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Verses from my Kitchen: Grill Pizza, Grill

September 19, 2010

Grill Pizza, Grill

What a great Saturday. The Market is open for a few more weeks so I hopped over and talked to the farmer Dan from Simcoe who always has the best selection of potatoes, tomatoes, leeks and mushrooms. It just so happens that they were key ingredients for parts of our dinner that night. Extended family addition.

Where most people might say spending a few hours during the middle of a beautiful Saturday in the kitchen is a waste, I say it's a retreat for my senses. An escape, of sorts. When the pot hits the stove and the ingredients hit the pot, there is an immediate aroma that fills up not only the room but the entire house. If I wasn't already prepared to cook, which I am, I certainly would be now.  It doesn't take long before I have soup simmering away on one burner, a strawberry sauce resting comfortably on another and the tomato sauce base for a grilled pizza filling yet another.  I call this kitchen therapy!

Last night we had some of our favourite family members over so I had to make sure I was particularly on top of the food and the preparation. A keen eye for details and the cooking process. While the stove had it's company of heavy pots and saute pans the fridge was filled with my pizza dough, lemon cream and the appetizers.  Luckily it ended up going according to plan. Timing being everything, we were right on the clock last night. Once we finally sat down the courses ran smoothly one after the other.

We started the evening with a Spicy Hummus Dip while I was doing a last-minute sauté of the ingredients for one of the grilled pizzas. I had to quickly flour and roll out and stretch the dough and then slather all the ingredients that I was sautéing on top of the first pizza. The second pizza was already finished and ready for the oven so in they both went together. While the pizzas were grilling, we were sitting down.

We sat down for the soup and I quickly plated everything before we ate. Potato Leek Soup with Toasted Crouton and Smoked Salmon. Delicious and just hot enough to warm us from top to bottom. The palette and the soul. This soup begins with garlic and onions and potatoes and thyme, before adding the potatoes and stock and simmering until the potatoes are soft and tender. I then add my finely sliced leeks and allow to simmer until cooked through. I use my hand blender and purée everything until I have a smooth consistency and add my cream. After seasoning to taste, I'm all done and we're on the dinner table enjoying everything and everyone in front of us.

Potato Leek Soup with Toasted Crouton and Smoked Salmon

When we were finishing up the soup I went to check on the pizzas. Tonight we were having grilled pizzas-2 ways. Grilled Pizza with Sautéed Onions, Mushrooms, Red Peppers with Mozzarella and Arugula and Parmigiano was made with sautéed garlic, onions, mushrooms and red peppers, mozzarella and grilled before adding fresh arugula and slivers of Parmigiano Reggiano showered over top. The Grilled Pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella, Italian Sausages, Crushed Tomatoes and Basil was rolled out into a oblong shape and layered with fresh tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, Italian sausage and fresh torn basil. Two completely different pizzas with two equally fantastic results!

Grilled Pizza with Crushed Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella, Sausages and Basil

Grilled Pizza with Mushrooms, Red Peppers, Onions, Arugula and Parmigano

We took a break after dinner for some Limoncello and talked about their impending vacations. That's the beauty of having people over for dinner. It's the perfect combination of good food and great conversation. You can't live without either one. You don't want to live without either one.

After we finished up and our stomachs were ready for the sweet finish I went back into the kitchen to quickly toast up some crumbled pound cake pieces before adding the finishing touches to my Strawberry Lemon Pudding. This is all about lemon curd whipped cream, strawberries in lemon syrup and buttery fresh pound cake all layered together and topped with the toasted crumbled pieces of cake. There's only one word for this dessert. Yum!

Strawberry Lemon Pudding 

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