Pigs in a Slanket. Also sangria and a superior fruit salad.

Rachel and I went to my first real (don’t call it a barbeque! There were no appropriate meats there to justify that name. Apparently) cookout of the summer last weekend. It was a cookout populated largely by foodies and/or food bloggers, and therefore stupendously awesome food-wise. I did not photodocument anything I did not have a hand in making, sadly, so you will just have to take my word for it. The hostess of the event was Elena of biscuitsandsuch.com, which makes this food blog look sad and pathetic. Or, you know, scrappy? Whatever. Elena is a professional photographer and so has the advantage on us over here.

Anyway, for the party, we made some foods!

strawberry & mango salad

This fruit salad was made of mangoes, strawberries, mint, and a glaze made of mango chutney, lime juice and lime zest. The glaze was really a winner; we were lucky to have leftover mango chutney from Indian take-out last week! I ate a lot of this at the party and then for breakfast every day until it was gone. Now I’m sad that we have no more of it.

sangria!!!

We were told that there would be sangria provided by Elena at the party, but that there were no guarantees of any being left by the time we arrived. Terrified of spending the afternoon sangria-less, we decided to make some ourselves just in case. We also happened to have some tasty red wine leftover from previous drinkins. The sangria was made from eqyal parts wine (a shiraz) and cranberry juice cocktail, and fruit: a lot of crushed and whole raspberries, green apple and peaches.

As it happens, there was plenty of sangria left when we got there. So we got to drink both!

PIGS IN A SLANKET

Do you know what is better than a pig in a blanket? A pig in a Slanket. A Slanket is like a Snuggie but with a funnier name.

the spread

Here you can see the pigs in Slankets themselves, along with the sangria and fruit salad! The pigs are cocktail wieners wrapped in Pillsbury crescent roll dough, and frankly looked so cute and tasty that I almost temporarily gave up my vegetarian ideals to eat one.

CSA Dinner

We had a fabulous CSA dinner last Friday night, starring collard greens, swiss chard and spinach.

The table is set. Everything is beautiful!

The real star of the evening, in my opinion, was the chard tart. Chopped chard, onion, green garlic, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese (the jar kind from the awesome goat farmer at Lynne’s church!), and eggs are mixed in a tasty tart shell to form a superior kind of quiche.

Gaze upon its beauty.

Gaze!

Also very, very tasty was the wilted spinach with navy beans, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and almond extract oil.

Legumes are the best.

I am a sucker for a salad that includes lettuce, fruit and cheese. Behold, spinach salad with strawberries and parmesan! In hindsight, I might have added some walnuts. We served this with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

Spinachy.

So, I am not actually sure what went into this one. I know it included collard greens, potatoes and bacon, but being a vegetarian, I didn’t ask too many questions. It was very popular so I can only assume it was fabulous!

Bacony.

Also served were couscous with red pepper, avocado, goat cheese and sunflower seeds, provided by Stacy.

Couscousy.

The couscous fixins.

The full plate.

But not for long!

For dessert there were Christmas brownies(!), a variety of ice creams liberated from 2640′s many freezers, cones, fudge sauce and whipped cream. I was too busy eating these things to properly document them.

Christmas brownies are better than the normal kind.

More Summer Pizza

We started referring to the breadmaker as ‘the pizza machine’, quite by accident, because pizza dough is all we use it for these days. Rachel discovering that we can safely and effectively turn our oven up to 525 degrees changed our lives forever! At that temperature, the dough gets nice and crispy around the edges, and all the toppings get just the right amount of caramelization up top. Everything cooks evenly and it’s pretty quick, so it’s really a shock that we haven’t eaten pizza every day the last few weeks. There is endless variety!

The first few pizzas documented here were made for a dinner party two weekends ago, when some of my grad school friends were in town for a visit, and the last was one we made to use every possible vegetable that we had gotten from the CSA that week!

The dinner party pizzas included a pear and provolone, a Hawaiian, and pepper and onion:

the most delicious pizza in the world

This one, as seen in the previous post, is still my favorite. It’s a white pie with honey garlic sauce, provolone, parmesan, pear and green onion. Really divine.

Will approves.

My friend Will likes to give thumbs up to things. The pear and provolone pizza deserved just such an honor and rightfully so.

the Hawaiian

Our Hawaiian had homemade (by Rachel) pizza sauce, mozzarella, pineapple and onion overall, and ham on half for the meat eaters. We had previously had trouble with the pizza sauce being too watery, but pureeing it before putting it on did the trick.

peppers, onions and tomato

This pie was a great success, in my opinion. We had recently eaten a cheddar cheese pizza at Joe Squared and it was so good, we wanted to try it ourselves. Plus we always have peppers around. So this pie had, again, the pureed homemade red sauce, mozzarella, sharp cheddar, bell peppers in red, orange and green, and cherry tomatoes. This one wins the ‘best as cold breakfast the next day’ contest for sure, though as overall favorite it cannot compete with the pear and provolone.

After Fluid Movement rehearsal last week, we went to pick up Rachel’s CSA share from Veronica and came home with a bagful of beautiful veg, which we naturally wanted to consume immediately and without delay. The obvious solution: pizza!

asparagus, zucchini, red pepper, green garlic, shallot...

I may be forgetting some things, but as I recall, on a base of homemade pizza sauce, cheddar and a very small portion of very strong gruyere, we put all the veg in sight: asparagus, zucchini, red bell pepper, green garlic and shallots. It was really a perfect platform for all that beautiful veg.

When we move to our new rowhouse with the rooftop deck with included giant grill, it’s going to be all about the grilled pizzas, so do not for a minute think this trend is on its way out!

Oh, and a correction from the last post: Rachel takes issue with my characterization of her pizza preferences. She does NOT prefer a thicker crust, and she too prefers to cook the pizza to a toasty dark brown. Corrections noted? Good.

Posted by Melina.

Could this be the most delicious pizza ever made by human hands?

I had been in New York over the weekend and when I returned there was leftover pizza dough from Rachel’s first experiment in this pizza direction; pizza dough is delightfully easy to have around with the breadmaker and all. We made a second round for my first dinner back, two tiny pizzas this time so that Rachel could have her Dead Animal Products (pork belly with a honey garlic glaze, if you want to get specific, which you clearly do) and I could have a vegetarian version.

The components!

The pork belly!

The green onion!

The pears!

sauce & cheese

We pulled out the dough, pretty thin, with cornmeal to keep it from sticking to the baking sheet. Instead of tomato sauce we used a honey-garlic sauce from the wonderland that is H-Mart. Then loads of cheese: some fancy provolone that Rachel got, which comes wrapped around butter to keep it moist, and freshly grated parmesan. Green onion, sliced pear, and for Rachel, honey-garlic-glazed and grilled pork belly, followed.

A brief digression: Rachel and I usually have very different pizza philosophies: I am a thin crust, lots of sauce, not a lot of cheese, thinly cut and sparse toppings lady. Rachel is a thicker crust, not too much sauce, fantastic amounts of cheese and toppings type girl. In this case we compromised, with pretty much thinnish crust, not too much sauce, rather a lot of cheese and a moderate amount of topping. I think it worked out for the best. I mean, obviously. You will see what I mean when you see the magnificent results!

Anyway, we baked them for about 25 minutes on maximum heat until just almost blackened at the edges and tips* (*this applies only to those we baked when I was home; I like a blackened pizza pie. Rachel’s version is lighter, as you will see). They needed way too long to cool down and I must admit I did burn my tongue on my first attempt at premature consumption. Patience is important in these situations.

The sweet sauce with the very salty cheeses, and the onion with the very sweet pears, was really all perfection in combination. Rachel gives credit to the internets for the provolone and pear combination concept, but the honey garlic sauce and green onion were inspired additions on her part. A great success!

The first one Rachel made while I was in NY

tasty slices of the same

the veg version

For dessert, there was leftover tart which Rachel had made when I was away, and which I do not remember the proper name for. She said it was basically baked pancake batter and fruit, in this case raspberries. It was quite tasty and also very pretty!

Lovely!

Stuffed bell peppers are stupendous!

Do you know what makes a delicious supper? Bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, chickpeas, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, lemon zest, green onion, cheddar cheese and more bell pepper. Not surprising, I know.

the veg mix pre-sautee

chickpeas, zesty tomatoes and cheese

baking the pepper shells

Rachel working her kitchen magic

First we chopped up the veg and mixed them up with some olive oil; they were sauteed until soft. We also pre-baked the pepper shells so they would get nice and soft. We boiled royal quinoa in vegetable stock, mixed it up with the sauteed veg and chickpeas, and zested a lemon over the tomato. We cut up some farmers’ market dill-garlic cheddar and some other normal cheddar, then proceeded to stuff the heck out of the pepper shells with the veg-quinoa-chickpea mix, tomatoes and cheese. We baked them to delicious perfection and enjoyed!

Rachel's stuffed pepper

my stuffed pepper

Tasty!

Farmers’ Market Bounty!

We picked up the first CSA for the summer, along with other farmers’ market delights. The bounty included cherries, eggs, spinach, lettuce, kale, mushrooms, asparagus, rhubarb, and three loaves of Breadery bread: herb wheat, 5 Seed, and cranberry orange pecan.

The Bounty

At Stacy’s house we were greeted by even more delicious food, including pineapple (which we actually brought but didn’t make it into the first photo; see previous photos of it being munched on by Gerard), strawberries, tomatoes and more asparagus.

Additional Bounty

We assembled these delicious ingredients into a delicious brunch, including Lynne’s Famous Omelets, Rachel’s Famous Cranberry Orange Pecan French Toast, steamed asparagus and garlicky kale. Unfortunately we were all too busy making awesome sparkly posters and eating ravenously to take pictures of the actual food. Except this exceptionally photogenic pie.

Lynne's Magnificent Pie

Sparkly Posters!!!

pineapple stir-fry

If you were concerned for the health of the pineapple you recently saw on here being noshed on by a cat, you will be relieved to know that tonight it found a good home, in my and Rachel’s bellies. We prepared what I think is among the more beautiful dishes I’ve ever made: a stir-fry with pineapple, snow peas, yellow and green bell pepper, onion and garlic, bean sprouts, cashews, cilantro, green onion and chives.

the ingredients

We chopped up the veg and tossed them in a wok with the pineapple in some oil and hot sauce, leaving aside the cilantro, bean sprouts, green onion and cashews for later:

the magic is happening!

After everything got hot and delicious, we added the bean sprouts, cashews, cilantro and green onion. We spooned it onto jasmine rice and used some of the pineapple juicy liquid on the bottom of the wok as a sauce. I also put fried tofu, soy sauce and an extra dose of hot sauce on mine. Tasty!

magical!

Posted by Melina.

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