Sunday, April 22, 2012

The start of grilled pizza season!

It seems like pretty much everyone on the internet was talking about pizza at home and grilled pizzas this week. Inspired by the New York Times dining section's Pizza Issue and this post from Amateur Gourmet.  

So, Jake and I made big plans (which were threatened by the on-again-off-again rain all weekend) to make grilled pizzas. 

This morning, I made Mark Bittman's pizza dough recipe and let it sit for a few hours. I subbed 1 cup of whole wheat flour into the recipe and it was a little shaggier than I expected (it didn't come together quite as firmly as in the video), so I ended up making a second batch. 

We used the cheese-sauce-toppings method described on Serious Eats' Pizza Lab post. My best pairing of toppings is this one: brussels sprouts, garlic and bacon. 

Action shot of Jake checking the pizzas.

Four delicious mini-pizzas, grilled to perfection. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cardamom Pavlova with Pistachios and Lime Whip

You're looking at our Easter 2012 dessert -- which followed an impressive spread from Jake's dad Dave (fried risotto balls, garlic spaghetti, pancetta-wrapped pork loin... and so on).

Jake and I finally got around to trying Bachelor Farmer a couple weeks back, where we we thought we might run into our "neighbor" the governor (his two sons own the restaurant) but instead, almost brushed elbows with Sen. Al Franken (he was two tables over).

We had a dessert that was similar to this, and I knew I needed to learn how to make pavolova -- which is essentially a ginormous meringue.

I've had ground cardamom from Penzey's for a few months now that I haven't really found a good use for. I followed this recipe from as a reference. I added 1 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom in the last step.

Having never really worked with meringue before, I decided to to a dry run the night before (as we were making our Easter pierogies):

Here's the dry run. I kept poking at this one every few minutes between 55 and 65 minutes of bake time to see how well done it was in the middle. In our Breville toaster/convection oven, 65 minutes at 250 F with convection on was perfect.

I didn't have enough heavy whipping cream to make two batches, so I just topped this version with some boozy berry sauce I threw together (1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup mixed frozen blackberries and raspberries, 1/2 cup sweet white wine, 1/4 cup sugar, combine over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently).

I mixed the zest of two limes, some powdered sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract into one cup of heavy whipping cream to make the whipped topping. I would have liked a little more whip, but this was the perfect amount to cover the 8-ish inch pavlova.

So, after the pavolva comes out of the oven, allow to cool slightly, spread the whipped cream, sprinkle with 2-3 good handfuls of shelled pistachios, then top with 1-2 cups of sliced strawberries.

Adapted from

For the pavlova:
4 large egg whites with no traces of yolk, at room temperature
 Pinch fine salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

(use a stand mixer with wire whisk attachment)

* Beat egg whites and salt until bubbles start to disappear (1-2 minutes), then slowly stream in the sugar. Increase whipping to medium and beat for 3-4 more minutes until stiff peaks form. Your mixture will be glossy and sticky, like marshmallow fluff.
* Sprinkle cornstarch over the surface, then pour in vanilla, vinegar and cardamom. Fold in gently until combined.
* Turn the mixture out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a rubber spatula to make a nice round shape and try to smooth it out as best you can.
* Bake at 250 F for 65 minutes if you have convection, about 75 if not.
* Cool slightly, then top with lime whipped cream, pistachios and berries.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Eggs In A Hole for April LetsLunch

Just in time for Easter, our Let's Lunch group chose to make egg dishes for our monthly "lunch date" today.

I just got back from a great week in Orlando covering the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off and visiting some friends (including my first trip into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!). So, I knew I wouldn't have much time this week for prepping a fancy egg dish.

Since joining Pinterest a few months back, I've been amazed by the number of eggs-in-a-hole style dishes I've come across. Eggs baked into toast. Eggs in a potato. Eggs in half of an avocado. It became kind of a joke for me, and I dedicated an entire Pin board to Eggs-In-A-Hole.

So, I thought it would only be fitting for me to finally try my hand at a fried egg in a toast hole today.

The bread I have at home right now is on the smaller side so I first made the hole using a small biscuit cutter.

The method for this delicious breakfast treat is super easy: you cut a hole into each slice of bread, then butter each piece. Heat a non-stick skillet, place the bread butter-side down, then crack an egg into the hole.

The first attempt: you can see the egg white sort of overflowed here. So I went back and used the next size up on my second toast.

When the egg sets on the bottom (three to five minutes), flip the whole slice of toast gently. I only left it on the other side for about a minute to let the other side of the egg set. But I'm a fan of runny egg yolks.

The best part about Eggs-In-A-Hole? Saving the cutouts to make an itty-bitty grilled cheese sandwich. I also sprinkled the leftover shredded cheese over my egg toasts.


LetsLunch is a monthly "meetup" of food bloggers from all over! Each month we choose a theme, set a date and post on the day (it's usually the first Friday of the month).

Check out the posts from the rest of our group today:

Cheryl's Chai Poh Scramble at A Tiger In The Kitchen

– Denise‘s Beet Dye & Pink Deviled Eggs at Chez Us
– Felicia‘s Perfect Sandwich at Burnt-Out Baker
– Grace‘s Scrambled Eggs & Tomatoes at HapaMama
– Joe‘s Kim-Chi Deviled Eggs at Joe Yonan
– Linda‘s Home-made Cadbury Eggs (Maple Chocolate Eggs) at Free Range Cookies
– Linda‘s Taiwanese Tomato Eggs at Spicebox Travels
– Lisa‘s Legendary Egg & Onion at Monday Morning Cooking Club
– Lucy‘s Old-Fashioned Boiled Dressing (& Chicken Salad) at A Cook And Her Books
– Rashda‘s Bombay Toasts (Spicy French Toasts) at Hot Curries And Cold Beer
Want to join us? Send us a tweet and introduce yourself using the hashtag #letslunch
What's your favorite egg dish?