Archive for the ‘Salami’ Category

Bruschetta.jpgJ. and I attempt, but don’t always succeed, to have a date night once a week. We usually head out to a nice restaurant or a movie but last week we were beat and just wanted to stay home. I had baked some wonderful crusty Italian style bread earlier in the day and we had found some beautiful tomatoes at the farmers market… Bruschetta was the answer.

I decided to make 2 different versions and after a quick trip to Wholefoods for some delicious meat we were set to go. I didn’t just want to make an ordinary tomato combination for the top. It was date night after all, I wanted something a little different and unusual. I went with garlic roasted tomatoes on Tomato and basilsoppressata or prosciutto with jalapeno lime white balsamic vinegar to finish it off.

First off I put the tomatoes into the oven to roast. I only wanted them cooked for a very short time with some garlic and olive oil to really bring out the sweetness in these gorgeous tomatoes we found. I wanted them to hold their shape and keep the firm texture, not go all mushy.

ProscuittoWhile the tomatoes were in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes, I sliced some chunky bits of our Italian crusty bread and smeared them will olive oil. I heated up our grill pan and toasted these on both sides. I tried to get nice crusty grill marks on the bread. I did ok for the most part but there were some slightly crispier parts.Soppressata

Once these were grilled I just rubbed them with some garlic and set them aside to dress. I did a few of each meat for J. and I. Layer 1 being either soppressata or prosciutto. To be honest a few slices of each magically disappeared between the two of us… I love that stuff!

Basil leavesAfter the first layer of meaty goodness I added some fresh basil leaves. We had also picked the basil up at the market since our basil plant hasn’t survived it’s first (and only) Arizonan summer. By this stage the tomatoes were out and cooling down.

I cut the tomatoes in half and put them in a bowl, seasoned them with plenty of salt and pepper and then generously drizzled jalapeno lime white balsamic vinegar over them. I mixed them together and placed them on each piece of bread.

After pouring some wine J. and I sat down to a yummy, simple dinner. I had some goats cheese on the side as well for us to eat with the bruschetta. The creamy rich flavor worked so well with the freshness of the bruschetta. J enjoyed it so much we actually had something similar for dinner the next night. The tomatoes were extremely sweet and juicy. I was happy with how crusty and delicious the bread was as well. Such an easy, quick date night dinner. A good way of keeping my boy J. happy too!

Sunday, another day of watching football again so another idea was needed for snacks. I thought I would have a go at making pizza for the first time in about 12 years. When we were growing up, before we had the option of Dominos, Pizza Hut or whatever, my mum used to make pizza at home all the time. Mum being Italian and the fact that I grew up in a very small town made buying takeout pizza not an option until I was about 14.

J. had never made pizza from scratch before so I thought it would be a fun thing for us to do together, or for him to at least assist me a little. He makes a great assistant in the kitchen, especially since his knife skills are far better than mine. We had bought a range of ingredients to make 2 different types of pizza. The 2 we were making were a proscuitto, mozzarella, tomato and basil pizza and then a spicy salami, caramelized onion, mozzarella and basil pizza.

While we were cooking our breakfast I decided to prep all the toppings so we wouldn’t be dragged away from the footy for too long when we were ready to eat. First I mixed together the ingredients for the tomato sauce. In a bowl I mixed 4 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of water and then a teaspoon of dried oregano, basil, thyme and garlic salt. I stirred all of this together until it was a good consistency and would be easily spread on the bases.

Next I caramelized the red onion. We had just cooked bacon from breakfast so we used a little of the bacon fat to carmelize the onion. This tasted amazing and I think all onion should be caramelized in bacon fat… not healthy but incredibly delicious.

I then started to prep the dough. In a small bowl I put 1 cup of luke warm water and mixed in 1 teaspoon of sugar. I added 2 teaspoons of dry yeast to the top of the water so it just floated. This just then got put aside for 5 minutes until it started to foam and was ready to add to the dry ingredients.

Meanwhile I sifted 3 cups of plain flour into a large bowl and 1 teaspoon of salt. I mixed these together and created a well in the center. Once the yeast was foaming I added it to the well and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. J. then came in and stirred all of this until it started to come together. I then dove in with my hands and kneaded it together until it had formed a ball.

On the floured kitchen counter I turned out the dough and started kneading. This was my Sunday morning workout. I kneaded the dough quite thoroughly for around 5 minutes until it had formed a smooth, stretchy dough. I put the dough in a bowl, covered with a tea towel and placed it in a warm, dry spot to proof for 30 minutes. The dough should at least double in size.

I preheated the oven to 220C degrees. I cut the dough in half and rolled them out on the floured kitchen counter. I rolled them to fit our pizza pans but because we like them crispy I rolled them quite thin. They ended up being about 5mm thick. Now for the fun part, J. and I got to top them.

We started with the tomato sauce and spread in evenly across both of the bases. For the onion and prosciutto pizzawe placed the toppings in this order. First was the caramelized red onion and then thick slices of fresh mozzarella, next we put super thin slices of prosciutto and then lastly a few strips of fresh basil. You could add the basil after it has cooked but I don’t mind the crunch you can get with the cooked basil.

The tomato and salami one was put together with mozzarella first, then salami, tomato and basil leaves. This one looked so pretty I was ready to eat it right then and there. We slipped both of these into the oven. In a gas oven or a really hot oven with pizza stones I would normally cook these for around 10 minutes. Our oven here is a little slow and we wanted crispy bases so we left the pizzas in for 16 minutes and then for put each of them under the broiler for about 1 minute to make sure the cheese was nice and bubbly.

The smell in the house when these came out was fantastic! We cut them up, piled our plates high and headed back to the football. J. was really happy. He like the salami one the best but also enjoyed the pop of the tomato on the prosciutto pizza. I loved the caramelized onion, which gave a really unique taste. Overall I think this was a great attempt after more than a decade between attempts! It certainly beat the cheap and easy option of ordering pizza, I think I can definitely give them a run for their money!