Flatbread Pizza

Crisp, cracker-crusted flatbread, topped with any pizza toppings. The crust can be made ahead and frozen, then topped and baked just before serving.

Flatbread Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups AP Flour
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water, lukewarm
1 tbsp sugar
1 pkg dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
Cornmeal for dusting

Flatbread Instructions:
Place the flour and salt in a bowl and blend the salt evenly into the flour.

Add the sugar and yeast to the warm water and stir. Allow the water-yeast mixture to sit for about 3 or 4 minutes and when foamy on top, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir.

Add the yeast-water to the flour and mix until the dough forms a ball. Knead the dough until smooth consistency.

Place dough in a large bowl that has been brushed with olive oil. Roll the ball around in the bowl to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rest for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

While your dough is rising, place fire bricks on gas grill and turn on all burners. Preheat to 500+ degrees.

Deflate the dough with your hands and cut into 4-6 pieces.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a floured surface to desired shape and thickness. The thinner the better for crisp, cracker crust.

Sprinkle the cornmeal over the surface of a pizza peel. Place the rolled-out dough on top of the cornmeal. Pierce the dough a few times with a fork (to keep it from puffing up) and place the dough directly on hot oven/grill fire bricks, sliding the dough off the sheet and onto the hot stone or tiles. Keep an eye on the crust and continue to poke holes into it if it puffs up.

Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the dough just begins to brown, and remove from the grill/oven onto pizza peel. Repeat with all dough pieces. Slide all the baked crusts onto a cooling rack to prevent them from becoming soggy.

Pizza Instructions:
Top crust with toppings, and place back on grill bricks until the crust is browned and cheese is melted, if using, about 5 – 10 minutes.

Check out these ideas for pizza toppings and pizza sauce as well as an alternate pizza dough recipe.

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Posted in Beth's Recipes

Sweet and Salty Grilled Pork

Forget miserable pork chops! Pork shoulder is the answer to delicious, moist pork.

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder
Kosher salt and black pepper
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 4 limes)

Preparation

1. Using a sharp knife, slice pork shoulder crosswise into 1-inch-thick steaks. (Depending on the shape and cut of your shoulder, some pieces may not stay together in a steak shape; this is O.K.) Season pork with salt and pepper and place in a resealable plastic bag.

2. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and 1/2 cup lime juice in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour half of the mixture over the pork and let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the grill, flipping bag to turn pork once or twice to make sure all of it is getting enough attention from the marinade. (There’s no need to refrigerate, unless you are working ahead, in which case you should refrigerate until ready to grill.)

3. Light gas grill, heat it on high; make sure the grill is as hot as it can get. Bring a clean dish out to the grill for the pork to rest in after cooking.

4. Once the grill is sufficiently hot, grill the pork until deeply browned and lightly charred on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.

5. Remove the pork from the grill and let rest a minute or two on a plate to catch the juices.

6. Slice the pork about 1/4 inch thick. Drizzle the remaining lime dressing over the sliced pork. Serve alone, on rice, or noodles.

Posted in Beth's Recipes

Thai Cucumber Salad

INGREDIENTS
Dressing
• 1/3 cup rice vinegar
• 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
• 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
• 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1/2 tsp salt
Salad
• 2 large cucumbers
• 1-2 green onions

INSTRUCTIONS
1. In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and salt. Set the dressing aside to give it time to blend.

2. Peel and slice the cucumber using your favorite method (I like “striping” leaving 50% peel on cukes).
3. Slice the green onions.

4. Add the cucumbers and green onions to the dressing. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

OPTIONS: chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, cilantro

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Posted in Beth's Recipes

Fresh Blueberry Cobbler

Ingredients
• 3 cups fresh blueberries
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup milk, slightly warmed
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 stick butter, melted
• optional 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375. F.
2. In a medium bowl, add blueberries and 1/2 cup sugar. **
3. Stir to coat berries in sugar and set aside.
4. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, remaining sugar and optional cinnamon.
5. Stir together milk, vanilla extract and melted butter.
6. Add in milk, vanilla extract and melted butter to the flour mixture.
7. Stir just until combined. (A few lumps are perfect. Do not over stir or crust will be rubbery)
8. Grease a 9-inch casserole dish.
9. Pour batter evenly into dish.
10. Spoon berries evenly on top of batter. Do NOT stir.
11. Baked for 35-40 minutes (may need longer) or until golden.
12. Serve warm or cold.

** first batch I put 1 cup of blueberries/sugar mix in pan and lightly boiled with small amount of water to make syrup consistency. Will try this with orange juice if it’s on hand.

Note: first try oven was closer to 400 which worked well.
Try other berries!

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Blueberry Cobbler

Thanks to Divas Can Cook

Posted in Beth's Recipes

The Great Lobstah Hunt Bicycle Tour

Summary of The Great Lobstah Hunt Bicycle Tour

Tour days: 7
Miles ridden: 515
Total elevation: 32,745
Lobstah Shacks: 4
Lesson learned: order fresh, boiled lobstah and forget lobstah rolls!

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Taste of Maine: locals call this restaurant “Waste of Maine”

Day 1

When hunting lobstahs you have to make your way to the coast of Maine. Don’t let anyone convince you that good lobsters can be found anywhere. They can’t. Those are imitation lobsters!

The first thing on my agenda was to fuel up. That meant a stop in Plymouth, NH at the Main Street Station restaurant for chocolate chip banana walnut pancakes. They are the best!

I stopped for the night, ahead of schedule due to massive tailwind, in Alton Bay, NH at a lovely motel right on Lake Winnipesaukee; gorgeous view. 50 miles to go to the sea; lobstahs here I come!

Day 2

Welcome Maine! 25 miles to the coast!

First stop: The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, ME. Truth be told it was a bust. Wicked expensive and not particularly good. In fact, not good at all; $50 for lobster roll, a few fried clams, a drink. Toureesta Trap!! The lobster was cold and very chewy and not \ flavorful. Did I mention the color was grayish? The fried clams were OK but not the big belly clams I remembered as a kid. This is not where locals go to have a lobster roll. So while I will continue my hunt for lobster I might not actually get lobster rolls unless there’s a compelling reason like a local tells me it’s the best lobster roll ever. It’s too likely a lobster roll will be filled with old, subpar meat.

I had a wonderful visit with Mim and Roger that afternoon; they saved my bacon when my tire blew out. The timing was perfect; they drove me into Portland to a bike shop and then we went for our dinner little early. They are not lobstah eatahs so we went to Flatbread Pizza where I had the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life. I stayed in downtown Portland, ME at the lovely Morrill Mansion B&B.

Day 3

I skipped Red’s Eats because I was too early plus I didn’t need another stupid-tourist experience today. I rode 25 miles out of my way to go to Shannons Unshelled down in Boothbay Harbor. It was a pretty good lobster roll; much better than yesterday but honestly I’m just not into very cold lobster. When I poured the hot butter on the lobster it immediately solidified so it just wasn’t very appealing. Lots of grease. Which of course I ate. I think tomorrow I’m going to try the regular boiled lobster and see if it’s any better fresh out of the pot.

Note to self. When cycling the coast of Maine find any route other than route 1 which is the highway from hell. It’s not that it’s particularly dangerous; it’s just extremely noisy with nonstop trucks. Very unpleasant experience. And the pavement is broken up so it’s a kind a relentless bang bang bang bump bump bump.

Next stop: Timbercliffe Cottage Bed & Breakfast, Camden, Maine

Day 4

Finally! The perfect, absolutely PERFECT lobster shack: Young’s Lobster Pound in Belfast Maine just north of Camden. I got to pick out my live lobster and clams too. I saw them cooked for me. It doesn’t get any fresher than that! I had the most amazing lobster and steamed clams lunch I have had in memory. So glad I went here. The day was made that much better riding with friends as part of the AMC Italy Tour bicycling group reunion. An excellent day overall.

Day 5

Today was another visit to perfect lobster shack #2: McLoons Lobster Shack in Thomaston, ME. The coastal and lobster boat views are exceptional and my 1 1/4 pound was cooked to perfection and very, very hot. This was the true lobstah dining experience because I had to break the claws with the metal cracker.

This evening’s dinner with the AMC group was filled with laughs and top quality food at 40 Paper in Camden.

Day 6

No more lobster as I rode inland to Gorham, NH. I was exhausted and headed straight for The Saalt Pub after checking in to the Town and Country Inn. The food was good; the beer even better. After returning to the motel I started chowing down on vending machine candy and cookies. Note to self: don’t expect to “diet” on a bike tour!

The best news of the day: I found my new favorite IPA at Saalt Pub. Moat Mountain Call It A Day IPA.

Day 7

Rain during the night made for early AM wet roads so I left later than I wanted but at least the roads were mostly dry.  Coffee and a bagel at the White Mountain Cafe and Bookstore gave me the start I needed.  The mountains were still beautifully covered with clouds and blue sky patches coming through. It was a short ride of about 55 miles to Landaff but plenty long enough after such a big adventure. The highlights were the mountains that no photo from a phone could capture and then the bobcat running across the road and finally the high-pitched, whistling voice of an osprey from its large nest built on top of a power line tower.

Posted in Other Adventures

Tuscan Farro Soup

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup farro*, spelt or barley
15 oz can cannellini beans
15 oz can tomatoes, chopped
6 cups stock (brodo italiano) more as necessary
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Parmesan

PREPARATION

Put oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat; a minute later add onion, celery, carrots, a large pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook until vegetables are glossy and onion is softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, and stir; add farro*, beans, tomatoes and stock, and stir.

Bring to a boil, then adjust heat so mixture simmers steadily. Cook until farro is tender adding stock as necessary if mixture becomes too thick. Stir in parsley and basil, then cook another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve with lots of Parmesan.

*if cooking a large batch of this soup for freezing then skip adding the farro. Add and simmer correct proportion to tender when serving.

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Posted in Beth's Recipes

Orecchiette With Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula

INGREDIENTS

Salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1¼ pounds large cherry tomatoes, halved
12 ounces dry orecchiette
2 cups, packed, arugula
Ground black pepper
½ cup freshly grated pecorino

PREPARATION

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons oil on medium-low in a large sauté pan. Add garlic and allow to cook 10 minutes, until oil is fragrant but garlic has not browned. Remove garlic. When water boils, stir in pasta.

Add tomatoes to oil in sauté pan, increase heat to medium-high and, when tomatoes start to shrivel and collapse, reduce heat to low and cook until softened but not shapeless, about 5 minutes. Stir a couple of times. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water.

Drain pasta and add to tomatoes, folding both together. Add some pasta water if needed for moistening. Fold in arugula and remaining oil. When arugula has just wilted, season dish with salt and pepper. Serve with a dusting of cheese.

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Posted in Beth's Recipes