You've read about how much I love KKG before. Well, last week I attended the 70th Biennial Convention of Kappa Kappa Gamma in Houston.
It was a weekend of laughter, fun, catching up, eating (two desserts everyday!), learning, singing, eating some more, and little sleep. I love that every two years I get to see so many incredible women I adore in this organization.
I was also honored to get to speak to the entire Convention body about our organization's philanthropic partnership with Reading is Fundamental. A buddy in the audience took this for me.
(Can you see my knees shaking in this photo? They were.)
As always, there were sad goodbyes as we all returned home. Still, it was so great to come back to these little cuties.
They have been spooning like that since they were just 10 weeks old. So sweet.
Nectarine & Basil Pizza
I love it when I see friends post new and interesting recipes.
A few weeks ago, a good friend (and Kappa) posted two glorious homemade pizza pies to Instagram. They looked incredible so I demanded the recipe. That's how I wound up with this wonderful combination inspired by Alexandra Cooks.
Olive oil for greasing
Cheese (fresh ricotta, mozzarella, goat cheese, blue cheese, whatever you like)*
1 nectarine (or sub a peach), sliced thinly*
Shavings of fresh Parmigianno Reggiano
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Pizza dough, store bought or prepared (bonus recipe is below)
*We used goat cheese crumbles and nectarines
Place balsamic in a small sauté pan. Turn heat to medium high. Let simmer until reduced and noticeably thick — watch it closely. Err on the side of under reduced. It reduces more than you expect as it’s cooling. Remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Drizzle dough with a little olive oil and with your hand, rub it over the surface to coat evenly.
Cover the dough with a layer of cheese. Arrange one layer of sliced nectarines on top of the cheese.
Sprinkle the fruit layer with fresh Parmigiano Reggiano. Place pizza in your very hot oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until the crust is slightly brown and the cheese is melting.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh basil or arugula. Drizzle with the reduced balsamic.
Slice and serve. Yum.
We were using small mini pizza crusts for our pizzas, so we made two barbecue chicken pizzas to tag along with the sweet fruit ones. For me, the latter were the highlight.
Sweet nectarines, basil, balsamic and goat cheese are my new favorite thing. This combination would easily translate to crostini or tartines.
Make sure you fire up your oven nice and hot for these little guys. The sweet carmelization on the fruit is part of why this is such a winning recipe.
Check out a full index of recipes here
Send me your thoughts, comments and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonus Pizza Dough Recipe
This comes from Alexandra Cooks and is adapted from Todd English’s The Figs Table. It makes four 8- to 10-inch pizzas.
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 2/3 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
2 teaspoons olive oil
Place the flours and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and let sit for five minutes until the mixture bubbles slightly. Add the olive oil and stir. With the mixer on low, gradually add the oil-water mixture into the bowl. Knead in mixer or by hand until the dough is firm and smooth, under 10 minutes. The dough will be very wet and sort of difficult to work with. I liberally coat my hands with flour before attempting to remove it.
Divide the dough into four balls, about 7 1/2 ounces each. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Be sure to oil the parchment paper. Place two balls on a sheet. Lightly rub the balls with olive oil, then cover loosely with plastic wrap. The dough is very sticky and wet, so, be sure to coat the balls or the plastic with oil. Let the balls rise in a warm spot until they have doubled in bulk, about two hours.
Note: This dough freezes beautifully. After the initial rise, punch down the dough, wrap it in plastic and place in a Ziplock bag. Freeze for several months. When ready to use, let sit at room temperature for about an hour, then proceed with rolling/topping/baking.
To roll out the dough, dab your fingers in flour and then place one ball on a generously floured work surface. Press down in the center with the tips of your fingers, spreading the dough with your hand. When the dough has doubled in width, use a floured rolling pin (or continue using floured hands if you are skilled at making pizzas) and roll out until it is very thin, like flatbread. The outer portion should be a little thicker than the inner portion. Note: If the dough is being very stubborn, let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. In this time, the gluten will relax, and the dough will be much easier to work with.