Dessert on the grill

I admit, I was dubious about grilled fruit the first time I tried it, but it’s quite good. It is a strange concept to get used to, though. The way I see it, you’ve got the grill going anyway, might as well do something a little different for a dinner party or just jazz up your post-meal situation.peachy.jpg

You get great flavor from grilling fruit. You essentially caramelize the fruit right there on the grill. The sugars break down and yumminess ensues. The thing you want to be careful of is that you don’t cook your fruit too long or on too high a temp. then you get mush. That’s not cool. So, for softer fruits like, peaches, nectarines and plums choose fruit that is juuuuuust shy of being ripe. It’s hold it’s shape, but still be plenty sweet.

Now, for me, the grilled fruit option is best when paired with ice cream. (Come on, you must have seen that one coming!) But that’s just me. Some folk like it plain or with a little whipped cream. There’s no question it’s flavorful enough to eat on it’s own. But the creamy cold treat compliments it so nicely it’s hard to resist. Continue Reading


Grilled Pizza, part 2

So, your dough has risen and rested.  Now it’s time to get to the good part—grilling. Well, eating is really the good part, but the cooking part is fun, too.

4. Heat your grill (I’m a gas-grill kinda gal. I know charcoal is preferable for many reasons, but man, the gas grill is so easy. . . ) so that one side is on high and the other on med-low.  Make sure the grates are clean.

5. Now that your dough has sat out at room temperature for 45 minutes or so, plunk it down onto a lightly floured surface and cut it in half.  Take out your rolling pin and roll it on out.  You should be able to roll it out as thinly as you like. If it resists and pulls back, just cover it with a towel and let it rest for 5 more minutes, then try again.
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6. Before you toss the dough onto the grill, get all your toppingrillmarks.jpggs readied and waiting next to the grill.  Dip a paper towel in some olive oil and oil the grates.  Take the rolled-out dough and lay it gently on the hot side of the grill. Close the grill cover.  Wait about 5 minutes, then using your tongs, check the underside of the dough to see if you have nice grill marks and the dough is ready to be flipped over.

7. Flip the dough over, move to the med-low side of the grill. Add your toppings and close the grill.  Check every 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted and it’s cooked to your liking.  If the dough starts to get overcooked on the bottom, just adjust your heat. ingreds1.jpg

8.  Take your pizza off the grill, cool slightly, slice, EAT and ENJOY!

Once you get the hang of it, grilling pizza is way fun.  You can make the dough in larger batches, or freeze it, then just add whatever veggies you’ve got on hand with a little cheese and you’re happy-happy!3ongrill.jpg
Now, go forth and grill!

Here’s a great recipe I found on pizzamaniac.com for BBQ Chicken Pizza. You can grill the chicken, then the pizza for double-grill action!

If you are baking your pizza in the oven, a baking stone is a must. Here’s a great one from kingarthurflour.com (my preferred flour brand). Mine are what you might call, “well loved” so I may order one myself.


Grilled Pizza, Pt. 1

So, here we are continuing this week’s FoodFocus of Great Grillables! Let’s get to it!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m about 7 months pregnant with my second child. People often ask what food cravings/aversions I’m having and how they differ from last time. Last time around I wanted chowders of all kinds—clam, corn, seafood, whatever. I’d be all over it. This time? For a while orange juice was the only beverage I could/would consume. Next came a major artichoke craving. And I’ve never really cared for them too much before. For the last 3 months—PIZZA!

I’ve always loved pizza. And really, who doesn’t? It’s got something for everyone. Bread, cheese, tomato sauce and the rest is up to you. It’s your world. And I say, get inventive. Customize. Make it how YOU really want it. My fixation lately is tomatoes (no sauce), fresh garlic, fresh chopped basil, mushrooms of any kind, spinach, artichoke hearts and fresh mozz’. Seriously, I could eat it for breakfast. . . and if there’s leftovers, I often do.

Pizza, like ice cream can intimidate folks. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the prospect of making one’s own dough that does it. There are certainly many a’grocery store who carry pre-made dough. Maybe it’s that the picture they have in their heads is of a suave Italian guy tossing a big, round dough disk perfectly in the air while they feel too clumsy for that kind of kitchen move. Maybe, like me, they just hadn’t figured out how to get the dang thing to not stick to the pizza stone. It’s not hard. Really—I’ll prove it. Continue Reading


A New England Clam Bake at Home!

I just got back from a weekend away (aaaaah!). I was at the family cottage which is by the beach near Cape Cod. My mother would be all over me if I mentioned the name of the town, because it’s one of the few unspoiled places. I was lucky enough to spend every summer there as a kid. My sister and I would stay with our grandmother and mom would come down on weekends. So, in a sense, I grew up by the sea (sort of). It’s definitely an essential part of who I am. It’s like it’s in my blood and being there fits like a glove. This weekend my mom and I went just the two of us. Since my grandmother passed it’s really her cottage now, which she shares with her brother.
2 days of lounging at the beach were just what this pregnant mom of a 3 year-old needed. Sitting on the beach gives one time to think. . .and read. I got caught up on some great recipe reads on the beach. This month’s issue of Gourmet is particularly great. I highly recommend you go get it if you are interested in food at all. There are some great features on family farms with fabulous fresh summer recipes.

While I was away I ate nothing but seafood and ice cream (I can’t help it). It was wonderful and it made me think that my first recipe back had to be something classically New England. Something to make you think “summer” and “beach.” Something that tastes like seaside living. And then it hit me. . . Continue Reading


A Healthy Alternative.

We’ve been talking ice cream this week. It has occurred to me that some folks want an ice cream alternative. Something lower fat. Something healthier. Something to feel less guilty about. So, here’s a great recipe that we use around here all summer in some form or other.

See, I’m much more particular about what my son eats than I am about myself—at least lately. I’ve been a slacker on the healthy eating thing. When I’m trying to lose my pregnancy weight, I’ll be whining about how much I need to eat salads. But right now. . .not so much.

Luckily there are recipes out there that can be mi-tee-fine replacements for the hard stuff when I want to give my son something that feels “bad” but is really actually pretty good. . . like this one for smoothie pops. The reasons to make them are many: they’re easy, they’re healthy, you can take them to go and you can make them with pretty much any fruit you like and of course you can feel good about giving them to your kids. I say go forth and create your own! Use whatever fruit you like best or whatever is in season in your area. Continue Reading


Getting Saucy

It can’t be ignored that having a make-your-own sundae situation at a party is a damn fine thing. I don’t care what age you are. And if you’re anything like me, you want to make as many of the toppings as possible yourself. Stuff from a can or a jar just won’t do. . . especially if you are going to the trouble of making your own ice cream. You can’t stop there. It just wouldn’t be right. You need to know all the ingredients going in to your topping and be able to pronounce them all. So, I’ve got a few recipes here that are totally worthy. AND I’ve got a challenge for you. . .

My hubby has these daydreamy remembrances of getting ice cream at a shop near his home called Peaches and Cream. At said establishment he used to get coffee ice cream with chocolate sauce (not hot fudge, he reminds me) and peanut butter sauce. He describes the peanut butter sauce as “saucy, like chocolate sauce, but also gritty and thicker like you’d expect from the peanut butter quotient.” Now, anyone who knows us knows that he loves pretty much anything of or pertaining to peanut butter and chocolate together. And being a considerate wife, I’ve tried on every birthday and holiday to provide such treats. But, one thing I’ve never been able to duplicate is that damn PB sauce from Peaches and Cream. So, if any of you out there have a recipe for a good sauce—bring it on! Share the love! Help me surprise my husband! He’ll probably send you flowers in gratitude! Continue Reading


Ice Cream Makers for Everyone!

There is an ice cream maker out there for every personality. If you go to cooking.com and search on them, I think you’ll get about 20 or so that come up.

For the person who likes to do things “the old fashioned way,” you can get the hand crank kind your grandma used to have.

For the soft serve freaks, yes there’s a soft serve maker.

For the ice cream enthusiast or serious chef, there’s the honkin’ professional kind that crank it out quickly and in big batches. And they set you back close to $1000.

As I was thinking about all this, I remembered that Real Simple magazine had an article this month on the best ice cream makers. It’s helpful for someone trying to wade thru all the choices.

The winner for Best Overall Ice Cream maker was the Cuisinart Classic Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker, which retails for $60. I have this one. . . okay, well not exactly, but I have the same model from about 7 years ago. Got it for a wedding gift. And it still works great. I think it’s a great deal for one who wants to make the occasional batch of ice cream, doesn’t want to many widgets and gizmos and doesn’t want to spend a ton of cash. It gets the job done and it’s reliable.

Oooh and if YOU need to get a gift for someone, snag a set of these super cute ice cream/dessert bowls from plumparty.com to go with the Cuisinart. And maybe an ice cream scoop, too. Gotta give your friend the full set up!

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Strawberry or Avocado?

Today we’re just going to get down to it. I mean, why not? It’s too hot to mess around.

This is one of my favorite recipes and it comes to you from cooking.com.

I’ve tried other Strawberry ice cream recipes, but I’ve always come back to this one. Part of why I tried other recipes is because of the corn syrup. It just seemed wrong to me, but it really works. And you know what they say, “if it ain’t broke. . . “

Strawberry Ice Cream
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1 cup heavy/whipping cream
1/2 cup half & half
2/3 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled (from one 16-ounce container)

Combine cream and half & half in heavy medium saucepan. Stir sugar, yolks and corn syrup in medium bowl. Bring cream mixture to simmer. Gradually stir cream mixture into yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan.

Using wooden or rubber spatula, stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spatula when finger is drawn across, about 10 minutes (do not boil). Transfer custard to bowl. Cover and refrigerate custard until cold.

Puree strawberries in food processor. Gradually blend in custard. Strain custard through fine-mesh sieve.
Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to container and freeze until firm.

That’s all it takes. One year for a friend’s graduation party, I made ice cream sandwiches with this recipe and some chocolate cookies, because, come on, strawberry and chocolate. . . it’s kinda unbeatable in the yum department.

In the “really? Someone is going to eat that?” department, check out weeklydish.com for a recipe that’s. . . well, just weird—Icy Hot Avocado Ice Cream. Here’s what the author has to say about serving to folks: “But, here’s the interesting part: even though they think it’s strange, people can’t quit eating it. Because, apparently, strange can be good.”

I have to admit—I’m intrigued.

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The Quintessential Summertime Treat!

This week we’ve gotta talk ice cream. It’s officially summer now. Yes, solstice, sure. But as a kid it always felt like summer started once the 4th of July came. Then it became (officially) ice cream season—at least for those of us who are (and always have been) food-focused.

At this time, I happen to be about 7 months pregnant with my second child. And let me tell you, nothing tastes as good as ice cream to this pregnant lady. My problem is. . . I’m someone who usually tries to eat healthily. I don’t eat a lot of sugar. I eat a lot of veggies. I eat organic whenever possible. I don’t even eat that much dairy. You’d think this effort would be stronger when pregnant. You know, you wanna feed that little growing dude good stuff. And I do. But man. Ice cream sure tastes good. And it doesn’t help that it’s 90 degrees here in my corner of New England right now!

Ice cream is one of the most satisfying things to make yourself because home made tastes so infinitely better than anything you can get at the market. Even the basics—like vanilla (recipe to follow). I’ll never forget the first time I made my own ice cream. Strawberry. I think I exclaimed after EVERY bite “this is so freakin’ good.” Your own ice cream will blow anything by Ben and Jerry or Hagen Daaz away, I tell you. So, do yourself a favor and invest in an ice cream maker. Later in the week I’ll post about the different kinds that are out there.

In the meantime, here’s some silly fun—you can go HERE to find out “what kind of ice cream” you are. Apparently, I’m rocky road. The funny thing is, I don’t think I have ever eaten it. And what’s that say about me, anyway? I have to ponder that one. . . .Onto the creamy goodness for today: Continue Reading


The other Berry.

It’s one of my favorite times of year right now. Strawberry season. We belong to a CSA farm and for 2 weeks we have gotten 2 quarts of fresh-picked, native strawberries. Um. . . . YUM!! Now, for the most part these little beauties don’t make it into recipes at all, they just get chomped as they are—fresh, sweet and amazingly more wonderful than what the grocery stores call “strawberries.” We use them in smoothies a lot, as well. Continue Reading