Thursday, June 28, 2012

A new mouth to feed

That's right! Now that we've got the house, the backyard and the dog door, we've got a new member of the family - a puppy named Benji! He's a border collie (with a bit of blue heeler we think), currently at 13 weeks and 35 pounds. 

I'm still cooking but didn't have any inspiring recipes to share, so instead I'm sharing a few choice shots of Benji :)
Benji loves his stuffed animals!

And de-stuffing them too!

He was a brave pup at the vet

King of the backyard!
My question to you: What do you feed your dog? What are his favorite treats? Any homemade doggie treat recipes you can share?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mama Mia! Grilled Pizza!

Grilled pizza - it seems like each summer, every food magazine I read has a story or recipe for grilled pizza. I'm not sure why, but until now, I was too chicken to try. What if the dough fell through the grates? If I used a pizza stone, what if I messed up picking it up and broke it? Now that Luke and I have our fancy new house with our fancy new backyard and fancy new charcoal grill, I ran out of excuses - and I'm SO glad I did. This was not only simple, but infinitely better than any of the oven-baked pizzas I've done over the years.

Grilled pizza

1 bell pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced in thick rings
1 pound whole wheat pizza dough (got mine from the Whole Foods Market pizza guys)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for coating pan
2 tablespoons fig jam
1 large, ripe tomato, cut into slices
1 ball fresh mozzarella, chopped
3 ounces pancetta
8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper

Heat charcoals. Meanwhile, section bell pepper into quarters and cut red onion into rings. Once grill is hot, grill vegetables until beginning to blacken, about 4-5 minutes.Remove from the grill and cut both into smaller bite-sized pieces.

divide pizza dough into 2 balls. Oil a large, rimless baking sheet well, then press out dough as thin as possible (about 1/2 inch). Place dough directly on the grill grates and close the lid, let cook about 2 minutes or until bottom is starting to get good grill markets. Flip over using a large spatula or the baking sheet. Spread olive oil on one crust and fig jam on the other. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over both crusts, then top with sliced tomato, bell pepper and onion.Close grill and let cook another 2-3 minutes, until bottom crust is browned and cheese is melting.

Quickly crisp pancetta in a skillet and chop, then sprinkle over pizza with basil. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then enjoy!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Easy Breezy Breakfast

My sister and her husband came to stay this last weekend, and they brought my 2 favorite nephews - their dogs Cooper and Bear! I knew we had a fun weekend ahead of eating, drinking and playing with dogs, so I wanted to have an easy option for breakfast while still making it special so they would enjoy their first trip visiting us in our new house.

The menu:
  • Blueberry and almond scones from Everyday Food magazine (I liked these, but they weren't my favorite scone, a bit too soft for my taste. But, I loved the abundance of blueberries and crunch of almonds in them!) (prepare these the evening before and then pop in the toaster oven just before serving to warm)
  • Fresh grapes
  • Yogurt jars

 Yogurt jars

4 ounces honey yogurt (or buy plain yogurt and stir in 1 tablespoon honey)
2 ounces raspberry jam
4 ounces granola

Using 4-ounce mason jars or bowls, place 1 oz yogurt in the bottom of each dish, taking care to smooth out for an even surface.Next, layer in 1/2 ounce (about 1 spoonful) on top of the yogurt, evenly distributing. Finally, top with yogurt. 

The yogurt jars were our favorite part of the breakfast, so next time I might try doing 6 or 8 oz servings instead since we all gobbled ours up!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pork Chops with Peach Salsa and Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Peach season is here! Peach season is here! For some reason, this year more than others, Luke and I are FREAKING OUT about peaches and down several of the small, ripe, juicy ones in a day. This lunch was so fresh and satisfying, we were literally licking our plates (I'm not embarrassed to admit it!).

Pork Chops with Peach Salsa
1 3/4-inch thick, bone-in pork chops
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large or 3 small peaches, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 lime, squeezed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Season pork chops with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet and cook pork chops 3-4 minutes per side or until they reach your desired level of doneness.

Meanwhile, add chopped peaches, jalapeno, shallot, lime juice and cilantro to a bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle in 1 tablespoon olive oil - add more oil if desired.  When pork chops are done, top with salsa and enjoy!

2 zucchini, washed and ends trimmed
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmigiano Reggiano, optional

Stand the zucchini up and, using a vegetable peeler, peel it into long ribbons. Rotate 90 degrees and proceed to do it with all four sides of the zucchini and discard the center seedy section.

In a large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Add zucchini ribbons and toss thoroughly to combine.  If desired, top with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.