Dinner on the Farm

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Hi friends– Back in Wisconsin for a couple weeks– hanging out with my bundle-of-fun daughter, Laurel, right now.  And last night she drove us over hill and dale out to Cress Spring Farm for the Wednesday night Pizza & Music!

We passed farms & fields and trundled through the woods.
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After checking out the farm’s brown pigs and finding a picnic spot, we put in our wood fired pizza order and picked up a tray of starters.

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Then we joined the crowds of picnickers on the sultry summer evening, to enjoy our pizza and the lively banjo/mandoline music.
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The stacks of wood ready for the pizza ovens…
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And as the sun was about to set, we set out for home in Madison, passing farms, fields and fireflies along the way…
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Thanks Laurel and John for the fun with your friends out on the farm…  Loved it!

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Kale Pesto Pizza with Sausage & Mushrooms

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Hi Pizza Eating Friends–  My Larry is a kale eater.  In fact, he was a kale fan before kale was a “thing.”  We’d go to the soup/salad buffet in town and he’s embarrass the girls by loading the kale garnish onto his plate along with the red lettuce and radishes…

So when I cam across this kale pesto to start off the layers of a pizza, I thought he would really like this one!  It’s a nice gentle flavored pesto– I’m imagining it on ravioli or over a nice piece of baked chicken.  And with pizza it’s just grand.  Hope you try it!!

KALE PESTO PIZZA WITH SAUSAGE & MUSHROOMS

Crust (makes enough for 2 12″ pizza crusts)
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Kale Pesto (enough for 2 pizzas):
6 cups kale, chopped finely
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan romano

Toppings (for 2 pizzas):
8 oz. mozzarella (or your favorite pizza cheese), grated
8 oz. Italian sausage (mild or hot)
3 oz. crimini mushrooms, chopped to bits
1/4 cup pine nuts to sprinkle on top

DSC00409Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

To make the pesto, drop the kale, 1/4 cup pine nuts, garlic, oil and parmesan romano into a blender and whirl it to a lovely green paste.

Cook the Italian sausage in a skillet, chopping it to fine bits.  Grate the cheese, chop the mushrooms.

Then take the rising crust from the oven and gently spread on the kale pesto.  Then sprinkle on the cheese, cooked sausage bits, mushrooms and pine nuts.

Pop the pizzas into a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until they are browned and the crust is cooked through.  —Eat them while they’re hot with a colorful salad.

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Caramelized Onion & Spinach Pizza

IMG_2812Hello all-  On a Friday night, what’s better than pizza, something good on the “telly” and a comfy spot on the sofa– winding down at the end of the week??  Perfect.

Here’s a favorite of ours.  First had something like this at Cheese Board Pizza in Berkeley several years ago and it’s been coming out of our oven ever since.  Garlicky, onion-y good.  (and it makes 2 pizzas!)

CARAMELIZED ONION & SPINACH PIZZA

Crust:
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

IMG_2788Toppings:
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil*
4 onions (yes 4!!), chopped
Big splash of olive oil
8 oz. mozzarella, grated
4 oz. spinach, chopped
6 oz. brown mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup pine nuts

While the crust is rising, do all your chopping and grating of the topping ingredients.

Heat the splash of olive oil in a skillet.  Cook the onions for about 10 minutes until they are browned and caramelized.

Mix the garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil together.  Spread it over the raised crust.

Then layer on the onions, cheese, spinach, mushrooms and pine nuts.

Pop the 2 pizzas into a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pizza starts to brown around the edges.

*We love the Spanish Olive Oil from Trader Joe’s.  It tastes like cooking-smells floating out the windows in Seville on a hot summer night.  So rich and buttery.

Garlicky Spinach Mushroom Pizza

IMG_7812Hello friends–  After spending my days in the classroom with 3rd and 4th graders for several years, I can tell you that pizza is the overwhelming food favorite for those kids.  I’m a long way past 4th grade, but I’m still an enthusiastic pizza eater.  And here’s one we really thought was delish!

This recipe makes two 12″ garlicky good pizzas.  Even though it’s just Larry and me in the house these days, I still make double pizza so there’s leftovers to toast up at lunchtime the next week…

GARLICKY SPINACH MUSHROOM PIZZA

Crust:
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

IMG_7818Toppings:
4 cloves garlic
4 tab. olive oil
12 oz. mozzarella (or fontina), grated
4 cups baby spinach leaves, cut to shreds
6 oz. crimini brown mushrooms (or your favorite), cut into slices
1/4 cup parmesan reggiano
1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)

Stir the garlic into the oil and spread it over the risen crust dough.  Over the oil sprinkle the mozzarella.  The layer on the spinach, mushrooms, parmesan and pine nuts.

Pop the pizzas into a 375 degree oven and cook it for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melty and the crust is browned around the edges.  Eat it hot from the oven.  Oh yumm.

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Eggplant & Zucchini Pizza (with bacon)

IMG_6686EGGPLANT & ZUCCHINI PIZZA (WITH BACON)

Crust (makes 2 crusts):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

IMG_6695Toppings:
4 slices bacon
1 Chinese eggplant, cut in small chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 zucchini, grated

Cut the bacon to tiny bits and cook it up in a nonstick pan.  When it’s done remove it from the pan to a paper towel to drain.  Toss the chunks of eggplant into the pan and brown it in the bacon drippings .

Mix together the olive oil and minced garlic, Then on the pizza crusts, that have been rising for 10 or 15 minutes, spread the garlicky olive oil with the back of a spoon clear to the edges.  Sprinkle on the cheese.  Then top with red onion, eggplant, cilantro, zucchini and then bacon.

Pop it all into a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is golden.  Eat it piping hot and I promise it will be delicious.

 

Mexican Pizza

IMG_4537Hi all– Do you have the “packing a lunch for work dilemma”?  Heading to the teacher lunchroom after a busy morning with the kids, I’m longing for something more than a soggy sandwich.  That’s why I love leftovers!  Little packages of last night’s dinner lined up in the fridge to see me through the week.  And my favorite is pizza, popped in the toaster oven and warm for lunch together with all the teacher friends talking through their mornings.  So here’s my dinner tonight– and leftovers for lunches all week!

MEXICAN PIZZA

Crust (makes 2 crusts):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

Toppings (enough for 2 pizzas):
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. Mexican style hot sauce
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 oz. cheddar, grated
2 roma tomatoes, cut to small pieces
1/2 cup red onion, chopped to bits
1 cup frozen (or fresh) corn, defrosted
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, cut in small pieces
1 cup cooked carnitas meat in small bits*
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fine

Stir together the oil, garlic and hot sauce.  Spread it over the crust with the back of a spoon (try not to flatten the crust too much).  Then sprinkle on the mozzarella and cheddar.  Layer on the tomatoes, onion, corn, pepper, carnitas and cilantro.

Pop the pizzas into a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is cooked through and brown around the edges.

*I used leftover carnitas from a taco dinner with friends.  Bits of leftover chicken or beef would be just dandy.  Or make the pizza without meat for Mexican veggie pizza!

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Sliver Pizza

IMG_2501Hello Friends–  I wish I could call you and just say, “Let’s meet up at Sliver in Berkeley for a chat over their scrumptious pizza!”  It’s one of those interesting places that makes just one kind of pizza each day and it’s always a good one, whatever they come up with.  The day my Ani and I dropped in for lunch they had this fresh summery version and it decidedly delicious!

They list the ingredients on a chalkboard every day so you can anticipate what’s coming out of the oven.  This one had yellow summer squash, yellow corn, red onion…  So here’s my best copy cat pizza.  It’s the next best things to a day of pizza with Ani in Berkeley.

SLIVER PIZZA
Crust (makes 2 crusts):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

IMG_2526Toppings (enough for 2 pizzas):
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh corn, cutoff the cob
2 yellow summer squash. cut to smallish chunks
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped to small bits
8 oz. mozzarella, grated
4 oz. feta, crumbled
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine

Blend the olive oil with the minced garlic and spread it over the prepared crusts.  Then layer on the squash, corn, red onion and red pepper.  Cover that with the mozzarella and feta.  Pop it into a 375 degree over for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese just begins to bubble and the crust is browned around the edges.  Sprinkle the cilantro over the cooked pizzas and serve it piping hot!

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Here’s Ani and the yummy pizza from Sliver– It’s as good as it looks!

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*warm water, not too hot, just about the right temperature for a baby’s bath.

Spinach Ricotta White Pizza

IMG_0859Hello there–  We do love pizza around here.  So in the endless search for a new, interesting, tasty version of this yummy stuff, we tried out a “white pizza” for dinner on Saturday.  (thanks Danielle for the suggestion!)  The ricotta takes the place of tomato saucy topping.  Add some mozzarella, spinach, pine nuts…  It’s lovely.

SPINACH RICOTTA WHITE PIZZA

Crust (makes 2 pizzas):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2 12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

Topping:
1 1/2 cup ricotta
2 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 bunch of fresh spinach
2 tab. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 more tab. olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 handfuls of pine nuts

While the crust is rising a bit, in large shallow pan, heat the 2 tab. of olive oil.  When the pan is hot, throw in the garlic and the spinach and stir it just a minute or two until the spinach wilts a bit–not long enough to let it cook completely. (You know how spinach can cook down away to nothing!)  Mix the ricotta, mozzarella and basil together in a bowl.  Then take the two pizza crusts and spread a tablespoon of olive oil on each one.  Top each with half of the ricotta mixture.  Then spoon the spinach over the pizzas.  Sprinkle on the parmesan and pine nuts.  Slide the pizzas into a 375 degree oven for 25 to 20 minutes until the crust browns around the edge and cheese is a bit bubbly.  All that’s left it to eat it up!

Mushroom and Fontina Pizza

IMG_0173Hey friends– Wish I could invite you all over to share this yummy pizza with us.  Larry and I went to Mozza Pizzeria last week for our anniversary and had a version of this delicious plateful.  So here’s my best imitation–minus their fancy brick wood burning oven!  It’s a simple pizza but oh so good!

I want to thank Trader Joe’s for this one.  I love their little boxes of crimini mushrooms, buttery fontina, minced frozen cubes of garlic, their fresh pecorino parmesan and real Spanish olive oil– oil that takes me back to flavors floating out kitchen windows in our pueblo on a summer night.

IMG_0168MUSHROOM & FONTINA PIZZA

1 recipe pizza dough–makes 2 pizzas (see link below)*
8 oz. crimini mushrooms
8 oz. fontina cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pecorino & parmesan cheese, grated

Make the dough for the crust and put it into a warm spot to rise while you prepare the rest of the pizza ingredients.  Slice the mushrooms as thinly as you can.  Grate the fontina. And mix the garlic into the olive oil.  Then spread the olive & garlic over the 2 crusts.  Then layer on the fontina, mushrooms and finally the parmesan.  Pop them in a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is starting to bubble and the crust is golden.  Makes 2 yummy pizzas– One for dinner, one for leftovers.

* crust recipe on this post:  https://thethankfulheart.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/brussel-sprout-and-bacon-pizza-2/

Bar-b-que Chicken Pizza

IMG_8258Hey there–  When Laurel popped in for Christmas time this year, this was the first meal I planned to make for her.  It’s been a Laurel “fave” for a long time…  I’m remembering this recipe came round about years ago from my “cousin” Brenda– who is a wonderful cook and a great blogger-encourager.  Thanks Brenda.

BAR-B-QUE CHICKEN PIZZA (makes 2 12″ pizzas)
Crust:
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2 12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

Toppings:
1 cup bar-b-que sauce (We like Hunts Honey Hickory)
1 large chicken breast
1 tab. olive oil
1 16 oz. ball mozzarella
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Filet the chicken breast, cutting it horizontally to make two flat pieces.  Brown it with a little olive oil in a saute pan. Then cut it to nice little bits.  Grate the mozzarella (please, don’t use the pre-grated mozzarella in a bag.  It has a coating that’s not cheese).  Then spread the bar-b-que sauce over the two crusts.  Sprinkle on the cheese, the onion, the cilantro and chicken.  Pop it in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, just until the cheese starts to brown a bit around the edges.

Eat it piping hot with a bright citrusy salad.  A meal that makes Laurel happy!  And I like that.

*Someone told me the perfect water temperature is–warm enough for a baby’s bath.

 

 

Brussel Sprout and Bacon Pizza

IMG_7889Hi there–  It’s been a comfortable couple weeks having my sis and her dear husband Ted in the house, home from China.  I mean who wouldn’t love having Lulu in the house.  She cleans, cooks, empties the dish washer and laughs at all my jokes!  She’s the best.  And my  favorite is chatting in the kitchen as we put together a little dinner.  Last night it was brussel sprout pizza.  Turned out pretty darn good.

BRUSSEL SPROUT AND BACON PIZZA (makes 2 pizzas)
Crust:
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2 12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

Toppings:
6 slices bacon, sliced to bits
10 brussel sprouts, cut to shreds
8 oz. mozarella, shredded
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced

Cook the bacon on the stove top and remove from the pan to a paper towel to drain.  Mix the olive oil and garlic and spread over the 2 pizza crusts.  Then sprinkle on the mozzarella, followed by the brussel sprouts and finally the bacon.  Cook at 375 degrees for about 15-18 minutes, until the crust turns golden around the edges.  Eat it hot!

*The water should be mildly warm, about the temperature you’d want to give a baby a bath!

Garlic Chicken Pizza


It’s a happy week.  My sister’s oldest is getting married here on Saturday so my sis Lulu and her husband good old Ted are here to stay for a week.  She’s the world’s best cook– There are 11 pounds of butter and 9 pounds of cream cheese sitting on my counter right now waiting for her to start baking for the wedding in the morning!  There’s nothing more fun than cooking up a storm with my sis in the kitchen.

So it was a treat to make her a dinner last night.  I tried something new– Garlic Chicken Pizza.  It turned out just fine and here’s the recipe:

GARLIC CHICKEN PIZZA

Garlic–first break 2 heads of garlic into individual cloves and coat them with olive oil and garlic salt.  Roast them for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven in a pan covered with foil.

Dough:
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes and stretch the dough onto 2 12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with Pam.
Put them in a warm place to rise while to do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for 3 minutes only to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

Toppings:
2 heads of garlic
olive oil
garlic salt
1 large boneless chicken breast
1 carton of pre made pesto (Trader Joe’s makes a good one)
5 or 6 oz. mozarella, shredded**
1/2 cup parmesan-romano cheese

Filet the chicken breasts (cut them in half lengthwise) and grill them in a splash of olive oil until browned and cooked through.  Then cut them into smallish chunks.

OK, so you already roasted the garlic (see above), now squeeze the garlic out of their papery skins and mash it all with a fork.  Spread the garlic onto the prepared pizza crust and then top it with the pesto.  Layer on the mozzarella, chicken then parmesan romano cheese.  This should make up two fine pizzas.
Pop them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes until the tops are golden and the crust is cooked through.  Hot out of the oven, this is garlicky good!  Enjoy!

*Warm water means about the the temperature for a baby’s bath.  There’s more problems with yeast if the water is too hot, than if it’s too cool.

**I’m asking you to please buy a ball of good mozzarella and grate it yourself.  Pre-grated mozzarella has a coating to keep it fresh and just isn’t as good.  Please trust me on this one.

Big Birthday Weekend

Hi friends– It’s my birthday.  And we spent the long whole weekend celebrating (that means mostly eating, you know).  The best part was that Ani and Brian came on down for 4 days to make it a party.  So here’s the comestible highlights:

#1. There’s always something chocolate on the counter when Ani rolls into town– this time German chocolate cake (a particular favorite of mine).

#2. Breakfast with the family is the best, sun coming in the doorway, talking over plans for the day, french toast, fruit and bacon– with the famous Bigarel family maple syrup!

#3. Mediterranean dinner in Pasadena before the movie I’ve most been wanting to see, “First Position” –a documentary about aspiring ballet dancers.  Fascinating.

#4. Celebratory dinner at Mozza–We watched the pizza makers slip dinner into the huge wood oven–charred crust and mouth watering toppings.  That, along with a towering antipasti salad and garlic bread that Ani described as, “Heaven on a plate.”  Topped off with ground almond cake with cherry compote and cherry ice cream.  

#5. Sunday supper at home– Paprika/Orange salmon and a table full of other dishes.  Dessert was blackberry cake with whipped cream and berries from Larry’s vines.  Tasted like summer.

#6. Grandma Lo pulled all the family together for lunch on Monday at the Spaghetti Factory.  Lulu brought in the party hats and blowers along with a huge chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting.  Good times with the fam!  Thanks Mom and Lu.

Of course there were more meals in between.  And skyping with the grand girls (and their parents) in Shanghai.  And shopping with Ani.  And sitting in church together.  And today the all time most heartwarming  video ever arrived from all our kids .  Turning 60 is a lot more fun than I anticipated!