31 March 2011

recipe: frittata with sundried tomato, broccoli, and chard

In need of a simple, but filling dinner for two, I turned to the ever-helpful egg. I love a frittata, because unlike it's cousin the quiche, it requires no rich ingredients except for the egg itself-- quiche is often perceived as being healthy, though I don't know why, loaded as it is with cream/half-and-half/whole milk and cheese. Frittata is great because you can put pretty much whatever bits of vegetable you have on hand. This one was made with sundried tomatoes, broccoli, and chard simply because that's what I had available. And on their own it wasn't really enough to make a meal for two, eggs brought them all together. I served it with a wild-brown rice blend, chopped avocado, and spicy carrot salad.

Easy Sundried Tomato, Broccoli, and Chard Frittata
Serves 2-3

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (soft, or rehydrated), sliced thin
1 heaping cup frozen broccoli
2 handfuls choped chard, spinach, or kale
5 eggs
1/4 cup of milk, milk substitute or water
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a medium sized non-stick or well seasoned cast-iron pan over medium high heat.  Toss in the tomatoes, broccoli, and greens (add some chili flakes and a pinch of salt and pepper, if you feel so inclined), and sautee, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is no longer frozen and the greens are wilted. Meanwhile, in a bowl beat the eggs with the milk or water, oil, salt, and pepper. When the veggies are cooked, lower the heat to medium, spray a little cooking oil on the inside sides of the pan so your eggs don't stick. Then, pour in the egg mixture, and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Then, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for abouther 10 minutes. Continue a few minutes longer if the eggs aren't fully cooked on the top. Cut into desired sized pieces, and serve. Voila!

29 March 2011

recipe: spicy cumin seed and lime carrot salad

I came up with this carrot salad in my head shortly upon waking up a couple of weeks ago, hoping to make it soon. I usually have carrots around, but rarely more than 3 or 4 at any given moment. I didn't make it to the farmer's market last week, but was in dire need of groceries and impulsively picked up a 5 pound bag of organic carrots (at a great price!) with the knowledge that carrot salad time was near! And it didn't disappoint.

spicy cumin seed and lime carrot salad
Makes 6 to 8 servings

1.5 tablespoons olive or canola oil
generous 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (or, substitute with ground cumin, using slightly less)
pinch red chili flakes
1.5 lbs carrots (about 6 medium), grated
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon agave or honey (optional)
1/4 cup chopped pumpkin seeds, toasted*2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine the oil and cumin seeds in a small pan over medium high heat, warming the oil for 2 minutes or so-- until the cumin seeds start to swim around and sizzle. Quickly turn off the heat and remove the pan to a different (cool) burner. Add in the chili flakes. [Note: if using ground cumin, heat the oil on its own and add cumin in with chili flakes.]

While you wait for the oil to cool, combine the carrots, lime juice and zest, and agave or honey if using. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Once the oil is no longer piping hot, combine it with the carrot mixture, test again for seasoning and then mix in the pumpkin seeds. Garnish with cilantro.

This will keep well in the fridge for a few days, and just gets tastier!

Note: If you have a food processor with a grating disc, it makes very quick work grating the carrots! But using a box grater is easy, too.

*Toasting Pumpkin Seeds: Put the chopped seeds in a small skillet and heat over medium high for about 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan often, until they puff up, start to brown slightly, and start to smell delicious. Turn the heat down if things are moving too fast! Remove them from the heat and transfer to a bowl immediately.

24 March 2011

recipe: root vegetable pot pie

Every few months I make a list of things I'm want to cook. Usually these are more project-based meals or just something I haven't attempted before. Because I do the majority of my cooking very impulsively and without any recipes, when I have to think and plan out my meals, it heightens the whole experience. So here we are, my first pot pie.

I opted for the one big dish approach, with no crust on the bottom. I was planning to make a herbed pie dough for the top, but basically wound up making an herbed biscuit-like top instead (because I was feeling lazy and didn't want to take the time to refrigerate the dough before rolling it out). Sweet and smooth and savory, pot pie hits the comfort food spot right on the money. Plus, I made so much that I was able to freeze several individual portions that I'm sure I'll be glad to have as the cool weather persists a bit longer.

Root Vegetable Pot Pie with Sage and Thyme Cornmeal Biscuit Topping
Makes about 8-10 servings

For the Filling
Note: All of your vegetables should be about the same size when cut-- about 1/2" cubes.
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 small onions, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium celeriac (1 lb), peeled and diced
3 small parsnips, peeled and diced
2 small turnips, peeled and diced
4-6 small potatoes (1/2 lb), diced
1 sweet potato (1/2 lb), peeled and diced
1 tablespoon herbes de provence
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 tablespoon fresh)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 to 3 1/2 cups almond milk (or any other milk or non-dairy substitute)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Olive Oil and Fresh Herb Cornmeal Biscuit Topping
2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cold water

Preheat the oven to 375º.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sweat together until they begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in remaining vegetables and herbs, cooking for another 3-5 minutes, until the herbs are well distributed and the vegetables are beginning to soften. Stir in the flour for 1 minute, then add the almond milk, mixing well to dissolve the flour. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes, or until all of the veggies are tender, adding a bit more milk or water if you'd like more sauce. Test for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, make your biscuit topping. In a food processor or in a bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Mix in the olive oil and water until well combined.

Pour the cooked vegetable mixture into a 9"x13" baking dish and top with evenly spaced spoonfuls of the biscuit dough. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is cooked and golden and the dish is bubbling. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Goes great with a fresh green salad on the side.

23 March 2011

video awesome: julia child makes an omelette: "how about dinner in half a minute?"

I watched this video a week or so ago as part of a post on Saveur.com about mesmerizing food videos. While I might not call this video "mesmerizing", it did inspire me enough to try it out, even though I am traditionally not a huge fan of French omelettes (or omelettes in general for that matter). I made myself a Julia-inspired omelette to go along with some leftover salad for a quick supper the other night and it totally worked! The key of course, in addition to the non-stick pan, is the fat. Plenty of fat. I used a tablespoon of coconut oil instead of the butter. My pan wasn't hot enough to begin with, I think, so it took more like 1 and a half minutes to cook, but that was my bad. The result was delicious soft, soft eggs lightly scented of coconut (eggs and coconut oil are a seemingly unlikely pair, but they go together gorgeously). Fresh, farm eggs are best and the fat of choice is again key here-- butter, coconut oil, or another full flavored fat will add a lot of dimension to this simple dish, so don't hold back too much!

22 March 2011

recipe: very veggie soup

I make this soup quite regularly for one of my clients, and with the help and flavor punch of some awesome vegan bouillon, it is so simple, quick, and tasty.

Very Veggie Soup
Makes 8-10 Servings

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2-3 leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced
3-4 medium carrots, sliced into 1/4" pieces
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 small bulb fennel, quartered and sliced (reserve fronds)
2 small parsnips, sliced into 1/4" pieces
1 whole clove garlic, peeled
3-4 quarts water (depending on how brothy you like it)
2 cubes rapunzel sea salt and herb bouillon (optional)
15 crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4" thick quarter-moons (can substitute green beans, chopped spinach or other greens)
chopped fresh soft herbs like parsley, basil, or dill (optional) 
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Stir in the leeks, carrots, celery, fennel, parsnips, and garlic and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. If the vegetables are starting to brown, turn the heat down slightly.

Add the water and bouillon, and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, stir the soup. Allow the soup to simmer for about 10 minutes, and taste, adding salt and pepper if needed. By this time, your veggies should be soft, but not overcooked. Remove the soup from the heat and mix in your mushrooms, zucchini, and herbs. They will cook with the residual heat from the soup. Ready to serve after 5 minutes.

Note: Make extra! This soup freezes well.

21 March 2011

product placement: rapunzel vegetable bouillon

I don't really recall how I found this. I can just seem myself in the soup/stock section of Whole Foods, on my tip-toes reaching for a box of this to look at the label and see what it's all about and being pleased with the ingredient list, tossing it in the cart.

However it wound up in my hands, I am grateful because Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon is a soup-saver. Or, maybe more appropriately, a soup-maker-- especially the Sea Salt and Herbs flavor, which is my favorite 'cause it's pretty rockin'. As if out of one of those cheesy infomercials I love, this stuff turns a few random vegetables into a pretty impressive bowl of delish.

Similar in concept to, but much better than, your average greasy, bright yellow bouillon cube, their cubes are not overly oily, and have a nice, well-rounded mellow flavor-- which is not what I get out of vegetable stock in a box. Not to mention that I don't love the idea of buying stock in a box or can-- all of that weight had to be shipped from somewhere, and if I can't just get a little bit if that's all I need. Bouillon cubes don't go bad, don't splash all over your shirt, and don't weigh down your bag you have to schlep home on the subway. Plus, you can cut them if you need to, and they take up so little space-- very important in a New York kitchen.

I usually use half of what is recommended on the box, as I just want it to add some depth to my broth. But sometimes, when I'm feeling crazy, I mix one of the herbed ones with one of the plain or unsalted ones. Wild, I know. If you want to see how bold I really am, check out the recipe I'm posting tomorrow for Very Veggie Soup. Very Veggie.

Note: I did not receive any compensation or product from Rapunzel for this review.

17 March 2011

think less, do more: bookbinding at brooklyn brainery

I heard about Brooklyn Brainery last year at Work It Brookyln and have been coming across them in various ways ever since.

Brooklyn Brainery is a community learning space that has volunteer instructors teaching one or two night classes on any and every subject-- the idea being that the instructor is merely the enthusiastic instrument to help faciliate group learning. Pretty rad, and such an important and great thing for the community.

I have been wanting to take a class there for a long time, but because the classes are usually very small, around 10 people, and typically very cheap, about $30, they sell out quickly, and I've always been beaten to the punch. I have also been wanting to learn more about bookbinding and most of the courses I've looked into at area art schools were either too much of a commitment or too expensive, so when a 2-night Intro to Bookbinding class was offered for March, I pounced immediately.

Their new storefront space in Carroll Gardens is lovely, and while I can see they still have some work to do in there, but it will help them continue to grow. And the book class was also really fun-- we made six books in a total of four hours spread out over two night. I already have plans for all of them. Most of the books we did are quick projects, and I was excited to see how accessible making a book is.

I'm thinking about teaching a class or two at the Brainery... just not sure what yet!

16 March 2011

video awesome: "cute kid talks about unhealthy food: trans fat"

This video absolutely made my day. How do I get this girl to be my spokesperson?

15 March 2011

recipe: make your own muesli

Most store-bought cereals are over-priced, over-sweetened, and over-packaged. M's brother and sister-in-law inspired me when I saw they made their own muesli* on a visit about a year and a half ago. After that I made my own once or twice, but haven't gotten around to it again in awhile. Recently I've been buying some muesli in the bulk section at Whole Foods to have as a treat, but after awhile that was getting expensive and remembered that making your own muesli is crazy fast, cheap, and easy-- it requires hardly anything more than a measuring cup (optional) and a bowl.

Typically, I'd say a serving of muesli is about 3/4 cup. The version I just made cost me about $6, using all organic ingredients and NYC prices, coming out to 67-cents per serving. Not bad when you consider how much a box of healthy, organic cereal costs (or any reasonably healthy cereal for that matter). Empower your breakfast! Think outside the (cereal) box.

*Muesli is is a popular breakfast cereal in Switzerland invented in the early 1900s based on uncooked rolled oats or other grain, fruit and nuts. (Thanks Wikipedia!) Most packaged versions use a lot of dried fruit, but if you make it fresh as a meal you can grate or chop fresh fruit into it. I usually stick to the dried stuff myself, as I see this as a breakfast of convenience. It is traditionally served as a cold cereal, by mixing in milk, coffee, fruit juice, or water. I also like to cook mine with almond milk-- alternately you can heat the milk up, pour it over the bowl of muesli and let it soak in for a minute.

today's muesli: whatever's in the cupboard 
4 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup regular rolled oats, pulsed in food processor or blender
1/3 cup each of: chopped pecans and almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
2/3 cup mixed dried apricots, raisins, and cranberries

I like to eat it like this: 3/4 cup muesli + 1 to 1 1/4 cup almond milk or water (or combo), heated over medium for about 5 minutes. Put in a bowl and drizzle a little honey or maple syrup on top. But now that it's getting warmer, I may transition to sometimes having it cold, letting the almond milk soak in for 5-10 minutes first. But maybe not, warmer foods are better for your tummy in the morning.
Base Recipe
Makes about 7 cups, or 9 servings
4 cups regular rolled oats (can sub 1 cup with wheat or rye flakes)
1 cup regular rolled oats, pulsed in the food processor or blender (or sub quick oats)
1 1/3 cups nuts and seeds (larger ones coarsely chopped, if you prefer)
2/3 to 1 cup soft dried fruit (larger pieces cut down)

Varying the combination of nut and fruit can make for fun themed cereals!
- Breakfast on the Beach: coconut, macadamia nuts, pineapple, papaya, mango
- Summer on the Patio: almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, cherries, blueberries
- Just Another Moroccoan Monday: almonds, walnuts, figs, apricots, currants, dates
- Winter Morning: hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, cranberries, raisins

10 March 2011

recipe: steamed swiss chard rolls stuffed with heirloom grain, bean, and vegetable filling with a zaatar-tahini sauce

In the mood to something a little different, here's something I whipped up for myself for brunch the other day (inspired, in part, by photos from Anita's retreat). I'm often recommending things like this dish, but don't often make it-- maybe because it's not super fast and requires just a little forward thinking. But I had done some cooking the night before and had some cooked beans (chickpeas and an heirloom mix) and cooked grain mixture (brown rice, amaranth, and millet), and for once, I hadn't chopped up my bunch of swiss chard, so I actually had whole leaves available. And I had time. 

Keeping things frugal lately, and still wanting something brunch-worthy, I passed up my roommate's offer to make me some spinach and eggs, and got down to business and ended up with Steamed Swiss Chard Rolls stuffed with an Heirloom Grain, Bean, and Vegetable filling with a Zaatar-Tahini Sauce and Kalamata Olives. And a "salad" of chopped almonds and dried apricots.

Mixed Grain and Bean Filling
This would also make a great side dish warm or cold.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup cooked brown rice or other grain
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas or other beans
1/2 cup small diced zucchini
handful of sliced swiss chard stems
1/4 teaspoon each of coriander and cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a medium sized pan over medium high heat. Add in all remaining ingredients and stir to combine and distribute. Continue stirring occasionally until chard stems and zucchini are soft, adding a splash of water if the pan gets dry, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Note: Other good add-ins would be a 1/4 cup raisins or currants and/or 1/4 cup chopped almonds.

Swiss Chard Rolls: Step by Step Instructions

Wash two large swiss chard leaves and remove the bottom parts of the stem (slice up to use in the grain filling). Place one leaf smooth side down on a cutting board or clean counter and put 1/2-3/4 cup of the grain filling on the bottom (broader) part of the leaf.

Like a burrito, pull the bottom of the leaf over the filling, keeping it relatively tight. Then, roll up the two sides to make a snug package. Roll the leaves up the remainder of the way. Insert a toothpick or small skewer if the leaves don't want to stay shut. 

Repeat with the other leaf. Place the rolls in a steamer in a pot filled about 2" deep with water. Steam for 10-15 minutes. The leaves will be very tender and will tear easily at this point. Remove the steamer from the pot and slide the rolls onto a plate, with the help of a spatula.

Serve topped with Zaatar-Tahini Sauce and a few chopped olives.

Zaatar-Tahini Sauce
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon or more of water
1 teaspoon zaatar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients until well mixed. Adjust for consistency by adding a little more lemon or water and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

08 March 2011

my new affinity for bentos

Carrot-Tomato-Apple Salad, Avocado, Spinach, Chickpeas
Last summer I had to make some adjustments to my diet and was also focused on paying more attention to what I ate during the day-- namely on work days where being around food all the time sometimes got me into trouble. Most people assume that since I am cooking for clients regularly I probably eat pretty well at work. While that can be the case, I am just a normal person! Now, everything I cook with is good, real food, but that doesn't mean I need to be stuffing it in my face all day-- I mean, how many organic pretzel sticks or spoonfuls of almond butter is it okay to eat before it isn't okay? Like everyone, I get in a hurry and don't have a proper meal before leaving the house, or didn't always take the time to pack myself a good lunch, so I found myself starving at really inconvenient moments.

Somewhere around this time I had started scanning bento blogs and photo pools for fun-- the "cute bentos" are especially fun to look at, and I felt inspired by the colors and fun shapes, and typically balanced meals and I wanted them all for myself. I looked around for a nice bento set to call my own, but after too many Hello Kitty inspired dishes or ones that were too bulky, I ended up with an awesome lock-tight container at one of my favorite shops in Chinatown-- 'cause after all, all bento means is "box". (I especially felt okay about my plain box after a lot of reading of my favorite bento related blog, Just Bento, the author of which, Makiko Itoh, recently published The Just Bento Cookbook).

After making a commitment to myself to pack my lunch on at least half of my work days here are a few of the things I came up with-- and while I thought having to plan my lunch might be tedious, it actually became a really fun activity and I took photos of them each morning and felt excited to eat them later, happy to know that I'd be eating good food and eating with intent.

Here are a few more I made! I'll work on posting some recipes of some of these and whatever I come up with in the future.

Mixed Veggie and Herb Salad, Brown Rice, Boiled Egg
Chickpea-Kirby-Sungold Salad, Carnival Squash, Spicy Spinach, Brown Rice
White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes, Parmesan, Oil-Cured Olives, and Roasted Summer Squash over Steamed Wild-Brown Rice

07 March 2011

product placement: rishi earl grey rooibos

Like so many things, I was first introduced to hot tea as a enjoyable beverage during college by a friend from Ohio during a service trip to chilly North Carolina. And until I met the man in my life, I was pretty committed to fruity herbal teas/tisanes and was convinced I didn't like black tea. I also liked the fruity teas because they didn't require any sweetener or milk, and I reveled in the purity of it all. But being from England, he knows a thing or two about tea and expanded my mind and tea palate a teaspoon of tea leaves at a time, and the first time I tried some proper Earl Grey I was smitten. (With both him and the tea).

Unfortunately, or mostly fortunately as I see it, my body and caffeine don't get along too well, so I limit my black tea intake to a couple of times a month, and even decaf black tea gets me a little jittery so I try not to depend on it. And then we found Rishi's Organic Earl Grey Rooibos. It has all of the lovely bergamot and citrusy flavors I love with regular Earl Grey coupled with high quality slightly sweet and woodsy rooibos. When I open the can of loose tea and take a whiff, I think I get that same excitement that coffee-addicts get when they sniff their coffee grounds and know it will be just a few minutes before they get to imbibe the delicious, soul-warming cup. The rooibos steeps to a beautiful dark amber and goes beautifully with a splash almond milk and a spot of honey or agave. It's the favorite start to my mornings.

Rishi Tea Website

04 March 2011

recipe: breakfast burrito pizza

IMG_7427The morning after I thought I had sated the Pizza Monster within with this, I woke up with a voice whispering "Pizza?" Fine! I had a couple of small gluten-free pizza crusts in the freezer also, cast-off from a client. I had made something vaguely Tex-Mex a few days before so had some cilantro and half a can of refried beans in the fridge, and was also feeling inspired by the egg-and-cheese pizza I sometimes get on busy working mornings at Whole Foods.

Breakfast burrito pizza it is!

The plan quickly came together: chipotle-tomato sauce, refried beans, scrambled eggs, mozzarella, and cilantro.

I'm not really known for patience in the morning, but I do sometimes have time on my side, so while I thought it would probably be a good idea to pre-cook the eggs, since I wasn't making my own crust and couldn't create a wells to prevent them from running-off, I got lazy and decided not to bother. So as a result, most of the eggs wound up running off onto the sheet pan, but I did manage to dam some of the eggs with little hills of refried beans. It worked ok.

Also, the beans sort of made the whole thing very dry, so I would add more sauce the next time.

Breakfast Burrito Pizza
These are approximated measurements, and are already adjusted for things I "would do next time".

2 6" pre-made pizza crusts (gluten free or otherwise)
2/3 cup fire roasted crushed tomatoes mixed with 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder and salt, or to taste (optional)
1/2-2/3 cup refried beans
3 eggs, soft scrambled
3/4-1 cup shredded mozzarrella
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 400º and prepare a baking sheet with a little olive oil (don't use parchment, or you may wind up with a soggy crust). Top each crust with half of the tomato mixture, then dollop the beans out in relatively even increments, top with the eggs. Divide the cheese evenly and sprinkle on the cilantro, and a dash of parmesan if using.  Cook for 25-30 minutes in the oven until the cheese is nice and brown. Serve with some sliced avocado and/or a little salad, and maybe a piece of fruit. A nice, very satisfying brunch-worthy breakfast.

02 March 2011

less than 15 minutes of fame: sighted on top chef and recipes on the internet

Michelle and I at the first dish-- our favorite one. Magical sauce and pecan beer! Photo by Shannon K.
Late last summer my friend Michelle invited me to join her and two other friends at a taping of very popular chef competition show. Signed into utter secrecy, I'm glad to finally be able to tell you all I WAS ON TOP CHEF! But not in that way. The episode aired last week and we spied ourselves several times, pausing the DVR to critique our on-camera appearance and trying to remember what everything tasted like. (For the record, the guy who won that challenge, his dish was our second or third favorite which Michelle mostly accounts to his cheating by use of pulled pork-- because pulled pork is always good, and thus is an unfair advantage.)

One of the funniest things about this whole experience was how clueless I am about everything Top Chef related. I knew who the judges were (except for this guy), but if any of the contestants were familiar it's only because I've seen their faces staring at me with cocky grins from ads on subway platforms and phone booths. It's probably a good thing Anthony Bourdain wasn't there this time though, the whole "don't stare at the judges" direction we were given from the crew beforehand might not have worked for me.

So, now I've been on a reality TV show. I officially have done my 21st century duty.

Also in other news, a few recipes of mine were featured in a recent article on SecondAct.com in a post about healthy Oscar party snack options. Hope they helped a few people stay fueled through that many-hour show that I didn't personally have the patience to sit through.

01 March 2011

recipe: spelt pizza with kalamata olives, spinach, and sundried tomatoes


The other week I went through a pizza-craze-phase, like a "Me! Want! Pizza!" kind of thing. It doesn't happen very often, and I narrowly avoided indulging at Carmine's after exiting the subway when I remembered there was an awesome spelt sourdough pizza crust in the freezer already and I even had cheese. Then I started remembering I had things like spinach, olives, canned tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, and anchovies and hurried home.

So remember, at this point, I am the Pizza Monster. Hungry and defiant, I didn't bother to defrost the crust, I opened the can of crushed tomatoes, spread them on the frozen crust, sprinkled that with a little olive oil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper, and snuck a few anchovies in there. The only thing I cut was a quick chop of the olives and sundried tomatoes.  Threw the rest of the toppings on there, stuck it in a 400º oven and let it do its thing for 30 minutes.

Quick Pizza Monster Recipe
The measurements are mostly estimated. Monsters don't measure.
1 12" pre-made spelt sourdough pizza crust
1/3 cup fire roasted crushed tomatoes mixed with 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, dash of red chili flakes, pinch of salt and pepper
4-5 anchovies (optional)
3/4-1 cup shredded mozzarrella
handful or two of baby spinach
1/3 cup ricotta
1/4 kalamata olives, roughly chopped
6-8 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 400º and prepare a baking sheet with a little olive oil (don't use parchment, or you may wind up with a soggy crust). Top the crust with the tomato mixture and anchovies, then add the mozzarella. Put the spinach on, weigh it down with a few spaced-out dollops of ricotta, then sprinkle on the olives and sundried tomatoes. Drizzle the whole thing with a little olive oil and sprinkle of parmesan if you like, and cook for 25-30 minutes in the oven until the cheese is nice and brown and the spinach is cooked down. Eat it and love it.

P.S. I didn't add much salt to anything here because the cheese, anchovies, olives, and sundried tomatoes brought quite enough on their own. If you are omitting the anchovies or your sundried tomatoes don't have salt added, sprinkle a bit of salt on the top of the pizza before baking.

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