Two Kinds of Pizza

Knowing how to make a good marinara sauce and pesto from scratch is so useful. You can make plenty and have leftovers to use on pasta, spread on toast or even spoon on top of scrambled eggs with cheese in the morning. This pizza dough recipe is based on the one in a recipe booklet that comes with kitchen aid mixers. Dough works best made in a kitchenaid, but you can make it by hand as long as you knead the dough for several minutes before letting it rise. If you’re in a hurry, try Trader Joe’s refrigerated pizza dough. Here are two of my favorite pizza creations, but you can use any toppings you like!

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Dough:

1 package active dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

1 cup warm water

3 cups flour

4 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

3 Tbs. corn meal

Pour yeast into the bottom of the kitchenaid bowl and pour in the warm water. Add sugar and stir well til dissolved. Let sit 4 minutes. Add flour, oil and salt and mix, starting on low speed and moving up to high once flour has been incorporated. Mix on high for 3 minutes, or until dough has formed a ball around the dough hook. Add more flour as you go if it gets too wet. Pour dough into an oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least an hour. Stretch into a rectangle about the size of a baking sheet. Sprinkle corn meal on baking sheet before laying down the dough. Add toppings are bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes.

Marinara Sauce:

olive oil

3 large cloves garlic

2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 large can whole tomatoes in juice, chopped

1 Tbs. tomato paste

2 tsp. dried oregano

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp. dried chili flakes

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add garlic. Once garlic is just about to brown, add fresh tomatoes. Cook 2 minutes. Add chopped canned tomatoes and half of their juice. Add tomato paste. Season with oregano, bay leaves, balsamic, sugar, salt and pepper, and chili flakes. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to low, cover, and let cook 40 minutes. Turn off heat, remove bay leaves, and stir in fresh basil.

Walnut Pesto:

2 large cloves garlic

1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves

1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 Tbs. plain yogurt

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Add olive oil until mixture is smooth, but not swimming in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Pesto Chicken Pizza with Broccolini, Baby Beets, and Garlic Herb Cheese:

One batch of pizza dough

1 1/2 cups pesto (from above)

1 cooked chicken breast, shredded

2 small red or golden beets, sliced very thin

4 stalks broccolini, cut into thin pieces

1 1/2 cups shredded asiago or parmesan cheese

1 large clove garlic

1 tsp. dried oregano

4 Tbs. olive oil

Preheat oven to 425. Stretch pizza dough and prepare all toppings. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add chopped garlic and oregano. Sauté just until garlic begins to brown, then turn off heat and pour into a small bowl. Let cool 5 minutes, then pour over cheese in a larger bowl and mix well. Brush pizza dough with olive oil. Spread a generous layer of pesto over the dough. Arrange chicken, broccolini and beets over sauce. Top with garlic cheese. Bake for 18-20 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Vegetarian Tomato Variation:

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

2 sliced large tomatoes

1/2 thinly sliced peppers

fresh basil

garlic herb cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Stretch dough and add toppings. Bake 18-20 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly.

 

 

 

 

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Decadent Chocolate Chip Fruit Bread

I figured I couldn’t do seven straight days of posting. Life gets in the way. But here’s something sweet to brighten up the middle of your week!

This stuff is dangerous. As it if I made it all the time I would just never stop eating it. So I only make it when I have at least 6 mouths to feed. The recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks. It’s actually a memoir called “A Homemade Life” with recipes in each chapter. I’ve read it many times– the writing is lovely and the recipes are even better. The author, Molly Wizenberg, (I don’t know blog protocol–am I supposed to link to her website if I use her name?) owns a pizza restaurant in Seattle called Delancey that shares a kitchen with The Pantry, a cooking school where I used to volunteer as an assistant. I didn’t realize this until after I started volunteering there and was reading her book at the same time. I saw her once but couldn’t think of anything witty or appropriately complimentary to say so, of course, I just didn’t say anything. The chances of her ever seeing my little blog are slim to none, but just in case, let the record state that I think she’s awesome!

My version of this bread differs from the version in ” A Homemade Life” in that I use way more chocolate chips just..well…just because and I use more yogurt to create a more pudding-y texture. I’ve also never made it with the crystalized ginger that the original recipe calls for. I’m sure that would be delicious– I’ve just enjoyed it without it. I’ve also found that while this was originally a banana bread recipe, it works with any fruit purée in an equal exchange. I’ve done raspberries, caramelized apples, and even pumpkin. It’s versatile and so simple!

This photo is from a while back and has WAY fewer chocolate chips than I use now.

This photo is from a while back and has WAY fewer chocolate chips than I use now.

Ingredients:

6 Tbs. unsalted butter

2 cups flour

very scant 3/4 cup sugar (really somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4– I’ve cut this from the original)

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups mashed banana or fruit purée

1/3 cup whole milk yogurt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 5 in loaf pan. Melt butter in microwave, 10 seconds at a time. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, eggs, vanilla, yogurt and fruit. Mix wet and dry ingredients. Pour into loaf pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm with ice cream if you’re feeling extra indulgent.

Honey Whole Wheat Flatbreads and Eggplant Walnut Dip

This combination has become a go-to for me as an appetizer. The eggplant dip is an adaptation of a Turkish red pepper dip called Muhammara and the flatbreads are my take on a recipe from Plenty, one of my favorite cookbooks.

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Dip:

1 medium eggplant

1 small red bell pepper

1/2 cup raw walnuts

2 small cloves garlic

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. honey

about 1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Char both the eggplant and pepper over an open flame (if you have a gas stove), turning them with metal tongs frequently. They will start to smoke and burn on the outside and that is ok! That’s what gives the dip it’s smokey flavor. When they start to fall apart too much to stay on the stove grate, take them off. If you don’t have a gas stove, roast in a 400 degree oven on a baking sheet with some olive oil for 25-30 minutes. Allow veggies to cool enough so that you can peel off the skins. You don’t have to remove all of the skin, but make sure you get rid of the parts that have turned black.

Place the eggplant and pepper if a food processor. Add walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, and honey. Pulse until combined. Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream while pulsing. You’ll use about 1/3 cup, but it’s up to you when you think it’s come together to a consistency you’re happy with. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Flatbread:

1 3/4cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup corn meal

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. sea salt

3/4 cup honey greek yogurt (or plain greek yogurt with 1 Tbs. honey stirred in)

1/4 cup olive oil

Pulse together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and sea salt in a food processor. Add the yogurt and pulse until combined. Mixture should be starting to come together into a ball. Add olive oil until mixture comes together (you might not need to use all of it). Once mixture has formed a rough ball, take it out and shape it until a smooth ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Once chilled, divide the dough into eight small pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and roll each ball into a thin, flat circle with rolling pin. Make sure to do this on a lightly floured surface and flour your rolling pin as it become necessary. Dough should be 1/8 inch thick. Once you have you flatbreads ready, heat a cast iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium high and coat in butter. Fry each flatbread, one at a time, 2-3 minutes on each side. You’ll know it’s time to flip the flatbread when it starts to form bubbles. Re-coat the pan with butter as necessary.

Savory Potato Bacon Tart

There’s no doubt this recipe is indulgent. I mean potatoes, bacon, butter, cheese and pie. I’d be delusional if I tried to pass this off as health food. However, I’m a big believer in giving yourself a small amount of really ridiculously delicious foods with good quality ingredients and not worrying about the calories. Just go for a walk afterwards! This is a weekend brunch crowd-pleaser!

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Ingredients:

2 prepared pie crusts (Trader Joe’s has good ones or, if you want to make your own, I recommend the basic crust from Joy of Cooking–see below for how to make it)

5 yukon gold potatoes

6 strips thick cut bacon (Trader Joe’s Applewood Smoked is great!)

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. butter

1/3 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I recommend cheddar or swiss/gruyère)

Salt and pepper

 

Bring a small pot of water to a boil with 2 tsp. salt.  Peel potatoes, cut in half, and slice into thin half-circles. Once water has boiled, add potatoes, return to a boil and let cook at boiling temp for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. Press one crust into the bottom of a pie pan. Bake crust by itself for 10 minutes.

Place bacon into frying pan and cook over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel. Chop bacon and set aside.

Pour out bacon grease into a can, keeping enough in the pan to coat the sides. Heat pan over medium high heat and add 1 Tbs. butter and chopped onion. Let sauté 2-3 minutes, then add sugar. Let simmer about 5 minutes, until onions start to caramelize. Add the potatoes and bacon and sauté on high, letting potatoes brown a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Take the pie crust out of the oven and pour the potato mixture in. Top with shredded cheese. Cut the second crust into long strips and lay it on top of the potatoes in a lattice pattern.

Bake 25-30 minutes.

*Note on homemade crust: I make my crust from the Joy of Cooking and I do it in my food processor. I haven’t sprung for a Kitchen Aid mixer and I’ve recently discovered that a food processor works quite well for pie doughs and breads that don’t need to be delicate. Start with 2 cups of flour and 3/4 tsp. salt in the processor. Add 10 Tbs. cold, unsalted butter cut in cubes and pulse until the mixture looks like very coarse sand. Add in 6 Tbs. of ice water, 1 Tbs. at a time. Pulse after each Tbs. Once all the water is added, the dough will come together into a ball. Take out the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

Olive Oil Yogurt Cake with Caramelized Apples

This is a variation on a yogurt cake that my family in France makes. The combination of yogurt and olive oil creates a batter that is almost impossible to dry out and the caramelized apples take it to the next level.

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Olive Oil Yogurt Apple Cake

1 ½ cups flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup sugar

3 tsp. lemon zest

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup creamy yogurt

2 apples, peeled and sliced

2 Tbs. butter

2 Tbs. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbs. cognac or brandy

To make the caramelized apples, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the apples, sugar and salt and stir well. The butter and sugar will melt together to form a gooey mixture. Keep the heat on medium high and let the sugar and butter cook down, stirring every minute or so, for 8 minutes. Once the apples have started to tenderized, turn the heat down to medium and add the cognac or brandy. This will add flavor to the apples and speed up the cooking process. Cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl. Make a “well” in the middle of the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs in the well and add the olive oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir all together. Stir in apples. Pour into a square baking dish greased with butter or cooking spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Enjoy as dessert or breakfast or anytime!

Mid-week Recipe: Curried Butternut and Apple Soup

Time is getting away from me and I’m lagging on recipes. I’m going to try to post one recipe each day for the next week as my own mini challenge. So here goes day #1!

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Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Curry:

1 small (or half a large) peeled and chopped butternut

1 small chopped onion

2 chopped carrots

2 cloves garlic

1 chopped apple

2 small chopped potatoes

cayenne

garam masala (you can also use cinnamon in a pinch)

curry powder

sea salt and pepper

1 1/2- 2 cups veggie or chicken broth

Variations: you can also make this soup with yams instead of butternuts, or with just a whole bunch of carrots and potatoes–any starchy veggie that’s on sale or in season will work!

Sauté chopped onions and garlic in olive oil in a large soup pot until onions are translucent. Add chopped butternut, potatoes, carrots and apples (or whatever veggies you are using). Season with salt and pepper, 2 tsp. curry powder, 1 tsp. garam masala and 1/4 tsp. cayenne. Cook until butternut starts to tenderize (about 5 minutes). Add enough broth to just cover veggies. Bring to a boil, then turn down, cover, and simmer 20-30 minutes. Wait for mixture to cool a bit, then blend in batches or use an immersion blender if you have one ( I highly recommend buying one if you make a lot of soup!). You may need to re-season or thin soup with extra broth once it has been blended.

It’s great served with just a touch of half and half or cream in the middle of the bowl on top of the soup.

My Inspiration

In lieu of a recipe post (though I’ll get on that soon!), here’s a piece I’ve written about my summer happy place and the inspiration behind my cooking philosophy:

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Coming Home to Quillisascut and Bringing Quillisascut Home

             I left my second summer session at Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts on an afternoon late this past August. My car was packed full of my belongings as my nomadic summer drew to a close, and the beauty and work of the previous week were already becoming a blur in the back of my mind by the time I crossed the Columbia River heading west, just an hour into my drive. My memories of the past week seemed held fast among the white plastered straw bales of the cheery farmhouse kitchen and the sweeping hillsides where the goats grazed. They followed me down highway 25, stretching out behind my car, but quickly began to fade. Of course I had recipes and the entries in my journal and a few pictures, but how could I truly capture what it’s like to be a part of creating a community and an experience like Quillisascut? I was compelled to try, but here I am, six months later, only just now capable of giving words to the gratitude I have for finding this haven of good food and simple living. Quillisascut is one of those places we come across in life that is so pivotal in shaping who we are that it takes some of our memories (and a part of our soul) and holds them safe, so they can only be accessed once we return again.

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From my first moments at the “Farm Culinary” program in 2012, I knew I had found a summer home to which I wanted to return year after year. The constant cooking and cleaning, the planning and bustling about, the connections made over meals, and the conversations about how we might effect change in a broken food system—every piece of this carefully constructed ecosystem of education nourished my passion for life, for people, for the joy of sharing quality food. There is something miraculous about the way the days run together at Quillisascut: the freedom and room for thought born from routine. Rick, Lora Lea and Chef Kären provide the heart of the experience. Rick’s wit and practicality, Lora Lea’s quiet leadership and intelligence, and Kären’s grace and artistry embody the qualities of the sort of people with which I wish to surround myself. They each exemplify the result of a life dedicated to careful craft, hard work, and lost arts and, while they are quietly confident in their teachings, there is a certain unpretentiousness about Quillisascut that makes it that much more dear. These are individuals that are inherently so skilled at what they do that they need not prove it to anyone—and the best part is that they are willing to share this knowledge. I wish that every emerging adult in our age of technology could experience such a model for respect, care-taking and physical work.

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My first year at the farm, as a student, I saw the world of Quillisascut unfold effortlessly before me, led by Kären, Rick and Lora Lea through an abundance of knowledge wedged between glorious feasts at the long wooden table. This past year, I was able to return as an assistant, where I learned that while “behind the scenes” life was not perhaps as effortless as it had appeared, being a part of translating the beauty of Quillisascut to new students had forged in me an even deeper connection to the people and the landscape of this place, transforming me into my most creative, confidant and hardworking self.  Now came the challenge of carrying Quillisascut through with me into my everyday life. Most of us who have been through “Farm School” have lives that take us far away from farm ideals. We experience let down for a few days, but then we reluctantly get on with our yearly projects, work and agendas. Amidst my own flurry of activities this year, I have carved out time to cook nearly every day. This was my promise to myself after last summer: to cook and share food and recipes in an attempt to keep the spirit of Quillisascut alive in me and hopefully pass on some of that energy to others.

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After my first year at “Farm School” it was more difficult for me to find this space in my life for focused cooking time. I would often feel a desperate sense of nostalgia, as if the farm was going to disappear before I had a chance to go back. I would spend some weekends in the kitchen, but never felt particularly inspired. I hungered for something just out of my reach—an experience I couldn’t possibly recreate in my “real life.” Quillisascut provided me with a sense of discipline and presence and at first I didn’t trust myself to find that sort of focus on my own. But this year, I feel less urgent. I realize now that I can find solace in my kitchen without straining to create moments from the farm–my food is full of memories and that is enough.  Each time I cook, whether for myself or for others, I know that I have brought my past experiences seamlessly into each moment. After two summers at the farm, I now have a certain faith that I am an effective ambassador of the food values of Quillisascut. I believe my family and friends can taste the love, the joy, and the effort that goes into my food and, by extension, are getting a feel for the routines and traditions embedded in the central message of Quillisascut.

Wendell Barry has written: “Until we understand what the land is, we are at odds with everything we touch.” Quillisascut provides a model for how to fully interact with the land from soil, to vegetable, to animal, to meals, to compost and back again. If we, as humans, can come to comprehend what it means to place ourselves within this cycle and not above it, there is hope for mending our predominantly fragmented way of eating and interacting with our environment. And it all starts at the long wooden table with a bright yellow tablecloth in a house made of straw bales where I am confident my memories are kept safe, along with the memories of hundreds of others who have been captivated by the magic of Quillisascut.

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Weekend Recipe: My Favorite Granola

I’ve been working on perfecting granola for a while now. It’s harder than you might think to make sure it doesn’t burn but also doesn’t end up soggy. After several rounds of experimentation, here is my answer to homemade granola happiness. Olive oil is a fun variation and I’m obsessed with everything cardamom, so naturally that had to be included. You should feel free to mess around with the spices to create your ideal flavor combination. Make it on the weekends and eat it all week!!

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Cinnamon Cardamom Granola with Olive Oil and Maple Syrup

Ingredients:

6 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup thompson raisins

6 large dried mission figs, sliced

1 cup chopped raw walnuts

1/2 cup chopped raw almonds

2 Tbs. brown sugar

2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cardamom

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 Tbs. honey

3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1/4 cup water

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Preheat oven to 325. Combine all dry ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Stir in honey, maple syrup and water and stir until combined. Remove from heat. Pour over dry mixture and mix well with your hands, making sure that oats are lightly coated in moisture. Line two cookie sheets (make sure they have edges) with tin foil and spray with a thin layer of oil olive cooking spray. Divide granola mixture evenly between the two sheets and spread into a thin layer with a wooden spoon or spatula. Place side by side in oven. Now, here’s the key to not burning your granola: stir often! I stir mine every 5-8 minutes to be safe. Just give it a quick stir with a wooden spoon. Let it cook for about 25 minutes, making sure you’re standing by to stir regularly. Then, just after the raisins have puffed up and start to turn a little brown, turn off the oven, crack the oven door and leave the granola in the cooling oven for 10 minutes. Et voilà! Your dried fruit isn’t burnt and your oats are crispy but won’t break your teeth!

Store in airtight jars or in a big ziploc bag and enjoy with yogurt or milk or on top of ice cream or even as a topping for crumbles or pies.

Midweek Recipe: Easy Homemade Garlic Mac and Cheese

I realize there’s been a bit of a hiatus since I’ve posted a recipe. My life has been taken over by more academic pursuits the last few weeks and, while I’ve managed to carve out a bit of time for cooking, I can’t say the same for recipe recording. But I’m back with a super easy mid-week recipe for stove top mac and cheese. Impress your friends and family (or just yourself) with the ultimate in comfort food (with a garlicky twist, because I think most dishes benefit from a garlicky twist) that takes only 20 minutes of your time!

Ingredients:

1 package penne or elbow pasta

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp. dried italian seasoning

extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbs. butter

3 Tbs. flour

salt and pepper

3 cups milk (You can use whatever you want as long as it’s not skim milk–you can use 1%, 2%, whole milk, a combination of those or even soymilk or half soymilk and half regular. This way you can use up whatever you have in the fridge!)

3 cups shredded cheese of your choice (I like the cheddar-gruyère blend from trader joe’s or the raw milk cheddar from trader joe’s. Use whatever strikes your fancy)

Extra cheese for topping

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Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a few pinches of sea salt and a good drizzle of olive oil. Cook pasta until just al dente (you want it a tiny bit undercooked because it’s going to go in the oven), drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350. In a small frying pan, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium high heat. Add chopped garlic and cooking, stirring often, until garlic starts to brown. Turn off heat and stir in italian seasoning. Pour into a small bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Stir constantly with a whisk to create a paste. Cook until the paste turns golden brown (about 3 minutes). Add in the milk of your choice and still well. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, for 4 minutes, or until milk is heated. Turn off heat and stir in shredded cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon to melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour garlic oil into cheese mixture and stir well. Pour garlicky cheese over pasta and stir well to coat pasta with cheesy goodness. Spray a 8 x 8 inch square baking dish with olive oil spray and pour cheesy pasta into dish. Sprinkle the top of the pasta with extra shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until cheese on top is well melted.

Enjoy!!

Variation ideas: Add roast chicken and sundried tomatoes to the mixture before baking for a more well-rounded dish. Or, try an elevated tuna-noodle casserole: add sautéed onions and celery along with peas and oil-packed, high-quality tuna to the pasta before baking. I promise it’s yummy.