Broccoli Cheddar Rolls

New [to me] pizza was had on Friday night. Handsome Pizza is a sweet little pie shop over on Killingsworth. Their special had stinging nettles, mozzarella, shaved onion, Calabrian chilies and parmesan. I ate it. It sounded so intriguing. My parents have been on a big stinging nettle tea kick, so it seemed only appropriate to eat it on pizza. It was leafy, yet tender. It didn’t have a super strong flavor of anything specific despite being all over the pizza. It was really quite nice. Plus you can’t go wrong with Calabrian chilies.

This was another one of those recipes where I saw it one afternoon and then made it that night for dinner. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. The siren call of pizza dough is strong. I ate an obscene amount of the rolls immediately from the oven. I’m convinced that broccoli negates any ill effects of eating nearly an entire ball of pizza dough to yourself. There is something so satisfying eating these to the gooey middle. Who needs cinnamon rolls when you have these? I’m pretty sure I’d eat them over cinnamon rolls every time.

Broccoli Cheddar Rolls2

Inspiration: Shutterbean

Ingredients

  • 1 ball of pizza dough
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • liberal application of red chile flakes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400° and ready a baking sheet. Roll out the ball of pizza dough about 9″x16″. In a large skillet heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the broccoli and sauté for a good five minutes. It’s going to turn bright green and soften. Add the garlic and stir often until it is also softened.

Sprinkle the broccoli mixture evenly across the rolled out dough. Leave about an inch around all sides. Top with the cheese, the red chile flakes, and salt and pepper. Starting with one of the 16″ sides, roll everything up. Cut them into rolls. I don’t have a dough scraper, but I do have a bread knife, and that seems to work well. Place the rolls face up on your baking sheet. Sprinkle any of the cheese that escaped while cutting the dough on top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minute before eating. It’s necessary because boiling hot cheese is the worst, but it’s going to smell so good!

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs

Another rapid fire update and a recipe during busy season:

*Prince Coffee is a new coffeeshop in the ‘hood and they make stroopwafels. STROOPWAFELS. Yes.

*Speaking of coffee, our office now has Water Avenue espresso and Stumptown drip coffee. My caffeine intake is at an all-time high.

*Vitamix is sending me a new container. The old one has died after four years of heavy use. That warranty is the best.

*Amazing chicken sandwiches and waffle fries can be had at CHKCHK.

*Tickets to Germany have been purchased. Let the countdown begin. We’re flying in and out of Frankfurt, but have yet to solidify any other plans. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

*Spring appears to be short lived. It’s supposed to be in the 80s next week. WTF.

*Reading for fun again — making my way through the Wildwood series. I really like them.

This recipe is my first of what will probably be a ton over the summer. Tasty by Buzzfeed, if you aren’t familiar, is a video series that breaks down really simple and delicious sounding recipes. Andrew sent me this one and I think we made it same-day. Cheese stuffed meatballs will do that. Stuffing the meatballs are time consuming in the scheme of how long this recipe takes, but it’s worth it. Besides the obvious reasons why one would like a meatball stuffed with cheese, the addition of fennel seeds are key. I can’t get enough of that flavor. Also, using chicken instead of ground beef or pork seemed to make a more sturdy meatball. Less grease. Seriously good stuff. They’re fried to a golden brown before baking the cheese to ooey-gooey perfection.

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Meatballs

Inspiration: Tasty by Buzzfeed

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground dark meat chicken
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • flour for dredging
  • 1 container small mozzarella balls [or a big ball chopped into 1/2 inch pieces]
  • oil for frying

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400º. In a large bowl, add the chicken, onion, parmesan, parsley, fennel seeds, garlic, and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Take a golf ball sized scoop of dough and stuff a piece of mozzarella into it. I found it was easier to flatten it out and wrap the meat around it. Once all of the balls are made, set up a station with the whisked egg and a plate full of the breadcrumbs. Roll the balls in the flour, coat the them in the egg mixture and then dredge them in the bread crumbs.

Fill a skillet with 1/4″ of oil. Heat on high. Fry the meatballs on all sides before placing them on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Green Curry Porridge

The thick of tax season is eating up a lot of free time.

What little free time there is has been spent entertaining friends from out of town and sleeping. Entertaining = eating/drinking when in PDX. Some highlights as of late: Ruby Jewel has a ridiculously good peanut butter ice cream with chopped peanut butter cups that I topped with their marshmallow fluff. That had to happen. High Noon has a stellar taco salad. They fry up their own tortilla bowls. We tried some really good brews out at 54º40′ Brewing Company. Washougal, who knew? There is some solid ramen to be had at Mirakutei. And some scallops with uni. There was an unreal meal had at Le Pigeon involving rabbit, pigeon, and an ungodly amount of black truffle. Pie was had at Lauretta Jean’s a few days before Pi Day because why not? Timbers season started too.

So this curry sounds good right about now. It’s fresh and springy but still comforting and warm. A perfect transition food since the weather/temperature isn’t quite sure what it wants to do. The curry comes together by fresh ingredients, not a pre-made paste. It was a lot easier than I expected. This recipe is another reminder that I need to call in my Vitamix for servicing. I had to finally stop using it. RIP. The serrano peppers added such a nice heat to it. Feel free to leave out of that’s not your thing, but you should make your thing. They’re so good. The only thing I subbed out was jasmine rice for the brown rice and an acorn squash for the delicata because I couldn’t find delicata. Delicious.

Green Curry Porridge

Inspiration: 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoon fresh minced lemongrass
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 3/4 cups jasmine rice
  • 5 cups of water
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 14oz can of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 small serrano
  • 1 cup cilantro + more for serving
  • 1/2 cup green onion tops, save the white parts for garnish
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 small acorn squash, peeled and diced

Preparation

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add the lemongrass, garlic, and coriander. Stir well. Smell that deliciousness. Add the rice and stir to cover in the mixture. Toast them for about 7-10 minutes. Stir occasionally so the herbs don’t burn.

Add the water and two teaspoons of salt. Stir well. Bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Simmer until all rice has cooked and is starting to burst. This will take about 30 minutes.

While the rice cooks, add the coconut milk, ginger, serrano, cilantro, green onion tops, spinach, lime juice and remaining two teaspoons of salt to a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the coconut milk mixture to the rice and add the squash. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes or however long it takes the squash to get tender. Smaller pieces of squash are helpful.

Serve with green onion tops, more lime juice and olive oil.

Mexican Alambre

The Mexican market by our house upped it’s game tenfold. The new management is transforming this small corner store into a legit market. The meat counter alone is enough reason to go. Cactus being the second. The only thing that would make this place even sweeter would be a bakery, but I really don’t need all of that. More marinated meats please. The price and quality meet at an intersection that makes your mind explode. Every time we get something from there, we’re doing a double-take at the price. It just doesn’t feel right, but I’m not going to complain.

Having access to Mexican chorizo is worth its weight in gold. There aren’t substitutes for it. When you remove it from the casing, the stuff at the corner market cooks down into an almost liquid form of spicy goodness. This dish was inspired by La Cocina. It’s like fajitas but made better. It takes everything I love about them [meat and veggies and adds even more meat, more veggies [cactus], and generous amounts of Oaxaca cheese. Be still my heart. You can make tacos out of them, obviously, but I’m much more into shoveling it in by the forkful. Tortillas just take up stomach space.

Mexican Alambre

Inspiration: Food.com

Ingredients

  • 1lb thinly sliced steak
  • 1lb chorizo, casing removed
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup strips of nopales [cactus], rinsed and drained if using the jarred variety
  • 1-2 jalapeños, sliced
  • 4oz+ Oaxaca cheese, shredded
  • tortillas for serving

Preparation

Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the steak and brown on all sides before removing from heat to a paper towel lined plate. Add the chorizo. Break it up. When it’s halfway cooked, add the vegetables. Cook until tender. Add the remaining steak. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Stir in or place under a broiler to melt. Serve with the tortillas. Or with a fork. Fingers work well too.

Cannoli Pound Cake

I’m back in the thick of tax season, which means one thing [other than 60 hour weeks and y’know, stress]: catered dinners.

Oh yes. We try a lot of random local restaurants and caterers four nights a week. Sure, I’ll be sick of it before April, but until then, it’s something to look forward to. This latest caterer, Hunt & Gather Catering, has been by far my favorite. We started last week with some delicious Morrocan food — chicken tagine, couscous, chickpea and sunchoke salad, grilled onion flatbread. The highlight so far though has been this flank steak and romesco sauce, sauteed leeks and greens with browned butter, wild mushroom fregola pasta that had a creamy comforting risotto-style texture, and home baked breads with TRUFFLE BUTTER. Who has truffle butter at work? We do. I ate a ton with dinner, had more for dessert, and then it was a breakfast of champions. It takes all my willpower not to eat it by the spoonful. It ranks up there with foie gras for me. It’s amazing.

Speaking of amazing food, it’s been hard not to post these recipes out of order. This pound cake was the best baking I’ve done in a long, long time. It marries together some of my favorite things, which is something Smitten Kitchen is pretty good at doing. Her cookbook was one of the few that I actually keep on hand. I don’t think I would ever try to make the real deal. The idea of cannoli just sounds like a lot of work. Making it in a cake? Way more my style. Whenever I see cannoli [plural of many cannolo, by the way], I think of my tour of them in Boston for work. We went to Roman Candle Baking Co. in Portland the other night and they not only had them on the menu, they had them for $3. That’s rare to see outside of a city with a Little Italy neighborhood like Boston and San Diego. I didn’t have one because I was too busy gorging on pizza and arancini, but I’ll be back for one. They are a hard-to-resist dessert. Even for me.

Anyway, this cake came together like a dream. Finding tiny chocolocate chips proved challenging, and I’m not sure why. I didn’t want to run the risk making my own with chopped chocolate. I wanted to follow the recipe to a tee. The only substitution I made, which was purely out of necessity, was using vermouth instead of Marsala or white wine. Well, I had white wine, but I didn’t want to open a whole bottle just for a little bit. Vermouth it was, and vermouth was just fine. Zest of both lemon and orange are nonnegotiable. If you’ve had a real cannolo, you know what I’m talking about. The same goes for the chopped pistachios. All of it. 100% nonnegotiable. Just do it. Trust me. Trust Smitten Kitchen. It becomes a one bowl masterpiece that you lick any surface that batter comes in contact with. My god. So good. Don’t over mix so it rises and doesn’t become too tough. It’s a dense, moist cake but it’s not too heavy. It makes for good breakfast. Who doesn’t love cake for breakfast?

Cannoli Bread

Inspiration: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vermouth or Marsala
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta [don’t compromise here, eat all the fat]
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of allspice
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, finally chopped

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350° and spray an 8 1/2″ and 4 1/4″ bread pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, orange and lemon zest. Use your fingers to really disperse it evenly. It’ll be light and fragrant. Whisk in the olive oil, vermouth, ricotta, and eggs until smooth. Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Gently stir in the flour until it’s evenly dispersed. Fold in the chocolate chips and pistachios.  Pour the batter into the pan. Smooth it out as best as possible. Bake for 55-65 minutes until a toothpick comes out clear. Mine took closer to 65 minutes. Allow to cool before inverting on a cooling rack. It’ll keep for several days covered. Good luck seeing if it’ll last that long.