Category Archives: summer

cookbook holiday home Italian pizza summer

Hi. Hi.

Yesterday, I ignored my phone, email, and all forms of social media for several hours. It felt good and liberating. I also ignored this blog for about a month. You already know that, I suppose. But I wondered if you might be beginning to worry? If so, please accept my apologies. I assure you they are heartfelt. I can’t really begin to explain all the reasons for the break. It just sort of happened. Summer is so seductive with its sunshine and buzzing public spaces. I found myself out and about a lot with the wee one. There were barbecues and little parties. There were play dates and more play dates. Trips to the park. Trips to the San Juans. More play dates. And some reinvention. I’ll explain more about that last bit later this month.

For now, we are home and cooking lots again. I made you this pizza to make up for the time lost. I think it’s worth it. It is the perfect summer pizza. It’s bright, fresh, and tangy with cilantro, zucchini, lime, and fresh cilantro. I love this crust more than any other home pizza crust. I really want you to try it, but I’m concerned you might fret when you glance at the recipe. It looks time-consuming, I know. It’s not really that much of a time commitment. There is a bit of shuffling you’ll have to do with the pizzas in the oven. Oof! Take a moment and breathe deeply. It isn’t as bad as it looks. Use a timer. Be nearby. It will be worth every moment spent when you bite down on the most perfect home-baked pizza crust you’ve ever had.

This pizza is truly something to behold and we find ourselves eating it often. A good deal of the reason for this is related to a small redheaded child who routinely spins about this house with boundless energy. This child, the one with the adventurous palate about which I used to brag so often, is on a strike of sorts. Her whims and desires change with the wind. Thank goodness for pizza. Pizza is always a favorite. And, thank goodness for long summer nights, highchairs on the patio, and lovely readers who indulge my short or long sanity blogging breaks.

Happy August, dear friends.

 

Corn Zucchini Pizza with Lime & Cilantro

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 recipe for yeasted pizza dough (see below)

Coarse yellow cornmeal for dusting

¾ cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear of corn)

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 small yellow or red onion, thinly sliced

3 small zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 and ½ cups)

½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

2 limes, quartered

Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the garlic and olive oil. Set aside.

To shape the pizzas, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide it into 3 pieces. Gently form each piece into a loose round and cover with a floured kitchen towel. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Pour a small amount of the remaining olive oil over the inverted baking sheets. Scatter cornmeal over the top of the oil. Shape each round into a 10 inch disk and place it on the sheet.

In a small bowl, toss the corn kernels with the black pepper.  Line up the 3 pizzas for assembly.  Scatter half of the Mozzarella over the pizzas, leaving a ½ inch rim.  Place the onion over the cheese and spread the zucchini over the onion.  Scatter the remaining mozzarella over the onion and zucchini.  Sprinkle with feta and corn.

Place a baking sheet with a pizza on the lower rack and bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the pizza to the upper rack, place the second pizza in the oven on the lower rack, and continue baking for 8 minutes. Then, finish baking the first pizza by sliding it off the pan directly onto the lower oven rack. Rotate the second pizza to the upper rack. Bake the pizza on the lower rack for 5 minutes to crisp the bottom until well browned. Finish baking the second and third pizzas in the same manner. Immediately after removing each pizza from the oven, brush the garlic oil onto the rim. Garnish with cilantro. Sprinkle lime juice over the top.

Yeasted Pizza Dough (Makes three 10 inch pizzas)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 and 1/2 cup warm water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 and 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, whisk the yeast into the warm water until dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes.

If using stand mixer, add all the olive oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour to the bowl. Using the paddle attachment on low speed, mix for 5 minutes to form a wet dough. Add 1 and 1/2 cups more flour, and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour by the tablespoonful as needed to form a soft dough with a nice sheen; it should be a little sticky, but not too wet.

If making by hand, add the olive oil, salt and 2 cups of flour to the bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mix for at least 5 minutes to form a wet dough. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups flour onto a work surface, place the dough on top of it, and knead it for about 8 minutes to form a soft dough with a nice sheen; it should be sticky but not too wet. If the dough sticks to the work surface, rub a little olive oil on it. if the dough is impossibly sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour by the tablespoon as needed.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a large well oiled bowl. Turn the dough over to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Or, put the dough in the fridge and let rise overnight. The next day let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours before proceeding with recipe.

Adapted from The Cheese Board Cookbook

Breakfast dessert easy strawberries summer

Strawberry Balsamic Tarts | Summer in Seattle

Strawberry Balsamic Tart recipe

I didn’t really expect to be away from here for so long. It wasn’t a planned absence. I went away on a little trip with K and then thing after thing got in the way of coming back here. These weren’t bad things. They were mostly good things. There was a surprise visit from a dear friend who moved away last year. There were many trips to the park, some hikes, and a bit of indulgent shopping here and there. It was mostly great although I wish I could tell you it was all relaxing. This is always a hard time for our family. It’s wedding season, which means K is gone a lot. He is off on airplanes and in rental cars memorializing people’s special days. He has such fun out there doing his dream job, but we miss him terribly. And, admittedly, I cook less and don’t photograph nearly anything in his absence. I also tend to go nearly insane, but that’s an entirely different story more appropriate for an intimate discussion to take place at a later date (at a bar).

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local restaurants summer

The Lovely List | Offbeat Seattle Favorites

I decided to do a list of things I love about Seattle. You have Ann to thank for this suggestion.

This isn’t an exhaustive list nor is it a typical one. I figure you already know about Pike Place Market and the Space Needle. Who doesn’t? Instead, I decided to share a few of my favorite places in Seattle about which you might not already know.

Enjoy and please feel free to email me with any questions!

The above picture was taken in West Seattle. This totem pole is a small spot, but it boasts one of the coolest views of the city.

If you like combining food, drinks, and crazy movies together, you’ll love the Central Cinema.

For summertime swimming, you have got to visit Coleman Pool. It’s a saltwater pool right on the shores of the Puget Sound. You can even host a private pool party there!

There are two places in this city for extraordinary sandwiches. I mean this. You will be forever changed by the Italian sandwiches at Salumi and the Caribbean sandwiches at Paseo.

While we are on the topic of food, please eat an amazing twice-baked almond croissant at Bakery Nouveaux.  For the best baguettes, I prefer Columbia City Bakery.

For a hearty breakfast, I love the Heartland Cafe. I also love the lesser-known Continental Greek restaurant in the University District. You will NOT find a better fried potato anywhere in this city.

If you are here on a Friday night and have a hankering for something different, I strongly encourage you to go to Dom Polski. It’s like walking into Poland and it is SO much fun. Delicious too.

Do you like coffee? I’m an addict. If you are downtown, take a moment to visit The Good Coffee Company. No frills here or fresh cups of coffee, but you can watch them grind fresh beans and learn a thing or two at the same time from the knowledgeable staff.

For a hot cup and a short jaunt from The Good Coffee Company, I love Trabant Coffee on 2nd Avenue. It’s wonderful organic coffee and a well-lit space to rest in an otherwise busy part of downtown.

One of my favorite quiet indoor places is the Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington. The cathedral like space is spectacular and perfect for a quiet moment. Also, the Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University is beautiful. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy the light in this hideaway. It’s a nice respite from the craziness of the Capital Hill neighborhood.

Sunday afternoons are best spent wandering the stalls of the Fremont Sunday Market. Fresh fruits, baked goods, and a thrifter’s heavenly flea market.

There are a lot of places to eat pizza in this town. Everyone flocks to the wood fired pizza joints. They’re O.K., but I’d much rather have a big slice of pizza with fresh ingredients from Proletariat Pizza in White Center. While this isn’t technically Seattle, it’s worth a visit for some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. Also, you can have homemade ice cream across the street at Full Tilt Ice Cream or a nearby pint at Big Al’s Brewery.  And, other coolness? White Center has a roller rink too!

Finally, I love the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall. That sounds weird, I know. The trailer park is actually a group of airstream trailers, which were converted into small thrift stores and line one of the alleys in this very cool neighborhood of Seattle just south of Boeing Field. I’ve included some pictures to prove such a spot exists!

I’ll see you later this week. I hope you will try out some of this lesser-known spots in the Emerald City. If you do, I’d love to hear about it!

biscuits Breakfast crisp easy fruit summer

Easiest Peach Cobbler | Last Call for Stone Fruits

Today feels like a Monday. That might sound a bit strange, I know. After all, most of you are reading this with an eye to the weekend. Perhaps eeking out the last rays of sunshine as we stumble our way into autumn? I hope so. We just returned home from a trip where we did just that. It was wonderful. It was relaxing. There was lots of sunshine. We took countless trips to the beach and to the park.  In fact, we squeezed the most out of these last few weeks of summertime. Maeve took her first several fishing trips and even managed to see an orca pod in the ocean. And, although I’m fairly certain she didn’t recognize the difference between her stuffed orca and the ones that gracefully swam by our itty bitty boat, I will tell her a tale about this adventure someday.

Now that we’re home, I notice there’s a different air sort of brewing around here. A crispness, maybe? A change is due. Isn’t that the funny thing about September? Even when a touch of warmth remains, something in our bodies tells us a change is near. A new season is upon us. Back to school. Back to work.

I’m not sad about it, however. I adore this season. I look good in fall colors. Maeve does too. It’s truly a season for the redhead. And, I’m not sure you heard, but mustards and plaids are all the rage. We will be in fashion.  But before I plunge fully into tights-wearing and woolen sweaters, I would like to take this opportunity to share this peach cobbler recipe with you.

Oh sure, you might think the season is over for such desserts. I can nearly hear you saying this now. However, it’s not over until the stone fruits disappear from the market. They’re not gone yet. Go quickly or they will be! I say we raise our forks to this last call for stone fruits and enjoy my new favorite peach cobbler recipe. It’s easy. It’s delicious. The peaches taste nearly buttery and fresh at the same time. The subtle flavors of cardamom and cinnamon really make this peach cobbler recipe special.

easiest peach and cinnamon cobbler recipe

Enjoy, dear friends. I am back in town now for several weeks and we are back in action. Goodbye to the stone fruits and summer recipes and hello to root vegetables and hearty greens!

Peach Cobbler

6 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Toss peaches with sugar, lemon juice, cardamon, and cornstarch in a 2-qt. nonreactive baking dish and bake in middle of oven 10 minutes.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

Remove peaches from oven and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Bake in middle of oven until topping is golden, about 25 minutes.

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