Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Asiago Cheese Bacon Scuffins with Dried Cranberries

Asiago Cheese Bacon Scuffins with Dried Cranberries...

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided (1/2 tablespoon is for sprinkle over the top)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons frozen butter*, shredded
  • 3/4 cup fat free milk, divided (i prefer cream)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 ounce dried cranberries
  • 1 ounce cooked bacon
  • 1 ounce shredded asiago cheese
Preheat the oven to 425.
Combine the flour, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl; stir with a whisk.  (* My trick for the butter – the key to flaky biscuits, pie crusts, etc. is to have super cold butter.  I keep sticks of butter in my freezer, so that by the time I use a box grater to grate the cheese, the butter is still super cold.”  Put the shredded butter in the flour mixture – no need to use a pastry cutter since the butter is super fine – just toss to coat.
Combine 1/2 cup milk, vanilla, and egg white in a bowl.  Add mix mixture to flour mixture stirring until moist.  It was at this time that my dough was still super floury, so I  ended up adding an extra 1/4 cup of milk – but just eye ball it until it looks doughy.
I put my chopped bacon, cranberries and shredded cheese on my counter and put the dough on top – adding just a touch of flour I kneaded the dough until just incorporated.
I weighed each dough ball, made it into a circle and pressed down.  Put on Pam sprayed cookie sheet and divide the remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar and sprinkle over the top of each scuffin.  Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until slightly browned.

southern in the city...

The 10 Best Southern Food Blogs


I've been spending a lot of time perusing food blogs lately, particularly the ones with a Southern bent, and I've been happily surprised by the diversity, scope, and sophistication of the offerings. Whereas some food magazines and recipe-sharing sites often spend the pre-July 4th days focusing on flag cakes and watermelon fruit baskets (all noble pursuits, mind you, and perfect for the occasion), the Southern food blogerati give readers a little something extra and unexpected–the history of sweet tea, for instance (Hushpuppy Nation), or tips on making fried pickle chips on the grill (Biscuits and Such). Here's a round-up of my 10 favorite Southern food blogs, in no particular order, plus a source for finding more.
9. The South Will Rise (Note: This blog hasn't been updated recently, but it's still a great recipe source.)
For more great Southern food blogs, check out Cooking Schools' 2010 Top Southern Style American Cuisine Blogs.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gorgonzola, Fig and Pancetta Pizza...

Gorgonzola, Fig and Pancetta Pizza. Photo © Anson Smart

this popped up on my facebook...doesn't get much better than this...well, maybe some caramelized sweet onions...

Gorgonzola, Fig and Pancetta Pizza

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR

Our Pairing Suggestion

Beer Since this pizza has a lot going on—from creamy cheese to sweet figs—pair it with a refreshing lager, like Tasmania's James Boag's. A sparkling rosé, like the NV Jansz Premium Rosé, would also work.



  1. 1 cup canned peeled Italian tomatoes
  2. Pinch of dried oregano, crumbled
  3. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  4. 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  5. 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  6. 10 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  7. 1 large plum tomato, very thinly sliced
  8. 4 ounces very thinly sliced pancetta
  9. 2 ounces Gorgonzola dolce
  10. 2 cups baby arugula
  11. 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  12. 8 fresh figs, quartered


    1. 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
    2. 1 tablespoon sugar
    3. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    4. 1 1/4 cups warm water
    5. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    6. 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling

    1. MAKE THE DOUGH In a large bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, olive oil and water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and 3 cups of flour and stir until a really stiff dough forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Oil the bowl, return the dough to it and let stand, covered, until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
    2. Punch down the dough. Roll it into 4 balls. Transfer the balls to a work surface, cover with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
    3. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SAUCE In a blender, puree the canned tomatoes with the oregano; season with salt and pepper.
    4. Light a grill. Work with 1 ball of dough at a time and keep the rest covered: Roll the dough out onto a floured work surface to a 10-inch round, 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the round to a large, oiled baking sheet and brush with oil. Repeat with the remaining 3 balls of dough.
    5. Set all of the toppings near the grill. Rub the grate with oil. Carefully drape two of the pizza dough rounds over the grill and cook over low heat until golden on the bottoms, about 3 minutes. Working quickly, flip the pizza crusts and top each with one-fourth of the tomato sauce, parsley, mozzarella, sliced tomato, pancetta and Gorgonzola. Close the lid and grill over low heat until the pizzas are lightly charred on the bottoms, the cheese is bubbling and the pancetta is just beginning to brown, 4 minutes. Transfer the pizza to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings. Return the pizzas to the grill, cover and rewarm until crisp, 1 minute.In a bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the figs and arugula over the pizzas and serve                                    
    6. i like the figs on the pizza, in the oven...maybe not the whole time, depends if they are fresh or dried, and if you re-hydrate them...

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    lots of fun with david lebowitz...

    Strawberry Vodka

    strawberry vodka
    I was scrolling through Twitter recently and one of the folks that I follow mentioned “Strawberry Vodka.” Normally fruit-flavored vodka wouldn’t interest me, but Jessica had made it herself, using a simple recipe and technique from Sean Timberlake of Punk Domestics, and since it was strawberry season and I my market was bursting with fresh berries, I decided to give it a go.
    I made it myself the following day and it was quick, and wonderful. The flavor of the vodka is like drinking syrupy berries in their prime with a kick of alcohol in the aftermath, and it could not be easier to make. It makes a great summer drink; just add an ice cube or two, and you’re ready to sip! I asked Sean if he’d like to write it up as a guest post to share, and he happily agreed. Thanks for sharing, Sean… – David

    Strawberry-Infused Vodka

    by Sean Timberlake of Punk Domestics
    Vodka infusions were my gateway drug to DIY (Do-It-Yourself) food. And once I had been bitten by the cooking bug, I discovered ways of imparting flavors into bland, neutral vodka to produce something utterly new. The technique is almost the opposite of cooking: When you cook, the magic ingredient is heat. With infusions and liqueurs, the magic ingredient is time.
    strawberries for vodka infusion slicing strawberries
    In many ways, it’s my favorite form of preserving. By extracting the flavor of fruit or other ingredients at the peak of their ripeness, you are capturing their very essence. Lightning in a bottle.
    pouring vodka over strawberries strawberries in vodka
    The basics of vodka infusion couldn’t be simpler: Cut up fruit, steep in vodka, strain, drink. The nuance, and the art, is in deciding how much fruit, and how long to steep. When you’ve got gorgeous, ripe, unbelievably fragrant strawberries, it doesn’t take much. A couple of cartons of berries and a few days, max.
    strawberries & raspberries
    Always use perfectly ripe, clean and organic fruit. Remember: Vodka is a solvent, so while you’re extracting color, flavor, sweetness and aroma, you could also be extracting pesticides and other chemicals. Choose your fruit wisely.
    marinating strawberries
    We’re lucky to have some of the best strawberries available anywhere, right here in San Francisco. For a recent class on infusions, I used lurid, almost glowingly red Albion strawberries that smelled faintly of bubble gum. When we strained the vodka and tasted it, one of the students said she thought it was better than eating actual strawberries.
    strawberry-vodka recipe
    The flavor of infusions fades relatively quickly – unlike liqueurs – which improve with age. Store in the fridge for several weeks. Or, better yet, keep in the freezer for maximum enjoyment.
    washed strawberries strawberry vodka

    Strawberry Vodka
    Makes about 1 quart (1l)

    Sean mentioned that he normally drinks this straight, very well-chilled (because he stores it in the freezer.) He offered that he did make a cocktail with 3 parts strawberry vodka, 1 part sweet vermouth and a dash of Campari but said that you could also add a drizzle of it to a glass of sparkling wine of Champagne for a kir-like concoction. I drank it just over ice, and it was fabulous.
    I used inexpensive vodka since it’s just a neutral base for the strawberries. You could add a split vanilla bean or some black peppercorns to the infusion to jazz it up, if you wish. Frugal-types might ask about what to do with the strawberries after they’re used. If you taste one, you’ll find that all of their flavor has been extracted, but you could use them to bulk up a batch of strawberry jam. -david

    One bottle (750ml) vodka
    2 pints (about 1 1 /4 pounds, 575g) strawberries, organic or unsprayed

    1. Rinse, hull, and quarter the strawberries and place them in a glass container with lid. Add vodka, cover, and agitate the jar.
    2. Store in cool, dark place (such as a kitchen cabinet) for 3 to 7 days, swirl around once a day.
    3. After 3 to 7 days, strain with cheese cloth. If you want it really clear, strain again through a coffee filter.
    4. Store in a bottle – such as the original vodka bottle – and use at your discretion.

    Visit Sean Timberlake at his site Punk Domestics, a community-driven space dedicated to preserving and conserving, and follow the fun on Twitter andFacebook.

    Related Links and Recipes
    Rhubarb Vodka (The Kitchn)
    Bubble Gum Vodka (A Cozy Kitchen)
    Elderberry Vodka (Eating from the Ground Up)
    Limoncello (Hedonia)
    Homemade Bacon Vodka (Brownie Points)
    Elderflower Syrup (Georgia Pellegrini)