Grilled pizza party

Here is a simple blog. I have been using the excuse that I have been soooo busy I haven’t blogged. Well, I am busy with my new Real Estate Career but I am still cooking a photographing so I have a tone of photos in my phone & IPad.
Grilled Pizza was literally my “go to” all summer. I have dough in my fridge all the time and once you start cooking and grilling it becomes second nature and fast. I have so many discussions with people that say it takes too long to cook. It is faster to make a grilled pizza then it is to order one and have it delivered!

This idea came from a party in July I went to and they did this and it was a HUGE hit.

pre made pizza dough (yes pre-made sorry)
Pizza toppings

Bring the dough to room temperature, this way it will roll out if not it will spring back
cut the dough into 4 equal portions (more people, more dough)
Flour your board and roll dough into 1/4 inch thickness – Easy rustic shapes
Drizzle with olive oil
Pre grill the dough on both sides until it has light grill marks. about 3 minutes each side on a medium/high grill heat (don’t cook it all the way or it will make for a burn crispy dough)

Place the pre-grilled dough on a platter and serve up all the pizza favorite sides and let your guests create their own combinations.
Your job is to complete the cooking so once your guest has a pizza ready you slide it back onto the grill and close the cover for 5 minutes to melt the cheese and toppings. Because it cooks so fast, pre cook anything you don’t want raw.

I grilled pineapple, onions, mushrooms etc and put out 3 different cheeses for guests along with the traditional pepperoni, olives and my favorites artichokes, spinach, roasted garlic and more!

















This is SERIOUS!

Really….this is above and beyond what a good dessert tastes like. Danielle, our friend said it is the “Its sweet but not too sweet.  Soooooo yummy and to me it tastes like a mix between Summer (with the strawberries) and Fall (with the cinnamon and honey graham crackers)” And she pretty much nailed it! That is exactly what it tastes like.

This was dreamed up when I got my first order of “WECK” jars. They are the most beautiful canning jars ever. If you want them order them from the WECK site on line they are way more affordable there then on other sites.
Now lets get to it…..this takes a little work but is the most impressive yet. Not only that, they are awesome to bring anywhere for anything and definitely to show your skills on making Drop Dead Delicious Desserts.
What to call it though??? “PARFAIT” isn’t really accurate but gives you an idea of what to expect,  “CHEESECAKE”…kind of but no eggs and no baking, “TRIFLE” is close but not quite right, “FRUIT LAYERED DESSERT” sounds boring but again gives you an idea of what’s coming but, Meh……

“Vanilla Bean creamy rich decadent cheese cake folded with fresh whipped cream fresh fruit and graham cracker cinnamon honey crazy deliciousness”

Yep that sounds about right. But use Trifle if you want, it’s easier.
This makes a lot so you can HALF THE RECIPE  but I wanted to have a bunch to give and I think I ended up with 8 or 9 and they are gone! 2 days ago & they are gone!!
If you do not have canning jars/mason jars you can use a Trifle dish. You want something glass and see through so the beauty of this dish is fully visible.

6 cups fresh fruit cut up in to bite sized pieces ( I did strawberries, Raspberries and Mangos but they sky it the limit, i wish i had done peaches too)
8 12 oz Weck or mason jars
2 Cups Plain greek yogurt (16 oz container)
1 Cup Sour Cream
16 oz container/tub Cream Cheese (room temp)
8 oz Marscapone Cheese (room Temp)
2 Cups Heavy cream (for whipped cream & simmering vanilla)
2 Vanilla Beans (fresh, soft)
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Confectioners Sugar (powdered)
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Stick melted butter
1 2 to 3 inch Cinnamon Stick
1 Nutmeg (fresh nugget)
2 Packages Graham Crackers (20 full size crackers)

Several of these steps can be done ahead of time if you like and then put together at the time you are ready to create your masterpiece.

First lets start with the yogurt…..
Using a cheese cloth strain the yogurt to remove the excess water. Simply put the yogurt in cheese cloth and tie it with kitchen twine then hang over a pot. If you look at the photos you will see I tied it to a wooden spoon and hug it over a large pasta pot. You can do this way ahead but it will work well if you can strain it for an hour or so. This makes the mix it nice and thick!!

The Vanilla….
`Cut the 2 Vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape with the back of your knife.
`In a small sauce pan heat 1 cup of heavy cream with the 2 Vanilla beans and seeds and 1/2 cup of sugar on LOW. Simmer for 10 minutes to melt the sugar and release all the Vanilla flavor into the cream. Do not let it BOIL just heated through.
`Set aside to cool completely the refrigerate for a 1/2 hour to get it cold. (adding warm ingredients will deflate the whipped cream and melt the cheese and that will not work).

Next lets do the “crust”…..
`In a food processor grind up the Graham Crackers until they are crumbs.
`Put them in a big bowl
`Using a Microplane grate the cinnamon stick until you have about 2 teaspoons in with the graham crackers. This is going to be the hardest part of this recipe, use your muscles….it’s takes a bit of energy but this is really important. The taste of fresh grated cinnamon is very different then the pre-powdered stuff. It has a lot more depth of flavor and a richness.
`Using the same Microplane grate in about 4 or 5 grates of fresh nutmeg (too much will add bitterness so just about a good “pinch”)
`Add in the melted butter, the 1/2 cup of honey and 1/4 Cup light Brown sugar and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
`In a large pan “toast” the Graham Crackers until brown on Medium heat, keep an eye on them and mix them in the pan to ensure even browning. (If you don’t have a pan big enough you might have to do it in batches. It should look like damp sand.
`Let them cool, they will become dry and crunchy while they sit.

On to the Whipped cream….
`Using a cold bowl makes the cream whip faster. Stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes.
`In the cold bowl add the remaining cup of Heavy Cream and 1/4 cup confectioners Sugar.
`Whip until it is nice and thick and has stiff peaks (with a hand mixer it should only take about a minute or two). Set aside

The Cheese Mixture……
`In your largest bowl add in Cream Cheese, Sour Cream, Marscapone Cheese, Yogurt and mix very well, there should be no lumps. I used a hand blender to quicken the process but if you are Popeye you can certainly whisk it by hand. This is why it is necessary for all the cheeses to be a room temperature.
`Once the cheeses are combined add in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and incorporate.
`Strain the Vanilla Beans and Cream from earlier (that has cooled) and add to the cheeses and blend in.
`The last step on the cheese mixture is to FOLD in the fresh whipped cream. This will make the mixture rich like cheesecake but have a lighter, less dense-ness  about it.
`To fold, add in the whipped cream and using a rubber spatula cut down the middle and pick up at the side and fold over. Each time turn the bowl a quarter of the way around.
~Once it is folded in (NO MORE THEN 10 Times) stop. The idea is to make it light and airy. If you mix too much it will deflate the texture and will be “all not not”. If you re totally lost on “folding” you tube it and watch a video.

Now the Last step is to put everything together….
`Starting with one of the Jars, put in about 2 table spoons of the Graham Cracker Crumbs
`Spoon in about 2 Tablespoons of the Cheese Mixture (Adjust amounts based on your jars or dishes-if you are using a trifle dish layer crumbs, cheese, fruits and then back to crumbs)
`Top with fresh fruit
`I did all different versions to make it more interesting but the basics are layer one of each layer and repeat!
Be sure to package with some ribbon and bring in a nice basket to wherever you are going.
I really hope you enjoy and really hope you make this, it is a wonderful dessert to share and eat.


Creamy Mushroom Linguine

Oh Yea, This is not for the faint of waist line. This is a rich creamy, cheesy decadent dinner. Just be sure to serve a nice starter salad so you don’t have to eat a pound of this gooey deliciousness, because you will, it has everything you could want any more from a pasta dish.

Making the mushrooms perfect is the trick and I will walk you through it, and of course PHOTOS! Lots of photos.
A few tips:

  • This dish cools fast, as do most creamy dishes so be sure to time it properly or keep the pasta and sauce separate until you are just about to serve so you can re-heat sauce and add it as you are serving….I don’t like my dishes to get cold.
  • Mushrooms are very independent and like to be alone in the pan. They brown much faster and better if you don’t crowd them. If there are too many they will not brown at all, so take your time and do them in small batches, it is not that big a deal this you can totally do ahead of time and set them aside.
  • Buy mushrooms whole and slice them your self, they dry out pre cut and loose flavor, so if possible get them in one piece.
  • Use Butter and oil in the pan when browning so you get the high cook temp of the oil but the flavor of the butter.
  • Mushroom variety and sizes are what really makes this dish. You get complex flavor and great texture if you mix it up. Slice them thick and thin & quarter them, that way you have different bites rather then having a plate of pasta with mushrooms that are the same texture…..Boring (Zzzzzzz) Each type have a different texture too so mix it up
  • Try other combinations like Enoki, Porcini, Oyster & Portabella. the only ones I don’t suggest are canned (Eww Gross) or dried, Dried are great for other dishes

Now lets get to it!
1 Lb of Linguini cooked al dente, The box directions almost always are perfect but you can cook it to you liking, obviously.
3.5 Oz Shitake Mushrooms (Pkg was that size use what ever amount you want)
8 Oz White Button Mushrooms
8 Oz Baby Bella Mushrooms (Crimini)
1 Large Shallot Minced
2 Cloves garlic Minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less if you like the heat)
1 Pint Light cream
4 oz plain cream cheese (1/2 of a package at room temp)
3/4 Cup really good freshly grated Parmesan (Rigianno if your purse can handle it, it is good and salty and really noting compares)
3 Tablespoons chopped chives
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (to salt the water)
3 tbls butter (as needed)
3 tbls oil (as needed)
~Fill a large stock pot with water and set on high heat to boil, add in the 1 Tbl salt (this is the only time you can flavor the pasta and it is crucial to really salt the water before the pasta goes in, it will absorb into each piece and really boost the flavor of the dish…I promise)
~When it is at a FULL ROLLING BOIL add in pasta and set the timer.
~When timer goes off drain but DO NOT RINSE that removes all the starch, If you can time it properly you can use tongs and scoop the pasta right from the boiling water into the mushroom mix & that would be the best way.
~Cut up your mushrooms first make 2 piles out of each kind around the same size. so you will have 6 piles. Quarter half and slice the other half. but be sure the are all in different bowls, they will all have different cooking times.
~In a large saute pan add 1 tbl oil and a little butter and heat on medium high to melt.
~Add in the first batch of mushrooms and saute until brown on all sides, watch the pan you don’t want anything to get burnt.
~As they brown remove them to a dish. Some may brown faster and just remove those to the bowl.
~Follow with each batch browning each one until they are all done, this takes a little time but feel free to do this step ahead.
(Mushrooms cook way down so it might seem like there are a lot but they will shrink up so se sure to use them all or even add more!)
~Once they are all browned and removed from the pan add in the shallots and saute until translucent.
~Add in the garlic and cook another few minutes. If you add the garlic too soon it will brown and take on a slightly bitter taste and that is not what you want.
~Add red pepper and saute one more minute to release the heat
~Return mushrooms to pan and add in cream cheese.
~Mix well as the cream cheese melts
~Slowly add in the Light Cream about a 1/4 cup at a time mixing to incorporate and making sure everything is mixed together.
~Once all the cream is added mix in the grated parm and fresh cracked pepper.
~The mixture should be bubbly hot and add the pasta right to the creamy mushrooms.
~Serve immediately, making sure to get out all types of mushrooms and garnish with fresh chopped chives and a few shavings of parm. Drizzle just a touch of olive oil to make it look really pretty!!

Fennel and Tomato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Seriously simple and so tasty!
This is a great combination of flavors and textures. The tomato is soft, juicy and acidic and the fennel is crunchy and complex with a slight anise flavor, The lemon rounds out the flavors and make this a fresh tasting healthy side dish to serve with any meal.
2 Large tomatoes (they must be fresh picked from the garden or local from the farmers market. Grocery store tomatoes are tasteless and covered in wax.
1 Large Fennel Bulb with fronds
1 Lemon
1/2 Tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
pinch of sugar

Slice the tomato and fennel and place in a large bowl
Top with the Fronds from the fennel (the top greens that look like dill)
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing until emulsified and drizzle over the fennel & Tomato
Serve immediately YUM

Enjoy -T

Enjoy -T


Yep I know it sounds weird but it is…an invasion and it is just like the movie but it’s Spaghetti Squash!!
I know you think this sounds unreasonable but, hear me out.
I decided it was going to be the best idea anyone had ever come up with in the name of a back yard garden, “i’ll build posts and run fishing line between them so the vegetables grow up them instead of out & all over the lawn” I said to my always unimpressed husband. So that is exactly what I did, well my husband did…I did watch and point and direct (he really likes when I do that). I did however string the fishing line and I might add it was no small feat!
Now….a few months ago I planted a small selection of veggies that I wanted and of course I DID NOT plant them the required space apart and I most likely put too many all together in one raised bed but I always do. I never follow the directions. “If one goes there, I bet 2 is better”, “If you take one pill to feel better, 2 is better” (Ok the last one is another story totally).

So anyway my garden had been coming in nicely! My idea was/is working beautifully and everyone will want to do this for their garden and people will come from miles around to see the “most ingenious gardening idea ever” and THEN!………(long hesitation to make it more interesting) DUN, DUN,DUNNNNNNN (scary sounds to let you know something is about to happen)
The Spaghetti Squash started to explode! During the last few weeks it has been going crazy because of the hot, muggy weather and has been growing at NIGHT! We have been waking up to another 6 inches of plant every time the sun goes down and the squash are growing so fast the only explanation is they have a taste for blood and are secretly eating wild animals while we sleep (of course that is the only rational explanation). The long “Scouts” that the squash has been sending out have actually grabbed on to the Willow Tree branches that usually sway lightly in the summer wind and are successfully twisting and climbing up the branches toward the trunk (I think to get to the bird house and the squirrels). The Squash its self, the big one is slightly starting to resemble Herb so I think when he sleep in the tent the other night it may have started it’s transformation.(yes he actually sleeps in a tiny tent for fun and the love of the outdoors, I do not) He has been acting a little weird lately, humm I wonder???
I noticed he has ben ajif e wrjt gspofv bspoitpwoer fs;dkfv x;ck vxdvaefsdf spbovmdif a dofis a] afaw m x[dfi sadv
Hahaha Just kidding! That last part was suppose to be the squash getting me and stopping me from telling any more!
Well Im off to my garden and hopefully all the dogs are still there…Just kidding again
I’ll keep you updated on the situation as it “grows” hahahahaha I have a lot of time on my hands

Climbing into the Willow

More “attacking” the Willow

Herb very begrudgingly agreeing to pose for the face pose and the squash trying to strangle him shot at the beginning, but worth it.

Roasted Garlic

So if you have not roasted garlic, this is an easy, easy task. It just takes a second to set up and the result is lots of delicious flavor.
1 Head of garlic skin still on
1 Tbls oilve oil

Cut the tip of the bulb off exposing a tiny hole
Stem side down place the bulb in foil on an oven safe dish
Drizzle with the Oilve Oil
Wrap with the foil and bake at 425 for 30 minutes
Let it cool and there you have perfectly roasted garlic to use for anything.
You can peel and store in a container or lave in the skin.
It gets sweet, you can spread it right on a piece of freshly baked bread, add it to vegetable dishes or put it on an Antipasto!!
Enjoy -T

A Bacon-less BLT

SO, it’s not just an LT because there is “bacon” its just not real bacon. I love sandwiches and this is one of my ol` stand by’s.

My husband likes to have one but he does say “well it’s not bacon” when he eats it.
5 or 6 Morning star bacon strips per sandwich (packaged in the frozen section)
Butter Lettuce
Tomato sliced
Ciabatta roll
2 tsp mayonnaise (or more if you like it)
salt & pepper

Cook the bacon in the oven at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes. it gets crunchy but careful it doesn’t get too brown it will taste burnt.
Toast the Ciabatta roll lightly
Spread Mayo onto each side of the bread (i like just a little)
Place bacon on bottom part of the roll, top with tomatoes, lettuce, sprikle with salt & pepper
Top with other half of roll and throw on a couple toothpicks to hold it together
Enjoy -T

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