Balsamic Basil Blackberry Pizza

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You’ve heard of fruit pizzas right? They’re shaped liked pizzas, but that’s really where the similarities end. To the best of my knowledge, fruit pizzas are essentially entirely sweet, with a base more like cookie dough, topped with fruits and sugar. You eat them for dessert, not dinner. That is not what we’re doing here tonight. This blackberry pizza is mostly savory, with the addition of the sweet and tangy blackberries.

How did I come up with this crazy idea? I didn’t. This was a Pinterest find, from a blog called A Whisk and Two Wands. The pictures caught my eye – gorgeous contrast of the dark berries and white cheese! Furthermore, Selim loves pizza, we’re trying to eat more fruit, we had blackberries and basil in the fridge, and I had the time to make some dough today. All good reasons to give this unique idea a whirl tonight!

We really enjoyed this as an alternative to a “normal” pizza for dinner tonight. However, I think it would really be perfect as an appetizer in smaller portions for your next dinner party!

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Balsamic Basil Blackberry Pizza

(Adapted from A Whisk and Two Wands blog)
Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup hot water, divided
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Olive oil
  • 12oz blackberries
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 8 turns of fresh ground black pepper
  • Just a pinch of salt
  • 10 large leaves of fresh basil, roughly chopped, reserving 2-3 leaves
  • 16oz log of mozzarella
Instructions: 
  1. First, prepare the dough. (You also could skip this step entirely and buy prepared pizza dough.) In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup of warm water. Let sit for ~10 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Pour the yeast mixture over-top. Add the remaining water slowly, stopping and stirring frequently. Mix with a spoon in the bowl until you have a well-combined ball of dough. (You may need slightly more or slightly less water to form a nice ball of dough. If it ends up too wet – add additional flour.)
  3. Then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured, clean, dry counter-top. Knead the dough for 10+ minutes. The dough should be firm and elastic.
  4. Pour just a tiny bit of olive oil onto a paper towel and swipe around the bottom and side of a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow to sit for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the blackberry sauce. Pour blackberries into a saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, pepper, and chopped fresh basil. Cover and cook for ~5 minutes so the berries soften.
  6. Uncover and mash the blackberries with your stirring spoon or the back of a fork.
  7. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. This should take ~10 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  9. Once dough has risen, turn it out on a lightly flowered surface. Divide in half. Roll out the dough into two large circles.
  10. Bake the pizza dough without topping for 5 minutes and then remove from the oven.
  11. Spoon the blackberry sauce onto the dough as you would a normal pizza, leaving a bit of the edge uncovered for a crust.
  12. Slice mozzarella and place chunks all over the pizza. (May not use the whole 16oz log of mozzarella.)
  13. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, watching the edges of the crusts to make sure it’s not over-browning.
  14. Top with the remaining fresh basil before serving.

Spiced Blueberry Pie

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So confession. We’re not really the big Valentine’s Day types. I feel like I’m a middle-of-the-road kind of girl when it comes to this. I don’t hate Valentine’s Day or go on long rants against the commercialism of the day. But I also don’t really love or expect a dozen red roses with a heart-shaped box of chocolates. No offense to those who fall in either camp! To each their own…

But the moral of my story is that I wanted my sweet-tooth husband to have a Valentine’s Day treat, without falling into a cliché. I preferred to make him something myself, so here we are! (Don’t judge me that it’s in fact two days after Valentine’s Day… We’ve been on opposite schedules – him working long days and me working nights.)

If you’re running late on your Valentine’s Day celebration, or maybe doing something smart like waiting for the weekend, here’s your alternative to a box of chocolates for your sweetheart (or Galentine’s Day girl’s night). This blueberry pie is a lot easier than I expected it to be. Pies intimidate me! (And all desserts, for that matter. I think I’ve mentioned that once or twice.) The dough was super-easy to make and the filling was just a matter of stirring a few times. This recipe was based on one in the mouth-watering cookbook Pie Love. Mine isn’t quite as pretty as the ones in those cookbook photos, but we’re here for the taste right? Tasty > pretty. Plus, I think this is the first pie I’ve ever made. I’ll perfect the prettiness maybe by the 50th.

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Spiced Blueberry Pie

(Recipe adapted from the cookbook, Pie Love)
Ingredients: 
Piecrust:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
  • Ice water (6-8 tbsp)
Filling:
  • 5 cups blueberries
  • 2/3 cup Grade A maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Additional brown sugar for sprinkling
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. To prepare the dough, initially place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir together.
  3. Add the butter in small pats. Turn on the stand mixer and mix until the ingredients begin to form crumbs.
  4. Add the water, tablespoon at a time, while the mixer remains on. Continue until the dough comes together and begins to form a ball.
  5. Turn the ball of dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Separate into two different sections, roughly 1/3 and 2/3 of the original ball.
  6. Take the 2/3s ball and roll it out into a round piece of dough, approximately 12 inches in diameter and 1/8th of an inch thick. Fit this piece of dough into a greased 9-10 inch pie pan.
  7. Chill the pie pan and the additional ball of dough (wrapped in plastic) in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
  8. Rinse your blueberries and drain.
  9. Place berries and maple syrup in a large pan. Turn heat on to medium. Stir in the spices, and salt. Add the butter in pats. As the butter is melting, slowly stir in the flour. Ensure it is well combined.
  10. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring nearly continuously. The mixture should slowly bubble and begin to thicken.
  11. While the filling is cooking, remove the pie pan from the refrigerator and bake for 5 minutes.
  12. Roll out the remaining piece of pie dough and slice into long strips.
  13. Pour the blueberry mixture into the piecrust.
  14. Top with the long strips of dough. {Try to do it better than I did ;)}
  15. Whisk together the egg and the vanilla. Brush over top of the pie.
  16. Sprinkle additional sugar over the top.
  17. Bake for 30 minutes. You should be able to see the filling bubbling.
  18. Allow to sit out for an hour prior to slicing and serving.

Roasted Tex-Mex Chicken

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I know what you’re thinking… “oh great, another easy roasted chicken recipe, how original.”  What it lacks in originality, it definitely makes up for with flavor.  If you want more spice, through in some cayenne or your favorite hot sauce (Sriracha, Tabasco, Frank’s Red Hot, etc) or try adding some Kalamata olives (mmm… umami!) for a little twist.  As always, save those bones to make a great stock in the future, you can freeze them for later.  I know this is short, but I’m exhausted, my cardiac rotation is kicking my butt.  Side-note: we’re open to renaming this chicken recipe as it’s probably not exactly Tex-Mex, and we’re not exactly the most imaginative recipe-namers. Leave us a creative name in the comments!

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Roasted Tex-Mex Chicken

Ingredients: 
  • 2 lbs of bone-in, skinless chicken portions
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, crushed
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & minced
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt + additional to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lime
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place the chicken portions into a glass baking dish.
  3. Mix together all of the rest of the ingredients. Pour over top of the chicken.
  4. Bake the dish for ~1 1/2 hours. Confirm internal temperature of 165 degrees as per the FDA 🙂
  5. Serve over rice or similar.

Southwest Baked Frittata

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Today during class, I turned to my friend, rattled off the random ingredients in my fridge, and asked her to tell me what I should make for dinner. To her credit, she immediately answered with great ideas! (I would’ve been like, “Uhhh… good luck with your dilemma there bud…”) So thanks Victoria for the idea for tonight’s dinner! Where would we be without our friends?

I baked this frittata (still looking into whether or not baking it makes it not a frittata, but in the meantime, we’ll go with it…) mostly because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to successfully make it and flip it on the stove. I’m not that graceful and flipping a frittata without breaking it seems out of my league… This version is super easy and tastes great! But while with a quick google, I can find a ton of recipes for “baked frittata,” the word frittata literally comes from the Italian for “fried.” Oven baked ≠ fried. That’s about as far as I cared to look into it. Someone correct my terminology!

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Southwest Baked Frittata

Ingredients: 
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 links of chicken sausage*
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Chipotle powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 5 turns of fresh ground black pepper
  • Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium pan on your stove.
  3. Once heated, add the garlic and cook for just 2-3 minutes.
  4. Slice the sausage length-wise, then slice into half-moons. Add this to the pan with the garlic. Cook for ~10 minutes, until beginning to brown.
  5. Add diced red bell pepper and the corn (sliced off the ears). Add a splash of water and cover the pan. Allow the vegetables to steam for just another 5 minutes or so.
  6.  Meanwhile, whisk together your eggs and the milk in a large bowl. Whisk for several minutes.
  7. Then add in the hot sauce and spices. Give another good whisk to combine.
  8. Drain off any excess water or oil from the pan on the stove. Then add the contents to the bowl with the eggs. Stir all the ingredients together.
  9. Spray a 9×9 pie pan with cooking spray. Pour the contents of the bowl into the pan.
  10. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. (Check for doneness by inserting a knife towards the middle of the dish – check for any runny egg.)
  11. Sprinkle cheese on top and return to the oven for just a minute or two until the cheese melts.
*We love Trader Joe’s chicken sausage. There are a ton of varieties that would be great in this dish; I used the garlic chicken sausage this time.
Serves 6.