Sometimes all you need for inspiration....
...is a little change in scenery.
Me and the Little are away from home for a few weeks at the home of the world's greatest grandparents. It just so happens their home is situated on 150 feet of gorgeous isolated lakefront property.
I have to say, sometimes its hard to pull the computer out when fishing, swimming, kayaking, quadding, and hiking are also on the agenda. But I miss cooking, photographing and writing here. And when you miss something even when you are on vacation, that must mean you are doing something you love. (although I'm not sure if technically you can be on vacation when you don't have a job??)
So we had a little success around sixtyone45 a few weeks back. Turns out BC Fresh liked the thing I did with smoking potatoes enough to award the recipe first place in their contest. I was so shocked grateful! I have never 'won' anything before and certainly not a recipe contest. It was so rewarding to get such positive feedback.
Having worked in the 'outside' world for so many years, I was used to getting feedback on a regular basis. Formal or informal. Solicited or not. There was never any shortage of opinions on the work I was doing. Then you take on what I know will be my most important job ever, and no one really tells you how you are doing.
And while nothing - NOTHING - beats getting an assuring smile or laugh from Little. (it beats any performance appraisal any day of the week and twice on Sunday) but... I have also seen him smile and laugh at a piece of dust before. I like to think he likes my jokes better, but some days I'm not sure.
The lack of impartial feedback is by no means a complaint, just an adjustment. I would probably even says I'm grateful he can't really give me feedback... especially in those early months (ill fitting diapers, ridiculous outfits, milk too hot, bath too cold...ya, there woulda been no quarterly bonus for me)
So fast forward 19 months, and while this little blog project is hardly a job, it is me not wearing any hat other than Lisa. And Lisa got some feedback. And they like her. Well, they liked my potatoes. And that's was just awesome to hear. If anything it makes me want to keep experimenting in the kitchen with food, photography and the words that appear here. After all, that was the whole point.
So I have wanted to try dough on the grill for a long time now. If you recall when I made said potatoes I said I was drawn to a few key themes in my cooking...
1. Local. As much as possible, all the ingredients should be from local farms or markets.
2. Simple. Fresh vegs are already perfect. They sure don't need me to mess 'em up.
3. Grilled. Ovens should be shackled in the summer.
On this day at the lake we made two flatbreads that stayed true to the themes. I made the dough from a Bobby Flay
recipe and I will apply his method whenever I make dough in the future. I have no idea (chemistry was not my best subject) but I think the secret was letting a rise occur with only half of the flour in play. Well played Mr. Flay. Well played.
And then we just kept it simple and loaded the breads with fresh smoked trout grandpa we caught, roasted local chicken from the day before, piped a dill & cream cheese mixture with reckless abandon, some crisp chives, fresh parsley and topped with spicy cress all from the garden.
Serve with a side of cold beer and a lake view ....
...you have the recipe for a perfect summer evening.
Flatbread on the Grill (one with Smoked Trout and the other Roasted Chicken)
For the Flatbread...
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1/2 tsp of active dry yeast
4 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 T of olive oil
1. Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl and let stand for five minutes.
2. Gradually pour in two cups of the flour and mix until well incorporated. (about 1 minute) It will look spongey. Cover and let it stand for 2 hours.
3. Add the salt, oil and remaining flour (1/2 cup at a time) gently mixing to form a dough. (You can use a machine and dough hook here as well but I did it by hand)
4. Remove the dough and knead for 3 - 5 minutes. Form into a ball and place in a bowl that has been oiled with the final tablespoon of oil. Cover and let rise for 2.5 hours.
5. Divide the dough into two balls, cover and let rise again for 30 minutes.
6. Roll out to desired thickness.
7. When ready to grill, oil both the bread and grill liberally.
8. Heat grill to med-high heat, throw on the dough.
9. When it pulls away from the grill with ease, flip it once. Then top with toppings of your choice.
10. Remove from grill and enjoy.
Notes on Toppings...
I did two versions that night. The first was a Smoked Trout and the second was a Roasted Chicken.
Smoked Trout: I whipped together cream cheese, fresh dill, a splash of cream and a squeeze of fresh lemon and put this in a piping bag, piping it directly onto the flatbread on the grill. Then I tossed on some thinly sliced raw onion and roughly chopped smoked trout. When it came off the grill, I topped it with fresh cress.
Roasted Chicken: This was greek inspired so once we flipped it once, we added shredded chicken, crumbled feta, fresh tomatoes, caramelized onions and fresh parsley.