Arrabbiata Pizza Sauce

I should start this post by saying… I don’t like red sauce on pizza. But I like this red sauce. This spicy, garlicky, robust sauce has changed my mind. This is great on its own with mozzarella and parmesan for a fabulous cheese pizza. But of course you can add whatever toppings you like. Arrabbiata apparently means angry in Italian. This sauce would also be delicious over penne pasta. This will make enough sauce for 2-3 pizzas depending on the size.

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Serve this spicy pizza with Banfi Rosa Regale, a sparkling red wine from Italy. It is slightly sweet with a low alcohol content, this will complement the spicy sauce very well. This wine is typically served after dinner because it is a bit sweet. But it will be absolutely wonderful on a hot summer day with a spicy grilled pizza.

1 tbsp extra-vergin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp salt

In a large skillet, over medium, heat the olive oil. Swirl to coat. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic. Saute this for 4 minutes. In a mini chopper, pulse the tomatoes a few times until they are smooth.

Add the tomatoes, oregano, and salt to the pan. Bring this to a simmer and cook for 1 minute.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Mexican Quinoa

My family seems to be getting into gluten free and vegan recipes, and so just for them I have been working on this Mexican Quinoa. It is gluten free and vegan. I also just planted jalapenos and cannot wait to make this with my own patio grown jalapenos! This was my first adventure into the trendy grains people keep talking about. Quinoa is actually a seed though, but its still pretty popular right now. I was very happy with the texture and flavors of this dish. This is perfect for dinner and the summer and makes delicious leftovers. You can make a perfect lunch bowl with this and a mixed greens salad. This quinoa is great warm or cold. You can add salsa (my preference – salsa verde) to the finished product, kind of like a salad dressing. My absolute favorite way to have this salad is actually the next day. Step 1, make your Mexican quinoa in advance. Step 2, pack the quinoa in a cooler with chips and salsa, limes, and Coronas. Step 3, squeeze a lime over your quinoa and into your Corona. Step 4, have a fabulous picnic by the beach or the pool.

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Mexican Quinoa

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
3 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 medium tomato, diced (or 1 can diced tomatoes drained)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp salt
Sour cream, avocado, salsa, shredded cheese for serving.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add jalapeno and garlic, saute for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add in the tomato, garlic, and corn, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Mix in the quinoa, stock, black beans, and salt.

Bring this to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cook, covered, for 20-25 minutes. It is done when all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa and serve.

Recipe adapted from Peanut Butter Runner.

Baguette

I am starting to worry that maybe you guys are getting tired of bread recipes. But we are well into the month of April and I still have not bought any bread at the store. If you are going to try any of these bread recipes, this is the one. These baguettes are the perfect dinner bread, they make a fabulous sandwich, and are delicious days later as toast. This recipe is so amazing and so simple! You can easily bake fresh bread for dinner guests with this recipe. This recipe is labeled as “the 4 hour baguette.” It does take 4 hours, but most of that time is rising and resting. You can use the time between steps to make something else, or you can watch some Apple TV. I recommend pouring a glass of cold brew coffee http://bubblykitchen.com/cold-brew-coffee/ and enjoying the beautiful weather on the patio. Don’t have any cold brew? Brew a batch while you wait for your dough to rise! Or, do as I would, and pour a glass of Saint Hillaire sparkling and write this blog post by the pool! This is the first Bubbly Kitchen bread recipe that requires kneading by hand. It will really be no trouble at all, just give it a try.

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Baguette

1 1/2 cup tap water
1 tsp active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp kosher salt
canola oil or butter for the bowl
1/2 cup ice cubes

In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. Add in the flour and stir with a fork until a dough comes together. Let this rest for 20 minutes. Mix in the salt and transfer to your lightly floured counter. Knead until smooth and elastic, at least 10 minutes. You will know the dough is kneaded when you push the dough with your finger and it springs back. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow this to rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Transfer the risen dough to your lightly floured counter top. Pat the dough into a rectangle. Fold the long sides into the middle and then fold the short sides in, as if you were folding a T shirt. Return the dough to your greased bowl, place seamed side down, cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest until doubled in size, 1 hour.

Arrange your oven with a cast iron skillet or metal baking pan in the bottom rack. On a rack above this, place a pizza stone or upside down sheet pan if you do not have a stone. Heat the oven to 475°.

Prepare a rimless baking sheet with floured parchment paper. Move the dough to a lightly floured counter top and cut into three equal pizzas. Roll and stretch each piece into a 14 inch rope. (This website has a great video on how to form your baguettes.) Place the baguettes on the parchment paper and lift up the paper between the ropes of dough. Place two rolled up kitchen towels on each outer side. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 50 minutes, until doubled in size.

Remove the plastic wrap and towels, flatten the paper to leave space between the loaves. Using your kitchen shears, slash the top of each baguette at a 30 degree angle in 4 places, each slash approximately 4 inches long. Pull out the oven rack with the baking stone, slide the parchment paper and loaves carefully onto the stone. Place the ice cubes in the skillet or metal pan. Bake until dark brown, 25 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Food 52.

Crispy Tilapia

We recently attended a wild game feast with my husband’s friends. There were hundreds of people at the event. All variety of animals were served by different hunters including the common venison and wild turkey. And then there was the unusual… bear, alligator, and alpaca. It was an awesome event because all the hunters expertly prepared the meat. I was quite adventurous and tried a lot of things. I will admit that the only reason I ate those things was because they eat all sorts of strange meats on Game of Thrones. I feel sorry for Lord Bran who has to eat all those rabbits, because it’s gross. And I will also admit that I did not care for most of the wild game. The most delicious food I had at the festival was seafood, oysters, oyster deviled egg, fish of all varieties. My most favorite of all was the fresh yellowfin tuna. The fish was caught off the Carolina Coast that morning and sliced up for dinner. It was the best raw fish I have ever tasted.

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The weather is perfect in Eastern NC, hot sun with a cool breeze. I often buy fresh fish with plans for blackening and grilling, and then it rains in the evening. This is a great indoor method for preparing fish, from the store or fresh caught. This recipe is great for thin filets of fish. It’s not really appropriate for yellowfin tuna or any thicker fish cuts. Using panko bread crumbs instead of deep frying makes this fish much healthier and does not sacrifice any of the crunch. Serve this with seasonal vegetables and rice. I use blackening spices to season the fish, this can be titrated to your level of spice, see here. You can use just salt and pepper or whatever spices you like with fish, lemon pepper is one of my favorites. The breading process here is very useful to master. This is the same process I use for chicken parmesan and chicken tenders (recipe coming soon). Serve this tilapia on a warm day with sauvignon blanc.

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Crispy Tilapia

4 tilapia filets (flounder, cod, or any white fish will also work)
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Blackening seasoning
2 tbsp butter or canola oil

Season the tilapia generously with salt, pepper, and blackening seasoning. Set up the breading stations with three shallow bowls. One bowl should contain the flour, the next egg, and the last bowl panko bread crumbs.

Dredge the fish, one filet at a time, in the flour, coating both sides and shaking off any excess. Then place the fish into the egg, coating evenly. Now dredge the fish into the panko bread crumbs, pushing into the bread crumbs to coat the fish. Set aside to a plate and repeat for all of the filets.

Heat butter or canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, place all of the fish in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the fish is. The breading should be golden brown and the fish should flake apart easily with a fork.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Gougères

This recipe is long overdo. I started making these around the holidays. I was fortunate to attend 2 and host 1 friendsgiving this last year. I prepared these for all three and have not stopped making them since! Gougères are a cheese pastry made from pâte à choux, the same dough used for cream puffs or éclairs. You can and should master this gougère recipe and then you will easily make éclairs and cream puffs. There are no rare or complicated ingredients here, just French technique. Almost any cheese will work for these, gruyère is traditional, sharp white cheddar is also wonderful. I always make a huge batch of these and freeze half of them for another day. They go from the freezer to the oven and you have an impressive appetizer for any gathering. You can make these gougères more perfectly shaped by piping them with a pastry bag, I just use a cookie scoop.

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The best way to start any dinner or party is with sparkling wine, and this decadent pastry appetizer warrants a glass of champagne. I was recently apart of a beer dinner hosted by New Belgium and got to try some of their new beers. I am now obsessed with their American pale wheat ale, Snapshot. I am so glad it is permanent and not a seasonal beer. It is packed with flavor and has a crisp tart finish. I have not found a beer I liked this much in forever. It has a balanced sour taste with wonderful notes of lemon and citrus. So perfect for hot weather!

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Gougères

1 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated cheese, gruyère or cheddar

In a 4 quart saucepan, mix together the water, butter, and salt. Bring to a rolling boil. When the butter is melted, remove the pan from heat and add the flour. Stir until the mixture comes together. It will look like mashed potatoes.

Place the pan back on the burner over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes. The dough will be glistening and stiff enough to hold a spoon upright.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle. Beat on medium low speed for one minute or until the dough is just warm and no longer steaming. With the mixer running, add the egg in 4 additions. Waiting between each addition for the egg to be absorbed. The dough should be very smooth and creamy. Beat in the cheese.

Heat the oven to 450°. Line sheet pans with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop (or a spoon if you do not have one) scoop tablespoons of dough onto prepared sheet pans.

Bake for 5 minutes at 450° and then turn the heat down to 350°. Bake for another 20 minutes, rotating halfway through the time. When they are done they will be puffed and golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s recipe in Bouchon Bakery also seen here.