Friday, June 17, 2011
Believe it or not, Hubs still had not tried Grilled Pizzas!
Hubs' April deployment last year meant he missed a number of things...
He missed the rainy mud season indicative of a New England Spring. He missed the beautiful shades of green and blossoming flowers of June. He missed the family BBQs and beach time with friends in July. He missed the sunsets and s'mores of August. He missed the VT fall, returning to cool November and making it home just in time for the snow.
Although he was in 100+ degree weather in the middle of a desert, those 7 months away from the beautiful changing seasons must have felt like hibernation.
With the official start of summer just around the corner, Hubs has already begun to take in and indulge in all that he missed last year while overseas. He has taken back the duty of mowing our lawn, trimming our trees, working on the garden, etc...it's pretty great to have a man around the house again :)
Can you believe I've been so absent minded to forget Hubs had not experienced the ease, versatility and tastiness of the grilled pizza?!?!
Pizza 1: Tomato, Basil, Olive Oil
Big Pizza 2: Spinach and Garlic Chicken Sausage, Mushrooms, Bell Peppers and Red Onion
Pizza 3: Leftovers from Pizza 1 and Big Pizza 2 with Turkey Pepperoni...'The Supreme'
(btw did you know Turkey Pepperoni has 70% less fat than the regular stuff and still tastes pretty darn good?!?!)
Fresh Mozzarella for all 3 Grilled Pizza Creations
Homemade pizza sauce for Big Pizza 2 and Pizza 3.
The sauce was a simmered combo of Canned Roma Tomatoes (2010 garden), tomato paste, fresh thyme (2011 garden), garlic, red pepper flake and salt/pepper.
This sauce was super concentrated flavor with a spicy bite!
Over by the Naan in our grocery store, I noticed this new round Flatbread Pizza Crust, so thought we'd give it a whirl!
All the toppings were piled on and they hit the grill.
(In case you need a quick refresher...before piling on, I brush the bottoms of the crust with a bit of canola oil, and then the tops with some olive oil. The goodies are piled on and the pizzas are grilled over indirect heat)
Big Pizza 2 on top of the new Flatbread Crust (which I will buy again).
Pizza 1 and Pizza 3 on Garlic Naan, yum!
Fresh Basil was added to finish off Pizza 1 and...
and Pizza 3
Big Pizza 2 all melty and done
After spending years in search of a good pizza joint for us, we thought we had found 'The One' just a couple months ago. Let me tell you...these grilled beauties tasted so good, Hubs said they were the best pizzas we'd had in a long time...and better than pizza from 'The One'!
While it's nice to hear such positive remarks on the grilled pizza creations...'The One' is still going to be our go-to when even grilled pizzas are too much and I simply need a night off from the kitchen ;)
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I finally made it to the Farmers Market!
I knew there wouldn't be much outside of garden starters this early in the season, but I was hopeful I'd at least be able to pick up salad greens for the week...and well, to be honest - the Tibetan Lady's Dumplings and Hot Sauce :)
Luckily for me my pal Blue Light agreed to accompany me!!
Once there I was delightfully reminded of spring vegetables...there was an abundance of fresh cut asparagus.
I payed $5.50 lb for this stuff...seems pretty outrageous to me, yet so Btown :P
So much for Farm Prices at the farmer's market this trip!
This is once again another reminder that I really need to commit to a CSA next year.
So as not to ruin or cover up the bare flavors of the asparagus, I used just a touch of oil, salt and pepper and then hit the grill.
Rotating every so often until softened.
I also whipped up some great turkey burgers.
I used fresh parsley (from our garden!), garlic, salt and pepper.
For grilling I used a brush of canola oil on the burgs to prevent them from sticking to the grates.
Bunless grilled turkey burgers and grilled farmers market asparagus.
We did have some store bought Taziki Dip leftover from the weekend, so used that as a condiment for our burgers.
Easy, fresh and healthy dinner :)
Incidentally, I was reminded of this post due to some awful asparagus I picked up at the grocery store for dinner last night. Now that I've been treated to the farm fresh bundles of this stuff...it's hard to go back.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
We had a busy, productive, relaxing day...
Pups was chillin' and blowing bubbles.
Pretty good one eh?
I am not sure what it was, but this Memorial Day was one of the most satisfying days I've had off from work in a long time.
I did not do anything special.
Actually, my day was rather uneventful...
Early AM walk with Pups, breakfast, nap in the sun, grocery shopping, a bit of gardening, the dreaded hosing (aka bath) for Pups, washed the car, lounged, took another nap in the sun and then made dinner.
It was the first day that it really felt like summer was almost here :)
To finish off the most perfect weekend, I made a summer inspired dinner.
A Refreshing Salad
(Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil, Balsamic, Olive Oil, and Salt/Pepper.)
and Grilled Steak Tips.
It was honestly and truly the most relaxed of times...as I sit here now recounting the experience, I think I'm already due for another!
Each Memorial Day Weekend thousands of runners gather in btown to run the Vermont City Marathon.
I was told there were some crazy 8,000 folks participating in the event!
Nope I was not even close to being one of the runners...
but we were asked to help out at the Mile 20 Water Station!
Did you know there is a special table for 'Elite Runners'?!?
It was a fantastic experience and hope to do it again! I was able to catch family, hockey players, and SoVT Gals running their hearts out...some for causes and others simply for their own personal achievement.
While I am sure most of the runners carbo-loaded, hydrated and got a good night's rest...here is what we did the evening before to gear up for the big race:
Oh yes, homemade Fish and Chips!
A sort of last minute decision, this dinner turned into a quite enjoyable date night with Hubs.
We'd never made beer batter before...but holy heck was it easy and DELICIOUS!!!
We used Cod (it was on sale), a couple of Sweet Potatoes we had lying around the kitchen and a lone IPA from the fridge.
Everything was fried...yup, deep fried in 100% oil :)
The beer batter was super simple...
1 bottle of Microbrew
2 cups Flour
Mix it all together and you have a thick and fantastic beer batter to dip in.
Simply dip the fish pieces into the batter, then into some dry flour and plop right into the hot oil.
The beer does make the difference, we could really taste the hops of the IPA. I think that is something we'll play with again and test out some new brews to see what they offer :)
Friday, June 3, 2011
THE MEXICAN CHOCOLATE CAKE PART
(recipe from bakedbree.com, only differences are (1) I increased/eyeballed the cayenne from her 1/2 tsp (2) I used Hershey's cocoa powder, which seems lighter than what the original author used and (3) I did not use her recommended Cinnamon Mascarpone Frosting.)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbls balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbls vanilla extract
- Begin by preheating oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray two - 8" cake pans with Pam. Place a parchment paper disc in the bottom of each pan and spray again.
- Combine all dry ingredients and whisk.
- Add the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth and glossy.
- Pour into cake pans and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely.
THE CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING PART
(recipe from bridezillabakes.com. I doubled her recipe for this cake, which is indicated by the larger measurements below)
2x 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
6 tbls unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup confectioners sugar, plus more for mixing
2 tsp cinnamon
- Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy.
- Sift in confectioners sugar and cinnamon, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.
I also made this frosting the night before and just covered with plastic wrap and stored it in the fridge. An hour or so before I was going to use it, I pulled the frosting out and brought it to room temperature.
THE CHOCOLATE-GANACHE GLAZE PART
(recipe from martastewart.com I doubled her recipe for this cake, which is indicated by the larger measurements below)
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
12 oz chopped semisweet chocolate
2 tbls light corn syrup
- Bring cream to a boil in a medium sauce pan.
- Remove from heat, and add chocolate and corn syrup.
- Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Whisk until smooth.
- Transfer to a bowl, and let cool, stirring often.
- Use Immediately.
To read about my assembly methods for this gorgeous cake, please visit this post here.
GOOD LUCK & HAVE FUN!!!