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Ricotta + Honey Butter Bites

Move over, Garlic Knots, I’ve found a new favorite use for pizza dough. And it’s as far as you can get from the shape of a slice.

I’ve bundled teaspoons of creamy ricotta inside balls of pizza dough that are then brushed with melted honey butter and baked until golden. And while I used store-bought whole wheat dough, you can also opt to make your own with my recipe for The Ultimate Pizza Dough. But regardless of what dough you use, be prepared for a sweet and savory treat, as these pull-apart bundles aren’t your average pepperoni pizza bites.

Shopping List

  • 1½ lbs. store-bought or homemade pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 6 oz. firm ricotta cheese, cold
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing pan
  • 1/3 cup honey (more…)

Glazed Sour Cream Doughnuts

Deep fried or baked. Dipped in glaze or rolled in sugar. Topped with sprinkles or left unadorned. I don’t discriminate when it comes to my favorite food.

I have such a love for the golden brown rings of glory that I once walked more than five miles around New York City sampling nine different doughnuts in a single day. It was a Tour de Glaze that led me to crown the city’s best doughnut in the first ever Just a Taste Doughnuthon.

I’ve made doughnuts in the past. They were a semi-store bought insanely easy excuse for doughnuts, but they were delicious doughnuts nonetheless. But ever since my mom gave me Lara Ferroni’s Doughnuts cookbook, I knew I had to do both of us proud by making the real deal. And since I’m of the camp that thinks sour cream is the single greatest secret ingredient ever for baking (think Glazed Lemon Pound CakeBlueberry Muffins and Chocolate Loaf Cake), I figured there was no better starting point than Glazed Sour Cream Doughnuts. I could not have been more right.

Shopping List

For doughnuts:

  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For sugar glaze:

  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (more…)

Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits

I almost named these Bacon Fat Biscuits, but I feared a call from the FDA.

I used buttermilk bacon fat to bind the dough and then brushed the tops with melted butter bacon fat to get a golden brown shine. And my guess is that if you’ve made it this far through the post, then we’re going to get along just fine.

There really is nothing more to say than you need to make a mad dash to your local grocery store to round up the ingredients for these Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits because they are all sorts of right. Bacon, bacon fat, cheddar and scallions. What’s not to love? My brother and I sliced the warm biscuits in half and slathered them with our favorite Sarabeth’s Strawberry Raspberry Preserves.

Shopping List

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, plus additional for rolling out dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallion, green parts only
  • ½ pound bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled
  • Reserved bacon drippings, cooled (at least ¼ cup)
  • ¾ cup heavy cream (more…)

Marshmallow Pops

While tempering chocolate, piping rosettes and building a tower of homemade truffles are great ways to celebrate the gushiest day of the year, spearing marshmallows, dunking them in chocolate and dusting them with heart-shaped sprinkles can be just as fun. Throw a lollipop stick into the mix and I’d say we have Valentine’s Day just about covered.

Marshmallow Pops are an easy, fun and delicious snack to make with kids of any age (note “snack” and not “dessert,” which means it’s appropriate to eat them anytime after 9 a.m.). Craving a savory element? Grab a bag of salted pretzel rods and let the dunking and sprinkling begin.

Shopping List

  • Large marshmallows
  • Bittersweet chocolate chunks
  • Sprinkles, or edible decorations of your choice
  • Lollipop sticks (more…)

Turkey Taco Stew

Nothing says Super Bowl quite like a large pot of Turkey Taco Stew. It’s a mashup between traditional chili and a Mexican mainstay that’s loaded with lean ground turkey, tomatoes, peppers and beans. This is actually one food you can feel free to indulge in on game day. That is, if you opt out of my family’s favorite way to serve it: ladled over a bowl of tortilla chips and topped off with the works. The heat of the stew softens the tortilla chips, turning them into a welcome complement found at the bottom of your bowl.

Regardless of who you’re rooting for this Sunday (shout out to my man Aaron Rodgers), you can at least keep the in-house crowds cheering with an endless bowl of one of my childhood favorites. And don’t forget to check out my long list of sweet and savory Super Bowl snacks that includes a few crowd-pleasing cocktails to sip and savor.

Shopping List

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ pounds ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 1 green pepper, small dice
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 10-oz. can pinto beans in chili sauce
  • 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 10-oz. can tomato soup (undiluted)
  • 1 cup water
  • Tortilla chips, for serving
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese, for serving
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Chopped Scallions, for serving
    (more…)

Hungarian Cucumber Salad

After last week’s schnitzel fest I got several requests for the cucumber salad that I served with the dish. It’s one of those recipes I’ve been making since I was old enough to hold a knife, but this weekend I finally took the time to measure out the exact proportions. And thus, ode to my Hungarian heritage week continues.

Cucumber salad is perfect to serve alongside traditional schnitzel, but it’s also just a great side to any sort of heartier chicken or pork dish. You can jazz it up using different flavor profiles and seasonal veggies (one of my favorite Asian-inspired recipes is for Cucumber and Sesame Salad).

And despite the 18 inches of snow New York City got (in a single day) last week, I’m still keeping my hopes up that spring weather is just weeks away. So what better way to ease into bikini-shape than with a guilt-free, refreshing side dish. It’s just what the dietitian ordered … alongside a plate of pan-fried Wienerschnitzel and a cold Heineken.

Shopping List

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 2 Tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1½ cups white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Hungarian paprika, for garnish (more…)

Hungarian Wienerschnitzel

Crispy cutlets dredged in flour, eggwash and breadcrumbs, pan-fried to golden brown perfection, doused with a squeeze of citrus and sprinkled with a pinch of salt.

You know it as “Wienerschnitzel.” I know it as “Little Guys.”

The story as to why or how my siblings and I grew up calling schnitzel “Little Guys” doesn’t exist. Blame it on randomness. Consider it relatively odd. Go ahead, cock your head and go “huh?”

To this day my family still laughs thinking about the origin of the Little Guys name. But regardless of what anyone called it, Little Guys were a weekly staple in our American-Hungarian home. There were Little Guys with mashed potatoes. Little Guys with red cabbage. Little Guys with cucumber salad. Heck, there were even Little Guys with barbecue sauce.

And while traditional Wienerschnitzel is made with veal, we often put our own American spin on this eastern European classic by subbing in chicken, turkey or even pork. And after years of using traditional breadcrumbs, this past Christmas I got a lesson from Wolfgang Puck, the Wienerschnitzel master, who told me that crushed Panko is the secret to the lightest, crispiest, most golden brown crust imaginable.

Shopping List

  • Four 8-ounce veal, chicken, turkey or pork scaloppini
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten together with 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs, crushed
  • Peanut oil, for pan-frying
  • Lemon wedges (more…)

Garlic Knots

There are few better combinations than hot bread and fresh garlic. Add melted butter to the mix and you have an unbeatable trio.

This recipe for Garlic Knots is for those of us with less time on our hands. You can absolutely make these straight from scratch with your favorite homemade pizza dough, but I found that pre-made dough from my local Whole Foods was just too easy to pass up. I’d say to make sure you serve these up hot, but I doubt they’ll even make it from the sheet tray to your plate before you sneak a taste.

Shopping List

  • 2 lbs. store-bought or homemade pizza dough, at room temperature
  • All purpose flour, for rolling out dough
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt

(more…)

Peppermint Candy Cookies: As Told Through Photos

While we’ve waved goodbye to the holidays (and waved in another round of east coast snow), these Peppermint Candy Cookies are reason enough to keep your oven preheated and your fridge stocked with butter.

The incredibly talented Bridget over at Bake at 350 is the mastermind behind these beautiful sugar cookies, which my mom, sister and I churned out by the dozen (times three) over the holidays. Check out Bake at 350 for the recipes then scroll down for my supersized take on Peppermint Candy Cookies, as told through photos. (more…)

Re-post: Pumpkin Bars

There are a few recipes that I count among my go-to favorites. There are my great grandmother Momoo’s Peanut Butter Bars, the classically Italian Polpette Fritte, the Blended Oatmeal Cookies, the La Jolla Crab Stack, and of course, this recipe for Pumpkin Bars.

I’ve never been a fan of pumpkin pie, which is why I resort to Pumpkin Bars. They pack the same flavor (think cinnamon, ginger and cloves) but in cake form. Best of all, they’re topped off with a quick-fix cream cheese frosting. Let the bowl licking begin.

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