Tag Archives: baked

Roasted Squash and Fontina Sandwiches

A hearty and warming sandwich that captures the best of winter.

Comfort food style without the gut bomb results.

Winter. It’s still here and all the comfort food you’ve been indulging in probably isn’t doing much for your waistline (we’re wearing this season’s finest mesh shorts at this point). Enter the roasted squash sandwich: well portioned, extremely flavorful, filling, and somewhat healthy as long as you use the meat and cheese more as garnish than a centerpiece. It’s a hearty and handheld meal that may even have you wishing for the groundhog to see his shadow.

Equipment Needed: 2 Large Baking Sheets or Baking Dishes, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Serving Spoon, Vegetable Peeler, Tongs or Spatula

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, lighter Chiantis

Suggested Beer Pairing: Brown Ale, Pale Ale, Oktoberfest or Autumn Ales, Winter Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about $1.49/lb)
  • 1 large onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 2 garlic cloves ($2.99/lb)
  • 2 apples (about $2.99/lb)
  • 6 oz fontina cheese (about $12.99/lb)
  • 8 slices sourdough bread ($3.99/loaf)
  • 8 slices Prosciutto ($17.99/lb)
  • 3-4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($8.99/32 oz)
  • 1 TSP ground allspice ($3.69/2 oz)
  • 1 TSP ground cinnamon ($3.49/2.4 oz)
  • 2-3 TSP brown sugar ($1.59/lb)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  • Peel the squash, halve it, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Once both sides are clean, slice them cross-wise into 1/2 inch pieces. Spread them evenly across your baking sheet.
Slice the pieces as uniformly as possible so they cook evenly.

Slice the pieces as uniformly as possible so they cook evenly.

  • Peel and halve the onion, then slice it crosswise into 1/4 inch slices and place them on the baking sheet as well. It’ll probably be a little crowded at this point but try not to overlap the veggies too much.
  • Peel and mince the garlic cloves and sprinkle them across all of the veggies. Drizzle your olive oil over the whole lot and give it a dusting of the allspice, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes.
Season the veggies more aggressively if you don't plan to use condiments for your sandwich.

Season the veggies more aggressively if you don’t plan to use condiments for your sandwich.

  • While things are roasting you can prepare your other fillings. Cut your apples in half, remove the cores and slice them into thin pieces. Slice the fontina as well and set aside.
  • On a separate baking sheet lay out 4 pieces of your bread to get it ready for the fillings. Once 20 minutes has passed, flip your veggies and pop them back in the oven for another 15 minutes or until they’re nicely browned and fork tender.
  • When the squash and onions are done, layer them on the bread and then place your proscuitto, apples, fontina, and other slice of bread on top. Pop them back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted nicely and the bread is lightly toasted. Cut them in half and serve with some whole grain or honey mustard if desired.
Try to avoid piling your sandwich fillings too high so everything doesn't squeeze out the sides when you bite it.

Try to avoid piling your sandwich fillings too high so everything doesn’t squeeze out the sides when you bite it.

Prosciutto Cups with Ricotta & Balsamic Figs

From here on out you will only want to eat things out of little meat cups.

Fall is awesome. It’s not too cold, not too hot, you have an excuse to start making heartier meals, and watching football all day totally counts as an activity. It’s the total package, just like these little babies. Prosciutto cups always seemed difficult to us until we actually tried them (hint: it’s easy). The salty richness of the pig is balanced nicely by the freshness of the ricotta, and the whole thing is lifted by the sweet and slightly acidic balsamic glazed figs. Better stocked grocery stores will have fresh figs into early November so get on it and up your appetizer/snack game forever.

Equipment Needed: Muffin Tin, Small Cup or Mixing Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Frying Pan, Spatula, Spoon

Ingredients:

  • 12 slices prosciutto ($14.99/lb)
  • 6 fresh black mission figs ($4.99/pt)
  • 1/3 C balsamic vinegar ($8.99/32 oz)
  • 1 TBSP maple sugar (you can substitute brown sugar if you can’t find maple sugar; we got ours at Kalustyan’s)($3.99/3 oz)
  • Roughly 2 C fresh ricotta ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary ($1.49/sprig)
  • 1/4 C honey ($4.39/12 oz)

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  • Pull the rosemary leaves off the sprigs and mince them up. Sprinkle some salt over the minced leaves and scrape them against the cutting board as you would if you were making a garlic paste.

Crush up the rosemary a bit to make it infuse better with the honey.

  • Dump the rosemary into a small cup or container and pour the honey over it. Let that sit on the back of the stove to draw ambient heat and meld flavors while you cook everything else.
  • To make the cups, take each slice of prosciutto and line each muffin compartment in the tin making sure that the bottom is completely covered. The end result should look like a cupcake wrapper. The prosciutto will inevitably split several times when you first attempt this. Resist the urge to put your fist through a wall and just be gentle and patient when handling each piece. Pop these in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until they’re crisp.

The first few will frustrate the hell out of you and fall apart. The last few you will be able to do blindfolded.

  • While the cups are cooking place your frying pan over medium heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and maple sugar and stir everything together. Let the vinegar reduce for about 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  • Keeping an eye on your vinegar while it reduces, remove the stems from the figs and slice them in half lengthwise. Once the sauce has thickened a bit place the figs in the pan, sliced side down. Let them sit and cook for 5 minutes; resist the urge to move them so they caramelize a bit.

The reduced balsamic will nicely balance the sweetness of the figs.

  • Pull your prosciutto out of the oven when it’s crispy and set them aside to cool.
  • Flip your fruit and cook for another 5 minutes to soften them through. Turn the heat off, pluck the figs out of the vinegar and set them aside to cool slightly.
  • Carefully pull your prosciutto cups out of the tin and fill each one with a spoonful of ricotta. Place a fig on top of the cheese, sliced side up. Drizzle a little balsamic from the pan over top if you wish and then drizzle some of your rosemary honey over the whole lot for a sweet and earthy accent.

And rosemary honey because we said so.

Captain Jack’s Cheesy Toasts

Unquestionably the greatest party food of all time.

These delicious little cheese bombs hold a soft spot in our hearts; they’ve always been a part of our Christmas Eve celebration with our neighbors and were a favorite of our family friend, Jack. There’s no reason to limit yourself to special occasions for these puppies. The prep is quick, the ingredients are basic, and the results are consistently delicious. Think of it as an upgrade to your boring cheese and crackers.

Equipment Needed: 2 Baking Sheets, Mixing Bowl, Large Fork, Spatula, Aluminum Foil

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 8-10

Suggested Wine Pairing: Oaky whites or lighter reds

Suggested Beer Pairing: A cold Coors Light in honor of Captain Jack (or whatever you’re drinking)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cocktail loaf rye bread (about $3/loaf)
  • 1/2 small onion (you’ll need enough for 3 TBSP) ($0.99/lb)
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese ($4.49/8 oz bag)
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise ($3.99/15 oz jar)
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard ($3.85/8 oz jar)
  • 2 TBSP grated horseradish ($1.99/6 oz jar)
  • 1/3 C bacon bits (this is the ONLY time you’ll ever see us recommend imitation bacon bits; staying true to the original recipe is a matter of principle on this one)(about $3/3 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 °. Line your baking sheets with aluminum foil so you don’t spend the rest of the night scrubbing burnt cheese off of them.
  • Lay out the rye bread slices in an individual layer across the baking sheets. You don’t need to leave that much room between them but you’ll want to be able to get a spatula in there.
  • Pour your mozzarella into the mixing bowl. Mince up the equivalent of 3 tablespoons of onion and toss that in too. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, bacon bits and a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir everything together. Give it a taste and adjust as necessary.

Separate the cheese so you don’t get huge clumps on your toast.

  • Spread a forkful of the mix onto each of the pieces of bread. Pop them in the oven until the cheese is baked to a golden brown. This should take about 8-10 minutes. If you value having sensation in the roof of your mouth, as well as the ability to taste your food, let them cool for at least 3 minutes before serving.

Resist the urge to put too much on each piece, it will spill over and be a waste of cheesy goodness.

Greek Vegetable Pizza

Like having a Mediterranean garden on a little island of dough.

We can’t eat meat all the time, no matter how much we wish it was possible. For those times when the circles of meatlessness and pizza overlap on your Venn diagram of hunger (how’s that for an intelligent reference) try our vegetable version. With classic Greek flavors this easy crowd pleaser is also great for using up leftover veggies (zucchini, peppers, extra greens, scallions, we could go on…) with minimal effort and maximum results.

Equipment Needed: Baking Sheet or Pizza Pan or Pizza Stone, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Tongs, Mixing Bowl, Plastic Wrap, Serving Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 4 people (or 2 Brown Brothers)

Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsners, Light Lagers  

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made ball of pizza dough (about $1.99/package)
  • 1 medium red pepper ($3.99/lb)
  • 1 small onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 C pitted olives ($5.99/lb)
  • 1/2 C sundried tomatoes (about $5/3 oz jar)
  • 6 oz feta cheese ($7.99/lb)
  • 1/2 C  our roasted garlic and artichoke cream (you can just mince artichokes with olive oil or buy a spread if you prefer)(about $6/8 0z jar)
  • 1 TSP dried oregano ($3.50/1 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Preparation:
  • Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  • Before anything else, wash off your red pepper and put it directly over the burner on your stove. If you don’t have a gas stove, pop into the oven directly on the baking rack for about 10-15 minutes. You want the skin to start burning and blistering so keep a close eye on it and rotate when one side gets too done; a crackling, popping noise means you’re headed in the right direction.

Let the pepper char up completely on each side before you turn it.

  • When your pepper is properly charred, put it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to sweat it out. While you’re waiting for it to steam peel and slice your onion crosswise into thin strips and do the same with your sundried tomatoes (the cutting into strips part, not the peeling part).
  • After about 5 minutes remove the pepper from the bowl, run it under hot water and rub the skin off. Cut in half lengthwise, remove the ribs and seeds and slice into thin strips lengthwise.
  • Peel your onion and slice it into thin discs, halfwise.
  • Throw a little flour on your baking sheet and spread out the pizza dough into the shape your heart desires. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and pop it into the oven for 5 minutes to let it firm up a bit.
  • Take the dough out and coat it with your artichoke spread. Layer on the red pepper strips, onion discs, sundried tomatoes and olives.

Crush the olives before you put them on so they cook down better and cover more pizza real estate.

  • Crumble some feta over the whole lot and sprinkle some dried oregano evenly over the top. Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minute, or until the crust is crisped to your liking. Pull it out, slice it up and take it down.

You could buy the pre-crumbled stuff but where's the fun in that?

Momma Brown’s Baked Chicken

Just like momma used to make (with a tweak or two).

Our childhood was filled with simple food pleasures and baked chicken was one of the most magical. When we pressed our mom for the original recipe in an attempt to recapture some of that lost wonder she simply stated, “It’s chicken and cornflakes.” Duly noted.  Here’s our take with a couple flavor additions to bring this comfort food standby into the 21st century. Use panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch that provides a fried chicken experience with half the guilt. Grab a spot on the picnic blanket and pass a napkin.

Equipment Needed: 2 Plates or Large Containers (for dredging the chicken), Mixing Bowl, Large Baking Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Viognier, Chardonnay

Suggested Beer Pairing: Lager, Pilsner, Pale Ale

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken drumsticks ($1.99/lb)
  • 1 lb boneless chicken thighs (you can use either skin-on or skinless, whatever you prefer) ($1.99/lb)
  • 3 C all-purpose flour ($1.89/2 lb)
  • 1 small box of corn flakes ($2.99/7 oz box)
  • 1/2 C panko breadcrumbs (we actually found chipotle seasoned)($2.99/12 oz)
  • 4 eggs ($2.79/dozen)
  • 1/4 C Frank’s Red Hot sauce ($2.89/12 oz)
  • 1/2 C honey ($4.39/12 oz)
  • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon ($3.59/3.5 oz jar)
  • 1 TSP ground cayenne pepper ($3.50/2 oz jar)
  • 1 TBSP ground chipotle powder (about $5/4 oz)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • In one of your large mixing bowls pour in the panko breadcrumbs. Remove the cornflakes from the box but keep them in the sealed bag that they came in. Gently crush the cereal into smaller chunks (keeping it in the bag keeps the mess at a minimum) and mix them in with the breadcrumbs.

Crush up the cereal into smaller pieces but don't turn it to complete dust.

  • Add the cinnamon and chipotle powder along with a couple healthy pinches of salt and pepper. Stir it all together and set it aside.
  • In your other large container add the flour, cayenne pepper and another good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir things together with a fork so the seasonings are mixed evenly.
  • Crack the eggs into your small mixing bowl, pour in a splash of water and whisk it up with a fork. Arrange your bowls in this order on your working surface: flour, eggs, cereal mix.
  • Rinse the chicken off and trim any excess fat. Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel and prepare for dredging. Taking each piece individually coat them entirely in flour, dip them in egg, and coat them evenly in the cereal mix. Place each crispy-crusted piece in the baking pan and repeat until you’ve dredged all your chicken.

Coat each piece thoroughly with crunchy goodness.

  • Put the chicken in the oven for about 45 minutes then cut into a thigh to test the done-ness. If the juice runs clear you’re good to go. If it’s still got blood in it, pop it back in for another 10 minutes or so and re-check. Once it’s fully cooked let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Hot Honey Preparation:

  • In a small bowl or mug pour in the honey and pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds or until it’s extremely runny.
  • Pour in the Frank’s Red Hot and stir until both are thoroughly incorporated. Use as a dip for individual bites of chicken or just douse the whole lot of it.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

The Brothers Brown: Bringing you innovative ways to get your buffalo-wing fix since 2009.

Fact: we love buffalo wings. Fact: meatballs are also delicious. Enter the buffalo chicken meatball, a self-contained flavor bomb of Frank’s Red Hot and blue cheese. We threw together a carrot yogurt dipping sauce just to up the interesting quotient but rest assured these are great on their own and take just as long to make as you’d spend waiting for delivery. Get to it.

Equipment Needed: Large Mixing Bowl, Baking Pan, Cheese Grater or Microplane, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Blender

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: This is a tough pairing so you’re better off just drinking whatever you prefer (as if you listen to our pairing advice anyway)

Suggested Beer Pairing: Beer (although we’d avoid sweeter options like dubbels or barleywines)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground chicken breast ($4.99/lb)
  • 2 carrots ($1.99/lb)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1/3 C grated onion (about 1/2 a small onion) ($0.99/lb)
  • 1/4 lb blue cheese ($7.99/lb)
  • 1/2 C panko breadcrumbs (we actually found a tasty chipotle-seasoned style)($2.99/12 oz)
  • 1 egg ($2.79/dozen)
  • 1/4-1/2 C Frank’s Red Hot sauce ($2.89/12 oz)
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • 1 1/2 C plain Greek yogurt ($3.59/16 oz)
  • 1 lemon ($0.50/each)
  • 2 TSP honey ($4.39/12 oz)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Meatball Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • In the large mixing bowl add your ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg and hot sauce. Grate in about half of a small onion then mince your garlic and toss it in the mix.

Add an egg to help bind things together.

Frank's Red Hot. 'Nuff said.

  • Crumble in your blue cheese, roll up your sleeves and get in there with your hands to mix everything together. Chicken is a lot stickier than other ground meats so it’s imperative that you don’t overwork it or you’ll never be able to get it off your fingers.
  • Coat the bottom of your baking pan with extra virgin olive oil. You won’t be able to roll these like turkey or beef meatballs so just grab a glob about the size of a golf ball and form it by cupping your hands together. Place the meatballs in the pan evenly spaced with some room to breathe. Pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the juice from the meatballs runs clear. Let them cool for a couple minutes then go to town.

Carrot Yogurt Dip Preparation:

  • Scoop the yogurt into your blender and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.
  • Add the honey and a couple solid pinches of salt and pepper. Using the finest setting on your grating implement of choice, shred the carrots into the blender and puree the whole lot until smooth.

Shred the carrots finely for easier blending.

Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza

Red checkered tablecloth sold separately.

Living in New York we’ve come to realize that pizza allegiances border on religious zealotry to which we say, why restrict yourself when it comes to pie? Thanks to Jake’s friend Sandy’s suggestion we tried making a deep dish pizza in a cast iron skillet and, to no one’s surprise, the woman was right. It’s almost too easy, which is to say, why aren’t you making one right now?

Equipment Needed: Cast Iron Skillet, Frying Pan, Mixing Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Microplane,Wooden Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 4-6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chianti, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Cabernet Sauvignon

Suggested Beer Pairing: Red Ales, less-hoppy Pale Ales, Brown Ales, Amber Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made ball of pizza dough (we used a garlic herb dough that suited us just fine)(about $1.99/package)
  • 1 lb Italian sausage ($3.99/lb)
  • 1 small bunch of broccoli ($2.99/bunch)
  • 1  small onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 small red bell pepper ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella ($7.99/lb)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP fresh rosemary ($1.50/bunch)
  • 1 – 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes ($2.19/each)
  • 1/3 C shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese ($12.99/lb)
  • extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  • Mince your garlic cloves and rosemary together to get them as fine as possible.
  • Put a frying pan over medium heat and add a little olive oil to the bottom to help keep things moving. Remove the sausages from their casings, throw them in the pan and break them up with your spoon. Toss in the garlic and rosemary and cook until lightly browned (about 5-8 minutes).

Be careful not to overcook the sausage, it's still going in the oven once you're done here.

  • While the sausage is cooking away, pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into your cast iron skillet. Rub the oil around the pan so the sides and bottom are evenly coated. Proceed to spread the pizza dough across the bottom and up to the top of the skillet’s rim. Remember, this is a deep dish so you want to make a crust that can support the mountain of toppings you’re about to add.

You're gonna need to work the dough a bit to get it to stay up along the sides.

  • Cut your mozzarella into 1/8th inch – 1/4 inch slices and line the bottom of the crust. That’s right, traditional Chicago deep dish puts the cheese on first. Here’s a towel to wipe up your mind that just got blown all over.

We highly recommend splurging on the freshest mozzarella you can find for this one; it's a noticeable difference.

  • Slice up your onion and pepper into thin strips and cut your broccoli into small florets. Spread these veggies evenly over the top of the cheese.
  • Open the can of tomatoes and pour them into a large mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and some crushed red pepper if you want to give it a little kick. When the sausage is done pour it in with the tomatoes and stir everything together. Spoon it into the pie to cover everything and make sure to distribute the sauce evenly for uniform cooking.

Spread the sauce evenly and fill every space not occupied by cheese or veggies.

  • Pop that monster into the oven for about 20 minutes. You’ll have to check in on your pizza around 18 minutes and every couple of minutes after that to make sure things are cooking evenly. The crust should be crispy and the sauce should be bubbling when it’s done. Grate on some Parmigiano to finish things off and let it rest for about 10 minutes to allow the toppings to set up a bit for easier serving and eating; the skillet will keep it warm.