Tag Archives: appetizers

Fresh Pesto Flatbread Pizza


Mention summer and one can’t help but to think about grilling out. Get togethers, familes on the go, extra warm temperatures which make you wish you could skip a trip to the kitchen. They all make for a good reason to fire up the grill, as if you actually need one!

When it comes to grilling thouh, pizza seldom comes to mind. The usual burgers and hot dogs, yes, for sure! Thick juicy steaks and BBQ Chicken. Some of you more adventurous souls may even fire up the smoker and make a stab at a big, old beef brisket or BBQ spare ribs. No, pizza is usually far from most of our minds when it comes to grill time.

Which is precisely why I am throwing this quick and easy, little grilled flatbread pizza number. I am a firm believer when it comes to mixing things up a little to keep them interesting. So, why not do the same during grilling season. It’s fast, easy and sure to be a hit…

Fresh Pesto Flatbread Pizza

2 cups warm water
2 packets Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sorghum syrup
5-6 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread flour
Bears Mill Corn Meal for dusting

Fresh Pesto
4 cups fresh basil
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 pinches of salt

In a food processor, add basil and 1 cup olive oil then pulse 2-3 minutes until rough chopped. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano, pine nuts and a pinch of salt. Pulse again for 1-2 minutes until nuts are well chopped and pesto is blended

Crust procedure:

Dissolve yeast in 115° warm water. Add 1 teaspoon unbleached sugar. Let bloom for 5 minutes until foam forms on the surface.

Add 2 cups unbleached bread flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon honey and 1tablespoon sorghum syrup. When yeast blooms, add warm water mixture and mix with a dough hook on low speed until combined. Add 2 additional cups of unbleached bread flour and mix until incorporated. Add final 1cup of flour and continue to blend until dough is smooth and elastic- about 3 minutes.

Turn out on to lightly floured surface. Knead in 1 cup of additional flour, working in 1/4 Cup increments. Continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic- about 10 minutes.

Divid dough into three equally sized balls. Dust a baking sheet with corn meal then place the dough on sheet and cover with a towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Roll dough on corn meal dusted surface. Place on a lightly oiled grill pan or pizza stone. Add a smear of fresh basil pesto, sliced mozzarella cheese and fresh tomato slices. Preheat grill on high to 400°. Place pizza directly over flame for about 3-4 minutes with a closed lid. When bottom crust reaches a deep golden brown, turn off grill flame and allow the pizza to bake an additional 3-5 or until mozzarella is melted.

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Can You Keep a Secret?


“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.” –A.A.Milne

“And last, but definitely not the least, I wish you food for your tummy.”

A.A.Milne being the intellectual mind and playwright behind the eternal classic Winnie the Pooh. If I were Winnie the Pooh, with his ever insatiable appetite, I would surely wish for honey. In many ways, I guess you could say that I am very Pooh-like. You see, to me, and to many others, food is love. I’ve said it before- no greater way exists to share your love for another than to nourish their body and soul with but a tiny morsel or bite.

So, when the occasion did rise to invite a few friends, new and old, to come by our humble abode for an impromptu dinner party, my main aim was to roll out all the stops and shower my guests with a full fledged, food fueled love fest!

When I was but a wee lad, I can recall my parents reveling in dinner parties of the grandest scale. Food and drink would abound and I can recall the hubbub of conversation, laughter and rollicking good times. Music was played and trays of delectable bites were placed before the guests from which to graze. A potluck of courses would ensue and I recall the look of divine contentment lingering on everyone’s faces as the evening began to wane…or maybe that was the end result of imbibing in a few too many cocktails?

Nevertheless, the indelible lore of the supper club still lingers in my mind. If you explore it’s origins a bit, you find Wikipedia describes them as such:

Supper club in United States is an American dining establishment generally found in the Upper Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. These establishments typically are located on the edge of town in rural areas. They were traditionally thought of as a “destination” where patrons would go to spend the whole evening, from cocktail hour to enjoying night club style entertainment after dinner. They feature a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

Having their birth, in part, during the latter part of Prohibition, the supper club in its earliest form was a bit of a reclusive endeavor. With folks dodging the law in order to imbibe in a few stiff drinks as an aperitif followed by a substantial intake of food to sloth it all off, the secret supper club served as an oasis from the troubles of life. We chose to keep our little affair a secret because this very blog you are reading, in conjunction with several other endeavors I have been recently undertaking, are creating quite a stir. The end result being a whispering of murmurs calling for an establishment to be formed by which one might further indulge in what I have so far, only offered to the public visually.

The Secret Supper Club, which has just been hereby outed, took place. The destination: our house on the edge of town. A decent spread was put out, drinks and good times where had by all and it has been decided to be a good and rewarding thing. Just so happens we might do it again. When and where? They are up in the air, because, after all…IT’S A SECRET!.

Beautiful photography provided by our friends Rob and Amber Garrett at Look Here Photography.

 

Supper Club guest, Michael Glass, leaves his lasting impression.

For now, we will resort to the usual and share the after effects with you. For the next coming week or so, I will relay a few of the dishes we partook in and share their recipes. Enjoy!

The Prelude- mixed charcuterie plate

Spring Crab Salad with Avocado, Peach and Jalapeño

 

½ pound jumbo lump fresh crab meat

½ Hass avocado, skin and pt removed, cut into 1/4inh cubes

1 one medium peach, cut into ¼ inch cubes

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

½ cup red onion, finely diced

¼ cup loosely pack cilantro leaves, finely chopped

½  jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

Pinch of fresh ground pepper

"Secret Recipe" Bourbon Bacon Jam

June Menu- Secret Supper Club

Appetizers/Hors D’Oeuvers

 

Charcuterie Platter

Liguria Salame

Tuscano Salame

Veneto Salame

Spicy Capicollo

Soppressata di Calabria

Cheese Platter

Bourbon Bacon Jam

White Wine and Rosemary Pickled Portobella’s

Crab Salad Cups

Cucumber with Herbed Cheese

 

Dinner

 

First Course

  • Spring Ceviche with Shrimp, Avocado, and Cucumber

 

Second Course

 

  • Arugula, Grilled Peach and Mozzarella Salad with a Balsamic Honey Dressing

 

Third Course

  • Caramelized Carrot and Ginger Soup

 

Fourth Course

  • Spring Pea and Bacon Risotto with Braised Pea Tendrils

 

Main Course

  • Sesame-Ginger Beef/Tofu and Shiitake Kebabs in Citrus Hoisin Glaze

 

Dessert Course

 

  • Avocado Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis, Crème’ Anglaise and Fresh Mint Ice Cream

 

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