Pita Pizzas with Sautéed Apples and Bacon

Phew!

I just finished writing six articles for a soon to be launched nutrition website and my brain is so fried that I’m having difficulty spelling three letter words. So, you’ll have to forgive me if this post doesn’t quite make sense. It’s a good thing today’s recipe was a breeze. Seriously! It’s so simple a monkey could’ve done it… preferably while wearing a full body hair net.
Granny Smith Apples and Red Onion

Pita pizzas are so simple and homey. They saved my life in university.

These adorable little pizzas are cozy food. The kind of food you eat in sock feet while watching reruns of The West Wing… okay so, maybe that’s just me. These pita pizzas are topped with sautéed apples and red onions with a sprinkling of bacon and cheddar cheese. Once again that magical salty, sweet flavor has stolen my heart. My beau was hesitant at first, because he doesn’t really like the texture of cooked apples (applesauce is his arch nemesis) but, the pizza was sporting a few pieces of bacon so, he couldn’t say no. It’s against his religion.
Sautéed Apples and Red Onion

By the way, don’t leave the bacon out. Mmmm! Sweet, salty and smokey all at the same time! These pizzas have it all. My beau loved them so much he told me not to put them on the blog; he decided they were too good to share, but I’m not one to deprive others of good food so, have at it!

Apples and Red Onion

Now that I’ve completely run out of words, I’m going to leave it here to avoid drooling on my keyboard.
Pita Pizza with Sautéed Apples and Bacon

Try this pita pizza. It’s totally delicious, quick and tasty!  Like totally!

Oh gosh! I’ve turned into a Valley girl… I gotta go!

Enjoy!

Pita Pizzas with Sautéed Apples and Bacon: Makes 2 pizzas
2 pitas
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 granny smith apple, cored and sliced
½ red onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced (divided)
¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup demerara sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
pinch of cloves
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp crushed chili pepper flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°
Place the onion and apple in a large bowl.
Add sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, chili pepper flakes, salt and 2 cloves of garlic. Toss to coat.
Melt butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Add apple and onion mixture and sauté until the apples are tender. About five minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Brush the pitas with the rest of the olive oil and sprinkle with the remainder of the garlic.
Top pitas with apples and onions and sprinkle with cheese and bacon.
Bake in the oven for five minutes then turn the oven to broil (keeping a close eye on them) for 1-2 minutes.
Slice into quarters and serve.

Apple Sausage Galette

Apple Sausage Galette

One of the first things I learned how to make in the kitchen was pastry. In truth cinnamon rolls may have been first, but pastry was definitely a close second.

Whole-wheat Pastry

Pastry may be an odd place to start out, but at the tender age of… some point before ten I was already well versed in carefully adding flour to our temperamental Kitchen Aid mixer.  I was ready for a challenge.

Apples

From the time I patched the last hole in my first of many awkwardly rolled out pastries, I had embarked on a nearly twenty year long love affair with all things wrapped in butter and baked with love.

Cored, Sliced Apples

Pies are my specialty. If I get invited to a potluck, I arrive with fresh pie in hand. If I’m heading over to a friend’s for a low-key birthday celebration, you bet I have her favorite pie waiting in the wings.

Red Onion

Pie is fairly universal. You don’t encounter many people who would say no to a slice of pie. Regardless of taste and temperament everyone has a type of pie they would gladly eat any day of the week. Even if you were born without a sweet tooth (is that even possible?) I doubt you could resist the charms of a gorgeously golden Chicken Pot Pie.

Apple Sausage Galette

Whether you live for this flakey indulgence or you approach pie with a hesitant fork this week’s recipe is bound to catch your eye. Prepared to be amazed by this enticing salty-sweet Apple Sausage Galette. At the center of this tawny, homey treat is a generous layer of spiced Cortland apples, which sit atop of a bed of sautéed red onions. The whole mess is enveloped in a rich nutty whole-wheat pastry crust and, to up the naughty factor further, sprinkled with a crumbling of honey garlic sausage. With so many winning attributes, you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason not to invite this crisp buttery guest to your next get together.

Apple Sausage Galette

Soulfully rustic and an intriguing compilation of contrasting tastes and textures, this Apple Sausage Galette is a pastry fanatic’s dream come true.

Apple Sausage Galette: Serves 4

PASTRY:

¾ cup pastry flour

½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour

½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

½ tsp salt

¼ cup cold water

FILLING:

½ red onion, sliced

2 tbsp olive oil

2 honey garlic sausages, castings removed

3 Cortland apples, cored and sliced

¼ brown sugar

1/8 cup pastry flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tbsp cinnamon

Pinch of cloves

Pinch of nutmeg

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1/8 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425°

For the Pastry: Combine flours, and salt in a large bowl.

Add butter and cut it into the dry mixture using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add water and stir until the dough starts to come together.

Touching the pastry as little as possible, form the mixture into a ball and flatten into a disc.

Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of a half an hour or up to 48 hours.

When ready to use, remove the pastry from the fridge and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Place on a cool well-floured surface.

Using a floured rolling, pin roll out pastry in a circular shape until it is 1/8 of an inch thick.

For the Filling: In a medium skillet heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add onion and sprinkle liberally with salt.

Sautee for approximately 10 minutes until translucent.

Remove from heat and set aside.

If necessary add more oil to the pan and add the sausage.

Cook until browned then remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl combine apples, spices, sugar and flour.

To Assemble: Place a layer of onion onto the waiting pastry leaving a 1 ½ inch border along the edge.

Top with ½ of the sausage and ½ of the rosemary.

Add apples and sprinkle with the remaining sausage and rosemary.

Wrap the edges towards the center.

Brush pastry with milk.

Slide onto a pizza pan and place in the oven.

Bake for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 350° and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad

I am back! Hope you guys had wonderful holidays!

Meanwhile after getting a good rest, I left my zone of comfort….

…and look at me! I fried something!

Mango

I never fry anything! I have a deep-frying phobia.

Cucumber

I, like the rest of humanity, happen to love fried food! Anything deep-fried is positively out of this world. I bet if you deep-fried a boot it would taste delicious, but as much as I love these crispy edibles I’m still wary of deep-frying at home. I’m sure it would be a different story if I had a proper deep fryer, but if I had said deep fryer I would also be 300 pounds. So, I figure it’s in my best interest to make deep fat frying as cumbersome as possible. I didn’t even do a legit deep fry for this week’s recipe. It was more of a shallow fry; I couldn’t quite bring myself to add the full amount of oil, guilt was holding me back. This time, I simply borrowed a deep fryer from my friend, it was Waring deep fryer.

No. No way I am buying one myself.

Red pepper

Yes, it was messy and yes, I did fear my kitchen afterwards, but these almond crusted fried shrimp were well worth the grease burns.  I served them atop a mound of spicy mango salad and garnished the whole lot with fresh cilantro and dry-roasted peanuts. The combination of the piping hot shrimp and chilled salad was out of this world. The shrimp was beautifully juicy and it’s breading brought a subtle crunch to the dish.

Red Onion

My beau was adequately impressed with my efforts. He could hardly believe I fried anything. I’m usually a stickler when it comes to nutrition, but I justified the whole exercise by saying it was for the blog. Do you hear that? If your at all interested in the state of your waistline don’t start a food blog, it messes with your logic.

Almond Crusted Shrimp

As deep-frying adventures go this one was fairly uneventful. Shrimp cooks quickly and the breading process with simple and efficient. Salads are always low maintenance, but I will warn you there is a fair amount of chopping involved.

Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad (II)

Decadently rich and restaurant caliber, Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad is one recipe you’ll be happy to have sitting in your back pocket when all you can think about is expensive takeout. This recipe will subdue those pesky cravings and save you a bundle at the same time.

Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad: Serves 4

FOR THE SHRIMP

16 shrimp, deveined and shelled with tails on

¼ cup almond meal

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp milk

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups peanut oil

FOR THE SALAD

1 mango, julienned

¼ cucumber, julienned

½ red bell pepper, julienned

¼ red onion, sliced

¼ dry roasted peanuts

½ cup fresh cilantro, torn

DRESSING

4 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp granulated sugar

¼ cup lime juice

1 tsp sambal oelek

1 tbsp fish sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Place veggies, mango and cilantro in a large bowl and toss to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.

In another small bowl combine ground almonds and salt and pepper.

Combine egg and milk.

One by one douse each shrimp in the egg and milk mixture then roll them in the almond mixture and set aside on a plate.

When each shrimp has been coated heat oil in a large wok until it reaches about 350°

Drop shrimp into the oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown.

Remove from oil and leave to drain on paper towels.

Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.

Divide salad amongst four plates and top with peanuts.

Arrange four shrimp on top of each salad and serve immediately.

Warm Open-Faced Mushroom and Brie Sandwich

Mushrooms, Brie and Arugula

Happy Thanksgiving my fellow canucks!  You will have to forgive my somewhat lackluster display of holiday spirit.  There is not a single Thanksgiving recipe on my blog.  There are some that would be most welcome at any holiday table, but none that exclusively scream Turkey Day.

Mushrooms

To make me feel truly ashamed of myself, the good people over at Tasty Kitchen wrote up a lovely piece on the Canadians on their site and included yours truly. Such a wonderful gesture bestowed on a lazy blogger that has basically been MIA since September. I am trying to adjust to a different lifestyle and juggling two jobs and this blog is an exhausting endeavor, but bare with me, I’ll get this sorted out if it kills me.

Brie

I know I’ve been a horrible tease. I leave, announce I’m back and then I leave again. I realize it will take sometime to rebuild the trust between us dear reader, but I think, in time, we can move past this thoughtlessness and be stronger for it.

Multi-Grain Bread

The first step towards healing is this Warm Open-Face Mushroom and Brie Sandwich. If anyone crossed me and then offered me this tasty treat I would definitely rethink excommunicating them.

Mushrooms, Basil

These days I find myself strapped for time. I often have to hit the kitchen running. Lately, grilled cheese has been a favorite of mine. Easy, quick and wonderfully cost effective.  Give me a bowl of hot tomato soup and gooey grilled cheese on a rainy day and I am one happy camper. This open-faced number is riff on this foul weather classic.

Warm Open-Faced Mushroom Brie Sandwich

This sandwich is not grilled, instead the cheese melts into freshly toasted bread.  It liquifies further still when the cheese is crowned with an avalanche of freshly sautéed mushrooms and garlic. If this weren’t heavenly enough, this gorgeous concoction is completed with a halo of peppery arugula. Serve this bad boy up with a hot bowl of soup and consume with a knife and fork.

Open-Faced Mushroom Brie Sandwich

Simple, satisfying and ready to eat in fifteen minutes flat, this sandwich is the perfect treat after a long draining day. Let’s face it; you’ve clocked way too many hours in the kitchen this weekend. After the excitement of Thanksgiving the Warm Open-Face Mushroom Brie Sandwich is just what the doctor ordered.

Warm Open-Face Mushroom and Brie Sandwich: Serves 2

2 slices of Multi grain Bread

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

4 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade

6 slices brie cheese

2 handfuls of arugula

Directions:

Turn your oven to broil.

Brush 2 tbsp of olive oil on both sides of the bread and broil until golden brown flipping halfway through.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté until browned and fragrant.

Remove bread from the oven and immediately place brie on top.

Split the mushrooms amongst the two slices of bread.

Sprinkle with basil.

Top with arugula.

Serve with a piping hot bowl of your favorite soup.

Creamed Sweet Onion with Butter Basil Biscuits

IMG_4380

There now, I wasn’t gone that long, and you all faired very well without me I have no doubt.  I’m pleased to say that I am back, and ready to re-enter the kitchen once again.

Sweet Onion

I’m so glad I took the break; it made me really miss this little food haven of mine.  Now that I am refreshed and have my head somewhat above water, my brain has inundated with so many fantastical food ideas that my head is getting a little noisy.  Confusing for me, but awesome for you!

Thyme

This week’s recipe is actually an adaptation of three recipes out of The Joy of Cooking, the classic jack-of-all-trades cookbook.

Butter

I wouldn’t recommend stringing three recipes together.  It smacks of inexperience if not plain stupidity, but since my common sense evades me more often than I’d like to admit I went ahead with this hair-brained scheme.

Basil Leaves

I am so glad (and relieved) to say against all odds it turned out beautifully.  Sure there were snags, but I am confident I’ve identified the problems and they shouldn’t trouble you if you choose to replicate the recipe.

Basil Chiffonade

The stars of this saucy show are the always-unassuming sweet onion, a few slices of smoky bacon (get the reduced sodium, I read some alarming statistics about North American sodium intake today, and it gave me the willies), and some adorable buttery basil biscuits.

Bacon

Essentially the onions and bacon come together in a creamy thyme spiked sauce, topped with a delightful little biscuit then baked until their tops are an inviting golden brown.

Basil Biscuit Dough

They flavor of these puppies is gorgeously savory.  The onions were so tender they melted on my tongue while the sauce warmed me with soft hints of thyme and a delectable smokiness supplied by the bacon.  I served them alongside I nice roast beef, but honestly I don’t remember a thing about the beef, these gems really stole the show.

Creamed Sweet Onion with Bacon

Perfect for the approaching cold weather and fairly easy to prepare, Creamed Sweet Onion with Buttery Basil Biscuits is the picture of culinary beauty.

Creamed Sweet Onion with Buttery Basil Biscuits

Creamed Sweet Onion with Buttery Basil Biscuits: Serves 4

1 Sweet Onion, halved and sliced

4 strips of bacon

1 tbsp olive oil

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 cup chicken broth

¼ cup white wine

1 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp flour

¼ cup half and half

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°

In a heavy bottom pot fry bacon over medium heat until crispy.

Remove from pot and leave to cool on a plate lined with paper towel.

Spoon off the bacon grease leaving 2 tbsp worth in the pot.

Add the olive oil to keep the fat from burning and toss in the onions.

Sautee for 2-3 minutes.

Pour in broth and add the two sprigs of thyme.

Bring the mixture up to a boil and reduce heat and leave to simmer covered for 5 minutes.

Once onions are tender add white wine and leave to boil until the liquid is reduced by half.  About 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat.

Whisk in flour until it forms a paste.

Slowly whisk in half and half until combined.  Remove from heat and add to the onion mixture. Stir until thickened.

Remove from heat and set aside.

Spoon into 4 ramenkins and top each with an uncooked biscuit.

Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for ten minutes before serving.

For the Biscuits:

1 ¾ all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

6 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed

¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade

¾ half and half

Directions:

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Add butter and basil.

Cut the butter into the dry mixture using a pastry blender or two knives until it resembles a coarse meal.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the half and half.

Stir until the dough comes together.

Turn dough onto a well-floured surface.

Flatten dough to ½ an inch thickness.

Using a 2 ½ biscuit cutter cut out 12 biscuits.