Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Food from Friends

I have some fabulous foodie friends, Jaymie and Audrey, and we like to swap recipes on occasion...or at least food ideas or inspirations. One of their favorite fun dinners that they are often Facebooking about is cheeseburger pizza. I'm not sure if they've ever made it the same way twice, and when I tried it, I didn't make it exactly as they do (they like American cheese on theirs--BLECH!). But man, is it YUMMY! And you can be so creative when you make it--just think about all the things that you like on your hamburger, and incorporate those things as pizza toppings. I think this would be a very fun meal to get kids involved in, too...if'n I had any. ;-) Here's how I went about making my my version:

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Pizza with Mushrooms and Onions

I cheated and started with a thin crust Boboli. I spread about a half cup of ketchup on it (you might also consider Thousand Island dressing for that Big Mac appeal), then about a cup of a pizza blend cheese (mozzarella and cheddar), then a layer of cooked ground turkey and/or beef (about a half pound) that had been seasoned with a little BBQ rub, then another cup of cheese. I put that in the oven at 450 degrees for eight minutes while I got on with frying and crumbling up four pieces of bacon, sauteeing six sliced baby bella mushrooms, and chopping some white onion (1/4 cup or so). When the timer rang, I topped the pizza with the cooked mushrooms and bacon and put it back in for another four minutes. When it was done, I sprinkled it with the (raw) onions, sliced it up, and served it.

Jaymie and Audrey also turned me on to this delicious Peruvian pepper sauce that's kind of a cross between salsa verde and chimichurri called Aji Sauce (Salsa de Aji Amarillo). There are too many recipes to determine which is the definitive version--apparently, folks keep their secret recipes close to their vests--but I loosely followed a template provided by Serious Eats blogger, Andrea Lynn, who attempted to clone the sauce at a well-known Peruvian restaurant in NYC, Pio Pio.

Aji Sauce

2 Cubanelle peppers, seeded and roughly chopped (what I had on hand, but I would normally use four large jalapenos)
2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste (check the Latin foods aisle for this)
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
8 cloves of garlic, peeled (normal people might use 4!)
bunch of cilantro (mostly leaves)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
juice of one large lime (or two small ones)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (cojita cheese would be more authentic--again, it's what I had on hand)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Throw everything except the mayo in the food processor and blend it all until it is as smooth as it's going to get. Then add the mayo and pulse a few more times until it's all mixed together. DELISH! You'll want to put it on EVERYTHING: grilled steak, pork chops, fish, hamburgers, nachos, burritos, Mexican omelettes, you name it. This would be welcome anywhere you would normally use a tomato salsa. Throw in a couple of avocados, and you'd have a kickin' guacamole, too!

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