Neapolitan Tomato Cheese Pizza

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Neapolitan Tomato Cheese Pizza! Before you roll your eyes, let me explain about Neapolitan pizza. The dough itself is made of four basic ingredients. I like that. The Italian flour makes the dough stretchy and easy to work into shape with your fingers. If you cannot find Italian flour, bread flour is an acceptable substitute. I went on a quest to find it, though. A Neapolitan pizza is made to be eaten with a knife and fork as a personal pan pizza. And it is not precut, simply because the center of the bottom crust is soft and chewy. Trust me, it’s worth every bite. This dough recipe will make six individual servings of thin crust pizza. Bellissimo!

NEAPOLITAN TOMATO CHEESE PIZZA

Ingredients:

4 cups Italian “00” flour plus extra flour for dusting

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon yeast

1 1/3 cups water

1/2 cup tomato sauce

4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced rounds

6 basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions:

Combine flour, sea salt, yeast, and water into a Bread Machine. Set to “Dough”. When finished, divide dough into 6 portions, cover each in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 72 hours. Remove 45 minutes prior to preparation for dough to come to room temperature. Transfer one ball of dough to a medium bowl that has a handful of flour in it. Flip to coat. Pat off excess flour and transfer it to a floured surface. Gently stretch dough, with fingertips, into a circle. Pick it up and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. With one hand in the center of the dough round, use the other hand to stretch the edge outward without tearing, rotating as needed. Place the oven rack on its highest setting. You should still be able to place an iron skillet on it. If not, lower the rack. Preheat the Broiler on High. Dust the iron skillet with flour; tap out excess. Heat the empty skillet until it is smoking lightly, approximately 3 minutes. Transfer dough to the skillet. Moving quickly, top the dough with tomato sauce, mozzarella slices, and fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle with kosher salt and drizzle with olive oil. Transfer skillet back to the broiler and cook until pizza is puffed and charred in spots, up to 4 minutes. Watch carefully. Remove from oven. Serve immediately. For more than one pizza, repeat process.

Giordano’s in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: Giordano’s in Las Vegas, Nevada! Some things you just can’t rush, like world famous deep dish pizza. Made from a family recipe that originated in Torino, Italy, the “stuffed” version of Giordano’s pizza pie begins with a light and buttery focaccia-type crust. Next comes a layer of fresh veggies and savory meats. A thick layer of cheese is essential for gooey chewy goodness. Finally, an herbed tomato sauce is spread completely over the top before it is baked in a hot oven for almost an hour. Can’t wait that long? Order some cheesy garlic bread to nibble on in the meantime. Giordano’s pizza is definitely worth the wait.

Hamburger Strudel

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Hamburger Strudel! Dress up a classic meatloaf recipe with this super simple crust to create an elegant wrap for a main course. No, it’s not Beef Wellington, but it’s a tasty alternative at a fraction of the cost. I highly recommend an all-natural organic lean beef for fabulous results. It’s dinner-party worthy!

HAMBURGER STRUDEL

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 onion, chopped

1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

2 pounds ground beef

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup parsley

1 tube 8-count crescent rolls

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Pinch of parsley

1 cup sour cream

2 green onions, snipped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a baking pan with nonstick oil. In a large skillet, sauté onions and mushrooms in butter. Add ground beef. Cook until crumbly and brown. Drain excess liquid. In a large bowl, combine meat mixture, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. Let cool slightly before folding in beaten eggs. Add cheddar cheese and parsley. Form into a loaf pan and freeze for one hour. Carefully remove chilled loaf from pan. Unroll tube of crescent rolls. Pinch seams to seal. Wrap dough around meatloaf; seal. Transfer to the prepared baking pan. Brush with butter; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and pinch of parsley. Bake 30-35 minutes. Cut into 1″ slices. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and green onion snips.

Vidalia Onion Tart

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Vidalia Onion Tart! For those of you who adore caramelized onions, but need the confidence to make them at home, read on for some helpful hints that bring astounding results. Begin with yellow sweet onions. I choose Vidalias right now because they are in season. Slice them thicker than you would for a sandwich. If the onions are too thin, they burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. This is not the time to be using olive oil. Butter is your friend. The flavor is what makes the difference, so do not scorch the butter. Make sure the onions are coated, top and bottom, with melted butter. It helps them to turn soft and caramelized. Also, make sure the pan is large enough to prevent overcrowding. The last thing you want is steam, which turns the onions mushy. Maintain a constant heat for the onions’ sugars to caramelize. If they char a little, don’t sweat it. Believe me, the results are worth the wait. Besides, the aromas will drive everyone else crazy, too.

VIDALIA ONION TART

Ingredients for Tart:

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into chunks

4-5 tablespoons iced water

Instructions:

Using a food processor, mix together flour and sea salt. Add the chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles small peas. With the machine running, gradually add iced water until dough forms a ball. Remove dough, flatten into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for one hour.

Remaining Ingredients:

5 tablespoons butter, unsalted

2 large Vidalia sweet onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon corn meal, coarsely ground

2 slices baby Swiss cheese

1 egg yolk, beaten

Fresh tarragon for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Do not scorch. Add the Vidalia onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add Worcestershire sauce, Herbs de Provence, sea salt, and black pepper. Cook until onions are golden, about 35-45 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let cool. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle cornmeal evenly. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half. Roll out each portion into an 8″ round. Transfer to the baking sheet. Place one slice of Swiss cheese in the center of each round. Spread the onions over the cheese, leaving a 1 1/2″ border. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the filling. Brush the edges with the egg yolk wash. Bake for 40 minutes, until the bottom crust is brown. Transfer the baking sheet to the top shelf and continue baking 5 minutes longer. Top crust will be golden brown. Cool tarts on a wire rack to prevent them from getting soggy. Garnish with fresh tarragon. Cut into wedges and serve warm. Makes two tarts.

Duetto Pizza and Gelato in Key West, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Duetto Pizza and Gelato in Key West, Florida! Just a stone’s throw off Duval Street is a cozy Italian eatery that serves New York-style thin crust pizza by the slice. Because a single slice can be bigger than your hand, you may see people folding it in half, especially if they’re peddling toward the beach or heading over to the waterfront pier. No judgement. If it keeps one from burning the roof of their mouth on the gooey cheese, I’m all for it. Whatever you choose, save a little room for fresh gelato. It’s made daily with milk, real fruit, and natural ingredients. No wonder it tastes so good.

Key Lime Pie Bakery in Key West, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Key Lime Pie Bakery! Key limes are as popular in the Florida Keys as conch shells on the beach. If you’ve never tasted one, imagine this: Key limes are more aromatic as well as a bit smaller than regular limes, thus making them less acidic and more tart. By adding sugar, eggs, and a graham cracker crust, the results are a tangy, sweet, light, and creamy dessert that may or may not cry out for a delicious dollop of whipped cream. Merengue is definitely not out of the question either. Drop in for a single slice or an entire pie. It’s convenient enough to make a second trip.

Quiche From the Hen House

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Quiche From the Hen House! Certain foods are like time-travel. Take quiche, for instance. Elsewhere it’s no big deal, popular even. But in America, guys couldn’t stand it back in the ‘80s. Too sissy. Never mind that it was economical and the ingredients were pretty much on hand when the grocery budget was stretched to the max. But then came bacon, and everything changed. Suddenly quiche was raised to the level of deep dish pizza.

QUICHE FROM THE HEN HOUSE

Ingredients:

1 prepared pie crust

1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-size pieces

1/3 sweet onion, chopped

3 eggs

1 cup light cream

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a pie plate with nonstick oil. Place prepared pie crust in the pie plate. Crimp edges. Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese over bottom. Set aside. In a microwave-safe covered dish, steam broccoli for 2 minutes; drain. Set aside. Place chopped onion in a microwave-safe dish. Cook 2 minutes on High setting. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, light cream, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Arrange broccoli pieces and chopped onion in the pie crust. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes. Quiche is done when center is set and a knife inserted comes out clean. Serve warm.

Apple Orchard Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Apple Orchard Pie! Nothing conjures up autumnal nostalgia like a slice of apple pie, still warm enough from the oven to soften a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Inhale the aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. It’s delectable, isn’t it? I realize making pies may not be on the top of the list for everyone who loves it. So, I’m telling you today, it’s okay to begin with a prepared pie crust. There are some pretty decent brands out there for you to try. Some refrigerated brands are made to unroll and crimp the edges; others are frozen and meant to be thawed. Some are buttery, super-flaky, and even taste as good as homemade. That’s where you’ll need the help of an assistant, or taste-tester, so to speak. Just remember, pie doesn’t have to be picture perfect to taste spot on. It’s dessert, after all.

APPLE ORCHARD PIE

Ingredients:

1 prepared pie crust, 9”

4-5 large sweet apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

4 large tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons butter

Ingredients for Crumb Topping:

1 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Form prepared pie crust into a pie plate that has been sprayed with nonstick oil. Crimp edges. Set aside. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sea salt. Sprinkle about a quarter cup of mixture over the bottom of the pie crust. In a large bowl, toss the apple slices with the remaining sugar mixture. Coat well. Transfer apples to the pie plate, forming a mound in the center. Dot with 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon for crumb topping. It should resemble small peas when mixed. Carefully add the topping to the apple pie. Bake 30 minutes longer. If necessary, cover the pie with foil to prevent burning.

Foolproof Strawberry Galette

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Foolproof Strawberry Galette! It’s more than the sweet strawberries that make this an appealing dessert. In my opinion, the delicious buttery cream cheese crust is as good as it gets. First of all, to keep your galette foolproof, here are a few tips. Make sure the dough is not too moist or it will turn chewy instead of crisp. Pay attention to the strawberries. If they appear too juicy, add more cornstarch to help the filling thicken. And don’t overfill the galette. Remember, there is no pie plate to contain the abundance. It’s better to make two smaller galettes than a big sloppy one. And lastly, be sure to use parchment paper on the baking sheet or you may find yourself replacing bakeware from the runoff. All that being said, let’s roll.

FOOLPROOF STRAWBERRY GALETTE

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, cubed

1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and cut up

1-2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons sanding sugar

Instructions:

Pulse flour, sea salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a food processor. Add Neufchâtel cheese and butter. Pulse until crumbly. Add 3-4 tablespoons of ice water and pulse just until dough forms a ball. Remove onto a lightly floured board. Gently knead to tighten dough. Pat into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate one hour. Unwrap dough and roll to 1/8 inch thickness between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Create a 12″ diameter circle. Transfer dough to a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, toss strawberries with cornstarch, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup sugar. Leaving an inch border, arrange strawberries atop dough. Fold border up and over strawberries to create a rim. Brush crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake galette 45-50 minutes or until crust is golden. Cool on a wire rack.