Showing posts with label artichoke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label artichoke. Show all posts

Friday, March 25, 2016

Deep Dish Pizza with Artichokes, Kalamata Olives, and Garlic Scape Pesto

This pizza is layered with mozzarella cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives tucked under an Italian sausage blanket spread with garlic scape pesto.

This pizza is layered with mozzarella cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, kalamata olives tucked under an Italian sausage blanket spread with garlic scape pesto.

 Follow me | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook

I'm working on refining my "elevator speech", a way to describe what it is I do to people I meet.

In the 30 second version, I'll touch on the flavor of a freshly picked tomato or strawberry vs their store bought counterparts and comment that it's easy to choose to eat locally for the flavor. In the longer version, I'll bring up garlic scapes--one of the more unusual, you've never seen this before therefore it must be locally grown, items in a Spring farm share basket. I specify Spring because, even though you'll only find garlic scapes right after they are harvested in the early part of the growing season--you can put up garlic scapes to enjoy year round.

I'll be giving a talk about local eating at my neighborhood community center in May, and I'm hoping for a couple of garlic scapes to harvest as props. Conveniently I missed a few bulbs of garlic when I harvested last June, and those older established bulbs have a jump on the garlic I planted last October so it's possible I'll have my 'visual aids'. If you're puzzled by what a garlic scape is--it's just what would be the flowering portion of garlic. You can see some gorgeous shots of a scape here on my Garlic Scape Recipe Round Up. I plant my garlic cloves, just like my daddy plants daffodils, in the Fall. Instead of enjoying the pretty flowers, though, I cut off the curly scape while the blossom is still a tight bud, and pulverize those stems for their mild garlic flavor.  With no energy needed to go for a showy floral display, the resulting garlic bulb is bigger--my end goal.

Now, I'll rave about garlic scapes to anyone who will listen, but the way I love them most is in pesto. I will freeze scoops of pesto (I make it thick so it stays in a clump when freezing) for up to a year. Initially I'm hoarding my garlic scape pesto stash, but this time of year I'm seeing the garlic pop up (and sharing it on my Instagram feed) and knowing that scape season is approaching so I can be free and easy with my stash.

This pizza is layered with mozzarella cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, kalamata olives tucked under an Italian sausage blanket spread with garlic scape pesto.

This ^^ is all to say that, in this pizza, I used some of my garlic scape pesto as the sauce. If you don't have a stash in your freezer, use any pesto you feel like using. It will be delicious because you made it with love, and that's what matters the most, right?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Deep Dish Meatball Pizza

A pizza you can really sink your teeth into--this is filled with meatballs and vegetables sandwiched between two layers of cheese in a hearty deep dish pizza.

A pizza you can really sink your teeth into--this is filled with meatballs and vegetables sandwiched between two layers of cheese in a hearty deep dish pizza.

 Follow me | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook

A pizza you can really sink your teeth into--this is filled with meatballs and vegetables sandwiched between two layers of cheese in a hearty deep dish pizza.

Sometimes I just don't have much to say other than this:

"This pizza was good. You should try making one like it. Here's what I did."

So instead of waiting further to post until I have something worth reading, or something worth getting off my chest, I'm giving you the recipe and stepping aside. With some photos, because we eat with our eyes first and it was a really tasty pizza. Very forkable (it's kinda heavy to lift up to your face with your hand).

Friday, February 12, 2016

Deconstructed Salmon Artichoke Dip Pizza

Take a classic hot artichoke dip, add salmon, then deconstruct it onto this pizza. It is cheesy, hot, gooey, and a terrific way to enjoy a seafood pizza for pizza night.

Take a cheesy hot artichoke dip, add salmon, then deconstruct it onto this pizza. It is cheesy, hot, gooey, and a terrific way to enjoy a seafood pizza for pizza night.

 Follow me | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook

I've added a new category to my Visual Pizza Recipe Index--Seafood Pizza Recipes. I've added this as a service to my readers despite the fact I feel that all flesh is meat, including salmon, lobster, muskrat, alligator, capybara, and conch. But hey, you do you. If you prefer doing penance by eating lobster, rock on. If you want to eat seafood on your Friday Night Pizza Night, I'm adding a 5th recipe idea to my newly-made category to give you options--this Salmon Artichoke Dip Pizza.

Friday, July 31, 2015

What is Tomato Pesto? Why Put it on a Pizza?

A vegetarian's delight: pizza with marinated artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and pickled banana peppers on fresh tomato pesto, topped with salty feta crumbles and creamy burrata cheese, finished with fresh summer savory.

Have you made Fresh Tomato Pesto yet? It's one of my most popular posts every summer, and with good reason. This flexible dairy free recipe uses ANY type of tomato (I've tried cherry to Roma), assorted nuts--or sunflower seeds--and whatever herbs you've got handy. I prefer a combo of flat Italian parsley and basil, but I'll be experimenting with cilantro this year.
This is after thawing!
Eat it fresh, and if you've got a bunch of ripe tomatoes--put some up for later by freezing! I like these reusable storage caps for freezing (Amazon affiliate link) and freeze my pesto in half pint size jars. I use a piece of clear tape to write down the contents so I don't get mixed up--for example between arugula pesto and  garlic scape pesto. The lids wash up fine and only break when you swing the freezer door open too quickly and everything falls out and rolls on the floor to the delight of Robert Barker. [I'm sure that only happens to me, though].

I like to dip a variety of veggies and crackers into my fresh tomato pesto, but I really like to use it on pizza. I thaw a jar a day or so in advance, in the fridge, and drain off any water that rises to the top [For use as a pasta sauce I just stir it in.] Then I've got a flavorful sauce that adds a homemade touch to pizza.

Go make Fresh Tomato Pesto. My tutorial is here. For other recipes using tomatoes, please see my Red & Yellow Tomato Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. For other Awesome Veggie Apps and Snacks, please see my Pinterest board. For more vegetarian pizzas, please check out my Visual Pizza Recipe Index and my Friday Night Pizza Night Pinterest board. Wanna know how to Use This Blog? Click here!

Friday, June 5, 2015

CSA Recipe Index Revamped, and Garlic Scape Pesto Pizza with Mushroom, Artichoke, Pepper and Red Onion

A loaded vegetarian pizza with mushrooms, artichokes, yellow peppers and red onions on a garlic scape pesto-slathered crust. Plus--an expanded Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, now with recipes from all sorts of bloggers!

I had a "duh" moment the other day. My goal of making my blog a resource for people like me looking for recipe ideas for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share, farmer's market, or garden abundance would be closer if I included recipes from other bloggers in my Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient.

I sure don't have the lock on the best recipes using farm share ingredients, with the possible exception of my Sautéed Beet Greens and Spring Onions with Egg breakfast/brunch, which I happen to think is the world's best way to enjoy beet greens.

Everyone's tastes are different, so having a central location to see a wide variety of recipe ideas for whatever ingredient you're dealing with can only help. I hope the bigger and better Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient will enable more people to have a successful farm share season and keep coming back to their chosen farmers for more. Why is my family embarking on our 10th CSA season? Fresh food tastes good!

Now, I am one person with kids at home for the summer and dogs who require a lot of attention. I'd share a video of Robert Barker and I trying to teach Simon and Vincent how to howl, with mixed success, but I can't figure out how to get it off my son's iPad and onto my laptop. Scroll down for a .gif instead.

I won't have a whizbang revamped recipe index overnight. I've paid a chunk of money [gasp, go buy something on Amazon using my link please] to the good folks at Inlinkz and I'll slowly add to it in a seasonal manner, focusing on produce that is more unique to the farm share/farmer's market. That means garlic scapes right now.

If you check out my Garlic, Garlic Scapes and Green Garlic Recipes Collection you'll find a wide variety of omnivore, gluten free, vegan and paleo recipes contributed by many bloggers. [Every link has been obtained by permission of the blogger.] I've pinned all the links to my Garlic Scapes Pinterest Board, if you like to organize recipe ideas that way. There are many recipes for Garlic Scape Pesto, sure, because that is an excellent way to put up a garlic scape crop for the year--but I've included everyone who contributed because I'm not going to be the one to test and pronounce which is The Best Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe Ever. Taste is subjective.

I have two requests:

  1. If you have, or know of, additional recipes I can add to the index, please shoot me an email and tell me about them. My info is on my About page.
  2. I'd like to know how the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient works for you on your device. We are a Mac family, and Luddites to boot, so I have no idea how this looks on an Android product or on Chrome or stuff like that. I can't make it better if I don't know what's not working.

I have been sharing pizza recipes, and it's a Friday--the day I traditionally fix pizzas for my family--so since I have a food blog [I almost typed I am a food blog] I will uphold tradition and stop babbling about the new direction for the recipe index and instead share a pizza. 
Keeping it short and sweet, because I've written enough already.

Garlic Scape Pesto Pizza with Mushrooms, Artichokes, Peppers and Red Onion

1 pound pizza dough of your choice
2 to 3 Tablespoons of Garlic Scape Pesto (here's my recipe)
¾ cup chopped fresh mushrooms
½ cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
½ cup chopped bell peppers
¼ cup diced red onion
1½ cups shredded cheese (I used a blend of fontina, mozzarella, and asiago)

For baking directions, please refer to my Pizza Primer, or my 7 Tips for Making Pizza at Home posts. I'd rather show you dogs running past garlic scapes. I'm sorry I didn't get a shot of Vincent. He's too fast.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Easy Artichoke Arugula Pesto Burrata Pasta

A fast-to-fix vegetarian pasta dish using farm share greens, marinated artichokes, and creamy burrata cheese. Putting up pesto is one way I keep from being overwhelmed when the farm share greens are in abundance.

I forgot to take finished, plated, photos of this dish. I also had the grill going and it just slipped my mind. I debated sharing this recipe today, seeing how it's the first day of the the farm share season and I had the potential for new and returning readers arriving on the blog and did I want to start off with less than my best foot forward?

I decided that I did. Hope you understand!

The idea that you don't have to Eat All The Greens in a Week was a revelation to me when I adjusted to eating from a CSA, and putting some items up for later use is one of the ways I feed my family from our seasonal farm share year round. We're starting our 10th year enjoying the fruits of CSA farmers' labors, and recipes like this are one the tips and tricks for farm share success. For other tips, please check out this post

When we get a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box filled with assorted greens I am emphatically not looking to throw them all into salads. There are only so many salads we can eat in a week. Instead, I'm looking to turn anything not expressly salad-like into a recipe ingredient, and I give myself bonus points if it becomes a long-storing ingredient. I've shared a concept recipe for incorporating farm share greens into pasta dishes here, which is a terrific quick use for a bunch of greens. If you've got a bit of time to do some prep work, though, you'll be reaping the benefits for months by putting up some of your greens as pesto.

Arugula pesto fits the long-storing ingredient category--typically we're getting arugula in the farm share side by side with a bag of salad greens and other cooking greens. It's useful to be able to put up a batch of pesto. I store mine in the freezer in half pint jars, with a splash of olive oil on top, using these terrific lids (Amazon affiliate link). I don't just want to share how I put up this stuff, though--I want to show you how I use what I put up.

This pasta dish is my second version of a fast burrata pasta meal. The first one, that I've made three times now [unheard of in my family] uses meat and winter squash so it will debut in the Fall. Oh, so worth the wait. I wanted a vegetarian and summer-friendly version, good for a quick supper, so I took the burrata pasta concept and here we are. Adding in artichokes just elevates a simple pasta dish into a snazzier one, though we are in danger of the kids becoming artichoke fans and eating all the leftovers. The same thing happened to us with take out Indian food, and now my picky eater tells me the spaghetti sauce needs more eggplant. Educated palates. Harrumph.

Burrata cheese was new to me, and my spellcheck keeps trying to change it to burrito. When I first bought it I thought it was just like fresh mozzarella and was sorely disappointed when the creamy center oozed all over my pizza dough. Once I embraced the gooey center I came to appreciate it for what it is (creamy), not for what it's not (solid). I've found burrata cheese at the fancy cheese counter of my local Kroger. It's pricey but perishable, which means whenever I see it marked half off/quick sale I pick it up. [Yes, I cruise the fancy cheese counter looking for magical markdown stickers--I'm married, I don't cruise bars anymore.] I know we'll enjoy burrata pasta dishes so it's worth the splurge--at half price at least.

For other recipes using arugula, please see my Arugula Recipes Collection. For other recipes using marinated artichokes, you're looking for the Recipes Using Veggies In Jars Collection. These are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for ideas when you're facing an unfamiliar ingredient. You can also find me sharing ideas via my Pinterest boards and my FB page. Want to know how to Use This Blog? Click here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Greek-seasoned Salmon, Artichoke and Feta Dip

Greek-seasoned salmon with feta cheese and artichokes in a baked dip--terrific for a Dip Dinner!

Having an assortment of dips for dinner is a nice way to change up the dinner hour. Dips are easy to assemble in advance--no last minute work involved!
After spending time outdoors enjoying the return of warm sunshine I'm not necessarily ready for a heavy meal--but I'm happy to turn on the oven.
A dip dinner like this makes a good compromise meal. I like to offer choices, knowing that my spouse will clean up whatever is left another night as a pre-dinner snack. [Sometimes it can drive me batty that dinner will be ready in 7 minutes and he has to eat something NOW, but if I've got a bit of this or that to use up I'm all over it.]
It is hard to show a black dog against a dark background.

For this Dip Dinner I had this Greek-seasoned salmon, artichoke and feta dip, a vegetarian spinach feta artichoke dip (to be coming soon) and a mash up of this dip and the vegetarian one. That mash up won't be written up for the blog--it was too wishy-washy of a dip.

This recipe came from my friend Sarah while we were both living in Hawaii over a dozen years ago. She served it at a rubber stamping party and I immediately requested the recipe. I've played with the recipe over the years, sharing a slow cooker & swiss chard variation early on the blog, Slow Cooker Salmon Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip, as well as an arugula & artichoke version, Baked Artichoke & Arugula Dip.  I like my apps, and you can find many more ideas on my Pinterest board, Awesome Veggie Apps and Snacks.

I opted to try a Greek version using this new spice blend I picked up at a shop downtown (see Note below) along with feta cheese covered in a magical markdown sticker. This is a very good combo which we'll have again. For more recipes using Salmon, you're out of luck until I add protein to the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. I have worked my way through the whole salmon I bought at the grocery store down the street (wild caught, overnighted from Alaska, and cut & wrapped to order). For more recipes using marinated artichokes, please see my Recipes Using Veggies In Jars Collection, which is really quite a mouthful but a tasty one at that.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Baked Artichoke and Arugula Dip

This recipe combines farm share arugula with artichoke hearts and loads of cheese in a baked vegetable appetizer.

I've been sharing a lot of game day appropriate appetizers lately since it's 'tis the season and all, but I've been feeling a bit . . . well, guilty . . . since I've been using a fair amount of meat in them.  I'm glad to share a meat free [and vegetarian if you select a vegan Worcestershire sauce] hot appetizer to join in the line up. 
This is a tasty way to eat up arugula from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share, your garden, your folks' community garden plot, or the farmer's market. Usually when we get a big bag of arugula we're also getting a bag of salad mix, a cabbage, bok choy and perhaps another leafy green. I've talked about Greens Paralysis before, and it really comes down to this: if I can use arugula as a recipe component, not as a loose leafy green, I am more likely to use it up. If I wait for the perfect opportunity to add a handful of fresh arugula to a recipe . . . I end up tossing slimy forgotten leaves into the compost bin.
One easy way to get arugula processed into something yummy is Arugula Asiago Pesto (recipe here--scroll down to the bottom). This freezes well and I use it like I use basil pesto (large volume 'empty the garden before frost' recipe here), though not the same as I use Fresh Tomato Pesto (recipe here).

I came up with this appetizer because I had a late season bag of arugula and a desire for a hot appetizer. Using my food processor to combine everything made quick work of the vegetable preparation, and this was a warm and cheesy way to enjoy an early evening adult beverage.
I haven't tried it, but warming this dip in a little slow cooker should work fine, similar to my Slow Cooker Salmon Artichoke Dip. I'm just happy to turn the oven on while there is frost inside my window!
For other recipes using arugula, please see my Arugula Recipes Collection, part of my Visual Recipe Index. For other Awesome Veggie Apps and Snacks, please see my Pinterest board of the same name (linked).

Friday, September 12, 2014

Roasted Garlic and Fennel Focaccia

Focaccia flavored with fennel seed and roasted garlic, in two thicknesses, and topped with an assortment of pizza toppings. Friday Night Fennel Focaccia Night, anyone?

Roasted Garlic and Fennel Focaccia | Farm Fresh Feasts

The subtitle of this could be "we I do the hard work so you don't have to" but that would imply that making focaccia is hard, which I don't think it is at all.  In fact, a secondary goal of this blog is to de-mystify and normalize the act of making pizza at home (to that end check out my Pizza Primer for photo tutorials on making pizza).
The primary goal of this blog is to encourage readers to support their local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms by providing practical support via recipes showing what to do with fresh vegetables, how to put up what can be saved for later, and how to use those stored vegetables in the off season. [Mission statements can be run on sentences, can't they?]
Roasted Garlic and Fennel Focaccia | Farm Fresh Feasts

I've shared focaccia recipes on the blog before, always on Fridays, since my family demands enjoys our Friday Night Pizza Night, and this time I decided to experiment with the pan size and see which we preferred.  I have a 10 inch and a 12 inch cast iron skillet (ok and a little '2 fried egg' size one from my friend Miho, but that's too small for focaccia).  I made a double recipe and tried a portion in each skillet. The results are shown in the first photo above.  For me, I like a thinner focaccia and prefer the 12 inch skillet, but if you wanted this as a bread the 10 inch skillet would do just fine.

Roasted Garlic and Fennel Focaccia | Farm Fresh Feasts

The other reason I'm sharing this recipe today is to tickle your brain about planting garlic this Fall.  If you live in an area where tulips grow, and you have access to a plot of earth, you can grow garlic. If you don't get cloves from your farm share, check out the farmer's market or a gardening friend. The garlic from the grocery store is usually treated to inhibit sprouting, and you don't want that. Plant the cloves, pointy tip up about 4-6 inches under ground, sometime after Canadian Thanksgiving and before American Thanksgiving. I get more detailed about how I grow 2 crops (garlic and basil) in a single raised bed over the course of the year in this post.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fresh Tomato Pesto with Mushroom, Olive, Artichoke and Feta Pizza (Pizza Night!)

Sautéed mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts with feta and fontina over fresh tomato pesto

Fresh Tomato Pesto with Mushroom, Olive, Artichoke and Feta Pizza  | Farm Fresh Feasts

Those of you who subscribe to my blog via email or somehow grab the RSS feed [thank you!] were treated to an unwitting peek behind the scenes one week ago when the rough draft version of this post went live without my awareness.
When I was plotting out the pizza posts for July I’d tentatively scheduled this one for the first Friday. Then I thought of fireworks, changed my mind, finished up the Pepperoni and Yellow Squash pizza and scheduled it for the same day. I didn’t notice that I still had the draft of this pizza scheduled for later the same day, and didn’t even check that the pizza had posted properly when I first woke up. Nope, I went about my July 4th—packing and traveling to visit family, not even checking email until late afternoon when I was surprised to see the draft was live and sent out in my RSS feed.  Oops!
Fresh Tomato Pesto with Mushroom, Olive, Artichoke and Feta Pizza  | Farm Fresh Feasts

I wanted to get this pizza up because it uses Fresh Tomato Pesto and I think you should try your hand at making this tasty concoction at least once during tomato season. Even though the tomatoes in my garden are as green as the squash plants that have taken over, the nights are warm (for ripening) and we got our first tomato in the farm share this week. [I’m making a BLT out of it, not this pesto.  I have my priorities for the first tomato of the summer.]

Fresh Tomato Pesto with Mushroom, Olive, Artichoke and Feta Pizza  | Farm Fresh Feasts

Fresh Tomato Pesto is easy to make, stores well in the freezer, and can be used as a dip for chips or vegetables, a pasta sauce, or on pizzas. I’ve been sharing a lot of meat pizzas lately [just updated my Visual Pizza Recipe Index] and it’s past time for a vegetarian one.

Fresh Tomato Pesto with Mushroom, Olive, Artichoke and Feta Pizza  | Farm Fresh Feasts

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fast Creamy Honey Wheat Pizza Dough

Use prepackaged 'pizza yeast' with your own additions of honey & cream cheese to make a quick and flavorful whole wheat pizza dough.

Fast Creamy Honey Wheat Pizza Dough | Farm Fresh Feasts

 Follow me | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook

This is a teaser post, and I utterly own up to teasing you with a delicious-yet-unattainable-today pizza.  See, the sauce is made of garlic scape pesto, and you can't find fresh garlic scapes right now.  Not in the grocery store, not in the farmer's market, not off the internet.

Fast Creamy Honey Wheat Pizza Dough | Farm Fresh Feasts

Garlic scapes are one of those items that are only available for a brief time, and after that:  poof.  Unlike asparagus (another actually seasonal item that's nowadays available in the grocery store year-round because it's shipped from other countries during the off-season) garlic scapes are a get-them-before-they-are-gone item, else you're out of luck.  One of the reasons I enjoy eating seasonally is because I get to look forward to different foods throughout the year.

Fast Creamy Honey Wheat Pizza Dough | Farm Fresh Feasts

So why am I sharing this pizza while my garlic bed out in the garden looks like this?
Simply because, again unlike asparagus, you can put up garlic scapes when they are plentiful and enjoy them later.  Garlic scape pesto freezes well, and provides a lovely mild garlic flavor and gorgeous color any time you use it in a dish.  I'm partial to pizza.  

Now, I've already written (and scheduled for Spring, in anticipation of garlic scapes in our Community Supported Agriculture [CSA] farm share) a post about how to make the pesto I used in today's pizza.  Instead I'll share the recipe for dough.

Yes, yes, I know I said in my Pizza Primer that I make my dough days ahead.  I usually do.  But not always--sometimes it's Friday afternoon and I've got nothing prepared.  That's when I grab a packet of pizza crust yeast [This is not a sponsored post, I buy my own packets--with coupons, always--and Fleischmann's doesn't know I exist. I'm just sharing the name of a product that I buy, use, and love--and if it inspires you to be successful in making pizza at home I'd love to hear it in the comments below.]

Fast Creamy Honey Wheat Pizza Dough | Farm Fresh Feasts

The inspiration for this pizza crust came from my friend Kim, who said she often makes a honey wheat pizza on her family pizza nights.  Never having tried honey wheat dough, I decided to adjust the recipe on the pizza crust yeast packet to make my own fast honey wheat dough.  I also threw in some cream cheese in lieu of oil just because I had some sitting on the counter from my son's post-braces removal Everything Bagel after school snack.  I can't call this a fat-free dough because I used regular cream cheese, and I can't call it oil-free dough because I did put it in an oiled bowl and used oil on the parchment paper.  So Fast Creamy Honey Wheat Pizza Dough it is.

Fast Creamy Honey Wheat Pizza Dough | Farm Fresh Feasts

Friday, January 24, 2014

Very Veggie Puff Pastry Pizza Bites

Fresh and preserved veggies top this vegetarian puff pastry pizza bite.

Very Veggie Puff Pastry Pizza Bites | Farm Fresh Feasts

 Follow me | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook

Welcome to my final recipe for #AppetizerWeek! I've had fun, learned a lot of html and a wee bit of social media-ing, and watched the laundry pile up [and the snow, and the emails] while sharing savory appetizers and wicked cool giveaways alongside a terrific group of bloggers. If you're just tuning in for your usual Farm Fresh Feasts Friday Pizza you will not be disappointed--this is a tasty lil' morsel of artichokes, olives, spinach and caramelized onions topped with goat cheese on a roasted garlic oil-brushed puff pastry base. It's pretty easy to fix for a game day appetizer spread, though I'd offer napkins and plates to eat it from since the puff pastry is deliciously flaky [carefully avoids comparing anyone I know to the pizza].

I believe in offering choices for everyone I'm feeding [unless you're my kid and want cake or cookies for breakfast. Then there is no choice but cookies "No"].  I usually fix pizza for my family on Friday night, and frequently I make two pies so everyone has a choice.  Since I shared Pickled Pepper and Pepperoni Puff Pastry Pinwheel Pizza Palooza yesterday, I thought I'd conclude my contributions to #AppetizerWeek with a vegetarian choice--Very Veggie Puff Pastry Pizza Bites.

I've tried to spend a bit of each post talking about my food philosophy and today is no exception.  Today I want to talk about pantries.  Much of the toppings for my weekly pizzas are what I consider to be pantry staples:  a jar of artichoke hearts, a jar of olives, pickled peppers and cheese in the fridge.   I've got pepperoni and leftover cooked meats in the freezer.  Picking up one or two items (especially on sale or marked down) with each shopping trip means that over time I end up with a well-stocked pantry (but without the crazy cash outlay).  Buying in bulk can save money--if you have make the space for it.  Because I want the seasonal Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share vegetables to feed my family year round, I've got an extra little freezer (doubles as a microwave stand) to store the farm vegetables that don't live in the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve. In addition, each year I expand my canning repertoire to put up the ever-increasing volume of tomatoes that we require.

I didn't go from zero (grasshopper) to 60 (ant) in a season--I've been evolving my ability to squirrel away food in season over the past dozen or so years.  [I've probably mixed up a bunch of animal/insect metaphors there, oops.] If I get a bunch of onions on sale, for example, I'll caramelize them in my crock pot (link to recipe below) and freeze them in ½ cup portions so I can bring them out when I get a hankering.  Too many leeks?  Slice them, wash them, and freeze them, to add to dishes. Peppers piling up? Chop and freeze them on trays, or roast and chop them before freezing--then add to soups, stews, and spaghetti sauce.  This means that I've always got ingredients on hand to make a variety of pizzas, like this one.

Very Veggie Puff Pastry Pizza Bites | Farm Fresh Feasts

Visit all the other Appetizer Week blogs for more delicious ideas:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sausage Spinach Mozzarella Ball Pizza

Crumbled Italian sausage, fresh spinach, marinated mozzarella balls and artichoke hearts top this welcoming pizza

Sausage Spinach Mozzarella Ball Pizza | Farm Fresh Feasts

The subtitle on this pizza is Homecoming Pizza, and not the dance/football game kind.  If you're interested in the reason behind the subtitle, enjoy the recipe and meet me on the other side.  But first, here's how to make this yummy pizza.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Vegetarian Antipasti FFF-a-boli Rolled Pizza on Sweet Potato Dough

A cheesy mix of mushrooms, artichokes, pickled peppers, pesto and olives rolled in a sweet potato crust

Vegetarian Antipasti FFF-a-boli Rolled Pizza on Sweet Potato Dough | Farm Fresh Feasts

It's been a while since I've shared a rolled pizza.  I started with a Basic FarmFreshFeasts-a-boli, then later a Beef and Mushroom FFF-a-boli.  Coming next Friday I'll have a tasty turkey 'boli using Thanksgiving leftovers.  But today, I am all about the vegetables.

The base of this rolled pizza is a Roasted Sweet Potato crust I shared here. [Can you tell that I make multiple batches of dough in one go, so I can play around with the toppings?]  Since I usually have an antipasti bar going on in my refrigerator door I grabbed a bunch of jars for pizza topping ideas.  I put back the grape jelly, peach jam, sriracha and lemongrass but kept the stuff you see below.  Starting with a base of sautéed mushrooms, I added some pickled peppers, then olives and artichoke hearts, with pesto to tie the whole thing together.  Three cheeses make this extra gooey and yummy.

If you eat turkey for Thanksgiving, but will be serving vegetarians in your post-Thanksgiving Eat All The Leftovers period, keep this pizza in mind.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Layered Summer Veggie Appetizer

When you think about appetizers, do you throw a bone to the healthy contingent and include some carrot sticks and hummus?  Is your conscience soothed by adding celery sticks to your Buffalo chicken dip?  Do you pick up a veggie tray at the store and call it good?

Are vegetable appetizers an afterthought?
I want to change that.

I'm on a quest to create awesome vegetable appetizers--ones that are demolished before the cocktail weenies or cheese balls, because they are just damn good.  I've got a Pinterest board, Awesome Veggie Apps and Snacks, and as I find new ways to turn vegetables into desirable appetizers I'm pinning them there.  Please leave suggestions in the comments so I can add them--thanks!

Layered Summer Veggie Appetizer
Cherry tomato confit, cucumbers, banana peppers, artichoke hearts, olives and feta
Last winter, I started things off here with a Slow Cooker Salmon Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip and a Skillet Mushroom Dip for Two.  In the spring I started a craving for Five Layer Mediterranean Chicken (or Chick Pea) Dip that continues today.  Lately, I've been kinda dippy, with Fattoush Dip with Kale and Sumac Hummus and Indian-spiced Eggplant Yogurt Dip.  Today I want to share another delicious way to incorporate seasonal vegetables into your happy hour, cook out, tail gate, or indulgent dinner for one:  the Layered Summer Vegetable Appetizer.

While the autumnal equinox is weeks away here in North America, the mood has shifted to autumn.  The kids are in school, football marching band season is in full swing, and the sled hockey gear is back out. However, the garden and the farm share are packed with late summer vegetables--peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and squash are filling up my weekly box.  I created this layered appetizer to show off the best of late summer produce.

Layered Summer Veggie Appetizer
Grilled red peppers, grilled red onion, grilled yellow squash, artichoke hearts and feta

Discerning readers will say "hey, that looks like the Fattoush Dip she posted 3 weeks ago" and you'd be correct.  Other clever followers will think "what, another Wednesday eggplant dip recipe?"  Right again.  However, I'm sharing this recipe now, not next summer, for a few reasons:
  • the base of this appetizer, roasted eggplant, is still very much in season and you might be looking for new ways to enjoy it
  • I think this is a party-worthy appetizer, and while I'm not hosting anything until Fall, you may be looking for new appetizer recipes
  • with the variety of special diets around, vegetables are a great way to create a dish that nearly everyone can enjoy

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mediterranean Tomato Tart (artichokes, green olives, arugula, feta)

A savory tart of tomatoes topped with an artichoke, arugula pesto, and green olive mixture with plenty of cheeses.

I know I've been about the Mediterranean lately, with my Fattoush dip, the slow cooker Greek chicken tacos, and the five layer Mediterranean dip.  Is it my subconscious calling for a vacation?  I took a vacation last week (and thankfully did this post all up well beforehand so I didn't have to rush around and write in the post-endless driving/massive laundry doing/when do I get to kick back? phase).  The pictures are not as good as some I've taken since I learned how to take better ones, but the flavor of this tart is delicious.

I created this recipe from a desire to have a less 'cheesy rich' version of the Basil Tomato Tart.  It has the tasty combination of artichoke hearts and green olives.  I first tried that on pizza and wow!  I'd never cared for olives until I had an artichoke and green olive pizza.  Now I love them and can eat them any way.  If you don't have arugula pesto, any pesto would substitute.  But if you're overrun with arugula, try this pesto.  I got the pesto recipe from Farmer John's The Real Dirt on Vegetables.  It's a great cookbook I bought through my CSA back in Virginia, Blenheim Organic Gardens.
Hey guess what?  Store bought pie crust still.  One of these days . . . but no, first things first.  Since I've been reading Cooked by Michael Pollan with the HOMEGROWN book club I'm more interested in sourdough bread and kimchi than in pie crust.  This morning I start my sourdough starter, so in a week I'll be rolling in the dough . . .

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fattoush Dip with Kale Hummus

Subtitle:  A Fast Farm Share Dip Dinner

Freshly chopped summer produce and preserved vegetables layered over a bed of kale hummus and topped with pita chip croutons.

The other day I shared how I can or freeze summer produce to enjoy during the winter.  Today I'm sharing how I can take the fresh farm share bounty and make a fast supper (for one) or appetizer (for two) in minutes.

I've travelled across the middle of the US recently, and many non-highway roads I've been on have had farm stands.  These stands are selling tomatoes, melons, corn, peaches, cucumbers, squash--the bulk of the summer produce is ripe and ready from Michigan to Delaware (and probably other places, but I haven't been to them this week).
A CSA farm share haul from a few weeks back.
With all this ripe fresh goodness at your fingertips, making a quick and delicious dinner is easy.  I brought home the farm share box, realized we had plenty of leftovers for the kids to scrounge dinner, and decided to treat myself to a riff on my Five Layer Mediterranean Chicken Dip.  I'd first made that dip before cucumbers and tomatoes were in season, and I'd thought the concept (base of dip topped with goodies and eaten with pita chips) was a good one. Mine started with a base of Kale and Sumac Hummus (recipe below) but any hummus will do.  I also keep a few jarred vegetables on hand (olives and artichoke hearts) to add some layers of flavor to the fresh produce.
As an aside, in my Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient (a page on the bar above) I have a category for Veggies in Jars where I index my recipes that use artichokes and olives, as well as capers and sun dried tomatoes and probably something else.
All I needed to do was grab a cucumber, a banana pepper, a couple of tomatoes, and after a few minutes of chopping I had a fresh crunchy cool zingy dinner ready to go.  When I realized that I'd unwittingly combined many elements of Fattoush into an appetizer, I decided to call this Fattoush Dip with Kale Hummus.

Only one problem--I was at the end of the bag of pita chips.  So I quickly regrouped (I am a military spouse, after all, and plan F or U or B or R is my specialty), used the pita chip crumbs as croutons, and turned this into an appetizer eaten with a spoon.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Slow Cooker Greek Chicken Tacos

If you've been enjoying some early summer salads and are looking for a change of pace, try this dish.  It's a great as salad, and as an appetizer, and works year round as an easy supper.  Since this is a year round dish, it's been in the queue for a while waiting to be published.
Last week I was participating in a G+ Food Bloggers Community Education event with +Chef Dennis Littley  and +Larry Deane, and Larry said "give your readers what they want".  That struck home with me, so since I've gotten requests for this recipe, it's bumped some fresh-from-the-CSA recipes to come out today.  How did folks know to request this?  They saw the photo on my FB page, that's how.

I intended to title this post Greek Artichoke Lemon Olive Chicken in a Slow Cooker, in the interests of being as descriptive as possible.  Then I thought about how we actually ate the resulting chicken, asked folks on FB for suggestions, and decided that Slow Cooker Greek Chicken "Taco" Meat is really a more apt title.  This dish is cooked in my crock pot, and does contain the artichoke, lemon, and olives I originally mentioned, but we use it like we use taco meat:  stretched on tortillasover grains, or in a salad.  And the leftovers?  They make the best Greek Five Layer Dip I've ever had.  Possibly the only Greek Five Layer Dip I've ever had, too.  Try this in the summer when it's too hot to cook, or during football season for a delicious dinner/appetizer that's just familiar enough not to be weird and a delicious twist on a classic.

I may have alluded to my cold kitchen over the winter months.  Either the reference to the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in the cold (down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit!) corner of my breakfast nook, or the photos of the frost on the inside of my kitchen window, seen in my Gardening Photos album on my FB page, would get the point across.
As cold as my kitchen is in the winter, it is correspondingly hot in the summer.  I do what I can, covering the East-facing windows with heat-blocking drapes in the morning and using the oven less.  I intend to get my grill on this summer, but there is another way to cook your food without heating the kitchen--a slow cooker.
This dish started with my desire to use my slow cooker to do the cooking while I was at work, and turned into a game to see how many complimentary layers of flavor I could add to the dish.  I was inspired by these other Greek Chicken Slow Cooker dishes, seen here and here, but since I had tortillas but no pitas, I went in a taco direction.  Then I read about Avocado Feta dip, and it was a great accompaniment to the chicken.