Grilled Antipasti Flatbreads

Grilled Antipasti Flatbreads
We haven’t made it to Memorial Day yet, and I’ve already had to exchange the propane tank on our gas grill. Even though not everyday has been grill-worthy weather, I’ve been cooking outside rain or shine. To be honest, the food has never tasted better and my kitchen has never looked cleaner. Grilled flavor is so good that you don’t have to do much prep to make something pretty incredible.

I was experimenting with my standard pizza recipe when I came up with these grilled antipasti flatbreads. I bought an assortment of olives, marinated tomatoes and peppers along with salami & prosciutto to top these individual pies. I used homemade pizza dough, but store-bought would work just fine. They turned out to be the perfect light bites to go along with drinks with friends.

Grilled Antipasti Flatbreads
Grilled Antipasti Flatbreads

Makes 8-10 

Flour for rolling out dough
1/2 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough
Olive oil
Pesto
Tomato sauce
Assorted antipasti including olives, marinated tomatoes, peppers & artichokes
Charcuterie such as prosciutto, salami & sopresatta
Shaved Parmesan
Arugula

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into 8-10 rounds.

Place the rolled-out dough directly on the grates and grill for 3 minutes with the lid closed until the crusts have grill marks, and they have puffed up. Turn them over and grill for an additional 3 minutes.

Drizzle the warm flatbreads with olive oil and top with different combinations of pesto, tomato sauce, antipasti, charcuterie, Parmesan and arugula.

Mini Ice Cream Cakes

Mini Ice Cream Cakes
During my recent freezer cleanout, I found a bag of cookie crumbs from my son’s birthday cake. The theme was construction, so I made “dirt” for his cake. They were 6 months old, but the deep freeze kept them fresh. I pressed these chocolate crumbs into the bottom of different-sized ring molds to make mini ice cream cakes. Everyone gets excited when they get their own little individual dessert.

This recipe is just a starting point. I used chocolate sandwich cookies, but vanilla wafers, ginger snaps or shortbreads would work. For ice cream, you can’t go wrong with any flavor. You can even use frozen yogurt, sherbet or sorbet. I kept mine simple with chocolate and vanilla, but here are some other combinations:

Vanilla wafers
– Strawberry ice cream
– Butter pecan ice cream
– Lemon sorbet

Ginger snaps
– Vanilla ice cream
– Cinnamon ice cream
– Lime sherbet

Chocolate sandwich cookies
– Peanut butter ice cream
– Coffee ice cream
– Raspberry sorbet

Mini Ice Cream Cakes
Mini Ice Cream Cakes

Makes about 6 3-inch diameter cakes 

1 heaping cup of cookie crumbs plus more for decorating
1 tablespoon unsalted melted butter
A generous half pint ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet or sherbet, softened

In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and butter. The mixture should have the consistency of wet sand. Press it into ring molds or cookie cutters. If using a muffin tin, make sure to insert paper liners, so you can remove the cakes later. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Spread the ice cream in the molds. If you are using more than one flavor freeze for 15 minutes before adding the next flavor. Sprinkle the tops with cookie crumbs. Freeze until firm. Unmold and serve.

Sriracha Lime Shrimp

Sriracha Lime Shrimp
Over the weekend I thought about wearing gloves, but I didn’t. Putting them on again would have felt like I had given up on spring, and at this point in the season I have no idea where they are. Suffering with cold hands was the better choice. My fingers are crossed that sunshine and May-appropriate weather will be back, and we will all forget about this chilly spell.

It’s hard to believe that just a couple weeks ago I was a friend’s place having dinner in his backyard, no coat and not a care in the world. He made the most amazing grilled Sriracha lime shrimp, and I had to try my own version. The shrimp were smoky and spicy with a hit of citrus. It was totally worth braving the unspring-like conditions to tackle these outside.

Sriracha Lime Shrimp
Sriracha Lime Shrimp

Serves 4

1-2 tablespoons Sriracha (depending on desired spiciness)
2 teaspoons honey
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill for medium-high heat

In a small bowl, whisk together the Sriracha, honey, lime juice, oil, ginger, garlic, cilantro and salt.

Thread the shrimp on skewers. (If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes.) Brush the sriracha mixture on the shrimp. Grill until pink, opaque and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Blueberry Pine Nut Bars

Blueberry Pine Nut Bars
I am in a state of closet denial. In the mornings when I struggle to figure out what to wear, I blame the unpredictable spring weather instead of the real issue. My clothes and shoes are a disorganized mess. I’ve been telling myself that I will take care of it when I switch from winter to summer gear, but I just keep putting it off.

One of my procrastination techniques was sorting the freezer and not my closet. I discovered a glut of frozen fruit taking up valuable space. I baked crumbly blueberry pine nut bars that were sweet and messy with a hint of lemon. They freeze well, so the bars are the perfect make-ahead dessert if you have storage space.
Blueberry Pine Nut Bars
Blueberry Pine Nut Bars
Loosely adapted from BBC Good Food June 2003

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup pine nuts
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, pine nuts, lemon zest and salt. Using a fork or pastry blender cut the butter into the mixture until it forms small clumps. Press about two-thirds in an even layer into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Spread the blueberries on top and sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Cut into 16 bars while warm. Let the bars cool completely before removing from the pan.

Store in an airtight container up to 3 days. The bars can be frozen up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

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