Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chocolate Covered Pretzel & Peanut Cookies

               Chocolate covered pretzels are probably on Hubby’s top 5 favorite foods list. Peanuts are probably on mine. Cookies are on both our lists for sure, so why not combine all three to make a Glazier family cookie?
                Hence was the thought process of making these little gems this week. Honestly, do I think they represent us entirely? No, I think the recipe still needs perfecting but do I think they are a great place to start? Yes, indeed!
                What I was hoping for in truth was a puffy cookie with lots of texture. What I got was a semi-flat cookie with some lumps here and there, haha. Eh, we all hit baking road bumps, right? But what really counts is the flavor and that, my friends, is why I am delivering this cookie to you today! Well, not literally but you know what I mean;) Anyway, what you’ll love about this treat is that in just one bite you’ll taste salt, chocolate and butter! Basically, you’ll quickly forget how unfulfilling they look while you indiscriminately enjoy. And yes I agree they won’t win any food gawking contest, but yes I do think you’ll empty that cookie jar in a jiffy! Enjoy... 

Chocolate Covered Pretzel & Peanut Cookies
Adapted from: Betty Crocker
Makes: about 44 cookies

OBJ: TCW be able to combine two of her household’s favorites into one treat

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
 (2 cups) chocolate covered pretzels, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Mix sugars, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl
3. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff)
4. Stir in nuts and pretzels
5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet
6. Bake 12-14 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft)
7. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove from cookie sheet and let completely cool on write rack

Thursday, June 21, 2012

3 Cheese Spinach Flatbread

              Here’s a recipe I consider to be a part of my “bistro night” entrees. In our home, “bistro night” consists of any dinner that is made in a pinch, easy to clean up, and has minimal ingredients. Quesadillas, omelets, turkey BLTs, and flatbread pizzas are the favorites among my “bistro” collection.
                As just mentioned, flatbread pizzas are a go-to dish when time is an issue and ingredients are scarce. This version came about from a craving for white pizza but without the motivation to either A-order one or B-drive to get what I needed to make one. Luckily, I knew I had leftover flatbreads, some cheeses in the fridge, and a ½ bag of spinach to use up. I decided to layer the cheeses to allow for a little distinction among them and went with a quick garlic and olive oil sauté to step up the spinach. What came to be was a tasty and satisfying dinner that, when paired with a side salad, made for a complete meal. It could easily be doubled or tripled for a bigger family or served for an appetizer at your next fiesta. Not to mention, it makes for a 1-2-3 dinner that can clean out your entire fridge from leftover cheeses to lingering veggies lying around.
                So with that said, I won’t urge you to go shopping to get what you need to make this, I’ll only tell you to go scour your refrigerator! Happy huntingJ  

3 Cheese Spinach Flatbread
Serves: 2

OBJ: TCW be able to create her own version of a “white pizza” without using pizza dough or ricotta

2 onion-flavored flatbreads (about 7 inches in diameter)
4 small garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3 C fresh, cleaned spinach (about 2 large handfuls)
4 slices provolone cheese
¼ C shredded low moisture mozzarella, divided
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
11-12 grape tomatoes, rinsed and halved
S & P: salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes, optional

1. Place pizza stone on bottom rack of oven and preheat to 450 degrees
2. Sauté spinach: In a small sauté pan, heat the 1 TBS oil over medium heat, add garlic, a pinch S & P and red pepper flakes.  Lower heat to low and allow garlic to cook and soften, about 8 minutes. Add spinach and toss to combine, cover to let spinach cook and wilt. Stir about every 2 minutes until all spinach has wilted, set aside to cool
3. Drizzle each flatbread with about 1 tsp oil, spread with a pastry brush or back of a spoon
4. Completely cover each flatbread with 2 pieces of provolone each; you will have to tear cheese to fit each flatbread
5. Split spinach between each flatbread, placing all around each
6. Spread grape tomato halves around each flatbread
7. Sprinkle each flatbread with the ¼ C of mozzarella and then top with freshly grated parmesan cheese
8. Sprinkle a pinch of S & P and red pepper flakes on each flatbread
9. Place on preheated pizza stone, bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown
10. Transfer to platter, slice and serve


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Roasted Vegetable & Sausage Rotini

                I know what you may be thinking….. all this chick ever cooks is pasta! And you’re right my dear friends; it is one of my best pals during the week, weekend and even out to dinner. But to defend myself against all you carb-hating people, I usually add a ton of things to my pasta so that really, it isn’t the star, just the platform if-you-will. And so here is yet another pasta hit that I will be making again and again as it is easy, quick, and down-right delicious.
                As for the veggies used, I stuck to some farmers’ market favorites: zucchini, peppers and onions. You really could do anything here: asparagus, broccoli, artichokes, etc. would be great swaps. I chose to go with the roasting process so that it would yield me a great base to my wine broth, and with the drippings THAT YOU HAVE TO ADD, the broth was indeed rich and deep in both flavor and color.
                If you are not a spicy eater, a sweet sausage would do fine so no worries there. However, if you are an anti-sausage civilian, this dish will um…well…to put it nicely…not work. The sausage produces way more flavor than say shrimp or chicken would, sorry folks. But if you would like to go pig-less, you could just roast the veggies, then add your protein to the sauté and cook it prior to step 10. Meh, I hope you take the sausage route though, it is so darn good. Okay, well that is enough yip-yap for this blog post and so I leave you will a great meal for the coming weeks, enjoyJ

Roasted Vegetable & Sausage Rotini
OBJ: TCW be able to cook all her ingredients on one baking sheet

3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 green zucchini, stem removed
2 yellow zucchini, stems removed
½ red pepper, seeds and stem removed
½ yellow pepper, seeds and stem removed
1 hot sausage ring, or 3 links
½ large Vidalia onion
2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
 ¼ C dry white wine ( I use Pinot Grigio, but use what you booze!)
¼ C -1/2 C reserved pasta water
3 fresh basil leaves, torn
Parmesan cheese
½ lb rotini pasta

1. Preheat oven to 425 degees
2. Cut sausage ring into about 4 large pieces, about 3-4 inches each (links cut in ½)
3. Chop all zucchini pieces into large chucks, about 1 inch rounds
4. Chop onion into large 1-2 inch chunks, chop peppers into large 1 inch strips and leave garlic whole
5. Place all ingredients spread out on a baking sheet or jelly roll pan
6. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp each),  drizzle with about 1-2 TBS olive oil, toss well
7. Place in oven to roast for 35-40 minutes (be sure to check if sausage is cooked through)
8. Meanwhile, boil water for pasta
9. On a separate plate slice sausage into ½ inch rounds
10. Place a large sauté pan over medium flame, add sausage and entire pan of roasted items, including drippings, stir
11. Add wine, turn heat to high, bring to boil then lower flame and let wine reduce, about 3 minutes
12. To sauté, add pasta, pinch S & P, fresh basil, toss to combine with additional pasta water
13. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, serve

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
Edison, NJ
Final Grade: A
            It’s funny how things change, you know? You go from Chinese take-out for years to loving Thai or only eating spaghetti and meatballs to then insisting on penne.  For us it goes like this… my husband and I have always been a calamari & pizza couple. That has been one of our long-lasting dining combos that we seek out whenever we can. And if you didn’t already know, I must tell you that finding that combo with both items being exceptional is very difficult. And not to get even more off track, I will quickly tell you where we have found success….. Denino’s in Aberdeen and Esposito's in Matawan. But like I started this post, things change. We no longer are pizza and “cali” people, we are now pizza and wings people.
            This new trend started a bit back when we visited Tommy's Coal Fired Pizza in Red Bank and fell in love with their oven-roasted wings. There pizza was fab too and so we set out on another mission to find a coal fired pizza and wing place closer to home. And boy did we find it! Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, a quick parkway ride for us to Edison, is where we found our new duo dynasty.
Believe it or not, these are the wings covered in caramelized onions!

            And while some might say it could be a battle of the two coal fired joints, I have to stay neutral here and say the more the merrier. They both were great in their own respects, each has distinctiveness in décor and ambiance, yet both provide quality wings and pizza. Oh how beautiful does that sound!
            But again to get back on track, Anthony’s is what this review is about. Let’s start with their coal oven roasted wings. We went with the small (10 pieces) for $9.50. They arrived on top of smokey focaccia bread smothered with caramelized onions. Each piece was seasoned well and crispy just enough to taste not only the skin but the meat too. They were quite tender; though what we enjoyed the most was pairing each bite with a few sweet onion strands. The onions coated the skin just perfectly so that each piece had definitive textures and distinct flavors. The focaccia “bed” was a nice addition, although I rarely have a have problem with bread in any situation. Again though, the onions played yet another leading role here when placed atop the charred carb. An overall great 1st round that left us excited for round 2: pizza…

            Just as the sign reads, “Warning, Our Pizza is Well Done,” is just how it arrived. Our pie had black and scorched edges and was filled with browned and bubbling cheese. We went with the large traditional ($15.25) half sausage and couldn’t have been happier. Each slice, from our first to our last, had not only crunch but character as well. I was so amazed at how, after sitting on the tray for about 15 minutes, my second slice produced the same crunch as the first one did. I have only had that happen at one other place, my place, since I serve pizza right on the pizza stone. Again, I digress.  Anyway though, Anthony’s pizza was unique in that the sauce was placed thoughtfully so that some pieces were bursting with tomato flavor while others were like eating a white pie. The sausage was crumbled and, although a touch on the light side, provided a decent fennel finish. So after eating one too many slices each, we both didn’t know what to admire the most. We both agreed that the “burnt” nature of the pie was awesome and also that the sauce and cheese were spread about just perfectly. In other words, the pizza was dynamite.
            Beyond the food, it must be noted that the place itself was very attractive and comfortable. The walls are decorated with black and white photos that bring patrons back in time while the bar area is alive and kickin’ which brings them right back to the here and now.  To say the service was cordial would be an understatement; each staff member was mannered, courteous and smiling! It was a joy just to walk around this place, but that's not what we came here to do.  We came here to eat and I must say if you do only one thing here, it’s just that. More specifically of course, eat the wings and pizza, I’m sure you’ll be smiling with your waiterJ
Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza is located at 80 Parsonage Road, Edison, NJ. They have other NJ locations including Ramsey and Clifton. More locations, including ones in NY, DE, and FL can be found on the website

Total score 22/25
Final Grade: A
A: 21-25    B: 16-20    C: 11-15   D: 6-10    F: 0-5
Restaurant Rubric

Food Taste
Bland, boring, overcooked, underdone
Very little flavor, not much aroma
Flavors apparent, basic ability to please palates
Flavor worth discussing, chef’s use of ingredients impressive
Great flavor, taste lingers and leaves diner wanting more
Restaurant service
Inattentive staff, no regard for wait time
Staff average in helpfulness, timing alright, either more/less needed
Staff knowledgeable and attentive to needs without asking, timing very well executed
Remarkable and noteworthy, service so good you forget it is ever an issue elsewhere
Food Presentation
Cover it up please
Sloppy and the eater can tell little thought went into it
Descent presentation: looks alright, not worth a picture but enough to make you hungry
Admirable, it is apparent the chef plated with a consideration for presentation
Presentational talents are here. Looks beautiful and too good to dig in
Prices match quality
Prices are too high for quality
Prices are still too high but not outrageously
Some items are priced accordingly but not all
Most items are priced accordingly
All items are matched accordingly
Would I go back?
Not a chance ever
Looking forward to it
What time should I arrive?!?