Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Grilled Pizza with Asparagus, Caramelized Onions, Hummus and Brie

Perfect Pairing: Sabra Classic Hummus

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Last week was our annual family vacation at the lake.  I look forward to this week all year.  One of my brothers lives in California so it is hard for all of us to be in the same place at one time.  We had an absolutely wonderful time enjoying each others company, the summer weather, lake, good food, and lots of cute kids.  I miss everyone already!


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I am a big fan of unusual pizzas and flatbreads.  I have shared a few creations here…


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Even traditional pizzas can sometimes benefit from an update, like with this Prosciutto and Pineapple Grilled Pizza.
 
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The combination of hummus, asparagus, caramelized onions, and brie on pizza may seem a little strange, but it is one of my all-time favorites.  Using hummus as the “sauce” adds a rich creaminess, and the onions add just the right amount of sweet. 

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This pizza is great as a main course, but it is also perfect on appetizer night.  We have a lot of appetizer nights at our house.  Usually on app night we serve a dip or salsa of some kind, a salad or veggies, and a crostini.  This pizza fits right in. Add a bottle of chilled white wine and you have yourself a party. 

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I really like to use Sabra’s Classic Hummus here.  I am not being sponsored in any way to say that, I just really like it. 

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Un-Recipe Files: Personalized S’Mores Bar

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Last year we started a new tradition we like to call Wienerpalooza.  It is a super classy event, as you can imagine.  Basically it is an al fresco party where we serve all sorts of hot dogs and brats cooked over the fire with plenty of toppings.  


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You can read about last year’s event on my Mini Chile Cheese Corndog Muffin post


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Most of the same people were in attendance this year.  We planned it so that it would happen during my best friend’s annual lake visit with her family.  

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Love this family!
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We had beautiful weather again this year.  I love to see the cute kiddos running around playing.


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This was Callie sneaking chips last year.


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And this year!  So cute.


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There were two new guests this year….


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Last year they were just a twinkle in their mama’s eyes and a bump in their belly!


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For dessert we did a personalized S’more bar.  While the original s’more is pretty great why not improve it with chocolate graham crackers and a variety of candy?  


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My personal favorite was a Reeses instead of the standard chocolate.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Grapefruit Mojitos

Perfect Pairing:  Wooden spoon


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Grapefruit mojitos are my official summer drink of 2014.  Fresh mint is muddled with fresh lime juice and a touch of sugar, then mixed with white rum, ruby red grapefruit juice and club soda.  Serve over ice and you have a ridiculously delish and refreshing summer drink.  AND, and and and, it is pink.  I love a pink drink.

I am not a fan of overly sweet drinks, so I don’t use much sugar in this recipe.  Feel free to increase the sugar if you like it sweet.  You could also replace the club soda with Fresca or Sierra Mist. 

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Mint is a notoriously hearty plant, so if you are growing it this summer you probably have an excess of the fresh herb. My mom has a thriving mint plant that is always just begging to be trimmed down.  I am happy to use the harvest in a big batch of mojitos!

A few years ago when we purchased a bottle of Barcardi rum it came with a muddler.  I love this little tool, but if you don’t have one you can certainly use a wooden spoon to get the job done.

One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Nutella Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Two years ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Lemon Trifle


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Honey Roasted Carrots

Perfect Pairing:  Well-loved baking sheets

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Honey Roasted Carrots is such a quick, delicious, easy, and cheap side dish. 

Carrots are tossed with olive oil, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper, then roasted in a hot oven until just charred and tender.  While they are still hot they are tossed with fresh lemon juice and parsley.

They are also really pretty.

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Speaking of pretty, the first time I made this dish I used rainbow colored carrots.  They were on sale and I just could not resist! 

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Roasting vegetables is really hard on baking sheets.  Especially when you use cooking spray and honey.  I often wonder if they replace the Barefoot Contessa’s baking sheets for each show because they always look like new.  Mine look like they have had really, really hard lives.  I would recommend using your “well-loved” baking sheets for this recipe. 

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Special, Special K Bars

Perfect Pairing:  Pantry clean-out


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Way back when I was in college and living in the sorority we had a very exciting week once a semester called study treat week.  I am not sure study treat week helped us study for finals, but I am pretty sure it helped keep on that college “insulation” that tends to happen.  These were not healthy treats.  They usually included pizza rolls and other frozen novelties as well as our house mom’s famous scotcharoos.  It didn’t help the whole insulation issue when they were put out late at night.  Recipe for trouble, all around.

If you talk to any of my sisters about the food at the house I think ALL of them would mention the scotcharoos.  They would also probably also mention the super weird jalapeño chicken that inexplicably had insane amounts of cream sauce and Fritos.  College was healthy.  Anyway, the scotcharoos.  They were ridiculous.  These Special, Special K Bars remind me of those college treats.  You noticed the extra special in the name right?   These bars are extra special because I added coconut and toasted pecans.  Side note, when I was a little girl I named my cat Special.  Poor cat. 

I was on a mission to clean out the pantry when I made these, so when I ran out of Special K I added some rice cereal.  Feel free to do that as well!  Just another texture in the mix.  If you don't have pecans, use whatever nuts you have in your pantry.  Everything is topped with chocolate and peanut butter.  Theyyyyyy didn’t suck. 

This is a great recipe to use the “sticky ingredient trick” I mentioned on this Payday Bar recipe post.

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One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing:  Burger Sauce

Two years ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Chilaquiles


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Un-Recipe Files – Grilled Seasoned Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

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I just returned from a magical vacation in the happiest place on earth!  It is going to take some time to adjust to reality.  Everything really is just magical in the Magic Kingdom.  I went with family, including two of my adorable nieces.  It was so fun to see Disney through the eyes of a child. Although, I still feel like a child when I am there!

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The precious moments were too numerous to list, but here are a few favorites.

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We also had a lot of good food at WDW.  While it was fabulous, I was ready to get back to some simple, healthy, home-cooked food. This simple preparation of brussels sprouts and potatoes on the grill is just what I had in mind.

For the sprouts, cut the ends off and then cut in half, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and some of your favorite seasoning.  Grill in a basket until lightly charred and tender.

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Here is what you do for the potatoes.  Scrub the spuds, poke a few times with a fork, microwave them for about 5 minutes, cut in half, score the insides lightly, drizzle with melted butter or olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and your favorite seasoning. 

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Make a tray out of foil and place on the grill.  Cook until the potatoes are tender and start to brown. 

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I made this entire meal on the grill in under 30 minutes, start to finish.  Stay tuned for the salmon recipe.  It is a favorite!
 
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