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Posts for February 24th 2011
Adapted from Wolfgang Puck
12 ounces pizza dough
Olive oil, for drizzling
2 tablespoons pesto
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, minced
3/4 cup shredded or grated mozzarella, about 3 ounces
3/4 cup grated Fontina
2 Roma tomatoes, ends trimmed and cut into 12 slices
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
6 to 8 large fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
- Before you start to prep any of the pizza ingredients, preheat the oven to 500°F and place a large baking sheet in the oven.
- Roll out the pizza dough as thin as possible, shaping it to fit on the baking sheet.
- Once the baking sheet has been in the oven for at least 15 minutes, remove with a pot holder. Drizzle with olive oil and turn to coat the whole sheet.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared sheet and brush lightly with pesto and scatter the sun-dried tomatoes evenly around the inner circle of the pizza.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella and Fontina, arrange the slices of the Roma tomatoes, and then sprinkle with the goat cheese, oregano, thyme, and finally the Parmesan. Bake on until the pizza crust is nicely browned, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- When the pizza is removed from the oven, transfer to a board and garnish with the chiffonade of basil leaves, cut the pizza into slices, and serve immediately.
Earlier today I sat down with the friendly and talented Lee Schrager, the man who created the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the food industry's Spring break, and Schrager has much to celebrate. In the past 10 years, the event has grown from a couple hundred attendees to over 20,000. Here's how our conversation went down.
YumSugar: How will this year's SOBE be different?
Lee Schrager: It's our 10th year and we have some events that we've created just for the anniversary. The official anniversary party is tomorrow night — yes, you should wear sequins! — and it's hosted by Martha Stewart and Emeril. It's called Let Them Eat Cake and we have 15 cakes that have been created by amazing cake artists in New York City. A special cooler FedEx truck went around this morning to pick up each of the cakes and is driving them down for the party tomorrow.
YS: Why do you think the festival has become so popular?
LS: Well, clearly the rise of the culinary scene in general. The Food Network's popularity, the rise of the celebrity chef and the culinary personality. The consumer is more educated about food than they were 10 years ago. They're more sophisticated, they're looking for that sophisticated experience. Also, I always say some people are into golf, others are into tennis, but who doesn't like good food and good wine?
I have a weakness for dulce de leche, the super creamy milk caramel with origins in Latin America. I love it in just about any dessert from cheesecake to cookies to ice cream. That's why when I read Scott Conant's recipe for dulce de leche cake in a recent Food & Wine, it was only natural that I make it.
This cake does not disappoint: it's moist, light, fluffy, delicious, flavorful — basically every adjective you can think of to describe a cake! The filling is an easy-to-make dulce de leche, and the frosting is somewhere between meringue and marshmallow. If you're in need of a dessert that will take your guests' breath away, make this cake. It's a real stunner! Want the recipe? Read more.
Last night's Top Chef All-Stars took things down South, and the butter and the drama were a-flying! The queen of butter herself, Paula Deen, guest judged and presented the cheftestants with the quickfire challenge: deep fry something, y'all! And Paula being Paula, she meant business: "I've deep fried mac and cheese, lasagna, chunks of butter," she told them. "No calamari sprinkled on top of a salad!"
Some of the chefs totally got the concept of Southern cooking, and some clearly didn't (how many times did Dale tell us he cooks Chinese food, not Southern?). Antonia made me nervous with her decision to do a fried shrimp salad (didn't you listen to Paula, Antonia?), but the end result was a decidedly un-salad-like combination of crispy fried shrimp and deep-fried avocado. Unfortunately, she totally spaced and only plated one dish, which prompted my favorite line of the night from Paula: "I could come over there, put you over my knee, and whip your cute little ass!"
Meanwhile, Mike and Richard were working on some chef drama of their own. Mike's fun and creative idea to fry up chicken oysters and serve them in oyster shells was apparently "inspired" by an idea in Richard's notebook. Richard was peeved, Mike was unapologetic, and it only got worse when Mike won the quickfire challenge for his dish! The house was totally abuzz with Mike's disregard for chef law, and Mike reacted by playing the jerk card for the rest of the episode.
More about this episode and the elimination challenge after the break!
Today, Annie asked me for help. She's hosting a small party tomorrow night and wants to serve some nibbles. Since it will be after work, the amount of time she can devote to cooking is limited. Thus she needs some delicious, but easy appetizer recipes. I provided so many suggestions, I thought, why not share them? Here, you'll find my favorite shockingly easy hors d'oeuvre ideas.
When it comes to specialty cocktails for an Oscars viewing, I say make a pitcher drink and make it fizzy! You could take entertaining expert Katie Lee's advice and make a pineapple strawberry concoction or go with the recipe shown here. It's a refreshing blend of citrus and vodka spiked with the sweet-tart flavor of limoncello. The effervescence comes from the addition of seltzer water. One batch serves eight, but it's easy to double or triple the recipe. The key to a delicious libation is to use fresh-squeezed lemon and orange juice, so break out your juicers! Check out the method now.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Ambiente design fair in Frankfurt, Germany, and as a journalist, I had full access to the Press Center there for the weekend. Aside from free wireless and happy hours with other international writers, my favorite part of the experience was lunch! The entrées at the Press Center were absolutely mouthwatering and I'm still dreaming of them. On my first day, I had this filet of beef with polenta and a wintry vegetable medley of bell peppers and zucchini. The little sprig of thyme was an adorable added touch!
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