Tag Archives: pairing

pizza party


Matt and Adam’s wood-burning pizza oven pizza party!

By now, you probably know how Britt and I feel about pizza. So, when our friends Matt and Adam invited us over for a pizza party in their newly renovated backyard, how could we say no? We had the most amazing evening; checking out the fabulous additions, which, transform a simple backyard into an entertainer’s dream. One of the most significant, being, the outdoor wood-burning pizza oven. These have become quite popular/available in recent years and come in kits which are relatively simple to have installed. The total price hovering around$6K – $7K installed.

I’ve said it before but there’s just no way to make a perfect pizza crust without oven temperatures over 600°F. The smoke from the wood also contributes immensely to the flavor of the crust which ultimately is the star of the show. That being said, this is one of the most amazing kitchen tools and is definitely going on my bucket list. These ovens aren’t limited to just pizza either. I’m told they produce the most incredible roasted chicken, fish, meat, poultry, bread… the list goes on and on.

Matt even handed out Sarapes when it got chilly!

Matt even handed out sarapes when it got chilly!

Matt and Adam pre-made 10 pizza crusts and everyone was invited to create there own pizzas by selecting from the variety of toppings, sauces and cheeses. We then cut the pizzas into 8 slices and shared them with the group. It was fun trying different people’s creations. We had a blast! Thank you Matt and Adam for hosting such a brilliant night!

What I drank:

Aglianico pairs great with a wide variety of pizzas!

Aglianico pairs great with a wide variety of pizzas!

Aglianico del Vulture is an Italian red wine made from the Aglianico grape from the Vulture area in Basilicata. Gricos is full bodied with great fruit, structure, tannins and a velvet mouth feel. I highly recommend this wine with pizza! More please!


roasted kabocha squash and quinoa salad

Yesterday, I saw a green pumpkin like squash at the farmer’s market. After further inquiry, I learned it is called a kabocha squash and has similar characteristics to butternut squash. It is commonly called a Japanese pumpkin and is believed to have aphrodisiac properties in some cultures (so lay off the the rhino horn and shark fins). I also found the most perfect and gigantic pomegranates and naturally couldn’t resist. My brain instantly combined the two ingredients and yearned to transform them into a salad using quinoa (which I had leftovers from the day prior). The resulting dish is fantastic and truly represents fall to me. Not only is it a great dish on it’s own, I also think it would make a great vegan stuffing substitute or a healthy side for your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner!


2.5 pound kabocha squash

1 small kabocha squash
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa follow instructions on bag
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 orange zest and juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Scrub the outside of the kabocha with a scouring pad and hot water. Cut kabocha in half, scoop out and discard the seeds with a spoon.  Now cut the squash into 1/2 inch cubes leaving the skin intact. *Do not attempts this unless you have a large, sturdy and sharp knife! Place the kabocha in a roasting pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, thyme, a teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast 400 degrees 30 mins tossing every 10 minutes. While the kabocha is roasting cook the quinoa following the instructions on the container. Cool quinoa and kabucha before combining in fridge. About 30 minutes should do the trick. Finally, combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with your hands. Season with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy! This can be made ahead of time and holds up great!




What I drank…
I had just finished shooting a recipe for an Italian Spris Cocktail and figured why not?! The orange in the cocktail complemented the orange juice in the salad, while, it’s bright and bitter flavors balanced out the creaminess of the squash. Interesting pairing to say the least! I’m certain a crisp acidic white would’ve worked too.

Italian Spris

Italian Spris