Sunday, July 31, 2011

Grilled Pizza Margherita

Pizza is one of my go to recipes when I am lacking dinner inspiration. I keep supplies of Basic Pizza Dough and Basil Pesto in my freezer for such occasions. The day you plan to make pizza, transfer the dough and pesto to your refrigerator in the morning so they can thaw in time for dinner. Don't forget to take the dough out of the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to shaping. 

Grilled Pizza Margherita
original recipe by Eating Deliciously

Olive oil for oiling the grates and brushing the dough
All-purpose flour for dusting the cookie sheet or pizza peal
2-3 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced and patted dry
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat a gas grill to 500°F for 15 minutes. Once the grill is hot, dip a tightly folded up bunch of paper towels in olive oil and use tongs to oil the grill grates.

Transfer the pizza dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Shape the dough into a round. Note: you can prepare several pizza dough rounds and stack them separated by parchment paper. Store the dough rounds in the refrigerator for up to two hours before cooking.

Place a dough round on a lightly floured (rimless) cookie sheet or pizza peel. Slide the dough off the cookie sheet onto the hot grill grates. Close the lid of the grill and let cook for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, open the grill and check underneath the dough to see if it is getting browned. If it is on one side, but not another, use a spatula or tongs to rotate the dough and cook for another minute. If it is not brown, cover the grill and continue to cook a minute at a time until the bottom has begun to brown. The top of the pizza dough will start to bubble up with air pockets.

Once the pizza dough has browned on one side, use your cookie sheet or pizza peel to remove it from the grill. Flip the dough over so that the grilled side is up. Keep the grill covered to retain its heat.

Spread the grilled surface of the pizza with basil pesto. Layer the tomato slices then mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan. Go light on the toppings or the pizza will be heavy and soggy.

Slide the topped pizza back onto the grill and reduce the heat. Close the lid and cook for 2-4 minutes or until the bottom begins to char and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove the pizza using your cookie sheet or pizza peal and a spatula. Let rest for a few minutes before cutting into slices and serving.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Vegetable Tian

This is the time of year when gardens explode with fresh zucchini. Whether you grown your own or purchase them, gather yourself some zucchini and make this dish.

Vegetable Tian
recipe slightly adapted from Ina Garten

Extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled
1 pound zucchini
1 pound tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with olive oil.

In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in ¼ inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Serve warm.

Picture taken before baking and adding thyme and cheese.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chicken Skewers with Grilled Romaine

With the temperatures soaring over 90ºF for the last 7 days, I can't bear to add any more heat inside the house. The beauty of this meal is you can prepare it entirely on the grill. Don’t skip the grilled romaine lettuce. It only takes a couple of minutes to cook and the combination of wilted tops and bright crunchy bottoms are fantastic!

Chicken Skewers with Grilled Romaine
recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
¼ cup red wine vinegar, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 small shallot, minced or grated
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head romaine lettuce, quartered lengthwise
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat a grill to medium high. Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

Mix the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1 ¼ teaspoons salt in a large bowl. Drizzle the cut sides of each piece of romaine with about 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Reserve 2 tablespoons dressing in a small bowl.

Add the chicken to the bowl with the remaining dressing and toss to coat. Add the breadcrumbs and ¼ cup Parmesan and toss to coat evenly. Thread the chicken onto the skewers, leaving space between each piece.

Grill the chicken skewers, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill the romaine, turning once, until slightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the romaine to plates and drizzle with remaining dressing. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve the romaine with the chicken skewers and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Four Berry Crisp

I stumbled across this recipe looking for a dessert to incorporate the abundance of berries I had on hand. The crisp buttery topping is the perfect cover for the decadent and juicy berries that hide below. Serve warm with a scoop (or two) of rich velvety Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for an indulgent treat. Since I was making this for a party I opted to bake the crisp the night before and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 20 minutes until warm and bubbly.

Four Berry Crisp
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Fruit filling:
2-3 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries
½ orange, zested
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Crisp topping:
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
¾ cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
½ cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, diced
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream , for serving

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter the inside of an 8x8 inch baking dish.

For the fruit filling, place berries into a large bowl. Add the orange zest, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Toss well. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour. Pour the berries into the baking dish and gently smooth the top.

For the crisp topping, combine flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of the berries.

Bake for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

This custard based ice cream has a rich velvety texture that is perfect alone or with a variety of accompaniments. Good vanilla beans can be expensive and difficult to find. Mine tend to harden before I get the chance to use them so I often substitute vanilla bean paste in recipes that call for vanilla beans. Just add the paste to the saucepan with the milk and proceed with the recipe as directed.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
recipe adapted from Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
5 egg yolks
2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk with the tip of a paring knife. Add the bean pod to the milk.

Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla bean and put it back into the custard and cream to continue steeping. Chill thoroughly, then remove the vanilla bean and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spinach-Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

Stuffed tomatoes are one of my go to side dishes. They are easy to prepare with ingredients that I typically have on hand. This time cooked the tomatoes on the grill along with Grilled Ratatouille Salad. Simply prepare the tomatoes as directed and place them on a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil directly on the grill grates. Watch carefully so the tomatoes don't over cook (I cooked mine about 15 minutes and they started to fall apart).

Spinach-Stuffed Baked Tomatoes
recipe courtesy of Everyday Food Magazine

4 to 5 medium tomatoes
4 slices bacon
4 green onions, sliced (about ½ cup)
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 tablespoons seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Cut a ¼ inch thick slice from the stem end of each tomato.  Cut a thin slice from bottom of each tomato so that it stands upright.  Using a spoon, carefully scoop out core, seeds, and pulp, leaving up to a ½ inch thick shell; discard core, seeds, and pulp.  Place the tomatoes upside down on paper towels to drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.  Drain on paper towels, the crumble bacon; set aside.  Add green onions to reserved drippings; cook over medium heat about 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Stir in spinach, bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg, pepper, and crumbled bacon.  Spoon spinach mixture into the tomato shells. 

Place stuffed tomatoes in a shallow baking dish.  Cover and bake in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes.  Uncover; top with shredded Parmesan cheese.  Bake about 5 minutes more or until heated through.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Strawberries and Green Onions

Most of my recipe inspiration comes from magazines, books, or television. Sometimes I will be inspired by a dish that I enjoyed at someone's home or in a restaurant. This particular recipe comes from none of those places. I saw a post on Facebook about a month ago from one of my favorite bloggers Burp and Slurp. She accidentally confused an onion bagel for a blueberry bagel and slathered it with strawberry cream cheese. To some this may sound odd but to me it sounded like the makings of an interesting dinner.

Grilled Chicken with Strawberries and Green Onions
original recipe by Eating Deliciously

1 pint strawberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 bunch green onions
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Wash, hull and slice the strawberries into your desired size and shape. Put into a small bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Brush green onions lightly with olive oil and grill until lightly charred and cooked through turning once.  Remove from grill and cut into ¼ to ½ inch-sized pieces. Add to the bowl with the strawberries.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until cooked through.  The internal temperature in the center of the chicken should be 165°F. Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest 5 minutes.

To serve, place the chicken breast on a plate and top with the strawberry and onion mixture.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Slow Cooker Old-Fashioned Turkey Breast

I have to admit that I am not a fan of turkey. The worst is at Thanksgiving when everyone anxiously awaits the beloved main dish. Me, I pile my plate high with all the sides offered and often will indulge in a little extra dessert. At home I will occasionally cook turkey burgers or meatballs for my turkey loving husband but those times are few and far between. On a whim at the grocery store I picked up a boneless whole turkey breast figuring my husband could use the leftovers in sandwiches for lunch. After a little cookbook research I found this recipe for the slow cooker. I of course did not actually taste it but the turkey and gravy were a big hit with all those that did. 

Slow Cooker Old-Fashioned Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy
recipe slightly adapted Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

2 cups chicken broth
2 ¼ cups water, divided
2 ribs celery, cut into large pieces
1 medium onion, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon chicken grill seasoning
½ teaspoon kosher salt
5 to 6 pound boneless whole turkey breast, rinsed and patted dry
¼ cup instant flour, such as Wondra
3 tablespoons dry sherry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine broth, 2 cups of water, celery, onion, butter and seasonings in the slow cooker. Add the turkey, skin side down, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 170-180 degrees.

When turkey is done, transfer it to a platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

While the turkey rests, prepare the gravy. Strain the liquid left in the cooker through a fine mesh sieve; press to squeeze the juice from the vegetables and discard the vegetables. Skim the fat off the liquid with a spoon. Pour the liquid into a large skillet and bring to a boil over high heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining ¼ cup water, and the dry sherry until the flour dissolves. Pour the sherry mixture into the hot broth, stirring constantly until the gravy is thick and bubbly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the hot sliced turkey.

Picture taken before adding the gravy
Please feel free to leave me your tastiest turkey recipes below in the comments.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grilled Ratatouille Salad

It has been so hot the last few days that the last thing I feel like doing is turning on the oven. My stomach had other plans and requested ratatouille for dinner. (It may or may not have something to do with watching a certain Disney movie by the same name.) Lucky for me I stumbled across this recipe that didn't require heating up the house since the vegetables are prepared on the grill. I served this with my favorite Spinach-Stuffed Tomatoes and grilled sourdough baguette.

Grilled Ratatouille Salad
recipe slightly adapted from Vegetarian Times

¾ cup balsamic vinegar, optional
1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise into ½-inch pieces
3 large red bell peppers, cut into quarters
3 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
1 medium bunch broccolini
1 medium red onion, sliced into ½-inch rings
Olive oil or vegetable oil, for brushing vegetables
¼ cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup basil, chopped
¼ cup pine nuts

If using, put vinegar in small saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 12 minutes or until vinegar becomes syrup-like and reduces to ¼ cup. Set aside.

Place eggplant, peppers, zucchini, broccolini and onion in large bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate overnight. Pour off any liquid that accumulates.

Heat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush vegetables lightly with olive oil. Place cut side down on grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Cool slightly, and chop into bite-sized pieces. Toss with parsley, basil, and pine nuts Drizzle with balsamic syrup, if desired. Serve warm or chilled.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grilled Guacamole

Guacamole is an avocado-based dip that originated in Mexico. It is perfect for parties and tastes delicious. Guacamole is traditionally made by mashing ripe avocados with a mortar and pestle called a molcajete. This recipe is a little more involved but I promise the results are worth it!

Note: If you try to make guacamole with an unripe avocado, both the texture and the taste will suffer. Ripe avocados will yield to gentle pressure but are not soft or mushy.

Grilled Guacamole
recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod originally adapted from The Kitchn

4 ripe avocados, cut in half, pit removed, left in skin
1 jalapeno
¼ large red onion
Olive oil, for brushing
Juice of 1 large lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Tortilla chips, for serving

Heat the grill to medium heat. Lightly brush the jalapeno, red onion, and each avocado half with olive oil.

Place the jalapeno, red onion, and avocado halves flesh side down on the grill. Grill for about 5-7 minutes or until the avocados have black grill marks. Remove the vegetables from the grill and let them cool to room temperature.

Dice the red onion and jalapeno (seeded for less heat). Scoop out the avocado flesh and place in a medium bowl. Smash the avocados with a fork and stir in the lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, red onion, tomatoes, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

I've been eating a lot of fruit salad lately and needed something different to use up the blueberries languishing in the back of my refrigerator. 

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes
recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman

1 ½ cups plus 1 tablespoon cake flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ cups evaporated milk, more if needed
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 pint blueberries
Softened butter, for serving
Maple syrup, for serving

Preheat heavy skillet or griddle over medium low heat.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the evaporated milk plus the juice and zest of 1 lemon. Allow to sit for five minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and melted butter and whisk to combine.

Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine. Gently stir in blueberries. You can add an extra splash of evaporated milk if your mixture is overly thick. 

Melt butter in preheated skillet or griddle. Drop batter by ¼ cup measures and cook pancakes on both sides until golden. Serve with softened butter and warm syrup.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chicken Scallopine with Saffron Cream Sauce

Whenever my sister is in town for a visit we try to make a stop at our favorite restaurant. Without fail we always order the same thing, the Lobster and Shrimp Fettuccine ala Crème. It is an indulgent and flavorful dish of tomato basil fettuccine in a rich saffron cream sauce with diced tomatoes and tender morsels of lobster and shrimp. In preparation for my attempt to recreate this pasta, I have been experimenting with different dishes containing saffron. This chicken scallopine was rich and delicious start.

Chicken Scallopine with Saffron Cream Sauce
recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound chicken cutlets (scallopine)
2 shallots, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
1 ½ cups chicken broth
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
½ cup heavy cream
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until golden and cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to serving plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallot and the garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is almost evaporated. 

Add the chicken broth and saffron threads, bring to a simmer and reduce for 10 minutes. Add the cream, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and simmer for 1 minute to allow the flavors to blend.

Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella

This salad is perfect for those hot summer nights. The recipe will serve 2 as a light main course or 4 as a side dish. If you are serving less people, do not toss all of the bread with the vinaigrette. Store the bread separately from the rest of the salad and add right before you plan to serve.

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella
recipe adapted from Pink Parsley originally adapted from Cuisine Tonight: Grilling

For the vinaigrette:
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:
1 Italian baguette, cut into ½-inch thick slices
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
¼ cup sliced red onion
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, cut in half
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Add the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Lightly brush the baguette slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the asparagus and onion lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill bread 1-2 minutes per side, until crisp and golden. Remove from grill and rub with the cut garlic clove. Set aside.

Grill asparagus and onion until lightly charred and cooked through turning once.  Remove from grill and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Dice the baguette slices into cubes and combine with the grilled vegetables, tomatoes, pine nuts, and basil. Toss with the vinaigrette (you may not need all of it -just add a little at a time until you're happy with the amount). Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Divide evenly among plates and sprinkle with the gorgonzola. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sautéed Pork Chops with Sherry-Berry Pan Gravy

My default procedure for making pork chops is breading them and baking in the oven. This is the way I ate pork chops as a child and it brings back fond memories.  However sometimes I need something a little different that is just as easy to prepare as my regular breaded pork chops. To round out the meal, I sautéed baby spinach in a little olive oil and made Garlic Roasted Cauliflower.

Sautéed Pork Chops with Sherry-Berry Pan Gravy
recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
4  boneless, center cut pork loin chops
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup sherry
½ cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons strawberry, blackberry or raspberry all-fruit preserves

Place a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil smokes or ripples, add chops, season with salt and pepper and cook 6 minutes on each side. Remove the chops and keep warm under foil tent while the meat rests.

Add pan, when it melts add the flour and cook a minute then whisk in sherry and reduce 30 seconds then whisk in stock then preserves. Season the gravy with a little black pepper. Serve chops with gravy ladled over.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes with Hazelnut Whipped Cream

These chocolate lava cakes have a deliciously warm liquid center. The individual cakes are simple to make and impressive to serve. You can mix up the batter up to eight hours before you plan to serve the cakes. Simply fill the ramekins with batter and refrigerate. Remove the ramekins as you sit down to your first course to allow the batter to come to room temperature before baking.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
recipe courtesy of brandielle via Tasty Kitchen

4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate
½ cup butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray 4 ramekins with cooking spray and place on cookie sheet.

Microwave chocolate and butter in medium bowl on high for about 1 minute, until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is also melted. Stir in confectioners’ sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.

Divide between the ramekins. Bake 13-14 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. Let stand 1 minute. Invert the ramekins on individual dessert plates and top with Hazelnut Whipped Cream.

Hazelnut Whipped Cream
original recipe by Eating Deliciously

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Frangelico liqueur

In a large bowl, beat the cream until thick. Add the sugar and Frangelico. Continue to beat until cream holds stiff peaks.