Author Archives: Linda Roy

Espresso Martini

espresso martini

You need to know something about me.

I love coffee.

No – you don’t understand – love coffee.  I love it morning, afternoon, evening…all freaking day is one long coffee break.

This cocktail is the ultimate offering to The Goddess Caffeina.  Coffee, chocolate and vodka.  Really…do we require anything more?

Espresso martini? Yes please! Sign me up. But do espresso martinis simultaneously make you tired and wired? We’ll just have to try one to find out, right?

Recipe from 5 Ingredient Fix cookbook by Claire Robinson

Ingredients

3 ounces vanilla vodka
1 ounce dark creme de cacao
2 ounces brewed espresso, room temperature or chilled
Whipped cream, for garnish
Bittersweet chocolate, for garnish

To make 

In a chilled cocktail shaker, combine ingredients, except for whipped cream and chocolate until chilled, and
strain into 2 chilled martini glasses.  Float a layer of whipped cream over the top. Using a vegetable peeler, shave some dark chocolate on top of each glass.

Photo by Devin Lee Ainslie / CC BY

Why We Love Pizza

Pizza.  It is one of the world’s most perfect foods.  It puts the capital ‘C’ in comfort food. Why is it that just a few simple ingredients representing a paltry number of food groups can make a simple meal so complete?  Okay, yes, a salad is nice too, but really, all you need is that pizza.

Let’s dissect: crust, sauce, cheese…and the toppings; so, so many options.  When I lived in New York City in the ’80s, my brother came to visit and I took him to Ray’s, New York’s legendary pizzeria.  It was about the time broccoli became a “thing” on pies.  My brother could not believe it. What the hell was broccoli doing on pizza?  What can I say?  We grew up in Ohio.  No offense Ohio peeps – it’s just that in the midwest we are all about the meat lovers experience.  And I will be the first to admit to a full appreciation for a sausage and mushroom, thick and chewy crust concoction.

But now…now there is pizza topped with goat cheese, layered with ham and pineapple, caramelized onions, fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella anyone?  There is a local pizza place here in Jersey that makes organic flat bread pizza with your choice of organic toppings.  And the variations seem endless.  California Pizza Kitchen boasts a Thai pizza with a Thai peanut sauce, peanuts, green onions, chicken, carrots and sprouts.  They do a Greek pizza with feta, kalamata olives and red onions that is a salad and a pizza in one.

But what about dessert?  This is a bakery blog after all.  Dessert pizza is definitely a thing, and why not? Fruit sauce, chocolate chips, whipped cream, jam, chocolate sauce.  A slice of heaven.

And there’s just something about pizza that brings you right back home, whether you live in your hometown or far away.  When I went back to Cleveland a couple of months ago, one of the first things I needed to do was order a sausage and mushroom pizza from Farrinacci’s.  It’s been there forever and the pizza is every bit as good now as it was back when my friends and I went there every Friday night after a high school football game.

Ordering pizza is easy, all American and a tradition in families who observe a weekly Pizza Night.  But making it? Even better.  My kids love building their own pies.  I either make my own dough in the bread machine, or buy it frozen at the grocery store or local bakery.  Have you ever tried grilling it?  The legendary Wolfgang Puck of Spago restaurant in LA was one of the first to popularize grilled pizza and now it’s being done on backyard barbecues everywhere.

I don’t know about you, but I think the pizza possibilities are pretty much endless.  The pizza pie in the sky’s the limit?  Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

So here are some of my favorite purveyors of pizza pie perfection.  What are some of yours?

1.  Ray’s Famous Pizza – NYC – Thin crust and so greasy, you’ll need to sop it all up with an entire wad of those little napkins they keep in those dispensers on the little round tables you stand at in the store.

2.  California Pizza Kitchen – California and now everywhere – Thin crust, thick, a variety of toppings and…you can get the frozen version in some supermarkets and at Target.

3.  Federici’s – New Jersey – The Federici family has been serving up their signature thin crust, family recipe sauce in Springsteen’s hometown of Freehold, New Jersey for generations.  The late great Danny Federici of The E Street Band was part of this culinary clan.

4.  Pizzeria Uno – Chicago deep dish is legendary.  I love it. I know there’s kind of a Thin Crust vs. Deep Dish ongoing debate going on in the world, but I say there’s room for everybody and a big gooey slice of deep dish is what it’s all about for me.  If you don’t have an Uno near you, try making one in a cast iron skillet.  You’ll get great results, I promise.

5.  Spumoni Gardens – Brooklyn, NY – This place has gotten a lot of media attention for their unconventional pizza building style. They put a layer of cheese atop the dough and load the sauce on top of that, followed by generous amounts of meat.  I’ve never been there, but I want to check it out someday, and I’m including it here the buzz I hear about it is that it’s a must-try for pizza lovers.

Buon Appetito!

5 Favorite Cookbooks

Over the years, my cookbook collection has grown by leaps and bounds.  I love them.

While I may not always have time to cook everything from them, I do always keep at least one on my bedside table and enjoy reading them just as much as any other book. Some are more straightforward, while others are good reading, with tips, tricks, backstories and many have gorgeous photographs.

Don’t listen to my husband.  I do not buy the Jamie Oliver books just for glossy photographs of The Naked Chef.  I own a half dozen of his books and a number of his recipes are part of the regular rotation in my kitchen.

Though I have many favorites, (so I think I’ll do a series) I’m going to start out with my 5 favorites.  These are books I turn to again and again for tried and true delicious recipes.

Good eats and good reads!

1. I’m Just Here For the Food – Alton Brown

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The Food Network’s Alton Brown (and my vote for best, most informative, creative and entertaining television chef) has written a bunch of books thus far, all of them terrific, but for this list, my pick is his first.  It read like a text book, but in a very good way! It’s not dry at all.  Very informative, less emphasis on the glossy photo bells and whistles and more on the nuts and bolts of cooking. The hows and whys of food meets heat.

2. Joy the Baker – Joy Wilson

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She’s a baker, she’s a blogger and she’s written one of the best books on the subject I have ever seen or owned.  Am I an expert on the subject? Only as far as I can tell a good cookbook based on the fact that I would make every.single.recipe in this book if I were able to eat that much bakery and still get through the front door.  Her chocolate bourbon spiked banana bread is insanely good.  She’s got a recipe for practically everything in here, and everything I’ve tried came out beautifully and deliciously.  If you can’t get your hands on Alicia Bakery goods and simply must make it at home, here’s the book you reach for.

3. Mastering the Art Of French Cooking – Julia Child

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Well of course.  It would be wrong to leave Julia off the list, and why would I? It took me far too long to acquire this one for my collection, but when I finally did, I was so glad. It’s a classic for a reason.  All the technique, all the classic recipes, and laid out for the home cook to realistically pull off. A must have for anyone looking to put together a comprehensive cookbook collection.

4. Jamie’s Food Revolution – Jamie Oliver 

He’s written a slew of books, and I have a bunch of them.  I have a few favorites, but for this list, I’m going to recommend this one because it’s a good, basic, comprehensive compendium for the home cook.  On these pages you’ll find recipes for home made salad dressings, spice mixes, everyday meals, the classics like soups, stews and roasts and how to do them perfectly, as well as an entire section of Indian recipes complete with spice mixes. There are easy, yet elegant desserts and Oliver’s ever present fish and home made pasta recipes.  Here are recipes that don’t rely on long and expensive ingredient lists or intimidating technique. It’s good cooking for everyday and dinner parties for everyday people.

5. 5 Ingredient Fix – Claire Robinson 

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The former Food Network Star who hosted her own show with the same name as the cookbook, gets my vote for number 5 because she means it when she says that every recipe is comprised of 5 ingredients. There are so many good ones here. I love her cocktail party small bites and her cocktail recipes are terrific, especially one that I have adopted as a regular at my house: the espresso martini.  The breakfast section provides some of my favorites right off the bat. Brioche french toast and maple bacon? Get outta town!  Desserts, amazing entrees, all incredibly doable and yes, the photography is lush.  I do enjoy some good food photography.

What are some of your favorite cookbooks?

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