Sunday Dinner Italian-Style

I'm going with an Italian theme for dinner tomorrow.  I'll be helping with food for a wedding reception in August and we've settled on a casual Italian menu for that, so I'm going to play with some ideas rolling around in my head.

We'll start with an antipasto platter.  I stopped by the Rogue Creamery in Central Point the other day on the way home from a camping and hiking trip in northern California.  I bought a cheese called "Beecher's No Woman".  Not sure why it has that name, but it's marbled with Jamaican jerk spices and it's delicious; a little bit smokey and a little bit sweet.  I'm going to serve it on thin crackers along with slices of Salametti Secchi (dry salami) that I bought at the same time.  I'll add some olives and perhaps artichoke hearts to round things out.

Next up we'll have a salad with the fresh greens I bought at the farmers market this morning and an oil & vinegar or creamy Italian dressing.

For the main course, I'm going to try to duplicate the margherita pizza I had at Ken's Artisan Pizza a couple months ago with my daughter, Laura.  Super thin crust, a light smearing of a garlicky tomato sauce, whole fresh basil leaves, all topped with fresh mozzarella slices and a grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano.  (I bought the mozzarella and parmesan at Rogue Creamery too.)

I usually cook pizzas directly on my baking stone in a 550 degree oven, as hot as it will go.  With a thin crust, it only takes a few minutes.  I'm toying with the idea of trying something new, if the weather cooperates.  I have lined our gas grill with half-size firebricks before to bake Whole Wheat Pita Bread.  I'd like to try baking the pizzas out there and perhaps even add some smoke chips to give them more of a wood-fired flavor.

I bought some lovely long thin green beans (the lady said they were from Medford, but who knows?  I think it'll be awhile before local beans are ready).  I might steam them as a side dish.

Haven't figured out dessert yet.  I need to practice pavlovas, but I'd like to do a lemon curd and blueberry combination and I haven't gotten any blueberries yet.   Hmmm....I could try my hand at gelato.....

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