Pepperoni Rolls

I could not think of a better way to get back into blogging and start the new year than with these amazing pepperoni rolls. These fabulous rolls are apparently the official food of West Virginia. They were first served at a bakery in 1927 as a lunch option for coal miners. The first time I ate these rolls was on the beach in Wilmington at my bff’s bachelorette party. Her mom is an expert pepperoni roll maker from WV. I was instantly addicted. They really are the perfect on the go food. So this story should kind of explain my absence from blogging… We took a lot of trips this year. WV, Mexico, Austin, Houston, Wilmington, Durham. We also built a house and made a human who will arrive sometime in March. Excuses,  excuses. But I have a number of amazing new cookbooks that I am beyond excited to dive into and share on the blog. Now that we are moved into our new home with our incredible kitchen I’ve made a long to-do list from Vivian Howard’s new book, the Poole’s diner cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies, ad hoc at home, just to name a few.

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There are some arguments about what makes the best pepperoni roll. Most west Virginians seem to prefer the chopped up stick pepperoni. But I kind of like layering the sliced pepperoni with shredded mozzarella cheese, as in the recipe below. You can obviously use whatever pepperoni and cheese you have on hand. Some people believe these should be made with Colby jack, and I’m sure you could substitute this or cheddar or whatever cheese you have in your fridge. There are also some recipes out there that use cubes cut from blocks of cheese. So, make this basic roll dough and stuff whatever delicious meats and cheeses you have in your fridge inside, and I think it will probably be good. Not to mention, you can throw them in a big ziplock and take them to the beach, the park, skiing, wine tasting, tailgating, float tripping. The possibilities are endless!

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I have tried some Italian bread recipes for these rolls and I just really prefer my basic soft dinner roll. This roll recipe is simple and nearly fool proof. Unless it’s Christmas, you’re hosting 14 people, and you forget to put the salt in your bread dough. Everyone still seemed to like the dinner rolls but for me they were a mega failure. You can use your stand mixer to knead the dough and save yourself frustration/time/mess. The dough will seem really sticky when you set it aside to rise, don’t worry. Do use plenty of flour when you go to form your rolls. This recipe should make 24 pepperoni rolls. So just divide your dough into 4 pieces, divide those in half, and divide the 8 pieces you have now into thirds. This video will give you some idea of how to form your rolls. I admit that this batch during the video really had a bit too much flour. The dough should really be stickier and you will be patting it out more than rolling it in your hands.

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As far as wine pairings go, there are a number of options here. If you are eating these in the winter or at a football tailgate, serve them with sangiovese or pinot noir. But if you are eating these on the beach or during a day out on a boat… three words: Rosé all day. You really cannot go wrong with most rosé wines if you spend about $12. Justin makes a fabulous blush wine for about $20 if you want to spend a little more. You can also impress your wine loving friends and go for a côtes du rhône rosé such as E. Guigal. I would hazard to say that any rosé sparkling wine will pair excellently with these pepperoni rolls on a hot day.

Pepperoni rolls:

1 1/2 cups milk (can sub 1/2 cup cream and 1 cup water)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100 grams) white granulated sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 cups ( 820 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for forming the rolls
Olive oil for the bowl and brushing
6 oz package sliced pepperoni
8 oz shredded mozzarella
Italian seasoning and Kraft grated Parmesan cheese for the tops (optional)

Make the bread dough:

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and mix in the butter salt, and sugar. Allow this to cool for 10 min while you measure the rest of your ingredients. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water, making sure it foams up.

Fit your stand mixer with a dough hook and pour the milk/butter/sugar/salt into the bowl of the mixer. Pour in the 3 eggs, yeast dissolved in water, and about half the flour. Beat on low speed until this is all incorporated.

Add in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of bowl. Knead with the dough hook, on low to medium speed, for 5 minutes.

Oil a large bowl with olive oil and dump the dough from the mixer into this, turning to coat the dough. Lightly cover with a towel or Saran Wrap. Allow the dough to sit in a warm place for at least 90 minutes, or until it doubles in size.

Make the pepperoni rolls:

Line a 9 x 13 inch metal pan with parchment (or foil/release paper) or butter/flour the pan.

On a well floured surface, dump the dough out of the bowl. Divide the dough into fourths. Divide these pieces in half. Divide each of these pieces into three. You should get 24 pepperoni rolls.

Flatten each piece of dough with your hands and press 4-5 pepperoni slices and pinch of mozzarella cheese into the dough. (I try to jam in as much pepperonis and cheese as I can.) See the above picture for reference. Pull the bottom dough around the pepperonis and cheese, pinching together. Flip it over and mold into a ball as best you can. Place into the pan with the pinched side down.

Allow the rolls to rise for 30-40 minutes until they are poofed up. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust a rack so it is in the center of the oven.  Sprinkle with shredded parmesan and Italian seasoning if you desire. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until they are golden brown.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Steak Kabobs

We are getting some fabulous bell peppers and cherry tomatoes from the garden right now… I could not think of a better use for these beauties than kabobs! You can really put almost anything on kabobs! These have vidalia onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and steak. You could definitely use mushrooms, shrimp or chicken. Zucchini and yellow squash are also perfect kabob vegetables which I use all the time. See the pictures below of all vegetable kabobs that make a great side with steaks or burgers. Throw on some peaches and pineapple if you are feeling adventurous. Steak and chicken should be marinated in advance. But the main point is… Have fun and use what is in your garden or your fridge. Sirloin or tenderloin tips are usually cheaper and are already chopped for you. But if you cannot find them at your grocery store, use whatever steak cuts you prefer. See the pictures below for inspiration but use your favorite vegetables or whatever catches your eye at the farmer’s market. Use a vidalia onion dressing or balsamic vinaigrette glaze to add some zing to the vegetable kabobs. The brightly colored and super fresh summer vegetables are the highlight in these kabobs. So serve them with a complimentary Sauvignon Blanc. Starborough makes a super reasonably price Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. The wine has crisp and refreshing citrus notes with hints of tropical fruit.

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Steak Kabobs

1 lb steak tips, or steak chopped into one inch pieces
3/4 cup Balsamic vinaigrette (recipe found here)
1 medium onion, quartered
3 medium bell peppers, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 Zucchini or yellow squash, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Bamboo or metal skewers

Place the steak pieces in a container with 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes prior to preparing kabobs.

Assemble the kabobs by alternating onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, squash and steak. Drizzle with remaining balsamic vinaigrette. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Prepare a medium heat fire in a charcoal or gas grill. The charcoal is ready when it is covered with ash and no longer burning duper hot. Cook the kabobs for 4 minutes, turn and cook for another 4-6 minutes. The steaks should be 125 degrees for medium rare.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Potato and Onion Volcanoes

To celebrate the one year anniversary of Bubbly Kitchen, I have a very special recipe below. Yes, you may look at all the steps and details below and wonder, wtf is she doing. But this recipe is really quite simple and the results will blow your mind! See here for the details on how they make the volcanoes. I have eaten this in NYC at Momofuku Milk Bar and it is as amazing as it looks. The next best thing to eating these buns for dinner… eating them for lunch at work and seeing the jealousy on everyone’s face. They reheat beautifully in the microwave. This is a great weekend project and will impress any guests you have for lunch or dinner. We will start this recipe like so many here at Bubbly Kitchen… frying bacon! And then we will caramelize our onions in this, our favorite thing! I like to fry plenty of extra bacon and caramelize double the amount of onions, which I encourage you to do as well. Stored in the fridge you will have the makings for an insanely good pizza or delicious burger toppings. Because there are a lot of steps here, making double just makes sense. It seems like all the magazines these days are all about “5 ingredient dinners” and “quick 30 minute meals.” I enjoy a recipe for a quick weeknight meal as much as the next food blogger… but my absolute favorite thing are recipes that I can turn into multiple days of different lunches and dinners. Make all the ingredients one day ahead. The scalloped potatoes are so amazing. So double the potatoes and serve that aside the burgers/steaks/chicken you are having for dinner the night before you make your buns. Store the potatoes or caramelized onions in the fridge for up to 3 days before making your buns.

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The recipe below makes about 6 volcanoes depending on how tall you manage to stack the potatoes in there. The Momofuku Mother Dough recipe will make approximately double the dough you may need. In case you want to be a little bit nuts like myself: make double the bacon, onions, and potatoes then make the buns until you are tired of making them. I was very generous with my dough and used more than half. There is some room for error here so do not fret! The dough itself is super simple and a great basic recipe. The book includes a number of other uses for this dough… bagel bombs (coming to the Bubbly Kitchen in due time) and a cinnamon bun pie that looks insane! If you are looking for another classic cookbook for your shelves, definitely buy Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi. This book is jam packed with incredible recipes for desserts and other treats. I probably only buy 2-3 cookbooks every year. I try so many recipes that I find online and when something is just so fabulous, I will buy the book that it came from. I also prefer cookbooks that contain foul language from real people. The story of Momofuku Milk Bar is a page turner. There are fabulous details about ingredients, kitchen equipment, and technique in this book that cannot be found anywhere else. The cookies, cakes, and pies in here will captivate you.

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Caramelized Onions and Bacon

5 slices bacon, sliced into one inch pieces
2 large spanish onions, halved, sliced thinly
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Cook the bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook until the bacon renders its grease. The bacon will cook more in the potatoes so it should be slightly soft, avoid crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl with a paper towel liner.

Reserve 2 tbsp bacon grease in the pan. (If you are vegetarian or do not have enough bacon grease, use vegetable oil.) Toss the onions into the bacon grease until they are all evenly coated. Cook for 3 minutes and then sprinkle with salt. Decrease the heat to medium-low and allow the onions to caramelize for 35 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 5 minutes or so. (Here is where I start work on the potatoes.) The onions are done when they are a deep golden brown. Remove to a bowl.

Scalloped Potatoes

1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
4 oz heavy cream
3 oz milk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
3 oz cooked bacon
2 russet potatoes

Smash the garlic clove with the back of your knife. Place this smashed garlic in a small saucepan with the bay leaf, cream, milk, salt and pepper. Heat over medium until the liquid comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow the spices to steep for 30 minutes.

Peel the potatoes and slice extremely thin, less than 1/8 inch (basically as thin as you as a human home chef can make them.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange the sliced potatoes in an 8 inch square baking dish. Layer them in the dish like shingles, scattering pieces of bacon throughout. Remove the spices from your steeped cream with a slotted spoon. Pour the cream over the potatoes.

Bake for 45 minutes until they are golden brown. Cool the potatoes in the fridge with foil covering them and something heavy smashing them down.

Momofuku Mother Dough

550 grams bread flour
12 grams kosher salt
3.5 grams dried yeast
370 grams or 1 3/4 cup water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together the flour, yeast, and salt. Mix together with a spoon and add the water until the dough forms a shaggy mass. Mix with the dough hook on low speed for 3 minutes. Scrape the edges of the bowl and mix for 4 more minutes. The dough should spring back when pressed lightly.

Grease a large nonreactive bowl with vegetable oil or butter. Place the dough into the prepared bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, allow to rise for 1 hour.

Potato and Onion Volcano Assembly

1 cup grated cheese (mixture of gruyere and white cheddar)
1 egg
1/2 tsp water
1/2 recipe mother dough
Scalloped potatoes
Caramelized onions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Punch down the dough and divide into 4 approximately equal pieces.

Stretch each piece of dough out to an 8 inch circle. Sprinkle some cheese onto the circles of dough, then divide the onions among the dough.

Cut the potatoes into portions of 3-4 inch squares and remove each with a spatula. Place a square of potatoes on each dough round. (See images from Serious Eats in the link above for more details.) Pull the edges of the dough to the center, covering the potatoes and onions, and pinch the dough together, forming a ball. Turn the ball over and roll between your hands to make an even shape. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave plenty of space between the buns.

Make an egg wash with the water, egg, and a whisk. Brush each bun with a generous coating of egg wash. Using a very sharp pairing knife, cut a 1 inch X in the top of each bun. Divide the cheese among the buns, stuffing the cheese into the X.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Recipe adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar.

Spicy Kale Pizza

This kale recipe with bacon has made me fall in love with kale. I used to buy kale solely for putting in my smoothies. Then I made butternut squash and kale lasagna (recipe coming soon). Now I cannot stop making this bacon kale goodness. I may have been guilty of making fun of people who are obsessed with kale in the past. I am not going to be making kale chips to substitute for unhealthy full fat potato chips anytime soon though. This recipe comes in at 450 calories for one quarter of the pizza. I think this is a miracle considering the delicious dough and perfectly melty cheese. Serve this pizza with Gewürztraminer, an Italian style (usually called traminer) if you can find it. This is a very distinct wine with off dry, floral notes that complement the spiciness of the kale. This wine pairs well with most spicy foods.

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1/2 recipe basic pizza dough
3 cups chopped kale
3 slices thick cut bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup part skim ricotta
1 cup 2% milk shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
Melted butter

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in the bacon. Saute the bacon until it renders some of the fat, about 6 minutes, until it is brown but still soft. Mix in the garlic and red pepper flakes, cook 1 minute. Add in the kale and cover with a lid. Cook for 5 minutes and then remove the lid. Saute for 5 minutes more or until the kale is firm tender.

Preheat oven with pizza stone in place to 450 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough between two sheets of oiled parchment. It should be about 12 inches in diameter or 1/4 inch thickness.

Distribute the ricotta by the spoonful over the pizza dough, leaving a 1 inch border. Spread the cooked greens and bacon over the ricotta. Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Brush butter on the exposed edges of the pizza dough. Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is browning.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

These days it seems like everyone is changing recipes to be whole wheat or whole grain. I am reading all these articles about grinding your own grains… sounds super hipster. No matter what flour you use, my pizza recipes end up with the same amount of calories. So I am not sure how much time should be spent making things “whole.” In theory there is a difference in the breakdown of whole grains versus super processed grains in our body. It seems logical that the more processed the grains are the faster the food turns into sugar. Whole grains may be more slow burning carbs. But this pizza crust just tastes fabulous. I’m not trying to lie to you and say that this pizza is healthier because its whole wheat. This recipe makes two larger pizzas that I sliced into 8 pieces. This comes out to be about 165 calories for 1/8th of the pizza. Whole wheat or white whole wheat flour can be used here. I prefer King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour in most recipes, it has the best flavor. You can obviously use this for any of the Bubbly Kitchen pizza recipes: Gruyere and Caramelized Onions, White Pizza, Breakfast Pizza, Spicy Kale Pizza.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

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Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Makes 2 x 12 inch pizzas

2½ cups whole wheat flour
2½ cups unbleached bread flour
2 cups lukewarm water
4½ tsp. instant yeast
1¾ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. honey

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours, water, yeast, salt olive oil, and honey. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Leave the mixer on for 6 minutes to knead the dough. Place 1 tsp olive oil in a large glass bowl and swirl around. Transfer dough to the bowl, turning once to coat in oil. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Rise for 1½-2 hours.

Gently punch the dough to deflate it. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into two pieces. Work each piece into a smooth ball. This I’d the step where I wrap one of the dough balls in plastic wrap and freeze it in a freezer bag. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough between two sheets if parchment sprayed with olive oil. Preheat oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone in place. Place your toppings on the crust and bake for 10 minutes.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats.