Showing posts with label basil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label basil. Show all posts

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tomato Basil Pizza

Slices of fresh ripe tomatoes and fresh basil leaves for an 'in summer only' vegetarian pizza

Tomato Basil Pizza from Farm Fresh Feasts

I learned a trick that has dramatically improved my summer pizzas topped with fresh sliced tomatoes:  just let them hang out for a while. Previous attempts at fresh tomato and basil pizza tended to result in wet tomatoes and dry basil. Not a good combination on a pizza. 
I cracked the fresh herb code [did you know there was a fresh herb code? Now you do] with my Fresh Herb Pizza, so I figured it was time to crack the tomato code.  The Illuminati are not involved. Just time and a bit of salt.

Tomato Basil Pizza from Farm Fresh Feasts

Friday, June 6, 2014

Roasted Garlic & Pesto Buttermilk Pizza Dough--on Fathers and Gardening

A tender wheaty buttermilk pizza dough flavored with homegrown roasted garlic and prepared pesto

a slice of cheese pizza made with roasted garlic and pesto pizza dough

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Part 1:  An Old Farmer's Advice on Gardening

My dad was a guerrilla gardener before it was hip. [Is it uncool to say hip? Is it uncool to say uncool?] If Johnny Appleseed was known for planting apple trees, then Freddy Daffodilbulb would be my dad's nickname.  It's kind of unwieldy, though, so I'll stick with Dad.  My dad has stealthily--or blatantly--planted daffodil bulbs from Delaware to Ohio.  That's a pretty cool legacy.

When I was a little kid, my parents worked to turn our suburban backyard into an edible landscape.  [Homesteaders before that was cool, too.] The old small inground pool was filled in and turned into a bed for rhubarb, herbs, and bulbs.  I remember being pretty little and getting to use a hammer (!) to break up the concrete patio which became a strawberry patch.  It seemed like every year the amount of grass got smaller and the land in food production enlarged. We had cherry and apple trees in addition to that strawberry patch, and 2 areas of vegetables. **

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fresh Herb Pizza on Tender/Crunchy Pizza Crust

A mix of fresh herbs and a blend of tangy cheeses on roasted garlic oil for a light summer pizza.

A mix of fresh herbs and a blend of tangy cheeses on roasted garlic oil for a light summer pizza.

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Herbs seem to be one of those feast or famine items for me--either my newly planted cilantro is ready to bolt, or I'm snipping my plants down a little too much for comfort just to get the minimum needed, or I'm overwhelmed with a glut of leaves and have to find something to do before they spoil. [I don't have a dehydrator--yet--it's fresh tomato pesto, garlic scape pesto, or pesto for me.]

A mix of fresh herbs and a blend of tangy cheeses on roasted garlic oil for a light summer pizza.

Sometimes, when I put basil leaves on a pizza, they seem sort of dry and forlorn after baking.  For this pizza I spread plenty of roasted garlic oil on the crust to try and counteract this issue, and I believe it worked well.  I had both crumbled feta and crumbled goat cheeses in the cheese drawer--an embarrassment of riches if I don't say so myself--so instead of dithering between the two I used some of each.

A mix of fresh herbs and a blend of tangy cheeses on roasted garlic oil for a light summer pizza.

The result is a pizza that tastes a bit like amped up cheesy garlic bread--fresh flavors, vibrant color, but a familiar taste [even if my daughter wasn't initially sure about the giant pile of green leaves on the pie].

A mix of fresh herbs and a blend of tangy cheeses on roasted garlic oil for a light summer pizza.

This pizza is made using the Tender/Crispy pizza dough I used on my Dainty Radish Pizza.  The second time I made this dough my results started off pretty rough.  I made a gif showing how I fixed the dough with additional kneading, water, and time:

A photo tutorial showing what pizza dough should look like and how to fix dough when it needs more work.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Garlic Scape Pistachio Pesto Hummus

Garlic scapes, basil, parsley and pistachios combined in a traditional hummus base for a fresh Spring dip. Garlic scape pesto freezes to have this seasonal treat year round.

For other recipes using Garlic Scapes, please see my Garlic & Garlic Scapes Recipe Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for seasonal eaters faced with a staggering amount of fresh produce we just don't know what to do with. I've got a Pinterest board of Garlic Scape Recipes here, and a Round Up of 28+ Food Blogger Recipes Using Garlic Scapes here. Want to know how to Use This Blog?

Garlic scapes, basil, parsley and pistachios combined in a traditional hummus base for a fresh Spring dip. Freeze the pesto to make this year round!

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Part One: The Making of Garlic Scape Pesto

To paraphrase Dick Van Dyke's Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ("Don't waste your pucker on some all day sucker.  And don't try a toffee or cream.  If you seek perfection in sugar confection, well, there's something new on the scene") don't waste your scapes in some Spring stir fry, instead try this pesto, it's green.

When I read Annie's post about garlic scape pesto I was intrigued.  I'd never tried it, but it sounded good.  When my CSA farm share and my garlic bed provided me with garlic scapes I knew I'd give it a try.  As it turned out, I didn't follow my own directions for stocking up on pesto supplies before the garlic scapes appeared.  I did have a block of parmesan, but I didn't have any pine nuts.

close up of a jar of garlic scape pistachio pesto

I got to thinking . . . why do I have to use pine nuts in pesto?  Weren't the original pesto makers just using what was readily available to them, not sourcing to China to make a sauce? (Check your bag of pine nuts, you'd be surprised)  I mean, I had great success using almonds and cashews in my Fresh Tomato Pesto.  In my pantry I've got almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and sunflower seeds available--I chose pistachios for this just because they are green and would enhance the bright green of this garlic scape pesto.

[In fact, I had a lil' ol' pestopalooza party with all the garlic scapes and fresh herbs after my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share resumed--that flood of green after the long winter was so welcome--sure, the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve provided some lovely orange veggies, but man, I missed getting a big ol' box of leafy veggies each week!  I made pesto using garlic scapes and sun dried tomatoes.  I used basil and parsley for the leaves. I used pistachios and sunflower seeds for the nuts.  I wrote down the various combinations, but my favorite is the one I'm sharing below--garlic scapes with pistachio nuts and basil.]

Garlic scapes, basil, parsley and pistachios combined in a traditional hummus base for a fresh Spring dip. Freeze the pesto to make this year round!

Because I plan ahead, and will be putting up this pesto by freezing it, I keep it a little thicker by using less oil.  By freezing this pesto, the plant cell walls that weren't disrupted by the food processor will burst, resulting in a more liquid pesto when thawed.  If you're not planning on saving some for later, use more oil.

Garlic scapes, basil, parsley and pistachios combined in a traditional hummus base for a fresh Spring dip. Freeze the pesto to make this year round!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Baked Eggplant Chip Pesto Pizza

Cheesy, crunchy, breaded eggplant slices on a pesto pizza crust spread with extra pesto and topped with shredded Italian and crumbled feta cheeses.
If you've been or known a picky eater, could you ever imagine that picky eater to say "this spaghetti sauce needs more cowbell some eggplant"?  
My kids were picky, or at least not game for any vegetable, when we first started getting a CSA farm share.  Ever since I figured out that I could take the farm share eggplant and puree it with other vegetables to make spaghetti sauce (my first ever posted-on-the-internet recipe, at Tasty Kitchen, is here) I haven't had eggplant the way I love to eat it--breaded and covered with cheese.  Since the kids will eat eggplant in spaghetti sauce, that's what we do with our farm share eggplant.  Period.

Until this blog happened along, which probably coincided with me thinking that, just this once, I'd like to eat eggplant as the star of its own show, not as a bit player in an ensemble.  I've been all about treating myself this summer, making foods that I want to eat, and this is another one of those.  It's my hope that you'll also benefit from my self-pampering.

This is the third time recently that I've posted a recipe-within-a-recipe, and I hope I'm not violating some sort of blogger laws or setting up some unrealistic expectations.  Just like you don't need to make pizza with your Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, nor do you need to use Kale Hummus in your Fattoush Dip, you don't need to make Baked Eggplant Chips the way I describe below in order to make Baked Eggplant Chip Pizza.  You can make them another way.  The first eggplant chip recipe I ever had was from my CSA in Virginia, Blenheim Organic Gardens, and you can find Becky's tasty eggplant chip recipe here at the Washington Post.

I wanted a breaded cheesy crunchy sort of eggplant chip, and I had a hunch, when I got a great coupon for Kraft Fresh Takes (not sponsored, I bought this because it was a good deal and I wanted to play), that instead of coating chicken or fish I could coat slices of summer vegetables.  I tried it with zucchini,  patty pan squash, and eggplant.

I got a little carried away.

With the leftover eggplant (because it's frequently about the leftovers around here) I decided to toss it onto a pizza.  This was a good call--the breaded eggplant slices retained their crunchy cheesy eggplant goodness.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sun Gold Tomato Pesto Pizza

A vegan, nut-, and gluten free Sun Gold cherry tomato pesto sauce that is great as an appetizer or dip, a pizza sauce, or pasta sauce.  It freezes well, too.

One of the near-guarantees, if you're in a summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or farm share subscription, is a lot of tomatoes.  Quite possibly more than you can cope with in a week.  This week, for example, I got four quarts of tomatoes.  Four!  I had a quart of cherry tomatoes, 2 quarts of slicing tomatoes, and a quart of heirloom tomatoes.  (And I'm the only human around who likes to eat raw tomatoes.)
However, I'm not the only household member who's thrilled that Sun Gold season is upon us.
Some people like to gobble up cherry tomatoes like candy.  Others like their tomatoes cooked, never raw.  Still others grow into almost liking tomatoes.  I recall I first tried a summer tomato sandwich, as a non-raw-tomato-eating adult, thanks to a food writer at The Washington Post--her description of the flavors sounded so good that, even though I wasn't a fan of raw tomatoes, I toasted some bread, grabbed the mayo, salt and pepper, sliced a tomato from the garden and discovered a wonderful taste sensation.  That still remains my favorite way to enjoy tomatoes in the summertime.

What choice do I have other than to Deal With All these quarts of tomatoes?  Next week will bring a new box, and sooner or later my own tomatoes will ripen.  I've got to get these tomatoes put up.  
If you're curious, I slow-roasted most of the slicing tomatoes overnight, following Alanna's excellent tutorial, and I put up 4 half pints of heirloom tomato & cashew pesto in the freezer, then I gave a couple of slicers to my neighbor, and the pigs and I snacked on the rest of the cherry tomatoes.  I'm all set.  This week.  I'm lucky they'll just keep coming until frost.
Since I used primarily slicing tomatoes when I made and put up Heather's Fresh Tomato Pesto, I decided to use the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and my kitchen scale to provide a metric weight-based recipe for this delicious sauce.  I noticed that I needed less oil for these juicy summer tomatoes than I needed for the late season tomatoes.  I threw the sauce on a pizza, so I could get this ever-so-seasonal post up for Friday Night Pizza Night. For real--the dishes are still in the sink, this recipe is that fresh!  You'll be reading it while I'm still cleaning up the mess and the kids are fighting over the leftovers.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baked Swai with Pesto and Ricotta

A simple sauce of prepared pesto and ricotta cheese makes a moist and  flavorful coating for fish, pasta, or roasted vegetables

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen the photos of my first cheese-making efforts.  I got a gallon of milk marked down and made 2 balls of mozzarella with a cheese making kit I bought from Standing Stone Farms.  With the leftover whey (boy howdy there's a lot of whey) I made a bonus batch of ricotta cheese.
There was still a lot of whey leftover after making the ricotta and mozzarella, and I've been experimenting with it.  So far whey-soaked oven oatcake is a hit, and pizza crust using whey instead of water is also a winner.  Details to come.
Here's the thing, though--normally I'll use ricotta in something hearty, like my Quadruple Roasted Mock Lasagna.  This summer has been gloriously--and unusually--cool, but not cool enough for that.  I decided to use up the very last cubes of last fall's pestopalooza with the ricotta cheese, and play around.

All of the recipes I'm sharing today involve the oven or stovetop, but when it's really hot I think it'd be great to toss freshly grilled items (chicken thighs, fish fillets, eggplant or zucchini) with this ricotta-pesto mixture and keep your kitchen cool.  It would be delicious as the dressing in a pasta salad, with cherry tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and squash.  It's probably good on a cracker.  Since I thawed my put-up pesto to make these dishes, I'm positive this idea will work with winter fare (peeled, sliced, roasted sweet potatoes or delicata squash?).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fast Fresh Tomato Sauce
Served over polenta.  Crazy tasty.

When you've got farm fresh tomatoes and are looking for a quick easy no-cook tomato sauce, look here.  A jar of capers lives in my fridge, and if I put up enough, I have a cube or two of pesto left in the freezer until my basil gets going in the summer.  So when I get ripe tomatoes, I'm good to go.
This was fast, easy, and tasty.  Try it!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fresh Tomato Pesto & Fresh Mozzarella Pizza (Pizza night!)

By May, I am eagerly anticipating the first tomatoes of the season.  I cannot wait for the taste of a summer tomato with mayo, salt and pepper and good bread. Or in a panzanella.  Tomatoes just taste SO GOOD when you haven't eaten a fresh one in ages!   By September, however, I am usually over the taste of fresh tomatoes.  I'll still save out a few from the farm share for sandwiches and burgers, but the rest of the tomatoes will get canned or slow-roasted and put up for winter.  Last fall, however, a happy coincidence changed my mind and caused this delicious pizza to come about.

This is the taste of tomatoes at their peak, and it's simply awesome.

The sauce for this pizza came from a recipe that Heather at In Her Chucks posted.  Her recipe was for Cherry Tomato Pesto, using cherry tomatoes and salted almonds.  When I got yellow tomatoes in the farm share, I decided to try it.  I didn't have almonds, but I did have some salted cashews in the freezer so I swapped for them.  I also used less oil because when I went to scrape down the food processor bowl I found the sauce consistency to my liking without the additional oil. I made so much fresh tomato pesto that it deserved its own post--here's how to make it and put it up. Since there is no cheese in this pesto, the pizza crust and sauce combo contain no animal products.  Topping your pizza with soy cheese would result in a vegan-friendly pizza.

I found fresh mozzarella marked down at the grocery store (snag it when you see it, it freezes/thaws well when you're using it for pizza) and the mental image of the bright yellow sauce with the white circles of cheese appealed to me.  Giant pepperoni slices added a final pop of color, as my kid would say, and the whole family loved this pizza.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Processing a Pile of Pesto before the Frost comes!

A tutorial for how to put up a large quantity of basil pesto. Remember this at the end of summer!

Forty-one degrees out this morning-not expecting that!  I figured I'd better harvest all the basil and put it up before it gets OBE (overcome by events).  Here's what I did.

To me, pesto is all about ratios.  If you have a ton of leaves, you will need 1/8 ton of toasted pine nuts, 1/4 ton of shredded parmesan cheese, 1/4 ton of olive oil.  Oh, and 2 cloves of garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Ish.
Even if this harvest is short of a ton, it's still a lot of leaves to get through.  I buy pine nuts and parmesan during the basil season just so I don't get caught short when I'm ready to make pesto.
Forgot the garlic. Again. And salt.

For other recipes using mass quantities of herbs, please see my Herb Recipes Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. Wanna know how to Use This Blog? Click here.