May 28, 2011

GOOP - Squash Blossom Pizza

squash blossom pizza

I adore Gwyneth Paltrow's energy and worth ethic. And lately, I've come to love her recipes. I can't wait to try this one for Spring Squash Blossom Pizza with homemade ricotta cheese and summer squash blossoms fresh from the garden.

For the dough:
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 packages, or 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon, active dry yeast
  • About 5 cups of flour plus more for kneading and dusting. I used Italian "00" flour but you can also use bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
For the dough, whisk together 3/4 cup of the water and the yeast in a large bowl and let stand until the surface has a few little bubbles and is creamy (about 5 minutes).

Add 1 1/2 cups water, 3 3/4 cups flour, olive oil and salt and stir until smooth. While stirring, gradually add up to another cup of flour until the dough starts to pull itself from the edges of the bowl.

Knead the dough on a generously floured surface until it's elastic and smooth—it will take about 8 minutes of hard work. Dust the surface with flour as you go—you don’t want the dough to stick.

Form the kneaded dough into a ball, dust with flour, and gently place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea-towel. Let it rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. You can let it sit for up to a couple of hours or even overnight in the refrigerator.

For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot and onion and cook, stirring now and then, until softened but not ground, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice and the salt. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 40 minutes. Carefully puree in a blender until very smooth. Let it cool before saucing your pizzas. This can be made up to a week ahead.

For the toppings:
  • A thin layer of tomato sauce
  • A few dots of homemade ricotta
  • Grated parmesan
  • Torn squash blossoms tossed with a bit of oil (so they crisp in the oven)
To assemble pizzas, break off pieces of the dough and stretch with your fingers until quite thin. You can also roll your dough out using a rolling pin.
Now top your pizza. I start with pizza sauce. Be sure not to put too much sauce on (this will weigh it down) and don’t go too close to the edge as this will make it hard to slide your peel under the pizza.
  1. Preheat the oven to 500° F. Arrange an oven rack in the top third of the oven (but not on the top rack) and place the pizza stone on the rack. Let it heat for about 1 hour. Turn a large baking sheet upside down and dust the surface with flour.
  2. Place a ball of dough on a clean, lightly floured table or cutting board, and dust the top of the dough with additional flour. Use your fingertips to flatten the dough into a 12-inch round.
  3. Carefully set the dough down upon the floured baking sheet. Working quickly, put the toppings on the dough.
  4. Jiggle the pizza gently on the pan to make sure it is not sticking, and un-stick it if it is, putting a little flour underneath the sticky parts. Slide the pizza onto the heated pizza stone; make sure to start at the stone’s back end so that the entire pizza will fit.
  5. Cook the pizza for 3 minutes. If you have a broiler on the top of your oven, turn off the oven and turn on the broiler. Broil the pizza until golden, crisp, and a bit blistery and charred in places, 2 to 4 minutes (watch it carefully to see that it does not burn). If you don’t have a top broiler in your oven, just bake the pizza until the cheese is melted and the crust well browned, about 10 minutes, but go on how it looks, not the time since it varies widely depending on your oven.
  6. Use tongs to slide the pizza to a large platter and dig in!

May 26, 2011

Garlic, Lemon, Pepper Ravioli

I love homemade ravioli...

Garlic, Lemon, Pepper Ravioli

6 servings

For pasta dough:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large fresh egg yolks
Semolina or cornmeal for dusting

For filling:
1 ½ cups fresh homemade ricotta cheese (made with lemon juice)*
1/3 cup (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary), chopped
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg, optional

1 yolk, for egg wash
  1. Put flour and salt in a large bowl. Add yolks, and use a fork to mix them into the flour. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for about 8 minutes or until dough is smooth. Add up to 2 tablespoons more flour if dough seems sticky. Knead dough a few times by hand to form an elastic ball, wrap it in plastic, and let rest for a half-hour to allow the gluten to relax.
  2. Stir together all ingredients for filling.
  3. Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and reserve the dough you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with flour. Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it out until 1/8 thick.
  4. Dust the counter and dough with flour, lay out the long sheet of pasta. Brush the top surface of dough with egg wash. Drop 1 tablespoon of filling about -inches apart  on half the sheet of pasta, starting from about 1 inch from edge of one length of dough. Fold the unfilled half over the filling. Gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling and form a seal with your fingers. Use a crimped pasta wheel cutter (or press down with blade of a serrated knife) to slice through dough halfway between each scoop of filling, then trim edges to create 2-inch squares. Press edges to seal completely. Dust finished ravioli with semolina or cornmeal. Cover with a kitchen towel and refrigerate for up to 1 day if not using immediately.
  5. To cook ravioli, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add ravioli and cook just until very al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to scoop ravioli into a colander. Measure 2/3 cup pasta cooking water and gradually whisk it into butter sauce until it is smooth and creamy. Add ravioli, toss to coat with sauce, and simmer for 1 minute. Serve immediately, passing more Parmesan cheese at the table.

May 23, 2011

Garlic-Roasted Cauliflower

Can't wait to try this recipe for garlic-roasted cauliflower!

Garlic-Roasted Cauliflower

Adapted from How Easy Is That?, by Ina Garten


1 head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into large florets (See cooks' notes)
4 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil, divided use
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (See cook's notes)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Drain, peel and cut off any brown parts. Cut the largest cloves in half lengthwise.

On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread mixture out in a single layer and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing twice, until the cauliflower is tender and garlic is lightly browned.

Scrape the cauliflower into a large bowl with garlic and pan juices. Add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, pine nuts and lemon juice. Sprinkle with a little pinch of salt to taste, toss and serve hot or warm.

Cook's notes: If you can't find a large head of cauliflower, buy two small ones. To toast pine nuts, place them in a dry sauté pan and cook over low heat, tossing frequently, until lightly browned (about six to 10 minutes). 

GOOD: A Barcode for Every Tree

great idea, featured in the Daily GOOD:

To Make Logging Legal, Liberia Will Give Every Tree a Barcode

The African country of Liberia is blessed with lush rainforests full of pygmy hippos, Diana monkeys, duikers, and lots of valuable trees. But when Charles Taylor started plundering the forests to fund his forces in the country's civil war, the UN placed sanctions on Liberian timber.

Now President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wants to establish a legitimate timber trade to boost the Liberian economy. To that end, she has signed a deal with the European Union that would require companies bringing Liberian lumber into the EU to have proof that it's legal. To make that possible, every legally harvestable tree and every cut log would have to carry a barcode that makes it traceable. Helveta, a British company that specializes in timber supply chain management, has invented the tracking system.

Even with the barcodes, there will still be challenges. Making sure harvests stay within sustainable limits will be difficult and corruption may still undermine the integrity of the system. But some think Liberia could be pioneering a new model for legal, sustainable logging. According to Frank Hawkins, who leads Conservation International's efforts in Africa, “Liberia has an opportunity to show the world how it is done.”

The barcode, that symbol of commercialism, could become a treehugger's best friend.

May 21, 2011

Shaved Asparagus and Mint Salad

This delicious salad by meatballsandmilkshakes is a finalist in this week's Food 52 Best Spring Vegetable Recipe:
Shaved Asparagus and Mint Salad


1 bunch asparagus
1 handful toasted, crushed hazelnuts
1 tablespoon chopped mint
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
parmesan or pecorino shavings
  1. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus lengthwise to create strips. Toss with the hazelnuts and mint.
  2. Wisk together lemon juice, vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Pour over asparagus and mix with salt and pepper to taste. Shave parmegiano or pecorino on top
So simple and yummy.

May 19, 2011

How to Cook Broccoli Stalks

One day into the beta launch and I'm already a devoted reader of Gilt Taste.

Last night I tried the broccoli chips recipe from How to Cook Broccoli Stalks Iron Chef Style. Delicious!

Read on for the recipes:
  • We love—ok, have become addicted to—broccoli chips. Just dip thin slices of peeled stalk in corn starch, then fry them in about 4 cups of 325⁰ F vegetable oil like potato chips until they're light brown. Drain them on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt.
  • Light and refreshing, broccoli stalk slaw is a winner. On the show, we made one with broccoli sprouts and a citrus vinaigrette, but you can basically peel and shred the stalks and use them in addition to—or in place of—cabbage in your favorite slaw recipe, whether creamy, salty, or vinegary. You get all the sweetness of cabbage, but juicier.
  • For some charred action, cut broccoli stalks into little slabs, shaving down their irregular sides. Toss them in some oil infused with garlic, salt them, and sear on a very hot grill. The char will bring out the nuttiness of the stalks. Serve with fresh mint and parsley chopped and sprinkled on top.
  • I have a problem with soups that use pureed potatoes as a thickener—all the starch billows out from the potatoes like toxic waste and turns too many chowders into gluey paste. But when we pureed cooked broccoli stalks in chowder instead, they thickened it nicely while keeping the texture light and soup’s flavor clean.
  • And our favorite discovery was broccoli carpaccio: thin slices of stalk layered between rich, creamy rectangles of avocado and sprinkled with fresh herbs and chiles. Peel the tough, fibrous outside and slice broccoli stalks thinly, about 1/8 of an inch thick. (We like to do this with a mandoline, but knife or even a good vegetable peeler will do in a pinch.) Toss with salt and lime juice to taste. Arrange the slices across your plate, alternating them with thin slices of ripe avocado, drizzle with nice extra virgin olive oil, and top to taste with a rough puree of 3 tablespoons chopped Thai basil, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon minced Thai bird's eye chiles.
Make sure you check out the full article and subscribe to Gilt Taste -- a new food magazine sustained entirely by sales (no advertisements).

May 18, 2011

Gilt Taste

The beta launch of Gilt Taste is live and beautiful!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gilt Taste <>
Date: Wed, May 18, 2011 at 9:16 AM
Subject: Gilt Taste is here

Gilt Taste - View Gilt Taste

Gilt Taste opens today!
Gilt Taste is the newest store from Gilt offering you access to:
  • Artisan foods and fresh seasonal ingredients from around the world.
  • Recipes from chefs and culinary experts along with advice from farmers and artisans.
  • Stories from writers Ruth Reichl, Francis Lam and Melissa Clark.
Stop by soon for a visit. We hope you’ll be inspired to taste something new today.
Kevin Ryan
CEO and Founder

Visit Gilt Taste

GILT TASTE. A member of the Gilt Groupe
2 Park Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016
I want to buy everything on this site, especially the Mikuni Wild Harvest Mushroom Mix!