Sunday, May 22, 2011

Grilled Pizza with Mixed Vegetables

We had the perfect late Spring day yesterday.  We only get a few days that are sunny and warm and perfect for being outside all day, after that it turns unbearably hot and humid.  We took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent all day outside at soccer games, baseball practice and doing yard work.  We finished the day by cooking out with some friends, which was the perfect ending to a great day.

We kept things simple by making grilled pizza.  We love doing make your own pizza and doing make your own pizza outside, on the grill is extra fun.  Grilled pizza is super easy and just like oven baked pizza the topping choices are endless.  The kids made their usual cheese pizza,  lots of sauce and just a little bit of cheese right in the middle.  For the adults we did a white pizza with a assorted grilled vegetables, this is another way of saying we used all of our leftover vegetables.

We have been fans of grilled pizza for a couple of years.  They are a great quick summer meal or as an appetizer at a cook-out.  Definitely give them a try this summer if you haven't done so already.

Grilled Vegetable Pizza

1 Eggplant
1 bunch Asparagus (thin stalks are best)
2 Portabella Mushrooms
1 Garlic Head Roasted
Fresh basil
Pepper flakes
1 recipe Pizza Dough
Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Preheat grill
Slice eggplant, about 1/4" thick, brush each slice with olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Place on grill and cook until soft.  Remove from grill, slice into strips and toss with olive oil, basil and pepper flakes
Brush mushrooms with olive oil, place on grill cook for about 5 minutes per side, until soft.  Once cooked cut into thin slices.
Toss asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place on grill, grill until soft, depending on size this may only take a few minutes.
Divide pizza dough into individual portions, thinly roll or stretch dough into an 8" circle (on any fun shape).  Brush with olive oil.  Brush grill with vegetable oil, then place pizza on grill.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from grill.  On cooked side drizzle lightly with olive oil, rub with roasted garlic gloves,  top with grilled vegetables, basil, pepper flakes, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.  Return to the grill and cook 3-5 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gross Sugar Cookies

Please don't let the name fool you.  These cookies are anything, but gross.  They are a wonderfully chewy sugar cookie and are the perfect simple cookie.  They are the cookie I go to when I want a quick basic cookie.  What made this particular batch gross was my children's behavior while making them.  
I thought this would be a good recipe for everyone to work on together.  The measurements are easy and can be easily broken down so everyone gets a turn to scoop and measure.  It all sounded good, but that is not the way it happened.  I had one who just wanted to eat the flour and the sugar and take out anything that was added to the bowl.  I had another who decided to take on the role of enforcer and ensure everyone was doing their share, and only their share and the last one was overly sensitive to everything and cried the entire time.  I told the kids their behavior was atrocious and the result would be gross cookies.  They looked at me stopped fighting, crying and eating odd food for 2 minutes then started it back up, at which point I kicked them out of the kitchen.  
When the cookies were done we had our required sample.  Will tried his cookie and told me they were really good cookies and the fighting didn't have any effect on them, it just effected me.  I didn't ask him, but I am pretty sure he was calling me gross. 

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies
(from Martha Stewart)

3 c. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 3/4 c. Granulated Sugar
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
1 Tbs. Grated Lemon Zest
1 Tbs. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 c. Butter, softened
2 Eggs

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cake Slice - Pound Cake

I am super late on this, but better late than never and I am glad I made it, as it is a very nice cake.  This month the chosen cake for the Cake Slice group was a Cold Oven Cream Cheese Cake.  It is a really nice pound cake, the cream cheese makes a very smooth and rich cake.  I didn't have lemons or ginger so I altered the flavor and used orange zest in place of the lemon.

I served the cake with roasted strawberries.  I recently discovered the blog Shutterbean and this wonderful recipe for roasted strawberries.  Roasting the strawberries makes them very juicy and incredibly flavorful.  I love the combination of strawberries and pound cake, they are a great combination of textures and roasting them really brings the combination up a notch.

As always the Cake Slice group produced lots of beautiful yummy looking cakes, so go check them out.

Cold Oven Cream Cheese Pound Cake
(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)

3 cups cake flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2½ cups sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1½ tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp grated lemon zest

Adjust the oven rack to the lower – middle position. Grease a 12 cup Bundt pan and dust with flour. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the butter, cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla, ginger and lemon zest.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, half a cup at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Then mix of 30 seconds on medium speed.
Spread the batter into the Bundt tin and place the cake in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 325F and bake, without opening the oven door, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 65 to 80 minutes.
Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert it onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Roasted Strawberries

1 pint Strawberries, hulled and halved
4 Tbs. Maple Syrup
2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbs. Olive Oil

Preheat oven 350
Mix maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and olive oil together.  Toss with strawberries.  Spread strawberries in a single layer on a baking sheet or pan.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.
Use immediately or store in refrigerator for 3-5 days.