25 August 2012

Assorted late summer deliciousness

Steak dinner, chez Mom

Summer is almost done...go make some stuff and eat outside!

Grilled Salsa

With all those tomatoes from the garden, you have to do something.  This salsa can be canned for later, if you'd like.  Adjust jalapeno for more or less spice.

Tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, and fresh garlic on the grill

6 - 8 Fresh whole Roma tomatoes (you can use any kind you like, but Romas are meatier with less water), cored
1 large onion (Spanish, red, or Vidalia), peeled and halved
1/2 head of garlic (or fresh garlic, when available)
1 jalapeno pepper
1 small chipotle pepper, canned in adobe sauce (I always add a bit of the chipotle sauce, too)
1 small bunch of washed cilantro, leaves only (a good handful is plenty!)
Juice of one lime
pinch of sugar (if needed- taste before adding)
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil

Heat the grill.  Cut a head of garlic width-wise, so that all the cloves are exposed.  Take half of the head and place it in a large bowl with the tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno pepper.  Toss these with olive oil (just to coat- you don’t want a grill fire!).  Cook all the ingredients on a medium heat grill until cooked.  A bit of blackened char will add smokiness to the salsa, but don’t burn the veggies.  Remove items as they cook and place them in the bowl to cool until just warm.  To remove the roasted garlic from its skin, squeeze the head and let the cooked garlic cloves fall into the bowl.  Blend all the cooked ingredients in a blender (or Cuisinart or RobotCoup) with the chipotle pepper in adobe, cilantro, and lime until finely chopped (depending on the size of your equipment, you may have to do this in batches).  Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm or cold with tortilla chips, tacos, eggs, or anything else you can think of.


Mom’s Watermelon Salad

As summer winds down, here is a delightfully refreshing salad that my mom made for me a few weeks ago.  It is very easy to prepare, and I am sure that you will love it.  I think that the original is from Paula Deen, but my mom must make it much better!

Better than Paula's!

2 cups cubed seedless red watermelon
2 cups cubed seedless yellow watermelon*
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 ounce of fresh mint, chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons of plain balsamic or red wine vinaigrette (3 parts olive oil, 1 part vinegar)

Mix the watermelon, feta cheese, onions, and mint in a medium bowl.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top, and add the salt and pepper to taste.  Serve cold or at room temperature. 


Grilled Pizza with Arugula

A David Burns creation!

Basic Pizza Dough
(makes three medium-sized, thin pizza crusts)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of Kosher salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer (with a dough hook attached), sprinkle 1 package of dry yeast over 1 cup of warm water.  Let soften for five minutes, then add the flour and a pinch of salt.  Begin to mix on low with dough hook, and slowly add olive oil and honey.  Mix on low until the dough comes together and the sides of the mixing bowl are clean.  Turn mixer up to medium, and knead the dough for ten minutes, until it is shiny and elastic.  Remove the bowl from the mixing stand, cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place until it is doubled in size (anywhere between 30-60 minutes, depending on environmental conditions).  When the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl and “punch it down” or give it a quick knead to push out the air.  Let the dough rest another 15-30 minutes back in the bowl.  Then, place the dough on a floured surface.  Give it a quick kneading, then cut the dough into three equal pieces.  Wrap two pieces separately and refrigerate.  Take one piece and, using a rolling in and/or your hands, stretch and roll the dough to the desired shape (David always makes a square pizza; I always make round!).  Carefully place the pizza dough on a pizza peel which has been dusted with cornmeal. 

Tomato Pizza Sauce
8 fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
olive oil
red pepper flakes
marjoram (fresh or dried*)
oregano (fresh or dried*)
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar (if needed- taste before adding.  The tomatoes may be sweet enough!)

In a sauce pan (I use a low and wide All-Clad 4-quart) heat olive oil, then add chopped tomatoes.  Add salt, peppers, and dried herbs.  Sauté on medium heat to reduce the liquid, approximately 15 minutes.  When the tomatoes are sufficiently cooked, add the chopped garlic.  Cook on low heat until the sauce is thickened and the texture consistent, about 30 minutes.  Taste the sauce, and add sugar, fresh herbs or more of any of the above ingredients before removing from the heat.  The sauce should be thick and spreadable. 

*Always add delicate fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, etc.) near the end of cooking time; all dried herbs and hardy fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme on the stem) near the beginning of cooking time.  

Manning the grill

Making the pizza
1 pizza round, rolled and on corn meal-covered peel
tomato pizza sauce
6-8 oz. mozzerrella (fresh or block; not shredded, if possible) thinly sliced or cubed
6 oz. fresh, washed arugula

Have all ingredients ready to go, because this pizza goes quickly.  Heat the grill to about 475 degrees (we usually use a gas grill, but you can also use a charcoal grill or wood-fire).  Slide the pizza dough from the peel directly on to the grill rack.  Cook for about three -four minutes, or until the dough is cooked, crispy, and charred a bit.  Please note, everyone's grill cooks differently, so watch your dough so that it does not burn!  Flip the pizza.  On the cooked side, immediately spread tomato sauce and top with cheese.  Close the grill cover and cook for three - four minutes, or until cooked, crispy, and a bit charred on the bottom.  Turn off the heat, and let the pizza sit inside the hot grill with the top closed for a few minutes.  

Slide the pizza onto the peel.  Top with the arugula and serve.

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