potato-leek-pizza-with-pork-belly-12

I’ve seen so many yummy recipes using Pork Belly however it’s one of those things I haven’t had any experience with.  I was shopping at Costco recently and came across a package of Pork Belly that was already sliced.  It looked almost like bacon but for the fact that it was cut into thick slabs.  I wasn’t sure what I could do with it since it was already cut but I thought why not give it a try.  One of my favorite pizza’s is a potato leek pizza that I usually make with bacon so I thought I would substitute the pork belly for the bacon and see how that turned out.  Pork belly tastes quite different, you don’t get the smoky salty flavors of bacon.  But I do think it goes quite well with this particular pizza, the tender chunks of pork belly matched with slices of fried potatoes, sauteed leeks and melted mozzarella make one savory slice of deliciousness.
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baba-ganoush-12

Ya Ya’s Euro Bistro is a restaurant here in KC that has an extensive menu garnishing traditional meals with a European spin.  We hadn’t been there in many years but for our anniversary Joe took me to Ya Ya’s for a night out.  Before the meal was served they brought out a Baba Ganoush appetizer with soft french bread for dipping that was so tasty.  It had a hint of lemon and tasted different than anything we had ever had. We both loved it and asked the waiter what it consisted of.  He was happy to share and told us that it was made with roasted eggplant, Greek yogurt, garlic, an herbed olive oil and sprinkled with a spice called Zatar.  Most recipes use tahini in their Baba Ganoush which is why this dish tastes so different.  I found a recipe online from St. Louis Today for Ya Ya’s famous Baba Ganoush that had the exact ingredients our waiter had listed.  I made a run to Tasteful Olive for an olive oil that would give this dish the taste we had experienced at Ya Ya’s.  When I explained to them what I was making they suggested Milanese Gremolata, a flavored olive oil consisting of fresh lemon zest, minced garlic, Italian flat leaf parsley and a hint of mint.  With the olive oil in hand I walked a couple doors down to Penzey’s where I found Zatar, a spice that is a popular Middle Eastern blend consisting of sumac, thyme, sesame seeds and salt.  Roasting the eggplant was a bit time consuming but I have to say my homemade Baba Ganoush came together with the consistency and flavors that we enjoyed at Ya Ya’s.  It couldn’t have turned out better!   (more…)