Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Leeks: One of the Most Under-Utilized Vegetables!

I love Leeks! They are a fantastic, versatile vegetable that can be used in tons of dishes, and yet, there are a lot of people who aren't even sure what a leek looks like. They have an amazing mild onion flavor that cannot be matched. So, I paired them up with another couple of favorites, mushrooms and goat cheese on a yummy pizza. Here's the Recipe:

Leek, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizza



3 Leeks

1 Carton of Cremini Mushrooms

2 Tablespoons of Soft Goat Cheese

3 Tablespoons of Grated Mozzarella

3 Cloves of Garlic

1 Tablespoon of Butter

Salt and Pepper to Taste


6 Garlic Cloves

6 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

6 Tablespoons of White Wine

Frozen Pizza Dough


For the sauce, blend the garlic, olive oil, and white wine together in a blender or food processor. Roll out your thawed pizza dough on a lightly floured board, and when I can, I like to grill my dough first. Brush it with the sauce and toss on the grill to get lovely char marks on each side. But this time, I put the dough (without the sauce) on a pizza stone in the oven, and cooked it until the edges were lightly golden. I think 425 degrees works pretty well.
In a skillet, saute your leeks and mushrooms and garlic together in the butter until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Brush your cooked pizza bread with a little more sauce (the sauce should be a very thin coating, just enough to make it shiny) then spread the leeks and mushrooms on top. Crumble your soft goat cheese across the pizza, then spread your mozzarella on top. Bake again at 425 degrees until the cheese is melty and delicious, remove and slice as desired!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ruby Grapefruit Meltaways

These cookies are so citrusy and delicious. They literally melt in your mouth; I think it has something to do with all the delicious butter! Give them a shot and let me know what you think.

Ruby Grapefruit Meltaways


3/4 Cup (1 1/2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1 Cup Confectioners' Sugar
Finely Grated Zest of 1 Grapefruit
2 Tablespoons Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 3/4 Cups Plus 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Cooking:Cream butter and 1/3 cup of the confectioners' sugar until fluffy in an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the grapefruit zest, juice and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch and salt, then slowly add to butter mixture on low speed until just combined. Divide dough into two balls, and roll each into a log about 1 inch thick. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least an hour, but you can freeze the dough as well if it's for a future event. To cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the logs and cut into 1/4" thick cookies. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 1" apart and bake for 8-10 minutes until edges are just turning slightly golden. Let the cookies cool down a bit, then add a few at a time to a large plastic baggie with the remaining confectioners' sugar and shake to coat. The recipe should make about 4 dozen. Enjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Unusual, But Delicious Quesadillas

One of my new favorite neighborhood joints is Pure Taqueria. The Inman Park location isn't the original, but it's pretty new, and the food is fantastic. In my eyes, it's hard to beat your local cheap Mexican restaurant. It is the quintessential comfort food; hot and spicy, flavorful and delicious. And while Pure is a little pricier than the local cheap place, the fresh ingredients and original dishes make it easier to rationalize the extra costs.
The margaritas at Pure are great, I like the house margarita as much as the specialty mixes.
On the appetizer menu, the fish ceviche is fantastic. The citrus is almost effervescent, and combined with celery for a zesty, crunchy combination. My favorite entree is the chicken quesadilla. At a lot of restaurants, the quesadillas can be a major let-down, they are soggy and unappetizing, but at Pure, it's more like an empanada, with crispy fried dough, then it's piled high with salsa verde and sour cream. It's completely worth every calorie.
If you are in Inman Park next weekend, for the annual Inman Park festival, and feel like some delicious Mexican food, stop by Pure. Just ignore the super loud clubby music they play at night, the food should make up for the auditory discomfort, or better yet, stop for lunch, before they crank it up!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Uncommonly Good Cocktails

Inspired by John Kessler's article, (link posted below; a great read) about specialty spirits, inspired me to go check out Leon's Full Service. I'm always interested in inventive cocktails. The new wave of rare liquors and liqueurs that have been making their way into casual pubs and bars are so exciting. Artisanal drinks are now available to the common man; gone are the days of Pucker soaked Appletinis, much to my delight!
Leon's, a hip garage-like-space in downtown Decatur, has a long, long list of local farms from which they source their menu, but I was interested in the drinks. I had a 'closing argument,' which consists of beefeater gin, fresh lemon, lillet blanc, luxardo maraschino, housemade grapefruit marmalade. It was bittersweet and effervescent and fantastic!

Some great mixologists have educated me recently on the excellent combination of grapefruit juice and gin. I highly recommend it, especially to those, who like me, don't particularly enjoy gin in other drinks. The bitter acid of the grapefruit perfectly cuts through the floral notes of the gin. They make a really fine pair.
So, if you haven't been out for drinks in a while, I highly recommend trying something new and inventive. My 'closing argument' was worth every penny, almost a meal in itself, and an experience to be repeated!

John Kessler's article:
Specialty Spirits Run Dry in Atlanta