Sunday, October 28, 2012

Snacking State-by-State: Mashups 12A & 12B: Ham, Cheese and Cilantro Pizza and Ham-Cheddar-Apple Pots

I was not quite sure what to do with this next mashup at first.  I was faced with foods from the Southwest, the Mountain West, New England and the Chesapeake that just wouldn't make sense all in one recipe.  So I decided to attempt two recipes to use up as many of these ingredients as possible - with mixed results.

Mashup Recipes: Ham and Cheese Pizza with Cilantro-Guajillo Pesto Sauce, and Ham-Cheddar-Apple Pots

For the first recipe, I tried to use some dried guajillo chiles I had laying around (not dissimilar to the ancho chiles from the Coahuila recipe from Texas) and made a pesto with peanuts and cilantro.   I thought it might make for an interesting pizza sauce.

Mashup Recipe 1: Ham and Cheese Pizza with Cilantro-Guajillo Pesto Sauce

Makes eight slices

Ingredients (state flag indicates State-by-State post where ingredient was featured. Ingredients with no flag were not specifically used for any one post.)

for the pesto:

5 dried guahijjo or ancho chiles, rehydrated
1 bunch (about 2 cups) cilantro
  1/4 cup Virginia peanuts

1/4 cup olive or sesame oil

2 cloves garlic

for the pizza:

  1/2 red onion, in slices

  3 oz boneless or other ham, cut into small squares

  handful fresh chives, chopped

  1 cup "Mexican" (cheddar + Monterey jack) cheese, shredded

2 Roma tomatoes, in slices

bag pizza dough

Put your rehydrated chiles in a food processor - I just bought a small, cheap Cuisinart and it did this job beautifully - with your cilantro...

...your peanuts...

...and your garlic and oil, and blend until smooth-ish.

Spread the pesto over your flattened pizza dough.  Note to self: buy a pizza stone sometime.

The rest of the ingredients really are up to you, but I added Roma tomato slices...

...the Virginia ham and red onion slices...

...and chopped chives and the shredded Monterey jack / cheddar blend.

Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes in a 400°F oven.

This pizza was a bit much, and was certainly best out of the oven.   Lots of pizzas are great the second or third day.  This one wasn't.  The pesto in particular does not go well with the chosen ingredients, but again I was trying to use up what I had in the fridge.  I did make another helping of this pesto and stored it in the freezer, but I won't be putting it on any pizzas.  A nice tomato based pizza sauce would work a whole lot better in this case.

While I did not have the best result with my pizza, the next recipe turned out so well that I will have to make it again and again.  For this recipe, I broke out the 3" ramekins I bought for those Pepsi and peanut cakes from the North Carolina post.

Mashup Recipe 2: Ham-Cheddar-Apple Pots

Makes four ramekins

Ingredients (state flag indicates State-by-State post where ingredient was featured. Ingredients with no flag were not specifically used for any one post.)

   8 ozs (1/4 bag) shredded hash browns

4 ozs Vermont cheddar cheese, grated

   3 - 4 ozs boneless Virginia ham

   1/2 red onion, chopped

1 - 2 dried guajillo or ancho chiles, rehydrated and chopped

1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped apples

1/2 cup bread crumbs (made from leftover pieces of baguettes from the banh mi sandwiches from Texas)

   handful chopped chives

2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced

Soften chiles, onions and garlic in a cast iron skillet, and then add your apples.  Cook for about five minutes.

Next add the hash browns...

...and the ham.  Cook for another five to seven minutes, or until the hash browns have cooked through.

Fill the ramekins with the mixture from the skillet.

Next, top each ramekin with cheddar cheese.

Top each of these with bread crumbs.

Put the ramekins under a broiler for five minutes.  No longer, or else they will end up like the above photo.

The burned bread crumbs weren't a real problem.  All I had to do was pick them off.  But don't leave them under the broiler for too long.

As I hinted at before, these ramekins turned out way better than the pizza.  These are hearty little pots of food: slightly sweet from the apple and ham, filling from the cheese and potatoes, with a wonderful crunch from the bread crumbs.  Nothing like crunchy cheese-covered things.

Just one more mashup recipe, after I get through all those "W" states.  Let's see what Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming leave me in terms of leftovers.