Grilled Pizza with Mushroom and Fontina

by Michelle on May 17, 2016

Johnny and I started grilling pizza years ago, and every summer we try to come up with new combinations of ingredients. A few seasons ago it was white clam with bacon. Last summer, it was vodka sauce with peas and fresh mozzarella. Before that, fig, goat cheese and walnut pesto. And then there are our old standbys: fresh tomato, basil and mozz; kalamata olives, grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, red onion and feta; and pesto with mozzarella and roasted red peppers. If you’ve been to our house for a meal in the summer, chances are we’ve grilled you a pizza.

When we lived in the city, we often ordered pizza from a place down the block called Veloce. It’s not there anymore, which is a shame, because they had the most amazing mushroom pizza we’ve ever tasted. No gummy button mushrooms and congealed mozz here. This baby was topped with a mix of more exotic mushrooms, like hen of the woods, parsley, garlic and a blend of cheeses. It was fantastic. We still talk about this pizza. Which is why we wanted to recreate it ourselves. A trip to Whole Foods yielded a decent blend of mushrooms (oyster, chanterelle, shitaki, cremini) and I picked up fontina, fresh mozzarella, garlic and parsley. We were ready to begin.

I should tell you that our pizza making skills have improved vastly over the years. Our early attempts looked more like the United States then a round or square pizza. Friends are always interested in our pizza grilling technique so I took pictures of each step:

dough

I don’t make my own dough. I could, but I really like the multigrain dough from Terranova Bakery. I get it at Whole Foods. It also comes in white and whole wheat. I buy it by the dozen and freeze it. I take it out in the morning, put it in a greased bowl, cover it with a dish towel and let it thaw and rise all afternoon.

 

doughrolledout

Once the dough is ready to roll out, I place it on a floured mat and roll it out as thin as possible. Try to get it as round as possible too.

 

doughrolledoutonpanNext, I brush a baking sheet liberally with olive oil and then gently place the dough on it, pressing the dough into the pan, which also helps it take shape.

 

doughongrillAt this point, Johnny takes over. I help him carry the dough onto the grill grates, oil side down. He straightens it out with tongs, brushes the top side with more olive oil and closes the grill. We use all burners on medium high. After a minute or two, check to see that the bottom has grill marks, then flip it. Add your toppings, turn the heat down to low and close the grill.

doughongrillwithtoppingsOnce the cheese has melted and the bottom is browned to your liking, place a large cutting board close to the front edge of your grill and quickly slide the pizza onto it. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting, to let the cheese and toppings settle.

 

Mushroomfontinapizza

Grilled Pizza with Mushroom and Fontina

1 ball of multigrain dough (prepped according to the aforementioned directions)

1 1/2 cups fontina cheese, grated

1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound of mushrooms (chanterelle, oyster, cremini, shitaki, etc.), stemmed and chopped

Parsley

Olive oil

Prep your dough. In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive until just softened. Set aside. Grate and slice the cheeses, and dice up the parsley and garlic. Once the dough is ready to be topped, place the sliced mozzarella evenly across the pizza and then add the fontina. Cover the pizza with the chopped mushrooms, garlic and parsley. Grill until the cheese is melted and the bottom is browned to your liken. Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.

 

 

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Michelle on April 9, 2016

The other day my BFF Christie texted me to ask if I’d ever tried Enjoy Life’s line of chocolate chips. She was making Paleo-friendly chocolate chip cookies and that brand is deemed acceptable by the Paleo Powers That Be. I hadn’t tried them, but I’ve had other products that Enjoy Life makes and I am always impressed with the taste and quality. But back to the cookie recipe. I try not to eat a lot of sugar so I am always interested in recipes that are healthier versions of traditional favorites. She reported that the cookies were really good despite the fact that they didn’t have any flour, butter or sugar—typical ingredients in a chocolate chip cookie. I got the recipe from her and so far I’ve made two batches—one with regular dark chocolate chips, one with the Enjoy Life brand, which I found at Whole Foods (plenty of grocery stores carry them as well as a slew of online retailers.)

Wow. As with their other products, these Enjoy Life chips did not disappoint. They’re dairy, nut and soy free and contain 69 percent cacao, making them a super clean chocolate for those of you who care about that sort of thing. They’re also an excellent alternative for kids with food allergies who might not be able to eat “regular” cookies. I cannot say enough good things about this product (full disclosure: I do have a contact at Enjoy Life and they are very generous with their samples, but I bought the bag of chips used in these cookies.)

OK, but enough about the chips. Now let’s talk about the cookies. I love this recipe. Christie told me that the batter was really good, though she did wonder if that’s just because she is off sugar and anything with even a hint of sweetness is now fantastic. After tasting it myself, I would agree that it’s surprisingly good. It almost tastes like a samoa cookie, probably because of the almond flour and coconut oil. I used Trader Joe’s almond meal, which is the cheapest almond meal I have found, but almond flour/meal is available at most major grocery chains these days so you shouldn’t have trouble finding it. (Be prepared for it to be pricey: $7-10 a bag, but worth it. You can use it to make these chicken fingers too.)

If you’re trying to watch your sugar intake, these cookies will satisfy your craving and you won’t feel guilty indulging. They’re also super easy to make and only need 10 minutes in the oven, so making a batch is simple. This is a good thing because they go fast. Also, if you don’t have the Enjoy Life chips, it’s fine to make them with regular ones. They’ll have a little more sugar but will still be healthier than a traditional cookie.

Paleocookies

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Paleo For Dummies)

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup honey

1 egg, room temperature

3/4 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the coconut oil, vanilla, honey and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well to combine. Mix in the chocolate chips, then cover and refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven for 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll the dough into 12 balls. Bake for five minutes, then remove from the oven and flatten the cookies slightly with the back of a spoon. Bake for five minutes more. If you like softer, chewier cookies, remove them from the oven. Otherwise let the bake for another couple of minutes. Let the cookies cool for a minute before transferring to a wire rack.

 

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Buffalo Cauliflower

by Michelle on April 6, 2016

You’ve probably already had buffalo cauliflower (and if you haven’t, you need to remedy this immediately.) Cauliflower is having a moment right now and with good reason. Not only is it delicious, but so versatile. You can even make “tater” tots with it! I usually just roast it at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s simple and flavorful, the best kind of veggie prep. But then I discovered this recipe for buffalo-style cauliflower last winter and we love it so much that the time has come for me to tell you all about it too. I found the recipe I use on the blog Ben and Birdy but I changed up the ratios a bit because I almost always run out of the batter. I don’t know if I just buy abnormally large heads of cauliflower but I always find myself having to mix more batter, mid- dipping. With these new ratios listed below, I had plenty to coat all of my florets.

A Facebook friend recently asked whether buffalo cauliflower was really worth it. I immediately chimed in with a resounding YES! No it doesn’t taste like a chicken wing, but this buffalo sauce is so good you won’t miss the meat. Plus, the cauliflower develops a nice crunch which is satisfying without all of the greasy frying. Serve this dish as an appetizer at your next event with a side of blue cheese and it’ll be gone in seconds!

Buffalocauliflower

Buffalo Cauliflower (adapted from Ben and Birdy)

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

Cooking spray

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray (I like the coconut oil spray from Trader Joe’s.) Combine the rice flour, water, salt and garlic powder in a bowl until smooth.  Dip the head of each floret into the batter and place on the baking sheet. The batter will pool off of it but this is OK. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for 5 minutes more. While the florets are in the oven, place the butter in a glass measuring cup and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until fully melted. Stir the Red Hot right into the butter. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and, using a brush, coat the florets with the hot sauce mixture. (If you run out, you can always add a smidge more melted butter and hot sauce until you have enough to coat each piece.) Place the cauliflower back into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes more or until the florets crisp up and the sauce is absorbed. Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes (if you can stop yourself from pouncing on them!) and serve with blue cheese dressing.

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