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BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

When I am meal planning, I often like to make things that are similar right next to each other to ensure that I use all of the ingredients and that there are no leftover components sitting in the fridge forever. While I was thinking about the buffalo wing dip, it reminded me something else that I have been wanting to try making for a while, a bbq chicken pizza. A bbq chicken pizza is basically a pizza with barbecue sauce instead of a tomato sauce that is topped with grilled chicken, onions and cheese. I have experimented with replacing the tomato sauce on pizzas before and I have alway been happy with the results so I was looking forward to trying a bbq sauce based pizza. At one point, I was thinking about just using hot sauce but I figured that a homemade bbq sauce would be even better and I had just picked up some liquid smoke that I wanted to try adding to give it a hickory smoke aroma.

The bbq chicken pizza turned out really well! The sweet and spicy hot bbq sauce was simply amazing as a pizza sauce all covered in melted cheese and the smoky aroma took it over the edge. Barbecue chicken is always good and the combination was definitely a winner on this pizza. Now I am looking forward to having the leftovers for breakfast.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

(makes 1 large pizza)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 pound chicken breast (boneless and skinless)
1 pizza dough
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1 handful red onion (sliced)
1/2 cup gouda (grated)
1 cup mozzarella (grated)
1 ounce blue cheese (crumbled)
1 handful cilantro (chopped)

Directions:
1. Grill the chicken until just cooked all the way through, remove from heat, let sit and then slice it into 1/4 inch slices.
2. Roll the pizza dough out on a lightly floured surface.
3. Spread the bbq sauce over the dough followed by the chicken, onion, and cheeses.
4. Bake in a preheated 500F oven until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.
5. Serve garnished with the chopped cilantro.

Similar Recipes:
Buffalo Wing Dip
Thai Chicken Pizza with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Kimchi, Bacon and Shiitake Mushroom Pizza
BBQ Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps
Taco Pizza
Thai Chicken Pizza with Sweet Chili SauceSlow Cooker Bacon Wrapped Apple BBQ Chicken

Kimchi Chicken Melt

Kimchi Chicken Melt

I recently learned about the All You Need is Cheese grilled cheese contest being put on by dairygoodness.ca and it was the perfect excuse to make a grilled cheese sandwich, not that I really need one. :) With my fresh batch of kimchi on hand I was thinking of another kimchi styled grilled cheese sandwich. I also had some cooked shredded chicken in the freezer that needed to be used and it seemed like the easiest, and possibly the tastiest way to use it would be in the form of a chicken salad sandwich grilled to perfection with lots of ooey gooey melted cheese. I kept the kimchi chicken salad sandwich nice and simple with some bacon, green onions, mayo and gochujang along with the kimchi and the chicken. You really can't go wrong with combining a creamy mayo based chicken salad with melted cheese and spicy kimchi and this sandwich was no exception!

Kimchi Chicken Melt

(makes 1 sandwich)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 strips bacon (cut into bite sized pieces)
1/4 cup kimchi (drained and chopped)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon gochujang
1/2 cup chicken (cooked and shredded)
1 green onion (sliced)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (toasted)
1 handful cheese (grated)
1 tablespoon butter (room temperature)
2 slices of bread (or a bun cut in half)

Directions:
1. Cook the bacon and set aside
2. Saute the kimchi in the bacon grease until caramelized, about 3-5 minutes.
3. Mix mayonnaise and gochujang in a small bowl.
4. Mix the bacon, kimchi, gochujang mayo, green onion and sesame seeds.
5. Butter one side of each slice bread.
6. Place the buttered side of one slice of bread in a heated pan and top with the chicken salad mixture followed by the cheese and the second slice of bread with the buttered side face up.
7. Grill until golden brown on both sides and the cheese has melted.

How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Similar Recipes:
Kimchi Chicken Salad Sandwich
Kimchi Egg Salad Sandwich
Kimchi Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Kimchi Sweet Potato Salad

More Great Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Greek Style Pulled Lamb Fries

Greek Style Pulled Lamb Fries

After making several of the Greek style pulled lamb pitas I was looking for a bit of a change and I had just the idea. I was thinking about Greek styled pulled lamb fries something along the veins of chili fries or carne asada fries. Of course in addition to the pulled lamb topping there would be some freshly made mint tzatziki along with diced tomatoes, red onions, feta and some chopped kalamata olives. One of the reasons that I was liking this idea was that it would give me a chance to work on my french fry making skills as they need some improvement. This time my fries came out nicely done and they went well with the pulled lamb and all of the toppings. The fries were lightly golden brown and crispy and the outside and creamy on the inside and with their light salting they made this dish. I have to say that I liked the fry topped version better than the pita wrap version but then you really can't go wrong if your fries come out right.

Greek Style Pulled Lamb Fries

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
4 servings fries (cooked)
1 batch tzatziki (with mint)
1 pound pulled lamb
1/2 cup tomato (diced)
1/2 cup red onion (diced)
1/4 cup feta (crumbled)
1/4 cup kalamata olives (pited and chopped coarsely)

Directions:
1. Assemble and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
Greek Style Pulled Lamb Pitas
Greek Style Nachos
Feta Fries
Baba Ghanoush Topped with Lamb and Yogurt
Baba Ghanoush Burrito Bowl

Greek Style Pulled Lamb Pitas

Greek Style Pulled Lamb Pitas

Ever since I made the Korean BBQ pulled pork sandwich last week, moist, tender, flavourful pulled meat has been on my mind. I was thinking about what else I could do with pulled pork when inspiration struck! What about pulled lamb? As soon as I though about lamb I was thinking about a nice simple souvlaki kind of marinade with olive oil, lemon, garlic and oregano. Of course it would have to be a pulled lamb pita rather than a pulled pork sandwich and I could fill it with tzatziki, fresh diced tomatoes, red onions and feta. Things were starting to sound good!

I wanted to get the maximum flavour out of the lamb and it's tasty marinade so I started early and marinated it over night. Next up was slowly cooking it all day until it was so nice and tender that it was literally falling falling apart. After shredding the lamb I could not let all of those juices, which now contained most of the marinade along with all of it's flavour, go to waste so I skimmed the fat from them and mixed them into the lamb. Those juices both made the lamb even tastier and they helped to ensure that the lamb was nice and moist. I all honesty I could have just eaten all of the lamb just like that with a spoon, well maybe I did have a spoon or two as it was, but next it was time to assemble the pitas. The combination of the moist, tender and tasty lamb with the cool, creamy, garlicky and minty tzatziki and the ripe juicy tomatoes and the salty feta was just out of this world good! Now, what to do with the leftover pulled lamb?

Greek Style Pulled Lamb Pitas

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound pulled lamb (see below)
4 pitas
1 cup tzatziki (with mint)
1 cup tomatoes (diced)
1/4 cup red onion (diced)
1/4 cup feta (crumbled)

Directions:
1. Assemble and enjoy.


Greek Style Pulled Lamb

(makes 4-8 servings)

Ingredients:
2-3 pounds lamb (leg or shoulder, preferably boneless)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 lemon (juice and zest)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion (sliced)

Directions:
1. Marinate the lamb in the garlic, lemon, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper over night in the fridge.
2. Put the onion and lamb in the slow cooker along with the marninade and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
3. Remove the lamb from the slow cooker, let it cool and then shred it with a pair of forks.
4. Skim the fat from the juices and mix the juices into the shredded lamb along with the onion.

Use in:
Greek Style Nachos
Greek Style Pulled Lamb Fries

Similar Recipes:
Greek Style Pulled Lamb Fries
Greek Meatballs (Keftedes) in a Pita with Tzatziki Sauce
Greek Style Nachos
Lamb Souvlaki
Chicken Souvlaki
Baba Ghanoush Topped with Lamb and Yogurt

Dakkochi (Korean Skewered Chicken)

Dakkochi Korean Skewered Chicken)

When I was making bulgogi, a Korean bbq beef, and in particular the chicken bulgogi, I could not help but think that the marinade would also work well on some grilled skewered chicken. The bulgogi marinade reminded me of a more complex teriyaki sauce that is sweet at heart but also packs a ton of flavour. With yakitori, a Japanese teriyaki grilled skewered chicken, being one of my favorite ways to grill up some meat on a stick, I itching to try the Korean bulgogi version. A quick search of the web led me to dakkochi, a Korean skewered chicken street food and I was set to go.

I went with my pretty standard bulgogi marinade recipe and even though I often like to add some heat in the form of gochujang, a Korean fermented chili paste, I decided to omit it for the chicken skewer version in favour of a sweeter profile. Normally when making bulgogi I cook all of that tasty marinade up with the meat so that I do not loose any of the flavour but since that was not possible for the skewered version I decided to strain the solids from the marinade, simmer it down to a sauce and use it to baste or glaze the chicken as it cooked. The bulgogi skewered chicken turned out great! The chicken was nice and tender and juicy and just dripping with flavour! You cannot go wrong with grilled skewered meat and this skewered chicken is no exception! I could not resist adding some element of heat to the meal so I served the chicken along with some ssamjang, a Korean fermented chili and bean paste condiment, and some bean sprout kimchi all wrapped up in lettuce leaves for one tasty meal.

Dakkochi (Korean Skewered Chicken)

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
3 cloves garlic (grated)
1 inch ginger (grated)
1/2 small onion (grated)
1/2 Asian pear (grated)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 green onions (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
1. Mix everything in a freezer bag and marinate for at least an hour.
2. Skewer the chicken on wet skewers and set aside.
3. Strain the solids from the marinade and simmer the marinade until it thickens and becomes saucy, about 5-10 minutes.
4. Grill the chicken until cooked, about 5 minutes per side basting it with the marinade as you go.

Similar Recipes:
Yakitori
Dak Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Chicken)
Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef)
Grilled Tandoori Chicken
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken
Moroccan Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Spicy Orange Shrimp

Spicy Orange Shrimp

Last week when I made the fresh pea risotto with spicy grilled shrimp, I realized that it had been a while since I had done much of interest with shrimp and all of a sudden I was starting to feel shrimp withdrawal symptoms. Luckily I had just the idea to satisfy the cravings in the form of this spicy orange shrimp. I had been thinking about doing a shrimp dish with orange and some Asian flavours for a while and it was the perfect time to try it. I kept the recipe nice and simple with just a few basic ingredients. Oranges can have a fairly subtle flavour so the idea is to season the sauce without overpowering the flavours of the orange. Basically you want to balance the flavour of the orange with a bit of saltiness from the soy sauce, some tang from the vinegar, a touch of sweetness from the honey and some spicy chili heat. The net result is a dish of succulent shrimp covered in a sauce with the aroma and flavour of oranges that just dances on your tongue. I made these shrimp as more of an appetizer but you could easily turn this into a meal by adding a few vegetables and maybe some cashews and serving it on rice or noodles.

Spicy Orange Shrimp

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 tablespoon garlic (grated)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 orange (juice and zest)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chili sauce (or to taste)
1 handful cilantro (chopped)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the shrimp and saute until cooked, about 2-3 minutes per side and set aside.
3. Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, rice wine, honey and chili sauce, deglaze the pan and simmer to reduce to a sauce like consistency.
5. Remove from heat and mix in the shrimp and cilantro.

Similar Recipes:
Thai Lemon Shrimp
Orange Chipotle Shrimp
Tequila Lime Shrimp
Vietnamese Caramel Shrimp (Tom Rim)
Orange Chicken
Firecracker Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce

Ahi Tuna Tostadas

Ahi Tuna Tostadas with Wasabi Aioli

Almost a year ago now I attended the opening party for the restaurant Joey Don Mills here in Toronto. While I was there I saw their as of yet unfinished rooftop patio in addition to getting to sample lots of tasty food. Last week I had the opportunity to attend their long awaited rooftop patio opening party and I have to say, the patio looks great and the food was just as good as I remembered it. I got to sample a number of their dishes while I was there and the one that really caught my attention this time was one of their signature dishes, the ahi tuna tacos and I could not resist trying to recreate them at home.

The ahi tuna tacos are essentially bite sized tacos filled with a sesame and ginger coleslaw topped with a piece of perfectly seared ahi tuna served with a wasabi and lime aioli. The tacos shells are made from a crispy fried wontons and since I could not figure out how to fry them in the shape of a taco shell I ended up making tostadas rather than tacos. I was in luck for the the sesame and ginger coleslaw as I had recently made some and all I needed to do was tweak the recipe a bit to make a mayonnaise-less version. Next up was the wasabi and lime aioli and although aioli is pretty easy to make I was a little pressed for time so I made a really quick and easy version using mayonnaise as the based. With all of the ingredients present all that was left to do was to grill up the tuna and assemble everything. The key to the tuna is to sear it very briefly such that the middle is still nice and pink when you pull it off of the grill.

The ahi tuna tostadas turned out amazingly well! The fried wontons were nice and light and crispy and the sesame and ginger coleslaw was cool and tasty and brought a nice crunchy texture. The wasabi aioli had a mild wasabi flavour and just a hint of bite that did not threaten to overwhelm the delicate flavours of the tuna. With all of the Japanese flavours going on in these tostadas I could not help but try putting a Korean spin on things and I made half of them with a guchujang and lime aioli which was also really good. This dish may be a little decadent with the cost of tuna these days but it is definitely worth treating yourself every once in a while.

If you are interested you can take a look at some of the photos that I took at the party in my Joey Don Mills Patio Flickr Gallery.

Ahi Tuna Tostadas with Gochujang Aioli

Ahi Tuna Tostadas

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
oil for frying
16 wonton wrappers (or corn tortillas cut into triangles)
1 tablespoon oil
1 5 ounce ahi tuna steak
salt and pepper to taste
1 batch sesame and ginger coleslaw
1 batch wasabi aioli (or gochujang aioli, see below)
2 green onions (sliced)
4 birds eye chilies (sliced)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Fry the wontons in batches until crispy and set aside on paper towels to drain.
3. Heat up the grill (or your grill pan) and brush it with oil.
4. Season the tuna on both sides.
5. Grill the tuna for no more than 2 minutes per side.
6. Cut the ahi tuna into slices.
7. Assemble the tostadas and enjoy.

Simple Wasabi and Lime Aioli

(makes 1/4 cup)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon wasabi
1/2 lime (juice)

Directions:
1. Mix everything.

Simple Gochujang and Lime Aioli

(makes 1/4 cup)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon gochujang
1/2 lime (juice)

Directions:
1. Mix everything.

Similar Recipes:
Bean Sprout Kimchi Ahi Tuna Tostadas
Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp and Corn Guacamole Mini Tostadas
Chipotle Lime Shrimp Tostadas
Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steak
Crispy Rolled Shrimp Tacos
Ceviche

Sesame and Ginger Coleslaw (Mayoless)

Sesame and Ginger Coleslaw (Mayoless)

When I think about coleslaw I immediatly think about a cabbage salad smothered in a mayonnaise but coleslaw can definitely work without the mayo. I recently made a sesame and ginger coleslaw where I used the mayonnaise based dressing but I now found that I needed a version of it without mayonnaise for the next project that I was working on. I kept the changes for the mayonnaise-less version pretty simple relying on a sesame and ginger vinaigrette to replace the mayo. The vinaigrette consists of rice wine vinegar, lime juice, oil, toasted sesame oil, ginger and a bit of honey to balance things out a bit with some sweetness. I also added a chopped up birds eye chili to this version to add a touch of heat tot he salad. With the tasty sesame and ginger vinaigrette you will never miss the mayonnaise in this coleslaw.

Sesame and Ginger Coleslaw (Mayoless)

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups cabbage (shredded)
1 carrot (shredded)
2 green onions (diced)
1 handful cilantro (chopped)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 lime (juice)
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 birds eye chili (minced, optional)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:
1. Mix the cabbage, carrot, green onion and cilantro in a large bowl.
2. Mix the vinegar, lime juice, oil, sesame oil, honey, ginger and chili in a small bowl.
3. Toss the salad in the dressing and garnish with sesame seeds.

Similar Recipes:
Thai Style Slaw
Sesame and Ginger Coleslaw
Coleslaw
Blue Cheese Cole Slaw
Shredded Romaine in a Korean Sesame Vinaigrette

Peameal Bacon and Kimchi Breakfast Muffin

Peameal Bacon and Kimchi Breakfast Muffin

For some reason peameal bacon has been on my mind a lot recently and it had been a while since I last picked some up. (Peameal bacon is a back bacon that is brined and rolled in peameal or cornmeal.) I also had my newly minted batch of new and improved kimchi that I was just itching to use. Salty bacon and spicy kimchi are a great flavour combination and I knew that peameal bacon would be just as amazing. The rest of the sandwich sort of just fell into place. I wanted to include some greens and with the Korean flavours that were already going in the sandwich the shredded romaine in a Korean sesame vinaigrette was a natural choice and I could not resist adding some cheese. When I am making my standard peameal bacon sandwich I always like to include some mayo and in this case a gochujang mayo sounded perfect. I am not sure why but, I was associating this sandwich with breakfast so a lightly toasted English muffin was in order and since kimchi can be a bit juicy I caramelized it so that the muffin would not get soggy. With all of the spicy flavours in the sandwich I figured that some cool and creamy avocado and black beans would finish off the breakfast nicely.

Peameal Bacon and Kimchi Breakfast Muffin

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
8 slices peameal bacon
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 cup kimchi (drained and chopped)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon gochujang
4 English muffins (lightly toasted)
1 cup shredded romaine in a korean sesame vinaigrette
1 cup shredded jack and cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Cook the peameal bacon in a pan and set aside.
2. Add the oil to the pan and saute the kimchi in it until slightly caramelized, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Mix the mayo and gochujang
4. Assemble sandwiches and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
Peameal Bacon Sandwich
Breakfast Reuben Sandwich
Pineapple Dak Bulgogi Sandwich (Korean Spicy Pineapple BBQ Chicken Sandwich)
Korean BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
Peameal Bacon and Roasted Tomato Sandwich with Cheddar Cheese
Brussels Sprout Hash with Sweet Potato and Bacon

Kimchi Version 2.0

Kimchi Version

I have been hooked on kimchi ever since I discovered it. When I came across a recipe to make it at home a few years ago I leapt at the chance. After looking at a lot of recipes that I found on the web I decided to make a simple kimchi for my first version that contained pretty much only the required ingredients. That first batch of kimchi turned out so well that since then I have made it dozens of times and my fridge has never been without at least one batch in it the whole while. I was so pleased with that recipe that I quickly forgot that I had fully intended to revisit it and try a more advanced one later on. I recently recalled that fact and set about coming up with a new version.

Although the first version was really good and had all of the required flavours and textures including the crunchy cabbage, the garlic overtones, the spiciness and the the sourness that develops with fermentation over time, it lacked the subtle complexities of most restaurant style kimchi. Right off the bat I recalled that I purposely skipped adding the radish and the sugar to the original version and when added they bring a nice bite and a hint of sweetness to kimchi so they had to go in this time. Instead of just adding sugar like many recipes call for I used the trick of replacing sugar with a grated Asian pear or apple that I learned while making bulgogi a while ago. In addition to adding some natural sweetness the pear or apple brings a hint of flavour adding another layer of complexity. I also decided to add some grated onion for a bit of pungency and a shredded carrot for a bit of colour and another touch of sweetness.

The next major difference in this recipe is the use of a rice flour based porridge. I came across the idea of using the porridge in a recipe for kimchi that I found on Maangchi while searching for recipe ideas. The rice flour porridge help moisten the gochugaru, Korean chili pepper flakes, and mix in and meld all of the other flavours before you mix it into the cabbage. The porridge also helps to get the flavours into all of the nooks and crannies of the cabbage so that every bite is full of flavour.

Kimchi version 2.0 turned out so amazingly well with richer and deeper flavours and more subtle complexities! This new version definitely rivals any kimchi that I have ever had at a restaurant. I can't wait to start using it as an ingredient in new dishes!

Kimchi

(make about 1 gallon)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 large (5 pound) napa cabbage (or two medium sized)
1/2 cup coarse salt
1/4 cup sweet rice flour (mochi)
1 cup water
1/2 cup fish sauce (or soy sauce for a vegetarian version)
2 cups gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes)
1/2 cup garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 small onion (grated)
1/2 Asian pear (grated)
1/2 Fuji apple (grated)
1 cup daikon radish (shredded)
1/4 cup carrot (shredded)
1 bunch green onions (sliced)

Directions:
1. Cut the napa cabbage in half, remove the core and slice the cabbage into 1 inch wide strips.
2. Soak the cabbage in cold water for 10 minutes.
3. Place a layer of cabbage into a large bowl and sprinkle some salt onto the cabbage. Repeat until all of the cabbage is in the bowl and salted. (Use two bowls if needed.)
4. Let the cabbage sit for 1 1/2 hours mixing it up every 1/2 hour.
5. Rinse the cabbage three times, drain and set aside.
6. Mix the flour and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer while stirring.
7. Remove from heat and let it cool.
8. Mix flour mixture and the remaining ingredients, save the cabbage.
9. Mix the porridge into the cabbage well using your hands to make sure that it covers all of the cabbage.
10. Place the cabbage mixture into sealable containers leaving about an inch of space at the top.
11. Seal the container and let ferment at room temperature for 2-3 days.
12. Place the container in the fridge and let ferment for a couple more days.

Use kimchi in:
Brussels Sprout Hash with Sweet Potato and Bacon
Kimchi Bokkeumbap (Kimchi Fried Rice)
Bibim Guksu (Soba and Kimchi Salad)
Kimchi Jjigae (Pork and Kimchi Stew)
Kimchi Quesadillas
Zucchini and Kimchi Quinoa Salad
Zucchini and Kimchi Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust
Kimchi, Bacon and Shiitake Mushroom Pizza
Kimchi Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Gochujang Ketchup for Dipping
Peameal Bacon and Kimchi Breakfast Muffin
Kimchi Chicken Melt
Spicy Pork Bulgogi Banh Mi
Spicy Pork Bulgogi and Beans Burrito
The Kimchi Rachel Sandwich (aka Roast Turkey Reuben Sandwich with Kimchi)
Kongnamul Bap (Korean Beansprout Rice Bowl)
Hot Cheesy Roasted Brussels Sprout, Bacon and Kimchi Dip
Roasted Butternut Squash, Shiitake Mushroom and Kale, Kimchi Bibimsoba

Similar Recipes:
Simple Kimchi
Bean Sprout Kimchi
Pear Kimchi

Fresh Pea Risotto with Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Fresh Pea Risotto with Spicy Grilled Shrimp

More of summers bounty is starting to show up at the farmers market and this weekend I came across some fresh peas in their pods. Although it takes a bit of work to get the peas from their protective pods, I always enjoy fresh, sweet and crispy peas. I most often just add them to salads but their sweetness works so well in cheesy risotto that it is hard to resist making a least one batch every summer. Risotto also takes some effort to make but this one with is nice and creamy and with the sweet peas, a splash of lemon, and a hit of mint is just bursting with summery freshness is so worth it.

I wanted to turn this risotto into more of a light meal and one great way to do so is to simply add some shrimp. I could easily have just added the shrimp directly to the risotto along with the peas at the end but I was thinking that I could kick things up a notch by hitting the shrimp with the Creole spice blend that I use on shrimp in shrimp po' boys. I was also thinking that shrimp tossed in a simple mint pesto would also be really nice on this fresh pea risotto.

Fresh Pea Risotto with Spicy Grilled Shrimp

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 tablespoon creole spice blend
1/2 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion (diced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 cup arborio rice (or other medium or short grained rice)
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 cup fresh peas
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)
1 tablespoon butter
salt & pepper to taste
1 splash lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon mint (chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the oil and creole spice blend and marinate the shrimp in it.
2. Melt the butter in large sauce pan.
3. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
5. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter.
6. Add the wine, deglaze the pan and stir while simmering until it is gone.
7. Add 1/2 cup of the stock at a time and stir while simmering until it is gone. Continue until the rice is cooked al dente.
8. Mix in the peas, parmigiano reggiano and butter and stir until the cheese and butter has melted.
9. Remove from heat and mix in the lemon and mint and serve.
10. Grill the shrimp until cooked, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Similar Recipes:
Shrimp and Andouille Grits
Asparagus Risotto with a Poached Egg
Baby Artichoke Heart Quinoa Risotto with Shrimp and Meyer Lemon Pesto
Creamy Pea and Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad
Fresh Pea Salad
Blackened Shrimp on Kale and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Andouille Cream

Asparagus Mimosa

Asparagus Mimosa

I certainly have been enjoying the fresh local asparagus so far this season and in particular I have been using the asparagus and egg combination a lot. Although it is now late in the season, the local asparagus is still readily available at the farmers market which is fortuitous as I recently came across another nice sounding asparagus and egg dish called asparagus mimosa. Asparagus mimosa is a simple dish where the asparagus is served in a lemon and mustard vinaigrette and topped with a hard boiled egg that has been forced through a sieve. This asparagus and egg dish is quite easy to make and just bursting with freshness from the sweet and juicy asparagus to the bright lemon juice in the dressing to the fresh chopped herbs. I particularly liked the texture of the sieved eggs in this dish, though it was not very easy to clean the egg out of the sieve after so I think I will try using a fine grater next time. What a wonderful way to enjoy some asparagus!

Asparagus Mimosa

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 pound asparagus
1 lemon (juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful parsley or chives (chopped)

Directions:
1. Cover the eggs in water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 7 minutes.
2. Transfer the eggs to cold water and let cool enough to hold.
3. Meanwhile cook the asparagus in boiling water until it just turns bright green, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Run the asparagus under cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
5. Remove the shell from the egg and force the egg through a sieve with medium sized holes.
6. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
7. Toss the asparagus in the dressing and plate it, topping it with the remaining dressing and the egg and garnish with the parsley.

Similar Recipes:
Asparagus with a Poached Egg in Hollandaise Sauce
Asparagus with a Poached Egg in an Avgolemono Sauce
Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg

Kimchi Sweet Potato Salad

Kimchi Sweet Potato Salad

The only ting missing from my Korean bbq pulled pork sandwich meal was a side and I was thinking of another summer classic, the potato salad. Given the Korean flavour theme that I had going for the rest of the meal wanted to continue it with the potato salad and I knew exactly what I wanted to do, a kimchi sweet potato salad. I figured that the sweetness of sweet potatoes would go nicely with the spicy hot kimchi. Normally potatoes for a potato salad are boiled but I always like roasting sweet potatoes and since it has been a bit cooler over the last few days I did not mind having the oven on as much. I always enjoy pairing bacon with kimchi and it looked like it would be a perfect fit in this potato salad as well. Potato salads are most commonly bound together with mayonnaise and I could not resist adding some gochujang for even more spiciness.

The kimchi and roasted sweet potato salad exceeded all of my expectations with the combination forming something much more than the sum of the parts! The spicy and creamy gochujang mayo, the crunchy kimchi, the salty bacon and the warm, sweet roasted potatoes came together to create something magical. I have to say that I enjoyed this potato salad most when it was freshly made and still warm from the potatoes roasting in the oven. I warmed the left over up in the microwave for a few seconds as well before eating them. This potato salad was the perfect finish to my Korean bbq pulled pork meal!

Kimchi Sweet Potato Salad

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 sweet large potatoes (peeled and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 tablespoon oil
4 slices bacon (cut into 1 inch pieces)
2 tablespoons gochujang
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup kimchi (drained and chopped)
2 green onions (sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted)

Directions:
1. Toss the sweet potatoes in the oil.
2. Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Roast the potatoes in a preheated 400F oven until the potatoes are nice and tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile cook the bacon, drain and set aside.
5. Mix the gochujang and mayonnaise.
6. Mix everything.

Similar Recipes:
Kimchi Egg Salad Sandwich
Kimchi Chicken Salad Sandwich
Kimchi Dip
Kimchi Chicken Melt
Loaded Baked Potato Salad
Brussels Sprout Hash with Sweet Potato and Bacon

Sesame and Ginger Coleslaw

Sesame Coleslaw

The Korean bbq pulled pork seemed kind of lonely in the bun all by itself and it needed a friend. At first I was thinking of adding some shredded lettuce in a Korean sesame vinaigrette and onion and cilantro relish but then I thought, it's a pulled pork sandwich so it just has to be slaw. But with the Korean flavours in the bbq sauce I felt that it could not be just any old coleslaw so I set about coming up new a new Asian twist on coleslaw. I had recently come across the concept of a sesame mayo which sounded nice and so a mayo based slaw with sesame flavours in the form of sesame oil and sesame seeds became the base of the slaw. From there, I added some freshly grated ginger, some freshly chopped cilantro and some green onions to round things out. The sesame, ginger and cilantro flavours worked really well in this coleslaw and it paired nicely with the Korean flavoured bbq pulled pork in the sandwiches.

Sesame and Ginger Coleslaw

(makes 4 side servings or 8 sandwich filling servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups cabbage (shredded)
1 carrot (shredded)
2 green onions (diced)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (coarsely ground)
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful cilantro (chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the cabbage, carrot and green onions in a large bowl.
2. Mix the mayo, sour cream, rice wine vinegar, honey, ginger, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, salt and pepper in a bowl.
3. Mix everything together.

Similar Recipes:
Sesame and Ginger Coleslaw (Mayoless)
Coleslaw
Blue Cheese Cole Slaw
Apple Slaw in Creamy Maple Dijon Dressing

Korean BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Korean BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Sesame Slaw and a Kimchi Sweet Potato Salad

A couple of weeks ago, when I was making the bbq sauce for the bbq chicken with blue cheese slaw wraps it reminded me of another sauce, a gochujang sauce that I have been making for a few years now. This gochujang sauce goes great on things like bibimbap and bibimguksu but it is also a great Korean style bbq sauce. It has all of the bbq sauce elements including spicy heat, sweetness, saltiness and tanginess, not to mention that it is packed with flavour and it has the amazing aroma of sesame. I also realized that I had yet to post about this use of the gochujang sauce.

With the summer here I have been thinking about pick-nick and bbq food a lot and recently I had been thinking of slow roasted, moist and tender pulled pork smothered in a sweet an spicy bbq sauce. With that I knew that it was the perfect time to roast up a pork butt and make some Korean style bbq pulled pork sandwiches. Though, with the heat in the summer I actually prefer to use the slow cooker to cook the pork. With the slow cooker you cannot get those nice crispy charred edges but it is convenient and it even allows you to easily make pulled pork on a weekday. You really can't have a pulled pork sandwich without some slaw so I made some sesame and ginger coleslaw and continuing along with the pick-nick food and Korean flavours themed I made a kimchi sweet potato salad to go along with the sandwiches.

This Korean bbq pulled pork is pretty versatile and you can use it in any number of things from these sandwiches to tacos similar to these Korean short rib tacos inspired by the Kogi tacos of California. Of course the Korean bbq sauce also goes well with shredded chicken.

Korean BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

(make 8+ servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 (3 pound) pork butt
1 cup gochujang bbq sauce
8 buns
2 cups sesame and ginger coleslaw

Directions:
1. Put the pork in the slow cooker, pour 1/2 cup of the gochujang bbq sauce over it and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
2. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and let it cool.
3. Meanwhile, skim the fat from the juices and mix as much of the juices as you want into the remaining gochujang bbq sauce. Simmer in a sauce pan to reduce if necessary.
4. Shred the pork with a pair of forks and mix in gochujang bbq sauce and juice mixture.
5. Assemble sandwiches and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
BBQ Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps
Jerked Pulled Pork Wraps with Mango and Banana Relish
Pineapple Dak Bulgogi Sandwich (Korean Spicy Pineapple BBQ Chicken Sandwich)
Salsa Verde Pulled Chicken Sandwich
Korean Short Rib Tacos
Peameal Bacon and Kimchi Breakfast Muffin
BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Slaw
Vietnamese BBQ Pulled Pork Banh Mi
Spicy Pork Bulgogi Banh Mi
BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese
Pineapple Char Siu Pulled Pork Sliders

Asparagus and Mushroom Japchae

Asparagus and Mushroom Japchae

When I was at the Korean food festival a few weeks ago I got to watch a demonstration on how to make japchae which was a nice reminder that japchae has been on my to try list for a while. Japchae (or jabchae or chapchae) is a Korean stir fried pasta dish made with dangmyeon, a cellophane noodle made with sweet potato starch. In addition to the noodles, japchae includes various vegetables and it is seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, sesame seeds and chili peppers. For my japchae, I went with a pretty standard list of ingredients including spinach, mushrooms and a carrot and with asparagus is season I could not resist adding some to the mix! I used a variety of more exotic mushrooms including enoki, shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

Japchae is pretty easy to make and it helps if you have everything chopped and ready to go before you start. One thing that you will want to do is to make sure that you cut the noodles after they are cooked as they are very long. Unless of course you really enjoy slurping. :) The asparagus and mushroom japchae turned out really well! The dangmyeon noodles had a soft, almost jelly like texture that I quite enjoyed and I certainly like their glass like appearance. The sweet and salty flavour combination of the mirin and soy sauce worked really well together and the sesame flavour rounded everything out and gave the dish an intoxicating aroma. I am definitely looking forward to using these sweet potato noodles more.

Asparagus and Mushroom Japchae

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound dangmyeon (Korean cellophane noodles made from sweet potato starch)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound mushrooms, I used a mixture of shiitake, enoki and oyster mushrooms (trimmed and cleaned)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
4 green onions (sliced)
1 red chili pepper or chili pepper sauce to taste (sliced thinly)
1 carrot (julienned)
1 pound thin asparagus (trimmed, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 cups spinach (packed)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted)

Directions:
1. Boil the noodles for 5 minutes in a large pot of water, drain and rinse in cold water.
2. Cut the noodles into manageable lengths and toss in the sesame oil to prevent them from sticking.
3. Heat the oil in a pan.
4. Add the mushrooms, soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 7-10 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and green onions and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
6. Add the carrot and asparagus and cook until tender, about 2-4 minutes.
7. Add the noodles, soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil and cook for a few minutes.
8. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts.
9. Taste test and season appropriately with soy sauce for extra saltiness or mirin for extra sweetness.
10. Remove from heat and serve garnished with the sesame seeds

Similar Recipes:
Bibim Guksu (Soba and Kimchi Salad)
Bibimbap
Penne with Asparagus and Mushrooms in a Gorgonzola Sauce
Thai Peanut Pork Noodle Saute

Take a look at the Presto Pasta Nights roundup on From Kirsten's Kitchen to Yours.

Strawberry and Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast

Strawberry and Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast

I had some mascarpone left over that I wanted to finish and with french toast fresh on my mind I knew of a perfect way to enjoy it, in the form of strawberry and mascarpone stuffed french toast! I kept the recipe pretty simple using the strawberry and mascarpone filling from the strawberry and mascarpone crepes and I stuffed it into a french toast sandwich and grilled it up. I then simmered some more strawberries along with some sugar to make a thick strawberry syrup which I used to smother the french toast with, covering it with even more strawberry goodness. This strawberry and mascarpone stuffed french toast made for a really nice lazy Sunday morning breakfast! What a great way to enjoy some perfectly ripe in season strawberries!

Strawberry and Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups strawberries (cleaned, hulled and sliced)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg
cinnamon to taste
4 thick slices bread
1 cup strawberry sauce (see below)

Directions:
1. Mix the strawberries and sugar and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Mix the mascarpone, yogurt and sugar and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Mix the strawberries into the mascarpone.
4. Mix the milk, egg and cinnamon in a wide, shallow dish.
5. Take two slices of bread and form a sandwich, filling them with strawberries and mascarpone.
6. Dip the sandwich in the egg mixture to coat on both sides.
7. Melt a touch of butter in a pan and fry the stuffed french toast until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
8. Serve the strawberry and mascarpone stuffed french toast smothered in the strawberry syrup.

Strawberry Sauce

(makes 1 cup)

Ingredients:
2 cups strawberries (cleaned, hulled and sliced)
2+ tablespoons sugar (to taste)

Directions:
1. Simmer the strawberries and sugar in a sauce pan until they get all nice and syrupy, about 10-15 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Strawberry and Mascarpone Crepes with Strawberry Syrup
Baklava Stuffed French Toast
French Toast Stuffed with Blueberries and Cream Cheese
Nutella Stuffed French Toast
Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry, Bacon and Goat Cheese Strata with Balsamic Syrup

Parmigiano Reggiano Savoury French Toast

Parmigiano Reggiano Savoury French Toast with Asparagus and a Poached Egg Smothered in a Dill and Caper Avgolemono Sauce

I recently came across the concept of a savoury french toast and it blew my mind! I had never even thought a bout a savoury french toast. I figured that you really could not go wrong with a warm, moist, custardy bread that is fried up until it is golden brown and then covered with melted cheese. I was sold on the idea and I had to try it! The only question was: What to serve on it? Still clinging to convention ideas about french toast, namely that it is a breakfast, the first thing that I thought of was an egg with a runny yolk. But why stop there? Why not kick it up a notch? With asparagus still really the only local fresh vegetable available and considering that it goes so well with eggs, it was the obvious choice. But french toast is normally served with a syrup... Well how about topping the cheesy savoury french toast topped with the asparagus in a dill and caper avgolemono sauce topped with a poached egg that I enjoyed so much?

The savoury french toast covered in melted cheese turned out great! The asparagus in avgolemono sauce and the poached egg with runny yolk only made it better! What a great way to enjoy some of the fresh local asparagus for a lazy weekend breakfast! I can't wait to experiment further with savoury french toasts!

Parmigiano Reggiano Savoury French Toast

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices of bread (cut 1 inch thick)
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)

Directions:
1. Mix the milk, egg, salt and pepper in a wide, shallow dish.
2. Dip the bread in the egg mixture to coat on both sides.
3. Melt a touch of butter in a pan and fry the bread until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
4. Sprinkle the parmigiano reggiano over the french toast. (The french toast should still be warm enough that the cheese melts. Otherwise you can place it under the broiler for a few seconds to melt the cheese.)

Serve with:
Asparagus with a Poached Egg in a Dill and Caper Avgolemono Sauce
Asparagus with a Poached Egg in Hollandaise Sauce

Similar Recipes:
Apple Pie French Toast
Pumpkin Pie French Toast
Cinnamon Swirl French Toast
Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto, Goat Cheese and a Poached Egg

How to Add Social Media "Follow" Icons to Your Blog

I have had a few questions about how I added the "Follow Closet Cooking" buttons for rss, email, facebook and twitter to the top of my side bar so I thought that I would write a tutorial for it. To add the buttons you will need to play around with a bit of html in your template but it is pretty easy. I will target this tutorial more at users of blogger but it should interpret to other blogging applications easily.

1. Get the button images. There are a lot of free social media buttons out there with different looks and feels. A search with the terms "free social media icons" should bring up a lot of them.

2. Upload the button images. If you are using blogger, post a new article and use the "Add Image" tool to upload one of the buttons. Click on the Edit HTML button and you will see some HTML code there for the image. What you are looking for is the <img tag and more specifically the src="[image link]" part of it. Copy the link value between the "'s directly after the src= and save it for later. Repeat with all of the images and then you can discard that post. (For non blogger users, you can upload the images to where you normally upload your images and get the image links.)

3. Add the side bar gadget. Go to Layouts and Add Gadget to your side bar. Select a HTML/JavaScript gadget. Choose a title and paste the following code into the Content:

<div id="subscriptions">
<ul>
<li><a href="[Place your rss feeds link here]"><img alt="Follow [Place your site name here.] by RSS" title="Follow [Place your site name here.] by RSS" src="[Place link to the rss image here.]" /></a></li>
<li><a href="[Place email subscription link here.]"><img alt="Follow [Place your site name here.] by Email" title="Follow [Place your site name here.] by Email" src="[Place link to the email image here.]" /></a></li>
<li><a href="[Place your facebook feeds link here]"><img alt="Follow [Place your site name here.] on Facebook" title="Follow [Place your site name here.] on Facebook" src="[Place link to the facebook image here.]" /></a></li>
<li><a href="[Place your twitter link here]"><img alt="Follow [Place your site name here.] on Twitter" title="Follow [Place your site name here.] on Twitter" src="[Place link to the twitter image here.]" /></a></li>
</ul>
</div>

Each of the blue blocks in the above code needs to be replaced with your links to your rss feeds, facebook accounts, your buttons links and your sites name.

4. Make it look good. If you leave it here the buttons will likely be stacked on top of each other which is not what we want so we are going to have to add some styles to the html template. In blogger go to Layouts and then Edit HTML. Click on the Download Full Template link to make sure that you have a backup of your currently working template. You are going to want to copy the following css code into the template:

#subscription ul {list-style: none outside none;}
#subscriptions li {display:inline;}
#subscriptions img {border:none;padding:0 2px;}

The first line removes the bullet and the second makes the buttons line up beside each other rather than on top of each other and the third line removes the border and adds a bit of space between the buttons. (Feel free to change the amount of space to fit your site best.)

If you are not familiar with css and html: Look for either a </style> or ]]></b:skin> and insert the code just above it. Preview and save the template and then test the buttons to make sure that they work as expected.

Note: Not all blogger template will work the same and I make no guarantee that this will work on all of them.

I hope that someone finds this useful. Next up is adding the share and follow buttons to the bottom of your posts.

Asparagus Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Asparagus Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The other day I got a reader request for an asparagus grilled cheese sandwich topped with an egg which sounded good. I was immediatly thinking about a croque-madame which is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with an egg and I was thinking a fried egg. It was the end of the week however, and although I was lucky enough to have some asparagus left in the fridge, I was fresh out of eggs so I had to settle for just an asparagus grilled cheese sandwich. Since this sandwich was only going to have a few ingredients, I decided to roast the asparagus to enhance its natural flavour. For the sandwich, I started with a whole grain bread with a slight sweetness to it and I added some oka cheese that I had in the fridge that needed to be finished. (I would also have easily gone with some gruyere if I had had some on hand.) I finished the sandwich off with a hit of grainy mustard to add even more flavour and a bit of bite. I have to say, this roasted asparagus grilled cheese sandwich is one really nice way to enjoy some fresh summer asparagus!

Asparagus Grilled Cheese Sandwich

(makes 1 sandwich)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
6-8 stalk asparagus (trimmed and cleaned)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
1 slice oka cheese (or your favorite, gruyere would also be really nice)
2 slices of bread
1 tablespoon butter (room temperature)

Directions:
1. Toss the asparagus in the oil, salt and pepper.
2. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Roast in a preheated 400F oven until tender, about 10-30 minutes. (Note: Roasting time can vary greatly depending on how thick your asparagus is.)
4. Assemble sandwich and grill until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side.

How to Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Similar Recipes:
Asparagus and Gruyere Tart
Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
JalapeƱo Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Asparagus Gratin

The 10 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Strawberry and Mascarpone Crepes with Strawberry Syrup

Strawberry and Mascarpone Crepes with Strawberry Syrup

Next up for the fresh local strawberries that I picked up at the farmers market on the weekend are these strawberry and mascarpone crepes inspired by the latest issue of Food & Drink. You really can't go wrong with strawberries and cream but you can make them even better by wrapping them in warm, light and fluffy crepes. This recipe gets its creamy component from mascarpone and it lightens it up a bit by using half mascarpone and half plain yogurt. Strawberries are mixed in with the cream filling and the crepes are finished off with a drizzle of freshly made strawberry syrup. These crepes make for a really nice weekend breakfast or brunch or even a light weekday meal. I can pretend that it is crepe, no I mean pancake Tuesday. :)

Strawberry and Mascarpone Crepes with Strawberry Syrup

(makes 2-4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups strawberries (cleaned, hulled and sliced)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
1 batch crepes
strawberry syrup (see below)

Directions:
1. Mix the strawberries and sugar and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Mix the mascarpone, yogurt and sugar and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the crepes.
4. Mix the strawberries into the mascarpone.
5. Assemble crepes, top with the strawberry syrup and enjoy.

Strawberry Syrup

A simple syrup is generally made by simmering sugar in water until it dissolves. For a strawberry syrup you simply add some strawberries and simmer until their flavour and colour is taken on by the syrup. If you wanted a light syrup for drinks you would take the mixture off of the heat as soon as the syrup has taken on the strawberries flavour. If you wanted a thicker syrup for say pancakes, or these crepes, you can continue to simmer to reduce the the syrup to the thickness that you desire. If you were making a strawberry syrup for pancakes then you could easily leave the strawberries in the syrup and pour them onto the pancakes as well otherwise you can strain the strawberries from the syrup. If you do strain the strawberries from the syrup, don't just throw them out as they taste great. Just heat them up and serve them over a cool scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Strawberry Syrup

(makes 1 cup)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound strawberries (hulled and sliced)
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar

Directions:
1. Simmer the strawberries, water, and sugar in a small sauce pan for 20 minutes. (If you want thicker syrup continue simmering until you get the desired consistency.)
2. Strain the solids out with a fine sieve. (Optional; If you do, retain the strawberries and serve them hot on vanilla ice cream.)
3. Let cool and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
Strawberry Cheesecake Crepes
Strawberry and Nutella Crepes
Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Strawberry Shortcake
Raspberry and Nutella Crepes
Rhubarb Syrup
Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Poppy Seed Pancakes

Asparagus Risotto with a Poached Egg

Asparagus Risotto with a Poached Egg

I am not sure what it is about spring, but every time it rolls around I find myself once again thinking about green risottos. Given the asparagus binge that I have been on the last few weeks and asparagus risotto was going to make an appearance sooner or later and this weekend it happened. I stuck with a pretty basic risotto recipe and added the asparagus in a few different ways. First off, I replace some of the chicken stock with the water that I cooked the asparagus in to make sure that I did not loose any of those nutrients. Asparagus has a wonderful juicy texture that I did not want to miss out on so I had to include some bite sized pieces and finally, I wanted to add a bit of green to the risotto itself so I pureed half of the asparagus in a food processor before mixing it in. Risotto works equally well as a side dish or as a main if you add a bit of protein and with all of the asparagus and egg combinations that I have been doing lately the first thing that came to mind was topping the asparagus risotto off with poached egg.

The juicy asparagus worked really well in the creamy and cheesy risotto with the flavour of the asparagus pairing nicely with the flavour of the parmigiano reggiano. Of course the egg yolk running all over everything only made it better! Another great way to enjoy some fresh asparagus in a light spring meal!

Asparagus Risotto with a Poached Egg

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound asparagus (trimmed, cleaned, cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion (diced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 cup arborio rice (or other medium or short grained rice)
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth, or the water that you cooked the asparagus in, warm)
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)
1 tablespoon butter
salt & pepper to taste
1 splash lemon juice
4 eggs

Directions:
1. Cook the asparagus in boiling water until it turns dark green, about 1-2 minutes, remove it from the heat, give it a cold water bath o stop the cooking process and set it aside. (I pureed half of the asparagus to give the risotto a nice green colour.)
2. Melt the butter in large sauce pan.
3. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
5. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter.
6. Add the wine, deglaze the pan and stir while simmering until it is gone.
7. Add 1/2 cup of the stock at a time and stir while simmering until it is gone. Continue until the rice is cooked al dente.
8. Mix in the parmigiano reggiano and butter and stir until melted.
9. Remove from heat and mix in the lemon and the asparagus.
10. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.
11. Swirl the water in the pot.
12. Crack an egg into a bowl and pour the egg from the bowl into the water. Repeat for the remaining eggs.
13. Let the eggs cook until the whites are set but the yolks are not, about 2-3 minutes and fish them out.
14. Split the risotto among 4 plates and top with the poached eggs.

Similar Recipes:
Pistachio and Gorgonzola Risotto with Asparagus
Pea Barley Risotto
Asparagus with a Poached Egg in Hollandaise Sauce
Asparagus with a Poached Egg in a Dill and Caper Avgolemono Sauce
Fresh Pea Risotto with Spicy Grilled Shrimp
Mushroom Risotto
Smoked Salmon Asparagus Quinoa Cake Eggs Benedict

Yogurt Panna Cotta with Strawberry Jelly

Yogurt Panna Cotta

I have been wanting to try making panna cotta for a while now but the time never seemed right. Throughout the winter I kept thinking that a panna cotta would be really nice with a jellied fruit topping and so I held off until the summer. The first of the local strawberries burst onto the scene last weekend at the farmers market and the time had finally come to make some panna cotta topped with a freshly made strawberry jelly!