Pizza

I have been working on developing the perfect pizza dough for a decade. Over the years my recipe has evolved from a think chewy crust to a thin, cracker-like texture but having experimented with both and everything in between I can almost guarantee that my pizza will never taste the same way twice, but will always please the taste buds..

To make the dough I start by pouring a mixture of whole wheat and white unbleached flour into my mixer. If I am in a hurry I will cheat and opt for quick rise yeast; I add 1 packet, a dash of sea salt and sugar to the flour along with a variety of seeds such as flax, poppy, and sesame, then start mixing this together as I slowly pour warm water and olive oil into the bowl. I never measure but I do pay close attention to what is happening in the bowl. My best dough results from all of these wet and dry ingredients combining after a few minutes, leaving no flour behind and the dough should not be sticking to the sides of the bowl. If either of these conditions are occurring I add water or flour depending if I have a dry or wet dough.

Once all ingredients are combined I use the mixer’s kneading attachment for several minutes then knead by hand for 3-5 more. Finally I place this tacky to the touch ball of dough into a floured or greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel for 30 minutes. Once the dough has doubled in size I knead by hand for another few minutes then form the dough into a pizza pie. I understand that a rolling pin is bad news as it squeezes air bubbles out of the crust but I do like the cracker-like result once in a while.

Alternatively, if time is on my side, I will prepare a traditional yeast mixture (warm water, sugar, yeast) and pour this into the flour mixture along with some EVOO. The dough will take a tad longer to develop.

After topping the pizza with yummy ingredients, and I always start with a drizzle of EVOO then a fresh mozzarella, I place the pie into a pre-heated (450 degrees) oven and pizza stone for 10 minutes. The thicker the crust the lower the temp and longer the cooking time.A Sprinkle of fresh Parmesan and ripped fresh basil finish it off perfectly.

Try this and enjoy!!

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Savory Moose Burgers

Lean and full of flavour, moose meat makes a fabulous burger and offers up something a little out of the ordinary . If you’re lucky enough to have access to this nutritious meat option be sure to try these on the grill.

Mix together…

1 lb of ground moose meat
4 whole grain crackers, crumbled (I use my rolling pin)
3 tbsp egg whites
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
a dash of liquid smoke
ground pepper

Form the mixture into patties and set out at room temperature for 20 minutes, covered with plastic wrap. Before placing the burgers on a med-high grill spray with a good quality olive oil. I have a tendency to like my burgers well done so 4 minutes on each side just about does it. Top with whatever suits your taste buds and Enjoy!

(This recipe makes 4 small or 2 large patties)

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

This is a delicious switch up from ordinary vegetable side dishes. What you need (for 2)…

  • 2 Portobello mushroom caps
  • 3/4 cup fresh tomato, diced
  • 1/4 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 tbsp torn fresh basil leaves
  • Finishing sea salt
  • Fresh basil leaves
Scrape out excess gills from mushroom caps and set aside. Mix remaining ingredients together (reserve some cheese for sprinkling after they come out of the oven). Scoop tomato mixture onto mushroom caps and bake at 400 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan and sea salt and Enjoy!


Parchment Steamed Haddock

Nobody wants to cook haddock in the house. In order to continue to enjoy this delicious and versatile fish I have had to come up with other creative ways to cook it. This particular dish truly was an experiment. I have seen pictures of beautifully wrapped fish in crunchy parchment paper but these recipes were created for oven cooking. But why could one not place these little paper bundles on the grill? I meant to find out.

To make this recipe you need haddock fillets, one ripe tomato, a garlic clove, drizzle of fresh lemon juice, and a bunch of fresh cilantro per serving. Chop all vegetable ingredients ahead then prepare the parchment bundle.

Cut 2 squares of paper large enough so that the fillet is centered and able to be wrapped well. Double up the parchment then place one fillet in the center. Drop the chopped vegetables on top, drizzle with lemon juice and add a dash of ground pepper.

Bring up opposite sides of parchment (haddock lengthwise down center), fold over several times, then fold and tuck ends in under the bundle. Repeat this for each fillet. Place parchment bundles on a medium grill over indirect heat for 15 minutes. To keep the paper away from the flame I placed the bundles on a lovely stainless steel grill pan. Depending on the type of BBQ you use you may have other options.

Collect the bundles from the grill and be careful not to allow the juices to run out. Before serving these I hold them over the sink with one end slightly open to allow for some of the excess juice to run off, otherwise the dinner place can get quite messy. Serve these in their parchment bundle to keep the fillet in tact . Enjoy!

Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers

I love this simple recipe because it allows for flexibility and creativity. There are only a few key ingredients that create the foundation and from there you can do whatever pleases your taste buds.

You will need one small to medium red bell pepper per person, cooked brown rice, half an onion, and some herbs & spices. Start by removing the very top of the pepper, clean out the white membrane and seeds, wash and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl combine the remaining chopped red pepper tops, chopped onion, and one cup of cooked brown rice. This is where it gets interesting. Depending on what you are serving along side you can adjust the flavours accordingly. Today I blended the flavours of cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and a smidgen of thyme to give the peppers a spicy, southwest edge. Blend these ingredients then spoon into the prepared peppers.

Wrap each pepper individually with aluminum foil and place on a medium grill over indirect heat for 15 – 20 minutes. Peppers should be tender and the stuffing steamy when done. Enjoy!

Jim’s Salsa

I learned the art of fresh salsa making over a decade ago from a dear friend. Over the years this recipe has evolved and may in fact taste nothing like Jim’s original but the same principles are applied today and we love it all the same.

One of the most important steps to creating this delicious snack or side dish is tomato preparation. Chop and strain the fresh tomatoes. This step is often skipped but not doing so results in a very soggy salsa. Start by chopping and dropping all tomatoes into a strainer held over a sink or bowl. As you add tomatoes to the strainer sprinkle with sea salt to speed up the dehydration process. Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

For this batch I combined six ripe chopped tomatoes, one finely chopped jalapeno, a half of a finely chopped small white onion, one very large garlic minced (I typically use 1 clove per 2 tomatoes), four tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, and the juice of one fresh lime. If the salt that was added to the strained tomatoes is not sufficient add sea salt to taste. Mix to combine and serve immediately. The flavours develop over time but with these fragrant fresh ingredients you will want to devour it as soon as the mixing implement has been removed.

As I mentioned earlier this salsa is perfect as a side dish. On this occasion I served “Jim’s Salsa” atop fresh grilled tilapia fillet along with a few lemon wedges. Admittedly there were a few corn chips involved as well. Try this and enjoy!