Girl + Fire = Food
EMPTY SPACE
EMPTY SPACE

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fighting Like a Girl: Ghirardelli & Vino at District Wine

On Sunday, my very dear friend Oakley Boren hosted a very lovely wine and chocolate party at the very sexy Long Beach wine bar, District Wine. It was very fun. And quite delicious.

Sponsored by Ghirardelli Chocolate, the Intense Dark Pairing was in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For every code entered at their website, Ghirardelli will donate $1 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

So we ate chocolate and drank wine to fight boobie cancer! We were also joined by a breast cancer survivor Melissa Keyes, who shared her story with us. Cancer didn't run in her family, she found it during a routine breast exam. It was a sobering reminder: ladies, check your boobies!!

Host Oakley, owners Mark & Angela, and cancer-kicker Melissa
There were three different chocolates:
  • 60% Evening Dream paired with the Frogmore Creek Iced Riesling from Tasmania
  • 72% Twilight Delight paired with the Taft Street Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley
  • 86% Midnight Reverie paired with the Layer Cake Malbec from Argentina

All of it intense. All of it marvelous. Mark and Angela know their vino and my favorite wines. I'm a big fan of both Zinfandels and Malbecs, but this time my taste buds favored the Riesling. I tend to stay away from sweet wines, but those Tasmanians and their devils put out a nice white.

We had choices of food bits, like dried apricots (great with the Riesling), parmesan and water crackers (made to eat especially with the Malbec), and marshmallows like I've never tasted (that went with EVERYTHING). Turns out they're called Plush Puffs and available at Fresh & Easy. Add these to your shopping list!

As a finishing touch we indulged in a the Toffee Interlude Dark Chocolate with caramelized almonds, with which we had the choice between an Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout or the Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port from Portugal. I opted for the wine (I'm not one for dark, bitter beer). A nice end to a delightful afternoon.

I was also lucky enough to win a raffle prize of a tasting kit and three large bars of various Intense Dark chocolates. Expect to see future chocolate-flavored posts. Mmm, chocolate. And if you'd like to win your own tasting treasure trove, check out this post on Oakley's blog. You have till Saturday to enter to win!

As a side note, on Sundays District Wine also has a bottomless mimosa special for a mere $9. There is also cool abstract art on the walls, and yummy appetizers on the menu. Like pineapple and gorgonzola flatbread with balsamic vinegar. Or prosciutto bon bons. Fellow chocolate and wine lover Tina Cruz claims they're better than sex. I only wish I'd ordered them!

Know what's also better than sex? Not having cancer. So don't forget to do those monthly exams!!

Thanks to Oakley, District Wine and Ghirardelli for a relaxed afternoon. We should all spend more Sundays like this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Maraschino Cherry & Mango Brie Pizza

And we're still talking personal pizzas!

But this one won't be found on any typical pizzeria. It's a G+F kitchen specialty. A very personal specialty.

Again, I was working with what I had in the fridge. I'd cut up a mango for breakfast, so I still had some fingers. I love me some mangoes. And there was brie (a gift from the hotel I had stayed at during a recent eventit's like they did their homework!). I had discovered that this particular brie (a double cream variety) paired exceptionally well with my go-to Belgian white, Blue Moon. No orange necessary. But that's a story for another time.

(There may have been beer consumed with this meal. I can neither confirm nor deny that fact.)

Back to the ingredient list, food from the refrigerator: mango cubed, spinach, the gifted brie, Rachel's maraschino cherries, and caramelized onions. It basically was 5 of my favorite ingredients on flat bread. There was no way this could go badly.


It was delicious. The sweetness from the fruit and onions coupled with the richness of the brie married so nicely with the crispy spinach. And the cherries tended to burst in my mouth, like an explosion of happiness. Mmmm.

I will admit there were huge chunks of cheese on this pizza. I love cheese! I used nearly the entire 5 ounce wheel. You could probably scale back if you're not a rabid cheese-oholic.


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Maraschino Cherry & Mango Brie Pizza
A delicious combination of fruits, veggies and cheese on flatbread.
Ingredients
  • 1 package personal size pizza dough or 2 ounces of a dough ball
  • 1 wheel double cream brie
  • 1/4 cup mango, cubed
  • 1/4 cup maraschino cherries
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onions
  • A few spinach leaves
  • Olive oil for brushing on dough
  • Cornmeal or flour for sprinkling
Instructions
1. Follow the directions for resting the pizza dough and preheating the oven.2. Spread the dough out to the desired thickness. Sprinkle flour or cornmeal on a baking sheet and place the dough on top.3. Brush the dough with olive oil to keep the dough from absorbing too much liquid from the ingredients.4. Cut the wheel in half and make thin slices. Use as much of the wheel as you feel is necessary.5. Top with remaining ingredients. 6. Put the pizza in the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the dough is browned, about 10-15 minutes.7. Remove from the oven, pour a beer, and eat. Suggested pairing: a Belgian white like Blue Moon.
Details
Prep time: 5-20 minutes (depending on dough's resting time) Cook time: 10-15 minutes Total time: 15-35 minutesYield: 1 personal size pizza

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BBQ Chicken Harissa Caramel Pizza

This pizza was a true concoction of simply what was in the fridge. It was just after our Labor Day barbecue and I had leftover chicken. And there was that delicious harissa caramel sauce. Mmm.

Once I learned Dorothy's trick for caramelized onions, they became a kitchen staple. Same with the roasted tomatoes (this bruschetta is a base for many meals in this house these days). So, of course, they were in the fridge and given an invitation to the pizza party. Because caramel and caramelized veggies just meld so damn well.

This experiment was good just by itself, with a little oregano sprinkled on top. And then I squeezed some lemon on it and WOW. I had invented my new favorite pizza.


It was a little sweet, sour, tangy, and all around perfect. With oozy cheese. Mmmm, oozy cheese!

I was making petite pies, enough for just one, but use more dough and a bit more of all the ingredients, and you can have a big ol' pizza pie.




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BBQ Chicken Harissa Caramel Pizza
A delightful blend of yumminess.
Ingredients
  • 1 package personal size pizza dough or 2 ounces of a dough ball
  • 1/2 cup shredded barbecued chicken
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup caramel harissa sauce 
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onions
  • 1/4 cup roasted grape tomatoes, marinated in balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Olive oil for brushing on dough
  • Cornmeal or flour for sprinkling
Instructions
1. Follow the directions for resting the pizza dough and preheating the oven.2. Spread the dough out to the desired thickness. Sprinkle flour or cornmeal on a baking sheet and place the dough on top.3. Brush the dough with olive oil to keep the dough from getting soggy from the ingredients, then sprinkle with about half the cheese.4. In a small bowl mix the harissa caramel with the shredded chicken and spread over the cheese. Add the tomatoes and onions. Cover with the remaining cheese.5. Put the pizza in the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the dough is browned, about 10-15 minutes.6. Remove from oven, sprinkle with oregano and the lemon juice. Cut and eat.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 personal size pizza

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Roasted Mushroom and Cauliflower Pizza

I spent a week making pizza almost every night because a ball of dough makes a lot of personal pizzas. I took the opportunity to experiment with a bunch of different toppings based on whatever was in the kitchen. It was fun.

This particular pie was inspired by Pamela of My Man's Belly. She had posted a pizza recipe using roasted mushrooms. I'd never thought about roasting mushrooms, but the idea intrigued me. I was out of shallots so I couldn't make her exact recipe, but I did have roasted cauliflower which, if you've been reading for any amount of time you know, is the only way I'll eat it.

I know that roasted cauliflower on a pizza sounds odd. But add in some shredded mozzarella, spinach sauteed with garlic, a little adobo seasoning, and 10 minutes later there was a pizza waiting to be devoured.

I used crimini mushrooms, but just about any mushrooms should work. Pamela used a mix. Do whatever you like!


So simple, yet so delicious. Thanks to Pamela for her inspiration. Turns out that roasted mushrooms are really good in lots of dishes!



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Roasted Mushroom & Cauliflower Pizza
Roasted veggies on a pizza pie.
Ingredients
  • 1 package personal size pizza dough or 2 ounces of a dough ball
  • 1 pint crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup roasted cauliflower florets
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups spinach, packed
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning (or regular salt & pepper)
  • Cornmeal or flour for sprinkling
Instructions
1. Follow the directions for resting the pizza dough.2. While the dough is resting, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the mushrooms and cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and seasoning. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the mushrooms and cauliflower out evenly. Roast for 20 minutes. Mushrooms will turn a deep brown and the florets will look burntdon't worry, they're supposed to! (If using a pizza stone, put it on the lowest rack while the vegetables are roasting.)3. While the vegetables are roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the minced garlic but don't let it burn, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and sauté for a few minutes, until it wilts slightly. Remove from heat.4. Remove the pizza stone (if using). Check the instructions on the pizza dough and adjust the temperature accordingly.5. Spread the dough out to the desired thickness. Sprinkle flour or cornmeal on a baking sheet or the pizza stone (if using) and place the dough on top.6. Sprinkle half the cheese all over the dough. Add the vegetables, then the remaining cheese.7. Put the pizza in the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the dough is browned, about 10-15 minutes.8. Remove from oven, slice, and eat.
Details
Prep time: 20 minutesCook time:  10-15 minutesTotal time: 30-35 minutesYield: 1 personal size pizza