Tag Archives: Recipe

Roasted Vegetable, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Pizza

There are days when I want nothing more than to create a beautiful pizza pie, pretending that one day I’ll have my own pizza café where I can wow my guests with unusual combinations of toppings that they couldn’t imagine should be on a pizza. Yesterday was one of those days. I worked all morning at Caribou Coffee and built an appetite for the pizza I was creating in my mind: Roasted Vegetable Pizza.

I began by heading next door to the Cub store and poking around for vegetable that would taste good roasted. I’d have preferred some beets on my pizza, but my wife doesn’t like beets, so I went with Yukon Gold Potato as the root vegetable. Next time, I’ll try half the pizza with beets, like a beet salad, if you will. I also chose a red onion, an orange bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, and two small zucchinis. I though I had garlic at home, so I didn’t get any of that, but I did pick up some arugula to put on the pizza after it cooked.

Then, one my way home, I realized that I hadn’t actually purchased any cheese, nor did I think that we had any in the refrigerator, so I stopped at the Cub on my way home in Cottage Grove. I don’t like going to that Cub, because I’ve had some less than pleasant interactions with employees there, but I had to pick up a prescription anyway, so I stopped for cheese. I was thinking I’d do a nice asiago, but then I saw the goat cheese. I’m smitten with goat cheese, so that’s what ended up on the pizza. It was amazing.

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Crust

I have two go-to recipes for pizza crust and you can find them here and here, or if I am doing gluten-free, I use Bob’s Red Mill and simply follow the directions there. If you have a favorite crust, use it. I use the first recipe, the beer crust, for lighter pizzas or if I want a slightly sweeter crust. I say slightly, because it isn’t really sweet, but it isn’t as nutty and hearty as the second one, the wheat one. Bob’s gluten-free crust is actually pretty delicious, so I use it, even if I am not really concerned about gluten-freeness. I make them all vegan if I can; Bob’s has the vegan recipe right on the bag.

I always par-bake my crust for 5-7 minutes or until it’s firm enough to not get soggy when I add the sauce. I hate squishy crust, so this is important to me.

Sauce

For this pizza there really wasn’t a sauce. I did brush it lightly with a mix of butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Turns our we didn’t have any garlic at home, or this would’ve had roasted garlic, instead of garlic powder.

Toppings

I cut the vegetables, except the mushrooms, into fairly equal pieces, tossed them in the same butter and olive oil sauce, covered them with more salt and pepper, and roasted them until the potatoes were edible soft and the onions were getting sweet. That took about 40 minutes this time.

I made a balsamic reduction by putting a bit of brown sugar into some balsamic vinegar and let it bowl down until it was fairly sweet and viscous. This I reserved for after the pizza was out of the oven.

I used the arugula, cheese, and mushrooms with cooking them first.

Putting It All Together

I used the beer crust, but with water instead of beer. After it was finished proofing, I cut it into equal thirds. One third I froze for a pizza next week, one third I used for this pizza, and one third I used for garlic knots. I par-baked the third I used for the pizza tonight for 5 minutes before adding any toppings.

First, I coated it very lightly with some garlic butter sauce. I then put on half of the goat cheese, the roasted vegetables, the mushrooms, a very light drizzle of the balsamic reduction, and the rest of the goat cheese.

I baked the pizza for about 15 minutes, or until the sides of the crust were a light brown color.

After baking, I took the pizza out of the oven, spread it all over with arugula. Then I used the rest of the balsamic reduction as a drizzle over the top.

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I also made some garlic knots from the other half of the crust.

Basically, I just roll the third of the crust for this into a log. I then cut it into 6 or 8 equal pieces, deepening on how many people are eating the knots and how much the crust rises and proofs up.

I take each piece and roll it into a snake, then tie it into a knot. I place them on the baking stone and brush then with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasonings.

I bake them for about 10 minutes, then brush them with some melted butter, and then bake them until they are a nice light brown color. They will likely be a bit doughy, which is how I like them.

You can make a sauce to dip them in, but I think they are nice, just as they are.

When I cook, I don’t really measure or use recipes, so you can do whatever you need to for taste. Best of luck to you. If you have questions, feel free to comment and ask! I’ll be happy to try and help.

 

Some Things I’ve Eaten and the Places I’ve Eaten Them

Here is a picture of the pumpkin curry I mentioned in the previous post. Had I thought about it, I would have put it in a different bowl, because the soup is obviously the same color as the vessel it was eaten from. Also, I will probably never get the gist of photographing food, which kind of makes me sad, since food is my most favorite thing in life next to swimming (which I can’t photograph well either!).

Pumpkin Curry

Here is a photo of tonight’s delicious dinner: grapes, blueberries, and raw milk extra sharp cheddar from grass-fed cows. Delicious, light, and everything dinner should be!

"Do you have any staples? No? Well, then, do you have any gwapes?"

And because I’m sort of messed up like this, here is a picture of dinner a few nights ago: grilled/blackened bone-in chicken breast and spinach salad with bacon, blueberry, balsamic dressing.

Lots o' Greens!

Early this morning my brother, my parents, and I went to Trader’s Point Creamery for their farmer’s market. We also stopped at Whole Foods and The Fresh Market, but, in between, we went to Brunchies in Carmel to have—you guessed it—brunch! I had a three-egg omelet with spinach, mushrooms, jalapeños, and sausage and hash browns. It was delicious, and their coffee was pretty tasty, too.

"Kiss my grits." —Flo, Mel's DIner

Finally, right now I am enjoying a delicious Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider. I’ve always been pretty much a Porter girl, but since I’m trying to stick to a primal lifestyle, when I do splurge with alcohol, it’s mostly with hard ciders. (I mean cave people probably let their apples or fruit ferment from time to time, right?!) I didn’t used to enjoy them at all, but now I find great pleasure in sampling different ones. Also, I’ve noticed—whether the wheat, hops, barley, malt, whatever—I have an allergic reaction almost every time I drink beer. My cheeks flush and get hot, and the whole affair is simply rather unpleasant. So far, so good with ciders of any kind.

It’s been a great day, all in all.

Bike Rides. Pumpkin Curry. Period. Cultural Studies.

Bike Ride

When we left school today to walk the quarter mile to our cars, I almost had Lisa, my friend and colleague, pinch me, because it’s January 30 and the temperature was hovering nicely around 50 degrees. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and the air just smelled joyful and springlike. I felt like running and playing, but since I had just run on Saturday night, I thought I’d play it safe by taking my dogs for a walk. We walked down to the dam, where I like to watch the water spill over, and where the dogs like to sniff things and pee on the concrete wall that separates the road from the water.We lingered there for a bit enjoying the weather and the majesty of the water before heading home.

When we got home, I brought the dogs inside to play for a bit, but I was feeling antsy, like I didn’t quite want to settle in for the night, so I decided to go for a bike ride. I rode down the White River Greenway to Jackson Street, staying on the pavement the entire time. As I turned off of Jackson back onto the Cardinal Greenway, I got a little adventurous notion—probably a side effect of the paleo lifestyle, I mean who doesn’t like to play?—and I cut off the path to ride cyclo-cross style (on my mountain bike) back along the river bank, stopping only to carry my bike across two railroad tracks. While I realize this little side trip off the asphalt isn’t that adventurous, riding on private property along the river is not my usual bike trip.

I always see this group of guys—and, yes, they are all guys—riding along the river bank at night, wearing headlamps. They always look like they are having such fun. I think they are the same guys who practice their cyclo-cross skills by riding in circles around the trees in the field at Minnetrista. The riding in circles is a little odd, but I can see how liberating it is to ride near the river in the grass. I may even give the circle riding a whirl! Even that little bit of transgression against the societal norm here in Muncie makes the world seem like a little bit better of a place. A little less restrictive and a bit more free. Maybe once I get in better shape, I can join them sometime. They have to be some kind of Ball State club. Maybe I’ll check into it.

Pumpkin Curry

During the fall and winter, I can’t resist a good, hearty soup, stew, or chowder. Tonight for dinner, Bec and I had Creamy Pumpkin Curry. The soup/curry was amazing just like the recipe is written, but when I make it again, I plan to halve the amount of shrimp to one pound and add in some fish chunks for a bit of variety. I may also add in some kale for a little bitterness to offset the sweetness of the pumpkin. I found that since I eat very little sugar these days, things like pumpkin taste really sweet to me, particularly when paired with coconut and spices like coriander. Don’t get me wrong: the soup was amazing like it was. I just like to experiment, and I needed one more layer of flavor to dilute the pumpkin-sweetness.

Period: Yes, That Period.

I was beginning to feel sorry for myself because I hadn’t lost any weight this week and because I was having all these cravings for sweet things the past couple of days. Then I realized that I am supposed to start my period soon, and that means all bets for normalcy are off. I must say, though, that being paleo has really cut down on the PMS and mood swings I typically experience during this week. In fact, had it not been for the constant craving for ice cream this week (coupled with not losing weight) and my new-found obsession with writing everything down including the days of my menstrual cycles, I wouldn’t have even realized that this was the week before my period.

I wonder if other people have the same experience with paleo living and their menstrual cycles or if it’s just me. I can only assume this is yet another excellent bonus of living this lifestyle, though I am unsure if my non-angst-riddled pre-menstrual mental health can be contributed to diet or to my general physical well-being and differentiated exercise routine. Either way, I’ll take it.

Cultural Studies

I’ve decided to take a new approach to teaching my high school literature class, particularly the modernism section that we are heading into right now. For some reason, Modernist literature seems like the most difficult genre/time period for my students to understand. This could be because of my own apprehension at defining Modernism, or it might be because of their own inability to understand that historical period. They seem to get tripped up on what that time period really entails historically. They know the wars and some of the industrial situations, but as far the rest of the cultural milieu of the early 1900s, they are at a loss.

I decided to fix this difficulty this year by having them do some historical/cultural situation of events in the time period. For tomorrow, each student will come to class with a newspaper article from 1890-1935, one that was written then, not about then. They will use these articles as background knowledge for the texts we’ll read. To choose from, I gave them topics, such as fashion, industry, war, science, psychology, agriculture, music, art, and politics. I hope they come in with a broad range of “current” events to discuss, and I hope they have lots to say about their articles and what those articles tell us about the Modernist time period and the few years leading up to it. We’ll see how this works out, and I’ll keep you apprised.

Conference. New Shoes. Fish Stir Fry.

Conference

I was pleasantly surprised by the conference I went to today. Last year this same conference was pretty useless, and I left more frustrated than educated. This year, however, I went to two sessions by a woman named Jamie MacDougall. Her sessions were fun, upbeat, and informative. I got several great ideas about how to use primary documents to provide students with historically amazing mentors.

For example, if a student is excited about feminist history, s/he could look at the primary documents of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in order to better understand some of the people who were involved in it. Through those documents, that student could then begin to form an understanding of the mentor’s philosophies, work ethic, thoughts, friendships, theories, collaborations, and other facets of their lives. Through this research students will become protégés of the famous person, choosing to pattern their lives after their role model/mentor, whether the mentor is alive or long passed.

I also attended a session about quality curriculum, which inspired me to completely revise the way I approach the standards in my classroom next year. I think between the two sessions, I have a lot of work to do over the summer to make my classroom more student driven, but also more clearly focused on quality topics. Of course, this may mean being much more creative with gathering texts and with how I use the libraries (Ball State, Burris, and Muncie Public).

New Shoes

Typically I run with no shoes or very minimal shoes, but as I mentioned in another post, I have a trail run coming up this Saturday. Today it is 40ish degrees and rainy, but by Saturday it could be zero and snowy or icy. I decided that running 6.55 miles in the snow might call for more foot protection than my VFFs could muster, so I purchased the flattest trail shoes I could find. I wanted some with decent tread in case of snow, a large toe box for my wide used-to-being-barefoot feet, and a pretty sweet design. I think I got all three things, but they are certainly not minimalist. I feel like I am on stilts when I run or walk in them, and I hope I can get used to that by Saturday night. If the weather allows, I’ll still be running in my VFFs and keeping these Adidas Vigors as my standby shoes.

Casual Shoes

Fish Stir Fry

This meal was entirely made up by me. If the recipe I am about to post resembles another one that exists, the similarities are entirely coincidental. Also, I am not real hip to measuring things, preferring instead to go by instinct. I am sorry if that bothers you, but it’s just how I cook.

Recipe: In butter, saute several cod pieces/filets (use a couple more than you think necessary because they do cook down a little), which you’ve seasoned with seasoned salt and pepper, for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove them from the wok or skillet and just let them hang out for a bit.

In the same pan, saute some green onions, grated fresh ginger, diced bell peppers with some salt and pepper. When those start to give off a good smell, add in some broccoli and carrots. Cook all the mess until your broccoli and carrots are almost the desired tenderness, which for Bec and me is al dente. Then spoon all the vegetables to one side to let them stay warm, while adding the fish back into the other side of the pan to warm it back up.

If you want it all mixed together, you could do that now, but I prefer to serve out the vegetables first, topping them with the fish. I think the plate looks prettier this way, not like I just glommed out some stir fry and slapped it on the plate. I didn’t take a picture of this meal, but it was pretty tasty. The cod was a good choice of fish, but I think many other meatier types of fish would work, too.

Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 22, 23, 24 and Matthew 6: 19-34