Good Recipes – My Favorite Pizza Base

Ok, this is my last essential recipe post for now, but this is a good one.

We make pizzas throughout the year, using whatever is seasonal for toppings.  It really is an essential part of our local, seasonal diet.

This recipe makes 1 large pizza (about the size of a normal pizza stone) with a good thick crust.  You could make more than 1 pizza if you like the crust thinner.

(a seasonal favorite – beet and cheddar pizza!)

Pizza Base – adapted from River Cottage Veg Everyday

Ingredients:

1/2lb plain white flour

1/2 lb white bread flour (we often substitute whole wheat in for some of the flour, either whole wheat bread or plain)

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 1/4 cups warm water

Instructions:

Mix two flours, salt, and yeast.  Add olive oil and water and mix into a rough dough, adding more water or flour if needed to get a good doughy consistency.  Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth.  The dough should be more loose and sticky than you are used to maybe.

Trickle a little oil into a clean bowl, put the dough in the bowl, and trickle oil on top of the dough.  Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, sometimes an hour or two, sometimes not.  When the dough is risen and puffy, tip it out onto floured surface, knock it back, and shape into pizza base.

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Good Recipes – Panzanella

This is one of my summer favorites, a cold salad using lots of veggies straight from the garden, stale bread, and little cooking required!  That’s my kind of meal right there.  When it’s sultry inside the house and cooking a big meal would raise the kitchen an unbearable few degrees, this is the right recipe.

Panzanella, adapted from The River Cottage Bread Handbook

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound 2 oz stale white bread (ciabatta works best, sourdough also has a nice flavor)

2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil

1 large red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber, chopped small

4 ripe tomatoes, chopped small

a handfull of capers (optional, I realize probably not very many people keep capers in their cupboard)

5 teaspoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar (I also LOVE honey vinegar with this)

pinch of sugar

sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

a big bunch of basil leaves

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  In a roasting pan, toss the bread with half the olive oil, then bake, shaking the pan occasionally to make sure everything cooks evenly, until golden and crispy.  This step is totally optional, it depends on if you want your bread crunchy (like croutons) or chewy.  Let cool, toss with the onion, cucumber, tomatoes (including all their juices), and capers in a large serving bowl.

In a small bowl, wish the rest of the olive oil with the vinegar and sugar.  Pour over the salad and season generously with salt and pepper.  Tear the basil (be rough with it, that helps get the basil-y flavors going), and toss with the rest of the salad.  Serve right away or let stand at room temperature so the flavors meld.

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Good Recipes – Curried Egg Salad

I have seen various forms of this idea/recipe.  I love them all.  I pretty much love anything with curry flavors in it.  You can usually find curry powder in most grocery stores.  If you are near Athens, there is actually a really good Indian grocery store on Baxter Street called the Taj Mahal and they have tons of great spices for really great prices. (ha! I’m a regular Dr. Seuss!)

Also, I use my own homemade mayonnaise for this recipe, so I will include that recipe as well.

Mayonnaise – my recipe uses an immersion blender, which I absolutely LOVE, but you can get those old school manual mayo blenders too

Ingredients:

2Tbs. lemon juice

1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)

1 1/2 cups (or so) of canola oil (you can substitute olive oil)

1/4 tsp. salt

Recipe:

In tall blender cup, combine lemon juice, egg, and egg yolk.  Using immersion blender, pulse until smooth.  With blender running, add oil in a slow, steady stream and blend until smooth and fluffy.  Add salt and blend in.

Curried egg salad – serves 2-4 (depending on how you like your sandwiches!)

  • 4 eggs (free range is best)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (which you just made, go you!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • tiny splash of lime juice
  • salt and black pepper

Hard boil the eggs and let cool.  Meanwhile, mix mayo, curry powder, pistachios, and lime juice.  Peel eggs, then chop them up.  Stir eggs in with dressing, salt and pepper to taste.

I like this salad on good sourdough bread (preferably from The Granary in Watkinsville) with some arugula. Yummie!

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Good Recipes – Sausage Carbonara

I promised the Ladies Homestead Gathering in Athens last month when I gave a talk on cooking and eating local, seasonal produce that I would post some of my favorite stand-by recipes.  So I’ll start with Sausage Carbonara, the meal you can cook in the time it takes to boil pasta.  It is adapted from Jamie’s Italy, a cookbook I love and would totally recommend.  It’s great for summer cooking because it’s got loads of dishes that use tomatoes, basil, etc.

Sausage Carbonara (adapted from Jamie’s Italy)  – Serves 4

Ingredients:

sausage (the amount depends on how meaty you want your dish)

1 lb. dried pasta (long skinny pastas do best)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (I know this sounds fru fru, but good ingredients make all the difference)

4 large (organic, free range) egg yolks

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 1/2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (again, get the good stuff, it makes all the difference in taste)

zest of 1 lemon

sprig of parsley, chopped

extra virgin olive oil

Recipe:

Roll sausage meat into little balls and cook in frying pan. (This is optional, sometimes I’m  lazy and just cook it loose and toss it into the pasta)  Bring a pot of salted water to boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, cream, half the Parmesan, the lemon zest, and parsley.  When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the water, and immediately toss it with the egg mixture (in the pasta pot).  Add the hot sausage and toss everything together.  The delicate egg sauce cooks with the heat from the hot pasta and sausage.  Yay!  Now go and eat this delicious meal!

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Ode to a Salad

The best salad I’ve ever had was at the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster in southern England.  It was so ridiculously simple, but gorgeous and well composed at the same time. It was a green salad with a variety of different leaves and petals with very thin slices of lamb on the plate around the edge of the salad.  If I remember correctly (this was several years ago now!) it had homemade croutons, sunflower seeds, and a creamy mustardy vinaigrette.

What made this salad so incredible and memorable?

1 – it had leaves, flowers, and greens that I had never eaten before in a salad: pea shoots, nasturtium flowers, pansies, baby beet leaves, and a variety of other greens and lettuces; they were all picked from the garden that morning probably so they were incredibly fresh

2 – the homemade croutons were unbelievably good; they added awesome savory flavor, wonderfully crunchy texture, and totally elevated the salad to another level

3 – the vinaigrette was simple yet delicious, and it didn’t upstage any of the delicate flavors of the greens, flowers, or sunflower seeds

4 – the lamb was probably leftover from dinner the night before where I’m sure they served roast lamb… and yet it was perfectly suited for the salad, sliced so thin almost like a leaf itself

The final thing that made this salad outlandishly good was that it was so stinkin’ simple!  No chef skills are required to compose such a salad at home.  I sat there thinking to myself while eating the salad that if all salads were that delicious I would have no problem eating them for a meal multiple times a week.

I haven’t stopped thinking about that salad.  So now, years later, I am setting out to make that salad this spring.  I’m going to grow the things that I want to go in the salad, make the dressing and croutons, cook lamb one night and use the leftovers the next day.  I think I will call it the Great Salad Project.  I invite you to join me in planting, picking, plucking, and dressing this elusive salad.

Has anyone else ever eaten a salad that you will never forget?

Rebecca

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Introducing my new ETSY store!

Hey everybody!  Just dropping in here to announce a new little project I’ve been working on (and dreaming about) for a while now.

I’ve just opened up an ETSY shop called “Coming Up Cozies.”  Yay!  I’m selling hand knitted mug cozies, and right now I’m specifically knitting cozies that fit wide-mouth mason jars.  They go perfectly with a great new product that I love called cuppow that turns a wide-mouth mason jar into a travel mug.

Go check out my shop and tell me what you think.

Coming Up Cozies

Rebecca

 

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What’s one thing that is good for you, for the environment, and for your local economy?

(our favorite new winter vegetable – Fennel!)

LOCAL FOOD!

I want to cheerlead for seasonal, local, and sustainable food for a moment.  I mean, it’s kinda my thing.  The happiness, community, seasonal rhythms and feasting that come with eating locally has enriched my life more than I ever thought possible.  I’m more grateful about the lives around me and for the wonderful things that sustain and nourish me.  I am more aware of the wonders of each season.  Seriously, if you’re looking for something in your life that brings a wonderful richness and meaning 3 times a day (every time you eat!) then think about local food.  I chose to start eating local food for so many reasons in the beginning: for the environment, for the local culture and economy, for workers rights in places like California and Florida where a lot of our produce comes from, for animal welfare practices, to avoid putting pesticides in my body.  However, the most surprising outcome of my local food experience has been the emotional, social, and communal benefits I have received from my lifestyle and food.

It’s so sad to me that food can become about calculations so quickly: calorie count, portion size, points, carbs, dollars and cents.  You and I put food in our bodies three times a day, and for many people it is an agonizing experience of diet, restraint, or of overwhelming choice.  I firmly believe that in this day and age meals should be full of wonderment and celebration of the bounty of our local place.  Before you think I’m naive and that I don’t understand real life, think for a second about all of the times you eat.  I mean seriously, how many meals have you had in your life, give or take a few?  As of today I am 8,991 days old, and I therefore have eaten somewhere close to 27,000 meals.  Holy cow!  And some of those meals contained atoms that are still in my body!  How amazing is that!  Your body and mine are amazing machines, and we get out of them what we put in them, three times a day.  And I’ve decided that I want my meals to do more than just give me the nutrients and energy necessary to function, I want my meals to bring me joy, happiness, fullness (in more ways than one).

I understand that there are many barriers to eating local, sustainable, organic, ethical food, and I would like to discuss some of them here on the blog, at least in terms of my experience.

So if you have any barrier to choosing local food you would like for me to hit on, post it in the comments.  I know of some of the barriers I experienced, but I want to see if others have similar reservations.  So if local food is something you’ve ever thought not possible for you, go ahead, post a comment about it.

Wishing you healthy community and joyous eating,

-Rebecca

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