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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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?


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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



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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!)


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,


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Southern Sunday Biscuits

For years I have tried to find a biscuit that I would be proud to serve at our table. I have tried every reasonable biscuit recipe I could find, but they always turned out like something that would embarrass a Southern cook.  I mean, I feel like good biscuits should be in my genes.  Well, I’m delighted to announce that after countless trials, this recipe has won me over.

Adapted from The Homesick Texan

I love a simple recipe, only 6 ingredients… makes it easy to memorize.  First, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Keep the butter in the fridge until you are ready to use it.  Then, quickly without handling it too much, cut into cubes.

Cut the butter into the the flour mixture.  My preferred method is with the whisk on my stand mixer, but you could use a pastry knife as well.  I prefer not to use my hands because I like the butter to stay cold.

Mix until you have nice pea-sized crumbs.

Then, stir in the buttermilk.  Before doing this, I switch the whisk for the dough hook on my mixer.  If mixing by hand, a good strong wooden spoon should do.  [I’m just lazy and use my mixer any chance I get.]  Mix until all the flour is incorporated into the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface.

Sprinkle with flour and roll so that the entire surface of the dough has a nice light sprinkling of dough and isn’t sticky to the touch.

Now here comes the fun part!  Whack the dough with your rolling pin a few times, turn the dough, whack a bit more, and fold the dough in half.  Then continue whacking, turning, and folding.  In all, you want to have folded it about 4 times or so when all is said and done.  The goal is to get some good dough, flour, and air layers going on in there (along with the now flattened pea sized bits of butter in the dough).  

Whacking the folded layers.

Roll out the dough to about 1/3 of an inch thick.

Flour a WIDE-Mouth mason jar, then cut out 8 biscuits from the dough.

Place in a warmed, well-seasoned 12 inch cast-iron skillet.

Bake until nice and golden brown.

Eat, with apple butter preferably.

Recipe – makes 8 biscuits

2 cups plain flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 Tablespoons (1 stick / 4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled

3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450°, stick your cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat up as well.  In one bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Cut chilled butter into cubes and cut into flour mixture until pea-sized crumbs form.  Slowly stir in the buttermilk until flour mix is completely incorporated into the dough.

Take the cast-iron out of the oven at this point (you don’t want it to get scorching hot).  Pour dough onto floured surface, knead quickly, then form into a ball.  Whack with rolling pin, fold in half, and repeat a few times.  Roll dough out to 1/3 inch thick and cut with a wide mouth mason jar into 8 biscuits.  Place in the cast-iron and cook in the oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown on the top.

Happy cooking, and delicious eating,


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Look what I found!

Took a wander through the garden/backyard this evening to check everything out; things have been popping up around here since we’ve been having unseasonably mild nice rainy weather. It certainly has felt like spring, and the plants must think so too.  Look what I found popping up next to our fence.

It’s a hollyhock! I planted them from seed last summer, but it was so hot and dry here none of them came up or did much of anything.  And then I found this guy, one little leaf, right next to a pretty healthy looking hollyhock plant.  What promise a seed may hold!  Although I won’t count my hollyhocks before they bloom, who knows when crazy cold winter air might swoop down here and freeze it, and everything else that thinks it’s spring, to a crisp.

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Monday Menu

(one of our winter staple dishes – carrot salad)

This weeks begins my weekly Monday Menu posts where I post our menu for the week with some explanation why we chose each meal, where we got the recipes, etc.  I explained why we love meal planning so much here, and I gave you an overview of our regular routines the are incorporated into our weekly meal plans here.


  • breakfast – Fried egg, bacon [Iain’s homemade from our very own pig!], and sourdough toast
  • lunch – smoothie
  • dinner – roast chicken, green peas, roasted carrots


  • breakfast – homemade blueberry blue cornmeal muffins [with blueberries picked in Toccoa with my momma on a hot summer morning, the blue cornmeal with the blueberries makes for a fun and colorful wholesome breakfast] and half a grapefruit [yay for citrus season!]
  • lunch – Green lentil and curried browned butter soup with crusty sourdough bread [from 101 Cookbooks, also in the cookbook Super Natural Everyday]
  • dinner – garden salad tossed with leftover roasted chicken from Sunday’s dinner, sliced pear [just had it sitting in the fruit bowl, most any fresh or dried fruit would do], toasted walnuts, feta, and homemade vinaigrette


  • breakfast – blueberry blue corn meal muffins again, with more citrus fruit
  • lunch – Green lentil and curried brown butter soup again
  • dinner – white beans and cabbage [the cabbage is from the farm where we get our raw milk, Iain picked it up on Friday when he made the milk run; the recipe is from the cookbook Super Natural Everyday]

Wednesday [we’re tired, halfway through the week at this point – leftovers are our friend!]

  • breakfast – muffins again, citrus fruit
  • lunch – lentil soup again [at this point I am almost tired of it, good thing it’s finished today!]
  • dinner – white beans and cabbage


  • breakfast – cranberry-orange-almond homemade granola [with a few tiny dark chocolate covered cocoa nibs, shh, don’t tell my mom I’m eating chocolate at breakfast!]
  • lunch – garden salad [a remix from Monday night, so a little roast chicken, some sort of toasted nut, some sort of cheese, some dried or fresh fruit, something pickle-y, dressing]
  • dinner – sausage ball carbonara [homemade sausage from our own pig, yum!; recipe from Jamie’s Italy, an incredibly simple and quick, yet delicious dish, it’s seriously so quick, one of my faves]
  • breakfast – granola again
  • lunch – leftover Sausage ball carbonara from the night before
  • dinner – fennel risotto [another recipe from Jamie’s Italy, it’s a great cookbook!]
  • breakfast – homemade waffles in our awesome on the stove waffle iron [it’s small, easy to clean, easy to store]
  • lunch – catch up; not as in the condiment, but as in usually at this point in the week we have leftovers to eat, or have eaten with friends at some point during the week and are a meal behind on our plan]
  • dinner – borlotti bean mole with roasted winter squash [we’re just now realizing that we haven’t really begun eating on our big winter squash crop from the garden that we’ve got in our ‘cellar’; recipe from 101 Cookbooks]

If you’re a blogger and are going to try out weekly menus, post ‘um with us and link up in the comments!  If you’re interested in any recipes or help with weekly meal planning, you can let me know that in the comments too!

Happy planning and delicious eating,


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