Pizza Rustica

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Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil

8 ounces sweet Italian sausage  (casings removed)

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta

12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/3 cup  freshly grated Parmesan cheese

4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped

1/3 lb. ham (chopped)

4 large egg yolks (beaten)

1 large egg (beaten)

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Pastry Dough Recipe:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter (cut into pieces)

1/4 cup cold solid vegetable shortening (cut into pieces)

1 tsp. sea salt

3 large eggs (beaten)

2 to 4 tbsp. ice water

Blend the flour, the butter, the shortening and salt in a food processor until the mixture is coarse.  Blend in the eggs. With the machine running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms. Roll the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, with 1 piece twice as large as the second piece. Flatten the dough pieces into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes.

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and saute until golden brown, breaking the sausage into pieces, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

3. In large bowl, add egg yolks and beat lightly. Stir in the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Add the sausage, fresh parsley, ham and prosciutto to the mixture and stir well.

4. Roll out larger piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 18-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan. Trim the dough overhang to 1 inch.

5. Add the ricotta mixture into the dough-lined pan.

6. Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round.

7. Place the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges of the doughs together to seal, then crimp the dough edges.

8. You can cut the extra overhanging dough into strips and put on top of pie. (see photo)

9. Brush the beaten 1 large egg over the entire pastry top. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven until the crust is golden brown. (about 1 hour)

Let cool for about 15-20 minutes before cutting.

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Spinach Avocado Salad With Homemade Cheese Crisps

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Ingredients:

2 cups of fresh spinach

2 ripe tomatoes (sliced)

2 avocados (sliced)

1 cup walnuts (chopped)

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Greek style dressing

Directions:

1. On a platter place spinach. On top, place sliced tomatoes, avocados and walnuts.

2. In a small round skillet, put 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. It should coat the entire skillet. On a medium heat, cook for about 3 minutes and turn over. Cook for another 3 minutes. It will be bubbly while cooking. It will eventually crisp. You may have to turn it over twice. Let dry on paper towel. Continue 3 more times with 1/4 cup of cheese each time.

3. Drizzle a Greek style dressing on top.

4. Crumble crips cheese pieces on top.

Serves 4 as a first course or serves 2 for an entree.

Stuffed Pork Chops

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Ingredients:

4 large pork chops (an inch thick)

1 4 oz. piece of feta cheese (chopped)

1 4 oz. fresh mozzarella (grated)

2 cloves of garlic (chopped)

1 cup of fresh spinach (chopped)

olive oil

salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a bowl add feta, mozzarella, spinach and garlic. Add 1 tbs. of olive oil and mix together. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

2. Take pork chops and cut a deep slit into the side of the meat. (Deep enough to make a pocket for the filling.)

3. Stuff each chop with cheese and spinach mixture. Put in as much as you can.

4. You have two cooking options.

a. In a large skillet, put 2 tbs. of olive oil. When heated, place pork chops in skillet. Cook on each side for approximately 10 minutes each. You don’t want either side to burn so you can turn them over. Chops should take approximately 20 minutes to cook on a medium high heat. Meat should be white on the inside when you cut it.

b. In a preheated oven of 400 degrees, put 2 tbs. of olive oil on the bottom of a baking pan. Place pork chops in pan. Bake on each side for about 20 minutes each. Occasionally turn the chops. Chops should take no more than 40 minutes. The meat should be white on the inside when you cut it.

Grilled Chicken Pesto Avocado Burger

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Ingredients:

1 lb. ground chicken

2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 cup fresh basil (packed into cup)

1 clove of garlic

1/4 cup pignoli nuts

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 avocados (sliced)

a bunch of red leaf lettuce (rinsed, drained and torn)

Directions:

1. In a food processor, put basil, garlic, pignoli nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Pulse until smooth. If you need a little more oil, add a drop more. Leave pesto to the side.

2. Mix ground chicken with sea salt and black pepper. Form into 4 burgers.

3. Grill burgers for at least 10 minutes. (Turn over after 5 minutes.)

4. On ciabatta bread or a roll, put a tbsp. of pesto on inside of roll. Place burger. Put lettuce and slice avocado on top.

*Serve with french fries. (Optional)

Corned Beef With Beer

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Ingredients:

4 lbs. corned beef brisket

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Irish stout beer (e.g. Guinness)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

1. Rinse the beef in cold water and pat dry.

2. Place the brisket in a roasting pan. (with a cover)

3. Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef. Coat the entire beef.

4. Pour the bottle of beer around, and gently over the beef.

5. Cover and place in oven. Bake for about 2 1/2 hours. (Check 90 minutes in. If the beer is almost all absorbed, add another 6 ounces.)

Allow to cool down for about 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve with potatoes, cabbage and mustard.

Meeting Up With SNL’s Rachel Dratch

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It was a fun night at New York’s “Celebrity Autobiography”. I went to check out a few friends who were performing. The best part of the evening was to meet “Saturday Night Live’s” Rachel Dratch.

Homemade Fish N Chips

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Ingredients:

8 medium-sized pieces of white fish

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup beer

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 cup vegetable oil

Directions:

1. Season fish with sea salt and black pepper.

2. Mix flour, beer, sea salt, black pepper and thyme in a large bowl. Whisk until everything is fully mixed. The mixture should resemble pancake batter. Add more beer if necessary.

3. Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet/pan.

4. When oil is hot, coat thoroughly two pieces of fish in batter and then gently lie them in the oil.

5. Cook fish until it is golden brown and crispy. Pick up each piece of fish gently turn them over. Cook on the other side until done. (about a total of 5 minutes)

6. Drain fish on paper towels and fry the remaining fish pieces.

Serve warm with french fries. (see link)

https://cookingwithmrc.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/homemade-baked-french-fries/

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