Friday, January 20, 2017

Honey Semolina Wheat Pizza Dough

A recipe for basic pizza dough, with a bit of honey, semolina and wheat flours to make a nice chewy crust that stands up to whatever toppings you'd like to use.

a smooth basic pizza dough with a sturdy crust and nice chewiness


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This pizza dough is a good basic dough. I've been making it weekly for a couple of months now, and it fits with a variety of toppings and sauces. It's sturdy enough for a heavier topping or deep dish pizza, mild in flavor, and has a nice chewy crust.



mixing up honey semolina wheat pizza dough in a stand mixer



Pizza dough is best made ahead. The dough has time to relax and chill, and so do you.  Usually for me that means I throw the dough together sometime on Thursday for our family's Friday Night Pizza Night. Lately I've pushed the envelope on what 'make ahead' means. Typically I'm mixing up dough while my first cup of tea steeps, around 6 am, shaping it into a ball and bagging it, then chilling until I get off work or the kids get home from school. One of us transfers the dough bags to the counter to sit for 1-2 hours until it's back to room temperature. At dinnertime it's time to shape it, top it, and bake it as described in the photo exhaustive My Pizza Primer post.

Monday, January 2, 2017

How to Eat Local This Year

Eat local, save money, and support your local economy--how the switch to a local, seasonal diet changed my life.

a typical early summer farm share box in the midwest
This is a typical early summer farm share box. It's got plenty of leafy greens along with some herbs, onions, squash, eggplant, peppers and radishes.


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So you want to eat local more often this year? Me, too. I'm glad you're here. I think eating locally is good for your body, your family, our environment and our community. Plus, the food just tastes good. For over a decade I've been deliberately seeking out locally grown fruits and vegetables, locally produced sweeteners, and locally sourced protein. I've moved from the East Coast to the Midwest while keeping up with my Buy Local habits. I suspect these tips are transferable, so I've decided to break from the usual 'how to use the farm share produce' recipe type posts for a series on how to add more local to your life. Please feel free to share with someone thinking about eating more local this year. I know we can all use support to make our good intentions into actions.


This series evolved from a talk I gave at my local community center entitled Eat Local, Save Money, and Support Your Local Economy. Over the years I've picked up a bunch of tricks to make successful local food choices, and I wanted to share some. The start of a new year is often a motivating time for many people, so if I can help nudge your local leanings into some practical action I'd be delighted. Over the series we'll cover why sourcing food locally is good for your economy, where you can find local foods, and how to shop more mindfully. I'll share my philosophy on menu planning--when I do it, when I wing it. I will explain vegetable triage, and share some tips on reducing food waste. I'll give you some tips for preserving produce while it's abundant--without needing fancy equipment. Feel free to poke around the website--there's a lot of nuggets of wisdom in here along with some pizza. To help eaters like me, I've got my recipe index broken into produce type--from Acorn Squash to Zucchini--with a variety of recipes for a variety of eaters.


48% of each dollar spent in a local business is recirculated in your community
Source


I'd like to start off with my biggest surprise--the WHY of Eating Local. Why are you interested in eating local? For me, it began as a way to increase the amount of vegetables and fruits our family was eating while supporting farmers who are respectful and kind to the land in the region we live. The human and environmental impacts were pretty much all I thought about. Now, though, the economic impact of my purchases on my community are my bigger motivation. This is for two reasons. First, every dollar is a vote for what matters to you. Second, everybody eats. If I can combine my voting (dollars) with something I've already got to do (buy food), I see that as a winning multitask. As the chart above shows, 48 cents out of every dollar you spend locally is recirculated in your community. This multiplier effect ripples throughout the region. When you buy a box of strawberries or a loaf of bread at the farmer's market, or eat at a local independent restaurant, you are contributing to your neighbors, to your PTO, to the emergency services of your town as your dollars are recirculated by local business owners. You are enriching your community just by buying dinner. That's pretty empowering.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sweet Sausage Bread

This quick nut bread combines sweet fruit and savory pork sausage for the ultimate in grab and go breakfast treats, with plenty of protein to get and keep you going.



close up of a loaf of sweet fruit and nut bread powered by a pound of pork sausage


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This post is sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council. They have compensated me for my time and provided the sausage I've used in the recipe below. Please see the link at the bottom of this post for a short survey and a chance to win a KitchenAid mixer with sausage attachment. That's a $350 value!



a slice of sweet sausage, cranberry, and walnut bread terrific with coffee or tea, or as a breakfast on the go


The BLUF (military acronym for Bottom Line Up Front) is this is a quick sweet fruit & nut bread that happens to use a pound of pork sausage. Meat and fruit in bread? It sounds crazy--but recall that mincemeat originally contained meat. Honest--you gotta try it! This recipe comes from Ruth Runyan of Oakview Farms. She and her family have been raising hogs in Urbana, Ohio for going on 4 generations now. You can read about my visit to Oakview Farms here. In this post I share how 3,500 Ohio farms raise enough pork to feed 25 million people. That's more than double Ohio's population, but these good folks share with plenty of other states. When you buy pork at the grocery store or farmers market, you are supporting Ohio farm families! (Hey thanks for eating locally and supporting local businesses. It's kind of a thing of mine.)



I was intrigued by the idea of using savory sausage in a sweet bread. After all, I like maple syrup on my breakfast sausage, bacon in my Maple Peanut Butter Bacon waffles, and I have been known to do "quality control" testing on the honey bacon at work. Sweet and savory just goes together. In addition to a hearty breakfast option, this bread can be served as a side dish (like I first tried it, with Perfect Grilled Pork Chops). I suspect it would make a terrific stuffing or dressing alongside a holiday meal. I bet you could even stuff thick cut pork chops with this bread! No matter what your application, it's an unusual recipe to add to your repertoire. If you enter the survey below, and win the KitchenAid mixer and sausage attachment, you could even customize your own sausage to make this bread!


the ingredients to make sweet sausage bread