August Recap

The summer is zooming by! I have so much to look forward to in September (mainly Paris & Prague!) but it is also my favorite time of year. I have a few west coast trips scheduled to Cali, a weekend in Maine, and a few other things happening so if you ever wanted to be a guest blogger for me, September is the time!

August was delightfully cooler. Thank you Mother Nature! I got to play in NYC with my favorite college gals and spouses and had a few lovely days on the the Cape. I hosted bookclub with a sort of tasting menu or small plates theme but was a bad blogger and didn’t take any complete sets of photos for you. I had some in-progress shots but not a single final photo! Oops.

I made one of my best pizzas to date: Pork, Caramelized Onions, and Fontina with Mustard Beer Sauce. It was everything the ingredients suggest it would be.
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I also enjoyed farmer’s market finds like burrata cheese in a Zucchini Pasta with Burrata
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and for Grilled Bruschetta Pizza and Thai Chicken Wraps.
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I made a spur of the moment cocktail with an Orange soda and whipped cream vodka. It was ahhhhmazing. I loved this light creamcicle drink. I’m on the hunt for ways to make a fudgecicle cocktail! Any tips for me?
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I promised a sangria for August so I messed around with basil which was really fun. I did a Strawberry Basil Sangia that was a hit. I need to make no-occasion sangria more often!
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Let’s see what’s up for September. Hmmm. I imagine a lot of quickie meals and some travel posts. I have a lot on my to-do list including: non-traditional pizza, a sandwich featuring a peach!, a burger, and maybe some more cocktails.

September feels like a lovely in-between of summer and fall. I feel like I need to do some last summer things and eat some more lighter/veggie focused/salad-y meals before true fall happens.

Scallop BLT Pizza

I made this scallop BLT pizza because I love just about anything on pizza. I mean, have you seen all the pizza toppings I’ve fallen in love with? This combo of scallops, bacon, and alfredo provides the luscious and decadent part while the tomatoes and arugula balance it out with freshness. We had a great scallop pizza last year in Maine for our anniversary.
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I love topping pizzas with raw greens (like this Greek one, or this BLT one, or Big Mac pizza, or this prosciutto fontina arugula one) but if that’s not your thing either spinach or arugula would be great chopped up and cooked on the pizza.

Ingredients:

pizza dough
2 slices of bacon
3-4 sea scallops
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
3 tbs flour/wheat flour
salt & pepper
1 cup light alfredo sauce
1 tomato, sliced into chunks
8 oz shredded mozzarella
2 cups arugula (or spinach)

Directions:

Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400 degrees.
Pan fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from heat to drain and chop up.
Rinse scallops and remove the connective tissue on each one, if there is any. Pat dry.
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Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Spread pizza dough onto the pizza stone or pan and bake for 5-10 minutes. The point is to get it pre cooking so when the pizza is topped, it doesn’t have to cook much longer.
Heat a heavy skillet to medium and add butter & oil.
Toss the scallops in the four mix and pan sear each one for about 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping once (they’ll go into the oven again too so don’t overcook).
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When the pizza dough is pre-cooked a bit, remove from the oven. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees. Top the crust with alfredo sauce, cheese, bacon, and tomato.
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Cut scallops in half horizontally, or into quarter chunks if you prefer.
Add cut scallops to the pizza, with the seared side facing up.
Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
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Toss arugula with a very little drizzle of olive oil and add onto of the pizza.
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Slice & enjoy!

I added a little sprinkle of Parmesan and chives before the arugula, mostly because I had some. I liked everything that was going on for this pizza. It was reminiscent of bacon wrapped scallops.
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This is seriously a cheap way to serve scallops. I bought 3 scallops for 2 of us. I did slice them in half but there were lots of pieces to spread over the pizza! Bay scallops aren’t the same but maybe I should branch out for meals like this. I also only used 2 slices of bacon. It seems like plenty when spread around. I would always like more, but this amount is the smart choice. I pre-portion bacon and freeze it. Otherwise a pound can disappear verrrry quickly.

Raspberry Lime Smoothie

My zester has gotten quite the work-out lately. What can I say I have a zest for life. Ok, onward from the corny-ness and straight to the smoothie. Who doesn’t need some Monday morning detoxing. (excuse the blender cup, I’m being real, not fancy)

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Ingredients:

raspberry yogurt
1 cup frozen raspberries
lime juice from 1 lime
lime zest
1 cup milk/juice/lemonade (liquid of your choosing)

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a blender.
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Blend & enjoy!
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I used some crystal light raspberry lemonade. I don’t like any extra calories in my smoothie (and I usually don’t like want it milky). I liked this one for a change of pace. The lime in there wakes you up and gets you going. It’s a nice flavor without being the fruit. The contrast is great and the flavors scream summer. I have a few more fun smoothies coming along soon. Stay tuned!

This reminded me of raspberry lime rickys that were super popular at the restaurant I worked at in high school. I believe raspberry lime rickys are a New England thing. What do you folks think? Are these drinks a New England thing?

What I Ate: Creamsicle Cocktail

‘What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with ya for the idea or inspiration.

This cocktail is too easy for a recipe (and I didn’t measure), but it was delicious and unplanned and did I say delicious? I just had to share. I was whipping up something for dinner and my eyes fell on the orange soda in the fridge. I don’t buy many every-day drink options so we normally only have water & milk to offer. I rarely make cocktails but maybe I need to do that more often! An after work cocktail definitely makes any random weeknight feel special. I also thought this was perfectly summery.

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‘Fancy’ orange soda + orange zest + whipped cream flavored vodka = creamsicle!

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This tastes even better than it looks. This cocktail took instagram by storm, well, not really but I was cocktail-happy so any likes made me smile.

non-alcoholic creamsicle found here as a smoothie (one of my favorite smoothies ever).

This whipped cream vodka goes with anything for an instant cocktail. I love it in hot chocolate once winter hits but now I want to attempt some sort of frozen-blended fudgsicle cocktail with this too! Any ideas/suggestions for that one?

Tomato Ricotta Pie

Summer is the best for being up-to-your-eyeballs in fresh tomatoes. All our tomato plants are doing really well this year. Hallelujah. The cherry tomatoes seem to produce a handful per day and the larger tomatoes thankfully ripen just a few at a time. My rents have a bumper crop of cukes and tomatoes which we’ve “helped” to consume.

Sometimes on an ‘anything goes’ night our mystery ingredient is…surprise, tomatoes. I had a few large ones at the same time so I wanted to plan something that would really highlight tomatoes. I adapted a Cooking Light Tomato Ricotta Pie which was more about the shredded cheese and Martha Stewart’s Tomato Ricotta Tart which uses breadcrumbs for the base/crust.

Three Bite Rule - Tomato Ricotta Pie

Ingredients:

1 pie crust, thawed (or made from scratch)
3 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
2 eggs
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup light alfredo sauce (optional)
1 tsp chopped garlic
salt & pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Gently unroll pie crust into a pie dish sprayed with non-stick spray, poking a few holes into the crust with a fork.
Bake for 10 minutes.
While crust is pre-baking, whisk together ricotta, eggs, parmesan, alfredo sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.
Three Bite Rule - Tomato Ricotta Pie
Remove crust from oven and pour the cheese mix.
Lay the tomatoes over the top slightly overlapping.
Three Bite Rule - Tomato Ricotta Pie
Sprinkle with extra sea salt or fleur de sel.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Three Bite Rule - Tomato Ricotta Pie
Optional: broil for the last 3 minutes to give the tomatoes more color.
Let sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Three Bite Rule - Tomato Ricotta Pie

I liked that this was light but filling. It was kind of along the lines of quiche, but less eggy. I am pretty obsessed with ricotta so I enjoyed this. It could easily pretend to be brunch food too. I liked the leftovers too.

I didn’t happen to have any fresh basil but a little bit of that would be good. I absolutely don’t think this would have been the same with grocery store tomatoes. Quick! Find a farmer’s market near you!

Maybe I’ll try the breadcrumb as crust idea for a zucchini pie next.

Cost Breakdown:
crust: $1.84
tomatoes: free! (or about $2 at a farmer’s market)
ricotta: $2.19
eggs: $0.32
alfredo sauce: (half of a jar) $1.34
parmesan cheese: $1.19
total: $6.69 (serves 4 as a meal ($1.67 per person), or 6 as a meal/brunch accompaniment ($1.11 per person)

Can’t beat that price per person!

Falafel Burgers & Basil White Bean Spread

I’ve been all about the meatless meals lately. Summer seems like such a perfect time for that. I saw Jess Fuel make a white bean and basil spread and I thought it would be really good as a hummus alternative. I make baked falafel regularly so this was a perfect time to make a spread. It would be a good dip as well, but I used mine on a falafel “burger” as a condiment.

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Ingredients:

1 can white beans
2 cups basil
1 tbs garlic, chopped
½ tsp garlic powder
2 tbs olive oil
salt & pepper

Directions:

In a blender or food processor, add all the ingredients.
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Blend well, taste, and season with added salt and pepper accordingly.
Enjoy!
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This is so simple. The beans make it thick and hearty and the basil adds the freshness. I don’t know that it would be my go-to dip or anything, but I liked the flavors and love how easy it was. It was a great way to use fresh basil since it only has a few days of shelf life. It would be easy to customize with roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, lemon + mint, or adding cuke chunks and feta. I have to remember this when needing to make something cheap or easy.

For the falafel, I baked them like usual, but I made us each a big patty rather than a bunch of small falafel balls. I served them like a burger but with the bean spread, lettuce, and cucumber slices. These were good, but probably won’t be my go-to for falafel night. I think I still like them in a pita or wrap with feta and hummus. They make great little sliders for an appetizer too!
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Have more basil? Use it for Strawberry Basil Sangria or Grilled Bruschetta Pizza or on a made-at-home sub!

What I Ate: Chicken ‘n Waffles

‘What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with ya for the idea or inspiration.

The south has some pretty good food ideas. I mean biscuits/beignets/fried pickles/bbq are just so good. The list goes on. I like dinner to be varied so after my fun experiment with cinnamon roll waffles on the waffle iron I was thinking about more waffles that could be dinner.

I was going for simplicity here, but also think they could be amped up a bit. I used chicken fingers and only tweaked basic waffle batter by adding cornmeal and a touch of hot sauce.
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Ingredients:

4 chicken fingers
2 pre-made waffles or waffle batter ingredients below:
1 egg
¾ cup flour
¾ cup cornmeal
¾ cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs hot sauce (optional)
1 cup arugula (optional)
1 small tomato, sliced (optional)
maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to chicken finger cooking instructions (some are fully cooked, some are raw and need to reach an internal temperature)
Preheat waffle iron.
Mix waffle ingredients until combined.
Generously spray waffle iron.
When chicken is almost ready, cook the waffles in batches according to your iron’s size.
Top waffles with arugula, tomatoes, and drizzle with syrup.

I thought this was a fun dinner and totally out of the ordinary. I loved the freshness of the veggies on here with the salty chicken fingers and corny waffles and sticky sweet syrup. I didn’t want my dinner to be only brown/yellow in color.
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Next time I might add some whole corn into the waffles. Spinach or arugula would also be fun additions to the waffle itself.

Zucchini Pasta with Burrata

Last year about this time I was working an event in Cali, and I wasn’t psyched to be “on-event” again. In the fall, I tend to travel to Cali 2-3 times in just a few weeks. But then, one staff dinner I was introduced to burrata cheese. I hadn’t ever had it before and it was amazing. It made me so happy and all was right with the world.

We went to Pitfire Pizza and were served family style. One of the pizzas was the Burrata Pie: tomato sauce, burrata cheese, wild arugula, caramelized onion, hazelnuts, and pesto drizzle. Thankfully a few of my colleagues thought it was a bit weird. All the more for me. I have no recollection as to what else was served.
Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta

I couldn’t get enough of the burrata. It was mystical. It is too good to be sold at grocery stores. #truestory. We may have given thousands? hundreds? of bicycle riders the weekend of a lifetime. I mostly remember the burrata.

I happened upon some at the farmer’s market and didn’t have to think twice. I figured with such a decadent cheese I would do a somewhat lighter pasta. I made way too much pasta with such a large zucchini. Half the pasta unless you want to be eating/serving 6 servings like me.
Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta

Ingredients:

1 lbs angel hair/linguine/other thin pasta
1 large zucchini
16 oz Pastene kitchen ready tomato
1 cup basil leaves
2 tbs garlic, chopped
salt & pepper
1 medium/large burrata

Directions:

Boil generously salted water in a large pot for the pasta.
Using a box grater or mandolin, cut zucchini the long direction.
Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta
Drop pasta into the boiling water and cook according to the packaging.
Heat tomato sauce over medium heat in a very large skillet (big enough to fit the pasta once it cooks).
Add garlic, half the basil, and zucchini to the tomato sauce when the pasta is almost cooked (for the last 2 minutes of pasta cooking).
When pasta is cooked but still al dente, remove and put directly into the tomato sauce skillet (do not drain).
Cook while mixing for just a minute or two while gently tossing in the sauce.
Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta
Serve the pasta with the remaining basil, and a touch of salt and pepper (I used some rosemary fleur de sel). Finally top with burrata.
Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta
Cut the burrata when ready to eat.
Three Bite Rule - Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta

This was lovely. I was so happy when the pure tomato sauce became pink with burrata cream. The flavors were perfect. The zucchini adapted to its role as pasta easily.

If you haven’t had burrata then you have to try it. It is like mozzarella to the extreme. The center is filled with cream that just tastes like cheese. Burrata is delicious so it would be great on salad and hunks of good bread.

Restaurant Recreation: Pork Pizza with Mustard Beer Sauce

A few weeks ago I had dinner at Salty Pig and got a pizza. It was too dark for pics but I loved every bite of it and knew instantly that I had to recreate it at home. I made a recreation of Salty Pig’s pizza “today’s pig parts” mustard and pale ale caramel. Sold! I tweaked mine a bit and it was a success!

Follow me on twitter @threebiterule to see the restaurant’s response leaving me feeling HONORED that they responded. Yay!
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Ingredients:

pork butt/shoulder roasted and pulled
2 tbs butter
1 large white or yellow onion
pizza dough
1 bottle beer (I used blue moon)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
1 cup fontina cheese, sliced or shredded
1 tbs garlic, chopped (optional)
2-3 tbs whole grain mustard

Directions:

Roast the pork in advance. I used a small one that went into the crock pot overnight for 6 hours.
In a large skillet, add onion slices over medium to medium low with 1 tbs butter. Cook until caramelized (about 20 minutes for just 1 onion).
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While they are cooking preheat oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400 degrees.
Empty the beer into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. This should come to a medium boil for about 10 minutes.
Put the pizza dough onto the stone (or pan) and poke a few holes into it with a fork. Cook for about 10 minutes. This is just to get it started to be cooked though so it will be crispy.
While the dough is pre-cooking pull the pork with a fork, and slice/shred the cheeses.
Turn the beer to low to keep reducing it.
When the pizza dough is partially cooked, take it out to top it with a little olive oil then with mozzarella, garlic, pork, onions, and fontina.
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Return the pizza to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
Add 1 tbs butter and mustard to the beer to make it a bit creamy. Whisk it until smooth and keep cooking on low to get it smooth.
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Take the pizza out of the oven once the cheese has all melted and the crust is crispy enough to your liking.
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Drizzle with mustard beer sauce.
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I loved this pizza. I sprinkled a few chives on top to add a touch of color and freshness without overpowering any of the flavors. The pork, onions, and mustard beer sauce are strong flavors but they go so nicely together.

The pork needs to be cooked in advance. While you’re at it, caramelizing onions takes for-freaking-ever. I should have done a double batch some other time. It is a good thing to put on the stove and stir every-so-often when you’re not in a hurry. You can’t hurry a caramelized onion but they’re worth the wait.

Let’s talk about how cheap and easy the pork is. I put it into the crock pot (much like this pork in the crock pot) but minus the brown sugar & tomatoes since this wasn’t a bbq one. I eyeballed it adding some vinegar, veggie stock, garlic, and herbs. I discard the cooking liquid afterwards and then had super tender pork. I didn’t want to run the crockpot all day because I’m afraid it drives the pups bananas to smell delicious pork when nobody is there. I set it before bed and it was ready when I woke up.
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Mine was little and had the bone out. I think it was just a regular one cut and packaged smaller. I read the cooking instructions on it and I cost about $9. We ate it on this pizza (4 servings of pizza) then I mixed it with bbq sauce and onions for pulled pork sandwiches (2 servings) and I have another 2-3 servings I froze. They’ll likely be tacos. That’s about 8-9 times we will have eaten this tiny $9 pork butt. $1 per. serving. Even if I graciously let you count the pizza has really only having 2 servings over the whole thing that’s 6 servings, or $1.50 per serving. Stop. It.

This pizza was hands down one of my favorites. I love everything on it and think nothing overpowered anything else. Each bite was interesting and memorable.

What I Ate: Italian Subs

‘What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with ya for the idea or inspiration.

I’ve posted a few sandwiches here but thought these Italian subs would seem special enough to be dinner. I loved having them at home, and the next day’s lunch reaped the benefit too!
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Mr. J is from Maine where they call them simply “Italians”. Growing up for pool-side parties my mum would slice a very long loaf, and fill with sandwichy things and cut it into lots of pieces. I’m now remembering that she’d toss the lettuce & tomato with Italian dressing which is a good idea for the oil/vinegar sub topping. #nexttime

Ingredients:

soft fluffy rolls, or 1 long baguette to cut into pieces
¼ pound sliced hard salami
¼ pound sliced honey ham
¼ pound sliced provolone
½ cucumber, sliced
½ green bell pepper
1 small tomato, sliced
2 cups mixed greens, or lettuce of your choosing
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup basil (optional)
mayo, mustard, or veggie oil
salt & pepper

Directions:

Cut, slice, and unwrap everything.
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Build your sandwich.

Now, this seems like a lot of ingredients, but assembling takes all of 5 minutes AND it’s all prepped for lunch the following day! Plus, leftovers of these ingredients are good things to have on hand (think panini! or bfast burrito with the peppers, ham & cheese! or skip the lettuce & cukes and use the rest to build yourself a calzone!). This would make for a good salad too, if sandwiches aren’t your thing. They’re not usually my thing if they’re going to sitting around in a packed lunch all day getting soggy. I like ‘em fresh off the press.
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I swear by the basil. That makes the sandwich for me. It is also a good use for any leftover basil you already have, before it goes bad (strawberry basil sangria would be a good use too). I threw some basil into my salad the other day and LOVED discovering the basil leaves amongst my greens at lunch. I’ve also been throwing this mustard in lots of dishes lately so these subs were no exception.

Mr. J was really jazzed about this dinner, which surprised me. It was fun to assemble our own and only have to do some slicing for dinner to be prepped. I should do this more often. And you should do it too. Lesson learned, a blast from the past or something unusual with no frills is fun.

Happy weekend! Stay tuned for next week for a pizza that was a social media frenzy!