Saturday, August 29, 2009

Grilled summer pizza

We make grilled pizza A LOT because it’s yummy and easy and we’re lazy. (Hey now, don’t judge us. We’re sharing our cooking secrets.) We generally use store-bought dough, but if you want to make your own, knock yourself out. (We’ve made our own a couple times and it wasn’t any better than the stuff we bought.)

FYI: This pizza was mostly local. The squash and zucchini came from our CSA, the cherry tomatoes came from the plants on our deck and the dough was made just down the road in Yarmouth.

1 ball of pizza dough

cherry tomatoes, halved

tomato sauce

1-2 summer squash, halved length-wise

1-2 zucchini halved length-wise

Garlic powder, basil, oregano, Italian spices

mozzarella (about 1 cup)

½ cup or so of shredded parmesan

*Okay, you may have noticed that we’re pretty lax about the quantities of stuff. That’s intentional. You’ll need enough tomato sauce to cover the dough and enough cheese to make the pizza as cheesy as you like it. Also, we tend to load our pizzas up with veggies, piling them onto the dough until they start falling off. If vegetable-piling isn’t your style, don’t worry about it. Just pile ‘em on until it suits you.

1. Make sure to take the dough out of the fridge at least an hour before making dinner since that will make it easier to roll out.

2. Roll out dough into one or two large (and in our case, often misshapen) circles on a lightly floured surface. (We make two medium-sized pizzas rather than one large one because it’s easier to manage on our grill.)

3. Cook the pizza dough on an oiled, medium-hot grill for 3 to 4 minutes with the top down – the bottoms should have grill marks but not be burned, the tops will still look raw and slightly puffy.

4. Remove the dough from the grill and place on a suitable surface, grill marks facing up.

5. Top the grilled side of the dough with tomato sauce, spreading the sauce out to within a half-inch of the edge.

6. If you’d like, sprinkle the sauced pizza with garlic powder, fresh chopped basil, dried oregano or Italian seasoning to taste.

7. Grill zucchini and squash until tender and grill-marked. Slice and pile on the pizza.

8. Spread tomatoes evenly across the pizza.

9. Top with mozzerella, then sprinkle with parmesan.

10. Re-oil the grill. Place the pizza(s) on the medium-hot grill. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes with the top down, until the cheese has melted, but before the bottom burns. (After about 4 minutes, check on the bottom every minute or so because it can go from just-right to burnt pretty quickly.)

11. Remove from the grill, slice it into squares, wedges or map pieces (whatever floats your boat) and serve!

Kelsey’s been trying to eliminate wheat from her diet in order to improve her asthma (it seems to be working) so we’ve switched to products like pizza dough and bagels that use spelt flour (another species of grain; for more info click here) instead of all purpose wheat flour. Don’t worry. Pete still gets plenty of wheat from the bread in his daily PB&Js.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The In-Law Dinner

Our parents are always terrified that we’re going to feed them tofu. Ha! We gave up on that ages ago. Now, we try to give them something they recognize—but it can’t be too boring and it can’t take forever. This recipe (that we’ve only slightly adapted) from Everyday with Rachael Ray fits the bill. According to Rach, it’s a 30-minute meal. That’s about how long it takes the two of us to make it. It might take a little longer if you’re working alone.

4 boneless skinless chicken cutlets (basically thin chicken breasts)

2/3 cup cornmeal or instant polenta

¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese

flour, for dredging

1 egg

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 package (12 ounces) gnocchi

2 tbsp butter

one 15 oz can of butter beans, rinsed

2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves chopped

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

2 (or more) cups arugula

juice of 1 large lemon

1. Start boiling water for the gnocchi.

2. Set up your breading station: Combine cornmeal (or instant polenta) and HALF of the cheese on a plate. Fill another plate with flour. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg with a splash of water.

3. Coat the chicken in flour, then egg, then the cornmeal (or polenta) mixture.

4. Add 1 tbsp EVOO to a large skillet (make sure it covers the whole pan). Heat EVOO over medium-high heat. Add 2 chicken cutlets. Cook the chicken until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes per side (the second side often cooks quicker so watch out). Set aside. Repeat the chicken-cooking procedure with one more tbsp of EVOO and the other 2 cutlets.

5. Add gnocchi to boiling water. Watch ‘em. When they float, remove them with a slotted spoon.

6. Once all the little gnocchi have surfaced (and been moved to a bowl), dump the pasta water. Add the butter to the pasta pot. Melt the butter over low heat and stir in the butter beans and rosemary. Add gnocchi and remaining parmesan. Stir.

7. Toss the arugula and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add lemon juice. Toss again.

8. Plate the chicken and gnocchi and plop the arugula mixture right on top of the chicken (seriously).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stuffed Portobellos

“Odio gli funghi” is one of my favorite Italian phrases. It means, “I hate mushrooms.” It’s only partially true. I hate all mushrooms EXCEPT portobellos. Maybe it’s a texture thing or perhaps it’s because portobellos are often stuffed with deliciousness. Va bene. These stuffed portobellos are delicious. We planned to grill them, but thunderstorms thwarted our plans.

2 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed (use a spoon to scoop out the gills and a knife to cut out the stem)

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

1 yellow pepper

2 plum tomatoes, diced

2 cups fresh spinach

mozzerella cheese

parmesan cheese

Italian seasoning

1. Set oven to broil. Cut yellow pepper in half. Spray baking sheet with olive oil and place pepper cut side down on baking sheet. Place baking sheet on the top rack of the oven (about 3 inches from the heat source).

2. Roast the pepper halves for about 5 minutes, until skin is charred. Remove pepper from oven and place in a saucepan with a lid.

3. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, remove from saucepan. Peel off the charred skin (don’t stress about getting it all off) and dice the pepper.

4. Preheat oven to 375°.

5. Brush mushrooms with balsamic vinegar, making sure you get at least a teaspoonful in the cap so it soaks down into the meat of the ‘shroom. (If grilling, brush with a mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.)

6. Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in skillet. Add onions and garlic. Cook until tender (1-2 minutes). Add peppers and cook until tender. Add tomatoes and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted.

7. Stuff/pile the filling into the cap of the upside-down mushrooms.

8. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, mozzerella and parmigiano.

9. Place mushrooms on a baking sheet (or on the grill, carefully) and bake (or grill, with the lid down) for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese melts.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sesame-Maple Roasted Tofu with Grilled Corn on the Cob

We eat a lot of tofu and this recipe (from Eating Well) is one of our faves. It calls for sugar snap peas, but those have a short season in Maine so we’ve used green beans every time we’ve made this. Asparagus might work well too.

Extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into cubes

1 medium red onion, sliced

2 tsp olive oil

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp cider vinegar

3 cups sugar snap peas or green beans

1 tbsp (or so) sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Toss tofu, onion, olive oil and sesame oil together in a large bowl. Mix well.

3. Spread the mixture on a large baking sheet (with edges) and roast until the tofu is slightly golden on top and the onions are brown in spots, about 15-20 minutes.

4. Whisk tahini, soy sauce, maple syrup and cider vinegar together in a small dish.

5. Remove tofu from the oven. Add snap peas (or green beans) to the baking sheet and drizzle with the maple sauce. Stir to make sure the sauce covers everything. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

6. Return to oven and continue roasting for 8-10 minutes.

We often serve this with brown rice, but since local corn was in season we chose grilled corn instead.

To grill corn on the cob:

1. Trim the silk at the top of the husk, but DO NOT SHUCK!

2. Soak ears in water, preferably submerged, for an hour or more.

3. Place the corn on a hot grill and close the lid.

4. Cook for 20-30 minutes, rotating the corn every 10 minutes to ensure even grilling.

5. Now, SHUCK IT!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Grilled Greek Chicken

This recipe was inspired by my friend Erin (of Married to a Non-Foodie). We changed a few things—okay, a lot of things. We omitted the capers because we are both very strongly opposed to capers. We increased the amount of raisins, used red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice and—because it was a really hot night—we grilled the chicken instead of sautéing it. It was delicious, but if you’re a caper-lover (or just want to see the original recipe) check out Erin’s blog.

2-4 chicken breasts

dried oregano

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth

¾ cup golden raisins

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

½ cup feta

1. Combine chicken breasts, olive oil and oregano in a ziplock bag. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

2. Grill chicken on a hot grill for about 5 minutes a side, flipping once. (Or, if you're a seasoned griller, grill the chicken the way you like it.)

3. In a large skillet (one with edges), sauté onions and garlic for about 2 minutes.

4. Stir in chicken broth, raisins and red wine vinegar. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

5. Simmer sauce for 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Add feta to sauce. Mix well.

7. Top the chicken with the sauce and serve.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Angels' Balls

These delicious little balls* won the Grand Prize in Eating Well Magazine’s 2008 cookie contest. (They’re officially known as “Angel Delights,” but Pete calls them Angels’ Balls.)

¼ cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 ½ cup (8 ounces) pitted dates, chopped [You’ll find these sold in slab form. Don’t buy bite-size dried dates—they’ve already got sugar added and, even if you mess with the sugar ratio in this recipe, the mixture will never get sticky enough to stay in a ball.]

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups Rice Krispies (or the generic equivalent)

1 cup shredded coconut

1. Combine butter, sugar and dates in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the butter is melted and the mixture resembles a paste. Remove from heat.

2. Add vanilla, Rice Krispies and coconut. Combine.

3. Let it cool.

4. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, roll it into balls. Place the balls on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled.

*This makes us think of a certain Saturday Night Live skit. Just in case you also find yourself in need of a Schweddy Ball fix, here ya go: NPRs Delicious Dish Schweddy Balls

Friday, August 14, 2009

Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers

The marvelous recipe creators at SELF had a brilliant idea: mix a whole bunch of vegetables and couscous and feta together and stuff it all in a pepper. Of course, all that yumminess falls out of the pepper as soon as you try to eat it, but it makes for a fabulous presentation.

Here’s our version of the recipe. As usual, we’ve omitted some things—like salt and fennel—and exchanged the protein-rich and, according to one of us, “icky” chick peas for tofu.

1 ¼ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
⅔ cup couscous (dry)
4 large red, orange and/or yellow bell peppers
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil (or as much as you need)
½ cup chopped yellow onion
1 medium sized zucchini, sliced into thin half-circles
1 medium-sized yellow squash, also sliced into thin half-circles
½ tsp dried oregano
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (~4 ounces)
1 package of extra-firm tofu, drained, dried and cubed

1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. Bring the 1 ¼ cup of broth to a boil in a saucepan, add the couscous, cover the pan and remove it from the heat.
3. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds and membranes.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the peppers and boil for 5 minutes. (Try to make the peppers submerge as much as possible.) Remove the peppers from the water and let them drain upside down.
5. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet (we use a large electric skillet because it holds more) and add the tofu, onion, zucchini, yellow squash and oregano.
6. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften and the tofu starts to brown. It should take a little over 5 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and add the tomatoes.
8. Fluff the couscous with a fork and add it to the vegetable/tofu mixture. Add the feta to the mixture and mix well.
9. Spray a baking dish with olive oil.
10. Place peppers upright in the baking dish and stuff them with as much of the couscous mixture as you can. Leave the overflow couscous in the skillet over low heat.12. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes and serve immediately with the overflow couscous.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fruit Pizza

Here’s a totally easy, totally delicious, healthy-ISH (note the emphasis on the “ish”) dessert.

For the crust:

We used a tube of ready-to-bake sugar cookie dough, but that’s just one option. You could use pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough or make your own dough. Just roll the dough out to pizza size and bake (at the temperature specified in your cookie recipe) until it’s done, which will probably be about 5 minutes longer than the time required to make normal size cookies.

For the sauce:

We made a cream cheese frosting.

12 ounces low fat or fat-free cream cheese at room temperature

½ cup sifted confectioner’s sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

For the topping:

You can use any fruit you want. We had just been strawberry-picking so we used strawberries and a couple kiwis. You could also use raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, peaches, star fruit…any kind of fruit would be delicious. (I do have reservations about melon, though.)

To assemble:

Spread frosting on the giant cookie and load it up with fruit.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Butternut Squash Lasagna

We make a lot of lasagna. It takes a wee bit longer than our regular dinners, but we always get at least two dinners and a lunch out of a single lasagna. And that means we get at least one night of not having to cook…and that’s kind of awesome. This recipe is adapted from Care2.

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp maple syrup

¾ cup golden raisins

¾ cup pine nuts

1 tsp. minced garlic

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

5 Tbsp. flour

5 cups skim milk

8 ounces shredded mozzerella

¾ cup grated parmesan

12 lasagna noodles

1. Toast pine nuts for 3 minutes in 350° oven.

2. Preheat oven to 400°.

3. In a large bowl, combine squash, olive oil and maple syrup. Spread on baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or so. (Squash should be tender and lightly browned.)

4. Turn oven down to 350°.

5. In a large bowl, toss squash with raisins and toasted pine nuts.

6. In a 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook—keep whisking—for 3 minutes or until it becomes un-whiskable.

7. Add milk in a stream—don’t stop whisking—then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. (While it’s simmering, feel free to whisk at your leisure.) Remove from heat.

8. Mix cheeses together in a medium bowl.

9. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with olive oil. Spread 2/3 cup of the sauce (that’s the milk mixture) in the bottom of the dish. Add lasagna noodles. Cover with another 2/3 cup sauce, then add half of the butternut squash mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Add another layer of noodles, 2/3 cup sauce, the rest of the butternut squash mixture and another sprinkle of cheese. Add the final noodle layer, cover with the remaining sauce* and the rest of the cheese.

10. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes (until the top is golden and bubbling). Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

*The amount of sauce you’ll have left depends on how much it reduced while simmering. Use your judgment—you need the sauce to make sure the no-boil noodles cook, but you don’t want the lasagna to be excessively gloppy. Basically, if you feel like the lasagna will be swimming in slop if you pour all of the remaining sauce in, don’t do it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Orange Salmon

This is a super-easy, absolutely delicious recipe from a friend of my mom’s (with a few little tweaks). We served it with brown rice and grilled asparagus.

1 big ol’ WILD salmon fillet

olive oil

2 cups fresh orange juice

fresh ginger, sliced

1 orange

1. Preheat oven to 400°

2. In a heavy saucepan, heat 2 cups orange juice over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Once it starts to thicken, add several (4 or 5) slices of fresh ginger, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until it just becomes syrupy. (If you let it simmer too long you won’t have enough to pour over the fish.)

3. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Season—or drizzle, sprinkle or rub—salmon with olive oil.

5. Place salmon in baking dish. Cover fish with thin slices of orange. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

6. Pour orange juice reduction over fish and serve.

***Wild salmon is healthier for people and the planet. Learn more here.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Toasted Pecans and Goat Cheese

We always laugh at salad recipes, since they pretty much all include just throwing all of the ingredients into a bowl, tossing them together and then eating. This one's not much different.

a bunch of baby Spinach

a handful of strawberries, sliced

½ cup pecans

¼ cup dried cranberries

2 Tbsp goat cheese*

1. In a dry (no oil), non-stick frying pan, heat pecans over medium heat until fragrant (4 minutes or so).

2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

3. Toss with dressing (see below).

4. Enjoy!

* Goat cheese is a great choice for anyone counting calories or the fat content of their food. It is low in saturated fats, and it's got way less lactose than other cheeses, so it's easier on the digestive system for lactose-intolerant folks.

Pete’s balsamic vinaigrette dressing

½ cup Extra-virgin Olive Oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp maple syrup

1. Combine ingredients in a salad dressing container and mix vigorously (we use a latte whip to make sure it gets nice and homogeneous).

2. Cover and store in the fridge when not in use.

3. Allow to come to room temperature and remix the next time you need it.

Taste the dressing and adjust the ingredients as you see fit. Many vinaigrette recipes are based on 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, but we like ours a little less oily. And with a higher quality balsamic, you can probably afford to cut back on the syrup.

Tofu Mojito

This is our adaptation of a Women’s Health recipe called “Chicken Mojito with Mint and Lime over Couscous.” We exchanged the chicken for tofu—it’s cheaper and, quite frankly, tastier—omitted the rum and the salt and pepper and added a lot more juice.

1 cup quinoa

1 bunch asparagus (about 24 spears)

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp olive oil

½ cup chopped red onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

1 package extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cubed

½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 tsp (or more) finely grated lime zest

juice from 2-4 limes

¼ cup chopped fresh mint

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.

2. Arrange asparagus (washed and trimmed,* of course) on a plate. Spray with olive oil, then sprinkle with garlic powder.

3. Heat grill (or grill pan) to high. Grill asparagus until grill marks appear, turning halfway through, about 5 minutes. (IF you don’t have a grill or a grill pan, we highly recommend you get one, but don’t fret. You can roast the asparagus instead: Preheat oven to 400°. Spread asparagus on a baking sheet. Prep with olive oil spray and garlic powder, then roast for 15 minutes.) Set aside.

4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and sugar. Sauté for about 3 minutes.

5. Add tofu and sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth and simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice and lime zest.

7. Chop the asparagus into bite-size pieces. Add asparagus and couscous to tofu mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle with mint.

Warning: Adding extra mint may sound like a good idea. It’s not. Trust us…

* The best way to trim an asparagus spear is to hold the thick end of the spear in one hand and the middle of the spear in the other. Then snap it, like you’re snapping a light stick. The spear should break at the point where the flexible yummy part meets the fibrous icky bottom—about where the color changes from whitish to green.

Tofu on Foodista