Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Two Delicious Dinners

Our kitchen is now completed to the point that I can count on one hand what is left to finish (not including restocking the shelves with all the stuff that has been living in the basement for the last two months). I am LOVING it. In between my cabinet makers' frantic efforts to finish (they've been here every day this week), I have made some delicious dinners, as well as two kinds of homemade popsicles, and hosted a Pampered Chef party.

Mostly I was just making do with what I had in the fridge, but the meals turned out well enough to make again on purpose. So I thought I'd share.

Grilled Taco Pizza

Your favourite fresh pizza dough (enough to roll out two 12-inch rounds—sorry, I didn't think to measure...about three cups?)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. chili powder
1 t. each oregano and cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 250 ml jar of bottled salsa
1 c. cooked or canned pinto beans
1/2 c. sliced stuffed green olives
1 1/2 c. grated Monterey Jack

Preheat your grill to medium heat. Roll pizza dough out on a floured surface, creating two thin 12-inch rounds. Set aside with olive oil.

Brown beef, onion, garlic in a pan. As it starts to cook, stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir and simmer until cooked through. Drain if the beef is fatty (I didn't find it necessary, if you scoop out the meat with a slotted spoon).

Bring all of your pizza ingredients to the grill, as you will build the pizza while it is grilling. Place one of the rounds on the grill; brush the top with olive oil. Close the lid for about two minutes, checking to make sure the crust isn't burning. Once the bottom is lightly browned, flip the crust. As quickly as possible, spread salsa over the crust, then sprinkle with a generous amount of ground beef, half the pinto beans, half the olives, and half the cheese. Close the lid of your grill and let cook for about 5 minutes. Check half way through to ensure that nothing is burning.

When cheese is melted and crust is well-browned, slide onto a cookie sheet or plate, let cool a minute, cut and serve. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

A great way to enjoy pizza on a hot day without heating your kitchen!

Farm Egg Omelet with Garlic Scapes, Mushrooms and Cheddar

This dish surprised me with how delicious it was. I have only ever had garlic scapes (the tender young stems of hardneck garlic) in stir-fries, and I was worried that I wasn't using them in a manner that most suited them, but I have a glut of eggs, and my friend had brought me the scapes from her garden, and we're leaving for the weekend tomorrow, so they needed to be used. At first I thought I would slice them like green onions and put them right in the egg mixture. But I forgot how dense they are, kind of like firm green beans, so instead I decided to slice them in 1-inch lengths (like green beans) and saute them with the mushrooms, then use the combination as the filling for the omelet, topped with 2 year-old cheddar. We ate the omelets with our first pot of boiled new potatoes from the Farmers' Market, topped with fresh dill and farm butter. Oh. So. Good.

6 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
4-6 oz. fresh garlic scapes, cut in 1" lengths
5 large fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
1 1/2 c. grated old cheddar cheese
butter for the pan(s)

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. When the butter has melted, add the garlic scapes and mushrooms, along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until the mushrooms are cooked and beginning to brown, and the garlic scapes are bright green and tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

Beat 3 eggs in a small mixing bowl until frothy. Add a quick splash of water to the bowl (about a tablespoon) and season with salt and pepper. Heat an omelet pan or your favourite skillet and add a tablespoon of butter. When the butter has melted, pour the eggs into the pan, let sit for a minute or so until the bottom begins to set. Swirl the pan to run the remaining liquid around the sides of the pan, and make small tears in the omelet, allowing the liquid to fill the holes.

Once the liquid is no longer moving around, place half your filling onto half of the egg in the pan. Top with half the cheese. Carefully lift the other half off the pan and fold over the filling. Cover pan and reduce heat. Let sit undisturbed until the egg is set to your liking and the cheese has melted. Slide omelet onto a plate, and keep warm while you make the second omelet using the remaining ingredients. Or, feed the first omelet to your hungry family while you make the second one to feed yourself...

We couldn't keep the omelet or the cute little baby potatoes on the kids' plates. There were several refills. A hit all around. And then for dessert we enjoyed my second batch of homemade popsicles: the first was watermelon-mint; the second was strawberry buttemilk. We will never go back to storebought! So easy an delicious.

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