Asian Pear and Smoked Sausage Pizza

13315681_10210002635681232_2402481382858059792_nLast year I had the ultimate pleasure of personally meeting some fellow bloggers in real life!

There’s a local food bloggers club that tries to meet monthly and I got to meet a couple of bloggers that I’ve “known” through Secret Recipe Club!

One of them, Karen, of Karen’s Kitchen Stories, is a phenomenal bread baker and I envy her passion for cooking with yeast and kneading dough.

She shared a no knead flatbread back in October and I was itching to try it.

Apparently I wasn’t itching hard enough to read the ingredient list thoroughly. I had the wrong kind of yeast! That beautiful airy flatbread crust will have to wait.

I resorted to my pizza dough recipe. Firecracker helped me create the dough, roll it out, and sprinkle on the cheese, and steal some sliced pears while he was at it.

As a sauceless pizza, the flavors were still incredible. I made two individual size pizzas that night and reserved the remaining ingredients. Lunch the next day was fantastic!

Sometimes food photography with two little boys can get a little out of control…

Asian Pear and Smoked Sausage Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 9 oz Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1 Asian pear, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb pizza dough (homemade or store bought)

Steps:

  1. Place a pizza stone in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, toss onion with thyme and 1 tbsp olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Roll out pizza dough (I did 4 individual sized pizzas instead of one large) to 1/4″ thickness. Prick with a fork. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt.
  4. Top pizza crust with cheese, onions, pear, and sausage. Bake 18 – 20 minutes.

*This recipe was inspired from Karen at http://www.karenskitchenstories.com/2016/10/asian-pear-and-smoked-sausage-flatbread.html*

Asian Pear and Smoked Sausage Pizza | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

#BundtBakers: Pears

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This month’s edition of #BundtBakers is a little different. No, you won’t notice anything unique about this month compared to any of the previous #BundtBakers events but behind the scenes I’m the one hosting! #BundtBakers is a group of bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

I’ve selected a theme of Pears for November 2016. When I told my mom she said, “but you made a pear cake last month.” Yes, yes, I did. I’m that much obsessed with pears this fall.

How did this pear obsession begin?

Friends of ours brought over a fruit salad one evening and there were pears in it. These pears were perfectly ripe and reminded me how delicious a pear can be! I’ve since been buying them when I can get decent ones at the grocery store. Treat loves them, too. They’re such a perfect late night snack.

My favorite pear variety of choice is the boring ole Bartlet. I went rogue and bought a Bosq for a salad (but my husband ate it). We didn’t care for it as much.

The pear cake I’m sharing today varies from the my previous one because the pear is shredded! The shredded pear almost disolves into the cake batter as it’s baking, but you still get that bit of pear texture. I decided to pulse some walnuts instead of using almondmeal and I love the flavor it gives to the cake. Another change I made from the recipe of inspiration was to use honey instead of maple syrup. Pear, honey, and walnuts, are a perfect flavor combination and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It had me thinking of a cheese platter and I decided to use mascarpone cheese in the frosting again, too.

My husband perfers just about every cake to be warmed up in the microwave. I’m the opposite and like my cake at room temperature, even cold for some recipes! For this bundt cake, though, I am 100% on board with warming it up. Yum.

Honey and Walnut Pear Bundt Cake

Ingredients for cake:

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1/2-1/2 C walnuts
  • 1 1/3 C flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1 pear, shredded

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 4 tbsp mascarpone, softened
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • milk, as needed
  • pinch of salt, if desired

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heavily grease a bundt pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at at time, mixing until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and honey.
  3. Put walnuts in a food processor and pulse until fine – should yield 1/4 C.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/4 C of the walnut crumbs, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the stand mixer and mix until combined. Add the milk, mix until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients. Add the shredded pear and mix.
  6. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out cleanly. Allow cake to cool before unmolding.
  7. Make the frosting: Place mascarpone, butter, honey, and vanilla in a bowl and whisk with a hand mixer until combined. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until incorporated. Add milk as needed a teaspoon at a time. If desired, stir in a pinch of salt. Pipe frosting over cooled cake.

*The cake recipe is modified from Tessa at http://thecakeblog.com/2015/12/maple-pear-cake.html*

Honey and Walnut Pear Bundt Cake for #BundtBakers from Sew You Think You Can Cook

You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month:

Almond Pear Bread Pudding from Food Lust People Love

Fresh Pear Bundt Cake with Vanilla Glaze from The Queen of Scones

London Fog & Pear Bundt Cake from All That’s Left Are The Crumbs

Orange Pear Bundt Cake from Basic N Delicious

Pear and Date Bundt Cake with Caramel Mascarpone Sauce from kidsandchic

Pear and Hazelnut Bundt from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner

Pear and Port Bundt Cake from Palatable Pasttime

“Pear”fect Rum Raisin Cake from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Pear Pecan Coffee Bundt Cake from Patty’s Cake

Pear Spiced Bundt Cake from I Love Bundt Cakes

Pear Streusel Crunch Cake from Noshing with the Nolands

Pumpkin Pear Bundt Cake from Making Miracles

Roasted Pear & Walnut Spice Cake Bundt from Brooklyn Homemaker

Salted Caramel Pear Bundt Cake from Tartacadabra

Spiced Pear Bundt from A Day in the Life on the Farm

This recipe was my personal favorite of November 2016. I’ve added it to An InLinkz Link-up celebrating monthly favorite recipes on Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking. 

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#BundtBakers: Happy Fall

4ae7b-bundtbakerspostIt’s that time of month for me to share a bundt cake with you alongside #BundtBakers. #BundtBakers is a group of bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. This month Teri of The Freshman Cook is hosting and selected the theme “Happy Fall,” leaving it wide open for us to celebrate the season any way we desire – as long as it’s in bundt form, of course!

We have found a great church here in California and are starting to call it home. It’s a smaller congregation than the church we attended in Ohio and we’re slowly becoming a part of this church family.

Being far from family, we don’t get the opportunity to go on regular date nights and are never without the boys. One day we’ll trust someone other than grandparents to watch them, but for now, we’re not ready. Church is our opportunity to give us and the kids some time away. The first time we dropped them off at the nursery was a near disaster. Firecracker had a major meltdown and we were called to return and comfort him. The second visit was a complete 180 as he was calm enough to realize they had a train table and countless trains and cars to play with. Now, he runs in the door and doesn’t look back – he even asks to go to church throughout the week. Treat followed the same pattern, and while he still tries to follow me out the door, I haven’t gotten the message “the baby is crying” (a message they’ll only send if 10 minutes of consoling doesn’t do the trick) in weeks!

One of my favorite things about this church is their dedication to the community. Each Wednesday they provide dinner for the hungry and homeless and anyone who shows up. They feed over 100 people each week! I’d noticed a request for desserts in the bulletin and knew I had to help out. Physically volunteering hasn’t been possible with my husband away (see the no baby sitter scenario above), but baking I can do! Once our family is whole again we’re going to figure out how we can do more to help out while one of us stays home with the boys.

14705826_10104113714664701_304176535388205071_nThis week was my first week delivering dessert. To provide individually wrapped desserts I thought it’d be best to use my Garland Bundt Pan and my Bundt Duet Pan. Unfortunately, the 6 smaller cakes all stuck! So, while my donation of 15 slices from the duet pan wasn’t what I’d hoped to be delivering, it was a start.

The “broken” cakes didn’t go to waste though! I scraped the pan clean and have been eating it by the handful. Hey, crumbs don’t count, right? Firecracker enjoyed the cake, too. He listened to me when I told him he couldn’t touch the larger cakes, that we had to eat the broken cake. His response, was to bring a chair from his toddler table into the kitchen, climb up it, and eat the broken cake, declaring “I love broken cake!”

Poached Pear and Cranberry Bundt with Maple Marscapone Frosting

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 C sugar, divided use
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 pears, peeled
  • 1 pkg (5 oz) dried cranberries
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 1/2 stick softened butter
  • 1/4 C softened marscapone cheese
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp real maple syrup

Steps:

  1. Poach the pears: Bring 4 C water, 1 C sugar, and the cinnamon stick to a boil. Add the whole pears and simmer 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove pears from poaching liquid, core them, and chop. Set aside. Reserve 1/4 of the liquid before discarding.
  2. Reconstitute the cranberries: Bring 1 1/2 C water to a boil. Add the cranberries. Remove from heat and allow cranberries to plump up, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heavily grease bundt pan(s).
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, oil, brown sugar, and remaining 1 C of white sugar. Add the eggs one at a time.
  5. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer, alternating with the reserved poaching liquid.
  7. Fold in the chopped pears and cranberries.
  8. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan(s). Bake 35-55 minutes depending on the size of your pan.

*This recipe is adapted from Tessa at http://thecakeblog.com/2013/11/pear-cranberry-cake.html*

Poached Pear and Cranberry Bundt with Maple Marscapone Frosting for #BundtBakers from Sew You Think You Can Cook

You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month:

Apple, Pear and Honey Cider Bundt Cake by All That’s Left Are the Crumbs

Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle by Cookaholic Wife

Bundt Cake de Chocolate Blanco y Moras by La Mejor Manera de hacer

Chestnut Cream Marbled Bundt Cake by I Love Bundt Cakes

Chocolate Caramel Apple Cake by The Freshman Cook

Ginger and Cinnamon Bundt Cake by Los Chatos Chefs

Impossible Pumpkin Pie Bundt by Faith, Hope, Love, and Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Jack O’Lantern Cake by Palatable Pastime

Persimmon Apple Bundt by Tea and Scones

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake by Patty’s Cake

Pumpkin Pie Bundt by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Caramel Drizzle by Living the Gourmet

Robert E. Lee Bundt Cakeby The Queen of Scones

Spiced Rum Pumpkin Bundt by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Sticky Pecan Pie Bundt by Food Lust People Love

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Fall Quinoa Bowl

You know how smoothie bowls hit the food scene over the past year or so? Well, I have yet to try one myself.

Grain bowls are also a thing. And that I’ve decided to make and put my spin on. Although, technically, quinoa isn’t a grain, it’s a seed, making this protein packed bowl gluten free. You could leave the chicken out to make a vegetarian option. Heck, you could even cook in coconut oil instead of butter and go vegan with it!

Possibilities are really endless when you stop and think about making a quinoa bowl. Quinoa itself doesn’t have too strong of a flavor of its own, much like oats or rice, and can lend itself to many preparations – savory or sweet.

What I loved about this meal was that it was a perfect dinner to serve to my entire family. Everything was both adult and kid friendly. My picky two year old ate around all of the vegetables and chicken and solely ate the quinoa – but hey, there are good nutrients in that little seed and a fair amount of protein. Treat enjoyed all of it.

To present the quinoa bowl. I simply topped the dressed quinoa with the fruit, vegetables, and protein in concentric circles to showcase the incredible colors and flavors of fall. Arranging them in lines would be beautiful, too.

An Original Recipe

Fall Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 C quinoa
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 pears, cubed
  • 1/2 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1-2 small red beets, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large cooked chicken breast, cubed
  • 3 tbsp Meyer lemon olive oil
  • 1 tbsp raspberry balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • scallion, for garnish

Steps:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. In a non-stick skillet melt a little bit of butter. Saute pears over medium heat until tender. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until fork tender and lightly golden. Add butter as needed. Remove and set aside.
  4. Cook the beets in the same skillet, adding more butter if needed, until fork tender.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard. Season to taste with S+P. Toss cooked quinoa in as much dressing as desired.
  6. Top quinoa with the pears, potatoes, beets, and chicken. Top with a little extra dressing and garnish with sliced scallions.

Fall Quinoa Bowl | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

#EVOOChallenge: Winter Salad with Shallot Balsamic Vinaigrette

It’s day 2 of the #EVOOChallenge. This challenge, in which we make foods with the only cooking fat being olive oil, was issued by Spartan Olive Oil. The goal is to highlight the benefits of using olive oil over its less healthy counterparts, I’m looking at you butter and vegetable oil. Search the hashtag on social media to see more great recipes!

While both olive oil and vegetable oil have 120 Calories and 14 grams of fat per tbsp, olive oil has 10 grams of monounsaturated fat (the good fat) whereas vegetable oil has only 3 grams of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is actually good for your health; it reduces bad cholesterol and provides vitamin E. (Source: American Heart Association)

This unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil is made from the olives of 700 year old trees in Sparta, Greece. The flavorful oil has a rich golden color and smooth texture. I wanted to highlight the nutty, fruity flavor of the oil in my recipes this week.

Shallot Confit for the #EVOOChallenge from Sew You Think You Can CookOne of the cookbooks I got for Christmas is The Chef Next Door by Amanda Freitag. While flipping through it for the first time we came across a recipe for Shallot Confit. I knew I just had to try it for this challenge! The recipe calls for a mix of olive and canola oils, but as that would go against the rules I omitted the canola oil. I was a little nervous about omitting the canola oil and didn’t think substituting was the right way to go either. I opted with using fewer shallots than called for. And it worked.

These shallots would be incredible as a pizza topping, would add a little something extra to a sandwich, and could even work well in an onion dip. I decided to add them to salad. And as a bonus I used some of the oil in a vinaigrette!

The shallots will keep up to two weeks in the oil.

Winter Salad with Shallot Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole shallots, peeled and trimmed
  • 1 C + 1 tbsp olive oil, divided use
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 oz balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • mixed baby greens (I used spinach, swiss chard, and arugula)
  • crumbled Feta cheese
  • cooked, crumbled bacon
  • pear, sliced

Steps:

  1. Make shallot confit: Place shallots in a small saucepan with 1 C oil to cover. Add the thyme, peppercorns, and S+P. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce heat to low and cook 25 minutes until shallots are easily pierced. Allow shallots to cool. Store in fridge, covered.
  2. Roast chickpeas: Lay chickpeas out on a clean towel and pat dry. Remove any lose skins. Leave chickpeas out until completely dried, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay chickpeas out on the prepared baking sheet. Roast 40 minutes, or until crunchy. Toss roasted chickpeas in 1 tbsp oil. Add the garlic powder and a little salt to taste.
  3. Make dressing: Put 3 oz of the shallot confit oil in a jar with the balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and S+P. Shake until combined.
  4. Assemble salad: Top greens with Feta, bacon, pears, chopped shallot confit, and roasted chickpeas. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

*The shallot recipe is adapted from The Chef Next Door*

*The chickpea recipe is adapted from Debbie at http://www.madefrompinterest.net/roasted-chickpeas-recipe/*

Winter Salad with Shallot Balsamic Vinaigrette for the #EVOOChallenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer 1: By participating in this 5 day challenge I received a bottle and pouch of Spartan Olive Oil. 

Disclaimer 2: This post contains affiliate links. 

Thankful for Friends and Bloggers

Last month my wonderful friend Tara of Tara’s Multicultural Table threw me a surprise virtual baby shower for my baby boy. The theme behind this blogging event was Thanksgiving.

Lauren-Shower

With a Fall baby, I couldn’t have picked a more perfect theme. Especially when Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I definitely have so much to be thankful for this year.

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Tara gathered together a wonderful group of bloggers willing to share a Thanksgiving recipe in honor of my baby boy.

Thank you again to all of the bloggers who came to my shower and a huge thank you to Tara for hosting. I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love.

#SundaySupper: Red Carpet Party

Today #SundaySupper is having a party perfect for any red carpet event! There’s an awards show on tonight. I think it’s the “big one.” I wouldn’t really know because I’m not all up to snuff on my Hollywood trivia. I do like Neil Patrick Harris though, so I will be watching. Or rather, I’ll have it playing on the TV screen. I don’t know how much I’ll be paying attention. (I’ll be participating in a Twitter chat after all! – See end of post for details.) I haven’t seen any of the movies up for nomination and I don’t know the who’s-who of actors.

Katie of Ruffles and Truffles is hosting this star-studded gathering so be sure to scroll past my recipe for a list of party worthy drinks and eats!

Thank You Peary Much | Sew You Think You Can Cook

I decided to create a very simple signature cocktail for the event. Because what party for the stars wouldn’t be complete with an original concoction involving champagne? I wanted to go with something gold in honor of The Oscar. It’s a gold award! Hey, at least I knew that!

This cocktail would be welcome at any brunch table.

An Original Recipe

Thank You Peary Much

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 2″ piece ginger root
  • pear nectar
  • champagne
  • crystalized ginger (optional)

Steps:

  1. Make ginger simple syrup: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat combine sugar, water, and ginger until sugar completely disolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Assemble cocktails: Put a little ginger simple syrup in the bottom of a champagne glass. Top it with pear nectar and champagne. (The ratios are completely up to you – do you like it mostly bubbly with a touch of juice or are you a juice fan with a hint of bubbly?) Drop some crystalized ginger into the glass and watch it fizz!

Thank You Peary Much | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Nominees for Best Supporting Appetizers:

Nominees for Best Course in a Leading Role:

Nominees for Best Supporting Sips:

Nominees for Best Delectable Desserts:

Nominees for Best Dressed Table:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.