Showing posts with label roasted garlic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label roasted garlic. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2019

Apple Fig Chutney

Use your seasonal fruits in tasty ways! Made of apples and fresh figs with savory spices, apple fig chutney is a tangy condiment that is easy to cook on the stove and can be water bath processed for shelf stability.

image of 3 jars of apple fig chutney on burlap cloth

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I like to combine produce that ripens at the same time. Tomatoes and basil, for one example. Corn and zucchini, for another. Apples and figs are an area I'm slowly exploring. Last year I shared my Fresh Fig and Apple Salad. Today I've updated an old post with new video, an easier to read recipe card, and the same terrific recipe.

This recipe is based off of Marisa McClellan's Apple Pear Chutney recipe in her book Food in Jars, shown below. I changed it up a bit since I had fresh figs on offer. How did I get the fresh figs, you ask? Read on for my earlier thoughts on foraging fruit!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Copycat Recipe CPK White Spinach Pizza

Fresh spinach, feta and mozzarella cheese on a roasted garlic oil-brushed crust. A copycat recipe for a homemade version of CPK White Spinach Pizza.

image of a slice of copycat CPK white spinach pizza on a plate

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One of my favorite items in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share or at the farmer's market is a bag of spinach. There are so many possibilities! If I'm overwhelmed with greens, unwashed spinach can hang out in the crisper longer than lettuce or even be frozen--to use in smoothies later on. My favorite is my Allergy Friendly Peanut Butter, Spinach, and Banana Smoothie. Today I'm sharing an updated version of a favorite way to use fresh spinach on a pizza.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Avocado Feta Hummus Layered Vegetable Appetizer

Avocado feta hummus is a pretty and protein-rich vegetarian appetizer. Customize your platter with diced vegetable toppings and use pita chips or sliced vegetables as dippers.

Image of a plate of Avocado feta hummus topped with diced peppers, olives, and red onions served with a bowl of pita chips

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Being an intentionally seasonal eater means I get to eat amazingly delicious foods.  Fresh food--tomatoes, strawberries, even celery--just tastes better and I'm usually willing to wait out the winter months for those fresh tastes.  But if I limited my diet to solely local foods, I'd miss out on bananas, avocados, olives, shrimp, chocolate, salmon, tea . . . lots of stuff!

I compromise, of a sort, and think Kristy's idea of eating 80% local/20% other, as described in her podcast, is a terrific idea.  Every beet we eat is locally grown.  All the kale, as well. Much of the tomatoes and tomato-based products we eat are from my backyard and our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. I make enough pesto to last us for the year.  I'm also good with garlic, between roasting my own crop and using the fresh stuff from the farm share.

photo of Avocado feta hummus served as a layered appetizer topped with feta cheese, red onion, green olives, and yellow peppers

Avocados are an area where I enjoy breaking out of the local foods mode. After all, no avocado trees grow in my backyard (although I did have a banana tree when we lived in Hawaii)! Several years of resolving to add more avocados to my life [this is a New Year's Resolution more should adopt--it's fun!] means I am happy to report that I've gone beyond guacamole and avocado toast.

As soon as I tried the combination of salty feta and creamy avocado in Maria and Josh's Avocado Feta dip I was hooked. I keep coming back to that combination. I shared an Avocado Feta Lemon Yogurt Dip, and today I've made it into a hummus.

Avocado feta hummus is good as a stand alone dip--but it sings when you layer it with fresh & preserved vegetables and additional cheese then scoop it up with fresh veggies and pita chips.

I think this dip--with the green olives, yellow peppers, and red onion--looks like Easter egg colors.  I'm sharing it now just because I thought it would be a nice Easter appetizer, and I like to plan ahead.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Mediterranean Shrimp Salad for Two

Shrimp tossed with a spiced Greek yogurt & feta sauce, served 2 ways--spread on toast or layered with preserved and fresh vegetables in a salad.

Shrimp tossed with a spiced Greek yogurt & feta sauce, served 2 ways--spread on toast or layered with preserved and fresh vegetables in a salad.

Everybody dies famous in a small town.

I'm usually more pop music or classical than country music, but I've been humming Miranda Lambert's song for the past few days. Our little town* has a weekly newspaper and this blog was profiled. On the front page. Above the fold. I'm very pleased with the article and doubly glad that I don't need to clean my house to have you come and read this blog post. [Mom & Dad, I've already mailed a copy of the paper to you and when I did the gal at the UPS store said 'you were in the paper, weren't you? I read about you while eating dinner last night'.]

You can read the article here, and if you did--thanks for stopping by!

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image of a bowl of Mediterranean shrimp salad with spiced Greek yogurt, served over lettuce with olives and feta

As high falutin' as it may seem to be on the front page, that doesn't alter the reality that I spent part of the morning scooping the back yard. Let me tell you, replacing 8 pound Wee Oliver Picklepants (there is no replacement) with 40 something pound Robert Barker is NOT easier in that regard. However, once the back yard was cleaned up I did manage to have a pretty glamorous lunch.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Green Tomato Garlic Chili in the Instant Pot® or Slow Cooker

Green tomatoes, roasted garlic, and ground beef make a colorful and flavorful chili recipe perfect for fall. You can make this in the Instant Pot®, a slow cooker, or on the stovetop. 

photo of a bowl of green tomato garlic chili that was prepared in an Instant pot®

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As someone who cooks with what's in season, this time of year means green tomatoes. I decided to update an old post from my first year, really the first few weeks of starting this website. In addition to publishing new photos and adding an easier to read recipe card, I've also cooked this recipe in my newest appliance, the Instant Pot®. My husband bought me an early birthday/Christmas present, and I unboxed it--with the dogs' help--and shared the resulting video on my FB page. I'm quite happy to ditch the old, poor quality photos for some newer, still poor quality photos (it's been raining here), but I didn't want to delete how I was inspired to make this chili. For that, please feel free to read my original text below.
I recently started volunteering at a thrift shop.  I didn't realize that it would mean I'd be shopping at the thrift shop on a regular basis, which is an unfortunate happy side effect.  I mean, I did get a pair of new-to-me jeans for $3.  And they're not 'mom jeans' either. Last time I volunteered was after I'd made the Cabin Casserole.  I was chatting with Fran about it, and how the recipe called for green tomatoes, when she told me about her Green Tomato Garlic Chili.  I immediately requested the recipe! This recipe is from The Garlic Lover's Cookbook. I've adapted Fran's recipe by cutting the fat, adjusting the spices, swapping roasted for fresh garlic, pumping up the amount of veggies, and finely chopping everything so my kids will eat it. We liked it so much that I harvested the rest of the green tomatoes on my plants, cored them (the composting pigs like green tomatoes too!) pulsed them in my lovely food processor, and froze 2 2+ lb bags of green tomatoes for winter chili nights.  Make that chilly winter nights.  Oooh!

A few Notes about this recipe.
  1. I used ground beef, but feel free to substitute fresh ground pork. I already know ground pork and green tomatoes make a great chili--check out my Chorizo & Green Tomato Chili recipe here.
  2. Use the hot peppers of your choice. I'm able to get quarts of freshly roasted Hatch chiles each August from the local grocery store, and I pop them into the freezer to use throughout the year. I think using roasted chiles adds more flavor than fresh chiles, so I do recommend using roasted green chiles.
  3. No roasted garlic? No problem! You can substitute minced garlic, probably ⅓ of a cup. Like with the chiles, I think that using roasted garlic punches up the flavor in many dishes. When I harvest my garlic crop each summer, I roast and freeze a portion for use throughout the year. Here's a post about how I put up my garlic crop.
  4. That's a lot of chopping! Yes--I like to start my day at work chopping a bunch of onions, but if chopping isn't your thing, run the onions, bell peppers, and green tomatoes in turns through a food processor until they are finely chopped. [If you don't have a food processor and chopping's not your thing . . . add that to your birthday wish list and find room in the kitchen.]
  5. I've included instructions for cooking this chili in an Instant Pot® (mine is 6 quarts, plenty of room), in a slow cooker, and on the stove top. I am sure you could figure out a way to cook this on a grill--but I'm not going to do that. I grill pizza and vegetables mostly, and I'm good with that.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Potato Sauce--a Fast & Easy Holiday Recipe

A quickly assembled sauce of crème fraîche, mayo, roasted garlic and pepper. Great on many types of potatoes--boiled, roasted, or baked.

I've got a fast recipe today. It uses 4 ingredients--and if you can't find the main one, you can always substitute or even make your own. How easy is that?

We eat potatoes to celebrate so many things.  If it's not my Make Ahead Irish Mashed Potato Casserole alongside a Thanksgiving turkey, it's a baked potato, roasted potatoes, or boiled new potatoes from the farm share cuddled up with Swedish Meatballs.

Our family's favorite way to enjoy these potatoes is with Potato Sauce.  I know the name is boring--I thought about trying to jazz it up by calling it Crème Fraîche and Røastéd Gårlic Pøtatø Saüce, but in the end opted to keep it simple. It's just a sauce for potatoes, after all.

I first had this sauce in Copenhagen when my sister in law whipped it up. I was blown away at how delicious something so simple could taste! I'm not sure if it was the exoticness of the crème fraîche or the comfort of home cooking after travel or what--but I was smitten.

If you are fortunate enough to encounter some magically marked down containers of crème fraîche you're good to go. If not--you can make your own. Here's a recipe. If you don't have time for that--just use some sour cream. It's all good.

What if you didn't roast your garlic crop last year? No worries, finely chop some fresh garlic, or stir in some dehydrated minced garlic if that's all you've got handy. [Don't tell me you didn't even grow garlic--it's pretty easy. If you live in a place where tulips and daffodils flourish in the Spring, you live where garlic will grow. Plant some in the fall and harvest it--along with amazing garlic scapes--in early summer.]

For other recipes using roasted garlic, please see my Garlic Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient.

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 23, 2014

Greek Olive Salad Pizza

A recipe for vegetarian pizza topped with olives, sautéed mushrooms, feta and fontina cheese. Sounds gourmet but you'll make it at home!

A recipe for vegetarian pizza topped with olives, sautéed mushrooms, feta and fontina cheese. Sounds gourmet but you'll make it at home!

It's pretty slick when you can take a couple of containers out of the refrigerator and produce dinner, especially a dinner that would be found on the menu of some fancy pants pizza joints. [Can you be both fancy pants and a pizza joint? I think so.] Continuing my message of how to have varied and interesting pizzas at home, let's talk about long-storing preserved veggies aka Veggies in Jars.

A recipe for vegetarian pizza topped with olives, sautéed mushrooms, feta and fontina cheese. Sounds gourmet but you'll make it at home!

I started this . . . lesson? discussion? rant? soliloquy? all terms would work . . . the other week with Cheesy Garlic Scape Pesto Flatbread, suggesting you make and freeze garlic scape pesto, fresh tomato pesto, roasted garlic and even plain old ordinary pesto while these items are seasonally abundant and inexpensive.  Meghan reminded me to add caramelized onions to that list--how did I forget those?--and Angie suggested onion marmalade.  Great additions for my list!  Let's move the storage device from freezer to fridge and continue the discussion.

A recipe for vegetarian pizza topped with olives, sautéed mushrooms, feta and fontina cheese. Sounds gourmet but you'll make it at home!

My love affair with olives continues [hey, if my then-deployed spouse can go to a website and fall in love with . . . well, wiener dogs . . . why can't I carry on a love affair with olives?].  I've been buying olives by the Costco vat, and that means that I've got plenty for this pizza.  Since I'm also buying feta cheese by the Costco vat--well,  "put 'em together, it just makes sense" *.  Just like my Very Veggie Puff Pastry Pizza Bites, fresh spinach from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share would go nicely on this pizza.

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A recipe for vegetarian pizza topped with olives, sautéed mushrooms, feta and fontina cheese. Sounds gourmet but you'll make it at home!

For more pizza recipes, broken into category because I like to organize things a heck of a lot more than I like to dust, please see my Visual Pizza Recipe Index. For more recipes using mushrooms, please see my Mushroom Recipes Collection. For more recipes using vegetables in jars (or buckets, as the case may be), please see my Veggies In Jars Recipe Collection. They are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-Canned Tomatoes

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich month (season? day? week?) is coming, and before I share my fig-filled, or my tomato jam-spread, or my guacamole & corn grilled cheese creations I'd like to share the perfect accessory for all good grilled cheese sandwich meals--tomato soup.

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.

Truth be told, I was a huge fan of the red & white can as recently as last year.  Heck, some of my favorite winter school day breakfasts as a kid were cups of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. What changed for me was the realization that I had the key ingredient to make a deliciously flavorful tomato soup right at my fingertips--a pantry with jars of home-canned tomatoes.  I'm going to tell you about canning tomatoes when it's NOT canning season for one reason:  to lay the groundwork/plant the seed in your brain, so that when summer comes you've had time to mull over the concept. [I'm honest and upfront with my brainwashing techniques.]

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.
Canning need not be 3 generations slaving away in the kitchen. But it's fun if it turns out that way :)

Putting up tomatoes is a terrific way to step into the Big Scary World of Canning.  With a tall pot, a bunch of quart-sized canning jars--I would borrow from a friend a funnel and a pair of tongs jar lifter your first time--you can have the building blocks for a variety of meals.  If you don't grow your own tomatoes you've got plenty of options for amassing a canning quantity.

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.
You do NOT need all of these supplies to can a few quarts of crushed tomatoes!
  • If you've got neighbors who are overrun with ripe tomatoes, especially neighbors who are older than you, offer to put up the whole mess and share the preserved bounty with the gardener. 
  • Ask your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmer to sell you extras.  Your farmers will be delighted to have ripe tomatoes go quickly and easily to a good home.
  • If you don't participate in a CSA but do frequent the farmer's market, tell a farmer that you're interested in "seconds" or "canning tomatoes", and when tomatoes are abundant you'll be doing each other a favor buying ripe and ready, perhaps slightly cosmetically damaged, tomatoes for a good price.
When I put up crushed tomatoes I follow the basic method--shared on the Pick Your Own website, on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website, on the Food In Jars blog, and in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (Amazon affiliate link) that I checked out of my local library a bunch of times before buying my own copy.

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.
Gratuitiously long caption as I don't know how to make words appear when you hover over the photo (though I do know how to link parts of a collage to other posts):  All you need to can is a tall pot with some sort of shelf to keep the jars off the bottom; and jars, and water--lots of water; and a heat source to heat that water (and heat the tomatoes, too); tomatoes, lemon juice and salt and a sharp knife to cut the tomatoes plus a bucket to store the peels before they go to the compost, and a flat surface for them to cool, and a pantry to store your bounty. And the floating tomatoes?  I screwed up and let them get cool in between packing and processing. No problem, still good eating.

Canning crushed tomatoes is safe and easy if you follow the directions.  Just peel the tomatoes, squish the tomatoes, pack the squished tomatoes into clean jars with salt and lemon juice, and stick 'em under boiling water according to the methods I've linked to above.
Honestly, it's trickier to bake a cake--and not from scratch, I'm talking from a mix.  Did you measure the oil and water correctly? Are there shells in the batter? How do you know you've beaten it long enough?  How do you know if the pan is properly prepared?  How do you know if the top springs back enough? Sheesh! Tomatoes are acidic enough to start off, and you further make the environment hostile to undesirable stuff by adding lemon juice to each jar.  Follow the method from the sites above and you'll be successful. [/brainwashing]

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.

Once you've got a quart of crushed tomatoes, soup is a short simmer away.  [Or a long simmer, if your spouse is unexpectedly delayed and dinner is late.]

For other recipes using tomatoes, canned or otherwise, please see my Red & Yellow Tomato Recipes Collection or my Green Tomato Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Avocado Lemon Feta Yogurt Dip

An easy and versatile vegetable dip of creamy avocado, bright lemon, and salty feta in a yogurt base

Avocado Lemon Feta Yogurt Dip | Farm Fresh Feasts

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One of my New Year's Resolutions, for the second year running, is to add more avocado to my life.  I love in it guacamole.  I love it filled with corn and black bean salsa.  I love it smashed with some salt, spread on toast, and eaten with an over easy egg.
I got that idea off a BBC show about astronomy and the SOFIA project where I saw some German astronomers--working on the Very Large Telescope--who who were being interviewed over breakfast high up in the Atacama desert in Northern Chile. One astronomer was smashing an avocado with his toast and egg.  Try it--it's delicious. 

Avocado is just delightful--and no, I'm not being paid to say it. It's a New Year's Resolution that I'm able to keep, which is the best kind of resolution.

Brighten up a mashed avocado with a splash of lemon, add the salty tang of feta cheese, make it even creamier with yogurt, and you've got yourself a real winner.

Avocado Lemon Feta Yogurt Dip | Farm Fresh Feasts

This is the first of two avocado dips I'm sharing this spring.  My second is Avocado Feta Hummus. Both use the delightful combination of avocado and feta, first brought to my attention with Maria's Avocado Feta Dip and cemented into my palate with my Slow Cooker Greek Chicken Tacos and Five Layer Mediterranean Chicken Dip.  I like to serve these dips piled with vegetables and sprinkled with additional feta cheese, and we scoop them up with carrot slices, celery sticks, fingers, or pita chips.  I stumbled across this concept last summer, making my supper out of a Layered Vegetable Appetizer, and refined it during January's #AppetizerWeek when I made a week's worth of vegetable appetizers with a talented group of food bloggers.  You can see all our creations on the #AppetizerWeek Pinterest board.

Not into avocado + feta? How about queso? You can find my Avocado Queso Dip here. 

We've had a string of sunny days, which gives me hope that this winter will come to a close.  Amazing how wonderful time spent in a sunbeam can feel.  I think our dogs have it right--follow the path of the sun from East-facing windows to West-facing windows over the course of the day.  [That's when they're not napping on the heat vents.] This dip makes me think that Spring is right around the corner which, looking at the calendar, it is.  Hooray!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Red Cabbage, Leek, Brat and Beet Skillet Supper

A hearty satisfying skillet supper of cabbage, leeks, apples, and beets seasoned with bratwurst, maple syrup, apple cider and spices. I could say 'low carb' and 'real' if you like those words.

Red Cabbage, Leek, Brat and Beet Skillet Supper | Farm Fresh Feasts

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If you're a regular visitor to the blog [thank you!] you know all about the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in a cold corner of my breakfast nook.  That's where I store the pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut and buttercup squash from the Fall farm share, as well as the shorter-storing onions, potatoes, garlic and sweet potatoes. Corn gets blanched and frozen, summer squash and carrots get shredded and frozen, and beets get roasted and frozen. Turnips just get refrigerated until my spouse convinces me to make pasties again. This way I feed my family from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share twelve months of the year, even though we only get fresh vegetables seven months of the year.**

Red Cabbage, Leek, Brat and Beet Skillet Supper | Farm Fresh Feasts
Simon and Vincent (Oliver and Crystal the pig are missing) showing off the initial SWSR.

Even though I enjoyed a week of sunshine in Florida, last week during HashtagOrangeWeek, winter has its grip on my home and I still want crave hearty fare. This recipe is a hearty skillet supper combining many of the items in a typical Fall CSA share that can be found throughout the winter.  I was inspired by this CSA Cookoff segment done by Jennifer of I thought it would be a great way to stuff beets a bunch of veggies and a sprinkle of meat into my kids.  Score!  Today I'll share a skillet full of flavor we affectionally dubbed Hot Pink Mess.
Boy, if I were a young hip blogger, this would be the name of some over-the-top decadent dessert or fried appetizer that I'd make and eat after stumbling home in the wee hours. In reality, a humble fried egg sandwich appeals to me in the wee hours, more so than chocolate. Though Meghan's granola comes a close second for nighttime snacks. 

Red Cabbage, Leek, Brat and Beet Skillet Supper | Farm Fresh Feasts

For more recipes using beets, please see my Beet Recipes Collection. For recipes using cabbage, please see my Cabbage Recipes Collection. For more recipes using leeks, please see my Recipes Using Leeks Collection. These collections are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from their farm share box, or from what's at the farmer's market, or on sale at the grocery store, or what grew best in the garden. I'm pinning more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. I'm sharing a carefully curated look at the world's most handsome Basset hound, Robert Barker behind the scenes on my Instagram feed, follow me there. Interesting articles get shared on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

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

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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, July 12, 2013

Zucchini, Corn, and Leek Pizza with Pesto and Feta (Pizza Night!)

The flavors of a summer vegetarian pizza: shredded zucchini sautéed with leeks and corn then topped with feta cheese on a roasted garlic oil-brushed pizza crust. 

Pizza in the summer should be easy.  Not that pizza in the winter should be complicated or anything, but there's something about the bounty of ripe produce coupled with spending more time outdoors doing yard work that lends itself to easy meals.  With such delicious stuff coming in the the farm share box the pizzas practically make themselves (let's be honest, I'm doing the work here) the idea of what veggies to combine in a pizza practically falls into your lap.  At least that's what happened with this pizza.  Sometimes, the ingredients choose you (Meghan is so wise).
Note:  I made this pizza in January.  It's true!  I'd love to show you a photo with the pizza and the 3 inches of snow that fell in the morning, but in fact it was wicked cold and dark so I have no 'outdoor' natural light photos.

Over the winter, while rooting around in the freezer for something else, a bag of shredded zucchini, a bag of corn kernels, and a bag of chopped leeks fell into my lap.  How did I make a pizza using zucchini and corn in the midst of winter?  Easy!  When I am overwhelmed with my crazy garden volunteers, or we get more than my family can eat in the week's CSA farm share box, I put it up.  The zucchini was shredded (love the fine shred disc on my food processor, the smaller and cheaper version of this one) then bagged, and frozen.  The corn was cooked in a cooler, cut off the cobs, frozen on a tray, and bagged.  The leeks were sliced, washed a lot, spun dry, and frozen loose on a tray before bagging.  That way, we can enjoy summer flavors all year long.  And this taste of summer was delicious after shoveling snow!

When I made this pizza, I knew that I eventually wanted to try leeks with corn on a pizza as well.  When I got leeks in my farm share I even did a little happy dance.  Tonight's pizza is very summery in nearly all respects--it's loaded with ripe-in-summer produce, tossed with pesto, flavored with a hint of garlic . . . but I think I may have used an eggnogandbutternutsquash crust.  So here's today's lesson, folks!  Always Label Random Bags of Pizza Crust In Your Freezer.  The crust tasted just fine with the toppings.  In fact, it may have been just a plain butternut squash pizza crust (is that an oxymoron?).  I'll never know, because I didn't label the bag!

If this pizza looks delicious enough for you to want to make it now, not wait until January, just make sure to squeeze the shredded zucchini until it's as dry as you can get it.  If you don't have leeks, substitute onions, shallots, or even green onions--but add them to the skillet at the very end because they burn easily.  At least in my skillets.  Now that my garden is growing some of these ingredients, I'm already planning my next "summer pizza" though this time I will know what dough to use.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Drunken Mushroom Pizza

I am not one for cute recipe names (I gravitate more to the prosaically literal titles) primarily because I'm thinking ahead. (This trait spills over into my parenting and annoys my kids who would like to, just once, get a snack from the goodies near the check out line.)

If I post a plain old ordinary "mushroom pizza" now, what if I wanted to post a different mushroom pizza in the future?  What would I call the second one?  I find it easier just to be exceedingly descriptive.

And Drunken Mushroom Pizza is exceedingly descriptive.

I made this pizza shortly before my spouse deployed, and I chose the topping for 2 reasons:  first, I knew I'd be the only mushroom eater in the house for a long stretch, and second, because I knew he'd not be drinking wine for a long stretch.  My goal was to duplicate my Skillet Mushroom Dip for Two on a pizza crust.  I poured the wine in my German wineglass (love the wine festivals, and love the German efficiency of having the measuring line so the server knows how much to fill the glass) thinking that I'd add a splash to the skillet and then drink the rest.

But I forgot and dumped the entire thing into the pan.  Whoops!  Change of plan, we'll just make a red wine reduction and get those 'shrooms drunk.  We enjoyed this pizza our last Friday night together, and I hope you enjoy it with someone you love (who also loves mushrooms).

Monday, May 27, 2013

Roasted Potato Salad with Crème Fraîche Sauce

I couldn't decide which post to put up today, so I put up a poll on my FB page.  Roasted Potato Salad with Crème Fraîche beat Thai-marinated baked tofu. Stay tuned for that one.

The second year we belonged to a CSA farm share something shifted in my brain.  I embraced the concept of not knowing what I'd get in the box until CSA day.  Now I thrive on the challenge of using all the produce (by eating it fresh or putting it up for later) before the next CSA day.

This mental shift in my thinking did not come easily, and it has spilled over into the rest of my cooking. Now I keep my eyes peeled for marked-down grocery items and buy those instead of full-price ones, then figure out what to cook after I get home.  It's serendipitous when a recipe I've thought about matches an ingredient that has been marked down.

I'm very lucky to have a Danish sister-in-law.  In addition to loving my brother, raising wonderful kids, and being a talented designer (don't get me started on the hand-me-downs my daughter's gotten from her cousins) she's also a great cook and the best sous chef I've ever had.
Technically she's the only sous chef I've ever had, but she set the bar very high.  Once during a deployment I hosted Christmas and in my little kitchen, with Christine's help, we churned out an American-style Christmas breakfast (complete with overnight yeasted sticky rolls--that's the pan in the corner photo) followed by a full-on Thanksgiving dinner several hours later.  Christine chopped, stirred, and washed up like we'd been doing this together for years. And the tablescape?  Amazing!
Once, while I was visiting Copenhagen, Christine made a simple sauce for our steamed fingerling potatoes.  She combined crème fraîche, a little mayo, garlic, salt, and pepper and served a spoonful of it alongside the potatoes.  It was, obviously, memorable and every time I make it I think of her.

As the weather warms up, my family starts asking for potato salad.  What they are asking for is my Confetti Potato Salad.  However, my celery isn't ready to harvest yet*, and I don't want to buy any when I know I'll be filling my crispers in a few days with our CSA farm share.  Kicking around in my brain was the idea of taking Christine's sauce and tossing it with crispy roasted potatoes for a potato salad.  When I saw crème fraîche marked down at the store, that's exactly what I did.

This potato salad is like a Little Black Dress--it works on fine china alongside a steak or piled onto a paper plate next to a hot dog.  It's tasty hot, or simply warm, and even chilled (my daughter scarfed all the leftovers, so I'm taking her word on that one).  I roasted my potatoes, but if you have the grilling skills you could easily do this dish on the road--simply mix up the sauce at home and carry it to the event in a cooler, then when the potatoes are grilled, toss the whole thing together and serve.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Chicken/Blueberry/Hummus vs Pepper/Peppadew Pizza (Pizza Night)

Last Friday Night Pizza Night, I shared with you a poem I wrote to my pizza stone.

You probably thought I was a bit addled.  Correct!

In the interest of adding value to the post, I also shared my Roasted Garlic and Herb pizza dough, a dough that I think is not a copycat but better than Trader Joes Garlic Herb Pizza dough.

I promised this week that I'd share what I'd done with that dough, and I provided you with a teaser photo:

The pizza on the left has hummus, chicken, blueberries, goat cheese and red onion.  The pizza on the right has colorful bell peppers and Peppadew peppers.  Totally not clear to me if I need to put a ® or ™ symbol with that, so there they are if necessary.

I thought I would choose one to share today.

I try to balance meat-including pizzas with suitable-for-vegetarian pizzas, but to be perfectly frank, I've been kinda distracted lately.  My spouse is embarking on his Asian/Greater Middle East adventure du jour  d'année, my kids each had a concert to perform, and we were fortunate to have both grandmas and my dad in attendance which means I've had company for 4+ days.  So instead of writing up all about a pizza, with links all around, I've just realized that Friday's blog post should go live in 6 hours and I've not written spit!  This is not my usual M.O.. (should there be a 2 punctuation marks there?) Normally I write it all out in longhand, research where I want to link to, type it up, and days/weeks/months later, the night before it goes live, I double check everything and hit publish.  And I'm drinking tea while I write, not hard cider while I type.

Imagine my surprise when I realize that I don't have a pre-written pizza post at 8 pm on Thursday night!  I do, however, have great kids--one's walking the dog, the other is cleaning up from dinner, so I can grab my photos and dump out the contents of my brain so that you've got a pizza inspiration. Some day I'll share about the lovely man at the fancy cheese counter who gave me a sample of Peppadew peppers, thereby inspiring me to actually purchase some Peppadew peppers to have on hand for this pizza. Another time I'll share about the inspiration for this pizza, Heather's Strange But Good flatbread.  But after I finish typing this, since I've been up visiting until midnight for several nights in a row, stick a fork in me--I'm done.

If you have a hankering for pizza and do eat meat, grab some blueberries, hummus, goat cheese, chicken and red onion and make the pizza on the right.  If you're not into meat (these days), grab some bell peppers and Peppadews (Peppadews?  is that even a word?) and make the one on the left.  As always, please check out my Pizza Primer for really well-thought out not off-the-cuff-hard-cider-influenced pizza making instructions. Guess what? My folks' flight is now delayed, they are heading back here to spend the night, so perhaps Mom will proofread--she's great at that--and this post will be better tomorrow after an update.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ode to a Pizza Stone and Better Than TJs Roasted Garlic Herb Dough

The title of this post has been kickin' around in my head for a while.  I started making pizzas after I became a stay-at-home-mom because the price of delivery pizza was more than our budget could handle, yet my spouse loved his Friday Night Pizza Nights.  Having the right tool for the job is important to him, in work and at home, so when we decided to take the plunge on pizza-making-at-home supplies he did some research.  That's how he rolls.  My records only go back to 2000, but I think we purchased our stone and pizza peel in 1999 from the King Arthur flour website. (I get nothing from putting this link here, King Arthur Flour doesn't know me or know I'm writing this, I'm just sharing where I think we bought the tools because they are good quality and continue to serve me well.)  These tools crossed an ocean, spent a few years making pizzas in Hawaii, crossed back and spent a few more years working on the East coast, then traveled overland to the midwest.  The stone broke some time ago in Virginia and is blackened with age.  Like a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, this stone works faithfully for me week after week.  It is not pretty, except to me.

Somewhere along the way I stopped making pizzas at home because it was cheaper than delivery, and started making pizzas at home because they were better than delivery.  Any time you start with fresh, local ingredients (from your garden, the farmer's market, or your CSA farm share) your end result is going to be tasty (Ok, almost any time.  Spectacular failures are shared on my FB page since they won't be appearing here.  Ever.).  Any time you make pizza exactly the way you want it, with the crust, sauce, toppings, and cheeses of your choice, the end result will satisfy your belly and your soul.  And when your soul is satisfied, you don't need to keep eating.  I've found my family and I eat more moderate portions when our meals nourish our souls as well as our bellies.

My kids tell me that an ode is a lyrical poem, so I quickly threw together one for you:

O, sooty stone 
Your faithfulness delights
O'er the miles you doth roam
Effecting my family's Friday Night Pizza Nights
On your cracked and scarred surface
Farm fresh vegetables find their purpose
Others may not see your beauty
Yet you are radiant to me

Let's have a recipe, shall we?  This is my take on Trader Joes Garlic Herb dough.  I used my own roasted garlic and used half whole wheat and half unbleached all purpose flour, so it's not an exact copycat recipe.  I think it's better. I make my dough a few days before Pizza Night, because older dough doesn't fight me like fresh stuff does.  It keeps easily 3 days in the fridge.  If you know it will be longer, you can freeze the dough and move it to the fridge to thaw the day before you want to use it.

I'm not sharing a sauce/topping suggestion for this pizza dough.  I'd got some ideas for sauces and toppings in my Pizza Primer post, you're free to look around and get inspired.  Here's what I did with mine, which I will share next week have shared right here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Arugula Pesto Focaccia with Artichokes, Feta, Goat Cheese and Green Olives (Pizza Night!)

Foh-KAH-chee-ah.  Foke-ah-CHEE-ah.  No matter how my spouse chooses to pronounce it, you need to try this.  Now. It's that good.  And if you've got arugula going to town in the garden?  More better.

I'd noticed that every time I was out of town on a Friday night (for sled hockey tournaments) my spouse would order a focaccia pizza.  The leftovers I'd have after my return were pretty tasty, so I was eager to try it out myself.  I consulted my personal pizza resource, The Best Pizza Is Made at Home , for inspiration on the crust as well as baking directions.  I had some arugula pesto, made using the recipe out of Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables, so I decided to try that.  If you don't have asiago cheese, try Bryn's easy arugula pesto recipe instead, or the arugula pesto of your choice.
I was comfortable jumping into a flavored dough but needed to try the method on a barely-topped bread first, just to make sure I set myself up for success.  The last spectacular pizza failure, seen on my Facebook page, of my deep dish spinach pie on eggnog crust is still too fresh in my mind.  Such a great idea in theory, so bad in execution . . . ah well.  That's why I call it recipe development.  If at first you don't succeed . . .

Making focaccia this way calls for a 12 inch round deep dish pizza pan.  I don't have one.  Since I never know what size kitchen we'll be living in at our next house, I try not to collect single-purpose items (hello, asparagus steamer, I'm talking 'bout you!).  I do have a 12 inch cast iron skillet though.  That's what I used for this focaccia, and I recommend using one if you also have one.  The resulting bread was thicker than my usual pizza crust, crisp on the bottom like my cornbread, delightfully chewy on the inside, and topped with a flavorful combination suggested by my spouse from items we had on hand in the fridge/freezer.  The toppings added to the flavor of the base, but didn't overpower it.  I've said in my Pizza Primer that less is more, and it sure is true here.  You really don't want to glop on heavy toppings or sauces here.  At least, not the first time you make it.

Who knows what I'll do next time, though clever blog readers may think I've already done it with this Salmon, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Pesto pizza--though that is baked and topped differently, and even a bit different ratio of flours for the dough.  All good, though, and yes you are quite bright!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Salsa Verde, Pork Steak, and Oaxaca Cheese Pizza (Pizza Night!)

For other recipes using Hatch Chiles, please see my Hatch Chile Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. This is a resource for folks like me eating seasonally from the farm share, farmer's market, or garden abundance.

There really is a pizza recipe in this post. It's Friday, and you're at Farm Fresh Feasts, right?

I've always liked to play with my food and try new things, I guess my daughter gets it from me.  A while ago we got part of a cow, including the tongue and tail.  I made beef tongue tacos with the tongue and, while they were interesting, the real star of that meal was the salsa verde.
Oh salsa verde, [I lamented] where were you when I was cluelessly trying to coax something edible out of my CSA farm share tomatillos??  Ah well, at least now I knew what to do with the tomatillos!  Sorry, food bank, I'm keeping them this time--have a jar of peanut butter and a couple cans of tuna instead.
Last season I had the happy coincidence of my local grocery store roasting fresh Hatch chilies at the same time that the farm share blessed us with tomatillos (something Aubrey of Homegrown & Healthy commented on--produce that is in season at the same time generally pairs well together). I quickly canned a batch of salsa verde using the Ball canning book recipe.  I wasn't quite sure what all I would make with it--we really didn't want to experience tongue again, though I wish cattle had 4 tails each because ox tail rocks.  Try Elise's Oxtail Stew recipe, and you'll see what I mean.

When I thought about the idea of taking some leftover pork steak home from my in-laws, I lay awake dreaming up this pizza.  I figured the pork would go nicely with the salsa verde.  I just wasn't sure what type of cheese would be best.  So the pork sat in the freezer and the salsa verde sat in the pantry and both patiently waited until this week.  My family has recently become enamored of fresh mozzarella on pizza, like this or this or this.  I love to get perfectly edible food marked down, so I've added a pass by the fancy cheese area when I'm making twice daily occasional milk runs.  If there are no marked down balls of fresh mozzarella, I make a mental note when the balls on display are due to be sold by, and try and swing by the day before when they'll have the magic stickers.  Did you know you could freeze marked down fresh mozzarella, thaw and slice it, and use it on a pizza?  Now you do.

It was during one such pass that the marked down sticker on this cheese caught my eye.  It wasn't quite shaped like mozzarella, but it looked and felt similar.  I whooped(!) because I felt like I'd scored getting mozzarella marked down.  The cheese monger (a brilliant lady--she can even pronounce the name of this cheese without sounding like Ben Stiller's character trying to say Brett Favre's name in the movie There's Something About Mary or Ellen Degeneres' character reading in Finding Nemo) told me that the cheese I was whooping about was in fact not mozzarella and started to describe it's characteristics to me.  Here's what the Murray's Cheese Oaxaca label says:
"Resembles mozzarella in terms of style and make process, but flavor-wise, Oaxaca cheese deserves its own dance floor.  Of Mexican heritage but made in Waterloo, Wisconsin by our friends The Crave Brothers, it's pure white and semi-hard, with sting cheesy texture and a salty milky zing.  It's best used for the melted implementation in its country of origin:  nachos, tacos, or quesadillas, or as a substitute for queso blanco in cooking."
We agreed this pizza would go perfectly with this cheese.  If you don't have access to Oaxaca and are too shy to ask for it because you're afraid you'll mispronounce it, I think queso blanco, shredded Mexican blend, or fresh mozzarella would do fine.

The last comment I need to make before getting to the recipe is this:  next time I won't make this pizza the way I did.  I'll make it the way I wrote it up here.  I think it would be better to toss the cooked meat on at the end, like in this pizza, not in the beginning.  What can I say?  I was making 4 different pizzas, 2 to deliver to a friend, and I was way distracted.  On Friday nights I put the 'as it's happening' pizzas up on my Facebook page so you can see how crazed I sometimes frequently get in the kitchen.