Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My deepest apologies

I know I have been slacking on the blog...I haven't completely forgot I promise. I have a folder full of photos but life has been crazy and I have almost no motivation to write them out. I will get back to it soon I hope.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Girl Scout at Heart

Growing up I was a Girl Scout. I started in the Brownies and moved up the ranks eventually helping my mom out - who was our Troop leader. Now we were not your typical Girl Scouts. We never went camping, we stayed in hotels. We did art and crafts most of the times. But the cookies were all well worth it! (Mental note: I must make a recipe using Girl Scout Cookies!)

Now I have to admit I had a blast in Girl Scouts. I met my Best Friend in my troop. Ive known her for almost 20 years now and she was even one of my bridesmaids at my wedding. The only thing I wish we would have done was Camping. Yes its a hard concept...me in the woods with a tent. We called ourselves "Troop Beverly Hills". Great movie! I honestly don't now how I would have been able to handle eating berries and sleeping on the ground, but i hear that camping goes hand in hand with S'mores.

One year my mom had the bright idea to make S'mores at a family gathering at my Grandparents house. 20 kids all hoped up with sugar near an open flame. Good times! Needless to say it was only about 3 minutes into the process that we discovered that a flaming marshmallow flies quite well.

This year my husband and I had a BBQ with my family. Instead of flaming marshmallows flying all over my new home I made this reciepe. Normally I would make the batter from scratch but I was cooking for about 80 people. If you use boxed the Ghiradelli Brownie is the best, in my opinion. Betty Crocker makes a good batter as well.

S'mores Brownies
1 Bowl of Brownie Batter
10 oz bag of Marshmallows
1 Graham Cracker Crust

Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes for the crust, 40 minutes for the brownies, 5 minutes marshmallows

2 cups of Crushed Graham Crackers
1/4 cups of Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup of Melted butter

Mix the Crushed Graham Crackers, sugar and melted butter together. Firmly press into a baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. You will need to pour the brownie batter on top so make sure your pan is big enough to hold it all.

Pour the brownie mixture over the Crust. Make sure it is nice and even. Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean

While the brownies are still hot layer the top with your marshmallows and set it under the broiler for just a few minutes. I personally love crispy gooey marshmallows so I leave it in for about 7 minutes. If you like yours more on the golden brown side 4-5 minutes should do. Make sure you keep an eye on them. They can and will burn very fast.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happily ever after

I never understood why people think making a nice dessert takes forever. Dessert is usually the best part of any meal and its the last thing someone will taste. I guess it can be a very daunting task but it doesn't have to be.

I love me some Chocolate...no lots of Chocolate. As much of a Chocoholic as I am, I can not and will not have a heavy chocolate cake for dessert. It usually is great the first few bites but it will have you reaching to loosen your belt in no time. I believe a dessert should be satisfying and not heavy. Nice and light. Otherwise it may ruin your meal. I save the decadent desserts for girls nights and when we have friends over for coffee.

This has all the best qualities for a great sweet ending. It looks pretty and impressive. Everyone gets their own serving. You can make it a day in advance. It is also very dangerous because it is very cheap, quick and easy to make. Not to mention I usually have all the ingredients on hand anyway. You can even drop a dollop of it into your morning coffee the next day.

Chocolate Mousse
2 Cups of COLD heavy cream

1 cup of Semi Sweet Chocolate chips

2 teaspoons of Vanilla extract.

3 tablespoons of butter

Garnish: Chocolate shavings and 6 strawberries

Depending on how big your cups are this recipe will serve 6.

Melt the butter and a 1/4 cup of heavy cream over low heat.

Add the Chocolate Chips and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Set aside and let it cool to room temperature. The butter will prevent the chocolate from hardening up again.

Whip the remaining Heavy cream into Stiff peaks. Return to the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Divide the whipped cream in half. In one half VERY gently fold the chocolate in. Return to Fridge for 20 minutes. Fold the reaming cream into the chocolate. Whisk it again on Medium speed for 3-4 minutes.

Divide into 6 Cups, top with a strawberry and the chocolate shavings.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Just throw it in the batter

Quiche is one of those endless possibility dinners. You can pretty much throw anything cooked into a batter and you have quiche. You can make these ahead of time and freeze them for a quick and easy dinner on a crazy night or eat the left over cold. This recipe is pretty much open for interpretation. You can put anything your little heart desires into it. Just stick to the basic recipe and you'll be fine.

This is also a great and creative way to turn leftovers into a new dinner. You can add some left over meatloaf chopped up with some cheddar and you have Hamburger Quiche. You have left over chicken? Toss it in with some Monetary Jack Cheese and some Hot Sauce-Mexican Quiche. Is your garden out of control? No problem, Veggie Quiche.

Yes I know what you are thinking....oh boy here she goes with the cheese again. Deal with it. I do :-) this time I added bacon too. Say it with me now...'nom nom nom nom'. I know this isn't exactly a 'glamorous' recipe but it is very tasty, convenient and i am stunned by the amount of people who do not know how to make a good crustless quiche.

Basic Build Your Own Quiche:

2 Cups of Cooked Filling (I'm using Bacon)
1 Cup Shredded Cheese (I'm using Swiss)
1/4 Cup of Chopped Onion
1 Cup Bisquick
2 Cups of Milk
4 Eggs
Pinch of Salt, Dash of Pepper

Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 35 Minutes

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Cook your choice of filling with the diced onions. If you aren't using bacon or anything else that will release oils while cooking use a bit of olive oil to coat the pan.

Whisk together the eggs, bisquick, milk, salt and pepper.

On the bottom of a pie plate add the filling. Then top with the shredded cheese of your choice.

Pour the Quiche batter over the top and Bake for 35 minutes at 400 degrees

Super easy simple Delicious Quiche.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A light take on Heavy

I have been tyring to make a very conscious effort into becoming healthier. I always cook with fresh ingredients and everything is made from scratch. Then it hits me. The dreaded Alfredo Sauce craving.

This recipe came to me one night when I was craving an oooey gooey Alfredo sauce. Thank god I just got off the phone with my travel agent and booked a tropical getaway. With the thought of frolicking around on a beach, in a bikini, with a tropical drink in my hand I couldn't make it. So I listened to my brain, not my stomach, and improvised a spin off of my insanely fattening and heart clogging Alfredo sauce (my first blog entry ever).

I really liked it....and so did my husband. It really hit the spot and was a nice light meal. Usually after eating Alfredo sauce I feel so bogged down. I just want to sit on the couch and not move. After this I felt light and satisfied. I might even do the unthinkable- Never make traditional Alfredo sauce again. My mother would be so proud!

Light Alfredo with Spinach Ravioli
8oz Marsarpone Cheese
1/2 can (about 8 oz) Chicken Broth
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Pinch of Paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste
A hand full of fresh parsley, chopped
1lb of Spinach Ravioli (any kind of pasta is fine)
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Cook your raviolis in salted water until they are just under Al'dente. Drain. Drizzle with Olive oil and toss.
In a non-coated pan heat the Olive Oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the Marscarpone cheese, Broth and spices. Whisk together until the cheese is dissolved.
Pour over the Ravioli, Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy. Quick. Easy. Simply

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You dont eat no Meat? Ok I make you lamb.

Greek...Italian....Apples and Oranges- we are all just fruit right? Two of our dear friends are Greek and its so funny how similar our cultures are. We spent our first Greek Easter with my friends family and boy oh boy was it goooood! It was so nice to see other cultures celebrations. With us Easter is a Marathon of eating. From the moment you walk in the door until you unbutton your pants on the car ride home-you are eating...non stop. Its amazing. I was blessed to be born into a family that knows how to cook. I think that when you have a love for eating and tasting the cooking comes naturally. Food has always and will always be comforting. Big meals surrounded by 30 of your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents is one of the biggest joys in life.

Greek Easter was a very different experience for us. We are used to sitting down, eating, talking and drinking wine the whole time. Nope...not the Greeks. We drive up and we could instantly smell the lamb roasting on the spit from down the block. The first thing that my Friend father does is rips off a piece of meat and hands it to us. Amazing. Then I see this thing that I thought was sausage. Her mother says that its the insides of the lamb wrapped up in intestines. Gross to most...but to me I couldn't wait to try it. Then the music started and everyone was dancing. Then a little bit of food...then dancing-rinse and repeat. My husband and I are used to eating and eating and eating. All of this moving around in between courses got us full very quickly. Next year I'll be prepared.

I'm always teaching my friend how to cook like an Italian and in return she teaches me to cook Greek. Bless her heart, because she does try, but she needs to stick with the Greek cooking! (love ya!). One of the first things she told me is "lamb, lemon and spices can make anything Greek- just leave out the Windex". When i came up with this next dish i made it for my friend. She said that this dish 'isn't really Greek' but she will let it slide because its so damn good.

Stuffed Leg of Lamb
1 Leg of Lamb, butterflied (you can use bone in or out)
2 apples chopped
1 onion chopped
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup of fresh mint, diced (you can use dried too but try not to please!)
3 lemons- 3 juiced, 1 zested
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

In a saute pan (big enough to hold your lamb) heat some Olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and apples. Stir and cook until tender. Add the Mint, Lemon juice and zest. Cook for another 5 minutes on low.

Lay out your lamb and, if needed, pound out the lamb so that it is all even thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Lay the apple mint mixture on top. Then add the crumbled goat cheese. Roll the meat and tie it with some butchers twine to keep it from opening up during cooking.

Add another few tablespoons of Oil to the Pan you used to cook the apples in. Place the Lamb roll in there and cook for 2-3 minutes each side to get a nice sear (I flipped mine too early here but the other sides came out good). When all sides are seared put it in your pre-heated oven and cook for about an hour or until the temperature is 140F degrees. Take it out of the oven and let it sit, loosely covered with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Wine suggestions: I personally like Petite Sirah. Most of them have a great spicy peppery taste.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Imagine your a deer...

"your prancing along, and you spot a brook, you put your little deer lips down to the cool, clear water. BAM! A F*cking bullet rips off part of your head. Your brains are lying on the floor in little bloody peices. Now I ask you: Do you really give a f*ck what kind of pants the son of a bitch who shot you was wearin'?"

I think I am the only person in the world who gets hungry when I hear this Quote. For those of you who don't know it, please climb out from under your rock and rent "My Cousin Vinnie". Joe Peshi & Marisa Tomei :::swoon:::

My husband called me on the way home from work one night and said "oh you are going to love me when I get home...I got a present for you!". My mind was racing. What could it be? Candy? Flowers? Wine? Diamonds? EVEN BETTER.....It was fresh caught deer meat! One of the guys who works with him went hunting and caught himself a nice big Buck. (Side note: Honey I did not really mean that venison meat it better than diamonds...please feel free to bring those home at anytime...preferably with venison).

The first night we grilled it as is. No spices, no seasoning just the wild game taste of the meat. Since beer and BBQ always go hand in hand this is my concoction for night 2 of the venison meat.
Beer Venison
2 Venison Loins (or 2lbs of any type of red meat if you don't like Venison)
1 Bottle of Beer (I'm using Stella-please don't use Bud or Coors for this!)
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/4 cup of Horseradish sauce
Garlic Powder
Prep Time: 10 minutes + mariade time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Combine all the ingredients except for the Horseradish and pepper. Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved
Add the Horseradish and pepper and stir to incorporate
Let your meat sit in the marinade for no less than 4 hours. Over night would be ideal.

I was planning on putting this on the grill but due to a Tornado Watch (Yes in NY) I was forced to cook this on the stove. Get a Pan searing hot and sear all sides of the meat for 30 seconds. Add the remaining marinade to cover the Venison 1/2 way. Cook for 4 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the cut and your preferred done-ness. Once you remove the meat from the pan simmer the Beer for about 5 minutes while you let the meat rest. Use as a dipping sauce.

Serving suggestions....um Beer works!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It happens to the best of us

Fail. Big Fail.

The idea was good. The thought was cute. The final product should have stayed an idea in my head.
I have an unhealthy relationship with buffalo wings. I love them. I crave them at least once a week. There is something about the spicy red sauce and the creamy cold blue cheese that goes together better than Peanut Butter and Jelly.

I wanted to come up with a way that I could make buffalo wings a main dish without feeling like I am at T.G.I.Fridays. Buffalo wing casserole I thought to myself. Sounds amazing right? Well it was pretty good but it was just way too much Buffalo wing taste for a main dish. I never thought that could happen. It was a really intense big huge bowl of Buffalo wing casserole. I guess that was the point of it so in a way it did work out great. But I will stick to my standard Buffalo Wings from now on. If you want a big ole bowl of buffalo wing tasting casserole then by all means you will enjoy this dish. I guess I'm a more traditional snack food person.
Buffalo Wing Casserole:
1.5 lbs of boneless buffalo wings (either homemade or frozen)
3 cup of cooked white rice
1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup of Hot Sauce
Buffalo Wings:
1.5 lbs of boneless chicken cut into bite sized pieces
1 tsp of Cayenne pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of Hot Sauce
Mix the flour, pepper and paprika. Dip the chicken pieces in the buttermilk and then the flour mixture. Then Bake or Fry until Cooked through. Melt the butter and in a sauce pan and whisk in the hot sauce. Coat the cooked chicken with this mixture and you have buffalo wings.

Combine the Rice, Hot Sauce and Cream of Chicken together in a Casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Top with Boneless buffalo wings and Blue Cheese dressing.

***hangs head in shame***

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Come on baby light my fire

Summer is the season for Barbecue. My husband goes out back, slowly turns the knob on his new Weber and then listens for that 'click, click. click POOF'....ahhhh Fire. He slowly closed the lid and waits exactly 8 minutes for it to get to the optimal sear temperature. The first time he turned on his new toy it reminded me of that scene from Castaway when Tom Hanks figured out how to make fire. It doesn't take much for my husband to enjoy himself.

While he waits he sits down with a nice beer and enjoys his night of cooking dinner for me, I am in the kitchen preparing the vegetables, salad and steaks to go on the grill. I try to tell him that just because he puts the meat on the grill doesn't mean he is giving me the night off from cooking. Its not fair when you really think about it. I spend all the time in the kitchen cleaning the meat, making a marinade from scratch, cleaning and cutting up the veggies then I get the joy of clean the kitchen AND the grill after Bobby Flay is done out there. Yet he gets the credit. I really don't get it but I go along with it because being near an open flame is some sort of male power trip.

Personally I think the 'danger' of grilling is what gets men going. A small drip of juice and you get a flair up. A grin crosses any mans face and inside their brain is Tom Hanks screaming "AHA! Look what I have created!!! I HAVE MADE FIRE!!!" then they proceed to dance around the grill to put it out. You got a slight breeze- you got a flair up. Lets face it: Anytime there is a chance to need a ambulance or fire truck, men are all over it.

Enjoy yourselves boys, I will be in the kitchen watching you through the window and laughing my ass off while drinking a glass of wine and praying for rain.

Wine and Fire Marinade Sirloin

3 lbs Sirloin Steak (Bessie to the rescue again)
2 cups of Red Wine
1 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Worcestershire
2 Lemons, sliced to make circles
1 Vidalia onion
4 cloves of garlic

Dice the Onion and Garlic. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and Marinade your steak for at least 3 hours, but overnight is best. Yes that is a Sirloin and yes it is from my cow Bessie. Nice huh?

On a searing HOT grill lay the steaks down and rest the onions and lemon slices on top. Spash or brush on every few minutes with the marinade. This should make the man behind the grill happy...LOTS of flair ups. When you do this the marinade will give the steak a great smoky char flavor. Flip the steaks after about 5-10 minutes depending on how you prefer the temperature. Lay the lemons on the grill next to the steak when you flip. This will give them a nice grill line and flavor.
Squeeze the juice out of the lemon slices and serve. I have a simple side of mashed potatoes...it is a man food after all. If you need a recipe for mashed potato's then you probably should be working with an open flame to begin with...i kid i kid...sort of.
Serving suggestions: I marinaded my steak with a Chianti so I drank the left over with it. Perfect.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I lied. This is the worst food I've made

There is nothing like the summer in NYC. The blazing heat. The white light reflecting off of every window onto the concrete blinding your eyes. The wonderful aromas of the subway on a mid summer afternoon. The homeless people hoarding around you to sell you a bottle of mildly cool water for $2. Sweaty Joe Blow and Bonifa sandwiching you on the 7 train in rush hour-FYI for some strange reason deodorant and soap are not required use for the subways. The tourists stopping the the middle of the street in Times Square to take a picture. Not to mention to poor saps from the sticks trying to navigate the subway tunnels. Ahhh the good life.

Then there is another side of NYC in the summer. Roof top parties on a breezy night. Picnics in Central Park. Reduced admission at the museums. Long walks after the theater. But the best part are all the street fairs. The streets of NYC smell like Grandma's kitchen. Vendors line the streets selling anything and everything you can think of. And my god the food! Braciole, Clams on the half shell, zeppoles, funnel cakes, sausage pepper and onions sandwiches, shish kabobs, dirty water dogs (hot dogs), Nutz4Nuts, you name it and its sold in stands lining the streets.

There is one Street Fair that I both look forward to and dread every year. The Creme de la Creme of Street Fairs. Its the best one but when the street is cleaned, the flags are taken down and the Fair is over I know the summer nights are gone with it. The San Genero Feast in Little Italy closes the Summer season in NYC every September. Mulberry Street is closed to traffic for two weeks every year to celebrate San Gennaro and the Italian way of life. Live music on the corners, handsome Italian boys dressed to the nines trying to entice you to eat at their restaurant. The smell of cigars from the street side cafes. Carnie Games "ill give you one dart for free to hit a balloon!" "such a pretty lady! would the gentleman want to win this lovely lady a prize?". When I was younger I have such fond memories of Little Italy. Back then it really was a Little Italy. Now the true Little Italy is down to about 3-4 blocks long. Down Mulberry St from Broome to Canal St. Chinatown has taken over. Don't get me wrong I love Chinatown (where else can you get a Rolex for $10, a Birkin for $20 and Noodles at 3am?). But Little Italy is a part of my Soul. Every year it gets smaller and smaller. Beautiful clean streets lined with restaurants and shops are now littered with trash and the restaurants have long since disappeared. It truly is the end of an Era. At least I still have my San Gennaro Feast.

There is nothing like the San Gennaro Feast. The best food of any feast. All the restaurants set up tables in the middle of the streets. If you don't want to sit you can visit one of the many vendor stands. On the corner of Motts Street there is a guy who spends all day and night opening fresh clams. The next stand over is braciole and steaks. Down by La Mela you can get a plate full of meatballs. Every other stand sell Zeppolies...and they are all called "NYC BEST ZEPPOLI! get 'um while their hot!". I think they went to Chinatown to get the knock off signs for $1 each.

There is one stand that will forever hold my heart. I can smell it the second I get near the feast. I push and shove my way through the hoards of people to reach my pot of gold at the end of the Italian Rainbow. Deep. Fried. Oreos. (a moment of silence please)

Before I got Married I would have these once a year at the feast. Now that I got my own deep fryer for my Bridal shower I can indulge anytime I want. The second I ripped off the wrapping paper and saw the Deep Fryer I had one thought: Oreos. I've had ones that friends have made, I've heard horror stories from family trying to make them and they have all been epic fails nothing compairs to the ones at the feast. Too doughy, to dry, too soggy, no crisp bite, too crisp. Now I know the trick, and I will share it with you but you must keep it a secret. I have spent many hours of trial and error trying to get the batter just right. Thinner and less sticky then zeppoli batter but thicker than a crepe-with the taste and texture of a zeppoli. Its gotta crunch when you bite into it and be soft and fluffy inside. It also HAS to crust fast so the cream in the Oreo doesn't melt out and cook fast enough so the Oreo stays crispy. When I ran out of flour I found the trick. Determination wins again.

Deep Fried Oreos

One Package of Oreo Cookies
2 Cups of Bisquick (yes, pancake mix...just trust me ok?)
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cup of Milk
2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
Vegetable Oil for frying

Powdered sugar for garnish.

Turn on your deep fryer and get it hot. If you do not have a deep fryer then you can fill up a dutch oven pot or any heavy, deep, even heating pot over the stove with oil. You need about 4 inches of oil in the pot.

Mix together all of the ingredients. Dip the Oreos in so that they are completely covered. The batter should stick to the Oreo and not run off as shown in the picture above. If its to runny add more Bisquick, too thick add more milk. You want to put the coated Oreo in the hot oil as soon as it is dipped. Do not try to dip them all at once. If the batter sits on the Oreo it will make the cookie mushy and it will also never 'poof' up to a perfect little gem.

Gently place some the dipped Oreos in the hot oil. It is best to do them in batches and not all at once. You can test the oil first by dropping a bit of batter in, if it bubbles right away then your good to go. Make sure the Oreos don't touch when you first place them in the oil otherwise they will stick together. After two minutes turn the over and let the other side cook. Do not move them around to much or the batter will come off the Oreo if it is not cooked through. When both sides are a nice golden brown they are ready to come out.

As you remove the Oreos from the hot oil place them on a plate or cookie sheet lined with paper towels. this will absorb all the oil off the surface leaving you with a nice crispy crunchy shell.

Dust with powdered sugar and loosen your belt!

Serving recomentdation: A nice big ole cup of cold milk!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Change of blog

I am testing a new blog layout because, well honestly, the last one was pretty messy. Anyway feedback would be great!


Monday, June 15, 2009

One Tequilla...Two Tequilla...Three Tequilla...FLOOR

There is something about Seafood that I love. I can eat seafood every single day and never get tired of it. There are so many different fishes to Choose from and so many distinct flavors. The Flavor combinations are endless. Same goes for tequila!!! Ok maybe not but work with me on this.

This is my first shot at tequila fish. I've seen it dozens of times on menus and I've always been curious to dry it. Low and behold my Darling Husband come home from work with a nice bottle of Tequila. I love his job. His clients bring him booze all the time. I have a fully stocked liquor and wine cabinet thanks to his job. On top of him taking their money, he also get free liquor and goodies. Ahhh the good life.

That night I was listening to the radio and the most bizarre song came on. I love this song, don't get me wrong, but I don't think I've ever heard it on the Radio before. So there I am dancing and singing around the kitchen with my dogs howling along on Que. To an outsider it would look like they were just telling me to shut up but my sweet angels were just singing with their mama. In walks in my Husband...Tequila in hand. That is my inspiration to this recipe.

You put the lime in the coconut and drank them both up, I say WOOOWOOO aint there nothing you can take?

...............you such a silly woman! Put the lime in the coconut........

Coconut Tequila Monk Fish

4 Pieces of Monk Fish (any other fish will do, I want to try shrimp next time)
1/2 cup of Tequila
1 Can of Coconut Milk
2 limes (one sliced, one juice and zested)
1 tablespoon of Butter
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Marinade time: Minimum of 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 Minutes

Mix the Coconut milk, Tequila, Lime Juice and Zest in a large bowl. Add fish and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes.

In a Skillet melt the butter and add the fish. Sear on all sides then add the Coconut mixture to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the Lime Slices on top. Cook through for about 15 minutes.

You can also Grill the fish separately. Make sure that you put the Coconut mixture in a small pan to cook out any of the raw fish juices.

To serve this dish make sure you add the cooked marinade on top with a sprinkle of lime zest.

I have a side of spinach with this dish. Just saute some fresh spinach with some Olive Oil, garlic and Salt & Pepper until the spinach is wilted.

Endless possibilities

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the wonderful weather...I'm still waiting for it. The best part of the summer is all the fresh veggies that grow in the garden. During the summer months my family very rarely buys produce because we have most of it growing in the back yard. Home grown veggies taste 100x better than anything you will find in the store. Just go out back pluck it and cook it. Cheap and delicious. Two of my favorite words.
While I'm still waiting for mother nature to get her lazy butt out of bed and start shining some sun on my dwindling garden I'm still roaming the produce isle. Basil is by far one of my favorite herbs. Its starts out slow but then overnight you will start to see an explosion of beautiful green leaves in you beds. Always keep it trimmed and when you have to much to use just wash them and stash them in the freezer for the cooler months. Basil will give anything you cook a great flavor. With out Basil I wouldn't have one of my favorite summer foods; PESTO. You can put it on anything from Chicken to Fish to Pasta to Bread to Steaks to Pancakes (just checking to see if you are still paying attention...now I think I'm going to play with the idea of pesto pancakes hmmm...). You can make it thin or thick as a paste or dip. The possibilities are endless.

Pesto White Pizza with Chicken
(makes 2 pies)
2 large chicken breast (great use leftover chicken)
Pesto Sauce (recipe to follow)
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
16 oz Mozzarella Cheese; grated
2 Pizza Crusts
Olive Oil
Pesto Sauce
3.5 Cups of Basil (divided)
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Parmesan Cheese
Hand full of Pine Nuts
2 Cloves of Garlic
For the Pesto Sauce add the Olive oil, Parmesan Cheese, Garlic, Pine Nuts and half of the Basil in to a blender or food processor. Pulse until the basil is smooth. Add the rest of the basil along with a pinch of Salt and Pepper, Pulse until smooth.

Chop the Chicken into bite sized cubes

Drizzle some Olive Oil onto your pizza crust so you get a nice golden brown crunch when you cook it.
Scoop out half of the Ricotta and with a circular motion spread it around the dough evenly. Then with half of the Pesto.
Rinse and repeat for the second pie

Top the Pesto on each pie with the chopped Chicken breasts and the Grated Mozzarella cheese.
Before putting it in your oven LIGHTLY drizzle the top with a little more Olive Oil, a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper
If you don't have a Pizza Pan you can take out one of the shelves from your oven and line it with Aluminum Foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.