Chef Joey, brilliantly self-taught! Everything he makes/bakes tastes seriously amazing!
By Chef Joey
One holiday down and one more to go! All the shopping and planning (and expense!) that go into these large family gatherings and BOOM it’s over. The snow flies – people get decidedly cheerier, and the decorated trees and ornaments that have been annoying since October now fit into the picture a little better.
What we do still have even beyond the holidays is our sports teams. Football season is upon us and it has traditionally been, and will continue to be, a good excuse to get together and “snack/eat” while watching the game.
Did you know that during the winter of 1960 a contest was put out to locals to submit ideas for the Boston football team’s official name? The most popular choice — and the one that Billy Sullivan, who was the franchise developer selected — was the “Boston Patriots.” Immediately thereafter, The Boston Globe artist Phil Bissell developed the “Pat Patriot” logo.
The football game party spread has transformed over the years: from bags of chips and other orange coated curls to a whole new level of snacks. Albeit the traditional nacho’s and salsa, or the foot long grinders, but the birth of gastro-apps.
These fancier apps look festive, allow a new dimension to the food category, and are not limited to sports gatherings. They can carry over to a small gathering or a cocktail party. Finger foods with a twist.
Dips are fun and can be healthy – like hummus. Get yourself to a Mediterranean market and buy a jar of TAHINI – it is a sesame paste that is essential for hummus.
Make some Baba ganoush!
Take one can of chick peas and drain ½ the water – toss them into the blender, add ¼ cup tahini and the juice of 3 or 4 lemons and 2 cloves of garlic – pinch of salt to flavor and blend for the Baba.
Bake an eggplant on a cookie sheet 350 degrees for 1 hour – let it cool peel it and follow the steps as if it were chick peas. You can also make it with red pinto beans and it costs less than $2! You can add red peppers to the chick peas for a red pepper hummus.
Another great dip is Spinach dip – recipe below – by using reduced fat cream cheese and low fat yogurt, you reduce the calories significantly!
Left over mashed potatoes? The potato puff recipe below will be a new favorite in your house! It can be served as a breakfast side, too , instead of hash browns!
Flatbread pizzas are always easy and can have any topping you desire.
Here is a quick zucchini and red onion flatbread that will please any crowd:
I make my own dough, and the secret is to double your yeast for twice as fast dough – so you can have a ready to bake crust in an hour with 2 rises. It is quick, inexpensive and easy to make -you can always buy dough in the market, and if you don’t make a flat bread – put it in a loaf pan! Now you have bread.
A little learning tidbit here: Bread Flour will give you a crispier crust and All Purpose Flour will give you a chewier crust.
Take 4 cups of flour
Add 2 packets of dry yeast
1 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoons of sugar to feed the yeast
and ¼ cup oil and mix
add 1 1/2 cups HOT not scalding water and start mixing
You may need to add more water or flour as it varies by brand to the gluten content.
Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine.
While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball.
If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.
Place it in a greased bowl and cover with a plastic wrap and put it in a warm area and let it double in size – 1 packet of yeast is 1 hour – 2 packets is a ½ hour.
Once it has risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces.
Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
Roll out and add your toppings – you can brush it with olive oil and throw it on a HOT grill – close the lid and in 2 minutes when one side is cooked – brush that side with oil, flip it – let it cook 1 minute and turn it to make crisscross marks on it and then add your toppings like artichoke hearts and spinach and cheese – or marinara with fresh mozzarella. Your choices are endless!
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach
1/2 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
1/3 cup (about 3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add garlic; sauté 1 minute.
Add salt and spinach; sauté 3 minutes or until the spinach wilts.
Place spinach mixture in a colander, pressing until mixture is barely moist.
Place spinach mixture, basil, cream cheese, and pepper in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon spinach mixture into a medium bowl. Add yogurt and Parmesan cheese; stir to combine. Chill.
Mashed Potato Puffs
12 to 24 puffs, depending the size of the pan used
2 cups mashed potatoes
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup grated cheese such as Parmesan or Swiss or for a strong flavor Gruyere, divided
1/4 cup minced chives
1/4 cup diced cooked bacon or ham, optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Sour cream, to serve also optional
Heat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease the cups of a mini-muffin tin.
Whisk together the mashed potatoes, the eggs, 3/4 cup of cheese, the chives, and ham. Season, if necessary, with salt and pepper. The seasoning will depend on how seasoned your mashed potatoes were to begin with.
Mound a spoonful of the mixture in each muffin cup. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potato cups are set, browned on top, and hot through.
Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a spoon or knife to gently release them from the pan.
Serve immediately with dollops of sour cream, if desired.
Zucchini and Onion Pizza – this is great with the grilled flatbread (above).
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 10-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough for the cheat past or ½ of the dough you made!
3/4 cup garlic-and-herb cheese spread (such as Boursin or Alouette), divided
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1 small red onion
1 7- to 8-inch-long zucchini (yellow or green), cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, divided
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; spray with nonstick spray.
Unroll dough onto parchment. Spread half of herb cheese over 1 long half of dough, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Sprinkle with half of Parmesan and 2 tablespoons parsley.
Using parchment as aid, fold plain half of dough over filled half (do not seal edges). Spread remaining herb cheese over top; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
Remove enough outer layers of onion to yield 2-inch-diameter core; cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Arrange 1 row of zucchini down 1 long side of dough. Arrange onion rounds in row alongside zucchini. Arrange 1 more row of zucchini alongside onion.
Brush vegetables with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake bread until puffed and deep brown at edges, about 24 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.