Lemon Drop Pizza

IMG_2929I found this recipe on the Forno Bravo Wood-Fired oven forum.  I made it with Meyer Lemons and it was amazingly delicious!

Pizza Gypsy Lemon Drop Pizza


  • 8 oz. dough ball
  • Mascarpone cheese – room temperature
  • 2-3 whole lemons, skin and white pith removed, and thinly sliced
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • Approx 1/2 -1 c of confectioners’ sugar (I used less)


  • Prepare your dough ball into a 12″-14″ pie.
  • Spread a thin layer of mascarpone cheese across the entire pie, leaving a thin edge of the pie exposed at the outer circumference (just like you make a traditional pie). You don’t need much cheese; you’re simply using it as a binding agent for the lemons.
  • Now layer your thinly sliced lemons. Starting at the center of the pie and, building outward, create a spiral and cover the mascarpone cheese. You’ll likely need 3 lemons to cover the pie.
  • Cook your pie in your screaming hot oven. It should take 90-120 seconds (more like 5 minutes in a 525°F oven)
  • Now brush a thin layer of butter onto the pie, covering all of the lemons.
  • Now for the insanity: Using a flour sifter, gently sift confectioners’ sugar throughout the surface of the pie. Cover it with a good amount. Don’t be shy, but don’t “dump it on.” Completely cover with a single layer, then wait. You’ll notice that the sugar will appear to “melt.” It will look like a liquid. That’s good. Now repeat the process of covering the pie with another layer. Repeat this process – it will take at least 4 layers (perhaps more) – until the sugar no longer liquefies, but instead starts looking like powder.
  • You’re done. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

My observations/technique:  IMG_2935

I used about 10 oz. of dough for a 12-14″ pizza

I had my oven set to 525°F and baked directly on my clay tiles.

I par baked the crust (baked it in my hot oven) for 2 minutes to firm up the crust and make sure the middle was well cooked.

I used about half of the 8.8 oz container of mascarpone cheese

For this pizza I used Meyer lemons, and closer to 2/3 c sugar.  With a traditional, sourer lemon it might need more sugar.

Hold it over the sink to dust with sugar.  DOH!

Put the lemons in freezer for 15-20 minutes to before slicing to firm up the lemon and make it easier to make uniform, thin slices.


English Muffins

IMG_2688Makes 6

  • 1 c milk
    1 T butter
    1 T honey
    2 t (1 pkt.) instant yeast
    2 c all purpose flour
    1/2 t salt
    For dredging
    2 T cornmeal
    1 T flour

In a large bowl (I used my mixer bowl) whisk together flour, yeast and salt.

In a pan, heat milk until just warm, remove from heat and add honey and butter.  Stir until melted.  Add to flour, and mix with dough hook until dough is smooth and elastic.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free location overnight or for 12 hours.

Put a cast iron griddle on the burner over medium heat.  Turn oven on to 350°F.  In a small bowl, mix cornmeal and flour.  When the griddle is hot enough to sizzle water dripped on it (350°-375°F), dip a serving spoon in water, then gently scoop out 1/6 of the dough.  Place dough in cornmeal mixture and turn over.  When evenly coated, gently shape dough into a round and place on griddle.  Repeat until all the dough is used, and turn the heat to low (this should make 6 muffins).  Cook for 10 minutes, lifting muffin halfway through to assess browning.  Muffins should be a deep golden tan at the end of 10 minutes — you may need to adjust the flame.  When muffins are nicely browned, gently flip and cook for another 10 minutes,  then remove from griddle to a baking sheet and finish in the oven for another 10 minutes.  Cool on a rack.

I found this recipe kicking around in the pantry.  I’d printed it from somewhere, sometime, but I now don’t know where I found the recipe.  It is simple and easy.  I used 50% Sifted Whole Wheat Flour from Maine Grains, a new local grist mill in Skowhegan, Maine.  The verdict?  Delicious, but they were not as holey as I would like, so I need to do some research to see if I can solve that problem.  Look for more about Maine Grains and my recent tour of the mill on Henbogle.

Feta, spinach and tomato stuffed mini peppers

IMG_26132 T oil
1 medium onion, small dice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 c rice
1 c water or stock broth
1/4 t salt
¼ t black pepper
1/4 c dry white wine
10-12 oz. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 c chopped seeded tomatoes
3/4 c crumbled feta cheese
½ +/- c water for baking pan
30 mini peppers

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until onion is tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic and stir until garlic is fragrant but not browned. Add rice and stir until rice is translucent, about 2 minutes, then IMG_2596water/stock and wine and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Mix in spinach. Cover and cook until rice and spinach are tender and all liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes and cheese.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut tops from baby peppers (keep stems on tops) and reserve. Cut a IMG_2597very thin slice from bottom of each pepper so it can stand upright (don’t worry if you make a hole in bottom). Scoop out and discard seeds and ribs.  Fill each pepper with rice mixture and add reserved top. Arrange peppers upright in an oiled baking dish.  Add water to dish and bake, uncovered until peppers are tender about 50 to 60 minutes.  Transfer to serving platter.  If there is leftover filling it is great on its own or use as a base for burritos.

These are remarkably tasty — I think it is the ratio of pepper to filling.  I made them for a party and they seemed to disappear.

My favorite scone recipe

3 c flour
1/3 c sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
1 c buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl.  Cut in butter. Add buttermilk,stirring gently until clumpy. Turn out onto floured board and knead until dough comes together. Form into a round for large wedges, or a rectangle for smaller wedges. Cut into wedges and bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.  Parchment paper is great for scones if you can find it.


Zest of one orange or lemon
3/4 +/- dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips, dried cherries, pecans, currants, etc.

Kale Salad with Dates, Parmesan and Almonds

I found this fantastic kale salad online on the Epicurious.

Zoe Singer of SELF magazine

Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bunches kale, stems removed, leaves shredded or finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sliced almonds
8 dates, pitted and chopped
2 1/2 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a peeler

In a bowl, whisk juice, shallot, honey, salt and pepper flakes. Add kale; toss well. Let sit 20 minutes. Mix in oil. Refrigerate for up to 1 day, or serve immediately. Toast almonds until color deepens and they are fragrant. Add almonds, dates and Parmesan to kale; serve.


Banana Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I needed to make a birthday cake, and had some very ripe bananas on hand, so started looking for a banana cake recipe.  I found this recipe on Epicurious, and it seemed like it would work, and it would help me use up some sour cream aging in the fridge.  I needed to make a few changes to meet my available ingredients/equipment and desire for chocolate frosting.  The recipe below reflects my changes.IMG_2544

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 very ripe bananas
1 cup sour cream
1 10-ounce bag mini chocolate chips

For cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 9” round cake pans )or line bottom of pans with parchment).  Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Beat in vanilla, bananas and sour cream.

Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed just to blend. Fold in mini chips. Divide batter evenly among pans and bake cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool in pans for 15 minutes. Turn cakes out of pans and let cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 c baking cocoa
7 T water
1 1/2 cc butter, room temperature
4 c confectioner’s sugar
2 t vanilla

Melt chocolate and cool until barely lukewarm but still pourable. Mix cocoa powder and 7 tablespoons water in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until smooth and thick but still pourable, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if necessary.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Beat butter and 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar in large bowl to blend.  Add melted chocolate, vanilla; beat until smooth. Beat in cocoa mixture. Gradually add remaining 3 2/3 cups powdered sugar and beat until frosting is smooth.

For a flavor kick, stir a tablespoon of Kahlua in a the end.

Spinach Pie

2.5 + lbs. spinach, chopped (or substitute frozen, thawed & drained)
1/4 c oil or butter
1 large onions, finely diced
2 bunches green onions, incl some of the green
2 T parsley or ¼ c chopped fresh
1 T dried dill or ¼ c chopped fresh
1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg
1 t kosher salt (less if regular table salt)
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pkg feta cheese finely diced
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c ricotta or cottage cheese
½ c golden raisins
pie dough for 2 pies or 2 puff pastry crusts


Wash and drain the spinach very well, then chop coarsely (if using frozen spinach, thaw completely and squeeze out excess water).  Heat oil in a deep fry pan or large dutch oven. Add all onions and cook over medium heat until tender. Add the spinach, parsley, dill and raisins and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the spinach is wilted and heated through. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.  Spinach mixture should be on the dry side (if using frozen spinach, cook until excess moisture evaporates). Remove from heat and set the spinach aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the feta, eggs, and ricotta. Add the cooled spinach mixture and mix until combined.

Turn into 10 inch pie plate or 8×8 baking dish line with one crust.  Top with second crust and bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  For an extra pretty pie, brush the crust with one egg white beaten with 1 T water.  Use the extra yolk in the spinach.