Pizzas I Have Made

2010/06/17

I have had strange pizza cravings lately. They started before our recent trip to American Flatbread, but might have inspired the visit. However, the pizzas I wanted weren’t the kind you can find in restaurants, at least not around here. The cravings actually began around the time late spring vegetables began appearing at the market in all their abundant glory, which, coincidentally was about the same time I reached the section on Wolfgang Puck and Spago in the book The United States of Arugula.

The first, and by far my favorite pizza I have made so far, was a roasted beet pizza. To make it, I roasted some beets with onions, thyme, basil, and marjoram.

I spread out the pizza dough (from Trader Joe’s) dusted it with cornmeal and brushed it with olive oil. Then I arranged the beets, beet greens, and onions on the dough, and topped it with a generous helping of goat cheese, mozzarella, and Parmesan.

The oven had been preheated to 500 F for 10 minutes, and it only took about 7 minutes to cook.

This second pizza I made the same night as the beet pizza, because we had company over. I spread out the same Trader Joe’s dough (they say rolling pins are bad for the structure), dusted it with cornmeal, and brushed it with basil pesto. Then I topped it with caramelized onions, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese.

I baked it just like the beet pizza, but right when it came out of the oven I placed slices of proscuitto on top.

Dinner started with garlic bread and a simple salad of mixed lettuces, Parmesan, toasted pine nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Dessert was ice cream with caramel sauce. There were no complaints.
More recently I made a roasted cauliflower pizza, which is something I have had before, with my CSA bounty. For this one, I roasted the cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper. I made the dough myself this time, which was insanely easy in my bread machine. Again, I dusted it with cornmeal and brushed it with truffle oil, then arranged the cauliflower (more on my side, less on Ian’s) with some purple basil and fresh dill, and topped it with mozzarella and Parmesan.

*

This pizza was good, but a little bland. Both the dough and the toppings needed more salt. With added salt and crushed red pepper on top, though, it was pretty tasty. *Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the final product, so you are going to have to imagine this with gooey brown cheese on top.

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CSA: Week 2

2010/06/17

I will admit it; last week some of the greens from my CSA didn’t get finished. This is partially because we didn’t eat at home a couple nights that we usually do (we had dinner with friends one night and went to a fundraiser the other) and partially because of the perishability of leafy greens. This week, however, there was a bit more variety in the selection, which was nice. I didn’t finish quite all of the arugula, but most everything got eaten.

The haul:
1 medium bunch radishes

  • with butter and salt

2 crowns cauliflower

  • roasted on pizza

1 medium bag broccoli

  • with buckwheat and cheese

1 medium bag ovation greens

  • stir-fried

1 head romaine lettuce

  • salad

1 big bag arugula

  • wilted with indian-inspired fried potatoes

CSA: Week 1

2010/06/07

This year I decided to join a CSA. No, it has nothing to do with Civil War reenactment. Community supported agriculture, CSA for short, is a common practice where farmers sell shares of their crops to people in advance of the harvest. In return, those people get a share of the harvested vegetables every week. While there is risk involved- you are essentially buying your groceries before they are grown- more and more small farms are relying on CSA membership to get by.
The CSA that I joined us called The Lamb’s Quarter, which is based in Maryland, but also sets up a stand at the Alexandria farmers’ market, which is also the location of one of their CSA pickups. Saturday morning of Memorial Day Weekend I picked up my first bunch of vegetables, which consisted of mostly leafy greens. I figure, since I don’t record every single thing I eat on the blog, that I should post a weekly roundup of what I did with the CSA goodies.
Week 1:
1 small bunch radishes

  • Sandwich with butter and salt

1 medium bag mixed lettuces

  • Salads

1 medium bag “ovation greens” (mostly Asian greens and lettuces)

  • Lavash sandwiches with feta and harissa

1 medium bag kale

  • Kale lasagna

1 large bag arugula

  • Scrambled eggs with arugula and ricotta
  • Roasted potatoes with leeks and wilted arugula

2 heads bok choy

  • Kim chi

An Attempt at Kim Chi

2010/06/04

When I think of my first canning project of the summer, my thoughts usually turn to ruby red strawberries or tart rhubarb stalks, but the common denominator is sugar, and lots of it. However, this year, I broke out the mason jars for the first time over kim chi, slightly pickled but mostly fermented Korean vegetables. *Note: I did not process the kim chi in a boiling water bath, so it is to be used up within a month or so. *Related Note: Does anyone want any kim chi?
While the most common vegetable base for kim chi is Napa or Korean cabbage, there are actually many different types of kim chi based on all sorts of vegetables. Anyone who says otherwise does not know what he or she is talking about. Since I was blessed with an abundance of bok choy this week from my CSA membership (more details soon), I decided to make a kim chi based on bok choy, with Korean radish, Korean leeks, and green onions. *Note on ingedients: I went to the local GrandMart (a very extensive ethnic supermarket with an awesome produce department) to procure the Korean radish and chili powder, and I happened to see Korean leeks, which I had not known even existed, on sale for $0.99 a bunch.
I combined two different recipes to make my kim chi, because there were aspects of both that I liked and disliked. I still managed to miss a step and I may have ruined the kim chi, despite my best efforts to save it. I guess I will find out in a few days.

Recipe:

  • 1 large head bok choy
  • 1 Korean radish (could substitute daikon)
  • 2-3 Korean leeks
  • 5-6 green onions (mine had red bulbs)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • A knob of ginger, 3 inches long and peeled
  • 1 1/2 cup Korean red pepper powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup kosher salt

1. Chop the bok choy and radish into bite size pieces. Cover with salt and let sit overnight in a glass bowl.

2. Drain the brine off the vegetables (the salt will have brought out the juices from the vegetables a la osmosis). Rinse the vegetables!

3. Slice the leeks and onions, press or finely mince the garlic, and grate the ginger, combine in a separate glass or ceramic bowl. Add the pepper powder and a little bit of the brine and stir to make a paste.

4. Mix the paste with the vegetables. I used a spoon; if you use your hands you might want to wear gloves.

5. Spoon the mixture into sterilized jars. Too off with brine, fresh water, or a mixture of the two, depending on how salty the vegetables were.

6. Let it sit for a few days at room temperature until it starts to ferment (bubbles will form), then move it to the fridge. Use within one month.

*Never eat anything if you are unsure if it is safe. “When in doubt, throw it out!”