grilled pizza With equal parts hunger and bravery, you’ll find that your grill cooks much more than burgers. This recipe is a summer staple for me; as soon as the weather warms up, I start to crave pizza on the grill. Be creative with your toppings – choose 2 or 3 veggies, a cheese and a meat. When I recently made this recipe for some friends, I went overboard (7 veggies was just too much) but the result was still delicious.

Makes: 4 10″ pizzas

Shopping list:
Dough:

  • 2 packages (2 oz total) active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup + 3/4 cup warm water (105F- 115F)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup goat’s cheese
  • 1 dz fresh figs, halved
  • 2 Vidalia onions, cut in 1/4 in circular slices
  • 1 lb fresh chicken and apple sausage
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, torn into small bits
  1. Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, yeast and remaining water. Mix until combined, but don’t over work the dough. Roll into a large ball and coat with olive oil. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll out into ovals (or circles or hearts or whatever shape you like) about 1/8″ thick. These will be really thin, but try to make sure there are no holes or weak spots. Lightly brush each of the doughvals (get it?) with olive oil and set aside until you’re ready to grill.
  4. Preheat your grill on medium. Add the chicken sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until they look right. The cooking time depends on a lot of things, but trust me, you’ll know when they’re done. Slice into 1/4″ pieces and set aside and keep warm.
  5. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the onions until brown, soft and sweet, about 10 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
  6. Grill the figs, cut side down, about 3 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
  7. Turn your grill down to low and wait for the heat to dissipate. Grill the doughvals until set, about 1 minute per side. Add the goat’s cheese, onions, figs and sausage. Sprinkle on the mint and top with really good olive oil, if you like.

Cut and serve the pizzas. They pair great with a dry white wine and a platter of sliced, preserved meats. Also try any of the following for toppings: {Stilton, apricots, pork sausage}, {Manchego, pesto, shrimp}, {feta, lamb, cucumber}, {mozarella, bell pepper, eggplant}. If things have gone well, you’ll have a whole new admiration for your grill.

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chicken fingers Look, I’m all for haute cuisine. In fact, I’m tempted to lie and tell you that the picture to the right is pan-fried Fijiian oysters with julienned pommes de terre and saffron aioli. But it’s not. It’s chicken fingers and cheese fries. Sometimes you just want comfort food.

Makes: you forget you’ve ever been to Denny’s
Total kitchen time: 45 mins

Shopping list:

  • 1-1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 box Corn Flakes (plain, no raisin or strawberry BS)
  • 1 tbsp rosemary (I used dried for this recipe, but fresh works too)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Trim the chicken thighs, removing any excess fat. Cut into 1″ strips and place in a baking dish. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken and add the paprika and buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate 30 mins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 and adjust the top rack so it is 6-8″ from the top heating element.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients (Corn Flakes -pepper) in a food processor. Pulse a few times, but not too many that you end up with dust. Keep the mixture coarse for crispiness.
  4. Spread 1/2 of the Corn Flake mixture on a plate. One by one, shake the chicken pieces dry and roll in the breading, coating thoroughly. Arrange on a greased or non-stick baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping once. When 15 minutes is up, if they don’t look crispy, set your oven to broil and watch them closely (about 2-3 minutes).

Serve with french fries (tossed with crumbled blue cheese and sea salt) and home-made BBQ sauce (sorry blog readers, I’ll never tell!).

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Reading time: 1 min

swordfish Nothing signifies the start of summer like fish on the grill. If you’re ever going to be picky about your ingredients (which I recommend), now’s the time. Make a special trip to the best fish market you can find. You want a place that’s very busy (fast turnover = fresh products) and doesn’t smell like fish at all. Ask the fish monger to let you smell a piece of fish. If he refuses, shout profanities at him and storm off – you didn’t want his fish anyway.

Serves: 2 old men and the sea
Total kitchen time: 30 minutes (plus marinating time)

Shopping list:

  • 2 swordfish steaks (about 1/2 lb each)
  • greens (choose one you like: watercress, escarole or endive all work well)

Marinade:

  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger (finely grated)
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp red curry powder

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tbsp coarse mustard (creole mustard works great)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp red curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a large, shallow baking dish. Add the swordfish steaks, turning to coat. Cover with foil and refrigerate 30 mins.
  2. Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth. Taste it now and then and adjust as necessary. Salad dressings, in my humble opinion, are the last bastion of organic alchemy.
  3. Preheat your grill (or grill pan) over medium heat. Make sure the grates are as clean as possible. Rub the grates with peanut oil.
  4. Place the swordfish steaks on the grill DON’T move them. They’ll stick. Be patient. After 5 minutes, they’ll release on their own (or with a little coaxing). Give them a 1/4 turn to get pretty grill marks. Cook 5 minutes more (depending on your grill) then flip and repeat.
  5. Plate the swordfish on your lettuce and drizzle the vinaigrette over both.

As a side dish, I might recommend a steamed artichoke. Mix together 2 tbsp of mayonnaise with 1 tsp of red curry powder as a dipping sauce. Now, go ride a bike, work on your tan – hell, go fishing! Most of all, enjoy the summer season.

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Reading time: 1 min
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