recipe-a-week #24: pizza on the barbeque

Pizza on the barbeque is one of those things that I've heard people rave about, but never thought it could be worth the extra effort. I was wrong-o: it is definitely worth it! Adam found a fantastic recipe in Men's Health magazine, of all places (to me, every cover looks exactly the same and the content seems, well, mostly kind of silly. That's all that I'll say about that.)

This pizza is crusty and just plain perfect. I guess that's all there is to say about it, except that if you have a barbeque, try it. And you do need to plan ahead a bit for the dough, but I don't think you'll be disappointed.

The original recipe seems to be geared toward someone unfamiliar with cooking, and is really lengthy. I've copied it below, with a few adjustments we made, and some instructions omitted. Enjoy!

Pizza, Hot off the Grill
adapted from Men's Health magazine

Step 1: Develop Your Dough

What you'll need:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups warm water (77° to 81°F)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/8 tsp salt

How to make it:
1. Let the yeast dissolve in the warm water for about 5 minutes.

2. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a depression in the middle, pour the yeast and water into it, and combine the dry and wet ingredients by hand until the dough starts to come together. Keep working the dough with the palms of your hands for a few minutes, and then let it rest at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until it doubles in size. Now punch it down, squeezing out all the air bubbles. Cut the dough into four equal pieces and shape them into balls. Place them in the fridge for another 2 hours.

3. For each pizza, dust your table and the top of a dough ball with flour. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Use the tips of your fingers to stretch it outward to a 10-inch circle, with the edges thicker than the center. Leftover dough (kept in ball form) will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

Step 2: Whip Up The Sauce

What you'll need:
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes

How to make it:

Wash your hands and dump the entire contents of the can into a bowl. Squeeze each tomato until the sauce is smooth but not soupy. Chunks are okay.

Tip: Apply the sauce using a wide, flat spoon, instead of a deep ladle, for a more uniform consistency.

Step 3: Assemble Your Toppings

Pecorino Romano/Parmesan
These cheeses work as a salt substitute.

It's summer, and you can grow these fresh herbs in a garden plot, or even on your windowsill.

Shop at an Italian market, or try marianofoods.com.

White Pizza

Usually a mix of cheeses, punched up with finely chopped garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cut them thin to speed cooking.

Step 4: Crank The Grill

Bring the heat
1. Charcoal Use a chimney starter; lighter fluid tastes lousy. When the coals are hot, toss on a handful of presoaked wood chips (apple or cherry) and wait until the chips start smoking.

2. Gas/Electric Ratchet the heat to 500°F, and then lower to medium or medium low. The grates will be hot enough to cook your crust.

Fire the crust

Transfer the crust onto the grill using a well-floured pizza board or cookie tray. Grill the crust uncovered for 20 seconds, or until the dough is slightly charred and rigid. Rotate it 90 degrees and cook for another 20 seconds. Now flip the crust; cook it for another 30 seconds. Remove it from the grill.

Fire the toppings

With the crosshatched side up, top your pizza. Return it to the heat and cover the grill. Cook the pie for 2 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts, the ingredients cook through, and the bottom is well charred.

Remove the pizza and finish it with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous shake of Parmesan or pecorino Romano. Cut into quarters and serve.

*Note: we topped ours with the tomato sauce, basil, local ground beef we needed to use up, and some mozza. I can't wait to try it again using more herbs and some other topping variations. Yum!


missed a few...

Ha! Just when you thought I was out of vacation pictures (and I did, too), I found a few more. Some of my favourites, actually. There. I think that's it.

*Things are looking tidy around our little abode. We did a number on the office yesterday, and I whizzed through the shed this morning. Now we can actually get in and find what we need. It is SO satisfying.*


s'mores and sweet boys

My in-law family is convinced that they've come up with the ultimate s'more technique. I'm inclined to agree. You smoosh a small piece of high-quality dark chocolate into the middle of a marshmallow, and make your little sandwich. (Making my own graham crackers is on my list of things to do this summer, but it hasn't happened yet.) Then, you need one of those toasty campfire rack things (I think they're usually used for toast, or fish or something) and carefully toast your s'mores evenly. This way, the graham cracker gets toasted, too, which makes them perfect. Absolutely perfect.
When we were at the cottage, we had some company! Alasdair and his mama came to visit for a bit, and we had a grand time. A and P checked each other out for awhile, and we read some books. But the highlight for the boys were the cars.

How cute, no?

I'm feeling a little bit sad that I think I've finally reached the end of the vacation pictures. It was such a lovely time, so very relaxing and fun, that I don't want it to be over. Now we just have to start looking forward to next year!

And I'm off to make a chicken pot pie for supper...

Edited to add: Adam took the pictures of the boys.


'dough' dough, bread dough, and bean blossoms

Take a look at this! Amidst the other miscellaneous papers and pictures on the fridge, here's the stub which was once attached to a cheque. Which was sent to me. For the use of one of my pictures. In Enroute magazine! It's of soap; funnily enough, not even my soap. I'll post about it again once I receive my copy of the magazine.
I made a batch of my Grammie's bread last week when I made rappie pie. The dough is so beautiful.
I took this photo last week, and now the blossoms are almost gone on our little bush beans. Which means the beans are on their way, yipee!

I've been on a bit of a cleaning kick today, and it is so satisfying. It ended up pouring rain on the day we were planning on cleaning the shed (like just about every other day in recent memory - blast!) so that remains undone. Which means it's still a bit tricky to get in there. Maybe we'll tackle it this week. Along with some more painting on the outside of the house. We're having some windows replaced this week, and the guy we hired to come and do part of the painting is hoping to come next week, if the weather cooperates. All in all, I'm feeling quite productive. But all of this work is making me sleepy. I think it's time for a nap. Hope you're having a great weekend!


Ingrid's 365

My pal Ingrid did a 365 project on flickr, and has a little show of some of her images on display for the rest of the month at th'YARC, our local theatre. My camera battery died while we were at her opening last week, and this is the only picture I got. Which I think is kind of hilarious, since P is saying "There's a light up there!" and how could you help but look? Ingrid also got herself written up in the paper for her project. If you're local, pop in and see some of the photos! If you're not, you can see the set here.


recipe-a-week #23: rappie pie (or, rapure)

Like any casserole-type dish, it's difficult to take a pretty picture of rappie (pronounced 'raw-pee', har har, emphasis on 'raw') pie, or 'rapure', as it's known in French. It looks like slimy goo. Or some other worse things I won't describe. So I took a video clip for you instead. (I'm getting over a cold, so my voice is a bit rough in the video.) Despite how vile and alien-like it appears, no less than five non-members of our household enjoyed some of the spoils since yesterday and said that this was a delicious rappie pie. I'm tickled.

So what exactly is rappie pie? It's a traditional Acadian dish (my mom's Acadian), which is essentially potatoes and chicken. Back in the day, people would have grated their own potatoes and pressed out the liquid; now, we can buy 'rappie pie mix' (which isn't really a mix; all that's in it is the potato starch with the liquid removed, saving hours of torment) at local grocery stores. So unless you're inclined to do the grating or are local, you're probably not going to be too keen on making this recipe. If you're in Nova Scotia, you can buy the D'Eon's mix at these locations. But even if you'll never make it, I wanted to share it with you anyway, because it's the very best comfort food, and will give you an excuse to come and visit.

Rappie Pie

1 large bag Rappie Pie mix
1 whole chicken
2-3 onions (I used a bunch of three from the farmer's market, tops and all)
salt, pepper

*Note: this will feed an army. Of course, you could buy a smaller package and halve the recipe, which would feed approximately half an army.

In a large pot, boil chicken with onions, salt and pepper until cooked. Discard onions and pick apart the chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a huge bowl, break up rappie pie mix, and slowly pour in hot broth, for a total of approximately 20 cups of liquid. Add in 1/2 cup of butter, and a bit more salt and pepper. Stir well. Pour half of the mixture into a huge pan (12x18), spread chicken on top, and pour the rest of the potato mixture on top. Bake at 350 for three hours. The top will become brown and crusty and perfect. My favourite way to eat it is with butter and molasses. Some people prefer only butter; some, only molasses. I prefer both. Sweet and salty, YUM!

Note 2: maybe not the best idea to have the oven on all day on a hot summer day, because of choosing to make bread and rappie pie in tandem.

Note 3: I know that I'm cramming in lots of recipes this week, rather than spreading them out as I had originally intended. I'm hoping to end up with 52 in December, one way or another. I seem to be on a cooking kick at the moment. I'm sure that will change shortly; I can sense a sewing kick coming on.


recipe-a-week #22: mother-in-law's lasagna

Pardon the one tiny piece of cold, refrigerated lasagna picture. It really doesn't do the recipe justice. That was all that was left by the time I realized that this is a recipe worth sharing, and a picture-less post is always a little bit sad to me. Especially when it involves food.

I'm not a crazy lasagna lover, but I'll eat it. Once in awhile is enough for me. I think that one trouble with lasagna is that people overdo it and add in too many extraneous things. (Namely green papper, which I think is way too strong a flavour in lasagna and most other things. But if you like it, toss some in!) My mother-in-law makes an very simple, excellent lasagna, and since I made some the other day, I thought I would share the recipe with you. It's quick and easy to put together, and is a simple way to feed a crowd, should they descend upon your house. And if you double it up and make two pans, you can freeze one (uncooked) and have it at the ready. It's also a nice thing to give to someone who has just had a baby, is recovering from surgery, or who you just like. Reading the recipe, it doesn't sound like it should be nearly as delicious as it is, and looking at that picture, it doesn't look too grand, either. But please take my word for it; it's very, very good. Here goes:

Mother-in-law's Lasagna

Brown 1 lb ground beef (we use the local, happy-cow beef from the market which is SO tasty)
well with pepper in a large pot, then add:

1 small (6oz) can tomato paste
1 large can tomato sauce, plus one more small can if using the precooked noodles (which I do)
1-2 tsp sugar (I forgot it this time, but it was still yummy)
At this point, you can add in mushrooms if you like. (Adam can't eat them, so I made it sans mushrooms.)

Heat thoroughly. Grab a 9x13 pan, and start layering as follows:
Meat sauce
Noodles (about 5 noodles per layer)
Meat sauce
Lasagna-style cottage cheese (500mL container) with parmesan grated on top
Meat sauce
Grated mozzarella on top with a bit more parmesan

Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and a knife easily cuts through noodles. Enjoy!

I have rappie pie bubbling away in the oven right now, and am going to take pictures post haste. If you don't know what rappie pie is, I feel a wee bit sorry for you, but I'll enlighten you tomorrow. Happy Wednesday!


not quite the last of the vacation pics

I was on vacation, with doting grandparents wanting to look after our boy - what did I have to do other than take pictures? These lovely purple flowers were in the ditch by the cottage we stayed in. I have no idea what they are, but aren't they pretty?
We stayed for one night at Chipman Hill Suites in Saint John. I highly, highly recommend staying there if you're in Saint John. The suites are in heritage buildings which have been renovated into suites. It's very affordable, extremely clean (I couldn't find a speck of dust), and it really was a pleasure to stay there. Our room was lovely:
and very comfortable. They have several buildings, and the one we were in is very close to the City Market. We were able to walk everywhere we wanted to go, which included breakfast at Cora's. YUM. I thought of you, JW!

Today will be fun - my parents will be watching P, and since the weather isn't suitable for painting but won't be pouring, Adam and I have a date to clean the shed! Yeee-haw! (Seriously, I'm excited.)


Kingston Farmers Market and Chestnut Acres

The Kingston Peninsula is beautiful. So are these guys:

We visited the Kingston Farmers Market last Saturday, and it was fantastic. I especially loved two booths; the Cedar Lane Farm Authentic Foods (unfortunately, no website) guy (he was just one of those people you want to hang out with, you know?) and Melissa from the Hampton Soap Co. She makes lovely cold process soaps, is very very sweet, and does a mean swirl in her anise soap.

Our market here in Yarmouth is in its third summer, and is still quite small. It is growing each year, though, and it is so lovely to be able to pick up real food that we need from people we know. There's been an ongoing effort to house the market in a permanent facility, and seeing the Kingston market in action has me more enthused than ever. In the last photo, we were awaiting our breakfast in a beautiful, bright room with a giant community of people. It was fantastic, and I hope I can find myself in a similar situation here in Yarmouth in a few years.

We also visited Chestnut Acres, an organic farm run by some people we know. It was so lovely of them to have us, and we had a great time. P was a bit upset about the group of lambs loudly requesting their mothers and the chickens that flew up at him, but in the ened he fed an apple to a horse and everything was okay.

Check out this link for a list of farmers markets, farms, and other organic resources here in the Maritimes. And this is the site for ACORN; the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network's site. They also have a blog, here, with lots of information about regulation and what's going on for organic farmers.


more vacation pics (mostly of P, of course)

P literally spent hours opening and closing the door, and holding it open for people to go through. Hours. His first word after "Mama" and "Dada" was "door". And he still loves them.

Carrying rocks to throw in the water is a very important mission in a two year old's life. Check out that stern face.
When asked what he was doing, Phillip replied, "Relaxing."
Boggles, the boy who wore goggles, is back! And check out those lips. Do you remember when he was a few weeks old and we put goggles on him? That didn't go so smoothly.

I love these flip-flops. They're two years old and starting to look a bit worn, but they are the first pair I grab on my way out the door.

Okay, I'm almost done with the vacation pics. Except for the post about the Kingston Farmer's Market that I've been promising. Hopefully tomorrow - hope you're having a good weekend!


the new terrarium

I requested The New Terrarium through our local library awhile ago, and I can't for the life of me recall where I heard about it or what possessed me to look up books on terrariums. That's the only problem with requesting books from other libraries in the province - by the time the book is finally in my hands, I've forgotten the kick I was on. But now I'm back on the terrarium bandwagon. I haven't read the whole book yet, and the first section is a bit redundant and over-zealous about how terrariums can change your life, but there are lots of good instructions on making terrariums, choosing suitable materials, and caring for them. None of which I've gotten to, yet. But, since I'm always a wee bit impatient to do things, I tossed a bit of moss and some rocks in one of my many, many jars, and I'm waiting to see what happens.

The moss was free; I was looking for some at a garden centre, and there were two sad-looking trays of it laying on top of a box. I asked the lady how much they were, and she said "Oh, that's my compost pile. You can have them!" Yes, please! The roots were so tight and dry that I just tossed them into the jar with some water and the rocks to let them loosen up a bit, and by the time I finish the book, I'll know what to do with them.

Have you ever had a terrarium? What was it in, and what was in it? Happy Friday!


Saint John City Market & the new washer

One place I love in Saint John, which we visited while on vacation, is the City Market. It's a perpetual market with everything from a mini British-foods-only grocery stand to ice cream, from tacky souvenirs to beautiful soap at Olivier.
I thought this man at the meat counter was adorable.
The whole market is on an odd kind of slant, which, strangely, makes it extra-appealing.

We had a lovely time there, as always. We also visited the Kingston Market last Saturday, which deserves its own post. It was fantastic. If I were getting married, I would have the wedding there on a Saturday morning. It was that kind of atmosphere. Oh, right - I'm saving that for another post.

Back here at home, this is the old beasty washer that finally bit the dust. It was given to us several years ago, and served us very well. But I am happy to report that I finally got over the paralyzing options in the world of washers, and bought a new set yesterday. It was delivered this morning, and my first load came out so clean and fluffi-fied. Beautiful.

Phillip insisted on posing with the new appliances. This is the face he makes when asked for a smile. Too cute! I'll spare you the details of the washer shopping drama, but I got a good deal on this set, from a local store, and they're fancier than I thought we would be getting. I'm excited for a new chapter in laundry history.


rockin' out

Phillip loves, nay, adores, Johnny Cash.

mellowed out

I'm back from a lovely, peaceful, relaxing vacation, and I am feeling so much better. I think I needed that more than I thought I did.

We're in the midst of the post-vacation unpacking and catching up frenzy. The lettuce is taking over, the tomatoes are up to my waist, and the lawn is getting ready to take over the neighbourhood. I need to go to the library after P wakes up to return some long overdue books (oops) and pay for one he shredded. Note: don't give the boy a flap book to take in his crib for a nap.

I have so many fun pictures to share from our little holiday, and I can't wait to catch up with all of you. In the meantime, here's a little project I tackled before we left. Pantry cupboard before:

And after:
This is the kind of thing that I can picture someone looking at and thinking "Could she possibly have any more time on her hands, if she's posting pictures of pantry cupboards?" But it is so satisfying to know what I have, and where everything is again. Oh, and the Craisins were on serious sale, which is why there's such an abundance in the cupboard. Do you see all of my Yogi tea? Mmm. The vodka isn't my afternoon fix, but my vanilla, and even though it looks kind of funny there, that shelf is the perfect place for my 2 cup measuring cup. What do your cupboards look like?