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TIP OF THE DAY: Beer Crust Pizza

Beer Crust Pizza

Greek Salad Pizza

You can make the pizza in any shape you like. [1] Oblong, flatbread-style from King Arthur Flour. [2] A traditional round pizza with Greek salad toppings, from Cooking Classy.

 

Make Dad a pizza with beer or hard cider. It’s subtle flavor, and a fun idea.

The type and quality of beer you use is very important. Mass-market beers will not give you the results that a good craft beer or imported German beer provide.

Bonus: You can use leftover, flat beer.

If you like a light crust, use an unfiltered wheat beer. The bottle contains yeast particles, which add to the rise and provide a yeasty taste to the crust. Before adding the bear, swirl the bottle to release the yeast from the bottom.

Pilsners, IPAs and other hoppy beers can make the crust bitter. Porter and stout give a stronger flavor.

Thanks to King Arthur Flour for the recipe.

Prep time is 20 to 30 minutes; bake time is 18 to 48 minutes, depending on the rise.

RECIPE: BEER CRUST PIZZA

Ingredients For 2 Pizza Crusts

  • 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups semolina (substitute unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon King Arthur Pizza Dough Flavor* or 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups room-temperature beer
  •  
    Plus Toppings As Desired

  • Sauce
  • Mozzarella and other cheeses
  • Meats, vegetables, herbs
  •  
    ________________

    *King Arthur Flour’s Pizza Dough Flavor is a blend of cheese powder, garlic and natural flavors. You can blend your own to taste. Use approximately 1-1/3 teaspoons per cup of flour, in any pizza crust recipe.

     
    Preparation

    1. MIX and knead together all of the dough ingredients until you’ve made a smooth, soft dough. You can use your hands, a mixer or a bread machine. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 30 minutes, or for up to 2 hours.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F with the pizza stone on the lower rack. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a 10″ to 12″ round.

    3. PLACE the rounds on parchment paper, if you’re using a pizza stone. Otherwise, place the dough on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. For a thin to medium crust, bake the pizzas immediately. For thicker crust, let them rise 30 to 60 minutes.

    4. TRANSFER the pizzas, parchment and all, to the baking stone; or place the pans in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, top as desired, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the bottom crust is crisp and the cheese is bubbly, browned and ready to eat

    TIPS

    To end up with mozzarella that’s gently melted (not browned and hardened):

  • Add the meat or vegetables after 5 minutes of baking time.
  • Add half the cheese after 15 minutes baking time (i.e., 10 minutes after the meat and veggies).
  • Bake for 3 minutes, add the remainder of the cheese, then bake for an additional 2 minutes, until the second addition of cheese is barely melted.
  •  
     
    THE HISTORY OF BEER
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER

     
      

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    RECIPE: Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Flatbread

    Shrimp Flatbread

    Arugula Pizza

    [1] Shrimp flatbread from SeaPak. [2] No matter what type of pizza or flatbread, we toss fresh baby arugula on top when it emerges from the oven (photo courtesy Purple Carrot).

     

    Shrimp is America’s favorite in the fish and shellfish category. Of the 15.5 pounds consumed by Americans each year, shrimp accounts for 4 pounds.

    (Dudes: 15.5 pounds per capita per year is way too low. Americans eat nearly 50 billion burgers a year, which translates to three burgers a week for every single person. That’s a lot of beef.!)

    For National Shrimp Day, May 10th, we whipped up this easy shrimp flatbread using frozen Shrimp Scampi from SeaPak.

    Nicely seasoned in a butter, garlic and red pepper sauce, you don’t need to add any more flavor to the shrimp.

    One way to enjoy shrimp, more often, and more affordably, is to look to the freezer section.

    While we always buy fresh shrimp for, say, a shrimp cocktail or plateau de fruits de mer.

    But in a multi-ingredient dish—like this flatbread, coconut beer batter shrimp, shrimp fra diavolo, shrimp pad thai, shrimp salad sandwich, and so on—where the shrimp is integrated with other flavors—the frozen shrimp can do just as nicely.

    RECIPE: SHRIMP, CORN AND ZUCCHINI FLATBREAD

    Prep time is 15 minutes; cook time is 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Snack Servings Or Two Lunches/Dinners

  • 1 12-ounce package of SeaPak Shrimp Scampi
  • ½ cup frozen or canned corn kernels
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • Bench flour*
  • 1 16-ounce ball of pizza dough (fresh or frozen/thawed)
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Optional: ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 lemon
  • Optional garnish: baby arugula, fresh basil
  •  
    ________________

    *Bench flour is simply flour sprinkled on the work surface (once upon a time called a work bench).

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Prepare the frozen scampi according to package instructions (7 minutes in a skillet). Add the corn and zucchini to the pan and stir occasionally.

    2. LIGHTLY flour a work surface and press the dough into a large rectangle.

    3. TURN a baking sheet upside down (so the bottom is facing up) and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer dough to the bottom (sprayed side) of the baking sheet. Use some of the sauce from the scampi to brush over the top of the dough, and pierce the dough with a fork to avoid large air bubbles.

    4. BAKE for 12-15 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of baking, remove the pan from the oven, cover with the optional mozzarella, and use a slotted spoon to drain the shrimp mixture, reserving the scampi sauce in the pot. Spread the mixture over the flatbread. Top with the shredded parmesan cheese and return to the oven. Bake until cheese begins to melt.

    5. SLICE the lemon and squeeze half into the scampi sauce. Pour into a small bowl to use for a flatbread drizzle, dipping sauce or even a salad dressing.

    6. TOP the pizza with the arugula or basil and bring to the table.

     
      

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    PRODUCTS: 5 New Favorite Specialty Foods

    Four of this month’s roundup of favorite products will brighten your dinner table, and the last will satisfy your sweet tooth.

    In alphabetical order, they are:

    1. CRACKER BARREL Oven BAKED MACARONI & CHEESE

    Cracker Barrel Cheese’s premium mac & cheese line has launched Oven Baked Macaroni & Cheese (photo #1) in three flavors:

  • Sharp Cheddar, seasoned with paprika and ground mustard.
  • Sharp White Cheddar, seasoned with black pepper and ground mustard.
  • Cheddar Havarti, seasoned with garlic and chives.
  •  
    Fans of oven-baked mac and cheese prefer it for the crispy edges and the toasted bread crumbs. The bread crumbs are included, as well as flavorful seasonings; and the level of crispiness is up to you.

    Just boil the noodles and mix the seasoning packet with melted butter and milk. Add the cheese sauce and the flavor mix, spoon into a baking dish and top with the toasted breadcrumbs.

    Get yours at major retailers nationwide. Suggested Retail Price is $3.99 for a 12.34-ounce package.

    For more information visit the Cracker Barrel Cheese website.
     
     
    2. DELTA BLUES RICE GRITS

    Delta Blues Rice (that’s the Mississippi Delta) is a fourth-generation family business that grows artisan rice. If you think that all white rice tastes the same, you won’t believe how much more flavorful it is than supermarket brands.

    The company sells the rice in white and brown rice and rice grits, all made in small batches and milled for freshness.

    We’ve enjoyed cornmeal grits since we were small fry, but had never tasted rice grits until the folks at Delta Blues Rice sent us a sample (photos #2 and #3).

    We devoured the package and ordered more. For those who avoid corn-based foods, they’re a real find.

    If you come from a grits-loving family, load up on them as gifts or favors for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

    Get yours at DeltaBluesRice.com.
     
     
    3. ENTUBE FLAVOR PASTES

    Big flavors come from little tubes. Entube is a line of flavorful pastes in three international flavors: curry, harissa and umeboshi (photos #4 and #5).

    These are great to have on hand and are so easy to use. Instead of adding more salt when a dish needs some pizzazz, just add a bit of flavor paste—to anything from grains to cheese fondue to soups and stews.

    We tried two of the three flavors: Curry and Harissa. Here’s how we used them.

    3a. Entube Harissa Paste

  • Dip: Combine with yogurt to your desired spice level and use as dip for crudités or tortilla chips.
  • Sauce: Stir some paste into pasta sauce or the hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict (quite wonderful). With a mushroom sauce for roast chicken, add 1-1/2 teaspoons for 1 cup sauce.
  • Spread: Add to mayo for a great sandwich spread.
  •  
    Roast Chicken: About 15 minutes before the chicken is due to come out of the oven, combine harissa-flavored plain yogurt with the hot drippings. Baste the chicken twice, five minutes apart. For the second basting, add the juice of 1/2 lemon to the yogurt and drippings, along with a bit of kosher salt to taste. This will slightly caramelize and crisp the skin.

    Grilled Lamb: Morroccan lamb dishes are classically made with a harissa spice rub. We made a rack of lamb with the yogurt-Harissa Paste mix (4 tablespoons yogurt with 1 teaspoon paste) and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Brush it in on at the start of roasting and once more 5 minutes from the end. It perks up the slightly gamy flavor of lamb beautifully. (Cooking time for medium rare lamb is 22 minutes in a 425°F oven.)

       

    Cracker Barrel Baked Mac & Cheese

    Delta Blues Rice Grits

    Rice Grits

    Entube Flavor Pastes

    Paella With Harissa

    [1] We love baked mac & cheese with crispy edges (photo courtesy Cracker Barrel). [2] Calling all grits lovers for great rice grits (photo courtesy Delta Blues Rice). [3] Rice grits (photo courtesy Neniemi Food). [4] Entube flavor pastes and [5] Entube harissa spices up paella (photos courtesy Entube | Facebook).

     
    Moroccan Chicken Kabobs: Cube 1 pound of chicken breasts and marinate for 3-4 hours in 3 teaspoons Harissa Paste, juice of 1 lemon, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, with an optional teaspoon of smoked paprika. Skewer onto pre-soaked (30 minutes) wooden skewers or lightly oiled metal skewers. Broil or grill, turning often. Brush with the marinade halfway through and continue until browned and cooked through, 16 minutes total. Serve hot.

    3b. Entube Curry Paste

    Mushroom Sauce: Boost the umami flavor in creamy mushroom sauces. Add as much paste as you like, tasting as you go in 1/2 teaspoon increments. The curry flavor was not overpowering and added depth to the character of the mushrooms. This combination also works in mushroom tarts.

    Grilled Shrimp: Marinate 1 pound deveined shrimp in a yogurt marinade made with 1/2 cup yogurt and 2 teaspoons of curry paste, the juice of 1 lime, mustard oil or coconut oil, chili powder to taste and 2 teaspoons of grated, peeled ginger root. Marinate in the fridge for 2-4 hours. Just before grilling (on medium-high), remove shrimp and wipe off the excess marinade with paper towels. Grill until black spots begin to appear, about 3 minutes per side. Delicious!

    The one complaint we have with the pastes is that there is too much added ascorbic acid (vitamin C)—almost 20%. If you have a sophisticated palate, you may notice a slightly medicinal acidic tang that is not as clean and lively as would have been given by lemon or lime. You can mask it by adding some real lemon or lime juice.

    Find a store locator on the company website.

     

    Salt With Sea Vegetables

    Werther's Cocoa Creme Caramels

    Werther's Sugar Free Caramels

    [6] Sea salt meets seaweed in these tasty blends (photo courtesy Sea Veg). [7] Werther’s new Cocoa Crème Soft Caramels and [8] longtime favorites, the sugar-free caramels line (photos courtesy Werther’s Original).

     

    4. MAINE MADE SEA SEASONINGS

    This naturally iodized sea salt has a little something extra: sea vegetables, including dulse and kelp, seaweeds known for their high vitamin and mineral content.

    The entire line of seaweed-based products are harvested in Maine waters; and the line is targeted to people who want to get the most nutrition they can from their foods.

    Here are the nutritional values of both seaweeds.

    Not that we don’t want the best nutrition; but we like these sea salts for their flavor, especially with rice and other grains and starches. And, we’re big flavor fans of Japanese seaweed, dried or fresh [which is actually reconstituted dry seaweed].

    The company offers variations of the sea salt with added cayenne or garlic; and with other seaweeds. Another product of interest is the applewood-smoked nori sheets.

    Find out more at SeaVeg.com.
     
     
    5. WERTHER’S ORIGINAL NEW COCOA CREME SOFT CARAMELS

    Werther’s newest flavor can be attributed to American palates: a survey of more than 1,000 American adults found that 44% chose caramel as their favorite candy flavor to combine with chocolate. The next closest is mint, at 19%.

    Werther’s Original Cocoa Crème Soft Caramels pair their yummy soft caramel with a cocoa crème filling.

    They join Werther’s other dual-flavor caramels, including Caramel Apple and Coffee Caramel.

    We love soft caramels. Aside from the pricey ones from artisan chocolatiers, Werther’s is our favorite everyday brand.

    Another thing we love about the brand is the sugar-free options.

    The line includes hard, chewy, soft and filled caramels, as well as the sugar-free caramels in seven flavors (the chewy sugar-free caramels and chocolate caramels are a must-try) and caramel popcorn.

    As they say at the company, they’re a treat that’s truly “werth it.”

    For more information visit Werther’s Original USA.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Ravioli Lasagna For National Ravioli Day

    Ravioli Lasagna

    Pumpkin Ravioli Lasagna

    Ravioli Lasagna

    Ravioli Lasagna

    [1] Beef and sausage ravioli lasagna. [2] Pumpkin ravioli lasagna (both photos courtesy Taste Of Home). [3] An even ravioli top (photo courtesy Oxmoor House). [4] Adding the layer of frozen ravioli (photo courtesy Design Mom).

     

    March 20th is National Ravioli Day.

    We like ravioli in any form, but have been especially delighted with ravioli lasagna.

    Bless the person who first thought of the trick of using cooked ravioli instead of lasagna noodles. (Alternatively, you can use penne or other tube pasta, but ravioli supplies added filling.)

    What looks like a complicated recipe couldn’t be easier when you use frozen ravioli (no cooking required) and store-bought pasta sauce.

    Prep time is 25 minutes, bake time is 40 minutes.
     
    RECIPE: RAVIOLI LASAGNA

    We adapted this recipe from one by Patricia Smith for Taste Of Home.

    The recipe uses sausage or cheese ravioli and adds ground beef. But you can make vegetable ravioli, chicken ravioli, or anything you prefer. Here’s another Taste Of Home recipe for (here’s the Pumpkin Ravioli Lasagna (scroll down).

    You can vary the recipe any way you like. For example:

  • Substitute ground chicken, turkey or textured vegetable protein (TVP) for the beef.
  • Add veggies via two layers of frozen, thawed spinach or kale (pressed dry), frozen peas or medley.
  • Substitute Alfredo sauce (cream sauce) for the tomato-based sauce.
  • Substitute vegetable ravioli for the meat or cheese versions.
  • We’ve even use ratatouille as the sauce, when we’ve made a large batch (pulse it into a chunky vegetable sauce.
  •  
    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 1 package (25 ounces) frozen sausage or cheese ravioli
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Dried herbs/spices: (chili flakes, garlic chips, oregano)
  • Optional garnish: minced fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Cook the beef over medium heat in a large skillet, until it is no longer pink. Drain.

    2. LAYER in a greased 2-1/2-quart baking dish: 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce, 1/2 of the ravioli, 1/2 of the cooked beef, and 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat the layers. Top with the remaining sauce and cheese.

    3. COVER and bake for 40-45 minutes or until heated through.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF RAVIOLI

    China gets the credit for inventing not only strand pasta—thin chow mein noodles like Italian angel hair, chow fun noodles like Italian linguine, chow fun noodles like Italian pappardelle, and stuffed wontons like Italian ravioli.

     
    When it arrived Italy, stuffed pasta (another name for the category is pillow pasta) was served with Italian-style pasta sauces.

    Some food historians believe the name “ravioli” derives from the old Italian word riavvolgere, to wrap.

    Others believe that the dish was named after a renowned 13th-century chef named Ravioli, who lived in the Republica di Genova (a.k.a. Genoa, today the Italian region of Liguria).

    The record on him is scant, but according to DeLallo Authentic Italian Foods, Chef Ravioli is credited with the invention of the stuffed pasta composed of two layers of thin pasta dough with a filling sealed between them.

    Interestingly, the Venetian Marco Polo, who brought the concept of stuffed pasta back from China, had subsequently become a soldier in Venice’s war with Genova. He was taken prisoner by Genova in 1296 and released in 1299, to return to Venice [source].

    We don’t have dates for Chef Ravioli, but might he have heard about the stuffed wontons via someone who heard it from Polo? Given how scant the record is on the chef, we can say with almost-certainty that we’ll never know!

    Here’s much more on the history of ravioli.

     
      

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    RECIPE: Chicken Tortolloni On Arugula

    This quick and easy recipe, from Buitoni, combines two different types of their refrigerated fresh tortolloni with fresh arugula.

    Tortellini are larger versions of the bite-size tortellini.

    You can also substitute ravioli or other stuffed pasta (check out the different types of pasta).

    Serve it for lunch, dinner, or as a first course for dinner. We also enjoyed the leftovers cold the next day.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, total time is 15 minutes.

    RECIPE: ARUGULA, PESTO & GOAT CHEESE TORTELLONI

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1 package Buitoni Refrigerated Chicken & Roasted Garlic Tortelloni (20 ounces) or 2 packages Buitoni Three Cheese Tortellini (9 ounces)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup Buitoni Refrigerated Pesto with Basil (7 ounces)—or substitute your own pesto
  • 1/4 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups baby and/or micro arugula
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
  • Optional: toasted pine nuts
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.

    2. PLACE the pasta and reserved water in large bowl; add pesto and tomatoes. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add arugula and cheese; toss gently. Top with pine nuts.
     
     
    MORE TORTELLONI RECIPES

    Tortelloni With Cherry Tomato Sauce

    Tortelloni with Roasted Eggplant & Cherry Tomato Sauce

    Tortelloni With Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Pomegranate Arils

     

    Ravioli With Arugula

    Tortolloni With Brussels Sprouts

    Buitoni Chicken & Garlic Tortelloni

    [1] Chicken & Roasted Garlic Tortellini with fresh arugula and goat cheese. [2] The same tortollini with Brussels sprouts and pomegranate arils. [3] Look for Buitoni Tortellini in the refrigerator case (photos courtesy Buitoni).

     

      

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