Forno Bravo Community Cookbook

Sesame seed-chili flatbread

I was digging through recipes this week craving something spicy with a little crunch and a soft chew. Deep within the stacks of my handwritten, tattered pile of unfiled recipes, I uncovered a flatbread recipe I used 20 years ago in a Mediterranean restaurant I was running. Admittedly, we baked these off in a traditional oven for the sole reason of keeping up with demand. We served this bread as a part of the bread service with hummus and a feta cheese dip. I figured that it would be perfect for the Forno Bravo considering the recipe’s original roots hailed from Syria, and though their version is similar to a soft pita, the bread gets baked in long wood burning ovens. This recipe calls for chili flakes and sesame seeds, but the topping can vary based on your desires. Parmesan cheese makes for a wonderful salty punch and fennel seed and sea salt are always favorites of mine. I recommend serving as a flatbread/cracker for dips and pre-pizza noshing.

2 teaspoons yeast
2.5 cups water, 95 – 105 degrees
6 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 teaspoons sesame seeds
4 teaspoons chili flakes

In a large mixing bowl combine the yeast and water to activate the yeast. After about 10-15 minutes, add 2.5 cups of the flour. Mix the dough until flour is incorporated and add remaining flour and salt. Continue to mix the dough until all the flour has been absorbed. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Pour dough out onto a floured surface and kneed the dough for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough back into the bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1.5-2 hours.

In one of my favorite moves in dough making, punch down the dough and return to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half, then divided those halves in half and continue the process until you have 16 equal pieces.

Roll out the dough as thin as you can into a “free form” round. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle about 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon of each of the sesame seeds and chili flakes over the top. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown and crisp (about 1 minute). Remove from oven and enjoy. Can be made ahead of time.

Hope you enjoy. Until next week, feast well.
Chef Bart

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Egg & Leek Pizza

Eggs are awesome. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or midnight munchie, their versatility is unmatched in the gastronomic world. It is also a popular culinary myth that the pleats in a chef’s toque represent the 100 ways a chef can cook an egg.
Adding an egg to pizza is certainly nothing new, but crowning your pie with the yolky richness certainly will elevate it from good to great. In this version I couldn’t resist the addition of leeks, potatoes and sausage.

1 each dough of your choice
3-4 tablespoons sautéed leeks
6-8 thin slices fingerling potatoes
2 ounces Taleggio cheese, sliced into thin pieces
½ cup andouille sausage, sliced
1 each egg

After forming the pizza dough, spread the leeks evenly on the dough base and top with sliced Taleggio cheese. Scatter the andouille sausage and sliced potatoes over the top, place the dough in your Forno Bravo oven, and bake for 20-30 seconds. Remove the pizza from the oven and crack an egg over the center of the pizza. Replace the pizza in the oven and cook until the crust is golden brown and the egg white is set but yolk still runny. Remove from the oven, season with fresh cracked pepper and enjoy.

Leeks
1 cup leeks, small dice
1 teaspoon thyme, fresh, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
Kosher Salt
Fresh cracked black pepper

In a small sauté pan over medium heat melt butter. Add leeks, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Gently cook until the leeks are tender and cooked through. Remove from heat, cool and set aside for the pizza assembly.

Potatoes
4-6 each fingerling potatoes
1 each bay leaf
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 cups water

In a small saucepot, add water, potatoes, salt and bay leaf. Over medium-high heat simmer the potatoes until they are fork tender with a slight firmness about 90% cooked. Remove potatoes from water, cool and reserve for pizza assembly.

Hope you enjoy. Until next week, feast well.
Chef Bart

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Strawberry & Rhubarb Cobbler

Early spring means strawberries and rhubarb! No better reason to break out the cast iron and build the perfect cobbler to cap off a perfect night of pizza. Rhubarb adds a wonderful tartness to any dish but it is typically prized in desserts to balance the sweetness of other fruits, thus creating a desired sweet and sour effect. Shout out to my grandma on this one; she loved rhubarb. Hope you enjoy it as much as she did.

Cobbler Fruit

3 cups strawberries, sliced into quarters
2 cups rhubarb, peeled, sliced into 1-inch blocks
2 tablespoons corn starch
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lime, juice and zest

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss gently so that the fruit is evenly coated with the cornstarch and sugar is mixed throughout. Place in a buttered cast iron dish or similar high-heat baking dish. Evenly spread the cobbler dough over the top and place in the your Forno Bravo oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the cobbler dough is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling.

Adding cornstarch to the fruit mixture will thicken the fruit juices. You can substitute flour for the cornstarch if desired; just ensure the cooking time is over 30 minutes allowing the flour to “cook” though so you do not have a grainy finish.

Cobbler dough

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, chilled, unsalted
1 ½ cup heavy cream

In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to bowl. Using your hands or a fork “cut in” the butter until the butter is broken up to smaller pea size pieces. Add the cream and mix into all the ingredients are combines. Batter will be stick and small lumps are okay.

Until next week, feast well.
Chef Bart

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Andouille Sausage & Pesto Pizza

andouillepesto-1 (3)

Andouille sausage originated in France and was brought to the US by German immigrants who settled in Louisiana.  This smoked pork sausage is a staple of creole cooking and makes a great topping for pizza.  If making your own sausage sounds like too much, one of my favorite versions that is readily available is D’Artagnan’s Andouille-Cajun style sausage.  The sausage adds an intense kick of smoke and spicy paprika that is sure to enhance any pizza.  In this version, basil pesto is used for the base in place of tomato sauce and it is topped with peppery arugula.

1 pizza dough

.5 cup andouille sausage, sliced

2 tablespoons basil pesto

4-5 slices Gruyere cheese

.25 cup arugula

splash extra virgin olive oil

splash lemon juice, fresh

 

After forming the pizza dough, spread the pesto evenly on the dough base and top with sliced Gruyere cheese.  Scatter the andouille sausage over the top, place the dough in your Forno Bravo oven, and bake until the crust is golden brown and the Gruyere is lightly caramelized.  Remove the pizza from the oven and top with the arugula that has been tossed with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

Basil Pesto

1 bunch basil (approximately 1 cup)

1-2 cloves of garlic

.25 cup pine nuts, toasted

.25 cup parmesan cheese

.25 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt (to taste)

Pound the garlic and salt, using a mortar and pestle, into a paste.  Add toasted pine nuts and continue to pound.  Once the mixture is a course paste, remove garlic pine nut mixture from mortar and place in a small mixing bowl.  Chop the basil coarsely and add to the mortar.  Pound the leaves to a paste.  Return the pounded pine nut mixture to the basil, add parmesan, and continue to pound while adding the olive oil.  Taste.  Adjust seasoning as necessary.

Until next week, feast well.

- Chef Bart

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Rosemary Focaccia

FoccaciaI’ve been craving last week’s sweet anise rolls since posting it on the community cookbook. I decided to take the craving as inspiration and turn it into a soft chewy herb laden focaccia. If you are not a fan of rosemary feel free to substitute your favorite herb or olives or even spike it up with a hit of chili flakes.

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup milk, 90-95 degrees
1 cup water, 90-05 degrees
4 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons anise seeds, toasted
3 tablespoons rosemary, fresh, chopped

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon course sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh clacked black pepper

In a small mixing bowl, activate the yeast by add the yeast, warm milk and water together. Gently stir until the yeast has dissolved and it begins to bubble. Approximately 10-15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, first listed olive oil and the yeast-milk water mixture. Using your hands and a folding method, mix the dough until it is smooth and ingredients are completely incorporated. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Cover the bowl with a warm damp kitchen towel and let rest for 1.5 to 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

Sprinkle the anise seed, lemon zest and fresh rosemary over the top of the dough and kneed the bread for 5 minutes. Remove from the bowl and place on an oiled baking sheet. Spread and gently pull the dough so that it evenly covers the sheet pan. Set aside and let rest for 20 minutes.

Using your fingers, gently make small indentations over the top of the dough. Sprinkle the additional extra virgin olive oil, course sea salt and black pepper over the top evenly. Bake in your Forno Bravo oven at 350 – 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Bread will be soft and golden brown. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes and enjoy. Until next week feast well

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Sweet Anise Bread

While my Forno Bravo oven hibernated in its snowy winter jacket this week, my business travel took me to Peru. I had the pleasure of working with a group of chefs from around the Caribbean, Central and South American markets. One of our days was spent exploring local ingredients, artisan producers and the cultural influences that have made Peruvian food a global force. We stopped at chef Eduardo Navarro’s Chaxras {eco – restaurant} in Pachacamac for a lunch inspired by the traditional cooking methods of the Incas.

Within seconds of walking into the outdoor restaurant, the sweet smells of baking bread and visions of delicate smoke plumes coming from a wood fired oven captured my senses. I hastened a direct path towards to the oven to discover an amazing site of pillowy buns being placed in the oven. The soft, sponge texture combined with sweet smoke and delicate anise flavors had me hooked in just one bite. Here is an adapted recipe for the traditional “Pan de Anis”

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
.25 cup sugar
2 teaspn anise seed, toasted
1 teaspn vanilla extract
1 teaspn kosher salt
5 tablespns shortening
1 egg
1 cup water, 90 – 95 degrees
1 tablespoon yeast

Place the all purpose flour and bread flour in a standing mixer bowl with the dough hook attachment. Add the salt, anise seed and sugar. Mix well.

Add shortening, vanilla and egg to the flour mixture. Activate the yeast in the warm water and let sit for 15 minutes. Add to the dough mixture. Knead dough until smooth. Add a splash of water if dough seems dry, or a bit more flour if dough is too sticky. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic warp. Allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Divide dough into 1 -1.5-ounce pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball, cover loosely with a damp cloth and let rest for 15 minutes. Place the dough circles on the baking sheets, and spray lightly with water. Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour, or until they have risen a bit.

When your oven is between 350-400 degree, place the bread in the oven either directly on the hearth or on a baking sheet. Rotate if necessary and continue to bake for 18-25 minutes or until bread is golden brown. Remove from oven and enjoy warm. Until next week – feast well.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Grilled Pork Tenderloin & Figs

Nothing fancy about this one, just the great combination of sweet, peppery figs and smoky tender pork. Once your fire has burned down most of the way and your are left with a great bed of coals, spread the coals evenly across the hearth and insert your Tuscan grill centered over the coals. Allow grill to preheat for a few minutes prior to adding your foods.

1 each pork tenderloin
4-6 each figs, fresh, Black Mission or Kadota (green)
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Rinse pork with cold water and pat dry. Set aside on a sheet pan or plate and season liberally on both sides with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Best to let the meat temper to room temperature approximately 15-20 minutes prior to cooking. Similarly once you have cooked the meat, let it rest for 2-3 minutes per pound to help retain juices.

Slice the figs lengthwise in half. Place in a mixing bowl, season with salt, pepper and a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Once the Tuscan grill is hot, slide towards the oven opening and place the pork and figs on the grill. Slide grill back over the coals and cook for 7-9 minutes. Using tongs, make a quarter turn of the meat and figs and cook an additional 5 minutes. Slide the grill towards the door, flip both the pork and figs and continue to cook until desired doneness … about another 5 minutes for medium. Remove the pork and figs from grill and oven, let meat rest. Slice the pork into medallions and serve with your favorite sauce and vegetable. Until next week, feast well.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Taleggio & Golden Chanterelle Pizza

Taleggio is one of my favorite cheeses. Hailing from the Lombardy region of Italy, it is rich, buttery and balanced with tart fruity and nutty flavors. It is sublime on any cheese plate but it quickly becomes ridiculously delicious when melted on pizza. Taleggio has a soft reddish-yellow washed rind that gives it a subtle salty finish and a wonderful off-white pale colored paste. If you have yet to dabble in this extraordinary ingredient, I urge you to fire up your Forno Bravo oven and indulge!

For this Taleggio inspired pizza, I could not resist adding golden chanterelle mushrooms and fresh thyme. For an added punch, I finished the pizza with a drizzle of local honey and arugula.

1 each dough of your choice
2 ounces Taleggio cheese, sliced into thin pieces
.5 cup (10-12 small) golden chanterelles
2 sprigs fresh thyme,
2 teaspoons honey
.25 cup arugula
.5 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
fresh cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon butter
kosher salt
black pepper

Prepare the golden chanterelle mushrooms first by gently brushing any dirt or sand from the tops and bases. Avoid soaking the mushrooms in water; if need be, use a damp kitchen or paper towel to clean. In a small sauté pan, over medium-high heat, melt butter and add the chanterelles. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to become tender. Remove from heat and toss in the fresh picked thyme leaves. Set aside for pizza assembly.

Form your dough and evenly place the Taleggio cheese over the top. When melted, Taleggio is creamy and will spread. Add the chanterelles and season with fresh cracked black pepper.

Place in your oven and bake. Toss arugula in a small bowl with extra virgin olive oil. Once the pizza is cooked, remove and finish with the drizzle of honey and arugula. Hope you enjoy. Until next week, feast well.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Roasted Cauliflower

Charred, steamed, raw, cut into steaks or florets or caramelized for a crave-able crunch, cauliflower has been enjoying a resurgence over the last couple years. I couldn’t resist taking a head of cauliflower, steaming it until tender, adding a miso, Asian inspired marinade and finishing it in the Forno Bravo oven.

1 head cauliflower, medium
1 cup pineapple juice, reduce by half
1 tablespoon miso paste
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon, ginger minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
.25 cup vegetable oil

Trim a medium sized head of cauliflower and place in a steamer. Cook for approximately 15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from the steam and place the cauliflower in a bowl of ice water to “shock” the vegetable to stop the cooking process. Once the cauliflower has cooled, remove from the water, set on a wire rack and let drain.

In a small pot over medium high heat, add pineapple juice and bring to a simmer. Add garlic and ginger and reduce mixture by half. In a separate mixing bowl, add miso paste, vinegar, sesame oil and vegetable oil. Once pineapple mixture is reduced by half, whisk the pineapple juice into the miso vinegar mixture until the ingredients are incorporated.

Place the steamed cool head of cauliflower in the mixing bowl with marinade and rotate and gently toss throughout the liquid. Use a spoon to ensure the mixture is distributed through out the center cavity of the cauliflower.

Place cauliflower in a cast iron skillet or roasting pan and place in the oven. Cook cauliflower until the outside of the cauliflower begins to caramelize and turn golden in color. Remove from oven and serve whole. Hope you enjoy.

Until next week, feast well.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Caesar Salad Pizza

Gotta give credit to my daughter and her affinity for Caesar salad for this recipe. Credit also goes to my son for grabbing the camera and documenting it for all to see. I would never claim credit for inviting such a combination but it certainly was a great reminder of a quick down and easy topping for a flavorful family favorite.

1 pizza dough
2 tblspns pesto
4 slices provolone cheese
3 cups chopped romaine
.25 cup Caesar dressing
.25 cup parmesan cheese, shaved
fresh black pepper

In a medium sized mixing bowl, place the romaine lettuce. Season the greens with fresh black pepper and toss with your favorite Caesar dressing. Set aside the salad and prepare your dough. After forming the pizza dough, spread the pesto evenly on the dough base and top with sliced provolone cheese. Place the dough in your Forno Bravo oven and bake until the crust is golden brown and the provolone is lightly caramelized. Remove the pizza from the oven and once it comes out, top with the Caesar salad, finish with another sprinkling of cracked black pepper and a handful of shaved parmesan cheese.

Basil Pesto
Pesto is one of my most beloved condiments; Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame makes one of my favorite versions. For best results, use a mortar and pestle.

1 bunch basil (approximately 1 cup)
1-2 cloves of garlic
.25 cup pine nuts, toasted
.25 cup parmesan cheese
.25 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt

Pound the garlic and salt, using a mortar and pestle, into a paste. Add toasted pine nuts and continue to pound. Once the mixture is a course paste, remove from garlic pine nut mixture from mortar and place in a small mixing bowl. Chop the basil coarsely and add to the mortar. Pound the leaves to a paste. Return the pounded pine nut mixture to the basil, add parmesan and continue to pound while adding the olive oil. Taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Hope you enjoy.

Until next week, feast well.
– Chef Bart

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)