Browsing articles by " amanda"

Sweet Potato, Smoked Mozzarella + Kale Grilled Pizza

Things have been kind of wacky around here lately. Wacky as in it’s March 20th and the temperature is supposed to reach 80 degrees today…and tomorrow…and the next day! We’ve been experiencing out of the ordinary weather all winter, but in the last week things suddenly changed from slightly warmer and dryer than average to weather that here in Vermont doesn’t usually happen until June- if we’re lucky. This past Sunday a record was broken in Burlington for the highest temperature ever recorded- 79 degrees. The previous record was 66 degrees. That’s 13 degrees warmer! (yes, I know you can do math but I just had to point out the enormous jump in temps) Chances are that these beautiful summer days in the middle of March won’t last much longer. Next week the temperatures will probably drop back down to normal, and in all likelihood it will snow at least one more time before winter is truly over. For now though, there’s nothing to do but enjoy the gift that we’ve been given. Spending time sitting on the porch, raking the yard, walking the dog in a t-shirt, sleeping with the window open, breaking out my flip flops and of course, one of my favorite summer activities…grilling!TAW97608
I like to grill everything, and I do. Meats, vegetables, shish kabobs, sandwiches, pizzas…you name it and I will grill it. I know, I know, a women (gasp) who like to grill. For some strange reason grilling is often considered a man’s job. Does anyone else think this is weird, and kind of wrong? There are men who couldn’t make a pot of pasta to save their lives yet give them a slab of meat and a hot grill and they will  cook it up like they’re the head chef at a 5 star restaurant. And there are women who can whip up anything in the kitchen but wouldn’t dream of firing up the grill. What’s up with that? If I’m being honest it’s the latter that annoys me the most. What are you too lady-like for the grill? Is it too dirty for you? Are you scared of the fire? I just don’t get it. I’m proud to admit that in this household my husband it secure enough in his manliness to leave the grilling to me. And I in turn am confident enough in my feminine side to know I can use the grill, and use it well. So come on ladies, it’s time to get grilling!

On to the recipe. The key to a successful grilled pizza is having all the ingredients ready to go before you even turn the grill on. This of course includes the dough if you are making it yourself, but also any toppings that may need to be cooked.
Grilled pizza happens very fast and the topping are really only on the grill long enough to melt the cheese so anything you don’t want to eat raw needs a quick cook before hand. For this pizza I went with a kind of wintery mix of sweet potatoes, onions, kale and a smoky fresh mozzarella. This is my nod to the fact that it still is only March and things like fresh tomatoes and basil are still very far away from being in season. The sweet potatoes and onions are tossed with a little olive oil, salt and fresh pepper before they are briefly roasted in the oven. If you have a good grill basket you can do this step on the grill. I chose not to because I wanted the potatoes sliced thin and I have a bad habit of burning them on the grill when they are cut this thin. TAW97565
Another tip for grilled pizza is to keep it small. Don’t try to make a huge pizza that takes up the entire grill because when it comes time to flip it things will get tricky real fast. Also, you want one side of the grill searing hot so you can achieve a crispy grilled crust and the other side low heat for melting the cheese. If your pizza is too big you won’t be able to slide the cooked crust over to the cool side for cheese melting. The result will be a burnt crust and cold cheese. If you can’t tell, this has happened to me more than once. Now I always make two small pizzas and cook the second crust while the first one is on the cheese melting side. Oh, one last tip- grilled pizza doesn’t have to be round. The best shape is the one that fits your grill best. For me that is a kind of rectangular oval with wavy edges. Here is small pizza number one. Se how the crust is starting to bubble in the middle- yummm!TAW97605
And here it is flipped over and cooking on the second side. Look at those beautiful grill marks.TAW97607
Now I slide it over to the cool side and load up the toppings, close the lid to let the cheese melt.TAW97609
The finished product. Crisp crust, melted smoky cheese, roasted sweets and onions, and crunchy kale with just a sprinkle of fresh rosemary. Now this is how a real woman uses a grill.TAW97631

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Honey Sweetened Meyer Lemon Tarts

Meyer Lemon Tarts
I wish I had a scratch and sniff computer…actually I wish you had a scratch and sniff computer. That way you could be as enchanted by the floral aroma of these wonderful little Meyer lemons as I am. These lemons are so fragrant that even before I zested the peels, sliced them open and squeezed out the juice a honey tinged, fresh lemon scent was wafting around my kitchen. I first used Meyer lemons about a month ago when I made Carrot Muffins with Meyer Lemon Glaze. They were good…in fact they were eat two in a row good. The moist carrot muffins studded with lemon zest and drizzled with a thin honey lemon glaze were perfect for my first experiment with these special, slightly sweet lemons. This time though when I brought home a bag filled with the egg yolk colored little cuties I knew I wanted to make something that really let the lemon flavor shine. I wanted a bust of pure lemon flavor in every bite. I wanted to make a recipe that used LOTS of lemon juice…
and lots of lemon zest. So naturally I turned to lemon curd. Curd is all over the Internet these days (could someone please  come up with a better name for it than curd) – lemon curd, blood orange curd, grapefruit curd, key lime curd- you name the citrus and someone has made a curd out of it.
For a long time lemon meringue pie was one of my favorite desserts which means that I’ve made quite a bit of lemon curd in my life time. Never with Meyer lemons though. And never with honey! I spotted this recipe over on the Cookie + Kate blog where she made both a blood orange and a Meyer lemon curd sweetened with honey instead of white sugar. Since I loved the honey and lemon glaze that I made for  my carrot muffins I was eager to try it. It was totally the right choice. The honey adds just a touch of sweet to the floral-scented Meyer lemons and the result is a slightly sweet yet wonderfully tangy smooth curd. The other tip that I picked up from Kate was how to make lemon curd with no straining and no risk of cooked egg bites tarnishing the final product. Basically the idea is to cream the butter and honey like you would if making a cake, then incorporate the eggs and juice before cooking. It worked really well and will defiantly be the method I turn to from now on when making any kind of curd.
For the tart crust I decided on a sweet buttery shortbread type with lots of ground almonds. I love the nutty flavor that the almonds lend to the dough and they also provide a bit of crispy texture that compliments the silky smooth curd perfectly. 
I made mini tarts and blind baked them filled with pie weights. If you don’t have pie weights you can use dried beans but be sure not to skip this step altogether. If you try to bake the tart crust without weights the dough will bubble up in the middle leaving no room for the delicious lemon curd. Believe me, I’m telling you this from experience.
Here they are fresh out of the oven. Almost good enough to eat even with out the lemon curd.
And here they are filled with sweet and tangy lemon curd and topped with fresh whipped cream.Meyer Lemon Tarts

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Poppy Seed Everything Rolls

Poppy Seed Everything Rolls
Last week I experienced a sort of bread mania. It all started with our trip to Trader Joe’s and a loaf of their incredible Multi-Grain Seed Bread. I buy this bread every time I go to Trader Joe’s- which unfortunately is not very often because the closest one to where I live is 150 miles away! Come on Trader Joe’s, get with it. Us country folks like good food too. I’m not saying that we don’t have some wonderful local bakeries around here, because we do. Lots of them in fact, but none that make this particular bread. Loaded with poppy seeds and topped with a mixture of various seeds like sunflower and flax, this bread is flavorful, crunchy and very addictive. We consumed the entire loaf in oh, about 2 days and even then I couldn’t stop thinking about the poppy seed laced dough with the crispy topping (maybe it’s good we don’t have a TJs close by). Then a thought popped in my head…I’ll make my own. But I will make it whole wheat instead of multi-grain, and I will form the dough into rolls, and I will tie the rolls into a knot shape, and I will sprinkle them with a crunchy super flavorful everything bagel topping, and I will eat them all!. Yes, this is really how my mind works. I progressed from whole wheat to knot shapes to a salty garlic tinged topping all in one delicious burst of inspiration. Poppy Seed Everything Rolls
The result? A hearty, chewy roll flecked with tiny poppy seeds and topped with a satisfying crunchy and super flavorful mix of garlic, onion, salt and more seeds.  Not a replica of the coveted Trader Joe’s bread, but a pretty satisfying stand in. Now if I could just figure out how to make a version of their Veggie and Flax Seed Tortilla Chips…Poppy Seed Everything Rolls

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