Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cevapcici Flatbread Pizza with Ajvar and Sweet Onion aka #SuperBowl Flatbread

Favorite Dish on the Super Bowl Buffet, Guaranteed

Cevapcici (Lamb and Beef Sausage) Flatbread Pizza
Ajvar (Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Dip/Spread)
Mozzarella, Sweet Onion, Sour Cream

San Pedro, our charming town located on the seaside corner of America’s second largest city, is home to thousands of Croatians, including my butcher. One of his specialties is the stubby cigar-shaped Balkan sausage known as cevapcici. He makes his with lamb and beef and spices although some people also add pork to the mix. They are skinless and formed by a unique kitchen gadget, into what I would call a particularly unfortunate shape as they are not too pretty for the camera if you know what I mean. But what they lack in visual appeal, they make up for in flavor.

Cevapcici are almost always accompanied by onion and often by sour cream, peppers, flatbread, and ajvar – a super-tasty Balkan spread/dip/relish made primarily with roasted red pepper then smaller amounts of roasted eggplant, chili, salt, sunflower oil, and sometimes garlic. For the Super Bowl, I’m transforming the beloved Balkan sausage and it’s condiments into a pizza. It will be the favorite dish on the buffet, guaranteed.

Pronounce all the c’s like a ch, Che-VAP’-Chi-Chi. And pronounce ajvar as AY-var.

How to Make Cevapcici Flatbread Pizza

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1 comments • Filed in: Entertaining

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Beer Dinner @ Brouwerij West with Chef Kyle Powers

Brouwerij West Beer Dinner with Chef Kyle Powers

San Pedrans and Angelenos from near and far have been anxiously awaiting the grand opening of one of Los Angeles’ most important breweries (according to EATER!). Belgian-inspired craft beer production has recently commenced in Warehouse No. 9, a repurposed massive WWII-era building at the Port of Los Angeles. For the last few years, Brewmaster Brian Mercer had been producing his signature beers in other peoples’ facilities, now finally the impressive first-time home for Brouwerij West is set to open on February 27th.

Just prior to opening to the public, the Brouwerij West space has been a hip-trendy-cool venue for some very special private parties (including our fabulous holiday party here). Recently, a lively group of beer aficionados gathered for “Dinner in the Tanks,” a beer tasting/food pairing/birthday party catered by Chef Kyle Powers of Fork in the Road Catering.

It’s no secret that the pairing of food with beer has a synergistic effect. Add the cutting-edge ambience of a long, jauntily dressed wooden picnic table nestled between huge stainless steel tanks under glimmering string lighting, and the dining experience becomes magical. Chef Powers masterfully highlights the interplay between his food and the various beers by either contrasting or mirroring the flavors, bitterness, acidity, richness and sweetness.

Angelenos are in for a real treat. Complex, harmoniously balanced beers, produced and served up in an alluring 1940s warehouse…Brouwerij West has definitely been worth the wait!

Dinner in the Tanks

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

mac n cheese, ham, carrot, celery, onion {gluten-free}

Mac and Cheese, Ham, Carrot, Celery, Onion {gluten-free}

The inspiration for this out-of-the-ordinary mac and cheese comes from an unlikely source – split pea soup! To make mac and cheese more of a meal than a side dish, I added the same ingredients and spices I use in my soup – cubed ham plus plenty of carrot, celery, and onion. Garlic, thyme, parsley, and red pepper flakes add extra flavor. The smooth white sauce was made with Parmesan and cheddar, flavored with nutmeg and dry mustard. Paired with a green salad and a glass of ripe and juicy Grenache, it makes a most satisfying winter’s night dinner.

Cooking for someone with gluten intolerance – I made this dish with gluten-free organic red rice elbows from my friends at Explore Cuisine and use Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour. You can use traditional macaroni and regular wheat flour if gluten is not an issue.

Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese with Ham Recipe

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Flatbread Pizza: Potato, Arugula, Sour Cream, Chives, Olive, Truffle, Lemon
Lavash Flatbread Pizza
Potato, Arugula, Sour Cream, Chives,
Kalamata Olive, Truffle Oil, Black Truffle Salt, Lemon

Sometimes this uprooted Chicago girl wants to serve a skinny pizza. We really do still adore our deep dish pizzas – especially Lou Malnati’s. But I also grew up enjoying Candlelite pizza, fondly remembering my parents’ love of the super-thin crust at the hip joint that was walking distance from our home on the Far North Side – a neighborhood tavern where the graphics on the old-fashioned neon sign now read “Cool Served Here.”

Fast forward many decades – while my lavash flatbread pizza recipe isn’t Candlelite-style per se – it is ultra-thin with a cracker-y crust. Still faintly reminiscent of the Chicago thin-crust pizza of yesteryear, even though back then the topping never included potato, arugula, kalamata olives…or truffle salt.

Lavash Flatbread Pizza Recipe

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7 comments • Filed in: Meatless

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Beer-Braised Bratwurst, Beet Greens, Red Cabbage, Horseradish

Bratwurst Braised in Beer
Beet Greens and Red Cabbage, Fresh Horseradish

Sausage lovers rejoice! The classic combination of red cabbage and sausage takes on a new twist with the addition of beet greens. Here, bratwurst is braised in beer and paired with red cabbage, beet, and onion. Sweet, sour, and spice flavors come from brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and allspice. Sautéed beet greens add a garlicky earthiness while freshly grated horseradish’s hot, sharp notes balance the rich juicy beer-braised brats. Outstanding!

Beer Braised Bratwurst Recipe

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