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.

Honey Oat Bars

We are headed to Savannah, GA this weekend with a group of friends to celebrate my kitchen manager’s 30th birthday. I will be packing 3 different versions of these honey oat bars for the road. I am so excited to share this recipe! They are so good and the ingredient possibilities are endless. This is just one backbone recipe that you can change up with whatever ingredients you have. The first time I made these I actually purchased all the ingredients at Aldi. I was challenging myself to decrease my spending on groceries. I found a huge variety of dried fruits and nuts at the store for super reasonable prices. We will probably not be eating store bought granola bars anymore. You should store these bars in an airtight container at room temperature. I’m not sure how long they will keep for… they tend to disappear in a few days. I am not by any means fearful of corn syrup, gluten, or any evil foods. But I truly appreciate having a snack made from a short list of natural ingredients. You will see below in the recipe a list of possibilities in addition to the ingredients I used. The chocolate is optional depending on your fruits and nuts, this particular version with pecans, blueberries, and cherries is just amazing with chocolate.

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Honey Oat Bars

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup crisped rice cereal
1/2 cup nuts – Pecans (or peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds.)
1/2 cup dried fruit – Cherries and blueberries (or cranberries, raisins, dates, mangoes, pineapple, coconut.)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate, white chocolate.)

In a skillet over medium heat, toast the oats, rice cereal, and nuts for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Remove to a bowl, mix in the dried fruit.

In the same skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter, honey and brown sugar together. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour over the oats and berries and mix until all the ingredients are coated. Let cool for 5 minutes before mixing in the chocolate.

Line an 8×8 square pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Press the oat mixture into the pan with your hands. (If it is too sticky, just put some butter in your hands.) Chill for one hour or until firm. Cut into 10 pieces.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Pizza

What is missing from the title of this pizza is the bacon. I love bacon just as much as the next person. But I have to say the impressive flavor in this pizza is from the gruyere and the caramelized onions. But don’t worry, there is plenty of bacon. This recipe was inspired by an oh so fabulous restaurant, The Chef and the Farmer, in Kinston, NC. They have a pizza with these ingredients PLUS pork belly. It is intense. You could use pork belly for this recipe, but I always have bacon in the fridge so I used that. This recipe is guaranteed to impress. Ideally you will have a half recipe of pizza dough in the fridge or freezer ready to go for this recipe.

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There are so many wines that would complement this fabulous appetizer. But it is October and there is nothing better paired with football weekends and this pizza than Stella Artois Cidre. This is a much brighter hard apple cider than most other brands. Th apple flavor complements all the ingredients in this pizza in an amazing way. The Cidre is very light with delicate apple flavor.

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Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Pizza
Serves 6 as an appetizer.

1/2 recipe Pizza Dough
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large vidalia onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 ounces gruyere cheese, grated

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the bacon until some of the fat is rendered but the bacon is not fully crispy (it will continue cooking in the oven). Remove the bacon to a paper towel. Leave the bacon grease in the skillet.

Decrease the heat to low and add the butter to the skillet. Toss in the sliced onions and salt. Cover and cook the onions for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Then stir in the brown sugar and pepper and cook for 15 minutes more. Add in the minced garlic, cook 1 minute. Remove onions to a bowl.

Roll out your pizza dough between oiled sheets of parchment to a 12 inch circle. (The parchment will make this easier.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and remove the parchment from the top of the pizza dough. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Place the dough on a baking sheet. Cover it with half of the gruyere, then cover with onions, then sprinkle the bacon. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. The pizza will slide right off the parchment, slice on a cutting board.

Alternate method: If using a pizza stone, preheat oven to 500 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Pizza on the Grill

IMG_2413 My husband and I are basically obsessed with our Weber Kettle Grill. We are grilling anything and everything. I was previously obsessed with my pizza stone but it has unfortunately fallen out of favor. I have also been excited with the opportunity to repurpose my 8 inch parchment rounds that I bought for all the cakes I never made. Cupcakes are just superior to a layer cake! The parchment really makes the shaping of the pizzas and the transfer to the grill much easier. The recipe below is just the basics to get you started. You can be creative with toppings. Unfortunately my pictures are not the best because we could not help but to immediately slice and taste these pizzas. Be careful here, it is easy to overcook the pizzas. It takes just 2-3 minutes for each side of the pizza. This technique of grilling one side and then placing the toppings on the grilled side allows you to cook the pizzas evenly. Use plenty of olive oil to prevent sticking. We enjoyed our grilled pizza night with a bottle of Chandon Blanc de Noir. This is a rich sparkling made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. It really complements the flavors of grilled foods. You can serve this light pink sparkling wine with any food that you might traditionally serve alongside a still pinot noir wine.

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Grilled pizza

Makes 3 x 8 inch pizzas

One recipe pizza dough
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey (sugar or agave can be substituted)
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups bread flour

Your favorite pizza sauce – tomato based or otherwise
(The white sauce recipe pictured above can be found here.)
Fresh or shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes
Pepperoni
Sliced mushrooms
Any toppings you want!
Parchment paper

Make the dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast and honey with warm water (110 degrees). Wait 10 minutes until bubbles form and it gets foamy (see bubbly yeast to the left). Add in salt, oil and half the flour. Using the dough hook, mix to combine.

Once the flour is mixed in, add in the rest of the flour bit by bit until combined. The dough should be tacky but should not stick to your hand. You may need to add more flour, add this 1 tbsp at a time.

Knead the dough with the mixer on a medium to high setting for 7 minutes. The mixer bowl will be clean after 7 minutes. Use olive oil to lightly grease the dough and the bowl. Cover with a warm towel and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Make the pizzas
Light the grill. When using charcoal, you will want this to be a “hot” fire. You should not be able to hold your hand over the heat 5 inches from the grill for more than 3 seconds. Prepare a pizza peal or baking sheet with sprinkled corn meal.

Cut the parchment paper into 8 inch circles and coat them lightly with olive oil. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces, you can use a scale for accuracy. Shape it into a ball and stretch the outer edges with your hands forming it into a disk that is almost the size of your parchment circles. If the dough is too stick, use some olive oil on your hands. Place the dough on the parchment and continue to stretch it to the edges. Lightly coat the surface of the dough with olive oil.

Flip the dough onto the hot grill, remove the parchment paper. Replace the lid and let this cook for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, check the dough, it should be crispy with grill marks. Transfer the dough to your prepared pizza peal, grilled side up.

To the grilled surface of the pizza, apply your sauce, red pepper flakes, parmesan, toppings and mozzarella. Yes, in that order. Be careful not to overload the pizzas with sauce and toppings.

Transfer the dough back to the grill with the uncooked side facing the coals. Replace the lid and cook for 2 more minutes, or until the bottom begins to char.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Proscuitto Macaroni and Cheese Cups

This is mac and cheese innovation. You can serve mac and cheese at parties or at your tailgate and no one needs a fork! I even served them at Thanksgiving. The cheese sauce here has an amazing flavor that beats all other recipes. And I don’t think I have to say it, but proscuitto is an amazing complement to mac and cheese. You will be surprised at how quickly these come together. Serve these with something bubbly, like Friexenet Cava.

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8 oz elbow macaroni
12 thin slices of proscuitto
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup panko
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp all purpose flour
1 14 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz)
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 oz)
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook untilal dente, based on the package directions. Drain the past and reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place each slice of proscuitto in each muffin well, lining the bottom and edges.

In a small frying pan melt one tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until browned and toasted. Remove from the stove and set aside.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large sauce pan on medium low heat. Add in the flour and stir constantly. Cook the flour for 2-3 minutes until slightly brown in color.

Whisk in the milk slowly and continue whisking out any lumps. Cook for 7 minutes, simmering, until thickened. Remove from heat. Add in the cheeses, mustard, sriracha, salt and pepper. Mix cheese sauce into the noodles.

Scoop the macaroni and cheese into the prepared muffin wells. Sprinkle with the panko. Bake for 25 minutes.

Adapted from chow.com.