Pear and Blue Cheese Flatbread

We’re pushing February and with that, the seasonal fruits and veggies start to look a little boring. I feel like I’ve been eating clementines and brussels sprouts for months on end. I wanted to do something different with one of the seasonal fruits, and what better way to do that than by mixing it with cheese and throwing it on a pizza!

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The inspiration for this flatbread came from CPK’s Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza, but I switched a few things around and I have to say, it is pretty darn tasty.

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The only thing missing was a huge small glass of Riesling…but I made this flatbread at 10am so there’s that.

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Pear and Blue Cheese Flatbread
*I recommend making the dough the day before 

For the Dough (makes 2 flatbreads)

3 ounces bread flour
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 a packet of active dry yeast (1/4 ounce packet)
6 ounces warm water (110 degrees)

7 ounces bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ounce olive oil
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

To make the dough, first make a sponge with the 3oz flour, honey, yeast and water: dissolve the honey in the warm water and mix the yeast and flour together with a whisk in the bowl of a stand mixer (if you don’t have a stand mixer, just use a medium sized bowl). Add the honey/water mixture to flour/yeast mixture and whisk together. It will be lumpy.

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes at room temp.

Once sponge is ready, add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment and mix on medium/low speed for 6-8 minutes until you have a nice dough ball. If it is too dry, add a tiny bit of water.

Cut the dough into two balls, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge overnight to proof. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can kneed the dough by hand.
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For the Flatbread

2 pears, washed and sliced
1 gorgonzola cheese wedge, crumbled (about 6-8 ounces)
1/2 cup raw, chopped pecans
Parmesan cheese
Arugula
Olive oil

Slap the dough balls on a floured surface a few times to remove any air bubbles, then press the dough down so it is nice and flat. You can stretch the dough by holding it at one end and slowly turning it in a curricular motion, letting gravity do the trick. If you’re feeling fancy, you can also toss it up in the air.

Place the doughs on two large pieces of parchment paper. Cover them with parmesan cheese and divide the rest of the ingredients between the two. I like to put half of the blue cheese under the arugula and half of it on top. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese if desired.

Place parchment paper directly on oven rack and bake at 475 for 8-12 minutes or until the the crust is a nice golden brown and the blue cheese is bubbling.

Remove from oven and brush the crust of the flatbread with olive oil. Enjoy!

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Dark Sipping Chocolate with Bailey’s and Fresh Whipped Cream

As I made my way through the candy aisle, I was pleasantly surprised to find such high quality couverture amongst the boring usual chocolate choices of a super market. My excitement, however, was dulled by a subtle turn in my stomach. You see, when I was in culinary school, we spent a quarter working with chocolate and I hated it. At first, I couldn’t remember why, but once I began chopping said chocolate, the stark reality came crashing down…all over my kitchen, like broken glass. I found myself in a sea of chocolate bits, it was on my hands, on my feet, in my sink, all over my floor. You name it, there was chocolate on it. Now, there is a very slight possibility that my infant sized cutting board had a little something to do with the mess, but we’ll just chalk it up as a loss.

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After scraping my precious chocolatey chunks mostly onto the floor into the saucepan, I began melting it, and my huge mess of a kitchen was completely worth it.

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Now, I usually indulge in one…or three spiked hot chocolates when I’m falling on my face shredding fresh powder on the side of a mountain, but I haven’t yet made it to the slopes this year. So, I decided to make a much better version of the Swiss Miss and Popov-quality alcohol they sell at the lodges.

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I give you: Dark Sipping Chocolate with Bailey’s and fresh Whipped Cream. Be warned, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream.

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Tell me that doesn’t look like the epitome of Winter.

Dark Sipping Chocolate with Bailey’s and Fresh Whipped Cream

1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
8 oz dark couverture (chocolate) 70% or higher, chopped
1 1/2 tsp raw cane sugar
Bailey’s Irish Cream

Place chopped chocolate pieces into a large bowl.

Heat whole milk and 1 cup of heavy cream over medium/high heat, whisking occasionally, until it is simmering (there will be small bubbles around the edge of the sauce pan). Do not boil.

While heating milk/cream mixture, add the remaining heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment (or in a medium bowl with a hand held mixer), add sugar and whip on high 2-3 minutes, or until the cream is a stiff whipped cream.

When milk/cream mixture is simmering, remove from heat and pour over chocolate pieces. Let it sit for about 1 minute then whisk together, starting from the center and working your way out.

Pour a shot of Bailey’s into a mug, add a ladle of sipping chocolate and top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!

Grilled PB&J with Bacon

You read that right, grilled peanut butter and jelly with bacon.

pbjGrowing up, pb&j was always my favorite sandwich to get in my lunchbox, probably because that happened maybe once every few months. I’m thankful now, at the ripe age of 23, that my mother sent us off to school with fruits and veggies instead of sugary snacks, but in elementary school, nothing was worse than waiting all morning to eat, only to find a turkey sandwich and carrot sticks. The first time I moved out on my own, I started perfecting my sandwich making craft and thus, the grilled pb&j with bacon was born.

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Grilled PB&J with Bacon

2 slices of thick cut applewood smoked bacon
2 slices of sourdough bread
Real chunky peanut butter (like Trader Joe’s brand or Adam’s)
Real fruit preserves of your choice (I used blueberry from Trader Joe’s)
Butter

Heat a large pan or an electric skillet over medium/high heat and cook the bacon.

While bacon is cooking, spread a huge dollop of PB on one slice of bread and another huge dollop of jelly on the other.

In the same pan/skillet (or a different one if your pan is too small) melt about 1/2 of a tablespoon of butter and grill both slices of bread (on the plain sides) until both are a crispy, golden brown.

Add the bacon to one of the slices of bread, fold them together and you’ve got yourself a Grilled PB&J with Bacon!pjb3

I mean come on, look at that mouth-watering baby!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Coconut Oil

Ahh January, a time to make resolutions: new year, new you! Well in my case, new year, same me and I love food. So instead of making some New Year’s resolution to lose five pounds and work out six days a week, I made chocolate chip banana bread, but I used whole wheat flour and coconut oil, so that has to count for something, right?

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I try to use organic, unrefined versions of all of my ingredients so I can justify devouring a whole loaf of banana bread occasionally nibbling on sweets, but at the end of the day, sugar is sugar and it is damn delicious!

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Coconut Oil

1 + 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons raw cane sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil (any oil will work)
3 extremely ripe bananas
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (extract works too)
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray the bottom and sides of a loaf pan with coconut oil cooking spray (or other cooking spray) and set aside.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until completely combined.

If your coconut oil is solid, melt it over the stove and whisk into egg mixture, making sure to mix continuously as you pour so the oil does not solidify when it meets the cold eggs.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas together with the sour cream and vanilla, then add to egg mixture.

Measure the flour, baking soda and salt together directly into a sifter over the egg/banana mixture and sift. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients, making sure not to over mix. When there is only a little bit of dry flour visible, add the chocolate chips and fold a few more times until batter is uniform.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour (if you have a crappy oven like me, it may be closer to the hour mark). Remove banana bread when an inserted knife comes out slightly tacky with crumbs (you want a few crumbs on the knife so the bread is moist).

Enjoy!

Zombie Brain Shot

Thanks to the Tipsy Bartender on Facebook for this gruesome drink!

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ZOMBIE BRAIN SHOT
1 Part Peach Schnapps
1 Part Baileys Irish Cream
1 Part Jagermeister
Splash of Grenadine

Watch them make it on Youtube!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries with a White Chocolate Dribble

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Buying chocolate covered strawberries from a store or bakery is just as pricey as they’re tasty. Below you will find a foolproof plan on how to make delicious and visually appealing chocolate covered strawberries with a white chocolate dribble.

 

Ingredients:

– One Package of Strawberries

For the Chocolate Layer:  

– 2 Tbsp of Shortening

– 8 Ounces of Your Favorite Semi-Sweet Baking Chips

For the White Chocolate Layer:  

– 1 Cookies and Cream Hersey Bar

– 3/4 of a Tsp Shortening

 

Directions on how to make this much thought after dessert:

  1. Rinse and dry one package of strawberries with the steams attached. (Water Will Cause Chocolate to Bead.)
  2. Place chocolate in a metal bowl large enough to sit on a sauce pan and create a seal.
  3. Bowl half a sauce pan full of water until it reaches a rapid boil, turn off the heat.
  4. Add the metal bowl of chocolate on top of the sauce pan (the steam will melt the chocolate and keep it hot for about 7-10 minutes.)
  5. Using the stems on the strawberries, twirl them in the semi-sweet chocolate.
  6. Lastly, dribble melted white chocolate on top as best as your artistic abilities allow.

Bloody Marys Were Made for Weekends

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Recipe for a pint:

  • 3 oz Vodka
  • 3 oz Tomato juice
  • 2 dashes Tabasco Sauce or Sriracha
  • 2 tsp Horseradish
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch Celery salt
  • 1 pinch Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 pinch Paprika
  • Celery salt
  • 1 Lemon wedge
  • 1 Lime wedge

Garnish: Add a Celery stalk, some Celery Salt on the rim and a lime wedge.