Two Non-traditional Pizzas

2011/02/27

I have written before about my love of homemade pizza, but here I go again. These two versions, both made with cheese curds from my favorite Fields of Grace Farm, are not exactly your run of the mill Margheritas, but they were both quite good.

This first one I made was a Mexican pizza. Taco sauce replaced the traditional tomato, and it was topped with onions, bell peppers, jalapeños (only on my part), and onion flavored cheese curds on a cornmeal-influenced crust.

Yum.

Ian initially thought this sounded gross, but after one bite he had to agree that it was pretty darn good.

This pizza, which I made for my Oscar party of one, was also quite tasty. I par-roasted (cooked part way in the oven) thinly sliced potatoes, onions, and garlic, which I layered on a whole wheat pizza crust, that had been brushed with olive oil mixed with (defrosted) frozen basil, and topped with garden herb flavored cheese curds.

This pizza crust was harder to work with than most and took a little longer to cook, but the result was very satisfying. The nutty whole wheat flavor of the crust went well with the cheese and potatoes, and I was very happy about it.

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Easy Asparagus Tart

2010/04/29

I’m back. I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while but I have a broken foot and I have been very tired and haven’t had any interest in writing. Also I have been on a bit of a geneology kick and I have been spending most of my internet time working on that instead of my blog.

But tonight I felt inspired, because I had to tell you something, dear readers. Ian was wrong. Ian was very wrong. I told him that I wanted to make an asparagus tart (with the purple asparagus I paid a little too much for at the market) for dinner, and he turned up his nose. I told him I would make him a chicken breast, too, and he told me he would rather order a pizza. But I had already started thawing the puff pastry crust, so I won and made dinner.

I followed this recipe from Closet Cooking, mostly. However, I didn’t have any Gruyere, and I didn’t feel like buying any, so I used a mixture of fresh mozzarella and parmesan. I also spread a thin layer of pesto on the bottom instead of mustard, because I had it on hand. Finally, instead of using plain olive oil to brush on the outside, I used a mixture of canola oil and truffle oil (I had bought a small bottle as an impulse without realizing it was made with chemicals and not real truffles, and I used canola because it is neutral to thin out the potent truffle oil) I also dabbed the asparagus on top with a little of the oil so it would roast better.

This is the tart before I cooked it. It was really easy to assemble; it only took a few minutes.

And this is the tart when it came out:

The crust was golden and crispy and buttery, the asparagus was roasted to perfection, and the cheese was melty and gooey just like it would have been on the pizza Ian wanted to order. The truffle oil gave a rich, earthy flavor to it all and really pulled the flavors together. Even Ian agreed it was kind of awesome, which was evident when he ate most of it.

To lighten dinner up, I also made green salads with mixed lettuces, green onions, and a little parmesan. I topped it with a vinaigrette of shallot, salt, pepper, mustard, truffle oil, canola oil (to tie in with the tart and for the same reasons as earlier), and white wine vinegar.

For Ian’s chicken breast, I sprinkled it with some dry mustard, brushed it with some of the leftover truffle/canola oil mixture from the tart, and then seasoned it with salt and pepper and baked it. Halfway through I turned it over and seasoned the other side. Ian said he liked that, too. He ate it pretty quickly, so I guess he was telling the truth.

After dinner, I asked him if he would have rather had pizza. He said no.


Raindrops on Roses…

2010/03/31

In my kitchen, there are many things I love. Some are old and some are new. Some were gifts, some I bought myself, and some I have no idea where they came from. But they are all quite useful, and I want to share them, so I have decided to write a series on some of my favorite things. They might not be as endearing as whiskers on kittens, but they certainly beat brown paper packages tied up with string.

Favorite Thing #1, My Apron

This favorite thing is actually quite new; I only got it last Christmas. My adorable sister bought it for me. As you (maybe) can see from the picture, I have put up a hook at the entrance of my kitchen so I can put it on when I go into my kitchen and take it off when I leave. The apron is made by Vera Bradley, which doesn’t mean much to me except that it is very pretty (the pattern is called Symphony in Hue). I like that it is rather big (some aprons don’t actually cover your clothes very well), fully adjustable, and has two large pockets which come in handy sometimes. To make it even better, my sister had it monogrammed for me.

It also came with this lovely box for recipe cards, which is getting good use in its own right. I got so many wonderful things for Christmas this year (more will probably show up in later posts), but these are really one of my favorite gifts of all time (right up there with the Chip ‘n’ Dale dolls I got when I was 4). Thanks Phillie!


Kale and Polenta Stuffed Pumpkin

2010/03/24

I love stuffed vegetables because they are so versatile. There are so many different possibilities for vegetables and fillings: tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini and peppers in the summer, and cabbage and all sorts of squashes and pumpkins in the winter months.

The stuffed squashes I made tonight were based on this recipe on the blog What We All Want. However when I saw this recipe, my first thought was, that is far to many pots and pans. So I adapted it to fit my weeknight sensibilities.

I started by roasting a small pumpkin, with butter, salt, and pepper, at 350 F until it was fork tender. This took a while, but that was okay, I had other things to do.

I melted some butter in the skillet, and added some onion and garlic. When the garlic started to brown, I added about 2 cups of kale, with the stems removed. When it wilted (pictured above), which didn’t take long, I added enough vegetable broth to cover the bottom of the pan. When the broth started simmering, I added 1/8 cup uncooked polenta. As the polenta absorbed the broth, I added more until it was cooked, then seasoned it (a little too) generously with salt and pepper.

When the polenta was done, I spooned the filling into the pumpkin halves, topped with some gouda, pine nuts, and parmesan, and then broiled it for a few more minutes until the cheese was bubbly and the pine nuts were toasted.

This was very filling and more than enough for me, but Ian was still a little hungry and ate some leftover pizza, too. Unfortunately winter squashes are at the end of their season, so I will have to wait to make it again.


So I have started a second blog…

2010/03/13

When I started this blog, I thought it would have a little bit of everything: cooking, baking, canning, gardening, and even restaurant reviews. But now that I think of it, one of these things is not like the other. Cooking, baking, canning, and gardening all occur at my house; they are homey things. Restaurant reviews are different; they have nothing to do with things that I created, which I think is the essence of this blog. So for restaurant reviews, I have created a new blog Not Another Veggie Burger. The focus of the blog is creative vegetarian options (at pretty much all non-vegetarian restaurants) in the DC metro area (and any place I might travel to). I’ve already got my first post up. Check it out!