Wednesday, May 14, 2014



~ 1 Bag of Spinach Large leaf or Baby
~ 1 Clove of Minced Garlic
~ 4 Tablespoons of Minced Onion
~ 3 Eggs
    (2 for filling and 1 for egg wash)
~ 2 Tablespoons of Water
~ 1/4 Teaspoon of Dried or Fresh Thyme
    (We used fresh lemon thyme from our garden) 
~ 2 Pinches of Salt
~ 1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
~ 1 Sheet of Pastry from 1 package of Puff Pastry
    (Found in frozen food section - defrost 1 sheet of pastry 2 hours before starting)
~ 1/2 of a Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
~ 1 Tablespoon of Flour


Sprinkle 1 pinch of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper on both sides of chicken and either saute, grill or bake, then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl while chicken is cooking beat 2 eggs add garlic, onion, thyme, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl place spinach and microwave until wilted. May need to stir in between. Drain spinach and mix in our filling bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat 1 egg and water in a separate small bowl for wash.

Spread flour over cutting board and place pastry on it.
Spread 1/2 of spinach filling on 1/2 of pastry leaving 1 to 2 inches of pastry uncovered with filling. (Use slotted spoon if filling is wet) Place cooked chicken breast over filling. Place remainder of filling on top of chicken.
Fold pastry to meet edges evenly. Use a fork to seal all open edges.

Place pastry on cookie sheet or shallow baking dish. Coat with egg wash and place in hot oven for 35 minutes.

Let pastry set for 5 to 7 minutes before slicing. We served our entree' with carrots.



Monday, May 12, 2014

Asparagus Shitake Risotto with Black Truffle [Zack]

Risotto is one of my favorite things to cook.  It's way more simple than you think.  If you know how to stir rice around in a pot and be patient, you're good to go.  Since this ingredient list is pretty sparse, the quality of your inputs matter.  If you can find some homemade chicken stock and parmesan reggiano, you will taste the difference.  If not, it will still be great!


We'll cook the asparagus and shitake mushrooms in a separate pan from the risotto.  Therefore, we can multitask!

Slice the asparagus into thin rounds and add them into a saute pan over medium heat with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Wash and slice your shitake mushrooms.  Make sure to not overcook your asparagus - you want it to have a slight bite to it.  Reserve on a side-plate.

Heat up your chicken stock in a sauce pot.  You want to add hot stock to the rice so it cooks more evenly and the temperature doesn't drop each time cold stock is added.

Melt some butter and olive oil in a pot over medium heat.

Dice an onion and add it to a pot with butter and olive oil.  Gently sautee the onion for about 5 minutes.  Add in the Arborio rice (risotto rice) and stir it around in the oil and onions for 4 minutes.  This will lightly toast your rice and give the food a nutty taste.

Add in 1 cup of white wine and stir every 30 seconds or so until the rice soaks it up.  Once the wine has been absorbed, continue to add in chicken stock in 1/2 cup increments until the rice is nicely al dente (this should take about 15 minutes).

While you are stirring your risotto, cook the shitake mushrooms in the other pan in a little bit of olive oil.  Add them to your side plate with the asparagus.

Stir in the grated cheese, mushrooms and asparagus during the last minute of cooking.

Top with as much black truffle you can afford, crack some black pepper, and serve.


3 asparagus spears
1/4 lb shitake mushrooms
1T butter
1T oil
1 medium white onion
1.5 cups Arborio Rice
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup grated parmesan reggiano (or more to taste)
as much black truffle as you can afford to top

Song:  Kimbra - Settle Down

Friday, May 2, 2014

Homemade Sweet Sausage Flat bread Pizza [Zack]

One of my favorite pizzas is made by Delucia’s in Raritan NJ.  They make a nice dough, have a wood-burning oven, but what really sets their pizza apart is the fresh homemade sausage.  They season ground pork with some spices and then put the raw pork on top of the pizza.  Their oven cooks the sausage right on the pizza.  It’s way better than sliced formed sausage because the ground pork has nooks and crannies in order to increase browning.

I chose to add this sausage to a flatbread pizza.  I brushed the flatbread with olive oil and topped it with sausage, cooked spinach, red onions, and sea salt.

You can adapt this very basic sausage recipe however you choose.  You can:
  • make it more spicy by adding hot pepper flakes
  • omit the brown sugar for a savory sausage
  • add any type of herbs (including fennel seeds)


Start by making your pizza dough.  Get a big bowl and combine the lukewarm water + the yeast packet + the honey.  Mix it all together and let it sit for 5 mins.  Gradually add in your flour, mixing constantly.  Once you can start kneading the dough, add only enough flour so the dough doesn’t stick to your hand.  Knead for 2 more mins until the dough is silky.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.  Let the dough rise for an hour or so.   

In another bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the sausage and mix well. 

Pre-heat your oven well in advance to the maximum broil setting.  I like to use an overturned cast iron skillet on the middle rack of the oven instead of a pizza stone (thanks Kenji!). 

Roll out your pizza dough and add the toppings.   I like to brush the crust with olive oil.  Open the oven and carefully place the pizza on top of the cast iron skillet.  Cook the pizza until the crust browns nicely and the sausage has a few crisp edges. 

1 lb ground pork
2T brown sugar
1tsp harissa powder (or ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp pepper flakes)
1tsp onion powder
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp sea salt

Pizza dough:
Approx 3 ½ cups pastry or type 00 flour
1 envelope instant yeast
1T honey
2 tsp salt
1 ½ cup lukewarm water

Song:  Kavinsky - Nightcall