Grilled Vegetable Pizza

by Jennifer

This recipe makes 2 12-inch pizzas, which may serve anywhere from 4 – 6 people.  I made a quick cucumber salad on the side:  I sliced some cucumbers lengthwise, scooped out the sides, sliced them into pieces, then tossed them with a little extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and black pepper.

  • about 1 1/2 lbs pizza dough, divided in two, homemade or storebought
  • Garlic Oil (chop a bunch of garlic, cover it generously with olive oil, store in fridge until you need it, keeps well so make a lot!)
  • 1 large red onion, thickly sliced into rounds
  • 2 small zucchini, each sliced lengthwise into thirds
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, divided
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • handful of basil, chopped

Prepare grill;  if you plan to cook the pizzas on a stone in the oven, preheat the baking stone at 450 degrees for a good 30 minutes.

Toss zucchini and peppers with a little Garlic Oil;  brush some on the onion rounds.

Grill until tender, turning once, about 3 – 4 minutes per side, a little longer for the onions.

Transfer vegetables to a cutting board and when cool enough to handle, chop into bite-size pieces.

Making one pizza at a time, roll out pizza dough and place dough on a cornmeal-dusted pizza paddle or the reverse side of a baking sheet.

Slide dough onto the grill and grill, covered if gas, for about 3 minutes, or until the top is puffed and there are grill marks on the bottom.

Slide the crust out back onto the paddle, flip it over and brush it with Garlic Oil.

Scatter half of the vegetables over the crust, followed by half the olives

and half the cheese, then slide it back onto the grill for another 3 – 4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and there are grill marks on the bottom.  (Conversely, brush dough with Garlic Oil and put toppings on first before sliding dough onto the baking stone in the oven;  bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the crust is cooked through.)

Sprinkle half the tomatoes and half the basil on top of each pizza before slicing and serving.  You can keep one pizza warm in a 200 degree oven while you bake the second one, or you could start eating the first one while the other is baking!

Stir-Fried Tempeh with Spinach and Basil, Brown Rice

by Jennifer

This is my adaptation of a Cooking Light recipe, and serves 4 generously.  Get the tempeh marinating first, then start some brown rice cooking.

  • 3 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 TBS mirin, divided
  • 2 TBS chopped shallots (about 2 – 3 large shallots)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb. soy tempeh, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 TBS plus 1 1/2 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 1/2 TBS mirin
  • 10 oz. fresh spinach, thick stems removed
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 3 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 TBS water
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 TBS peanut oil
  • 2 large red onions, sliced vertically
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil, roughly chopped

Combine soy sauce, 1 1/2 TBS mirin, shallots, sesame oil and tempeh and let the tempeh marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 4 hours maximum.

Heat 1 1/2 TBS oil in a wok over medium-high heat and add the tempeh with the marinade, stir-frying for 5 minutes or

until golden brown.  Transfer tempeh to a clean bowl and wipe the wok clean with a paper towel.

Place the wok back over medium-high heat and add 1 1/2 tsp oil, 1 1/2 TBS mirin, and the spinach, stir-frying

just until the spinach wilts.  Transfer spinach to another bowl.

Whisk together the sugar through lime juice.  Heat the remaining TBS oil in the wok, again over medium-high heat, and

add the onions and garlic, stir-frying until the onions start to become tender and brown, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Add the tempeh, basil, spinach (squeeze out any liquid in the spinach bowl and discard) and sugar mixture, stir-frying until heated through, 2 – 3 minutes.  Serve over brown rice.

Olive and Red Onion Bread

Olive and Red Onion Bread

by Jennifer

This is an adaptation of a recipe which came from a now long-forgotten cookbook, and is open to interpretation.  Having made this once kneading by hand, and kneading with a standing mixer, the by-hand version is prettier (the mixer really mixed the color of the olives throughout the dough) but both are quite tasty.

  •  2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups oil cured olives, chopped
  • 7 cups bread flour, plus about 1/2 cup more for kneading
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tsp yeast
  • 3 TBS fresh herbs, alone or in combination, such as parsley, thyme, oregano, etc.
  • 2 cups warm water

Saute the onions in the oil over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk together the flour, salt and yeast.

Add the onions, olives and herbs, stirring to combine.

Add the warm water and stir well (by hand or with the paddle attachment on a standing mixer) until combined.  Knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as needed if the dough is too sticky.

Place dough in an large oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot (like your oven; preheat just for a minute, and keep the door closed while it’s rising) until doubled, about an hour.

(At this point, if you’d like to make this ahead of time, refrigerate the dough overnight.  The next day, allow extra rising time for the dough to come to room temperature, adding another 30 minutes or so.)  Punch down the dough on a lightly floured surface, and divide in two.  Form two balls of dough, pulling dough from the top to the bottom, so the top surface is smooth and the bottom is bunched.

Place each ball on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.  While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Slash the top of the loaves;

bake for 40 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow if the bottom is tapped.  (No worries if you have one oven and both won’t fit;  my second loaf waited patiently for its turn to bake.)  Freezes well.

Classic Cheese Souffle, Wilted Spinach Salad with Roasted Peppers and Red Onion, Whole Wheat French Bread

Classic Cheese Souffle, Wilted Spinach Salad with Roasted Peppers and Red Onion, Whole Wheat French Bread

by Jennifer

I had always thought of souffles as being pretty formidable, but it turns out they’re not that difficult to make, and they’re absolutely delicious.  A good way to splurge on eggs and cheese, and if they eggs are Omega 3-fortified, all the better for you.  You can definitely buy some good French bread, but if you have the urge, try making your own.  Baking bread is absolutely not difficult;  the process requires your attention for a few minutes at a time, with lots of down-time in between, and your house ends up smelling wonderful, and you can experience both satisfaction and amazement at watching flour and water turn into something so substantial and tasty.  This dinner serves 4, with leftover French bread to freeze, or make French toast, or sandwiches…..

Classic Cheese Souffle – adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 4.

  • 2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter
  • 3 TBS unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup, packed, coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (about 4 oz.)

With the oven rack in the lower third of the oven, preheat to 400.

Coat a 1 1/2 quart souffle dish with cooking spray and sprinkle the bottom and sides evenly with the Parmesan cheese (this gives the souffle something to “cling” to as it rises).

Heat the milk in a medium-sized pot over medium heat until it’s steaming.  While you’re waiting, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes.

Add the warm milk, whisking until smooth, and cook, whisking, until very thick, about 2 -3 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the paprika, salt and nutmeg, whisking well.

Add the egg yolks and whisk well to combine.  Set aside to cool slightly (you can do this up to 2 hours ahead of time;  leave, covered, at room temperature).

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/4 of the whites into the yolk mixture.

Continue to fold in the remaining whites, 1/4 at a time, while also slowly adding the Gruyere cheese.

Gently scoop the batter into the souffle dish.  Place the souffle in the oven and immediately turn heat down to 375.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the souffle is puffed, golden-brown, and the center moves only slightly when gently shaken.  Serve immediately.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Roasted Peppers and Red Onion – adapted from Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville

Serves 4.

  • 1 red or yellow pepper
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 handfuls frisee or chicory
  • 3 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

Broil the red/yellow pepper, turning occasionally, until all sides are blackened. Immediately transfer pepper to a ziplock bag and seal, allowing the steam to loosen the skin.

When cool enough to handle, peel skin off pepper and cut pepper into strips.

While the pepper is cooling, toss the red onion with 1 TBS olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and broil, stirring occasionally, until tender and charred in spots.

Set aside.

Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

In a serving bowl toss together the spinach, frisee, peppers, onions and vinegar mixture.  Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until very hot, but not smoking.

Pour the hot oil over the greens and toss well, allowing the greens to wilt.  Serve immediately.

Whole Wheat French Bread – from Secrets of a Jewish Baker by George Greenstein

I feel incredibly fortunate to own a standing mixer, but I remember well back to the days when I had to knead dough by hand.  Not too bad, especially if I had someone to talk to or good music to listen to, but I’m loving not having to knead anymore!  Whether or not you own a standing mixer, this bread is not difficult to make and is wonderful to eat.  The ingredients are for a standing mixer, and make 3 loaves (freeze 1 or 2 for later), but in parentheses are the ingredient amounts for kneading by hand, which will make 2 loaves.  The method is the same either way.

Sponge

  • 3 cups warm water (2 cups)
  • 2 heaping TBS yeast (1 1/2 TBS)
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour (3 cups)

Dough

  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups whole wheat flour (2 – 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 TBS salt (1 TBS)

Cornmeal for dusting baking sheet

To make the sponge:  In a large bowl, standing mixer bowl or otherwise, combine water and yeast and allow a few minutes for the mixture to become foamy.  Add the bread flour and stir until mixture is smooth.

Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free space (I turn my oven on for a minute or two, then turn it off and place the bowl in there) until doubled, about 45 – 60 minutes.

To make the dough:  Punch down the sponge either by stirring it or with the mixer blade on first speed.  Add the whole wheat flour, starting with 3 1/2 (2) cups, and the salt, and mix until the dough to is too stiff to mix, or until the dough starts climbing up the mixer blade.  For the latter, scrape off and change to the dough hook, and knead for 10 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary (better not to add more flour if it’s not too sticky);  alternatively, knead by hand for 10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking too much to your hands.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Punch down the dough:  gently press down until the dough deflates, and gently knead once or twice inside the bowl.  Re-cover and allow to rise again, another 30 minutes.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 (2) portions.  Using your hands or a rolling pin, press each portion into a long flat rectangular.  Starting with the long side away from you, roll the dough towards you, like a jelly-roll, pressing down as you roll, so you have a long, tight, baguette shape.

Transfer to a cornmeal-dusted (or parchment paper covered) baking sheet;  repeat with remaining dough.  Cover and allow to rise one more time, about 30 – 45 minutes.While the dough is in its last rise, preheat the oven to 475, with a metal brownie pan (or something similar) on the lowest rack.

Brush the loaves with water, and slash the loaves at regular intervals at about a 20 degree angle.  Drop 6 – 8 ice cubes into the metal pan (this tries to simulate the steam injection of professional bakers’ ovens), then place the loaves in the oven and bake for 25 – 35 minutes, until they are golden brown and the crust feels hard when you gently squeeze it.

Cool for as long as you can keep yourself from tearing into them!

Swiss Chard, Red Onion and Ricotta Pizza

By Jennifer

Swiss Chard, Red Onion and Ricotta Pizza

Pizza Dough – from Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas by Craig W. Priebe and Dianne Jacob

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 4 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 TBS cornmeal, plus extra for the pizza peel
  • 4 TBS olive oil, plus extra for the bowl

Makes two 18 – 20” pizzas

In a large bowl combine the warm water and yeast;  wait a few minutes for the yeast to activate (it will get bubbly/foamy).  Add the remaining ingredients, stir well to combine, then knead on a floured surface for 8 – 10 minutes (or, if you have a standing mixer, change to the dough hook and let it knead for you).  Oil a clean bowl, turn the dough into it and roll the dough around to coat it with the oil, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled, about an hour.  Refrigerate for at least a few hours and up to three days (good planning tip – you can make it a day or two before you need it, when you have a little extra time).

  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta
  • garlic oil – literally, a bunch of garlic chopped up, put into a glass jar, filled to the top with olive oil;  this can keep for a long, long time in the fridge
  • salt and pepper

(For my kids’ pizza – Trader Joe’s pizza sauce and Trader Joe’s shredded mozzarella)

Chop the swiss chard, leaving out big stems, and saute in a little olive oil over medium heat.  Let cool, and squeeze out extra liquid.  (I cheated;  I got too much swiss chard one week from my CSA and did this part, then froze it, already!)

Sauteing onions

Onions are finished

Wipe out the pan and slowly saute the red onions in a little olive oil until they are soft and browned, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Rolling out pizza dough

On a floured surface, divide the pizza dough and roll out.  Preheat either your oven, with a pizza stone inside, to 450, or your grill, to same. Place the rolled out dough on a pizza peel or upside down cookie sheet sprinkled liberally with cornmeal.  Slide onto the pizza stone or grill and let cook (gas grill, close the lid) for a few minutes, until the dough puffs up and there are grill marks on the bottom.

One side grilled

Remove using the pizza peel, flip over, and brush with garlic oil.  Then put on the toppings:  I usually make my kids’ pizza first and keep it warm in the oven, at 200, until ours is ready.

Toppings on

For ours, I scattered the swiss chard, onions, and dollops of ricotta all over it.  Slide pizza back onto the grill, cook for a few more minutes, until the cheese is melted (if using melty cheese) and there are grill marks on the bottom.

Served this with a simple salad of red leaf lettuce and spinach dressed with balsamic vinegar.