In pictures: A day in Philadelphia

Yesterday we took a day trip to the City of Brotherly Love. We checked out a new space – The Porch – next to 30th Street Station, learned a little science and history at the Franklin Institute, and had a great dinner and drinks at Monk’s beer bar. It made for a great date with my new husband!

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Pizza on the Grilling Stone

I received a special grilling stone from our two chef friends (Gretchen and Aaron) for our wedding – thank you guys! This is the one that I am lucky enough to have. It is pretty versatile and you can cook a lot on it, I definitely recommend it.

We tried it out a few weeks ago and I am ready for another go at using it. It was fun but I definitely need some practice.

I made pizza dough using this recipe that I found. Pizza dough is yet another thing that I really need to practice making. This one came out ok, it didn’t rise as well as I would have liked. I need to get in to the habit of planning ahead and making my dough a little farther in advance. I often decide on a whim that I want pizza and then become a little impatient and end up not giving the dough enough time to rise because I am starving!

We heated the charcoal up and placed the stone on the grill. I had enough dough to make two pizzas. I got the dough ready by stretching and rolling it out and putting cornmeal on the bottom to keep it from sticking to the stone. I got all my ingredients ready and headed out to the grill.

We placed the dough for pizza #1 down on the stone and then tried to put all the toppings on. We covered it and waited about 10-15 minutes. That was too long! We definitely burnt our first attempt at grilled pizza. It tasted ok, but it was really burnt on the bottom…

So my next attempt was a little better. I got the dough ready for pizza #2. This time I put it right on the pizza peel so I could slide it off really fast onto the stone. I put all the toppings on it before I put it on the grill.

Here we go, pizza #2:

Roll out the dough

Fresh tomatoes


prosciutto and chopped up kalamata olives


Fresh basil


Topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and a little salt and pepper.

I carried the whole thing out to the grill and slid pizza #2 off pretty quickly, covered up the grill and waited another ten minutes.


Pizza #2 was pretty successful!

It got stuck a little bit on the stone because there were some burnt  spots from pizza #1 that I couldn’t get off. It was a great first attempt but I think next time I will do a much better job.

Improvements for next time:

  • Do not burn the first pizza or all other pizzas will get stuck.
  • Put the prosciutto on the top so it gets crispy instead of soggy.
  • Try putting the cheese under the toppings.
  • Less toppings, so they aren’t fighting against each other, the olives kind of took over this time.

I also really want to try to grill a pastry on the grill using the stone. I think I may attempt a peach tart!

Mexico Adventure 2012

We decided to venture into Mexico again for our vacation/honeymoon this year. We have been to the Yucatan together once before in 2008, and Dan traveled throughout Mexico after he graduated high school. It is a beautiful place and we’ve made some very special memories there… we are already dreaming of our next return trip. Here’s a few shots from our first time around the peninsula:

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On our first trip, we stayed pretty close to the top of the Yucatan Peninsula. We started in Isla Mujeres and went down the coast. We visited Chichen Itza, visited the colonial town of Valladolid, and went to so many other places its hard to remember them all. I also happened to find the best tamale that I have ever eaten. It was in the town of Tulum from a cart on the town square. I planned on looking for it again during this trip… keep checking back to see if I found it.

This time we really covered some area around the peninsula and went inland to the state of Chiapas. We visited colonial cities, Mayan ruins, the jungle and the beaches. Here’s a little peek into the adventure:

We took advantage of the convenient public transportation on our first visit to Mexico. We planned to ride the buses again, but we were convinced to rent a car in Merida, the first city we spent some time in. Renting the car made for a whole different kind of adventure… and an adventure it was… Don’t worry, I took plenty of food pictures and I have lots of stories to share in the upcoming weeks!