Chimichurri Steak Pizza

One of the new kitchen toys Amanda received for Christmas was a baking steel. I had acquired one over the summer in an impulse purchase and we both love when one of us gets a new kitchen gadget upgrade. While we’ve both made a few recipes on our baking steels independently (let me tell ya, it’s a game changer), we decided to really test them out we needed a flatbread theme night. I had recently tried an out of the bow Asian-fusion pizza place and so I was interested in making something a little different than the normal pizzas. As you can probably tell from my trend of recipes, tomatoes don’t really excite me, and so traditional pizza doesn’t really excite me (much to my husband’s frustration). So for this DistanceDishes night, I wanted to make a pizza with some non-traditional theme and without tomato sauce.

Amanda’s Korean Styled pizza turned out excellent, and I will be making her recipe in the very near future as just her picture of the result made my mouth water (and you know how I feel about anything Bulgogi related). I wanted mine to be different enough, so I bring you the South American flavors in a flatbread with delicious chimmichurri as the sauce alternative. Each bite was an explosion of flavor, and so satisfying. If you don’t feel up for making a whole pizza out of these ingredients, the steak marinade is worth checking out alone. I was sneaking some bites as I assembled, and no part of this recipe disappoints. Don’t worry if you don’t have a baking steel, a stone or baking sheet will work just fine.

Steak Marinade Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp aji amarillo (Optional)
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Finely grated lime zest
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp Sharp Paprika
  • 1 lb flank steak or skirt steak, cut into large strips
  1. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients and pour over steak strips in a shallow dish or plastic bag. Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.
  2. After, remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry. In a skillet over medium-high heat, sear the strips of steak so that they have a nice brown color on the outside and are rare on the inside. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then cut the strips into 1/2 inch cubes. This can be done ahead of time, or while your pizza oven is preheating.

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Chimichurri Pizza Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup curly parsley
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 tsp dried mexican oregano
  • 7 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions: 

  1. Roughly chop the parsley, cilantro and the garlic in a small bowl or blender. Add the oregano, pepper flakes, salt, lemon juice and olive oil and stir to incorporate.
  2. Using an immersion blender (or the regular blender), pulse to for break up the herbs and garlic until you have a paste-like consistency, but can still make out individual herb pieces. It should be only about 10-20 seconds of blending needed. Store the sauce in the fridge until ready to assemble your pizza.

Pizza Ingredients:

  • Pizza crust of your choice, go as store bought or homemade as you want
  • Cornmeal for the bottom (if desired–you could also use semolina flour if you’d like)
  • Diced Red Onions
  • Diced Avocado
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Diced Bell pepper
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Shredded Oaxaca Cheese
  • Chimichurri sauce from recipe above
  • Steak, cut into cubes from recipe above.

Assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F, and if you are using a stone or a steel, turn your oven on for at least 30 minutes before cooking so that the stone/steel can thoroughly heat.
  2. Roll out your pizza crust if needed. If transferring to a stone, sprinkle the back of a baking sheet or a pizza peel with cornmeal to form an even layer. Otherwise, sprinkle your baking sheet with cornmeal on the actual baking side. Place your pizza crust on top of this layer.
  3. Spread a layer of the Chimichurri sauce over the crust, top with the above listed toppings in the distribution of your choice. Place your baking sheet in the oven or slide the pizza off of the back of the baking sheet or peel and onto your stone/steel.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is slightly golden and cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Wine Pairing: Even though we’re talking steak here, with all the spices in the marinade and pizza sauce, I think a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc would be a really nice pairing with the spicy flavors.

 

 

Za’atar Chicken Hummus Wrap

I originally bought my slow cooker with the intention to never be limited by its size when I wanted to make a meal, which turns out to have backfired. I bought a larger model so that I could cook large, cheap cuts of meat without thinking about the leftover implications. Usually when I use my full sized crockpot, those leftovers sit in the fridge for far too long with my excitement over eating a crockpot creation waning with each reheating (chili again?),. Sure, I could freeze soups for another day, but my freezer is pretty full and since I’m mostly cooking for two, the slowcooker does not make an appearance as often as it should in my home. So, when Amanda and I decided on slow cooker theme week, I knew I needed to make something that would keep me coming back for more.

So as not to get too tired of those leftovers, I knew my plate after the night of the wonderful slow cooker whole chicken dinner had to look different enough to entice me. Chicken is so versatile, and I decided to shred what I did not devour on the first night to turn into a healthy and fresh wrap for the following evening. The result, I think I liked even better than the original intended slow cooker meal. What’s that you say? This wrap looks so delicious but you don’t have the time to cook a whole chicken and deal with that whole other recipe? Well, this one could easily be made into a weeknight meal with some leftover grocery store rotisserie chicken or quick pressure cooked chicken breast–whatever floats your boat. I think this recipe will be making an appearance whenever I get that magical combo of feeling lazy but also wanting to stay pretty healthy (that’s a lot…it happens a lot…).

Oh, and if you do happen to shred your own whole chicken for this recipe, be sure to save the bones to make some broth, like Amanda does (you could even do it in the slow cooker)! That can help turn one slow cooker Sunday into a week of dinner delights.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of shredded cooked chicken
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
  • 1 tsp za’atar seasoning

Toppings:

  • Spinach
  • Red onion
  • Feta cheese
  • Hummus
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber, seeded and sliced thin
  • Bread wrap of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together your za’atar, lemon juice, 1 tsp of salt and oil to create an emulsion vinaigrette.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette over your cup of shredded chicken with an additional 1/2 tsp of salt and mix
  3. Spread a layer of your hummus onto your wrap bread to create a cement for the rest of your ingredients.
  4. Add a layer of spinach, chicken, tomato, cucumber, and feta cheese. Drizzle an addition tsp of your vinaigrette over all of your ingredients and close your wrap as tightly as you can. Slice in half if desired and enjoy!

Wrap Alternate pic

If you wanted to go the pita route, that’s a delicious option as well!

 

Wine Pairing: I really want to sit outside on some Mediterranean island while enjoying this wrap and in my mind, a chilled Rose just works with that image. Something medium bodies would stand up nicely to all the acid in this wrap, while also keeping with the lighter feel of the whole experience. 

Korean-Style Pizza

After my Korean-themed dish for the Olympics was a flop (and may have broken my pressure cooker?), I knew this pizza weekend was my opportunity for redemption! This recipe turned out really well, and made for some good leftovers later in the week.The bulgogi marinade is shamelessly stolen from Merideth’s Bulgogi Sub with Gochujang Mayonnaise.

Ingredients

Bulgogi Marinated Pork Belly

Tomato Sauce

  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 2tbs soy sauce
  • 2tsp brown sugar
  • 2tbs mirin or rice wine

Toppings

  • 1 apple pear or ya pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 red and green bell pepper each, diced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1in ginger, grated

Instructions

Bulgogi Marinated Pork Belly

  1. Marinate pork belly overnight, or for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Pat pork belly strips dry and score fat side with diagonal cuts. Lay fat side up on metal baking pan.
  4. Roast pork belly for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees. Cook for another hour, checking every 5 minutes after 45 minutes have passed.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool. Dice meat portion and set aside.

Pizza

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together tomato sauce ingredients and spread on prepared pizza crust. For our recipe, we made 4 smaller pizzas.
  3. Top pizza with pork belly and other toppings. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until edges of pizza crust is a golden brown.

Wine Pairing: I had my first taste of plum wine with this recipe! It’s sweetness was a great aperitif while I waited on the oven. For the rest of the meal, a fruity merlot helped balance the saltiness of the pork belly and marinade.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Dinner

I’ve had a whirlwind couple of weeks! Between having the pleasure of visiting Amanda in Tampa (and running a very humid half marathon together), road tripping to Iowa on another adventure and driving to and from the St. Louis airport a few times in the last few weeks I was beat. Plus, somehow while I was away, my oven heating coil suspiciously decided to snap–the maintenance men said “it happens” but I still have my doubts what happened :). So, when Amanda and I were brainstorming themes for this week’s skype date, we were all about that low effort deliciousness. I’ve written about the benefits of using the slow cooker in the summer, but really the slow cooker is great all year round for so many reasons. Between my strong desire to be lazy on the day or our date and the fact my oven was out of commission, this slow cooker meal was just what I needed.

I decided to do a whole chicken and vegetables for this meal, and while Amanda has done a traditionally cooked whole chicken dinner here before, I decided to mix up the spices a bit so that I could repurpose the leftovers into something delicious the following night. I even saved the bones so that I could make chicken stock, as Amanda demonstrated previously. The flavors are light and remind me of a warmer season, which makes this a nice choice for both the summer and winter. Plus, if you ever make this chicken for a dinner party, they’d never know how little prep and effort this really takes!

Ingredients: 

Spice Blend:

  • 1 tbsp za’atar seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp salt

Other Ingredients: 

  • 1 whole chicken, giblets and neck removed if applicable
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • vegetables of your choice to line the bottom of the slow cooker (I used 2 potatoes, 2 stalks of celery, 2 carrots, and 1 zucchini)
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 2-3 stalks of thyme
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic (ish)

Instructions:

  1. Mix together the above spices listed (from za’atar to oregano) and the salt.
  2. Chop your vegetables into large chunks (since it will be cooking for a long time, you don’t want them to be so small they fall apart), and add them to the bottom of your slow cooker.
  3. Miz your softened butter with your blended spices to form a butter paste. Spread generously over your chicken and try to get some under the skin on the breasts and legs if possible.
  4. Stuff 1 quarter of your lemon (add the rest to your vegetable layer in your slow cooker),  at least 5 garlic cloves and a quarter to half of an onion (whatever you can fit) into the cavity of your chicken. If you have garlic leftover, sprinkle amongst your veggies.
  5. Place the chicken on top of your veggies, cover with your lid and cook on low for 8 hours. Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165°F at the end of the time period, and return to the cooker for additional time if needed.
  6. Optional: If you would like crispy skin on your bird, move your chicken to a baking sheet and broil in the oven on normal setting for 2-5 minutes depending on the strength of your broiler (keep an eye on it! Mine goes from perfect to charred mess in about 2 seconds).
  7. Carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker and carve, and enjoy with your cooked vegetables as well. You can shred any remaining chicken for a variety of recipes. This one fed me for a few more meals so stay tuned for how I repurposed my leftovers!

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Wine Pairing: Since this one is light with a hint of lemon, I think a perfectly chilled Pinot Grigio would be a nice light pairing to go with these yummy flavors.