Cast-Iron Pizza with fennel & sausage

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Y’all… i’ve had a fair share of Pizza in my life, and let me tell you. Everything from thin crust at the Pizza Press, to Buccaneer Pizza in Santa Ana, which by the way is incredible- a must try!
This tho, is home-made pizza on another LEVEL! So good.. you’ll probably never make pizza at home any other way after this.

Pizza Dough

-2 cups warm water
-1 Tablespoon Yeast
-5 cups flour (I used 1/2 “00” flour & 1/2 “All purpose”, but you can use all AP
-1 Tablespoon Salt
-2 Tablespoon Olive oil

1) Pour warm water into a large bowl, or of a stand-up mixer. Add yeast and let sit for 5 minutes
2) Add 2.5 cups flour to yeast, and mix with dough hook until combined
3) Scrape down sides of mixing bowl, add salt and remaining 2.5 cups flour. Continue mixing with dough hook until ball forms.
4) Place dough ball on floured surface and kneed for 4-5 minutes until soft/silky ball forms.
5) Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let rise for 1 hour. Should become twice the size
6) Flour surface, kneed dough again for 30 seconds to deflate, and cut into 4 equal pieces. Roll each one out to about 10’’.

Pizza Time!
I used a 10’’ cast-iron skillet, if your pan is bigger or smaller, adjust amount of dough used per pizza. Now for the fun part! the TOPPINGS! Go wild.. why not
-The key to this pizza is cooking the sausage in the cast iron first. I used 1 lbs of sweet italian sausage, out of the casing. Cooked in the skillet with some chopped garlic, and fennel seeds. A little black pepper.
-Remove sausage from pan, don’t worry about removing the grease and crispy bits, we want those for the pizza!
Other ingredients:
-Marinara/pizza sauce
-Roasted garlic (which i always have on hand in a mason jar in the fridge, super easy to make! Place garlic in a oven proof dish, cover with half good quality olive oil, half canola or other nutural oil, cover with foil, and bake 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until tender, sweet and soft. Pour oil and garlic into sealed container and keep in the fridge for up to a MONTH of delicious garlicy goodness!!)

-Garlic sauteed Mushooms
-Roasted fennel (slice thin, toss with oil, salt & pepper, roast in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until tender)
-
Fresh Mozzarella
-Arugula & fresh torn Basil

Now for the fun part.
-Return cast-iton to medium-high heat, stretch your rolled out dough to cover the bottom and come up the sides a little of the pan, it should start to sizzle! Create your pizza like you would, just inside the pan. Sauce, sausage, mushroom, roasted fennel, garlic cloves, a drizzle of that delicious garlic oil, torn chunks of fresh mozzarella and a sprinkle or oregano! (Save the Arugula, Basil & drizzle of balsamic reduction for after the pizza is done)
-Let the dough sizzle until you’re done building the pizza, you want the bottom to get a nice crust by the end! you’ll see the dough start to fry in the delicious sausage fatty flavor…. and bubble on the sides.. ohhh man!! Pop it into the oven.

475 degrees. 10 minutes

You’ll thank me when it’s over, trust me

<3
Beetz

Protein-packed Breakfast Pop-Overs!

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This recipe is too easy & versatile not to try! i’ve been making them for years, changing the ingredients depending on what i have floating around in my fridge. Try this recipe exactly for your first try, then get creative and change it up! They’re super delicious, packed with protein & great for quick on-the-go meals! *Don’t skip the maple syrup at the end, trust me!!

Breakfast Pop-Overs
Cooking spray, for greasing the pan
2 Tbl olive-oil
10 oz ground italian sausage OR Ground chicken (really you can use any meat you want here)
1/2 large yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup shredded mozzarella (your favorite cheese is fine too)
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups milk, room temperature (I use lactose free, extra protein milk to lower the calories and bump-up the protein)
1 1/2 cups Kodiak Cakes (Protein packed flapjack & waffle mix. You can find this is any regular super market. It’s amazing! i’ve started substituting it for most everything instead of flour)
www.kodiakcakes.com

2 green onions, finely sliced
3 Tbl chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 Tbl Kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Maple syrup for drizzlng

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Butter or spray a 12 cup muffin tin

-heat oil over medium heat, sautee chopped yellow onion until soft and translucent. Add ground sausage (or chicken) and cook breaking meat apart. Cook until brown and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Spoon about 1 1/2 Tbl of sausage mixture into each muffin cup. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the sausage.

-Whisk eggs in standing mixer until frothy. Add milk, kodiak cake mix, green onion, basil, salt & pepper. Blend until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling each cup to just below the rim. Bake, without opening the oven door, until puffed and golden, about 35 minutes.

-Place pop-overs on a platter and drizzle with maple syrup.

You can make these ahead of time and re-heat them for as easy, tasty, quick breakfast throughout the week! You could probably freeze them too, although i haven’t tried that yet.


From my hungry belly to yours,

<3 Beetz

Short Rib Dumpling!

Intro

Is there anything more delightful than a well-made Dumpling?  Let me introduce you to my life obsession.

Lets get serious, Dumplings just make people smile. They are plump, juicy and wonderfully satisfying. In the last few years, my obsession for these little guys has gotten a bit out of control.  I give thanks to Din Tai Fung for my first introduction to the "juicy baby" XiaolongBao, also known as the Soup Dumpling. These delicate dumplings bursting with flavor and soup! Anyways… Enough about those, that's for another post.

Point is, "Dumplings" are quite simple and versatile to make once you get the hang of the different folds. You can steam, pan fry, deep fry or boil them! and you can fill them with virtually ANYTHING!

Let's start with the braised Short Rib for the filling. It's is a bit of a process (well worth it, but takes a few hours). I'd suggest splitting tasks between 2 days to reap maximum benefits. The first night, have these tender short ribs for dinner. Make a creamy cheesy polenta, and some roasted veggies! mm! #Shortrib #recipebelow

The next night, is dumpling night!! shred the left over short rib and start stuffing. Of course its best to make the wrappers from scratch, they're just better overall. But if you don't have time (or patience) store bought wrappers will do the trick. I used store bought Siu-Mai wrappers this time.

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Instructions

Wrapper tip:


Medium-thick pot sticker wra

ppers are good for boiling, panfried and steamed dumplings; but they do not deep fry well. When using store bought, moisten the edge with water to seal them. Siu-Mai wrappers are great because they are a bit thinner, and good for wantons too (fried or in soup)

Spend some time making these tasty nuggets, the first few times you try to fold wontons they won't be perfect, but with time comes perfection. Freeze them for another day, you'll be ever so thankful when you pull them out and get to enjoy.

Let's face it, we all tell ourselves to start the week off motivated. But, it's Monday. The last thing I want to do on a Monday is make things from scratch.What i DO want however, is to pull these already make suckers out of the freezer and boil them up real quick, toss them in a hot bowl of creamy mushroom soup.. and call it a night.
Until we eat again,
<3 Beetz

 

Essential & handy equipment:


-Wooden-Dowel rolling pin, for rolling out scratch made wrappers. A tortilla press or pasta roller would work, but i always feel better when i get in there with my hands!
-Chinese steamer. Bamboo steamers work great and easy to find at Asian markets for less than $20.
-parchment lining for steam basket with holes
-Scale: Weighing flours and starches will enable you to more consistently produce good dumpling dough.

 

Basic Dumpling Dough:


Makes about 1 pound, enough for 32 medium or 24 large dumplings
10 Oz (2 cups) unbleachd all-purpose flour
About 3/4 cup boiled water

1. To prepare the dough in a food processor (you can do this step by hand too) put the flour into work bowl, and add hot water in a steady stream through feeding tube. Stop the machine and check the dough. It should look rough and feel soft but firm enough to hold its shape when pinched. Add more water if necessary. Run the machine for 5-10 seconds until ball forms around the blade. Do not overwork dough.

2. Transfer dough to work surface, flour surface only if necessary and dough is sticking. Knead the tough with the heel of your hands for 30 seconds for machine made dough, and 2 minutes for hand made dough. It should be smooth and somewhat elastic. It should bounce back with a light impression of your finger. Place dough in zip-lock bag, remove air and seal closed. Leave dough for 15 mins-2 hours at room temperature. The dough will steam up in the bad and take on a softer texture making it easier to roll out.

3. After resting, the dough can be used right away. You can keep it in the fridge overnight, but bring it back to room temp before using it the next day.

4. Put dough on lightly floured surface, cut in half. Return half back to the zip-lock bag and seal so it doesn't dry out. Roll tough into a 1-inch-thick log, and cut into 1 inch pieces. Roll pieces into ball shape and set aside. Repeat this step with remaining dough. Flatten each dough disk into a thin circle that is about 1/8 inch thick. You're ready to start filling!

 

Braised Short Rib:


8 beed short ribs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbl olive oil
3 carrots, diced
2 shallots, finely minced
1 medium onion, diced
splash red wine
4 cups beef broth (Enough to almost cover the ribs)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Salt & pepper to taste

preheat oven to 325 F. Salt and pepper the ribs, then dredge them in flour. set aside.
In large dutch oven, over medium-high heat brown the ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Set aside.

Lower heat to medium Add carrots, shallots, and onion to the pan and cook for 2 mins. Add garlic. Allow the vegetables to get some sweat and develop its flavor. Deglaze pan with red wine and scrape the bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits. Add broth, 1 tsp kosher salt and lots of fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil.
Add the Ribs to the liquid, they should almost be submerged. Add thyme and rosemary.

Put on the lid and transfer to the oven. Cook until ribs are fork-tender and falling off the bone. 2-2.5 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to sit for another 20 mins.

For an easy pan sauce, strain the juices from the short rib into a pan over high heat. In another small bowl, mix together 1 Tbl corn starch with 3 Tbl water until corn starch is dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture to braising liquid and heat stirring frequently as sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Assembly time:


To assemble these precious packets, take a dough round and place a teaspoon of filling into the middle. Holding the square diamond tip up, fold wrapper up onto itself creating a triangle. Seal all sides of the wrapper to ensure it doesn't bust open while cooking. From here it's on you, I can try to type out folding instructions, but i'll probably confuse the heck out of you. Check out Youtube for step by step of this "Closed Satchel" wonton.

Miso Glazed Salmon

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t's FRI-YAY!!
I don't know about y'all but I'm beat after this week. The heat wave in california is draining (never thought i would complain about it being too hot.. but this week has been hell) Mind you, this is the first week after the time change, maybe that's whats got me out of whack.

If you know me, i'm craving anything Asian, all the time!  Tonight's super fast dinner was created around these delicious quick pickled Asian cucumbers. Oh. My. GOD #Addicted.
Back last week I was in New York and ate at the famous "Katz Deli". I was told about these half pickled cucumbers that were to die for. Sure enough after eating my 4th pickle spear all i could think about was how to re-make them. This version has simple asian flavors, but pack a punch and totally complete the dish!


Let's talk about the Miso.
Miso comes in different colors and many different brands. Don't let this intimidate you from exploring around. Asian grocery stores are my favorite, I often find myself perusing the isles, reading label after label (Mind you, half the stuff in there isn't written in english…) #Ohwell. I used a mixed red & white Miso called "AWASE MISO". It's a good balance between the 2 and great on salmon.

MISO cheat sheet:

The result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup called misoshiru
Miso has a mild, earthy flavor.  It's a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, it's perfect for soups, marinades and glazes. Its especially good for pickling vegetables or meats.  The depth of color with miso can tell you about it's flavor. Generally, the darker the color, the longer is been fermenting, and will be stronger in taste and saltiness.


Red Miso is typically made from soybeans fermented with barley or grinds. It has a longer fermentation process and can range from red to dark brown in color. Red Miso is perfect for hearty soups, stocks, braises and glazes. It is the boldest in flavor and salinity. 
White Miso is made from soybeans fermented with rice. It can range from white to light  beige in color, and has a sweeter taste and not as bold. Best used in condiments like mayo, salad dressings or light sauces. Mixed with dashi soup stock to make Miso soup!

Dashi: A broth or fish stock made from simmering Kombu (edible kelp) and Kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi - a preserved, fermented skipjack tuna).

I mean.. you could make this stuff yourself. But you could also buy granulated or liquid instant Dashi from any Asian market. #Winning! 

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Miso Glazed Salmon: 
serves 4
2 tbl Awase miso paste
1 tbl honey
2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp hot chili sauce, such as Sriracha
4 salmon fillets (about 6 oz each)

*I personally like to cook Salmon with the skin on. It's a perfect barrier from the heat and keeps the salmon moist without overcooking it. It peels off easily once fish is cooked.
*Miso and Soy both are pretty salty, so i avoid adding any extra salt to the salmon

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Spread generous layer on Salmon fillets and refrigerate at least 30 mins, and up to overnight.
Preheat oven broiler on high. Scrape off excess Miso, the sugars will burn easily under the hot heat, leaving your fish burnt on the outside and raw in the center. Position your oven rack so its 5-6 inches from the broiler. Place the pan of salmon on rack and broil for 6-10 minutes, until nicely browned but still pink inside. One minute before removing Salmon from oven, smear a little more Miso glaze on fish and let it caramelize under the heat! You'll get some nice crispy salty edges this way.

Don't forget- your salmon will continue to cook "carry over cook", after it comes out of the oven. So don't be too concerned about it being well done!

Half Pickled Cucumbers
Pickling is a personal thing. Some like them sweet, some more sour. Some like garlicky pickles and some spicy with dill! You can manipulate this recipe to satisfy your taste buds, but this one crushed it for me-
1 english cucumbers, sliced thin on mandolin
1 cups water
1 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup Mirin
1/4 cup thai chili paste (Sambal olek)
1/4 cup Sesame oil
1/4 cup Sugar
2 Tbl salt
Bring contents to a boil. Let liquid cool, add sliced cucumbers. These can be eaten within the hour if you like them more crisp, truly "Half-pickled" But they are better as they sit! I like to leave mine overnight at least before chowing down in pickle heaven.

*All thats left is some sushi rice. I use Cal Rose sushi grade rice, cooked it as directed on package. Towards the end, I mix 2 Tbl rice vinegar with 2 Tbl Mirin and pour over rice. I also mix in sliced green onions for flavor and some color.

This has been a new favorite. Super easy and full of flavor. I pull apart my salmon instead of leaving the fillet whole, but thats just me..

Until we eat again,
Enjoy!

Date & Walnut Scones. Hello Sunday morning!

I know it's still Saturday night, but i figured if I got this out early enough you would see it as you did your nightly Facebook snoop..Half asleep & potentially intoxicated?!. Somehow, you'd dream of these puppies and wake up motivated to start baking! (insert smirking smiley here)

Seriously, There's just something about Sunday mornings. Coffee in one hand, buttered tasty treat in the other. Moment of honesty, Im not a very good baker. Like, at all. My brothers girlfriend is a "G" in the kitchen, she saves my a** most times when I get a hankering to bake. #ShoutOutToCandace. #BettyCrocker. #CooksDontBake.

Hey, at least i keep trying.. right?

I've had so many baking disasters & tried hundreds of different recipes, but that's how you learn! Now i know 26 ways how NOT to mess up Banana bread! #smh #wishiwaskidding.
If it wasn't for the fatty in me that always wants to eat I would have given up long time ago #hungerprevails. #learnhow. #feedyourself.

Over the last few years my biggest challenge has been with SCONES & BISCUITS. They're either tough, no flavor, crumbling, didn't rise/too flat, the list goes on.
Seems I can make them just fine under the supervision of someone else, but when i try to make them myself, in my own home, they've always let me down. I blame it on the ovens. At work we have these ninja like convection oven that makes life (and baking) super easy. Hell, I even feel like i could open my own pastry shop when I'm in there. Then i get home, try to re-make it (feeling quite proud),  annnnd, Nothing. Fail.

Finally it clicked… Like anything else culinary, you've gotta make as many damn scones and biscuits until you get.IT.DOWN. Practice makes perfect, there's no way around it.

So here you are, the lovely Date & Walnut Scone: 
3 1/2 Cups Flour
3 Tbl Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tbl Baking Powder
1 1/2 Sticks Butter (about 12 Tbl) Cut into small cubes
3 Eggs
1 Cup Cream
1 Tbl Water
1 cup Dates, sliced
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts

*I limit the sugar because the Dates are sweet on their own. Plus, i smear butter and honey all over these suckers!!

Preheat oven to 360 degrees F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut butter into small 1/2 inch cubes. Add butter to flour mixture and with your fingers rub the butter chunks into the dry ingredients until combined. Fold in the Dates and Walnuts.
In a separate bowl beat together 2 eggs with the cream.

Add the egg/cream mixture to the butter/flour bowl and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX THE DOUGH (Seriously.. leave it alone)
Options:
A) Transfer dough to floured surface, roll out to 3/4 inch thick. Cut with cutter, transfer and bake on parchment.

B) I like to use a small baking sheet instead of the floured surface. Spray your baking sheet with cooking spray. Press the dough to form the inside of the pan and let chill, wrapped in plastic for 30 minutes. Putting it in a baking sheet allows you to do other prep or tend to other things before baking them up! You can make these the night before too.. then sunday mornings are even easier!

When you're ready, cut out scones with cutter, bake on parchment for 15 minutes. Check them at this point, everyone's oven is different & baking is all trial and error. Some may need to keep them in a bit longer, they can take up to 25 minutes.

Use that last egg for an "Eggwash". Brush on scones before baking.. this will help give it that beautiful color.

Tip:  When you check the scone you should take them out of the oven when they're still a bit soft. They (same with cookies and really anything baking) will continue to bake a bit and harden as it's cooling. Pull them out early, and let them cool to perfection. Don't take them out at perfect then once its cooled it turns to rock #Epicfail.

Tip #2: The Pastry God's say you can throw all this stuff in a food processor and it magically makes perfect dough. It hasn't worked for me… yet.
Put Flour, salt, sugar & baking powder into processor. Pulse in butter cubes until you get "pea sized" dough crumbles. Slowly pour in Egg/Cream mixture and STOP as soon as it comes together.

Enjoy my peeps. Who ever wakes up with you will be thankful.... I promise!

#Cheers

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Thanksgiving Leftovers…Mini Turkey Pot Pie!

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It's that time of year again and Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday!!
Let's face it, a day where it's perfectly acceptable to pass out from food overload. A day that friends and family get together, bringing their dearest traditions and Grandma's recipes to the table. I die for Green Bean Casseroles and Pumpkin Pie. The pumpkin pie I leave alone… but the casserole, every year I try to step it up a notch.

My brother was the best around Thanksgiving. I could always count on him to be my "fatty in crime". He'd sneak downstairs with me after everyone else went to bed to have yet another plate of leftovers. Piling everything on top of each other in one small bowl, pouring gravy on top of everythinggg, and scarfing it down as our eyes rolled back from fullness.

Yuck. Sometimes I don't understand how I'm not 100 lbs overweight. Do you guys know how much I eat??

When we were young we had a George Forman grill. It's pretty much a glorified panini press, that my brother was the KING of. For days after he would boast "Want one of my amazing thanksgiving leftover sandwiches?!".  I would always turn him down. A leftover sandwich? Why.. Why add extra bread to the mix when the leftovers are perfectly fine the way they are?
At first I judged (but I tend to do what with my brother..) then as I studied his technique I was pretty impressed by the kid!

He would almost soak the bread in gravy (uh….?). Next, a hefty layer of pulled turkey, a decent smear of cranberry sauce and a dollop of cold mashed potato, then under the grill press. Sounds simple, right?  This thing was INCREDIBLE! crispy golden buttery, saucy, hot, fluffy ohh myy goddd…

Wait, this post isn't even about the damn sandwich! Sorry sorry… I get carried away when I think of leftovers, which brings us to the Turkey Pot Pie!

I love Pot Pies, I just often feel like there's never enough crust to filling ratio.  These cutie little individual pie's are perfect- Maximum crust, and great for on-the-go or quick snacks. You can even make a bunch & freeze them to enjoy later, just pop them in the microwave or oven to reheat.

What you'll need:
-Regular size muffin tin
-2 ring molds (Cup's work too, Anything to cut out perfect circles from the dough)
-1 Egg for egg-wash
Pie crust: Of course you can make this, but we're talking a quick fix to next day's lunch
here… I always have pie crust in my freezer. trust me it's worth it! You can find it easily in the frozen section of your local grocery store. It's usually rolled up and comes in packs of 2 just after the ice cream section.

Pie filling:
-2 cups Leftover turkey cut in small cubes
-3 cups leftover veggies, small diced. In this recipe i used frozen peas, carrots and pearl onions, but you can use anything that's leftover from the night before. Brussels sprouts, Carrots, sweet potato?

Sage Gravy:   Definitely use leftover gravy if you have some! 
1 Cup Butter
1 Cup AP Flour
8 Cups Chicken Stock
One Bunch Sage
1 Tbl Whole Peppercorn
3 Whole Cloves
2 Clove Garlic, Smashed
2 Tbl Dried Sage
2 Bay Leafs

Making the gravy:
-in a small pot combine chicken stock, fresh sage, peppercorns, cloves, smashed garlic & bay leafs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer to infuse flavors into stock. You'll strain all the "goods" out later on, so don't worry too much about them.

-If there's one thing I learned from living in New Orleans it's how to make a good "Roux". Roux is a mixture of flour and fat (butter in our case) and is used as a thickening agent for soups, stew's, gravy's and GUMBO!
The key here is not to rush. Melt butter in a medium sized pot and add flour. Stir with a whisk to combine, then switch to a wooden spoon, turn the heat to medium-low and keep stir. Keep stirring! it'll come together and look like Play-doh. This is totally normal.
The point is to cook out the raw flour flavor in the Roux, before adding it to your stock.
As you cook the mixture longer it will take on a warm nutty smell and start to look golden brown in color. This step takes about 10-15 minutes, but it's WORTH IT, DONT RUSH!
Be sure not to leave the roux unattended as it burns easily. keep stirring…

When you feel you can't handle the smell of toasted butter any longer, strain your stock into your Roux pot. Whisk to combine. Season with salt & pepper and add the dried sage. As the gravy heats it'll thicken. It should be THICK, slightly thicker than your typical gravy. If your gravy/filling mix is too thin it will make the bottom of your pot pie soggy and nearly impossible to finish. If your gravy is too thin, make more roux and thicken it up.

Combine gravy, turkey and veggies together, let cool. Now its time to start assembling. Use 2 different size cutters, one large, one small to cut out the pie dough- Test the sizes you've cut before punching out the rest to make sure they're big enough.  Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray. Using your fingers, stretch out the larger circle and press into muffin tin. Be sure to leave some excess dough sticking up as it will make it much easier to seal after.

Repeat for each muffin hole, filling each one with 1/4 cup of filling. Stretch out the smaller circle of dough and cover pie's. Pinch and seal dough to keep filling inside. Get creative- you can make the tops look pretty if you take some time.

Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle a pinch of Salt onto each pie.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Each oven is different, so check after 20 minutes and see how you're doing. It should be golden brown and bubbly. You should be able to take the little pie out of its hole and the bottom dough should look fully cooked. If not, give it a few more minutes.

These suckers come out HOT, so be careful!
Keep some extra gravy on hand, I like a little extra on my plate or drizzled on top.
De-li-cious! Enjoy! #PotPieonFleek

Cheers to this wonderful day, to leftovers, and to stuffing your face. Where savory treats and sugary sweets are shared amongst friends and family. Be thankful for those around you and to the stomachs we feed, for the support they give, and for the life that we live.

Until we eat again,

 

New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp

I can't tell you how many times I've made this dish.  Just Shrimp and tasty, creamy, spicy, delicious sauce. I blame it mostly on the fact that i never measure or write anything down i just eyeball, taste, then forget.

For all you Seattleites who know Daniels Broiler and their insanely good "Bbq Shrimp" appetizer. I worked there for 3 years through college and nearly ate it every shift. I always asked for the recipe and their reply was "Creole/Cajun seasoning and cream, that's it!". Do you know HOW MANY cajun seasoning recipes there are? For something that seemed so easy when i'd watch the Oyster Bar Chef whip up to order (Sterling Lindquist if you're reading this, Thank you!).  I was determined…or semi determined as it's taken me close to 4 years LOL.

I was recently in Oklahoma over Christmas break and made this for a dear friend. Maybe it was because i was in someone else's kitchen, or maybe because time had slowed down so much so that i could actually enjoy myself, and re-creating this dish. I took a second to mental note the measurements and actually MEASURED it out. And just that easy… it was perfect. The one time i pay attention, it was perfect.

It helped that soon after my friend asked for the recipe, which made me sit down for a hot second.  I grabbed what was laying around: A crayon and a piece of scrap paper. I took a picture with my phone and handed it to her. Completely Satisfied. 

I got back home after the holidays and made it once more for my family- just to be sure before i fed it to the blog world. And yup… this is it. You're welcome.

BeetzEats Creole seasoning:
2.5 tsp Paprika
2 tsp dried Oregano
2 tsp dried Basil
2 tsp Chili powder
2 tsp Garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
2 tsp Onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne (If you're a spice wimp, go easy on this stuff)
2 Tbl packed brown sugar

You'll also need:
1 small yellow onion, chopped small
3 Tbl Olive oil
3 Tbl Worcestershire
2 Tbl Ranch (I'm serious.. but if you don't have it its not the end of the world)
1 Tbl BBQ sauce (Anything in your fridge will work)
1 quart heavy whipping cream. Lets face it.. we're going for flavor, not health.
1 lbs clean & deveined Shrimp. I like using the bigger guys, anything 21/25 or bigger.

Shrimp lesson: The number on shrimp tells how big it is. When it says "21/25" it means there are roughly between 21-25 shrimp in a pound. The smaller the number "16/20" the bigger the shrimp. For this dish, since the shrimp is the main attraction i always go for the big guys! But if you're mixing it with pasta like i did in this picture then smaller ones will do just fine! (Pictured: 31/35 shrimp)

*Keep in mind, if you're going for the bigger shrimp you may want to get more than one pound. You'll end up with a good amount of sauce so LOAD UP!

Garnish: Green onion and/or Cilantro

BBQ Prawns:
1) Season shrimp with salt, pepper and 1 tbl olive oil. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

2) Cook shrimp in a large pan on medium-high heat until it turns pink and starts to curl. 1-2 minutes. Don't cook it all the way through as it will finish in the sauce later on.  Remove from pan and set aside.
*Pick a pan with at least 2 inch walls this way you can make it all in the same pan without dirtying everything in you kitchen*

3) Reduce heat to medium, add remaining 2 tbl olive oil and chopped onion. Cook until soft about 4-5 minutes. Add spice blend and cook for another minute or 2. the spices will look dark, dried up and clumped together- Don't worry. Cooking the spices in a pan enhances their flavor.

4) Add Worcestershire, Ranch, BBQ sauce and heavy cream. Turn the heat to HIGH and whisk to incorporate everything. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce until thick. About 6-7 minutes. Add 1 tsp Kosher salt and go from there- I like things a bit more "seasoned" as they say. I definitely use more than 1 tsp salt. This is the part where measuring goes out the window and i just keep tasting until I'm happy.
My apologies to you die-hard-recipe-followers, but the sooner you learn to do this, the better off you'll be too! start TASTING!

Taste. Adjust. Taste. Adjust. Start small, keep adding. Don't be afraid

5) Once your sauce is tasty, and you're happy, add shrimp back in just until they've reheated.

New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp should be eaten with french bread/baguette. not toasted. Just sliced. I was serious when i said the sauce was so good you'd wanna drink it with a straw!

Serve the bread along side for dipping. You can serve this as a appetizer, or as your main meal by adding some fettucini noodles, mashed potatoes or served over steamed rice.
You can really eat it with whatever you want! its a great base, and very versatile.

If adding noodles, i would cook your desired pasta as instructed on the box, drain, rinse to get all the sticky starch off, then add it to your saucepan after you've added your shrimp. Rigatoni would be A-MAZING as the hole would trap all the tasty sauce. Oh-em-gee

I use thinly sliced green onion or Cilantro as garnish. It add's some color and good flavor to the creaminess of the dish.

Thank you, Sterling, for your encouragement. It really IS just that easy… Cajun seasoning and cream. Who knew..

From my belly to yours.

Until we eat again,

<3 Beetz

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Bok Choy Salad: You've gotta try this!

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Hey health nuts, happy Tuesday!

It's the New Year and you're motivated to stick to your resolutions. But let's be honest, healthy eating (sometimes) can be pretty boring. We pick these crazy diets for a few weeks and realize that we're HANGRY monsters by the beginning of February. We fall off the work out train, binge eat for days and dread that bikini season is literally right around the corner.

I've accepted the fact that i eat for a living. That i LOVE food, and would probably trade my left arm for it. Some people eat to live. I, live to eat.  Sounds like a recipe to fatness for me!

Saying "No" to the things i want to eat just isn't an option. You mean i can't even taste that juicy cheesy bacon loaded burger? Not even a TASTE?? not even if i eat a salad for dinner?

So let's make some changes that we can actually stick to! Eating healthy doesn't mean  boiled chicken breast with steamed broccoli every night. I mean, if you want to hate life.. then go ahead. Find some recipes that are healthy, but still fun and exciting. like THIS ONE! It'll make sticking to your diet plans much easier and you'll find eating healthier just falls into place. Being self aware is the biggest key- make better choices at every meal and you'll notice an overall difference in the way you feel.

Tips to eating what you want and not hating life: If you're ordering that cheesy bacon burger, have a side salad instead of fries. Eat it without the bun. Eat it for lunch! not dinner.. make sure you fit in a work out that day. MODERATION is key (Says the girl who eats for a living)

Anyways- back to the salad. I was in New York over Halloween and ate at this incredible Ramen house in Brooklyn with my sweet Lindsey. She said the Bok Choy salad was a must try! of course i didn't ask the server what was in it.. because I'm a sissy like that, but i made sure to mental note that puppy for when i got home! needless to say i've been tinkering around with raw bok choy salads ever since, and this one DEFINITELY puts up a good fight!

Did you know: Bok Choy is ranked #2 out of 41 vegetables for its nutrient density? This Chinese Cabbage is loaded with good stuff! Vitamin A , C  & K , Folate, Vitamin B6 and calcium.

Bok Choy Salad
You'll need:
-5 cups chopped Bok Choy  (I like using baby bok choy which is easily found in asian grocery stores. The regular stuff is fine too! but the young ones are more tender) 
-1 Fiji Apple, Julienned (Any apple laying around works too!)
-Half a lemon
-1/2 cup golden raisins
-1/4 cup Nuts. I like sliced almonds, but i used walnuts because thats what i had.
-Handful of chopped cilantro (roughly 1/4 cup)
-Handful of chopped green onion (roughly 1/4 cup)

Asian dressing:
4 tsp rice vinegar
4 tsp soy sauce
3/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbl mayo

I don't have much for instructions- I'm pretty sure you've all made a salad. The only suggestion i have is to julienne the apples and squeeze the half lemon over it. It'll help keep them stay crisp and bright and keep it from turning brown.  Plus it adds nice flavor.
I always season my salads with salt and pepper too… but that's just me.

Seriously once you've tried this you'll have it many times a week. Last night i ate just this salad with Miso broiled Salmon (recipe for salmon in a previous blog post).
D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S   #saladgameonfleek

This was a great way to end the first monday of the New Year, and the work out that kicked my ass!

From my belly to yours, until we eat again.