Happy Labor Day!

Every Friday for the last 6 or so years in our house is Pizza Night. Mitchell and Katie look forward to this all week partly because kids love routine and what kid doesn’t love pizza? The first couple of years were fairly traditional pizzas for my husband and I but I started to tire of pizzas laden with cheese and pepperoni. About this time, we joined Groundswell. Pizza is a good way to use quite a few different vegetables. So, now I saute whatever veggies we get that I think we might enjoy on the pizza (spinach, onions, veggies, sweet peppers, etc) and then throw on some fresh garlic, sliced tomatoes and basil. Maybe pepperoni if we feel like it or mushrooms if I have them around. You can buy a premade crust or a crust mix but we make our own. This recipe makes 6 medium pizzas for us so I freeze any extra and defrost it the following Friday. Here is the crust recipe for our pizza that a friend gave me years ago.
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Pizza Dough
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried yeast
7 fluid ounces lukewarm water
3 2/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Put sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Stir in 3 fluid ounces lukewarm water. Leave in draft free space to activate. If it doesn’t bubble and foam in 5 minutes, throw away and start again. Mix flour and salt. Add olive oil, rest of water and yeast mixture. Mix until it loosely clumps together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead 8 minutes, adding flour or water if necessary until you have a soft dough that isn’t either too dry or too sticky. Grease a bowl and roll ball of dough around bowl to coat. Leave dough in bowl with a clean dish towel to cover the bowl in a draft free location for 1.5 to 2 hours to double in size (or 8 hours in the refrigerator to rise slowly). Punch down dough. Divide into 6 portions. You can freeze any unneeded dough at this point. Working with one small portion, roll out to desired size. I use a rolling pin because we enjoy thin crust pizza. Place crust on a well oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 475 degrees for about 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven, Flip crust. Top with desired toppings. Cook another 5-6 minutes or until cheese melts.
Our toppings of choice are:
Chopped cherry tomatoes
Sliced, sauteed onions
Sauteed spinach with sauteed garlic
Raw chopped garlic
Chopped basil
Roasted or sauteed sweet peppers
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When I was growing up, I didn’t like stuffed peppers. That was because my mom stuffed green peppers with ground beef, stewed tomatoes and rice. Not a tasty combination if you ask me. Thankfully one day about 15 years ago I found this recipe in Bon Appetit and realized how tasty stuffed peppers could be. My daughter loved this until she became a vegetarian so it is definitely kid friendly.

Stuffed Peppers (Bon Appetit)
1.5 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1.5 cups coarsely grated zucchini (about 1 large)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
4 medium-sized sweet bell peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 9 ingredients in large bowl until well blended. Fill pepper halves with sausage mixture, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Arrange in 13x9x2 inch baking dish (Can be made one day ahead. Cover. Chill)
Bake peppers uncovered until tops are browned and thermometer inserted into filling registers 165 degrees, about 1 hour. Transfer peppers to platter.

Last week I shared one of our favorite potato recipes. Here is another one that is quite simple and yet quite tasty.

Flavors’ Roasted Potato Salad (Food and Wine)
3 pounds unpeeled new potatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1 garlic clove, minced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium roasting pan, toss the potatoes with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, tossing occassionally, until tender and browned. Let the potatoes cool completely.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, dill and garlic. Toss with the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Serve at room temperature.

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Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. How we, my husband and I, love fresh picked, sun-ripened tomatoes. Yum! As I’ve said before, I didn’t used to have an appreciation for heirloom tomatoes but now every summer I can’t wait to start getting the delicious heirloom tomatoes from Groundswell. I want to eat them at every meal and love snacking on the cherry tomatoes. Unfortunately, my kids are just like I was as a kid and though they like tomato sauce, pizza sauce and ketchup, they don’t like raw tomatoes at all! Alas, more for me to eat. Last week, I shared an heirloom tomato salad. This week is another favorite– Tomato Bread Salad. This is a great use to any fresh tomatoes you have and any bread, fresh or stale.

Tomato Bread Salad (adapted from The New Basics Cookbook)
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into large cubes
2 cups thinly sliced red onions
1 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Dash of red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 cups Herby Garlic Croutons

Herby Garlic Croutons
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups bread cubes (about 1/2 inch thick)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon snipped fresh chives
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the bread cubes and cook over medium-high heat, tossing them constantly with a wood spoon, for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and herbs. Continue to cook the croutons, tossing frequently until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. The croutons can be stored in an airtight container until you are ready to use them.
To assemble the salad, combine the tomatoes, red onions, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Just before serving, toss in the croutons. Don’t toss ahead of time or the croutons will get soggy.
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For those of you who aren’t into the big chunks of tomato in a salad, another way we enjoy our tomatoes is gazpacho. A fair amount of ingredients but a fairly easy prep and you have a lovely cool summer soup. This recipe makes a lot so halving it makes sense since the raw eggs make it something you would want to eat sooner rather than later.

Gazpacho (The New Basics Cookbook)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 large ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with their juice
1.5 cups canned tomato juice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 large shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 large cucumbers, coarsely chopped
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, reserved fresh tomato juice, canned tomato juice and eggs. Puree the vegetable in small batches in a blender or food processor, adding the tomato juice mixture gradually to keep the blades from clogging. Do not puree completely; the gazpacho should retain some of its crunch. Stir in the cayenne, salt and pepper and dill. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. When you are ready to serve, stir the soup, taste and correct seasonings and ladle into chilled soup bowls or mugs.

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This entry was posted in basil, chives, cucumber, dill, garlic, parsley, potatoes, Red Onion, rosemary, summer squash / zucchini, sweet peppers, tomato, White Onion. Bookmark the permalink.

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