Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza is the simplest of pizzas with the basic ingredients of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. It is an “End of Summer delight”.

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Margherita Pizza
(Mark Kelly, 2016)

1 lb. Best Pizza Dough Ever divided into quarters
1 14.5 oz San Marzano tomato-based pizza sauce
1 lb fresh mozzarella
1 lb grated good-quality mozzarella
1 dozen vine-ripe medium tomatoes, Roma preferred, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
Fresh basil leaves, torn, with more fresh basil, thinly sliced for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven and baking steel or stone to 500F using True Convection setting if you have it.

On a large cutting board lightly dusted with flour rollout the first of the dough quarters. Move to a corn meal dusted pizza peel. Brush the outer 1 1/2-inch rim of the dough with oil. Ladle a light coating of pizza sauce over the the majority of the dough. Place slices of tomato on top of the sauce leaving some room between for torn pieces of fresh mozzarella. Place the fresh mozzarella on the pizza and then a thin layer of the grated mozzarella over top.

Bake for 12 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and brown and the crust is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining dough quarters and topping ingredients.

Allow to stand for at least 5 minutes before slicing to serve, Garnish with the sliced basil.

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Refreshing Greek-Style Chicken Salad

Refreshing Greek-Style Chicken Salad was chosen and mostly prepared by my lovely wife. The garden fresh cucumber and tomatoes in the salad are a nice accompaniment to the lightly marinated, grilled chicken which is all topped off with a fresh homemade tzatziki sauce.

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Refreshing Greek-Style Chicken Salad
(Adapted from a recipe courtesy of Fine Cooking, August-September 2016)

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for grilling
1 lemon, cut into wedges for garnish

For the salad
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded, and sliced crosswise
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the tzatziki sauce
1/2 English cucumber, coarsely grated
2 cups plain greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 small bunch dill, leaves finely chopped
2 sprigs mint, leaves cut into chiffonade
Pinch of kosher salt

4 whole-wheat pitas, toasted

To prepare the tzatziki sauce: Place the ingredients in a medium bowl and fold together until thoroughly combined. Season with salt. Refrigerate until serving.

To prepare the salad: In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olives. Toss with olive oil and oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix together marinade by combining the lemon zest, garlic, oregano. Season with salt and pepper.

Pound the chicken breasts out to 1/4-inch thickness. Rub with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to a hour. Prepare the gas grill for medium-high direct grilling. Drizzle the chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 minutes without moving the cutlets. Flip and grill for another 2 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove to a plate, squirt with lemon and top with parsley and set aside to rest. Grill the pita on both sides, about 1 minute per side.

Slice the chicken into 1-inch-wide strips. Serve the chicken on the pita with the salad alongside and a generous dollop of tzatziki sauce.

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Coffee-Rubbed Beef Roast with Garlic – Miso Aioli

Coffee-Rubbed Beef Roast with Garlic – Miso Aioli combines the mild spiciness of the the coffee-rub with a the smooth, sweet texture of the Garlic-Miso Aioli.

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Coffee-Rubbed Beef Roast with Garlic – Miso Aioli
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of ZestMaine.com, Sept.-Oct. 2016)

Serves 6

1 2 1/2 to 3 lb Tri-Tip or Bottom Round Sirloin Roast

For the rub:
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup finely ground espresso
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp dry mustard powder
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp dry ginger
1 tsp cayenne

For the Garlic-Miso Aioli:
1 1/2 cups prepared mayonnaise
1/2 cup red miso paste
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Tbsp mirin
1/2 sugar

Thoroughly mix the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Pat the roast dry. Place half of the rub in a large zip-top plastic bag. Massage the rub into the meat. Add the remaining rub over the top of the roast and continue to massage until thoroughly coated. Refrigerate over night.

To prepare aioli: Combine the aioli ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Refrigerate until use and for up to 1 week.

Remove roast from the refrigerator and let stand for at least an hour before grilling. Heat gas grill for direct high heat cooking. Sear the roast on all sides. Turn off middle burner and reduce heat to medium. Cook the roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 125F, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand before carving.

Served sliced beef with a generous dollop of Garlic-Miso Aioli.

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