppers.

I had been collecting jalapenos, Serranos, chilies and cowhorns from my garden for a few weeks and they were starting to pile up.  I didn’t want them to go to waste and I love pickled jalapeno slices on lots of stuff, so I decided to make my own!

The container on the left has my home-growns in it.  A few were contributed by my neighbor, as well.

Now, while I had a fair amount of various peppers (my neighbor even contributed a few), I didn’t think I had enough to warrant all the “work” of canning.  So I headed to the Montgomery Curb Market on Madison Ave.

If you’ve never been down to the Curb Market…well, shame on you!  It’s so awesome.  They have all sorts of fabulous veggies, fruits, herbs, and berries (among other things).  Some vendors are strictly organic and others aren’t, but unlike out at the State Farmer’s Market – the vast majority of the produce is local and sold by local folks.  It’s open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 5:00am – 12 Noon.  And while the vendors all seem to provide bags, I always like to bust out one of my “green bags” I use at the grocery store and make myself as much of a dirty hippie as possible.  Yay environment!  Moving on…I left the Curb Market with some wonderfully huge organic jalapenos and normal banana peppers (I like those on my sandwiches!).

Upon returning home, I did a little” canning peppers” research on Google, found a recipe I could live with and started the process.

First:  We need to have a little talk.  So all the recipes are saying things like “Make sure to wear gloves when handling peppers” and blah blah blah.  I’m thinking to myself “Amateurs.  Gloves?  I don’t need no stinking gloves…”

Normally, this is true.  But when you are cleaning, handling, slicing, scooping, and stuffing about 7 lbs of peppers, YOU SHOULD WEAR GLOVES.  I know what you’re thinking “I hate wearing gloves when I cook.  I have no dexterity.”   This is one instance where compromised dexterity is not an excuse.  If you don’t want to sit on your couch for the rest of the night with your hands SCREAMING at you and you can’t do anything but wash them with Murphy’s Oil Soap (which works by the way) and pray you don’t forget and rub your eye (or if you’re a man use the facilities with no “buffer”…think about it) – use the gloves.

Now to the pickling:  It’s really very easy compared to other canning I have done.  Wash and slice all your peppers into rings.  Why rings?  Well, if you do them in rings and not as whole peppers, you don’t have to skin them and to be honest, that just looked like more work than I was up for.  Plus rings are easier to use, I think.

While you’re slicing, depending on what recipe you are using, bring the vinegar-salt brine to a boil.  This is our pickling agent.  NOTE: Don’t stand over it.  Few things are more painful than getting a big lung full of evaporating vinegar.

Here’s a pretty standard recipe (7-8 pints):
1 clove of garlic per jar
6 cups of vinegar
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pickling/canning salt

Start packing the rings and garlic into the hot, sterilized jars.  You will want to smoosh the peppers in good, but make sure a lid goes on flat.  I found a hand juicer works well to push them down.  A pestle would be perfect!

Once packed, fill each jar with the slightly boiling vinegar brine, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Then use a chopstick or small spatula to remove any air pockets from the jar.

Place the hot lid on top and screw on the band.  Process in a boiling water canner for 10-15 minutes.

Once they are done, remove the jars and allow them to cool for about 24 hours before storing.  DO NOT TIGHTEN THE BANDS!  Re-tighten the bands can screw up your seal. They will need to sit for a minimum of 3 weeks before sampling.

The best part is standing back and admiring all of your pretty jars of homegrown and/or locally grown peppers!  Plus you can have a taste of summer during those bleak winter months.

Momma Goldberg’s Nutritional Information

Just a quick FYI.  Here’s a PDF of Momma Goldberg’s nutritional info in case you ever need it! Just click the logo.

 

New Vegetable Garden and the Year of Alabama Food

So it’s been almost a year since I posted to my blog….  Part of it isn’t entirely my fault.  I forgot what email and password I had been using since google migrated all the blogger stuff to their system.  It’s associated with the email account I rarely use and thusly was forgotten.

BUT not to fear, I have successfully logged in and will be working diligently to get it moved over to WordPress and it’s own URL.  Waterchestsaregross.com should be coming soon.  It might look like crud for awhile b/c i’ve got a freelance gig i’m working on, but have patience and we’ll get there together.

A couple of things:  my wonderfully handy BF, Hunter,  helped me plant a veggie garden this year since my tomatoes only had one good group last year and then looked like shiz the rest of the summer and did nothing.

We planted 3 different kinds of tomatoes.  Heirloom German Johnson (I name him Willhelm), Huskey Cherry tomatoes (at the suggestion of a master gardener friend) and beefsteaks (at Hunter’s request).

And we planted 4 different peppers: jalapenos, chili, cowhorn and serrano.

The little guys in March when they first got planted.
I did some rearranging of them not realizing that yes, plants do grow.
As of May 05.
Here are some pics of the lovely fruits on their respective vines.  We got tons of them, but have only had one plum-sized beefsteak ripen as of yet.  We’ve had a handful of peppers come in and I even used two jalapenos in the chili I made this past weekend.
Husky Cherry Tomatoes abound!
The Beefsteaks are definitely gettin’ their grow on!
It took the heirlooms a lot longer to get fruit on them, but
when I first saw them I freaked out!  They are so cute with the  little ridges!!
These guys are now in chili and in the freezer!
The cowhorns

Year of Alabama Food logo
Ok so that’s the first thing.  Second thing is this:  It’s the YEAR OF ALABAMA FOOD!  And they have this cool website and facebook page with all this cool info in it.  I highly recommend ya’ll take a look at it.
Okie dokie – that’s all for now.  But keep checking back b/c I will be posting again soon!  Thanks for stopping by! :)

Hot Pepper Jelly

A little back story first:
I’m trying out some different recipes for Christmas gifts.  I’m kind of shooting myself in the foot if I go into too much detail b/c i don’t want everyone to know what they are getting from me for Christmas, so let’s just say I’m seeing what’s good and how much of the good stuff certain recipes make.  Yes, I’m already thinking about Christmas presents, but when you don’t plan on buying stuff for people and instead are making their presents, you kind of have to plan ahead.

So with that said, today I made Hot Pepper Jelly.  What on earth do I do with Hot Pepper Jelly, you may ask yourself?  Well personally I dump the jar onto a big ole’ hunk of cream cheese and dig in with some crackers.  It’s an EXCELLENT appetizer and super easy to do…especially if someone else gives you the jelly. lol

The recipe I’m using comes from the St. Michael’s and All Angels Cookbook. This was the parish I grew up in located just outside Stone Mountain Village and right down the street from my elementary school.  The recipe comes from a lady named, Cynthia Sutton and while I don’t know who she is, Mom said she had wonderful recipes and that she was sure this one was equally as good.  If memory serves, she said something along the lines of “Ooh its a Cynthia Sutton recipe!” :)

Ok enough rambling, onto the good stuff.

First off: your canning jars.  You will need 5 8oz. jars.  Wash them and then put into a hot water bath.  I usually fill the jars with some water so that they won’t float.

Bring the water to a boil while making the actual jelly.  They will be nice and hot by the time the jelly is ready to be put into them.

Take 1 large bell pepper (any color will do, but I used green b/c i’m poor and they are cheap.), cut the top off, remove the seeds and quarter.  You want the actual quantity of bell pepper to equal 1 1/2 cups.  Toss into the food processor or blender.

Next, take your jalapenos (fresh from my garden or your’s or your grocery store), chop off the tops, slice in half length-wise, remove the seeds and measure out a 1/2 cup (add more or less for varying degrees of heat) and add to the bell pepper in the food processor.

Grind up the peppers until they look like this:

Transfer the pepper mixture (juices and all) into a large pot and then add 6 1/2 cups of sugar, a pinch of salt and 1 1/2 cups of white distilled vinegar.

Stir the mixture well, bring to a brisk boil and then boil for 3 minutes.  DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THE STOVE WHILE THIS IS GOING ON!  I made the mistake of leaving to do a tiny bit of vacuuming, only to return to it boiling over and it smelling oddly-enough like burnt marshmallows.  (Burnt sugar is burnt sugar, yes?)  This is also why they are no pictures of the mixture boiling…priorities.

After the mixture boils for 3 minutes (hopefully, without incident…)  Now this is where I got confused a little and I’m hoping it doesn’t effect my end product.  The recipe calls for “1 bottle of Certo“, which I found when I Wally World, but it was SUPER pricey ($6.00+ for a 2 pack) compared to a big packet of instant fruit pectin (97 cents).  So I read both packages and came to the conclusion that one bottle and one packet made the same amount of end product and I went with the packet. (I had a tiny bit leftover after filling the jars and I put it into a clean jar without a lid, just so I could taste it after it firmed up.  It seems to firming just fine – so I’m guessing everything went correctly with the  fruit pectin .)

***UPDATE***
Monday, Aug 22
I’m now under the impression that the one packet of fruit pectin wasn’t enough.  After sitting out for several hours to cool and firm, the jelly was still rather fluid, so i’m not going to cheap out next time, and i’ll be buying the actual Certo.  Oh well, live and learn right?!
**************

So add the bottle of Certo and continue to boil for one more minute.

Remove the pot from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Your jelly jars should be nice and hot now.  Use tongs to remove one from the water and then use a baster or ladle to put the liquid jelly into the jar.  Next screw on the lid and set aside.  Continue this until all the jars are filled and lidded.

If you want the jelly to be more of that neon green color, I would add some green food coloring or food gel to the jelly after removing it from the heat, but i’m fine with the natural color.
The jelly is still cooling in its jars so I haven’t tried it yet, which I guess isn’t a very good thing to do.  I probably should have waited to try it before I went and posted about it – but nothing ventured nothing gained. I have FAITH that it will be tasty and if it isn’t… well I’ll have some ideas that might make it that way.

Fingers Crossed!

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Hot Pepper Jelly

by: Cynthia Sutton
yields: 5 8oz. jars

INGREDIENTS:
5 – 8oz. canning jars
1 1/2 cups bell pepper (any color)
1/2 cup of jalapenos (fresh)
6 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups of white distilled vinegar
1 bottle of Certo or one packet of instant fruit pectin (should say on the package that it’s good for 5 8oz. servings)
pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:
Grind peppers in blender or food processor. Mix peppers, sugar, salt and vinegar into a large pot.  

Bring to a brisk boil.  Boil for 3 minutes.  

Add Certo/Fruit Pectin and boil for an additional minute.

Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  

Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.

Peach Daiquiris

On Independence Day, David and I took the kids up to Peach Park in Clanton, AL to get peaches, boiled peanuts, ice cream and to play around on the playground.

Last week, I finally got around to using those peaches to make some fabulous peach daiquiris.  So here we go – a tasty summer treat that can be for the whole family, just make the ones for the kiddos virgins!  But no kiddos were in site that evening therefore much rum was put into ours! :)

I enlisted David’s help on the peeling of the peaches since my knife skills were terribly off that night.  So peel the peaches .  I KNEW that i had read something about it being easier if you dunked them in boiling water for a few seconds and if David had the internet or I had a smartphone, the peeling process wouldn’t have taken so long or ended up in my hand being cut….  So dunk your peaches in boiling water for about 10 seconds and the skin should come right off.

While your food slave is peeling the peaches, go over to the blender and pour in half a big can of (or a whole small can) frozen limeade,  as much or as little rum as you like…i like a lot and 2 tablespoons of sugar or whatever sweetener you prefer.
It should look a little something like this
when all is said and done.

Next, fill about half – two thirds with ice and then peaches (which have been peeled and quartered) and blend on “chop” until you get the consistency you desire.

I’m not a fan of chunks in my drinks so I blend them for about 30 seconds and they come out looking like this.  Serve in a tall glass with a spring of mint, if available (all my herbs are at my house and I wasn’t that night.)  and ENJOY!!
Now sit back, watch “Gladiator” like we did (or not) and enjoy the peachy goodness of summer!

Grayson’s Rainbow Cake

It’s been forever since I’ve posted, I know.  I’ve been super swamped at work and finishing my friend, Lisa’s new website, www.papergrace.com, was my top priority.  But I did take photos while making a birthday cake for David’s 5 year-old daughter, Grayson.  Here’s David with 2 (Eliana and Grayson) of his 3 youngin’s this past saturday.

So May 15th was Grayson’s birthday and  I wanted to do something special for her.
I’d seen the “recipe” for a Rainbow Cake several different places on the interwebz and I thought I would try my hand at it.  I say “recipe” because I used a box cake mix… I know I know…but considering how labor intensive the layers are, I wouldn’t do it any other way.  I did, however, make my own buttercream frosting, so that’s at least something.
Onto the RAINBOW CAKE!
Go ahead and chuck everything the box says to into your mixer (stand-up or hand held) and just follow the directions.  Easy Peasy.  Literacy = Cooking Ability.
While you’re out picking up your boxed cake mix, eggs, etc… make sure to grab the food coloring.  I just went to Wal-Mart and bought some classic gel food coloring from the grocery section.  They also sell them in neon colors, but I wanted a more “traditional” rainbow cake.
Divvy the batter into 4 bowls.  4 bowls for the 4 different color layers.
Now start adding the food coloring to the bowls.  You can use as much or as little as you want.  It just depends on how deep and vibrant you want the colors.
Let me preface the next comment by saying that I’m not much of a baker.  That being said, I only have 2  – 9” round cake pans, so I had to bake the layers in batches.  If you have 4 cake pans, well bully for you and your baking time will be cut in half. 😛  So grease up dem pans good and bake according to the directions on the box.
Red and blue into the oven!
Yellow and green layers coming out of the oven!
The layers MAY brown a little bit on top, like below, but not to worry because you’re going to be trimming that off anyway to level the cake.
After the layers come out of the oven, let them cool a little in the pans and then

G E N T L Y work them out.  This is the most nerve-racking part of baking to me.  One wrong move and BOOM!  you’re screwed.  So take your time and be careful.

Put them bad boys onto a cooling rack and let cool thoroughly.  Also I would lean back and enjoy your colorful handiwork at this point.  It’s so cool!
While the layers are cooling, go ahead and make the buttercream frosting.  I’m not gonna post the recipe because there are a 1000 recipes and the one I just linked to is as good as any and the one I used.
And yes this frosting is ridiculously bad for you, but hell i f you can’t eat a huge, bad-for-you, colorful birthday cake on your fifth birthday, when can you?!
So frosting time:
Cream the butter until smooth and then add the 100,000 lbs. of sifted powdered sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla and again beat until smooth.  And yes a diabetic coma is a distinct possibility while making this frosting.  Just think about carrots or wheat germ or something.
 
 
Now I chose to keep the frosting white b/c the cake layers are so colorful.  Plus how boring does a plain, white cake look until you cut into it and HOLY SMOKES!  It’s like Timothy Leary died inside my cake!  Truly epic as my gamer-side would say.
So frosting made, cake layers cool.  Let’s put this thing together!
STEP ONE:  trim the layer tops as flat as you can without murdering the layer.  It’s not too hard, just take your time and a big, serrated knife is a big help.  Save the scraps!  We’re gonna throw a little sumpin’ sumpin’ together with those in a minute.
STEP TWO:  ice the top of your bottom layer with a reasonable amount of frosting. Stack the next layer on top and repeat until all the layers are assembled.
Use the majority of the leftover frosting for the outside of the cake.  This shouldn’t be a problem and you will probably ice the whole cake and have a fair amount of frosting leftover.
What to do with the leftover frosting and all those cake trimmings?  Why not grab an iced tea glass, martini glass, etc… and make a little cake parfait?  Don’t worry about them being not the prettiest thing in  town; they’ll taste awesome and no one will care.
A few sprinkles and VOILA!  scraps turned into dessert loveliness!
So what’s that iced rainbow cake look like, you want to know?  How about this?
The sprinkles.  Oh the sprinkles.  I’m still finding them a month later all over my kitchen…  I recommend putting a dish towel under the whole mess and just go to town with them thar’ sprinkles.   Its a good way to take out some frustrations.  But oh the sprinkles…  I even found one on the floor in the backseat of my car today.  That cake was NEVER IN MY CAR!
And here are the colorful wonderful insides!
So there you have it.  A Rainbow Cake fit for anyone who doesn’t want a boring cake.  Here is Grayson blowing out her candles and then a few pics of the girls chowin’ down!
Hope to post again soon!  And for my friend Beth, I will be doing a post on searing soon!  Probably some big, fat Yellowfin Tuna steaks with ginger, wasabi and soy sauce!  YUM!!  Oh I think i’ll have that for dinner tonight. lol

Portobello Mushroom, Artichoke Hearts and Goat Cheese Pizza

So I finally have my kitchen back!  Last night I didn’t have the bf and/or his kids to cook for, so I made something quick, delicious AND nutritious!  I found the recipe on the Allrecipes.com last fall and I finally got around to making it.

I changed the recipe up a little bit since I don’t like red and yellow peppers, but you can add them or anything else you think might be good for that matter.  This is a GREAT versatile recipe for kids and adults.  I added spicy Italian turkey sausage and pineapple b/c I had the pineapple already and I wanted some meaty goodness too.

The recipe calls for using the store-bought refrigerated pizza dough, but I remembered that the Publix bakery makes their own take-home pizza dough and so I figured that was a good compromise between homemade dough and canned dough.  (I suck at making dough, plus this was supposed to be an easy meal.)

Okie dokie – Go ahead and preheat the oven to 350° and then roll out your pizza dough big enough to fit a large circular baking sheet.

And then drizzle the dough with olive oil and scatter two cloves of minced garlic on top of the that.
After taking care of the dough, I removed the turkey sausage from its casings and put it into a hot pan with a light coating of olive oil on medium-high heat.  Brown the sausage and then drain on a big ole pile of paper towels.  (I have a picture of this, but its kinda gross looking so I won’t be posting it!)
Once the meat is drained and patted “dry” with the paper towels, we’re ready to start loading up the crust with goodies!  Slice portobello mushroom caps to a medium thickness and arrange on the pizza first.  On top of that add marinated (and drained) artichoke hearts, pineapple chunks, and the turkey sausage.  This is where you can shine as a cook!  Add anything to the pizza that you think you or your family might like.  You can use tofurkey crumbles instead of meat or actual tofu.  Feel free to add things like broccoli, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, shrimp, etc… Next, I topped it off with 4 oz. of goat cheese, crushed red pepper and a good drizzle of balsamic vinegar. (The balsamic vinegar kind of caramelizes in the oven and ends up smelling and tasting like honey!  It’s awesome!)
Now stick that bad boy in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until the crust turns a lovely golden color.
Viola!  Portobello, Artichoke, Pineapple, Sausage and Goat Cheese Pizza! I wish ya’ll could have smelled the kitchen while it was baking because it was incredible!
I removed the pizza from baking sheet and onto a piece of parchment paper so I could easily cut it with my pizza wheel and not mess up my new pizza baking sheet.   Just slice ‘er up and serve!  ENJOY!!
  

Portobello Mushroom, Artichoke Hearts and Goat Cheese Pizza

INGREDIENTS:
1 – 10 oz. can refrigerated pizza crust dough (or homemade)
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Portobello mushroom caps, medium-thin slices

1 – 6.5 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 lb. of spicy Italian turkey sausage
1 small can of pineapple chunks (or you can use the pineapple rings, if you like)

4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet or round pizza pan.

Spread pizza dough out evenly on the prepared pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the garlic over the crust. Arrange mushrooms and artichoke hearts then add any additional toppings, and crushed red pepper.

Finally dot with pieces of goat cheese and drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the edges are golden brown.