Wednesday, March 31, 2010

a la California Pizza Kitchen

Another hit from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Pizza night is always a fun night, but last night we went a different direction from our standards sausage and/or pepperoni pizzas. With a little help from The Pioneer Woman, we had BBQ Chicken Pizza a la California Pizza Kitchen. Very Good!

Start with your dough. My recipe is very easy and when divided makes two 12 inch pizzas. So, stretch out half the dough to just over a foot round.

Spread on a little of your favorite BBQ sauce. I used two that I blended together, Sylvia's and Carter Que. Perfect blend of tangy, sweet and spicy.

Top with diced chicken breast that was coated in BBQ sauce and baked in the oven for 20 minutes. Finely sliced red onion. I also added diced jalapeno for more heat and some tomato.

Of course, you need some mozzarella cheese. I used the pre-packaged shredded variety, but fresh mozzarella would be wonderful. Also, smoked mozzarella would be amazing in this application. I made two pizzas. One with the cheese on top and another with the cheese on the bottom. Makes no difference.

Fresh from the oven. Watch your oven for hot spots. Turn the pan 1/2 way through cooking if the crust on one side starts to get dark too soon.

Topped with chopped cilantro and sliced.

Here's one that had the cheese on the bottom. You can clearly see the toppings, but there is less of the dark, bubbly cheese. Whatever your preference.

BBQ Chicken Pizza
adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cups barbecue sauce
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ whole red onion, sliced very thin
½ cup diced ripe tomato
½ jalapeno, finely diced
Chopped cilantro, to taste

Fresh pizza dough; I used the recipe from my Deep Dish Pizza as it only requires one 30 minute rise and makes a nice sturdy crust.

Makes two 12 inch pizzas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Salt chicken breasts on both sides, then place in an ovenproof dish. Pour BBQ sauce over the breasts and turn them over to coat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove from oven and cut into a fine dice. Set aside.

Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.

Divide pizza dough in half. Roll/stretch out two pizza crusts. Lay on two sheet pans drizzled with olive oil. Drizzle a little olive oil on the crust, then sprinkle on a little salt.

Spoon a couple of tablespoons of extra BBQ sauce on each pizza and spread it evenly. Top with half the mozzarella. Sprinkle on half the chicken, red onion, tomato and jalapeno.

Sprinkle again with a little salt, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle on plenty of chopped cilantro. Cut into squares and serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quick Dinner

Hey photos...sorry, boring post, feel free to skip.

After eating one stale cinnamon muffin and two cups of tea yesterday, when dinner time rolled around, I actually was feeling hungry for the first time in 3 or 4 days! Something needed to happen quick, but I wasn't prepared to do anything involving too much time or effort. What I threw together was great and I think will be a great basic recipe for something in the the future.

In a medium/large pot over medium-high heat, add 1-2 TB of olive oil. When hot, add chicken breasts that have been seasoned with salt & pepper. Leave for four minutes per side. Remove to a plate. Optional, add 1 TB of butter. If not, make sure there is a little oil in the pan and add 1 sliced shallot. Saute for a quick minute or two, until they become translucent and fragrant. Add just shy of a full cup of uncooked rice, we used jasmine. Toss to coat in the remaining oil or butter in the pan. Cook, stirring regularly for 1-2 minutes. The rice will start to toast. Add 1 teaspoon of a seasoning/spice blend of your choice. I happened to use this Ozark Seasoning from Penzey's. Stir to incorporate and allow the spices to bloom and release their flavors. Pour in 1/4 cup of dry white wine. Stir. As the wine cooks down, add 2 cups of water or broth. Stir well. Place the chicken back in the pot, nestled in among the uncooked rice. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat to low. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes. When it's done, the rice should be tender, slightly 'creamy,' almost risotto like.

One pot meal. Less than thirty minutes. Infinite possibilities. Add veggies you--we didn't have any in the house. Use the spices you like. A curry blend and swapping some coconut milk for 1/2 the water/broth would be awesome. Chili powder and a can of diced tomatoes and some frozen corn. Do try to keep the liquid (water/broth) content to 2 cups. Any more and your final dish might be too soupy.

For the first true meal since getting the flu, it was very satisfying, mildly seasoned, warm and SUPER easy.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Eat With Me headquarters is under quarantine as your humble host has come down with the dreaded flu. We will resume normal activity when our appetite returns. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 12, 2010

If you had access to a time machine, where and when would be the first place you travel to?

Oh, the way back time machine...if this is a foodie/wine related trip, I would love to head back to Paris in 1976 to participate in the blind tasting between French and Californian wines. If this is a cultural/whatever related trip...I think I would love to head back to the 60's, peace, love and hippies and all that crap!

Ask me anything

Hearty chicken & rice soup

I adapted my wild rice soup recipe to make this hearty chicken and rice soup. Very tasty and filling. The first main change was using a brown and red rice with barley and rye. I also used half beef broth and half chicken broth. The beef broth brought an additional depth of flavor to the soup that is lacking when using prepared broths vs. homemade. Oh, and the original recipe calls for milk, the only dairy in this soup is some butter to cook the onions/carrots and make a roux base.

Here's the rice close up. Lots of good stuff in there. I cooked it probably 75% of the way in the rice maker, then let it finish in the prepared soup. The rice then picks up some of the flavor from the broth.

Here's the rice package. I've found it in the store next to the regular rice, but have also found it in the organic/whole food section of the store.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What are your top five pieces of essential cookware?

My enameled Dutch oven, a strong wooden spoon and rubber spatula, good solid knife and a larger cutting board. With those items you can do a lot of great cooking.

Ask me anything

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


I made Swedish Meatballs the other night for dinner...Oscar night. So good! I made a double batch and served with mashed potatoes. Decadent!

White Chocolate-Cherry-Pistachio

The other day I made my Cherry Blossom Festival Cookies for an informal cookie contest at work. This time around I added some chopped pistachios to the mix as well. Delicious.


I know the photo isn't much, but damn! Last night's dinner is/was so good. Cilantro-Lime Chicken Tacos. Take some chicken, leftover if you have it. Toss it with some sauteed shallots, jalapeno if you like, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Monday, March 08, 2010

What do you think are the characteristics of a REALLY well written recipe. I find that some cookbooks/recipes just don't describe things well - at least for us non-expert cooks. What do you think of while you're writing out a recipe?

Good question. When you've been cooking for awhile, you can start to intuitively go through a recipe and know what's missing or how exactly to work though a step. But for first time recipes, or complicated recipes, I want clear instructions that list what I need to do and what the results will be. If I'm whipping eggs, butter and sugar together tell me how long and what changes I can expect to the mixture the longer I whip the ingredients (light/airy texture, light color, etc.) The most descriptive a recipe, the more accessible it becomes.

I also like recipes that provide alternatives. If a specific ingredient is called for, what substitutes can I use. This helps me thinking about ways to alter a recipe to my specific tastes.

All that being said, I know I have some recipes are very detail oriented and some that are crazy simple and vague.


Ask me anything

Sunday, March 07, 2010

What can I cook for YOU while I'm there???

Surprise me!

Ask me anything

Happy you found fromspring - one of my coworkers uses it to great effect. What food do you most want to like but just don't?

Vegetables, particularly green ones! And mushrooms. And goat & bleu cheeses. I'm really a picky eater. I feel I would be a better foodie if I like these things.

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Two questions: What's your favorite food to eat? What's your favorite food to cook?

I could eat a good quality pizza or plate of pasta on a daily basis. I find something zen about making a pot of risotto!

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How do you balance your love of food and cooking with a healthy lifestyle?

I don't really worry about that. I know that if I didn't cook as much as I do, I'd have some serious health problems from eating lots and lots of take-out, fast food and processed food. So, in a round about way, I think just cooking at home is the balance. Make sense?

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This is a test question. Will the formspring questions appear on the Eat With Me blog?

We'll have to see. Let's check???

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Got a questions? Ask!

Do you have a cooking question?

A question about life?

Do you seek general advice?

Let me know and I'll do my best to help you out!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Cupcakes, Sangria and Tapas!

We had a little bit of fun this weekend. Which of course left us exhausted come Monday.

Friday night we met up with friends at Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring, MD for rummy drinks and dinner. Piratz is a fun place. Plenty of cheeky atmosphere and pretty good drinks. I always go for the "666" a fruity, coconutty rum drink. It's the devil for a reason. Tastes like candy. And, in terms of food, I always get exactly the same. Jerk Pork Sandwich with fries. It's simple and it's good. After Piratz, said friends joined us back at home for fruity, sweet cocktails. Chocolate Martinis and a new cocktail we're working on, a Carrot Cake Martini. Right now, it's coming across more as a spiced cake martini, but we're getting there.

Saturday was rough. All that rich sweet stuff left us feeling a little less than ideal. Most of Saturday was a geek's delight. Board Games with more friends!

Sunday was a little culinary adventure. The main goal of the day was to catch one more Oscar nominated film before the awards this weekend. So we headed to Bethesda, Maryland for lunch, a viewing of The Last Station and a surprise treat. For more on the movie, and other Oscar noms check out Eat With Me's better half, Footnotes.

Let's start with the surprise treats...Georgetown Cupcakes. OMG, so good!

Clockwise from the top: Carrot, Key Lime, Red Velvet and Coconut.
Rankings: 1st-Coconut, 2nd-Carrot, 3rd-Key Lime, 4th Red Velvet

At the shop...

They are so pretty...

And they are incredible. They cake has great flavor and near perfect texture. The icings are rich and decadent. As they should be! Can't wait to go again. And if you follow them on Twitter you'll find out about a free, secret flavor daily! They are a bit spendy. But they are worth it. If you think about what you might spend on dessert at a restaurant, this is totally in line for the quality. To me, it seems the average restaurant dessert is maybe 1/2 the size more (re: 1 1/2 cupcakes), but will cost you upwards of $6-8 and the quality may be hit or miss. These cupcakes are just under $3 and certainly meet all and perhaps exceed expectations! Bravo!!!!


Now, let's go back to lunch. We contemplated stopping at a favorite French joint for lunch, but there was a wait, they were super busy and we had a movie to get to, so we didn't want to risk getting slow service and/or feeling rushed in our ordering. So, we went with another favorite: Jaleo.

For those who haven't been, Jaleo is a tapas bar. Small plates of amazing Spanish food by the prolific and delightful, Chef Jose Andres. There are three locations in the DC region--Downtown DC/Penn Quarter; Crystal City, VA; and Bethesda, MD.

If you go to Jaleo, just order a pitcher of Sangria. You'll thank yourself for it.

I generally order the same thing everytime I go to Jaleo, simply because I love it and we don't go that often, so...Croquetas de pollo; a traditional fritter made from bechamel, chicken, serrano ham, rolled, coated and fried! I have Chef Andres' cookbook and have made these before! See here.

My main bit was this awesome hanger steak (Lomo de buey), seared and served rare on a bed of roasted red peppers and a red oil (not spicy-chili oil, probably just red from the peppers) and garnished with flakes of sea salt and chives. Like butter. The texture! The flavor is mellow, rich and sublime.

OMG, a good weekend!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Must have a salad...

Chicken, Apple and Fennel Salad. I'm stuffed! Sweet apple and fennel. Tender chicken. Crisp lettuce. And crunchy, salty cashews. Very satisfying.