Chef Gigi's Five Spiced Charred Tri-Tip

Charred Beef Tip with Chinese Five Spice and Grilled Cara Cara Oranges

Chinese five-spice is pungent and encompasses all five tastes—sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami—and uses five different spices. This dynamic Asian seasoning is a mixture of star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. It’s easy to make at home, but it’s ok to purchase it premade too. I usually pair it with additional sweet ingredients because it is so powerful.

You’ll Need: 

2 pounds beef tri-tip, trimmed

1 small yellow onion, quartered 

2 cups low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

4 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

4 Cara Cara oranges, 2 zested and juiced

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4-1/2 cup pineapple juice

2-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 heaping tablespoon of Sambal Garlic-Chili Paste

1/4 bunch of cilantro, stems removed (set a few leaves aside for garnish)

Kosher Salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Set aside.

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground Chinese five-spice 

2 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch 

4 to 6 green onions, chopped thin on a diagonal for garnish

Sesame seeds, for garnish

Gigi's Chinese five spice ingredients

Here’s How: 

Before you begin, trim the beef of any excess fat. Season the beef on both sides with Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Set aside.

In the bowl of your food processor, combine the remaining ingredients, except 2 of the oranges, the zest, green onions, sesame seeds. Blitz until liquid. 

Place beef tri-tip in a resealable container or zip lock and coat well with 1/2 the liquid marinade. Refrigerate for a minimum of 8-12 hours. Add zest to the remaining liquid, store in a sealed jar until grill time. 

Preheat grill. Clean and oil the grill grates. Heat the remaining sauce until thickened, keeping a close eye on it to ensure no burning. The sugars in the recipe will torch fast. Strain and return to the stove. 

Remove beef from marinade, and be sure to discard any of this remaining liquid.

Grill the tri-tip over direct medium heat, occasionally flipping for about 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the weight of the cut and your preferred internal temperature. For the last ten minutes of grill time, move the tri-tip to indirect heat and begin basting with a portion of the sauce you have on the stove until the tri-tip is entirely glazed, charred, and sticky. 

Slice the remaining oranges in half and place cut-side down on the hot oiled grill grates. Cook oranges for about 3-5 minutes until they become somewhat charred, then remove the oranges and set them aside.

When the beef is ready, remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for about 8-10 minutes. Be sure to carve across the grain, place on a serving platter, drizzle with remaining sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds, cilantro leaves, green onions and grilled Cara Cara oranges. .

Serve with steamed white rice.

Note: If you would like the sauce a bit sweeter, add another tablespoon or two of sugar to the remaining sauce and continue to simmer until the sugar has melted. A bit spicier, add a bit more Chinese chili paste a bit more bold and fragrent, add additional five-spice. 

The mixture should be able to coat the back of a spoon. If not, make a slurry 2:1 cornstarch and liquid – stir into the sauce. Carefully heat to a quick boil to activate thickening. If you have clumps, strain the sauce through a fine sieve- no big deal. Remove from heat and serve on the side or pour over top of sliced tri-tip. It’s that simple!

Crispy Pan Fried Snapper with Strawberry Tomato Salsa

This recipe is interchangeable with any of your preferred fish proteins, including shellfish-like scallops! I occasionally add cubed granny smith apples if I’m roasting salmon steaks; the tartness of the apple cuts through some of the fat in the salmon for me. I also introduce lots of lime wedges when I pan-fry a crispy battered white fish—whatever method of cooking is your fav, be sure to top off with this tasty summertime salsa. Try the recipe below I made for red snapper; it’s delicious! 

You’ll Need:

4- 6 oz pieces firm Snapper

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1 medium green apple, cored and diced (optional)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and diced

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, torn right before use

2-3 tablespoons neutral-tasting extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon knob of butter, cold

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 limes, cut in wedges

Here’s How:

Cut and combine the berries, tomatoes, and apples if you use them into a small bowl, tear in the parsley, and add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle a little olive oil, add rice vinegar. Toss. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make three small slices into the skin side of each filet to prevent it from curling up while cooking. Salt and pepper the fish front and back. 

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and a knob of butter until melted. Add the fish filets skin side down and cook until the fish is crispy. Depending on the size of your filet, this should only take about 6-8 minutes. Gently flip the fish and cook until the flesh is opaque for an additional 2-3 minutes. 

Remove from the pan and tap tap on a paper towel to remove any excess cooking oil. 

Serve warm topped with strawberry salsa and lots of lime wedges! 

Makes about 4 servings

Sous Vide Fried Chicken and Waffles!

The consistancy of using a Sous Vide machine will result in perfectly fried chicken everytime!

We all want that bite. You know the one….that succulent, juicy tender center with that traditional crunch- golden crispy and perfectly brown everytime! Sometimes it’s hard for home cooks to achive the same results getting the interior of the chicken properly cooked while the outside may over cook.

This recipe allows the cook to achive a perfected piece of fried chicken, inside and out, every- single time!

You’ll Need:

For the Chicken

6-8 pieces of chicken, wings, legs or thighs or breasts

Salt and pepper

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground Italian seasoning

5 cups good quality, high smoke point vegetable or peanut oil for frying

For the Flour Mixture:

3-4 cups self-rising flour

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon dry Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Egg Mixture

4 eggs, beaten 

Fresh ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon ground Italian herbs

For the Waffles:

2 large eggs

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup pecan or your favorite nut meal ( optional ) 

2 tablespoons palm or granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Here’s How: 

The Waffles

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring just until nearly smooth; a few small lumps may remain.

Spray your waffle iron with a non-stick cooking spray before preheating it. Cook waffles according to the waffle irons manufacturer’s directions. For an 8″ round waffle iron, use about 1/3 cup batter; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the iron stops steaming. 

Serve hot, or cool and crisp in the toaster before serving. Top with room temperature butter.

The Chicken:

Set your SV Precision Cooker to 155’F Degrees / 68.3’C.

Season the raw chicken with salt, pepper and a light dusting of Italian seasoning. Place into a resealable freezer or vacuum bag. Seal airtight.

Place the sealed bag of chicken into the water bath and circulate for 2 hours. 

Prepare the waffle batter and set aside. 

When the chicken is almost done, preheat the oven to 200’F degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and a baking rack. Set aside.

Once cooked, remove the bag from the water bath. Prepare a dredging station with two casserole dishes side by side-one containing beaten seasoned egg mixture, and the other with the seasoned flour. Set aside.  

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed fry pan or Dutch oven to exactly 350’F degrees. While the oil is heating, remove the chicken from the bag and begin dredging by gently patting the cooked chicken dry and then running the chicken pieces one-at-a-time through the egg mixture, then through the seasoned flour mixture. 

Only when the oil reaches the proper temperature, carefully lower each piece of dredged chicken into the pan. Working in batches, with tongs, turn the chicken parts after a few minutes to achieve a crisp golden-brown crust on all sides. 

Once the chicken is completely golden brown on all sides, remove from the oil, pat off any excess the oil with a paper towel, sprinkle with kosher salt. Set on the rack-lined baking sheet and place it in a 200’F degree oven until ready to serve. 

Make the waffles while chicken stays warm and crispy in the oven. Be sure to serve hot with warm maple syrup or honey!

Chef’s Note: 

Do not allow the temperature of the oil to go below 350’F degrees to achieve the optimal crunch and have oil return to the pan.

No Buttermilk? No Problem!

Combine 1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice mixed into 1 cup of whole milk. Let the milk stand for 10 to 15 minutes until it thickens very slightly and curdles- boom- you have buttermilk!

The Ultimate Thanksgiving #Leftovers! Hot, Open-Faced Turkey and Gravy Sammies!

elisa-bauer

Nothing like a Good ol’ Fashion Open Turkey and Gravy Sandwich the Day after Thanksgiving! 

You’ll Need:

1 1/2 lb leftover turkey meat, sliced

1/2- 1 cup  leftover turkey gravy

Stock or water (to thin the gravy if needed)

4 large slices of rustic Italian bread

Butter

Crushed fresh garlic

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Here’s How:

In a medium sized skillet heat the gravy until bubbly, reduce to a simmer. If the gravy is too thick, thin with a little stock or water. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add the sliced cooked turkey to the gravy mixture. Coat evenly on all sides and simmer  until the meat is heated through.

Slice and toast the bread until golden brown. Butter well and rub smashed garlic clove over the toasted bread like coloring crayon.

Arrange the slice of rustic buttered bread on a plate. Top with sliced turkey and smother in gravy.

Breath deep! Mmmmmm!

Serve with mash potato bombs!

Photo credit: Elisa Bauer

Southwestern, Turkey Tamale Pie!

Got leftovers? Dont worry- they will disappear in a second with this recipe!

Tamale pie is a casserole dish found in the cuisine of the Southwestern portion of the US. Typically prepared with a cornmeal crust and ingredients used in delicious recipes indigenous to the region. A typical comfort food and a welcomed change of flavors after an abundant holiday chow down! Originally developed as a standalone meal and not to rework leftovers– and rightfully so.

Tamale Pie was developed sometime in the early 1900s- and may have originated in Texas. Its first known published recipe- dates way back to 1911.

You know it’s gotta be good. Yum!

You’ll Need:

3-5 cups shredded large chunks of cooked turkey

2 cups your favorite fresh prepared salsa

2 cups your favorite enchilada sauce

1-12-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup cooked corn kernels

1 cup sliced black olives

1 onion, cleaned and diced small dice

1 1/2 -2 cups good quality chicken or turkey broth

1 Tablespoon ground chili powder

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

4 scallions sliced

1 1/2 cup cornmeal

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated medium

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnishes:

Sour cream

Sliced black olives

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped

2 avocados, large dice

1-2 jalapeño or Serano chilies, sliced

Crumbled Mexican cheese

Here’s How:

Preheat the oven to 400’F degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 x 2 ovenproof baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Or, a large cast Iron pan. Set aside.

If using the cast iron pan- prepare everything on the stove and transfer to the oven later. If not, use a medium saucepan, over medium heat and warm the turkey with the salsa, sauce, beans, onions, 1/2 cup of the stock, chili powder and cumin. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.

Remove from the heat and fold in the scallions and sliced black olives. Set aside.

In an additional medium sized sauce pan, combine the cornmeal with the remaining 2 cups chicken or turkey broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring, until very thick, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese and the butter. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Spread the cornmeal mixture over the filling and bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Serve warm, with a platter full of delicious garnishes.

Drunken Squash with Forbidden Black Rice and Dried Fruit! 

Black Rice also known as Forbidden Rice

Once Reserved Only for the Noble. 

The health benefits of black rice are so powerful, this ingredient earned its name. Highly prized by noblemen and once forbidden amongst the common in ancient China. 

Black rice, was first introduced to the United States just recently, in 1995. Today it’s gaining popularity. Forbidden black rice is delicious, and has an amazingly chewy bite. It can be purchased at natural grocery stores, specialty markets and through your favorite on-line store. 

You’ll Need:

2-4 golden acorn squash, small sugar pumpkins or your fav squash

2 cups black forbidden rice, thoroughly washed

1 pound ground sausage

3 1/2 cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to adjust seasoning 

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste 

1 teaspoon, plus 1/2 tablespoon good quality California olive oil, divided

1 cup celery, small dice

1 yellow onion, cleaned peeled and small diced

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried sage 

1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine 

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

1 red bellpepper cored and cut small dice

1/4 cup dried apricots, small dice

1/4 cup golden raisins 

1/4 cup pecans rough chopped

1/4 cup chopped pistachios

1/2 cup Grand Mariner or good quality brandy (optional) 

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped fine 

Squash seeds, roasted for garnish

 

Here’s How:

Preheat the oven to 375′ F degrees, prepare a high-sided cookie sheet with olive oil and set aside. 

In a small bowl, soak dried apricots and golden raisins in Grand Mariner. Set aside.

Wash and dry the squash and cut the stem to remove. Cut the squash in half horizontally. Careful not to cut yourself. Place the round squash on a folded kitchen towel, to prevent from rolling. With a serrated bread knife-using a sawing motion, cut through the firm flesh. 

On each halve- carefully cut a very straight silver dollar sized piece off the backs of each halve. This will ensure each piece will sit upright at service time. With a spoon, gently scrape interior to remove seeds. Set aside to roast. ( See my seed roasting recipe ) or discard.

Lightly coat the flesh of the squash with some of the olive oil. Season generously with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Sprinkle lightly with ground nutmeg and ground clove.

Place flesh side down on the prepared baking sheet. Put into a pre-heated oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the flesh is soft- but stable when pierced with a knife.

Meanwhile, while squash is roasting, prepare the remainder of the recipe by rinsing the black rice thoroughly in a sieve under cold running water. Shake rice until water begins to runs clear, removing much of its starch.

In a medium sized, 6-8 quart sauce pan with fitted lid- bring rice, chicken stock, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a roaring boil – uncovered, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover tightly. Continue to cook rice until tender and most of water has been absorbed, about 35 – 40 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand covered, about 10 minutes undisturbed. After rest period, reveal and fluff with a fork. Black rice is naturally chewy when done. Test for doneness. 

About 15 minutes before the squash and the rice are expected to finish cooking, begin to prepare the stuffing. In a large 10-12 inch skillet over medium heat add 1/2 teaspoon of oil add ground pork, season with salt and pepper and additional 1/4 teaspoon ground sage. Sauté until slightly brown. About 2 minutes. 

Add the diced celery and onion. Continue to sauté an additional 3-4 minutes until celery is cooked through, but still firm to the bite. Add fresh chopped herbs and small diced apples to the pan. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the from the pan away from any heat, stain liquid off dried fruit and add to the pan. Stir to combine. Return to heat and fold in the cooked rice, and pecans. Cook an additional 1 minute to combine flavors. Add a good pinch of chopped parsley reserving additional for garnish. Stir. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Place cooked squash skin side up in a baking dish. Generously spoon the rice stuffing into the cooked acorn squash so that they are piled high. Cover “tent like” with foil and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes or until heated through. If holding any longer in the oven, add a few tablespoons of chicken stock or water to keep moist. 

Remove from the oven, and finish with finely chopped flat leaf parsley- serve immediately! 

Variations

Remove pork sausage and replace with bacon or omit all together. 

If you want a sweeter flavor sprinkle acorn squash with a pinch of brown sugar or maple syrup and cinnamon before stuffing. 

Makes approximately 4-6 servings depending on size of squash.

Green Beans with Brown Buttered Walnuts and Caramelized Shallots

I love to cook green beans, especially Haricots Verts, pronounced { herəkō ˈver } they are delicious and so tender. They are the French variety typically slimmer and longer than the common green bean we see here in America. You can use any fresh green bean for this recipe. 

You’ll Need:

1- 2 pounds fresh haricots verts, root ends trimmed

4-6 ounces unsalted butter or 3-4 teaspoons good quality olive oil

4-6 gloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

6-8  large shallots, cleaned and sliced thin

1/4-1/2 cup good quality chicken, vegetable stock, or white wine 

Salt and fresh ground pepper 

2 springs fresh thyme

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice 

1 cup browned buttered walnuts, see recipe below 

1 orange zested 

Here’s How

Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the haricots verts and cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath. Drain. Pat dry.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until they are browning and nicely caramelized about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook an additional minute. 

Add the haricots verts and salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until just heated through and crisp-tender.

Deglaze the pan very quickly with the chicken stock, add the fresh thyme and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice toss. Add toasted walnuts and toss.

Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper one last time, top with orange zest. Serve warm.

Approximately 4-6 serving


Variations: Add cooked bacon bits, panchetta, lemon zest, almonds or a splash of cream 

 

Browned Butter Walnuts


You’ll Need

1 – pound halved fresh walnuts

1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

In a large sauté over medium heat melt the butter. Add the sliced almonds and sauté storing constantly until golden and fragrant. About 3- 5 minutes toss in the sugar lst minute toss till melted and remove from heat to a sigle layered sheet pan to cool. 

The walnuts will brown fast in the butter so be sure to remove them from the hot pan and cool quickly, or you will risk over browning.

Dust with salt and pepper while warm. 

Grilled Steak Tacos with Serrano-Blueberry Salsa

You might think that the beauty of a taco recipe is that you rarely need one. A taco can start with virtually anything delicious, tucked into a warm tortilla, topped with your typical fillings, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, a well-chosen salsa. But it can be delightful to have a lavish taco with some unusually paired elements for that celebratory Taco Tuesday, or just a little something different. 

You’ll Need

1-2-pound flank steak, or your favorite cut of beef

1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder 

12 small corn tortillas, lightly toasted on the grill

12 slices of mild Havarti cheese 

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper 

Red Pickled onions (recipe below

Blueberry Serrano Sauce (recipe below

1 bunch parsley, chopped fine

1 bunch scallions, sliced

2-4 white or red radishes, chopped small dice

Queso Fresco, or your favotite Mexican Farmers Cheese, crumbled

2 limes, washed and cut into wedges

Microgreens for garnish

Here’s How: 

Remove the steak from the cooler and allow it to come close to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Fire up the outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Season the beef with salt and cracked black pepper on both sides, then set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the dry spices and mix them thoroughly. Rub the spice mixture into the salt and peppered beef on both sides.

Clean and oil the grill. Place the beef across the hot grates and do not move the first 4-5 minutes to achieve a deeply caramelized sear. 

Turn over and continue the grilling process until the desired internal temperature. Rest for about 8-10 minutes before slicing.

While the steak is resting, reduce the heat on the grill and place the tortillas on indirect heat. Spritz with a bit of water and add cheese. Close the grill lid until cheese melts and tortillas are steamed warmed. Set aside keep covered to keep warm and pliable.

Slice the beef, assemble the tacos by placing the meat directly on the melted cheese tortilla, slather the Serrano-blueberry sauce, add toppings of pickled red onions, chopped parsley, sliced radish, and your favorite micro-greens or cilantro to finish.

Chef Gigi's Fire Blueberry and Serrano Chili Sauce
Chef Gigi’s Fire Blueberry and Serrano Chili Sauce

For the Spicey Blueberry-Serano Sauce

You’ll Need:

1 Serrano chili, cleaned and sliced into small dice

3 cups of fresh blueberries, room temperature

1 small yellow onion, large dice

2 cloves fresh garlic, cleaned 

1/2 lemon, zested and juiced 

1 tablespoon good quality maple syrup

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 

1 teaspoon neutral-tasting oil 

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Water as needed

Here’s How: 

In a small, high-sided saucepan, heat the oil on low heat. Add the onions and saute until brown and caramelized. About 4- 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until blueberries become soft about 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching, and slowly reduce to a thicker syrup-like consistency. Remove from heat and slightly cool.

Place the blueberry mixture into a standing blender or the bowl of your food processor and blend until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. Remove and run through a fine sieve. Place sauce into an airtight container and pop into the fridge! For more fire, leave the seeds in the Serrano chili. For even more excitement, replace the Serrano Chili with a Habanero.

For the Pickled Onions 

You’ll Need:

2 large red onions, sliced paper-thin

2 cups apple cider vinegar 

2 tablespoons granulated sugar 

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

10-12 peppercorns 

2-4 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

1 quart-sized Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid for packing

Here’s How:

Add the sliced onions, peppercorns, and garlic to a glass mason jar, and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and heat, stirring just until the salt and sugar dissolve about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the garlic clove and peppercorns. Gently pour the brine over the onions and allow the liquid to cool. Seal with a tight-fitting lid, and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes before eating. The onions may be stored chilled for up 4 weeks.

How to Assemble the Tacos

To assemble a Taco, spread a tablespoon or more of the Blueberry sauce onto the center of each tortilla, lay one or two pieces of the juicy grilled steak on top of the sauce, top scallions, pickled onions diced radish, and crumbled cheese or your favorite toppings. Fold over to make a taco.

Serve with lime wedges to squeeze directly on the taco filling.

Carrot Salad with Roasted Cashew & Spicy Honey Vinaigrette

You’ll Need

1 cup unsalted cashews, roasted
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup local honey
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound carrots, peeled, julienned

Here’s How
Preheat oven to 350’F Degrees. Toast cashews on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally until golden brown, about 8–10 minutes. Set aside.


To the bowl of your food processor or standing blender, add the garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup of the cashews, honey, salt and pepper. Process and slowly add the oil by drizzling through your processors feeder tube.

Continue until mixture is emulsified into a creamy vinaigrette.

Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking with salt, pepper, honey or lemon.

Add carrots, toss and let stand at least 30 minutes to blend flavors .

Toss with additional cashews and chopped basil just before serving.


Do Ahead:

Salad can be made 1 day ahead without the nuts and basil. Cover; chill. Toss with 1/2 cup remaining nuts and basil just before serving.

Grilled Pizza! Get Your Pie Out-of-the-Oven and onto the Grill!

The trick to a perfect grilled pizza is all the preparations. Roast, sauté, cook, slice, and grate whatever toppings you like before you begin your grilled pizza journey. Adding those pre-cooked toppings to the pizza as it is grilling is the trick.

The dough will only require a 3-5 minutes cook time per side.

Making the Dough

Keep in mind, yeast is a living organism, so don’t kill it by burning it with hot water or salt. I add sugar to my recipe to feed the yeast. Why? Honestly – I’m in a hurry. Shhhh.

The yeast will reconstitute in the water, wake up and be really hungry. The yeast eats- then it quickly begins to digest its food and yes, creats gas. Yes, I know it’s funny, and trust me when I say the kids will LOVE this Science lesson on C02 and so will you ! This step actually helps accelerate the dough’s rise faster! Definitely a win-win.

The important part about the end of the day, is also being with your family so– It’s also okay to use uncooked-prepared store bought pizza dough if you are short on time. Many grocers carry great organic uncooked pizza doughs today without tons of preservatives. The pizza police wont come for you, I promise!

You’ll Need

6 cups all-purpose flour plus more for shaping dough
1 teaspoon active dry yeast ( rapid rise yeast if you are in a big hurry )
1/4 teaspoon sugar or honey
1-2 cups room temp water, as needed
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt


Here’s How

Whisk sugar or honey with the yeast in a medium bowl with 1 cup of the water. Set aside for about 5-10 minutes until foaming with bubbles. Make sure the water temperature is not above 105’F degrees or you will kill the yeast.

In a large gallon sized food storage bag or bowl of your stand mixer with dough hook attached, add the flour and the salt. Combine to distribute the salt throughout the flour. Make a well in the center of the flour if using the bag method.


Add the water with the yeast mixture, 1/2 of the remaining cup of water, and all of the olive oil. Close food storage bag by removing air and sealing all but a 1/2 inch up at the zip. Massage from the bottom of the bag up and incorporate well. Mix dough gently to form a nice dough ball. Add more of the 1/2 cup remaining water if water if needed. or, start the mixer on medium speed and mix until dough hook forms and ball.

If using a stand mixer continue to knead the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. About 5 minutes. Remove into a lightly oiled bowl.

If using the food storage bag method – knead well until it all comes together and forms a ball. Open the food storage bag, and transfer the dough ball to a large clean lightly floured surface.

Hand knead about 10 minutes until dough seems smooth. Resting in-between if it becomes unmanageable. This is actually the gluten forming which is rubber-band like. Just let it relax and return after a minute or two once dough seems smooth- place in a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature (about 72° F degrees) in a draft-free area until surface until dough has doubled in size, about 1.5 hours. Use rapid rise yeast instead of regular dried yeast if you are in a hurry- the rise will happen faster.

When dough has risen, transfer on to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide and cut into 6 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour and set it aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet.

Repeat with remaining portions. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, an additional hour.

Planning Ahead

The dough can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in a gallon sized plastic food storage bag with rolled in a little bit of flour and chill in fridge until ready to use. When ready to use, unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap for about 15-20 minutes before shaping.

To Make The Pizza
During the last hour of dough’s resting, heat your sauce, sauté your vegetables and grate the cheeses.

With one dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with floured hands stretch the dough into a rectangle or triangular form the best you can. Free form is the way to go with grilled pizzas.

Oil both sides lightly with a good quality cooking oil. Set on a clean baking sheet.

Prepare the grill by oiling. Once the grate is well oiled, place your raw dough on hot cooking grates and resist the urge to move it.

Grill the dough for about 3-5 minutes. Flip the dough when it releases from the grates when given a nudge. Look for deep colored grill marks and some crispy edges before tuning over. Repeat on each side.

When both side are cooked, move pizza crust to indirect heat choose a side of the grill where the heat element is turned off below, or to a side of the grill where there are no burning coals.

Top the rustic pizza dough with warmed pesto or pizza sauce if desired — then add your choice of pre-cooked toppings. Top with cheese, melt by closing lid or covering with a foil tent. Finish with flavored oil ( see my recipe here ) and serve. So delicious!

Variations : Add fresh chopped herbs to your dough or fresh chopped garlic for an additional favor layer.