Roasted Garlic Bloody Mary

I’m giving the Bloody Mary a bit of a makeover.  A delicious, Italian makeover.

Roasted Garlic Bloody Mary A classic Bloody Mary is made with vodka, tomato juice, hot sauce, horseradish, Worcestershire, lemon, salt and pepper, but today, I’m switching things up.  To start, Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka takes the place of regular vodka.  Garlic and tomato are a perfect pairing.  Roasting the garlic tames its biting heat while adding a deep savory note.  Next, pepperoncini pickling liquid is added with lemon juice to brighten flavors.  Using two types of acid kicks up the intrigue factor.  Finally, the ever-important garnishes get a major overhaul.  Typically, one would garnish a Bloody Mary with a celery stalk, salted rim and lemon wedge.  Here, I’ve adorned this savory cocktail with a pepperoncino, bocconcino (mozzarella ball) and cherry tomato skewered with a bamboo toothpick.  A sprig of fresh rosemary is added for drama and fragrance.  With each sip, you’ll take in the wonderful woodsy aroma that works so well with tomato and garlic.  Next time you’re in need of a bold brunch cocktail, give this Roasted Garlic Bloody Mary a try.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Kimchi and Bacon Pizza

Kimchi and Bacon Pizza

Last week, I shared my recipe for a BLT with Avocado Spread, a sammich I like to make when my schedule gets super busy.  This Kimchi and Bacon Pizza is another quick and easy recipe perfect after a long work day.  The secret to whipping up a delicious pizza in a matter of moments?  Pre-made dough.  Making dough from scratch is simple; however, I find all of the kneading and rising and waiting and resting quite off-putting.  Especially when I’ve been working 50 – 60 hour weeks!  Instead, I purchase dough from a local pizzeria for a buck or two.  I urge you to call around to your local pizza parlors (not Papa John’s or Dominoes), and ask them if they sell dough.  You’d be surprised at how many say yes!

Topped with smokey bacon and salty-sour kimchi, this pizza is bold, fragrant and packed with mouth-watering flavor.  After just one bite, you won’t be able to stop eating (I know I couldn’t!).  Kimchi, usually an acquired taste, can vary greatly based on where you buy it.  Don’t be afraid of it though :)  I found a delicious organic kimchi at a local farmer’s market.  If you don’t like the first one you taste, try another brand!  When cooked in the oven, the kimchi mellows out a bit, and melts into the cheese and tomato sauce, creating something quite harmonious.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Shaved Asparagus and Bacon Pizza

Shaved Asparagus and Bacon Pizza

I find the few minutes between bringing a hot, fresh pizza from the oven and the moment when the pizza is cool enough to eat absolutely excruciating.  The sizzling toppings taunt me as I eagerly await that first taste of melty mozzarella and crunchy, golden crust.  It takes every shred of willpower I have to keep me from diving in right away.  It’s a challenge I face almost every week when making homemade pizza.  Aside from that first glorious bite of a freshly baked pie, I just love creating toppings.  Sometimes I enjoy meat pizzas (hot salami, Italian sausage, roasted chicken).  Other weeks I go the seasonal veggie route (shiitake mushrooms, red bell pepper, Tuscan kale).  Really, olive oil, salt and dough (that I purchase at a local pizzeria) are the only constants from week to week.  I recently decided to experiment with the classic combination of asparagus and bacon.  A coiled nest of long, green asparagus tendrils are piled high onto a bed of freshly grated mozzarella and Parmesan.  Finished with a sprinkling of sliced scallion and crumbled bacon, this Shaved Asparagus and Bacon Pizza is well-balanced and packed with mouth-watering flavor.  The freshness of the asparagus balances the smoky richness of the bacon, creating quite the harmonious bite.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan

Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan

So I’m really hoping that my Italian relatives do not read this article!  I can almost see them shaking their heads at my brazen deviation from traditional Eggplant Parmesan.  Rarely do I stray from my family’s Italian recipes (I’ve been making my mother’s tomato sauce for 10 years now!); however, when I saw this recipe in the Times, I almost immediately felt compelled to give it a try.  Lighter and healthier than its traditional counterpart, this Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan is made by preparing each individual component separately (eggplant, sauce, bread crumb topping) then combining them into single serving bites that are nothing short of scrumptious.  The rustic sauce, made of sweet cherry tomatoes, garlic, fresh oregano and basil, is so simple to make and comes together in about 15 minutes.  If you are steeped in Italian tradition and looking at this recipe with a skeptical eye, I urge you to take a brief hiatus from the norm and give this dish a try.  So tasty.  You won’t be sorry!  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Heirloom Tomato and Peach Caprese Salad

Heirloom Tomato and Peach Caprese Salad I’ll have to admit that I’ve been feeling a little unhealthy over this past week – minimal time spent doing physical activities and maximum time spent consuming large quantities of processed junk.  In an attempt to turn things around, I made this Heirloom Tomato and Peach Caprese Salad last night.  Topped with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is a fresh mix of heirloom tomatoes, sliced peaches, mozzarella cheese and chopped basil.  Followed by a lengthy walk through Balboa Park, this dinner was just what I needed to go from feeling no good to so good.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Skillet Pizza

Skillet Pizza I’ve prepared a countless number of pan pizzas over the years; however, recently I decided to test a new method of making pizza.  Heating a cast iron skillet on the stove top provides the high heat needed to achieve a brick oven-like crust (without the brick oven!).  The finished pizza has a crispy, slightly charred crust.  Topped with seasoned tomato sauce and melty mozzarella cheese, this might just be the perfect homemade pizza!  Continue reading for the recipe.

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