Summer Shrimp Pizza

Summer is here, and that means the heat is here. When it gets hot, I try to eat a little lighter with more raw fruits and vegetables. I love fresh toppings on my pizzas like raw arugula, fresh herbs, and even avocado. This fun pizza is a little twist on a shrimp taco but even more delicious. I hope you enjoy!

Summer Shrimp PizzaSummer Shrimp Pizza
Makes 1 large pizza

Ingredients 
1 ball of dough
flour for dusting
2 ears of corn, shucked & cleaned
½ cup crumbled cojita cheese
½ lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbs blackened seasoning*
1 avocado, sliced
cilantro for garnish
crema for garnish

Preheat your oven to 500° F, and start up your grill. Rub the ears of corn with a little olive oil. Place the ears of corn on the grill and cook on all sides. Remove the corn and let them cool. Slice the kernels off the corn before you slice the kernels into a bowl.

Toss the shrimp in blackened seasoning. Brush the pizza with olive oil and sprinkle with cojita cheese. Next place the corn, shrimp and cherry tomatoes evenly on the pizza. Bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the crust has cooked to your liking. Remove from oven and garnish with avocado, cilantro and drizzle with crema.

*I buy Paul Prudhomme’s seasoning; you can find one online or just use a little salt, pepper, and paprika for to season the shrimp.

 

Beef Ossobuco

To expand upon my love of food, I took a culinary journey through Europe this May. Six different countries gave way to hundreds of new flavors and combinations along with the most incredible experience. I took dining to a new level, fully immersing myself in the cultural norms as experienced through food. Guided through one-on-one cooking classes with chefs in Italy, I am now equipped with more skills that intend to expose in Tahoe. This week, courtesy of an Italian mentality, I will share my Ossobuco recipe with ya’ll. Traditional Ossobuco calls for veal – one of my least favorite meats. My iteration calls for slow-cooked beef, so prepare for a little extra time in the kitchen; it’s well worth it! (If you prefer veal, feel free to use it in place of beef.) Buon appetito!

Beef OssobucoBeef Ossobuco
Ingredients
Makes 4 servings.

3 cups chicken broth
4 beef or veal shanks
2 tbs flour
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
1 small onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled & minced
2 celery stalks, minced
2 tbs tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
3 tbs chopped parsley
1 lemon, zested
4 anchovies, deboned

Place the broth into a pot on the stove and keep on low heat. Season the shanks with salt and pepper then dust lightly with flour. Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet. Sear the shanks on both sides and remove from the skillet and set aside. Place the butter, onion, carrot, and celery, in the pan cover and cook slowly over medium/low heat until the vegetables are soft. Return browned shanks to the pan, add the white wine and reduce liquid by half, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Check every 15 minutes, turning shanks and adding more chicken stock as needed. The level of cooking liquid should always be about half way up the shank.

While the shanks are cooking prepare the gremolata. Chop the lemon zest with the anchovies and mix well with parsley.

The ossobuco is ready when the meat is tender and starting to fall from the bone. Before serving, top the shanks with gremolata, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove each shank from the pan and serve warm. It goes great with risotto or even mashed potatoes! In this photo I served it with sautéed peas and bacon.

 

Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

 

Grilled Artichoke with Lemon Aioli

During spring I often eat grilled artichokes; I just love them and can’t get enough! Artichokes are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamins C and K. Don’t let this prickly vegetable intimidate you, they are super easy to cook once you figure out how to clean them. If you’ve never cooked an artichoke, I recommend going online and looking for a quick video on cleaning and trimming, as well as, removing the choke. This recipe is great as a snack or even as an appetizer to share with friends. If you’re like me, you’ll devour the whole thing on your own! For the aioli I like to add a little Sriracha for extra flavor, but you can replace it with diced garlic or your favorite hot sauce. If you don’t have a grill you can skip this step and serve the artichoke after boiling. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!

Grilled Artichoke with Lemon AioliGrilled Artichoke
Ingredients
Makes 2-6 Servings

Lemon Sriracha Aioli
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp Sriracha (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Taste for seasoning, add additional salt, pepper and lemon juice as desired.

Artichokes
2 whole globe artichokes
2 garlic cloves
1 tbs butter
½ lemon

Fill a large pot ¾ of the way with water, bring to a boil. Place rinsed and trimmed artichokes directly into the pot of rapidly boiling water with garlic, butter and lemon. Cover the pot with the lid and cook , flipping halfway through. Simmer until artichokes are tender, about 30 to 45* minutes. Test doneness by pulling away a leaf, it should come off fairly easy when the artichoke is ready.
Heat grill over medium high heat. Slice the artichoke in half lengthwise. Carefully cut out the choke with a paring knife or spoon. Brush the inside of the artichoke with a little olive oil. Place on the grill cut side down and grill 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned. Flip the artichoke and continue to grill another 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly charred. Serve warm with aioli.Grilled Artichoke

* Make sure to check the water level as the artichokes are cooking. Add more boiling water if needed.

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Tangy Brussels Sprout Salad

Each year as the season for brussels sprouts nears an end, I always find myself trying to find yummy ways to enjoy the last of them. Brussels sprouts are loaded with fiber, Vitamin C, folic acid and antioxidants making these odd looking little cabbages crazy good for you!

Tangy Brussels Sprout Salad Tangy Brussels Sprout Salad
Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients 
1 1/2 pounds of brussels sprouts
1 shallot
1 honey crisp or lady apple
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
2-3 tbs of extra virgin oil
1 tsp agave syrup or sugar
Pinch of salt & pepper

Make the vinaigrette by whisking ingredients together until well blended, taste for seasoning. Add more sugar and salt as desired. Set aside.

Wash the brussels sprouts and remove any outer leaves that look bruised or dirty. Make sure to leave the stem on so you can safely and carefully shave them on a mandolin, or chop thinly with a knife. Alternatively, you can use a food processor with the shaving blade attachment to shave the brussels sprouts. Remove the skin from the shallot and slice thin. Cut the apple in quarters and remove the seeds. Use a mandolin knife to thinly slice the apple.

Toss all ingredients together with the vinaigrette and serve. This salad can be left in the fridge overnight and can taste even better this way.

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Cauliflower Soup

Enjoy a classic comfort meal with a healthy twist. While I always enjoy a loaded baked potato soup made with pureed potatoes, sour cream and cheddar cheese, I try my best to eat healthy by making modifications for a healthier meal. This recipe uses cauliflower in place of potatoes and can easily be made dairy-free by using any milk alternative of your choosing. The cheddar cheese provides a tasty touch, but it is optional if you wish to make this recipe vegan. For an extra garnish you can add chopped green onions or crispy bacon for some added protein.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup Cauliflower Soup
Makes 2-4 servings.

Ingredients
2 heads cauliflower
2 tbs olive oil or butter
4 garlic cloves
1 white onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
6 oz shredded cheddar cheese (reserve some for garnish)
½ cup milk (or dairy-free milk substitute)

Prepare the cauliflower removing and discarding any leaves. Cut in half then cut out the large stem, discard. Separate the florets, roughly chopping the florets and any remaining stem.

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cauliflower, salt, pepper, and broth, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue to cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

Use an immersion blender, or transfer to a traditional blender, to puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the milk and cheddar cheese (after transferring back to the pot if needed). Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper, as desired. Garnish with reserved, shredded cheese. Serve warm.

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

These stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorite appetizers to serve at a cocktail party. They are super tasty and simple to make, as well as gluten free and vegetarian-friendly. The cremini mushrooms make for a nice one-bite appetizer, or you can use baby Portobello mushrooms if you’d like a more “fork and knife” style appetizer. I like to buy micro greens or sunflower greens to lay on the bottom of the plate so the mushrooms don’t slide around, plus it adds a pop to the presentation. Serve this crowd-pleasing dish at your next dinner party, I promise they won’t disappoint!

Pesto Stuffed MushroomsPesto Stuffed Mushrooms
Ingredients
1 lb cremini mushrooms
1 cup basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
½ cup pine nuts, reserve half for garnish
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, reserve half for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and clean the caps. Place the cap side up (the stem opening will be face down) on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes to remove excess liquid. Remove from the oven and let cool. Place mushrooms cap side down on a fresh parchment lined baking sheet.

Combine the cream cheese, basil, half the pine nuts and half the Parmesan cheese in food processor until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use a spoon or a pastry bag to fill each mushroom. Sprinkle the tops with some of the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the tops start turning golden brown. Place on a serving tray or plate and garnish with the remaining pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Thai Chicken Pizza

Thai Chicken Pizza

Typically, I am a very traditional red sauce and mozzarella pizza eater. But recently a friend introduced me to her version of Thai Chicken Pizza. I loved every bite and had to go home a re-create it immediately. I just love the red curry béchamel. I even double the recipe and use the extra to dip the crust in. There are quite a few steps to this recipe but I promise it’s worth it! If you’re pressed for time you can purchase pre-made pizza dough at just about any grocery store. You can also make the chicken and prep the fixin’s the night before so you can just make the béchamel and throw it all together when you’re ready.

Thai Chicken Thai Chicken Pizza
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup green curry sauce
S&P

Red Curry Béchamel
2 Tbs butter
1 tbs red curry paste
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs flour
½ cup coconut milk

Fixins
1 ball of pre-made pizza dough
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
½ red onion, sliced into thin strips
¼ cup roasted, salted peanuts
¼ cup cilantro, stems discarded

To make the chicken: Preheat oven to 400⁰. Toss chicken breasts in green curry sauce. Place on baking sheet cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool. Shred chicken, add salt and pepper as desired.

To make the béchamel: Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add curry paste, flour, salt, and whisk constantly until it is a paste-like consistency. Pour in the coconut milk and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, whisking constantly. Let simmer until thickened. Add more liquid as needed to reach a pizza sauce consistency. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 450⁰. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out to desired thickness. I typically roll mine out to 16 inches in diameter. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

To assemble the pizza: Spread a thick layer of the béchamel over the pizza crust, lay down pieces of shredded chicken, bell peppers, and onions. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven and top with peanuts and cilantro. Slice and serve warm!

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Elk & Sweet Potato Chili

Chili is one of those nostalgic dishes for me. Growing up my dad would make a traditional ground beef and kidney bean chili topped with good ol’ American cheese and served over rice. It wasn’t the healthiest dish, but it sure tasted delicious. Now that I’m doing the cooking I try to do things a little more on the healthier side. This recipe calls for ground elk and sweet potatoes, and the cheese is optional, making this dish dairy-free, gluten-free and paleo-friendly. If you’re a meat lover but are conscious about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, try cooking with ground elk. It’s low in fat, but full of flavor. I use Durham Ranch ground elk at Raley’s in the meat department. They always seem to have it in stock.

Elk & Sweet Potato ChiliElk Sweet Potato Chili
Makes 4 servings.

1 lb ground elk
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 celery ribs, chopped
6 garlic cloves
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 lbs sweet potato
32 oz stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Place the ground elk, bell peppers, onion, celery, garlic, and seasoning in a slow cooker. Use a wooden spoon to break up the elk and mix everything together.

Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into ½ inch cubes. Place the sweet potatoes on top of the mixture.

Pour the stewed tomatoes over top the sweet potatoes. Cook on HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 6 hours. Every slow cooker is different, but once the potatoes are tender and the meat is cooked through the chili is ready. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
Place a scoop of chili in a bowl, sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top, and serve warm.

 

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Wild Rice Butternut Pilaf

I’m always looking for a healthy side dish to go with dinner. While, this yummy recipe is perfect alongside just about any entrée, a favorite is oven roasted salmon topped with a lemon beurre blanc sauce. Alternatively, you can add chopped roasted chicken to the dish to create more of a meal rather than a side dish. Feel free to use any rice for this recipe, but my personal favorite is the rice blend found in the bulk bins at Raley’s. Enjoy!

Wild Rice Butternut PilafWild Rice Butternut Pilaf
Ingredients
Serves 8-10 as a side dish.

2 cups butternut squash, peeled
2 leeks, washed well & chopped
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 cups wild rice
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350⁰. Peel and dice butternut squash into ½ inch cubes, toss in olive oil and salt & pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes add the leeks and garlic to the butternut squash on the baking sheet. Toss well and continue to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until tender.

Pour the chicken/ vegetable broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, then reduce heat so liquid is just simmering. Cover and cook until grains just begin to pop, about 40 minutes. Drain excess liquid from rice and place back into the pot. Add the cooked veggies and mix well. Taste for seasoning. Top with chopped pecans and serve warm.

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Veggie Fried Quinoa

Did you make a resolution to eat healthier this year? Keep with it and don’t give up! Changing your eating habits can be challenging, but eating better is the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. One way to stick to your resolution is to get rid of junk food and unhealthy snacks; dried fruit and nuts are a great substitute for chips and candy. I like to keep a little dark chocolate hiding in the pantry for a sweet treat now and again. Another way to eat healthy is to create meal plans. Take a few minutes and write down your meals and snacks for the week, or even a few days at a time, depending on how often you grocery shop. I like to leave one day blank for dining out or finishing up any leftovers. Enjoy this healthy recipe and good luck with your resolutions!

 
Veggie Fried Quinoa veggie fried quinoa
Ingredients
Makes 4 servings

3 tbs olive oil, separated
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh ground ginger
2 heads of baby bok choy, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup carrots, julienned
2 cups of snow peas, stems removed
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs Sriracha
1/2 tbs olive oil
2 eggs, beaten

 
Prepare the vegetables and fixins, set aside. Pour one tablespoon of olive oil in a small pot and turn to medium heat. Toast the quinoa, with a pinch of salt, in the oil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the broth, bring the liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Once the quinoa is done*, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat, add the onions, garlic, ginger, bok choy, celery, carrots, snow peas, soy sauce and Sriracha, cook for 10 minutes or until veggies are tender. Remove from skillet and set aside, covered to keep warm.
Wipe out the skillet. Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the eggs, stirring until eggs start to scramble. Add the cooked veggies and quinoa to the skillet with the eggs and fluff with a fork until eggs are fully cooked. Serve warm and enjoy!

* Take care not to overcook the quinoa or it may get mushy by the end of the cooking process.

 

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!