Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Portobello Pizzas

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Last night I made an awesome bolognese sauce, but it’s awful hard to make a small amount. So for tonight’s meal I had this idea to use up some more of the sauce. I went to the farmers market and got some beautiful Portobello mushrooms along with a bunch of arugula. So here’s what I’m thinking.

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First I start by heating up the sauce on low heat so it doesn’t burn.  Then I heat up my indoor grill pan so it’s really hot. While this is going on I start cleaning  the 6 portobellos by removing the stem and gills from underneath. I brush the tops with a damp towel and get them ready for a spa rub, on both sides, of olive oil and black pepper. I don’t salt them yet because I want them to brown on the grill, not steam. After they get those beautiful grill marks and have caramelized, then I will sprinkle them with some Kosher salt. This whole thing takes, just a few minutes on each side to get this color and the grill marks.

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As the mushrooms and sauce are doing their thing. I slice up some fresh Mozzarella cheese along with grabbing a bunch of my cleaned and dried arugula leaves. I remove the mushrooms from the heat and get them ready for their cheese topping.

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Next I have my oven on broil to get the cheese nice and melted, and bubbling brown on the top.

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Now to spoon on some of that sauce. Listen, you could totally make this meat free with your own sauce, or even a good jar sauce from the store. I’m not being shy with the sauce either. Big spoonfuls please! Finally I top the sauce with that fresh peppery arugula and a sprinkling of Kosher salt. These pizzas are a lot lighter and healthier then having all that pizza dough. Don’t get me wrong I love pizza dough, but once and a while eating a bit healthier can’t be a bad thing.

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My Recipe For Blackberry Cobbler

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When we talk about cobblers, I think everyone has their version that they stand behind. For me, this is what I know to be a genuine cobbler. Some have the biscuit type of topping, and some have a crumbly topping. I happen to believe this one is the true cobbler because it’s the one that I grew up having. I’ts really easy and so delicious. Now, I’m also partial to the blackberry cobbler, it’s my favorite. I start out with a 9 x 13 pan that I lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. I melted 1 stick on unsalted butter and poured it into that baking dish.

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Now I have two large bowls, one for the batter, and one for the fruit.

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First, the fruit, I have 6 cups of blackberries in a bowl that I add 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of corn starch, and a squeeze of lemon juice. i stir that all together and let sit while I work on the batter. This is easy. I start with 1- 1/3 cups of self rising flour, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 room temperature extra large egg that;s been whisked, 1 tablespoon of good vanilla extract, and 1 cup of room temp milk. Room temperature ingredients blend well and don’t leave lumps. Now I whisk all this together until blended and pour the batter  carefully,over the melted butter in the baking dish. Next I add the fruit into the batter making sure there is fruit evenly throughout the dish. I then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Turbinado sugar over the entire top. I bake the cobbler at 350 degree for 40 minutes. The fruit should be bubbling all around the outside rim of the cobbler and the center will still be a bit loose, but that’s ok.  Take it out of the oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes before cutting.  I like to serve the warm cobbler with a scoop vanilla ice cream. This “tasteoflove” will keep the ones you love, coming back for more.

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Puff Pastry Pear Tarts

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This dessert is as easy as 1. 2, 3.  Puff pastry is the best thing since sliced bread. I always keep a box in my freezer, because you can pull a dessert together fast. For this recipe you can use apples with maybe some caramel sauce. Really just anything that’s in season or that looks good to you. Steve loves pears so that’s what I’m using here. First I take the frozen box of puff pastry and thaw it overnight in the frig. You want to keep the dough cold. I have 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I lay one sheet of the pastry  out on the counter and cut it in half, giving you four halves per box.

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With a small knife, I score a line, but not cutting all the way through. I do this all the way around the edge about 2 inches in from the outer edge. This will allow for a boarder that will puff up around the fruit. I have four pears that I have peeled and cored and let sit in a bowl with some  fresh lemon juice. This way the  pears won’t turn brown until I’m ready to lay them out on the pastry sheets.

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In a small sauce pan I have 1 stick of unsalted butter that I’ve melted along with 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar, Light or dark is fine. Once that’s melted and mixed together well, I’ll start laying the pear slices out onto one of the pastry sheets.

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I take a pastry brush and brush the sugar butter mixture over the pears of all 4 halves. I do a little something different here and this is totally optional. I sprinkle a little chili powder all over the top of the sugar butter mixture to add a bit of heat to the mix. So you get a sweet heat flavor. You could even use some cayenne pepper if you wanted.

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What I like to do is put 2 of the halves in the oven at one time, and keep the other two trays ready in the frig to go in next. This will ensure they will bake evenly only using one of the racks in my oven. Now if you’re lucky enough to have a duel oven, then don’t be scared, you can do them all at once. They will bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  While this is baking on the top of the stove I have 1/2 a cup of fig jam. It’s really sweet and when you brush it over the pastry and fruit after it’s done baking, it will put a glossy shine and will allow the Turbinado sugar to adhere to the top.

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When the tarts come out of the oven brush on the fig jam over the fruit and all the edges,and sprinkle on the Turbinado sugar.

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That’s all there is to it. I’d say that’s pretty easy. Serve with some sweetened whipped cream and you have an elegant dessert that was no trouble at all.

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Pappardelle alla Bolognese

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This dish will have you coming back for seconds. The thick flat pasta known as Pappardelle is just perfect for the ragu to compliment it. Let me tell you how I made it.

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First the meat. Here I’m using three types of meat. Sweet Italian sausage, ground pork, and ground sirloin. I would have loved to use ground veal, but that was kind of pricey so I improvised. Now in only 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and in a large saute pan I browned all the meat off. I added 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper,, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, and 1 tablespoon of dried thyme. I sauteed the meat until it all had some nice color to it.

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After the meat was done, I used a slotted spoon to remove it from the pan and set it all on some paper towel to drain. Then I placed the meat into a bowl until I was ready for it. The reason for this is because I didn’t want any of the extra fat from the sausage to be in my sauce. Next onto the sauce.

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Here in these two bowls, I have all the veggies prepared. All I did was in a food processor, I processed 2 large carrots, 1 sweet onion, 1/2 a red onion, 3 cloves of garlic, and three ribs of celery. I also like the flavor that roasted red peppers add to a bolognese. i used a jar of roasted piquillo peppers, but if you can’t find those, roasted red peppers are just fine. All bolognese sauces start out with a flavorful sofrito. This is mine. The carrots will help absorb some of the acid from the tomatoes, and give a sweetness to the sauce. Moving forward, I take a large heavy bottom pot and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of whole fennel seeds, along with 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. If you like your sauce hotter in flavor, just add more red pepper flakes. Let these spices bloom for a minute in the hot oil.

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Next I add in the sofrito, with 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Always seasoning every step of the way.

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I saute these veggies down util the soften and release a lot of their water. You want to stir the veggies while they are cooking to make sure they don’t burn. Once that has happened, around 5 minutes or so, I’m going to add some other ingredients.

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Alright, now that the sofrito has released most of its water I add 1 cup of red wine, and let that reduce by half and then do the same with 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth. Below this it what it will look like.

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Now that the base is ready it’s time to add the tomatoes, I add 1 each, 28 ounce can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, and crushed tomatoes. Two different types of tomatoes. One for texture and one of a more saucy consistency.

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To the sauce above I add in 2 bay leaves,( don’t forget to remove them at the end), and 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder,and dried thyme. I also add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. This will bring out the sweetness of those tomatoes. Let this all simmer on low to med low heat for 30 minutes, stirring once and a while. After the 30 minutes add all the meat to the sauce and let this all cook together for at least 2 hours on low heat, still stirring every now and then.

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I have to say, that when I put this much love into making my sauce, I only want to best pasta to complement the dish. This pasta is now available in my grocery store. It’s expensive, but for this recipe I knew that I had to get the best.

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This pasta doesn’t take as long to cook as the boxed dried pasta does. Follow the instructions on the package. Here’s what I like to do for this dish. I take a separate large container that I can put the mix everything together before plating. At the bottom of this container I grate some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, about 1 cup. Then I add the cooked pappardelle into the container, and with a pair of tongs I toss the cheese through the pasta. I make sure all the pasta is coated with the cheese then I ladle in the bolognese sauce. Now remember, you don’t want to drown the pasta in sauce. the sauce is to complement the pasta. See the cheese sticks to the pasta and the sauce will stick to the cheese on the pasta. Can you “tastethelove” yet. Finally I place all this onto a big serving platter, and grate a little more cheese over the top and tear up some fresh basil leaves for added freshness.

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There you have it, a big plate of love.


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