Friday, June 22, 2012

Some of my favorite things! Blog Edition

Like many of you I'm sure, I've got a slew of blogs I follow. Thankfully Google Reader makes my life very simple, especially my handy Google Reader app on my phone! Here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

I think I came across Jenna's blog through someone else on one of my Foodie Pen Pal exchanges. Love her style, love her recipes. Oh and she went to Yoga Teacher training, I'm totally inspired.

Really, who doesn't love PW!?! I seriously just love her writing voice. SO. FUNNY. Her recipes are bomb sauce so really you just can't go wrong.

I want to be these two SO BAD! First of all, they are adorable. Second of all, see my first sentence. They spent their 6 months of marriage traveling. Please start from the beginning of their blog and read through their adventures. So. Awesome.

This guy's photos ROCK. Next photo shoot, I seriously want to book him.

Home Improvement made easy, approachable, and oh so darn cute. Makes me feel like I could actually tackle some of the projects I have around the house. No problemo.

If I didn't have Bon Appetit, I would have smitten kitchen. Gorgeous food, easy to follow recipes, huge database of recipes (5+ years of blogging). I love the "surprise me" button on the websites. Always comes up with fun recipes.

Alexandra's Kitchen
This is the kind of food I cook the most. She's Greek or at least cooks Greek food so that's probably why I like her so much. Fresh, local, simple food.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yiayia & Papou

My Yiayia and Papou are the greatest! We are so blessed to have them be such an active and loving part of our lives!

For Christmas, we gave my grandparents a gift certificate for an adventure day with Peter and I. We waited until now so that we'd hopefully have some nice weather for taking a drive. Funny enough, the weather was pretty much crazy all day so that was a bust!  But otherwise, we had a nice time spending the day with them!

One of my favorite quotes (and there are many) from one of our favorite movies (What's Up Doc!): "There is a person named Eunice". This streat sign in Port Angeles just cracked me up, so I had to pull over and take a picture.

Cutest couple!

My precious Yiayia 

Perk of the day: Getting to board the ferry first (so to be near to the elevator for Papou). All the WA State Ferry crew were awesome! So nice and helpful!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Garden Update - In Progress

When I posted a few months back, I had just received my veggie seeds for my veggie garden. Since then, most have sprouted and are growing (although my darn tomatoes are still just tiny little sprouts). I've also managed to get all my beds weeded, new mulch down, lawn cleaned up and edged and pots filled with annuals. Whew! I was motivated this year to get it done in time for my friend Lita's shower which was in early! Sadly, it rained that day so we ended up being inside. Pictures from the shower coming soon! I had a photographer come in and take pictures so I won't have those pictures until later this week.

This rainbow chard is insane! This actually wintered over from last summer and just kept growing. It had a big stalk that I just cut back, but this thing was growing like a tree!

Herbs! Chives, Parsley, Fennel (back left), Sage. I also have (but not pictured) Greek Oregano, Thyme, Tarragon and Cilantro.

Hanging baskets from my favorite nursery, Flower World!

Mmmmm! Can't wait to have a fresh salad from my garden!

My flamingos! Peter got these for me for Christmas and I LOVE them. Adds a little bit of much needed tacky to the backyard. 

Pots on the front porch.  You can see my sad little tomatoes on the lower right.

I cannot even begin to tell you how tall my iris flowers were this year! Must have been three feet! Crazy!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Double Barbecue Pizza

Last week, Peter and I had our oh-so-favorite BBQ at Stan's in Issaquah. Amazing. We intentionally ordered a lot so we'd have leftovers (because leftover Stan's is almost equally as good as the first time around). Although instead of just eating the leftovers cold, dipped in BBQ sauce we decided to make a BBQ pizza. I called it Double Barbecue Pizza because we used BBQ and we cooked the pizza on the grill. I seriously LOVE my pizza stone.

We actually made two pizza's on Sunday Night, the BBQ pizza and a simple margarita. The margarita was good, but the BBQ pizza was simply amazing. When we made the pizza again on Wednesday, we used the rib meet instead of the pulled pork and cut the apple slices a little thicker. Both were excellent modifications!

When I make home-made pizza, I either use the Joy of Cooking pizza recipe or one I got from a class at Sur la Table.

Pizza Dough
Modified from Sur La Table class. Original Recipe from Peter Reihart's Artisan Breads Every Day

4 1/2 cups unbleached flour (I use 00 Italian flour when I have it)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil

Recipe Notes: In the original recipe both the honey and olive oil are optional. I always add them and love the flavor. Also, the original recipe called for 5 1/3 cups bread flour. I really like the 00 flour and recently have really enjoyed subbing one cup of whole wheat flour. Adds a nice earthly bite to the crust.

The recipe is simple enough, you can just put all the ingredients in a Kitchen Aid bowl, mix for approximately 1 minute, rest for 5 minutes, then switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for 2-3 minutes. The last time I made this dough, I briefly let the yeast bloom in the warm water with the honey and then added it to the other ingredients.

After mixing, spread a little olive oil on your work surface and transfer dough to the oiled surface. Briefly (and I mean briefly) shape the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into desired sizes. The batch makes approximately 5 or 6 twelve inch pizzas (of the super thin variety). You can then more or less use the dough immediately (although I usually let the dough rest for about an hour) or throw it in some small plastic bags (spritzed with cooking spray) and then put 'em in the freezer. They last in the freezer for several months and defrost very easily.

Double Barbecue Pizza

1 pizza dough
Pulled Pork or Rib Meat removed from the bone
Chopped or thinly sliced red onions
BBQ Sauce (we used something on the spicy side)
Roasted Garlic (whole heads of garlic roasted in the oven for about an hour)
Sliced Apples
Fresh Mozzarella
Freshly grated parm
Basil (chopped and added just after the pizza comes out of the oven or grill)

Lightly dust a board or pizza peel with flour and place your pizza dough. Shape dough as desired. I usually light push the pizza dough outward with my fingers. Rolling pins work great too!
As to the toppings, I just eye balled all the amounts. Whatever looks yummy to you! As the crust was pretty thin, I tried not to pile the toppings too high.

I cook my pizza on a pizza stone. I highly recommend purchasing one. They are usually under $50 and make the biggest difference in the crust. I believe you can achieve a similar result by using a sheet pan flipped over although I have never tried. I use my pizza stone in the oven and on the grill. In either case, I pre-heat the stone for 30+ minutes on the high (500 degrees in the over or just high on the grill).

Once the oven or grill is hot and the pizza is topped with yummy goodness, gently slide the pizza off the peel or board onto the stone (this is why the flour on the board is important!). Cook until the cheese is bubbly and the bottom looks brown. It's usually approximately 10 minutes for my grill and more like 15 minutes for my oven.