Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Simple Pleasures | Camping

Last weekend we went up to Steamboat Springs for some camping.  I had never been to Steamboat before, and let me tell you, it was gorgeous!  Here are some snapshots of the ridiculous sunset that awaited us after a day of floating the Yampa River.

I wish I had some photos of the 8 of us floating the river with 6 dogs on cheap rafts.  It was hilarious!  It took us 6 hours to go 3 miles.

At the end of the weekend, I was sunburnt and exhausted, but I think the sunset alone was worth the trip :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Inspired | Grilled Cheese

On Saturdays, there is a small farmer's market just down the street from us.  It's only one block long, but it's one of my favorite things to do to get a cup of coffee and pick up something new at the market.  This weekend I took Kora with me and she had a fun time going up to all of the tables and sniffing what the farmers had to offer.

Right before this trip, I made a really healthy egg white breakfast (theknot.com tells me I need to start getting in shape for our wedding..ugh), but when I went to the farmer's market I saw a huge loaf of rosemary sourdough that I just needed to have.  I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but you can never go wrong with a nice loaf of artisan bread.

By lunch time I knew that this bread's fate was to become grilled cheese.  By dinner time, I knew Denny and I would be having more grilled cheese :)  I'm surprised that I actually have enough self control to not eat grilled cheese all the time (aside from this day)...it's right up there with mac & cheese for me.  Finding websites like this make it especially hard for me.  Sweet Jesus, a whole website dedicated to fancy grilled cheese.  I can't deal.

Here's what I did with the rosemary sourdough:

Fried Egg

Balsamic Vinegar

 That's it.  Simple, yet amazingly delicious.

Equally as simple is the cucumber salad I served with it.
1/2 diced cucumber
1 diced tomato
1/2 chopped red onion
2 tbsp white vinegar
Salt & pepper

Grilled Pizza...The Love Of My Life

I promised you more grilled stuff so here is something that not many people do with a grill, but it is probably one of my favorite grilled foods.  GRILLED PIZZA!

Me and two of my friends (Rebecca & Ingrid) are master grillers (of pizza).  We've done this several times at Rebecca's house on her charcoal grill and have all agreed it is some of the best pizza we have ever had.  So on, like, day 2 of having our grill, we decided to grill pizza (it was more like I forced the idea on some of our friends and Denny and promised it would be the best pizza of their lives).  In the end, it all turned out pretty good, and was definitely edible.  But, our small gas grill did not perform the same way as Rebecca's larger charcoal grill.  The olive oil from the first pizza, dripped into the flames below and shot a burst of flames through the center of the pizza, which caught the pizza on fire and burned a hole in the center :)  We managed to save the rest of the pizza though.

The other pizzas turned out better.  I did not roll the dough out as thin, we turned the heat on the grill down a little lower, and had one person rotate the pizza dough often so that it didn't burn.  In the end, dinner was really enjoyable and it's definitely something I want to do on a regular basis.

Anyway, this is how you grill a pizza.  Many people are skeptical that it even works because the dough is so pliable.  Instinct tells you that the dough will slip through the grate, but you have to have faith.

What you will need:
A ball of pizza dough (You can get fancy and make your own, but I buy the pre-made stuff that the Whole Foods kitchen makes.  They also have sauce and shredded mozzarella right there too.  I think theirs tastes the best)
Sauce and mozzarrella
Toppings of your choice (I like to have another good cheese on hand, like feta or goat cheese, as well as veggies and meat)
Olive oil
Plenty of grill spatulas and friends to help with flipping :)

Get ready to grill:
Preheat the grill to a medium heat.  Have olive oil, pastry brush, and all toppings handy near the grill.
Meat toppings should be pre-cooked, and maybe even the harder veggies too.  You will just be cooking the pizza until the cheese melts, so there isn't much time to cook the veggies.

Clean and dry a portion of your countertop.  Coat the counter with a generous helping of flour and divide the ball of dough into two.  Coat the dough with flour and roll flat with a rolling pin.
With a pastry brush, coat one side of the rolled dough with olive oil.

When the grill is hot, carefully place the flattened dough onto the grill, olive oil side face down.  (This step will provide the most entertainment, but you will get the hang of it)
The dough will cook and harden fairly quickly, so once you have placed it on the grill, immediately brush the top side with olive oil as well.  Once the dough starts to bubble and hold its form, carefully flip the dough to cook the other side.

Immediately start putting sauce, cheese, and all toppings on the pizza and close the lid.
It should only take a few minutes for the rest of the dough to cook and the cheese to melt.  Once the cheese is melted and the toppings are heated through, the pizza is done.
Slide the pizza off the grill and onto a cutting board.
Slice and serve!

What I love most about this recipe is that it is totally up to your imagination.  There is no right or wrong way to make a pizza - the possibilities are limitless!  Some unusual ideas for toppings are:  roasted garlic, asparagus, fresh herbs, prosciutto or other cured meat, chicken sausage, etc.

I also like this blog post for grilled pizza.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Simple Pleasures | Summer Grilling

After setting up our camping grill to BBQ our 4th of July 'brats and corn (which didn't come out half bad!), Denny and I FINALLY broke down and bought a real grill this weekend and are thrilled!  A grill is something that I have never had, believe it or not, but have always wanted.  Many of the awesome recipes that I have earmarked require a grill, and I have always had to settle for pan frying or broiling.  It's just not the same.  Grills make food taste better, plain and simple.....if you do it right.  Apparently this takes practice.

The first thing we did when we left the "grill store" was go to Whole Foods and pick up 2 juicy steaks. I owed Denny a nice dinner, so he picked out a ribeye and I picked out a top sirloin.  When we got home I promptly made us pineapple mint mojitos while he set up the grill.  I immediately started to search how to properly grill steaks (he likes his more on the rare side, and I am a medium rare girl).  After letting some potatoes and corn get close to done, I put on the steaks, exactly as directed.  2 minutes on each side - high heat.  Then 3 minutes each side on the medium heat side of the grill.  Then we removed the steaks and let them sit.

I could tell when I finally cut into my piece of steak that I had overcooked it.  Sad times.  Because Denny's steak was a thicker, more quality cut, his survived but was definitely more well-done than he would have liked, but he didn't complain.  I rarely allow myself the opportunity to eat steak, so in no way did I let mine go to waste.  Dipping it in ranch dressing also helped, as it does everything.

I am hoping by the end of summer that we are master grillers, but only time will tell!  Still, we are so excited to try many more recipes and share them here!  In the meantime, make yourself one of these mojitos :)

Pineapple Mint Mojitos

6 pieces cubed pineapple
10-15 mint leaves
2tsp lime juice
1oz rum
Sparkling water

Blend pineapple and mint until smooth, split mixture between two short glasses.  Add lime juice and 1tsp sugar, fill with ice.  Add one shot of rum, fill remainder of glass with sparkling water.  Stir and enjoy!