Salami and Chili Pepper Pizzas

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This past fall I rediscovered salami as a pizza topping and I’ve been hooked ever since. It crisps up delightfully around the edges and has a more complex and meaty flavor than pepperoni does. On these individual-sized pizzas, the salami is joined by spicy red chili peppers — you can leave them off if spicy food isn’t you thing, but I find that they add a delicious flavor and negate the need for crushed red peppers added afterward (I usually pile them on). What goes better with salami and cheese than beer? Hannaford sells lumps of beer-bread dough that are perfect to use as the crust for these pizzas (find them in the refrigerated section, near the hummus and fresh mozzarella). Of course, you can use any pizza dough that you like, or make your own beer bread dough from scratch.
Because I used a lot of purchased ingredients on these pizzas this post is really more an idea that a recipe, but I hope that it’s one that you’ll enjoy. I figured it would also be a great opportunity to share a few pizza-making tips that I’ve picked up over the years.
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Click to continue reading Salami and Chili Pepper Pizzas –>

Bruléed Orange Butter Cookies

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I knew that I needed to bring a knockout recipe to the food blogger cookie exchange that I attended last week, so I turned to these citrusy butter cookies. With a delicate crumb, a texture similar to soft shortbread, and a creme brulée-like smattering of burnt sugar that lightly shatters when you bite into it, Bruléed Orange Butter Cookies are a welcome contrast to the denser oatmeal and peanut butter cookies that are so prevalent this time of year. Although these cookies are a festive treat for the holidays, they make a delightful accompaniment to a cappuccino any time of the year.

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While the burnt sugar topping is what takes these cookies to the next level, I understand that a kitchen torch isn’t exactly something that everyone has on hand. My first recommendation is to use this recipe as an excuse to get one – they can be found for under $20 and are also great for toasting the cheese on French onion soup. Alternately, you can brown the sugar under the broiler for 45 seconds; however, taking this approach will also melt the glaze and the cookies won’t look quite as pretty. Of course, they are incredible without the crunchy topping – just be sure to let the glaze fully harden (about 2 hours) before stacking them.

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Click to get the recipe for Bruleed Orange Butter Cookies –>

Ropa Vieja with Olives and Capers

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Ropa Veija is a traditional Cuban dish featuring beef that is slowly stewed in a sauce of tomatoes, garlic, and bell peppers until it falls apart into shreds. With the texture of pulled pork and the comforting flavor of pot-roast, Ropa Veija is a real crowd pleaser!

Although it does take a while to make (about 3-1/2 hours), the recipe couldn’t be simpler and it doesn’t require a lot of hands-on time. It’s also the kind of dish that tastes even better the next day, after the flavors have had more time to meld. I like to make a big batch on a lazy Saturday afternoon, then make Ropa and Swiss Sandwiches – a dish I fell in love with at New World Bistro Bar – to eat while we watch football (go Bills!) on Sunday.

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Click to get the recipe for Ropa Vieja with Olives and Capers –>