Grilled Bacon, Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pizza

I have been meaning to attempt a grilled pizza for longer than I can remember. For some reason or another it just has not happened. Until this past week. My brother is home from college for the summer and has been bugging me time and time again to make pizzas on the grill. So while I was out getting groceries for the week, I bought the ingredients for a few different pizzas and the decision was made. We were grilling pizza.
asparagus
 If I am being honest, I had no idea what I was doing. Putting pizza dough on the grill seemed like a terrible idea. Wouldn't it just go limp between the grates? Another skill that I have lots of room for improvement upon is my pizza tossing skills. From the picture below, it is clear to see that Tommy cannot toss pizza dough into a circle.
grilling
 While I've never grilled pizza before, I have made it from scratch and cooked it in a conventional oven. My favorite thing about pizza is the infinite amount of topping options. Green olive and onion. Shredded chicken with buffalo sauce and bleu cheese. Arugula, prosciutto and mozzarella cheese. You can cater your toppings to whatever your tastes and favorites flavors are.  For this pizza I used the pesto sauce I had previously made and combined it with bacon, asparagus and goat cheese.
I chose to cut a few corners due to lack of time (and natural light). I purchased a pre-made pizza dough at my local grocery store and chose to go that route. More often than not this tastes just as good and is considerably easier and time conscious. I will however make another pizza with a homemade dough.
pizza
Have you ever tried grilling pizza? What are your favorite toppings or combinations of ingredients?
Grilled Bacon, Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pizza
Ingredients:
8 ounces asparagus, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick coins pizza dough (I used fresh pre-made dough from the store) olive oil, for brushing Kosher salt 1/4 cup basil pesto 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 6 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions:
  1. Heat half of a gas or charcoal grill to high (about 400°F) and the other half to low (about 300°F). Fill a large saucepan with heavily salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus and cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Strain and rinse with cold water, drain well, and set aside.
  2. Divide dough in 1/2 and roll into 2 rounds about 1/4 inch thick and 10 inches in diameter. Brush the top of 1 round with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Lay dough oiled side down on the hotter half of the grill and brush the top with oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill dough without moving until grill marks form on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
  4. Flip dough with a spatula or tongs to the cooler half of the grill, spread with 1/2 of the pesto, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan, 1/2 of the bacon, 1/2 of the reserved asparagus, and 1/2 of the goat cheese. Cover and grill, rotating if necessary to avoid any hot spots, until dough is lightly charred and cheese is melted, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer pizza to a cutting board, sprinkle 1 tablespoon more of the Parmesan over top, slice, and serve. Repeat with second round of dough and remaining toppings.

lemon dill salmon with cauliflower purée & grilled asparagus

door county

door county, oh how i love thee.

seriously though. you could pay me a starbucks salary to live in a 1 room cabin on the shores of sister bay, cook for SMAK, and writes books for your reading enjoyment. go ahead, twist my arm.

firei spent this past weekend with the parental units and family friends, the larsons, at their home in sister bay. the weekend was plumb full of bloody marys, playing cards, fall fest antics, more bloody marys, campfires, and midnight walks through the woods. to say it was a much-needed escape would be putting it lightly. i could have stayed an entire week.

lemon dill salmon with cauliflower puree & asparagus

earlier in the week, i took it upon myself to make dinner for my parents. the only trick? no recipe. i was not allowed to open a cookbook. nor could i go onto my favorite food blogs and snatch a tasty recipe. i, thomas scott, had to make this on my own. using some of the friendly mentoring advice that angie previously bestowed upon me, i came up with this healthy weeknight meal!

i was pleasantly surprised to see how much i enjoyed this meal and the combination on flavors. my problem in the kitchen is this: i know what i like, what flavors i enjoy, but i lack confidence in throwing them together on my own. to this i say, snap out of it! if you're in the same predicament, i repeat myself, snap out of it! know what you like, what flavors go well together, and be confident in it. if it doesn't work out? so what. now we know what does and doesn't work! there is a lack of definitive measurements for this reason, use this as a guideline for your next meal. take inspiration from my recipe, but make it your own.

so until next time...happy eating!

lemon dill salmon

ingredients: fresh lemon juice shallot, sliced dill salmon filets

instructions:

  1. preheat oven for 400° f.
  2. rinse filets and place on piece of parchment paper.
  3. slice shallot and place atop filet with sprinkling of dill and squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. tuck the parchment paper around the filet creating an enclosure.
  5. cook in oven for approximately 12 minutes, or until done.
  6. let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

cauliflower purée

ingredient: 1 head cauliflower handful chives, chopped 1 teaspoon butter salt and pepper, to taste

instructions:

  1. bring water to boil in pan.
  2. boil cauliflower until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. place all ingredients in blender or food processor and mix.

grilled asparagus

ingredients: bunch asparagus olive oil sea salt

instructions:

  1. toss asparagus, olive oil and sea salt in zip lock bag.
  2. grill for 8-10 minutes, rotating occasionally.

pasta with pesto cream sauce

well this is awkward...i feel as though SMAK is some girl i went on a date with and never called back...

my excuse? um.... i lost track of time. i had to go to the doctor. i took a sabbatical. i lost my computer. i moved to a foreign country and was without internet service. i forgot how to cook?

4 months. i have gone 4 months without putting a single picture, recipe, post, not even a whimper onto SMAK. what in the world happened? i don't know what to say. i could try to come up with excuses. clearly i have tried, but all seem pathetic and contrived. so instead of coming up with some reason for my 4-month absence, i will own up. i didn't call back. i didn't even send a text message! all i can ask is to let me back into your inboxes and kitchens. let me make your mouths water with intense anticipation.

let me be your SMAK!

Pittsburgh

this past weekend i flew out to pittsburgh, pa to visit my best friend of 20 years. crap. 20 years? thinking about knowing someone for that long, outside of your own flesh and blood, seems absurd. but none-the-less, shizz happens - megan and i first met and the bright young age of 5, our mothers called each other to make sure that it was appropriate for us to have play dates, and we've been making creepy crawlers and drinking wine ever since!

pasta with pesto cream sauce

megan took me to pittsburgh's strip district, a neighborhood teaming with markets and shops. italian groceries. jewish groceries. stores fronts with tchotchke knick knacks and steelers memorabilia. everywhere. i have never in my life seen so many people wearing sports gear. hats. shirts. jerseys. shorts. tattoos. a little overboard for my taste.

meg & tom

we had planned on spending the evening in without the slightest idea of meal choices. megan and i will quite frequently text each other asking what to make for dinner. so clearly decisiveness may not be our strong suit. while meandering through an italian market, meg picked up a bag of cavatappi. "i bet this would be great with some kind of cream sauce." a few seconds later i was sifting through recipes on my iphone and discovered this easy recipe for pasta with pesto cream sauce.

this meal, along with a bottle of red wine, or two...three, was the perfect way to spend a saturday night with my best friend!

so grab your best friend and try this out yourself and until next time...happy eating!

pasta with pesto cream sauce servings: 8

ingredients: 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 3 tablespoons pine nuts 2 cloves garlic, peeled salt and pepper, to taste 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup grated parmesan (additional) 12 ounces pasta 2 whole tomatoes, diced

instructions:

  1. cook pasta until al dente.
  2. add basil leaves, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to a food processor. turn on and drizzle in olive oil while ingredients mix. continue blending until combined, adding additional olive oil if needed. set aside.
  3. heat cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. add pesto and stir.
  4. drain pasta and place in a serving bowl. pour pesto cream over the top. toss to combine. add diced tomatoes and toss quickly. top with parmesan cheese. serve immediately.