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Balsamic Boursin Flank Steak Pizza

Balsamic Boursin Flank Steak Pizza

Tangy herbed Boursin cheese, sweet pears and tender steak top this unique and flavorful pizza. A little arugula, toasted pine nuts and balsamic vinegar glaze give it a fancy finish.

There are two major schools of thought when it comes to pizza. The first is the school that believes that pizza should taste like pizza—meaning they like to keep it classic with red sauce, mozzarella cheese and perhaps a few of what many would consider “normal” pizza toppings. The other school of thought likes to break the rules a bit and get a bit more adventurous when it comes to pizza. Toppings like Brussel sprouts, lamb sausage, fried eggs and pickles don’t phase people in this camp—thier motto: the weirder the better.  Now, I’m one that has been known to show ample school spirit for both camps—I love a classic margarita pizza, but then I also love to see completely new and inventive pizza combos on the menu too. It just totally depends on my mood and also who I’m eating with.

Today I was feeling fancy! Granted, I’m wearing sweatpants and a messy bun while I write this but my stomach was feeling fancy and so this little pizza was born. The process of making this pizza is a little bit different than most other pizzas because most of the ingredients don’t get put on the pizza until after it is done baking. However, I promise it is an explosion of different complementary flavors that you’ll love. 

This pizza starts and finishes with shortcuts that I love when my time is short but I’m craving big flavor. The first is store-bought pizza dough. *gasps* I know, I know how could I??? The trick is finding a good one that doesn’t taste like cardboard, has good texture and gets good color in the oven. Lucky for you, I’ve found two options that I think make great shortcuts when you don’t have time to make proper pizza dough. The first is Trader Joe’s Ready-to-Bake Pizza Dough. This is the fresh dough that’s usually near the produce and hummus at your local TJs. This one has great texture and pretty decent flavor too so it’s a great option.

My new favorite is from Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Markets. In their deli section, they have a great All-Natural Pizza Dough that has become my ride-or-die store-bought pizza dough. This one bakes beautifully and has that little extra punch of flavor that I always felt Trader Joe’s dough was missing. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s of Fresh Thyme near you, don’t worry—you can substitute any pizza dough (or make your own) but those two are my personal favorites.

If you use a store-bought dough like I did, I find that it’s best to take your dough out of the fridge about 30-45 minutes before you’re ready to start working with it to let it warm up a bit. Having the dough close to room temperature will make it much easier to work with and limit its tendency to want to shrink back as you’re forming your pizza.

But anyway, enough about the dough, let’s talk toppings! The first thing you’ll want to do is marinate your flank steak in olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a little salt and pepper. Overnight is ideal, but 30 minutes will also give you sufficient flavor too. When the steak is done marinading, sear it in a pan over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. You may need to cook yours longer or less depending on the thickness of your steak and your preference for doneness. When your meat is done, remove it from the pan, wrap it in foil, and let it rest while you assemble the rest of the pizza. 

Now, when it comes to sauce, this pizza is naked. You could certainly brush it with a little olive oil and garlic if you want, but I prefer to just spread a layer of Boursin Fine Herb cheese over the pizza dough. If you’ve never had Boursin before it’s a soft cheese that taste like goat cheese and cream cheese had a baby and dropped it in a bunch of herbs. Delicious! Then, on top of the Boursin is a layer of shredded mozzarella, thinly sliced pears and caramelized onions. As for the rest of the toppings they get added after the pizza is done baking. I bake mine in a 450° oven using a pre-heated pizza stone to get an extra crisp crust.

While the pizza is baking you can toast your pine nuts and thinly slice your flank steak. Remember to always slice your flank steak against the grain for optimal tenderness. When your pizza is done, admire the cheesy golden goodness for a moment and then arrange the slices of steak, top with a little arugula and toasted pine nuts and then get ready for the finishing touch—balsamic glaze.

Now, you’re certainly welcome to make your own balsamic reduction for this pizza. It doesn’t take long, but like I said this pizza starts and ends with a shortcut. One little gem I recently discovered at Trader Joe’s is their Trader Giotto’s Balsamic Glaze. This thick, sweet balsamic syrup is fantastic drizzled over Caprese salads, roasted chicken, or in this case— drizzled over pizza. The glaze not only makes this pizza look ultra fancy but compliments the sweetness of the pears and caramelized onions as well as the tender marinated flank steak. Now the only thing left to do is slice and enjoy!

So, what about you? Are you a classic pizza person all the way, or do you like to try new combinations on your pizza? If you try this pizza recipe, please give the recipe a rating and don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram (@frydaeblog or #frydae) with your results. I love to see what everyone is cooking up in their kitchens!

Balsamic Boursin Flank Steak Pizza

A fancy pizza topped with surprising shortcuts. Tender, medium-rare marinated flank steak is paired with juicy pear, flavorful Boursin cheese, toasted pine nuts, arugula and a balsamic drizzle.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Pizza
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marinade Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces flank steak
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 favorite store-bought pizza dough* (room temperature)
  • 1 bottle Trader Joe's balsamic glaze
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted)
  • 1/4 cup arugula
  • 1 d'Anjou pear (thinly sliced)
  • 1 5.2 ounce package garlic and fine herb Boursin cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (grated)

Instructions

  1. Season flank steak with sea salt and pepper and then place into a gallon size Ziploc with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

    Place a pizza stone into a cold oven and preheat to 425°F. I really recommend using a pizza stone it really helps create the perfect crust. However, if you don't have a pizza stone, a cast iron skillet is my next favorite option.

    While oven is preheating, remove store-bought pizza dough from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients. Allowing your dough to warm up (about 30 minutes) makes it much easier to work with.

    Next in a medium frying pan over medium-low heat, add 1/4 cup of pine nuts. Stirring continuously, toast the pine nuts until fragrant and golden and remove to let cool.

    Next, in the same skillet, turn up the heat to medium-high. Once hot, remove flank steak from marinade and sear. Let cook about 4 minutes and then flip and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Remove from pan and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

    Next, drizzle a sheet of parchment paper of olive oil and dust with cornmeal. Remove the pizza dough from its package and begin to form into a 12-16 inches circle depending on how thick you like your crust.

    The easiest way to form the perfect pizza crust is to slightly flatten your ball of dough into a disc with your hands and then begin to press the dough outwards from the center. Repeat and then once your dough is about 6-8 inches in diameter, pick up the dough and let gravity take over.

    Using both hands, gently stretch and rotate the dough like you're driving a steering wheel. Again, gravity should be doing most of the work and your hands are just guiding it along so it forms the right shape.

    Once your crust is 12-16 inches in diameter, return to your piece of oiled parchment paper and reshape as needed. Don't worry too much if the edges of your crust are not thicker than the center. Your toppings will help weigh down the center and allow the edges of your crust to puff up around them.

    Next, begin to spread a layer of Boursin cheese onto the crust. I typically use half of the package (about 2.5 ounces) for one pizza. Then, sprinkle some grated mozzarella along with thinly sliced pear onto the pizza.

    Using a pizza peel or cutting board slide your pizza onto the hot pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes.

    While pizza is baking, thinly slice the flank steak into strips and set aside.

    When pizza has cooked for ten minutes, turn on your oven's broiler and let cook for an additional 2-5 minutes. I find this helps the cheese melt and get a nice even golden brown color on the crust.

    Remove pizza from oven and top with thin slices of flank steak, arugula and toasted pine nuts. Finish with a drizzle of Trader Joe's Balsamic Glaze, slice and enjoy!

Notes


Trader Joe's and Fresh Thyme Farmer's Markets have great dough in their deli sections. This recipe is great for those nights where you want a homecooked meal but need to take a few shortcuts. Of course, if you have extra time on your hands, making your dough from scratch can't be beaten!

Spiced Cheddar Star Crackers

Spiced Cheddar Star Crackers

These savory little crackers are cheesy, spicy and flaky and make a great party snack…or anytime snack. Full of cheddar cheese, herbs and spices, they’re like Cheez-Its, Goldfish and Cheddar Bay Biscuits all wrapped up into one.

Warning: This post contains a recipe for homemade Cheez-Its that you’ll surely want to double because I guarantee you’re going to eat the first batch by yourself immediately. This warning *totally* doesn’t come from personal experience…but, okay, if I’m being honest with you, it definitely does. I think it safe to say everyone has a weakness when it comes to food—their kryptonite (and if the lyrics “if I go crazy will you still call me Superman” came into your head when I said that, then we can be best friends).

While I’m guilty of having a sweet tooth on occasions, I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for savory snacks—especially if they involve cheese. When I was young and just getting into cooking, I received an Emeril Lagasse cookbook called, There’s a Chef in My Soup. Intended for young chefs, it’s one of the first cookbooks I can remember cooking from and this recipe is based on one of the first recipes I can recall cooking from it—Cheesy Star Snacks.

These little crackers are delicious. If you’re a fan of Cheez-its, Goldfish, Better Cheddars or any other cheese-flavored cracker these will be right up your alley. The added herbs and spices also make them take a bit like Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits too. Actually, thinking back to the very first time I made these, I intentionally rolled out the dough a bit thicker than directed which resulted in little baby biscuit-like stars. Yum!

Rolled thick or thin, I love these little crackers whether served warm right out of the oven or cooled completely. However because they’re so delicious, I usually gobble them all down well before they have a chance to cool down. One thing I’ve changed from the original recipe is adding a little cayenne pepper and adding extra mustard powder. I also like to use fresh herbs when I can rather than dry.

These cheesy crackers make a great party snack or a special treat for the kiddos in their lunchbox. If it were up to me, I’d make these every week to keep on-hand, however, because they’re essentially solid cheese and butter with a little flour mixed in I have to restrain myself.

What is your food kryptonite? Are you a major sweets lover or do you prefer something savory like me? Leave me a comment below, I love hearing from you! Also, If you try these little crackers, please give them a rating and tag me on Instagram (@frydaeblog or #frydae).

Spiced Cheddar Star Crackers

These savory little crackers are cheesy, spicy and flaky and make a great party snack...or anytime snack. Full of cheddar cheese, herbs and spices, they're like Cheez-Its, Goldfish and Cheddar Bay Biscuits all wrapped up into one.

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 16 dozen (1-inch stars)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley (or 1/4 teaspoon dry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1/4 teaspoon dry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh basil (or 1/4 teaspoon dry)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 egg whites (for egg wash)

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, cheese, salt, dry mustard powder, herbs and spices in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.

    Next, cut the butter into small pieces and then add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or fork, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse, pea-sized crumbs.

    Add the cold water to the bowl a tablespoon at a time and continue to work the mixture together with your fingers until a soft, smooth dough forms. Shape into a ball and then cover with plastic wrap. Place the dough into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).

    When you're ready to bake the crackers, preheat oven to 375°F with the rack positioned in the middle.

    Remove dough from the refrigerator and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/8" thick. 

    Using a 1-inch star cookie cutter (or any small shape) begin to cut out the dough. Place stars onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. These don't spread out when they're baking so you can place them close together, just make sure that they're not touching. Repeat until all the dough is cut out and cookie sheets are full of crackers.

    Brush each cracker with a little egg wash, then place crackers into the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. If you're baking more than one tray at a time, rotate the pans after 6-8 minutes to ensure even cooking. Remove immediately and let cool. Then put into an airtight container and store for 3-5 days.

Notes


If you don't have any small cookie cutters, you can also use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into strips and then again in the other direction to create 1-inch squares. Discard the rough edges and roll out again and repeat until all the dough is cut up.

Adapted From: Emeril Lagasse

Vegan Queso Blanco

Vegan Queso Blanco

This guilt-free “queso” is completely vegan and surprisingly delicious! Made with cashews, coconut milk, nutritional yeast and Sky Valley Verde sauce, this dip takes on a gooey, cheesy consistency that may fool even the most discerning cheese queso lovers!

When I was little my dad brought home some sausage one day that a friend of his from work gave him. Being seven or eight at the time I ate it without question assuming it was your standard pork or beef sausage on a cracker. It wasn’t until after I ate four or five slices that my dad told me the sausage I was eating was actually made from a bear his friend shot on a hunting trip. I couldn’t believe it—I ate Winnie the Pooh and confession: he was delicious!

You’d think an experience like that would have made me distrust anything my parents ever put in front of me again—and you’re right it did! I was very leery over anything my dad brought home from work from that point forward. However, over time, I’ve come to appreciate this sausage imposter I was given and how it completely fooled me into eating something I would have otherwise turned my nose up at. I guess the lesson here is: don’t knock it until you try it!

That brings me to today’s recipe—Vegan Queso Blanco. Yes, that’s right a completely vegan and dairy-free “queso” dip that tastes, looks and acts surprisingly similar to traditional queso made from cheese. This dip is made primarily using cashews that have been soaked overnight in water and canned coconut milk. Both add the necessary creaminess and richness component needed to turn this into a convincing queso doppelgänger. 

This queso’s cheesy flavor comes from nutritional yeast—a staple in any vegan’s pantry because it’s known for having a tangy cheese-like flavor. I love sprinkling this over popcorn—so good! Then, the dip gets a kick from cumin, cilantro, lime juice, diced green chiles and a hefty pour of Sky Valley Verde sauce. 

If you can’t find Sky Valley Verde sauce at your local store, you can order it online. Alternatively, you could also substitute any other bottled verde sauce or tomatillo salsa and get similar results. 

The best part about this recipe is its simplicity. Just soak the cashews overnight, cook the potato in the microwave till soft, and blend everything together until smooth. Then, just warm over low heat until nice and bubbly. YUM!

I love this dip served with crunchy tortilla chips or an assortment of fresh veggies like baby carrots, broccoli and sliced red pepper. 

Bring this to your next party and I bet you’ll fool one or two people with this pretty convincing queso. You may just want to give people a heads up that this dip does contain nuts (darn you, increasingly common food allergies).

What about you? Have you ever been tricked into trying food you thought was something else? How did it turn out? Leave me a comment below.

If you try out this queso, please leave me a comment don’t forget and give this recipe a rating. You can also tag me Instagram (@frydaeblog or #frydae) if you try this recipe out. It’s always fun to see my recipes come to life in your kitchens. Happy Frydae, everyone!

Vegan Queso Blanco

This guilt-free "queso" is completely vegan and surprisingly delicious! Made with cashews, coconut milk, nutritional yeast and Sky Valley verde sauce, this dip takes on a gooey, cheesy consistency that may fool even the most discerning cheese lovers!

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Southwest
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soaking Time 8 hours
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup potato (peeled and chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight and drained)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (canned)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup Sky Valley verde sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
  • 4 ounces canned green chiles

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, add cashews and cover with enough water to cover the nuts. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let soak overnight (or for at least 8 hours). When ready to prepare the queso, remove plastic wrap and drain excess water from the cashews. Set aside.

    Next, in a microwave-safe bowl, heat chopped potato on high for 2 minutes, or until fork tender.

    Add potato to a food processor along with soaked cashews and remaining ingredients. Blend until very smooth and then place dip into a saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally and cook until "queso" is warmed through. 

    Alternatively, you may also put the dip into a small crockpot and warm it on your pot's lowest setting. 

    Serve with tortilla chips or your choice of assorted vegetables. My favorites are carrots, broccoli and red pepper strips. Enjoy!

Notes


If you'd like to add additional heat to your queso, or would like it to have a chunkier consistency, you can fold in additional diced green chiles or diced pickled jalapeño peppers while warming the queso.

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