Archive for April, 2013

April 27, 2013

Spicy Mango Prosciutto Pizza

Mango-Prosciutto pizza

Think about all the people you know that like Hawaiian pizza. Got them all? Good.

Now, do any of them LOVE Hawaiian pizza?

The answer is probably no. Even the people I know that like the combination of pineapple and Canadian bacon on pizza aren’t overjoyed at the simple prospect of eating it. They don’t dream about it or order it for birthdays or special occasions.

The reason is because the draw – the combination of sweet and savory that forms the base of so many other great dishes – is inelegantly achieved in a Hawaiian pizza. Pineapple is too sweet, tart, and acidic to pair well with savory flavors. Canadian bacon, meanwhile, is a milquetoast of a meat that doesn’t offer enough of a contrast with sweet ingredients. What’s a pizza lover to do?!

Enter our protagonist: the Spicy Mango Prosciutto Pizza.

Instead of pineapple, it has the more subtle and complex mango. Instead of Canadian bacon, it has salty, crispy, aged prosciutto. Together, the two create a sweet and savory combination that puts competitors to shame.

Introduce the spicy kick of jalapeno peppers and pair with soft mozzarella, sharp feta and robust fresh basil – you’ll never bother with plain old Hawaiian pizza again.

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April 22, 2013

Fried Bhindi Masala with Spiced Tomato and Tofu

Bhindi Tofu

Another week, another culinary challenge from my friends: make something using okra, tofu, and cream cheese.

My immediate inclination with okra was to do something Southern. “Is there even another way to cook okra?” I wondered.

Yes, I learned after doing a little research. Yes there is.

Okra – also known in Hindi as bhindi – is actually a relatively common ingredient in Indian food, stewed or stir fried with spices and served with rice or lentils. And thus the idea for this bizarrely tasty recipe was born.

I opted to retain some of that classical Southern preparation and fry okra in beer batter – but only after stuffing it with a zesty garam masala-packed cream cheese filling. Served with a tomato and tofu sauce that is full of robust flavors and spices, and surprisingly filling, it made for quite a delicious meal.

This recipe is an odd fusion of Indian and Southern flavors and styles, but it totally works.

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April 6, 2013

Southern Quinoa-Crusted Chicken with Potato and Greens

Southern Quinoa Chicken

I have to say, when I got my latest culinary challenge, I was a bit stumped: make a dish that includes quinoa, eggs, leeks and whiskey.

They’re great ingredients, and each pair well it other in the group, but trying to put ALL of them into one dish was giving me chef’s block (a lesser known condition similar to writers block. It’s a thing.)

With some tricky uses of both eggs and quinoa, I managed to get all four into this recipe. And boy, am I glad that I did.

The flavors in this dish are absolutely dynamite. The chicken itself is smokey and spicy with hints of whiskey, while the crust retains much of the quinoa taste. Pairing it with leafy greens and earthy potatoes brings a delightful balance to the plate.

Not only is it balanced in flavor, but it’s balanced in texture as well. The contrast between the tender greens, crispy potatoes, and pan-seared, quinoa-crusted chicken adds a whole extra dimension to the dish.

On top of everything else, it’s actually reasonably healthy.

This was my first real foray into southern-style cooking. I’m sure purists would shudder at inclusion of this dish in their cuisine, but I thought it turned out reasonably well. Expect some more southern recipes in the future!

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April 3, 2013

Rosemary, Goat Cheese and Honey Crostini

(Recipe developed by light-bites wizard Maggie Humphreys)

Rosemary Goat Cheese Bruschetta

I had an unfortunate realization the other day. For a blog entitled Rosemary Renaissance, there is an astonishing lack of recipes that actually involve rosemary.

Luckily these crostinis are just what this blog needs to start living up to it’s name. Goat cheese and honey are a classic sweet and salty pairing that work wonders on top of a crusty baguette. Combined with a little rosemary to imbue a spark of piney zest, these two-bite morsels are packed with simple but robust flavors.

This crostini dish is super easy to make – it’s even filed it under my slightly dusty “cheat dish” tag – but it’ll be a big hit at your next party!

(Protip: when eating, turn the bread sideways before taking a bite. That way you’re not shaking your head back and forth trying to tear through the crust – like I did.)

Rosemary, Goat Cheese and Honey Crostini

Ingredients

  • 1 baguette, cut into slices
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 rosemary sprigs, destemmed

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. On each slice, spread a generous pat of goat cheese, a drizzle of honey, and 3-4 pieces of rosemary.
  2. Place all the slices onto a baking tray and cook for about 15 minutes, until the edges start to brown and the goat cheese is starting to melt. Remove from the oven and let cool for 3 minutes.
  3. Eat!
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