okie dokie artichokie » hey guys, i'm steph! i'm a personal chef by day and food writer by night. this blog is all about the food i love to cook and eat-- some sweet, some savory, all delicious. welcome to my realm! xo

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White Clam Naan Pizzas with Garlic, Mozzarella, and Parmesan

White Clam Naan Pizza with Garlic, Mozzarella, and Parmesan


Perhaps slightly unorthodox. Maybe even a little weird. But, absolutely, positively, delightful.

A concoction of garlicky olive oil and anchovies (yes, anchovies again. thinking i should change blog name to okie dokie anchovokie. hm, doesn’t have the same ring to it. will ponder…) is slicked onto the naan bread with a brush before layering the cheese and clams on top. A drizzle of clam juice, even more garlic-anchovy oil, and freshly grated Parmesan finish the top before it gets tossed into a hot oven until gooey and brown. A forceful squeeze of lemon juice and spattering of red pepper flakes is all that is required before delivering into your mouth.

Every bite is bursting with umami flavor thanks to the trifecta of Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and clams. I don’t think I took a single breath until after finishing an entire pizza. Priorities, man.

You can definitely make these on a normal pizza, using homemade or storebought dough, but I’d up the ingredients a touch just in case. Especially cheese and clams.


// other aquatic things:


Olive oil and rosemary-poached shrimp with garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes

Olive oil and rosemary-braised shrimp with garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes


One of my favorite ways to enjoy shrimp is just like this– bathed in a golden, aromatic elixir of olive oil and butter and infused with rosemary, garlic and umami-rich anchovies. As this poaches gently in the oven, the woodsy smell of the rosemary marries with the pungency of the garlic and the brightness of the lemon, creating an intoxicating experience.

You can eat this straight away after it’s done cooking– a mere 20 minutes or so, but if you have the restraint to stash this in the fridge overnight, the flavors of the rosemary and garlic will intensify and the shrimp will be that much more delicious. I promise you, you’ll be licking the remains of the olive oil with your finger long after the shrimp have been devoured. Olive oil is good for you, right…?

This can be eaten as is, alone, but with a glass of white wine. Also, and I’d argue, even better: spooned over a luscious pool of creamy polenta.



Olive oil and rosemary-poached shrimp with garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes



// other shrimp things:



Polenta with Mushrooms and Parmesan Cheese + Artichokes Braised in Cream

Polenta with Mushrooms and Parmesan + Artichokes Braised in Cream


There is something about polenta that just begs to be topped with sumptuous, melt-in-your mouth delights. I infused the cooking water with dried mushrooms and bay leaf for the polenta while it bubbled away and thickened. Then, tendrils of fresh Parmesan cheese were twirled in. At this point, I would’ve been quite satisfied eating just a bowl of this but did I stop there? Oh no, no, no. A quick braise of artichokes in butter and cream finished this off, creating a melodious combination of rich meatiness and ethereal suppleness. This dish is best enjoyed with a full heart and an even fuller glass of white wine.



// Other lavish meals: 




Tortilla Bake with Chorizo, Corn, and White Bean Hummus

Tortilla Bake with Chorizo, Corn, and White Bean Hummus


I made this spur-of-the-moment, in a fierce mood to use up as many odds and ends I had laying about in the fridge one rainy afternoon. Lucky for me, I had a few links of chorizo to crumble up with leftover corn kernels and cannellini beans. While these three things mingled together in a pan, they created an alchemy so wonderful, I literally had to stop and stare; there’s something so incredibly sultry about the way food glistens when it’s tossed with chorizo fat.

A few minutes later, I was pouring this glorious mix into a glass pie dish and layering, layering, layering. With liberal spoonfuls of Garden Fresh Gourmet white bean hummus, Jack’s special salsa, and handfuls of crushed blue corn tortilla chips. There was cheese, lots of it. Into the oven it went and emerged ten minutes later, crispy and melty. Before I ate this, I drizzled it generously with Mexican crema and dotted with fresh cilantro. This tortilla bake was perfect as an afternoon snack (my definition of snack is a bit unconventional) with a dark beer.



// More quick meals: 




Garden Fresh Gourmet Nachos with Smoked Gouda Bechamel + Avocado Verde Salsa

Garden Fresh Gourmet Nachos with Smoked Gouda Bechamel + Avocado Verde Salsa


May is National Salsa Month, so when I got hooked up with awesome stuff from Garden Fresh Gourmet, I knew I had to make nachos. And nachos I made. Lots. Over the course of several days lots. One day, I think I ate them for every meal…

I have somewhat of an obsessive personality.

But guys, this was beyond good. I basically hunkered over my plate (well, “personal-sized” cookie sheet, really. minor details.) and inhaled this in no time at all. The avocado verde salsa is super flavorful and has just the right amount of kick to it when dolloped all over the chips. And I always favor blue corn tortilla chips over regular– I think they have a more interesting flavor, not to mention that gorgeous pop of color.



Garden Fresh Gourmet Nachos with Smoked Gouda Bechamel + Avocado Verde Salsa


The idea for the smoked gouda bechamel was really more of a delightful convenience since I happened to have a leftover chunk of it in the fridge. And boy, it really came together wonderfully. The smokiness of the cheese really gave the nachos a nice depth, which was a great canvas for the zing of the avocado verde salsa to burst through.

Topped with fresh radish slices, queso fresco, avocado, and cilantro, these nachos were very much enjoyed with a cold beer. No regrets, man.



Garden Fresh Gourmet Nachos with Smoked Gouda Bechamel + Avocado Verde Salsa



// more delicious appetizer things: