Thursday, June 30, 2011

Grilled Pizza Update and Lilly Love

First, A photo of some cute little plums I picked up at the farmer's market.
They were smaller than most plums I have seen so I had to get them- I love mini food!
Last night we had friends over for dinner. We made grilled pizza with homemade pizza dough. It was by far the best dough I have ever made and it worked wonderfully on the grill!! I would highly suggest this recipe to anyone interested in making homemade dough. As crazy as it may sound, the dough is made with ICE COLD water, chilled flour, and is kept in the refrigerator over night. And to make things even crazier, there is no sugar or sweetener added to activate the yeast! It is a delayed-fermentation method. And it works. I swear. I never would have guessed that anything made with yeast would successfully go through this method. Apparently I don't know much about the inner workings of pizza dough. The recipe for the pizza dough can be found here, from one of my favorite places to find reliable recipes- 101 Cookbooks

Unfortunately, I don't have any beautiful pictures to show you, because we were too busy chatting and having a good time for me to take the time to really focus on photo taking (that could be looked at as fortunately too...) I did snap a few quick pictures that will give you an idea. I love our "rustic" looking pizzas.

I'll start with Nate and Brandon, pizza dough shaping professionals.
Our colorful veggie toppings.
Our dough cooking.
Our custom made pizzas!
Our spread. A little dog wanted to be included too.
We did grill our pizza's on foil. I looked at it as my "training wheels" for grilling pizza dough. I'll step out of my comfort zone a little more next time and put it straight on the grill! For dessert, we stuck with the grill theme and made grilled nectarines with blueberry soft serve. A perfect all fruit ending! Having a create-your-own-pizza night is definitely a fun and easy way to entertain.

Today I pulled out my Lilly Pulitzer books for some fourth of July inspiration. I love love love these books! They have such cute pictures and ideas (although, any recipe idea I get always has to be "veganized" in some way). If you didn't already know, Lilly Pulitzer may have been the inspiration for my cute dog Lilly's name.
I took a few pictures of some of the adorable drawings in these books. Looking at this always makes me miss Palm Beach.
Now I want to go sailing and sip tropical drinks!
Here are a few vintage Lilly pics from her book. Love these!
I am hoping to share another fourth of July recipe soon. I do have a few red, white, and blue recipes here and here. In the meantime, I will be working on emulating everything about this picture, while on a bike ride.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberry Blueberry Oat Bars

I was SO excited that we were finally able to go to a Pops in the Park and not get rained out! We brought our picnic basket, blanket, and our cute dog. We met up with friends and had fun chatting and popping champagne (actually it was prosecco, if I am being technical). Lilly and Lacey had fun begging for picnic food and licking the outside of our champagne glasses. Lacey is a star on her mom's website happy puppy lucky lady.
Pops in the park is one of my favorite things about summer. I love picnicking while listening to the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra! This tradition is one thing that defines the meaning of summer for me.

I was thrilled when I recently received my Whole Living magazine in the mail and saw an article entitled "Raw Food for the Rest of Us". I love trying raw food recipes and there are some yummy sounding dishes in this month's issue! I decided to try making the strawberry oat bars, with my own adjustments and adaptions (mostly based on what I already had in my pantry and fridge). As an added bonus, there is no slaving over a hot stove for this delightful dessert. This recipe is a keeper!
Strawberry Blueberry Oat Bars

1 1/2 cup pitted, chopped dates
1/4 cup raw cashews
3 tablespoons rolled oats
pinch sea salt
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup blueberries

Pulse dates, nuts, oats, and salt in a food processor until combined (I had to do mine in small batches to keep the dates from clumping up too much). Firmly press the date mixture into the bottom of a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Mash 1/2 cup of the strawberries and spread on top of date mixture. Top with remaining strawberries and all the blueberries. Slice into 6 squares.
Perfect colors for a fourth of July dessert!
Seriously delicious. Every. Last. Bite.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grilled Pizza & My Favorite Salad

I love grilled pizza! I make it every summer, but somehow totally forgot about it this season until today! We just use tortillas for the crust but are going to experiment with pizza dough later this week.
Update: Click here for a fantastic pizza dough recipe!
All we do is grill one side (on low heat-it crisps up fast), flip, remove from grill and top with desired toppings, then put it back on the grill for a few more minutes. I topped mine with tomato sauce, Daiya Cheese, broccoli, yellow cherry tomatoes, red pepper, broccoli, zucchini, kalamata olives, and fresh basil. Now that's what I call a veggie pizza! I was also going to top it with some grilled eggplant, but it was too pretty to cut up yet. Maybe tomorrow :)
Another summer recipe I forgot about was mixed green salad with strawberries and orange-avocado dressing. It is such a unique and perfect combination. The dressing compliments the strawberries nicely.
Mixed Green Salad with Strawberries and Orange-Avocado Dressing

1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup orange juice
salt and pepper to taste
mixed greens
zucchini or summer squash thinly sliced or put through a spiral slicer
sliced fresh strawberries
shelled sunflower seeds

Puree the avocado, orange juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth to make a dressing. Place mixed greens and zucchini/summer squash in a bowl. Top with fresh strawberries and sprinkle with sunflower seeds, then drizzle with orange-avocado dressing.
I love making delicious old recipes that were forgotten about! I also love old mason jars and cute spoons holding fruit. What's not to love about that?
Don't you have a craving for cherries now? Or is that just me...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lo-Mein & Pretty Fruit

Let's start with some pretty little things I picked up at the farmer's market today.
Pretty seems the perfect word for this simple treat! More photos to come after we discuss dinner. Probably too many photos- I got a little carried away taking pictures of this fruit and will try to constrain myself when deciding which ones to post. Otherwise, you may never want to see a blackberry again...

Dinner tonight was one of our all-time favorites that has been in the menu rotation for quite awhile. It is filling and healthy compared to most lo-meins. I like to bulk up my pasta dishes with tons of veggies!
The chopping is somewhat time consuming, due to all those veggies. But totally worth it!
Adapted from FatFree Vegan

7 ounces Napa Cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup pea pods, chopped
1 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili paste
4 oz extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 teaspoons tamari
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
8 ounces whole wheat pasta
2 teaspoons minced ginger root
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tamari
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (or to taste)

Combine cabbage, carrots, pepper, pea pods, broccoli, and chili paste and set aside.

Combine tofu with 2 teaspoons tamari and 1 teaspoon rice vinegar. Heat a non-stick wok (spray with oil still) add tofu mixture and cook (flipping tofu occasionally) until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from wok.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Spray the wok again, add the ginger and garlic, the cabbage mixture, and the remaining tablespoon of tamari. Stir fry 3-4 minutes. Add a few teaspoons water if needed. Add the drained pasta and tofu to the wok. Drizzle with sesame oil. Gently fold all ingredients together. Serve additional chili sauce and sesame oil on the side.

Then make a pretty fruit plate for dessert.
My overgrown cilantro produced coriander seeds! 
Have you seen enough fruit yet? We will end with a collage. 
But don't worry, the photo display isn't over yet! Nate called me out back as I was typing this and gave specific instructions to bring my camera. I am so glad I listened to him (shockingly, this isn't always the case). I'd say this fits in the pretty category too.
Then, when the sunset had diminished, we lit sparklers... because we had them... and they are pretty too.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Simple Things

overgrown herbs from my herb garden
seeding grass
vanilla beans
wild flowers
florist flowers
partly cloudy skies
can you spot the bee?
yes, it's the simple things i love