I was back in Baltimore for the long weekend and, of course, had to go to the farmer's market with Matt. We decided to go to the Hamilton Market on Saturday (instead of the JFX Market on Sunday despite the fact that I prefer the latter) and I did something which I haven't done probably since last summer, which was put together a menu based on what was at the market. My creativity was definitely stunted because it took me about 4 passes through the market to come up with a menu. I can't believe it took me so long, and I was lucky enough to nab the last of the strawberries. Had I waited any longer I would have had to go home berry-less.
I ended up saving my market purchases for Sunday, when my brother came up from DC for lunch (and also because Matt and I got home late after having made a major purchase at Best Buy...more on that in a later post).
If my camera charger weren't missing as a result of the recent move, I totally would have taken photos of Sunday's creations, but, alas, I have had no luck in finding it (which means I'm going to have to shell out money for a new one...annoying).
We started with a simple salad of spring greens and a lemon vinaigrette (which apparently was too lemony...this is what happens when you are rushing and forget to taste your vinaigrette before plating), which was boring but tasty nonetheless.
The second course was better, but maybe not, because I burned half of it. I decided to make a grilled pizza topped with grilled asparagus, caramelized Vidalia onions, and goat cheese. Here's the recipe:
Grilled Asparagus, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese Pizza
makes a 16" pizza
Pizza dough (I used this recipe, which, contrary to the name, is totally NOT the best pizza dough - this is way better, but when you need your dough ready in two hours, there's really no way around it)
1 lb asparagus
1 tbls olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 medium Vidalia onions
1 tbls canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz goat cheese
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
Trim the asparagus and toss with the olive oil and salt. Grill over medium heat until tender - I checked every minute or two and I think it took about 8 minutes total. (Remember: I cannot grill to save my life so grill these as you see fit).
In the meantime, add the canola oil to a large pan set over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and golden, about 20 minutes.
OK now here is where my fear of the grill becomes very apparent: I was too scared the put the pizza dough directly on the grill so I put it on a perforated pizza pan that Matt had. This may have been my downfall but maybe not. Who knows (I certainly don't). Anyway, after you stretch out your pizza dough, top it with the remaining 2 tbls olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, the onions, asparagus, and chunks of goat cheese. Now you can either be intrepid and put this right on the grill, or you can be a grilling pansy like me and put it on a pan on top of the grill. I have no idea what temperature the grill was it (uh, oops?) but it should probably be very hot so that you cook the crust quickly. Alternatively you can just cook this in a very hot oven, preferably on a stone, thereby preventing excessive burning, I mean charring.
The combination of toppings was excellent - I grilled the asparagus and slowly caramelized the sliced onions over a low flame before putting them onto the pizza dough along with the goat cheese. Had I made the pizza in the oven, it would have come out wonderfully, but I am no grilling expert (I was raised vegetarian - what do I know about grilling!), so half of the pizza ended up pretty burned (or charred if you will). The other half was fine, though, so I, of course, served those to my brother and Matt and I dealt with the well done pieces, which, surprisingly, weren't all that bad. Apparently the non-burnt pieces were very good, or so I was told, but that just might be because the two people eating it were either related to me or going to be related to me within a few months' time.
The final course was a strawberry-rhubarb galette. I had actually wanted to make some sort of upside-down cake like thing, but I needed to make something without eggs, and Matt doesn't have a pie plate, so a galette it was. Besides, my brother loves fruit tarts and pies, so this was the right choice. I used my recipe for the crust and scaled it up by 50%. For the fruit filling, I sliced up a pint of strawberries and a pound of rhubarb, tossed both with about 1/3 cup of sugar (which is less than half of what most recipes call for - there is just no need for so much sugar when you're working with in-season berries, and, besides, you want some of the rhubarb's tartness to come through) and let the mixture stand for a few minutes, then tossed that with a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch. All of that went on top of the rolled-out pastry dough, the sides were folded up, and it was baked for a half hour at 400 and another half hour at 375. Brother proclaimed it "very good." I'll believe him on that one.
So, no pictures for this meal, but at least I'm back in the kitchen and attempting to be creative once again. Unfortunately wedding planning is probably going to get the best of me these next few months but I am really going to try my best to post once a week between now and then. I have some interesting and/or slightly insane baking projects lined up for the summer and I hope to be able to share those with the 5 of you who still read this blog.