March 12, 2014

Pesto Veggie Pizza

I love pesto pizza but after eating the same pesto vegetable combination for years, I needed to mix it up a bit.  So I googled good pizza vegetables and decided on a combination of broccoli, bell pepper, zucchini, kale and onion...with a pesto base of course.
 

This pizza starts with my favorite spinach-basil pesto recipe.  A triple batch just barely fits in my food processor and I use One Step Ahead containers for freezing 2 ounce portions.  The containers are intended for baby food, but they're also perfect for pesto. 
 
Or a tomato-based sauce if you lean that way.  I'm firmly in the pesto camp while Chris strongly prefers a traditional tomato sauce on his pizza. 


Prepping all the veggies for this pizza is a pain but I look at it as future meal prep because you can't put a whole head of broccoli on a pizza.  Although you then have to find a use for 2/3 of a head of broccoli. 

I plan to make curried broccoli couscous with my leftover broccoli, sweet potato colcannon with the leftover kale and I'm still brainstorming what to do with the zucchini because I have two more from my CSA box.


Once the veggies are prepped, they just need a quick sauté (everything except the shredded zucchini) and they're ready for the pizza.


Chris makes fun of my unevenly cut pizzas, but I don't care because I have no desire to roll the dough into a perfect circle which would result in more evenly cut slices.  I secretly think he likes my wonky-sized slices because he always grabs the largest slice first :)


Pesto Veggie Pizza

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (makes one 12" pizza)
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped lacinato kale
  • 2 oz pesto (I use spinach-basil pesto)
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed dry
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Instructions
  • Heat oven to 450 degrees with pizza stone in it for 30 minutes.
  • Roll out dough into a 12" circle, then dock the dough (prick all over with a fork) and bake on pizza stone for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, in a 10" skillet heat oil over medium heat. Sauté broccoli, green pepper and onion for 5 minutes. Add kale and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • After removing the par-baked crust from the oven, spread pesto over the crust leaving a 1/2-inch border. Then top with sautéed vegetables, zucchini and cheese. Finally, sprinkle Italian seasoning evenly over the pizza.
  • Bake for another 10 minutes or so, until the cheese has melted and is starting to brown. Depending how salty your pesto is, you may want to add a sprinkle of salt just before serving the pizza.
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March 10, 2014

Blood Orange Bourbon Cocktail

I had no idea how popular bourbon was in the south until I attended Food Blog South a couple months ago.  That was my first time trying bourbon, which had I previously thought of as an old man's drink and was surprised by how much I liked it.

Four Roses Bourbon is what I sampled at the conference and it wasn't until Chris tried it yesterday that I realized it might be the quality of Four Roses that makes me like bourbon.  I laughed when Chris said ʺOh, that's smooth.  I thought I was a scotch guy but I guess I'm a bourbon man now.ʺ


This is a very simple cocktail that starts with large ice cubes (I used a Tovolo silicone tray).  I also added a garnish of orange peel and maraschino cherries.  If you're looking to avoid red dye, I recommend Tillen Farms brand.  This was the first time I tried out my new martini picks and I really like them.


Next add 2 ounces of bourbon and 4 ounces of blood orange Italian soda.  There were 3 Four Roses Bourbon options at the liquor store and I had to consult my Twitter photos to remind me which one I had liked best.  I bought the soda at Whole Foods, but I've also purchased it from Trader Joe's and both are equally good in my opinion.


That's it, an easy two-ingredient cocktail that lets the bourbon flavor shine through without getting you too tipsy.  Oh, and I can't forget to the mention that the idea for this delicious combination came from Shawanda of Eat.Drink.Frolic who I met at Food Blog South. 

I'll be drinking one of these tonight while watching The Voice, which is my newest addiction.  I watched it for the first time last week with my friend who was visiting and now I'm hooked.

March 09, 2014

Creamy Pasta with Spinach and Zucchini

I love the challenge of finding recipes for items in my CSA box.  This week I decided I needed to try arugula again.  Previously, I had tried it only once about five years from one of my very first CSA boxes.

While looking for an arugula recipe, I noticed that Lauren had posted a photo on Instagram of delicious looking creamy pasta with arugula.  Yeah, despite my initial hesitation, I'm a bit more into Instagram now.


From there, I found a simple cream sauce recipe, bought some pasta and decided to add CSA summer squash and a CSA onion.  So as it turns out, I really dislike arugula and am feeling better about ignoring it in my box every week but I'm glad I gave it another try.  If you feel the same way about arugula, I recommend using spinach or chard in this recipe instead as written below.


Creamy Pasta with Spinach and Zucchini

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


Ingredients (serves 3-4)
  • 1/2 lb small-shaped pasta such as fusilli, farfalle or penne
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 pound zucchini (2 medium summer squash), chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 oz chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  • Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and zucchini, sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add wine and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream, salt and pepper, simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • At the end of the cook time, add peas and spinach.  Stir until spinach is wilted a little.  Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese
  • Drain pasta, then return to saucepan and add sauce. Stir until pasta is well coated. Add additional salt and pepper, as desired.
Sauce recipe adapted from: This Week For Dinner
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