Recipe: Sara and Jacquelynn’s Rosemary Chicken and Broccoli Pizza with Garlic Butter Sauce

The Pizza Compatibility Test

I’m pretty sure there have been many terrible jokes made about how you can never trust someone fully until you know what they put on your pizza. Anchovies? What’s wrong with you? Just cheese? Okay, well I hope you’re… oh, wait, just mozzarella? Well, you do you, but I’m never ordering a pizza with you again.

I fall solidly in the “what’s wrong with you?” camp. Sure, I like traditional pizza every now and then because sometimes you need a greasy, cheesy, pepperoni pizza that will make you feel your arteries clog more and more with every bite. However, the pizza I really love barely resembles anything that comes to mind when someone asks if you want pizza for dinner. So when Jacquelynn visited my hometown back at the start of our relationship and we made plans to go to Joe Bologna’s—Lexington, KY’s most famous pizza joint—with my mom and her then-boyfriend, I was incredibly curious to see how it would go.

The thing about Joe B’s is that it’s not exactly a trendy place. It’s been there forever and the décor hasn’t been touched since I was at least five years old and going there for soccer parties. The most interesting part about the restaurant is that it’s in an old church and they left the stained glass window in when they converted it into a pizza joint. Even with that detail, it still has a hole in the wall vibe. So if you’re looking for a “weird” pizza, it’s kind of the last place you’d expect to be able to get it, but sure enough, their menu features quite a few non-traditional options.

Now, my mom isn’t the most adventurous eater and I’ll eat just about anything. So when we usually went to Joe B’s, we’d end up settling for a pretty standard pizza where the most adventurous topping might be jalapeños on my half. With the addition of my mom’s boyfriend and Jacquelynn, we got to shake things up a bit, but did I dare test Jacquelynn to see if she’d be interested in the same pizza as me? Did I dare hope I might find someone who’d forego tomato sauce, opting instead for a deliciously creamy garlic sauce with nothing but chicken and broccoli to go with it? You’re damn right I did.

Guess what? She had been afraid to mention to me that was the pizza that had caught her eye when we first sat down.

My mother was the first to comment about the pizza being “weird”, but also the first to voice how great it was that I found someone willing to eat it with me. I’d like to say she continued talking to Jacquelynn, telling her embarrassing stories of the times I would come to Joe B’s as a kid or whatever else she could dredge up from memory, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what she was saying—I was too busy eating. Hey, maybe Jacquelynn was too and that’s why the only thing we talk about from that day is the amazing pizza we would eventually try to recreate.

Our desire to recreate the pizza was born largely from the fact that we couldn’t find anything like it up here. For such a simple combo (garlic cream sauce + chicken + broccoli), you’d think someone near Cleveland would have something similar, but no. So, as we do with most things, we endeavored to make it ourselves.

The first attempts were as basic as the pizza we first had and they were delicious enough for us almost not to care that we were hundreds of miles away from the opportunity to see how close to the original our pizza was. The thing is, we wanted to find a way to make what would become our go-to pizza even better. Rosemary entered the picture, various cheeses were tried, dashes of chili powder were added to the sauce, and several attempts later, we were left with the most delicious pizza I have ever tasted in my life. And yes, I am including each and every pizza we ate during our recent trip to Italy.

recipe-images_pizza-1

Sara and Jacquelynn’s Chicken and Broccoli Pizza with Garlic Butter Sauce

Inspired by Joe Bologna’s Italian Pizzeria & Restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky

makes enough sauce and toppings for a 12″ pizza plus an additional crust to freeze for later

Ingredients

For the crust:
  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package yeast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (optional)
For the sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, Microplaned
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup milk or half-and-half
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Generous pinch of black pepper
  • Small pinch of chipotle chili powder
For the toppings:
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast, diced small
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, diced small
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 ½ cup Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio Shredded Cheese Blend
  • Mama Francesca’s Parmesan, Basil, and Oregano

Directions

Combine warm water and yeast and let sit for five minutes. Mix olive oil, salt, rosemary, and yeast mixture with one cup of flour. Add remaining flour until dough leaves the side of the bowl, a total of 2¾ cups. Knead with dough hook in a standing mixer on speed 2 for 10 minutes or until smooth. Let rise 2 hours or until double.

Punch down, divide the dough in half, and let rest until you can roll or pat into a pan shape. I use a pizza stone, but you can also bake your pizza on a baking sheet. Just make sure to oil the bottom of the sheet to help crisp the crust. You only need one half of the dough for this recipe; you can refrigerate or freeze the other half for later. Pre-bake at 375℉ for 20 minutes.

While the crust is pre-baking, make the sauce. Begin by melting the butter, along with the olive oil on medium heat. Once melted, toss in the minced garlic and fresh rosemary. Reduce heat to low and cook until fragrant and garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat up to medium-high. Mix the broth, wine, milk, and cornstarch together in a liquid measuring cup. Add to the pot. Keep stirring until it comes to a boil. Toss in the salt, pepper, onion powder, and chipotle chili powder, and continue stirring. The sauce will thicken quickly, so continue to stir. Once the sauce is thickened, remove from the burner, and set aside.

Once your sauce is ready, prepare your toppings. Coat raw chicken generously with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and broccoli and cook until cooked through and broccoli is crisp-tender, 5–7 minutes.

Add sauce, chicken and broccoli, shredded cheese blend, and generously sprinkle with grated parmesan and return to the same temperature oven. Continue to bake for 20 or when cheese is melted. May broil for last 1 minute to brown the cheese.


Sara and I have spent the last three years getting to know each other and falling in love over food. In this series, we share some of those formative moments in our relationship with you and the recipes that still mean a lot to us. She’s sharing our story, I’m cooking—and writing—about the food. As an additional note, Sara also blogs general musings and about her Halvarian Ruin series at http://saragaines.com.

The New and Improved ICE: Apple’s Medical ID

I consider myself fairly knowledgable about most computer related things—that is my day job, after all—but this week I stumbled across an excellent feature of Apple’s iOS 8 that I didn’t know existed. You may be familiar with the practice of “in case of emergency,” wherein people enter emergency contacts in their cell phone address books under the name “ICE” that can be used to contact family in the event of an emergency. Having an ICE number identified in your contact book is great, but it also requires that your phone is charged and unlocked at the time of the emergency. Apple has standardized this practice into a new feature called Medical ID.

Medical ID can store emergency contact information, but can also inform medical personnel of important health information such as your medical conditions, allergies, or desire to be an organ donor. Plus, and possibly the best part, you can enable Medical ID to be available even when your phone is locked.

Setting Up Apple’s Medical ID

You need to be running iOS 8 in order to take advantage of Medical ID, so make sure your software is up to date before beginning.

Launch the Health app and tap Medical ID in the lower right corner. The ID will be populated with information from the “Me” contact card in the Contacts app, but beyond that, it likely will be empty. Tap Edit in the upper right corner to begin adding medical information including medical conditions, allergies, medications, blood type, organ donor status, height, weight, and emergency contacts.

Your emergency contacts can only be drawn from your Contacts app, so if your spouse, sibling, or parents aren’t already in there, you’ll need to make a card for them before you can add them to your Medical ID.

There’s also a blank notes field which could be used for things like a preferred hospital or religious requests.

Using Medical ID

On the setup screen, you’ll also see a little toggle button at the top of the page where you can choose to “Show When Locked,” meaning that emergency personnel can access your Medical ID from your phone’s lock screen even if you have a passcode set.

Medical-ID-620x542

Instead of entering the code, they can simply swipe to unlock, choose Emergency, then Medical ID in the lower left corner.

Keep in mind that others around you may have set up their Medical IDs as well; this could come in handy if you’re assisting someone in trouble.

While this is an incredible feature that allows those who need it to get important information quickly in an emergency, it could also be used by unscrupulous people who want that information for less-than-honorable reasons. If you’ll be in a place where it’s likely that someone could easily pick up your phone and have access to information you’d rather they not have, you might want to temporarily toggle off the “Show When Locked” option.

 

Recipe: Prosciutto-Wrapped Lamb Burgers with Basil and Fresh Mozzarella

Sara and I have spent the last three years getting to know each other and falling in love over food. In this new series, we’re going to share some of those formative moments in our relationship with you and the recipes that still mean a lot to us. She’s sharing our story, I’m cooking—and writing—about the food. As an additional note, Sara also blogs general musings and about her forthcoming novel at http://saragaines.com.


My first date with Jacquelynn was filled with the same amount of anxiety all first dates are. Actually, no, that’s a lie. There were a lot of reasons why it was different than any other first date either of us had been on. For starters, it was technically her first “first date”. Like many people, she and her previous partners had been friends and then one day they realized there was more to it then that and all of a sudden, relationship!

For me, well, let’s just say I was no stranger to first dates. I was, however, not so used to caring as much as I did on that first date with her. As annoyingly clichéd as it might be, I knew there was something different about her – I had already talked to her enough to know this would be different from a lot of the first dates I had gone on. So when I was getting ready to meet her and take her out, I probably checked the grimy mirror in my college house a thousand times while I waited until it was time for me to leave. You know, just in case I messed up my make up or my clothes suddenly changed in the two seconds that had passed since the last time I looked. Still, I hid my nerves better than she did.

When it was finally time for me to pick her up, we realized that our whole plan for a date night was centered around a movie we had mentioned wanting to see (to be honest, when we first discussed plans, it wasn’t really established that it was going to be a date). So we were sitting there and she starts listing off restaurants within walking distance of the theatre. An Italian place that would certainly pass for a good traditional date, a chain restaurant she mentioned I think mostly to test whether or not I was worthy of taking to dinner, and then hesitantly, Jacquelynn mentioned a place she absolutely loved, B Spot.

Now, for those of you who don’t live in the Cleveland area and who don’t know the name Michael Symon, just know I was in the exact same boat as you at this point. Jacquelynn, on the other hand, knows her food (and has spent the last three years opening my eyes) and knows that if you want a good burger, B Spot is the place to go around here. Her only problem was that a burger isn’t exactly what you’re told to picture when you’re dreaming of an amazing first date. So even though her eyes lit up as she started telling me about the specially blended meat that goes into each burger and the fact that they fry their rosemary shoestring fries in delicious, delicious duck fat, I could practically see her palms start sweating over having mentioned something so “low-brow” as a burger for a first date.

That’s when I reminded her we were seeing a comic book movie.

With her fears eased and my stomach growling (I hoped not too loudly), we made the final decision that we would completely abandon the thought of a “fancy” first date. As Jacquelynn promised, the burger was amazing. Cooked to perfection and greasy enough to require about twenty napkins, it was an easy thing to rave over during our conversation and in the back of my mind, I was hoping even more that our date went well because I immediately wanted another (both a burger and a date, but I knew I wanted the second.. and third… and fourth date long before I left my house that day).

Fast-forward many months and Jacquelynn and I were living together, suddenly having to feed ourselves every night. As we tried to figure out what kinds of meals we would make, both of us immediately remembered that first date and how much we enjoyed something so simple as a burger. So with the idea of making something with some nice emotions attached to it, one of the first things we tried to make was a burger as good as the ones we’d tasted at B Spot. Long story short, trying to make a burger like that when all you have is whatever ground beef you can find at the store is pretty much impossible. Sure, the beef burgers we had weren’t bad, but they sure as hell weren’t what we wanted. So, we decided to get a little more adventurous.

Abandoning beef altogether, Jacquelynn began experimenting with different ground meats. We’ve had turkey, bison, elk, and whatever else we could find, but the one burger that really stood out to us was the lamb burger detailed in Jacquelynn’s recipe. These lamb burgers have become our go-to burger when we’re looking for a date night in or even when we just want something comfortable and delicious. Wrapped in crispy prosciutto, topped with fresh mozzarella and basil with a drizzle of balsamic to finish it off, these burgers can’t even compete with anything else we’ve made at home.

recipe-images_lamb-burgers_1

Prosciutto-Wrapped Lamb Burgers with Basil and Fresh Mozzarella

makes 2 generously-sized burgers

Ingredients

  • 2/3 pound ground lamb
  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped, flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • hamburger buns

recipe-images_lamb-burgers_2

Directions

Start by rehydrating the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl with enough white wine just to cover the tomatoes. If necessary, taste the wine to make sure it is (or isn’t) what you want to drink with dinner. If you’re like Sara, she honestly doesn’t know what to do with anything other than a red and likes to taste-test out of sheer curiosity. The tomatoes can sit off to the side while you gather the next ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, egg yolk, milk, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Add the lamb and sun-dried tomatoes and use your hands to combine just until ingredients are incorporated throughout; do not over mix the meat. Divide the mixture into two burgers and press into patties whose diameters are slightly larger than the buns you’re using. The patties shrink slightly as you’re cooking them and while it might take some practice to get the right proportions so the patties end up the perfect size for their buns, you definitely don’t want your first bite of this burger to be nothing but bread because you made the patty the size of the bun before you cooked it. Once you’ve determined the appropriate size, place one burger in the center of a slice of prosciutto. Wrap the prosciutto around the edges as best you can and then use a second piece when you inevitably can’t reach around the whole patty.

Place a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and heat for 2 minutes. When the oil is hot, place the lamb burgers in the pan and cook until prosciutto is golden, 6–8 minutes. Flip the burger, and cook an additional 2 minutes. Place a mozzarella slice on each burger and cover with a lid and continue to cook until burger is cooked to your desired doneness and mozzarella is melted. We’ve found that a total of 6 minutes on each side cooks the meat so it’s no longer pink, but leaves the burger perfectly juicy.

While the burgers are cooking, spread butter onto buns and toast until golden brown. I use a toaster oven, but you can also put your buns in a conventional oven, 3 to 4 inches under the broiler. Broil the buns for about 30 seconds, or until they are light golden brown. Watch carefully, as bread goes from lightly toasted to completely burnt quickly.

When the mozzarella is melted and buns are toasted, remove the burgers from the pan and begin to assemble. Top each burger with 2–3 basil leaves, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.

Notes

Use a full-flavored extra virgin olive oil for this recipe because you’ll really get a chance to taste it, especially for drizzling over the buns at the end. My favorite—and a great value—is Trader Joe’s Greek Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Mama Francesca’s Parmesan, Basil, and Oregano is a great choice for the grated Parmesan in this recipe because the basil in the cheese echoes the leaves you’ll put on top.

The buns pictured are homemade, based on Ashley Rodriguez’s recipe from her blog, Not Without Salt. The only modifications I made were the use of bread, rather than all-purpose, flour, and 2 tablespoons of butter brushed over the top rather than one.

I cooked my burgers for 6 minutes on each side, which leaves the burgers completely cooked through and not pink, but still remaining moist. That said, cook your burgers to whatever level of doneness you prefer.

Hold Your Tongue

A number of my Facebook friends, many of them fellow alumni, have been linking to a January 4 NPR news story entitled, “Attracted To Men, Pastor Feels Called To Marriage With A Woman.”¹ The subject of the piece is Allan Edwards, a student who studied at Grove City College at the same time I attended and who is now the pastor of Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania. He spoke with reporter Rachel Martin about experiencing same-sex attraction and, finding it in conflict with his faith, choosing to renounce those feelings to pursue a marriage with a woman. Says Edwards,

“Folks have said that to me. They said, you know, one of these days you’re either just going to ruin your family’s life or you’re going to commit suicide. And, that’s hard to hear, obviously. But, I guess my response to that is everybody has this experience of wanting something else or beyond what they have. Everyone struggles with discontentment.”

I would like to begin by saying that this is an intensely personal choice and only Allan and his wife Leeanne are qualified to make it for themselves. I genuinely wish them happiness and applaud their courageousness. Whether or not I agree with the choice they have made, it takes bravery to make yourself vulnerable about a controversial topic.

Since the original story was published, it has received more than 1,500 comments including a response from Allan Edwards’ younger brother Dexter who is an openly gay man. Says D. Edwards,

“I would never want anyone in my situation to … to think that this is something that works or that is like a viable, healthy option,” says Edwards, 22, who recalled his own coming-out as “a terrible experience.”

He says he was asked to leave his parents’ house at the age of 19, just after finishing his first year of study at a conservative Christian college. … Looking back, he says, their parents’ rejection of him seemed to coincide with Allan’s decision to fight his own same-sex attractions.”

In writing this post, I struggled to find the perfect illustration for my vitriol toward those sharing Allan’s story as the preferred solution for those struggling with same-sex attraction, but I need not have bothered. Dexter’s experience makes it painfully clear: Christians who celebrate Allan and Leeanne’s choice as a “cure” are actively harming queer and questioning people, Christians and non-Christians alike.

Many of the people I know who have shared this post have done so without comment, tacit advocacy that, “See? You can suppress feeling same-sex attraction. Just choose not to.” Such reactions make me want to argue—you can no more choose to be gay than I could choose to be straight—but I know that doing so is fighting an uphill battle. Instead of asking you to change your mind on homosexuality, I simply want you to hold your tongue about it.

I know, I know. You think that “planting the seed” for a person struggling with sexuality will perhaps give her the tools she needs later to make the same choice Allan did. But I beg of you, please don’t.

That woman you think you’re helping is wrestling with herself more than you can ever know. Every day she wakes up, she struggles to see her own value, questions whether she deserves to be happy, and often whether it’s worth even getting up the next morning.

Every time you share that post, no matter how small an action you think it is, you make it just a little bit harder. If she sees it personally, you make that struggling woman more tired, more bitter, and hate herself more. If she doesn’t but her parents do, you make it easier for them to justify kicking her out of the house. If no one she’s ever met sees your words, you give society just a little more fuel to make her feel ostracized at school, at the local PTA meeting, or in the workplace. The words you thought would never reach the ears of a “real person” have blossomed into destruction and pain.

Stop shouting your opinion from the rooftop and the pulpit. What you say will not result in fewer queer people in the world; we’ve been around since time began and screaming louder will not stop us from existing. The world is diverse and beautiful. Just because Allan and Dexter made opposing choices does not mean either brother’s choice is the “right one.” My choice is mine just as yours belong to you. What kind of world might we build if we worked just a bit harder at “live and let live?”

1. “Attracted To Men, Pastor Feels Called To Marriage With A Woman.” NPR. NPR, 4 Jan. 2015.
2. “Pastor’s Gay Brother ‘Frustrated That NPR Made This A News Story'” NPR. NPR, 11 Jan. 2015.

Recipe: (Healthier-But-I-Promise-You-Won’t-Know-It) Chicken Pot Pie

Sometimes you just want a little comfort food. I modified this chicken pot pie recipe from Smells Like Home for last night’s dinner and the girlfriend told me she’d definitely like it if I made this again. I consider that a pretty good review. As always, I’ve reduced the recipe to make a small amount since I don’t often need to serve more than two; increase as you need to.

(Healthier-But-I-Promise-You-Won’t-Know-It) Chicken Pot Pie

serves 3 (or two with leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 large onion, chopped fine
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cups half and half
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine (optional)
  • 1 large chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley
  • refrigerated biscuits (use reduced fat if you prefer)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add half the oil. Once the oil is hot, sauté the chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add a bit more oil if needed, sauté the onions, carrot, and green beans until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer cooked vegetables to a bowl with the chicken; set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the same pan. When melted, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, half-and-half, chicken broth, and thyme. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and let it simmer for 1 minute to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the wine (if using). Turn off the heat and transfer the vegetables and chicken to the pot, stirring until the filling is well-combined. Mix in the peas, corn, and parsley.
  4. Pour the filling into a 9×9-inch baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and top the filling with the biscuits. As a note: I couldn’t fit all the biscuits in my 9×9 pan, so I cut a few in half so I could squeeze them in around the edges of the dish. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.