We The Pizza.

hawaiin deep dish pizza

Continuing our Obama-inspired menu, we drew from POTUS’s island roots and decided to make a Hawaiian pizza- fresh pineapple, thinly sliced ham (proscuitto would be delicious as well), and two varieties of mozzarella make Hawaiian pizza one of the most popular in the States.  And then we got crazy and paid homage to his Chicago life ALSO, throwing those Hawaiian toppings on a traditional cornmeal deep dish crust.    Check out our recipes for homemade pizza crust and marinara sauce also!

You’ll need:
Deep Dish Pizza Crust
6 oz. shredded mozzarella
2 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
6 slices of thinly sliced ham or proscuitto
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup sliced pineapple
2 cups marinara sauce

Start by rolling out your pizza crust to a 13-inch circle.  Rub the inside of a spring form pan with olive oil and set the crust inside the pan, working it two inches up the side of the pan.

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Layer on the shredded mozzarella and the sauce on top.  Seriously people- cheese FIRST.  Sauce SECOND.  The cheese sort of melts into the crust and creates this gooey perfection.

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Now, layer on your toppings.  We were looking for a traditional Hawaiian pizza, but obviously you could use a variety of other toppings:

  • Pepperoni
  • Assorted cheeses
  • Roasted bell peppers
  • Kalamata olives
  • A bevy of cured meats
  • Shrimp
  • This list could literally go on forever.

Bake at 425° for 20-30 minutes, or until, you know, the pizza is ready.  If you don’t know when a pizza looks gooey and crispy and perfect, then shoot us an email and we’ll come to your house and tell you.  We charge in pizza slices, if you catch my drift.

Love,

The Hungry Texans

Chicago-Style Half Smokes

chicago style half smokes

In honor of Obama’s re-inauguration, we set out to create a Barack-inspired dish that highlighted his ties to both Chicago and our lovely DC.  This Chicago-Style Half Smoke combines the prez’s roots in Chi-City with his new home in DC.

The half smoke is an interesting sausage, popularized by DC’s Ben’s Chili Bowl and named aptly because it is usually half pork, half beef.  We found a half smoke that was produced in the DMV, and the nutrition facts are kindly out of focus, just like my mind treats all sausage.

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So what happens when you load a DC-native half smoke onto a poppy seed bun and heap on Chicagoan toppings?  A culinary mixture fit for the President himself!

You’ll need:

8 Poppy Seed buns (make your own with our recipe here!)
8 half smoke sausages
Tomatoes
Atomic relish
Dill pickle spears
Chopped onion
Yellow mustard

Once your poppy seed buns are out of the oven, this recipe is really all about assembly.  Heat the half smokes on a grill or on the stovetop, just until they have a bit of color and are heated through.  Then pile your Chi-Town toppings- tomatoes, relish, yellow mustard, a dill pickle spear, and chopped onion.

Since we couldn’t decide between a 312 and a DC Brau, we treated ourselves to both!

Poppyseed Hot Dog Buns

Well Hot Dog, these buns are delicious.  The best part?  You get to personalize the bun size.  And everyone deserves a perfectly sized bun for their sausage.  We adapted this recipe from Serious Eats and pulled our dough together in a Kitchen-Aid mixer, although you could use your hands!

You’ll need:

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup instant mashed potato
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
Poppy seeds
Egg wash

To start, combine your water, yeast, sugar, and instant potatoes in your stand mixer.  Let this mixture stand for 15 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.  Then, add the salt and flours, kneading until the dough is smooth.

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Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes.  Knead the olive oil into the dough, cover the bowl again, and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes, until it has doubled in size.  DSC_0199

When the dough has doubled, knead it on a floured surface, then divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.

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Form these 8 pieces into cylinders, then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds.  You’ll notice that we tried a few different sizes, not really knowing how each would expand or contract during baking.  It really depends on the size of your sausage, but we liked how  the shorter, fatter buns turned out.

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Pop the buns into a 350 oven for about 30 minutes, then slice down the middle and fill with your favorite sausage-y treats.

DSC_0329xoxo,

Hungry Texans

 

easy marinara

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This marinara is so quick and easy, it has become a fast friend in my kitchen.  You can add to it whatever ingredients you like and have on hand- fresh zucchini, carrots, or basil are just a few.  I’m rarely picky about my canned food brands, but in this case, don’t settle for anything less than San Marzano.  I use their crushed tomatoes to eliminate the blender step, but feel free to use the whole tomatoes.  As long as they’re San Marzano.  Ok, plug over.

You’ll need:
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large cans San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs died oregano
1 tbs basil

In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onions and garlic.  Let cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onions and garlic are soft and translucent.  Add the crushed tomatoes and dried herbs.  Stir and let simmer on low for 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.  Before serving, stir in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Chicago Style Pizza Marinara Sauce

Use as pizza sauce, over pasta or veggies.

xoxo,

Hungry Texans

nommable: scratch dc

scratch_dc_boxMaybe one of your resolutions for 2013 is to cook at home more often.  And maybe it isn’t.  Either way, Scratch DC is making it easier for busy Washingtonians to cook a seriously stellar dinner for a fraction of the time and money required.

Here are three reasons Scratch DC is awesome:

1. Price per ingredient.  The ingredients are fresh and locally sourced.  They even outline which farms their cheeses & produce came from (ours were from Farmdale Organics, Natural by Nature, Trickling Springs Creamery, and White Swan Acres, all in PA).  The price for our two-person brunch (full disclosure: we got a great dinner offer with friends Friday night, so we made our bundle for brunch this afternoon.  even more disclosure, we poached eggs and threw them on top) was only $26.00, and I can easily see myself spending twice that at Whole Foods on the same meal.  But since Scratch pre-portions all of the ingredients, there are no leftover bunches of parsley or sad can of chipotle peppers of which you only used one.  Genius!

2. Time saver.  Ordering is easy as pie online, delivery is free and straightforward, and the cleanup & prep work that Scratch DC takes care of for you is incredible.  From start to finish, this took us 40 minutes.

3. It’s nom-nom-nommable!  The fresh ingredients shine and the guys at Scratch are not afraid of flavor.  They tell you which ingredients are most spicy or powerful so that you can add to taste and the components are marinated and seasoned well.  Plus, they now include general nutrition facts for each meal.

We chose Friday’s meal- Shrimp and Veggie Enchiladas with a Creamy Jalapeno Sauce.  And listen- I’m a Hungry Texan, people, so shrimp and enchiladas are my life blood.  I make shrimp of most every variety, and these enchiladas were truly great.  Here’s our story in pictures:

The bundle is cute, succinct, and biodegradable:

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We made our sauce from the sour cream, chicken stock & jalapenos and sauted our cabbage, spinach & carrots.
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And thanks to Scratch’s surprises & delights, we enjoyed surprise cookies and mimosas

(the cookies were a gift from Scratch, and since we didn’t have to worry about prep, we could focus on mimosas!)

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And the whole thing turned out beautifully!

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Sure, there were a couple things they need to improve on- pictures in the instructions would be nice for unseasoned chefs who don’t make roux on the reg.  But this is the first iteration of a company that is fit to succeed.  Can’t wait to try it again!

xoxo,

hungry texans

new year’s day supper: grilled pork chops with apple & peach chutney

pork title

Pictured clockwise, from pork: Grilled Pork Chops with Apple-Peach Chutney (progress), Braised Cabbage (wealth), Pan Seared Red Kale & Rainbow Chard with Bacon (prosperity), Black Eyed Peas (luck), Potato Mash (yummy), Ginger-Cabbage Potstickers (multicultural wealth).

Whew!  We sure felt lucky this morning.  Was it from finishing up a year full of adventure and friendship, starting countless new projects, or finishing up the year with old friends?  Maybe.  Or maybe it was the symbol-ripe supper we whipped up last night.    We covered all of the basics- pork for progress, cabbage for wealth & black eyed peas for luck.  And we even found new meaning for mashed potatoes (potato –> irish –> famine –> perseverance?)  Special thanks to Man Chef Alan for bringing his perfect pecan pie and Tex-Pat & Boston Boy for peeling themselves away from the couch long enough to churn out a few cabbage dumplings.

This recipe is for the grilled pork chops, but more New Year’s Day recipes will follow.  I urge you to try this pork for your next lucky supper or just a quick weeknight dinner!

You’ll need:

4 thick, boneless pork chops (you can use bone-in if you’d like)

For the Brine:

4 cups water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp red pepper flakes

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Combine ingredients for the brine in a large bowl.  Place pork chops in a large ziplock bag, then add the brine and be sure the pork chops are covered in the liquid.  Let them sit in a bowl overnight.

For the Chutney:

2 apples, diced

2 peaches, diced

1 jalapeno

2 tbs brown sugar

2 tbs vinegar

2 tbs minced ginger

1/2 cup red onion

1 tsp curry powder

Heat olive oil in small pan and add red onion and jalapeno.  Cook until soft, then add other ingredients and cook over low heat for 20-30 minutes, until soft.  Mash with a potato masher or with an immersion blender, leaving the mixture slightly coarse.

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Remove the pork chops from the brine ~30 minutes before cooking.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat your grill (or a cast iron grill pan) to medium low heat and cook the pork chops for 4 minutes on each side.  After ~10 minutes, glaze the chops with the apple chutney on both sides.  Pork gives me a bit of anxiety because I’m always afraid to overcook it, so I use a meat thermometer and take it off the heat when the internal temperature is 160°.  Let them rest off the grill for 10 minutes before serving.

leek & fennel bread pudding

leek and fennel title pageSavory bread puddings can render a few funny looks, but this Leek and Fennel Bread Pudding couldn’t be a more appropriate addition to a family style dinner (I made it both for Thanksgiving and Christmas).  The first time I made it, I followed Thomas Keller’s recipe to the very last sage leaf.  And trust me, it did the trick.  I let the leeks steam under a parchment lid, carefully toasted my brioche (Whole Foods makes an excellent one if you don’t have an extra day to make this recipe), and used his exact measurements.  But we did notice a couple of improvements to be made- namely that there could have been more leeks.  So the second time I made this recipe, I doubled the leeks.  And why not?  Leeks are a delicious little savory treat, perfect with the gruyere and cream.  And as an added level of substance in an otherwise decadent cream-filled bread pudding, I threw in a bulb of sliced fennel.  I also tried using a challah as an alternative to the brioche.  Both are sweet and eggy and somehow dense and light at the same time, so both worked for this bread pudding.  The following recipe is a combination of my two attempts.

You’ll need:

12 cups brioche or challah, sliced into one inch cubes

4 large leeks

1 bulb fennel

4 tbs butter

3 eggs

3 cups milk

3 cups heavy cream

1 cup shredded gruyere cheese

Salt, to season

Preheat the oven to 350.  Slice your brioche or challah into one inch cubes and spread out on a baking sheet.  Pop into the oven and let toast for 20 minutes.

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While the bread is toasting, slice your leeks and fennel.  You only want to use the white part of the leeks and the bulb of the fennel.  Slice into 1/3 inch thick slices.  Place the leeks and fennel into a large bowl and cover with water.  Let them soak for a couple minutes to allow the sediment to fall out into the bottom of the bowl (they are, after all, root veggies).

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Lift the vegetables out of the water and place them into a large pan over medium heat.  The water will release from the leeks and allow them to start steaming.  After 5 minutes, add the butter and stir.

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Create a parchment lid (the second time around, I didn’t have parchment so I just used a lid- the world didn’t end) and set on top of the mixture.  Reduce heat to medium low, add a bit of salt, and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes more.

parchment lid

While the leeks are simmering, whisk eggs, milk, and cream in a large bowl to create the custard.

custard YUM

When the custard is made and the brioche is toasted and the leeks are soft, it’s time to combine them all.  Toss the leek mixture into the bread cubes and add ½ cup of shredded gruyere cheese.  Pour out into a 9×13 baking dish and pour 2/3 of the custard over the mixture.  Press down to be sure that the bread soaks up the custard, then let sit for 10 minutes.
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Pour the remaining mixture over the bread and add the rest of the gruyere.  Sprinkle with salt and pop into the oven for 80-90 minutes. 
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