FNCCC 2 – Alexandra Guarnaschelli – Flatbread with Bacon and Scallion Pesto

Lovely lovely Alex… she managed to lull me into a sense of safety.  She knew just when to strike.

How it's SUPPOSED to look!

I was coming off my high of the amazing garlic bread and the fact that Daemia and Shindig did 3+ recipes so I figured I’d step my game up a bit.  I decided to make flatbread with bacon and scallion pesto, how difficult could it be right?  The recipe is listed as easy after all.

I’ll start at the beginning and walk you through it.  Instead of writing down the recipe I just used my iPhone to bring it up… problem is that the phone eventually turns itself off so I kept having to use my elbow or knuckles to tap it to keep it on.

I got everything together though, I didn’t want to fail at mise en place again.

The comments on the recipe had said you endup with a lot of extra pesto so I was going to double the other stuff and just make two.  Two chances to get it right makes sense… right?  Of course I didn’t realize until I was getting close to making them that I didn’t double everything I was supposed to.

I set my oven to 450 degrees to start preheating and then went to cooking the bacon (I did double it) but when the recipe said thinly sliced I thought… ya know… in strips.  It meant more like into bacon bits.  Oh well, I just put ’em in a plastic bag and smacked it to break it into bits after it was cooked.

Doubling the bacon though gave me a A LOT of bacon grease that I was supposed to cook the onion in.  I forgot to double the onion though and basically deep fried the onion because of all the bacon grease.  Bad for health… good for taste buds.

Next up was the pesto.  Pesto is stupid easy to make.  Pesto is almost a suspension but the oil gets kind of whipped I guess since you slowly drizzle it into the pulverized herbs or whatever is being put into the oil.  You chop up the green onions (called scallions by the hooty snooty), parsley and capers in the food processor and drizzle in the oil from the top while its spinning blades threaten to replace your fingers with stumps.

I ran into another road block with the pesto… it calls for lemon zest.  I don’t have a zester or a grater so I figured I’d get crafty and just peel the lemon and cut it into small pieces.  Since it was being annihilated by the food processor it didn’t matter, except I ended up with way more lemon cuz instead of it being zest it was a chunk of lemon.  Oh well… ya work with what ya got!

By this time my kitchen is an oven since its been preheating for like a 1/2hr.  I put the flatbread slash pizza dough into the oven while I made the sour cream stuff (I’m too cheap to buy cream fraiche… actually I’m not sure if Walmart even has that cuz I didn’t check but it sounded more expensive than sour cream).

No one tells you that handling dough is like trying to play with Play Doh that has sat in the sun for too long.  I tried putting it on my baking sheet… I only have one that I got in a garage sale and no idea what size it is so it could have been 8 x 14… it could have been 10 x 20… fuck if I know.  I tried to lay it on the sheet but let’s be real here, pizza dough stretches.  It looked paper thin in some spots and thick and lumpy in others.  At this point I started to pray.  I put it in the oven and hoped for the best.

While the dough is cooking you are supposed to make the sour cream stuff… it has… uh oh! lemon zest in it.

/cry

I SHOULD have just left it out of this.  An experienced cook would have known they put WAY to much zest into the pesto so they wouldn’t need it in the sour cream.  Luckily I didn’t know that.  I minced me up some lemon peel and proceeded to make chunky sour cream.  Very similar in consistency to crunchy peanut butter… but ya know… not as thick or as good.

I put the lid on it and put it back in the ice box so it would stay cold, checked to see what was next and saw the most horrifying words… season to taste.

In actuality it had said that while making the onion and pesto as well but I was past those steps and I couldn’t very well fix it at this point.  I could fix the sour cream though.  I got an amount of salt equal to the amount I would have used in the onions, pesto, and sour cream and put it all in the sour cream.  It tasted like a gooey lemon flavored salt-lick.

I just shrugged and went to check on my pizza dough.

uh…. oh….

I took it out of the oven, tried to cut it and called Betsy.

/ring /ring
B: “Hello?”
Me: “How do you cut a cracker?”
B: /giggling “What do you mean?”
Me: “How do you cut a cracker?”
B: /laughing “You just kind of break it into pieces, why?”
Me: “Well…”

I call it the great dough disaster of 2010.  Where it had stretched thin it bubbled up and cooked REALLY fast while the excess dough I just rolled over on the edges were still doughy.

Luckily I bought two pizza doughs cuz ya know… I was gonna double some parts of it.  I was WAY more careful with the pizza dough for the second one though and got it a lot more perfect.  The dough came out a bit over done but not too bad.

I assembled.

It looked sooooo pretty.  I was really happy with how it turned out in terms of looks.

It was completely inedible.

Flatbread is just thin bread, but it isn’t thin crust pizza.  I’ll know this for next time… next time?  There’s no way in hell I’m going to attempt this again.  In fact, I’m not making anything that requires me to make the bread myself.  I’ll order dominoes and scrape the top off instead.

I took some to Betsy and she tried to suffer through a few bites.  You could see the horror on her face as she grimaced through a bite or two and said she wasn’t sure if she liked it.  It was so nice of her to spare my feelings by not vomitting it back on me.  Den (Betsy’s husband) looked at her and then it and said no way, that bastard.

Then Betsy rode with me to Taco Bell and complained about how she couldn’t get the taste out of her mouth.  That was probably the slightly toasted (read: semi burned) cracker crust pasted to the roof of her mouth with my salty lemon flavored elmer’s glue.

While I did have my mise en place correct’ish (I didn’t have a zester OMG!) I did pretty well.  I got more comfortable with the flow of cooking and not panicing like a rogue standing in fire trying to decide between DPS and living.  I had a fuckton of fun though!

Ingredients

  • 4 thick strips bacon, thinly sliced
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until browned and crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain; keep warm. Add the onion slices to the drippings in the skillet; sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook until light brown and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

Combine the scallions, capers and parsley in a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste and half of the lemon zest; pulse gently to chop and blend. Turn the processor on and add the olive oil through the top in a steady stream. Transfer the scallion pesto to a bowl; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the creme fraiche and the remaining lemon zest until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Roll the pizza dough into an 8-by-14-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Spread the creme fraeche mixture on the crust. Dot with the onions and some of the bacon drippings from the pan; sprinkle with the bacon. Slice into pieces and drizzle with scallion pesto.

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7 thoughts on “FNCCC 2 – Alexandra Guarnaschelli – Flatbread with Bacon and Scallion Pesto

  1. Shiny says:

    Lol, I agree with D. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I kept laughing as I read further. I think you’ve covered many of the cooking blunders I’ve had (aside from having stuff boil over on the stove on a regular basis…and my naive newlywed attempt to save money by buying a whole chicken and trying to make it boneless). May I suggest that you start regularly attending every Pampered Chef party you can possibly go to? It seems like every time I turn around at work someone else is having one. Of course, I doubt you have those with your employees. At any rate, you can get all kinds of nifty kitchen gadgets (like the lemon zester) and easy recipes.

  2. Xeo says:

    @D: Maybe I’ll have to start doing video blogging… Cookin’ with Xeo

    @Shindig: I’ve never even heard of pampered chef parties. I have heard of toy parties though (they sell sex toys instead of kitchen utensils… but some of ’em can do both).

    @Cold: Pizza stones are awesome. A friend of mine has one and they’ve made so much stuff on it that turns out great. I almost got a grater at a garage sale this weekend but realized that my food processor has one of those grating blades or w/e it is so that’ll make it way easier. Assuming I keep all my fingers.

  3. Shiny says:

    http://www.pamperedchef.com/index.jsp?localeString=en_us
    There ya go, now you can shop online and maybe see some of the recipes. 🙂

    Sorry I slacked this week on the chef. I decided she was too infatuated with gluten and things I consider gross–everyone should check out her “dessert” recipe (#3 on her list)…tomatoes with ice cream and caramel.

    Looking forward to seeing what next week has in store!

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