Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower

Vegetables in general and I have never really been the best of friends. Overtime I learned that steamed vegetables have a really interesting cousin. Roasted veggies. Roasted veggies are more my style... a little crunch, a little extra flavor... and the seasoning possibilities are endless! I threw this together as a side one night and it ended up being too good not to share - or at least not to type out so that I wouldn't forget it!

(Excuse the poor photo, I will try to update when I remake this, which I will!)

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1/4 - 1/3 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. ground cumin
splash of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or use a grill, as we did. Mix the crushed red pepper flakes (which can grind into smaller pieces, if desired), cumin, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Let the mixture set for about 5 minutes. Mix well with the chopped cauliflower. Spread the cauliflower out in an even layer on a baking sheet or foil. Roast for 5 - 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is just beginning to brown.

Think about how much more you like roasted veggies than any other preparation!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ready for Summer

I think we are officially ready for summer - today we had a new storm door installed, hubby stained and sealed the deck, we had pasta salad for dinner and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Anyone who knows me know that I love tuna. Tuna pasta salad? Count me in! Actually, I've had this bookmarked since December! I don't know why it took me so long to make it. It will not take me so long to make it again!
The original recipe called for spinach as well, but I accidentally forgot it. I'm not even sure I would add it next time. Although spinach is delicious, this pasta dish really wasn't missing anything. I loved the crunch of the radishes, peas, and pickles. The sauce is tangy and delicious. All in all, this salad is a perfect combination of ingredients and I already can't wait to have it for lunch tomorrow!

Tuna Pasta Salad with Radishes and Snap Peas
adapted from Joy the Baker

1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 – 2 tsp. grain mustard
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ c. radishes, sliced
1 c. sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/3 c. pickles, chopped
1/3 c. green onions, sliced
1 can tuna, drained and crumbled
Parmesan, sliced or grated

Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Immediately drain and rinse under cool water. Mix together the pasta with the radishes, peas, pickles, onions, and tuna. Add about half the mayonnaise mixture and blend well, then add the other half and mix until well combined. Sprinkle parmesan on top.

Prepare yourself for a fabulous summer!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pizza, updated

One of the things that I have been ejoying regularly since the weather got warmer and I have started to crave simpler, lighter meals is grilled pizza. OH, how did I live for so long without this wonder?! Perhaps it was my own fear of the pizza dough slipping through the grates of the grill not cooking correctly, but I am so happy we took the plunge!

The first evening I experienced this amazing pizza was when my mom was visiting. The hubs was working, so mom and I decided to go out on a limb and experiment. We figured at least if we failed, there wouldn't be anyone to make fun of us. Lucky for us it was perfect, and lucky for the hubs, he's had to eat it at least half a dozen times since.

Aside from grilling the pizza, I have slightly changed the recipe. I took inspiration from a Smitten Kitchen post, and started using a little wine and honey. I personally didn't think pizza dough could get any better, but it sure did. A slight sweetness from the honey and just a very slight taste of the wine takes this crust from great to true fabulosity! I did try the SK pizza crust recipe, but I had significant trouble working with the dough. It got too thin and holey. Now, I will say, rolling out pizza dough is certainly not my forte, but I preferred the texture and density of the usual recipe anyway. I'm posting the new version below, for simplicity.

Pizza Dough, updated

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

2 tbsp. white wine + warm tap water to equal 1 c.
1 tbsp. honey
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water, Add the sugar and leave it for 5 to 10 minutes. This will result in a little film or foam. Add 1 cup of flour and beat well. Sift together the remaining 2 cups of flour and 1/2 tsp. of salt and add it to the bowl. Beat until smooth and if you find your dough too sticky, add some more flour. The dough should be fairly stuff by the time you're done. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and let it sit for 3 - 5 minutes. Knead the dough for 2 - 5 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and let it stand in a warm place, free from drafts until slightly risen, about 30 minutes. Divide the dough in half and knead each piece slightly. Wrap each piece loosely in plastic wrap. Be sure to wrap it loosely so the dough can continue to rise. Refrigerate until ready to use, at least 2 hours.

Heat the grill to about 400 - 450 degrees. Slight oil the racks. You can use cornmeal on your pizza pan to help with sliding. When the grill is hot, slide the untopped pizza dough onto the grill. Cook for 3 - 5 minutes, depending on your grill, until the underside is light golden brown. Remove the pizza dough and top the grilled side of the dough with your desired toppings. Slide the dough back onto the grill and grill for about another 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Try to remember what your life was like before grilled pizza!