Breakfast Pizza with Eggs Sunny Side Up

Sometimes, ideas on how to use my vegetables come from strange places.

I receive a catalog for skin care products (huh?) that has expanded to include a few food items, and it had this recipe for breakfast pizza that looked yummy.  The kids will ALWAYS like pizza, right?  Pizza for breakfast should secure me a spot in the Awesome Mom Hall of Fame, right?

We had pizza for dinner yesterday, so I planned ahead and had extra pizza dough ready to roll (literally, ha ha!) this morning.  I added extra veggies to up the nutrition factor and the numminess (as far as I am concerned) and used leftover ham from Easter that my husband had smoked.  It was a Maple Bourbon Ham from Smoke & Spice that has an extraordinarily flavorful exterior.  That ham recipe is a keeper for sure!

Breakfast Pizza

  • 1 lb pizza dough (room temperature)
  • olive oil or olive oil cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 475°.  Roll pizza dough into a 9″x13″ rectangle and place on pizza pan coated with olive oil or olive oil cooking spray.

  • 4 oz. thinly sliced ham
  • 10 asparagus spears, blanched and cut into 1 ” pieces
  • 1 c. rinsed baby spinach

Cover the pizza with the ham, then add spread the spinach and asparagus over the pizza, leaving about a 1″ border of crust all around.

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 c. shredded cheese ( I used asiago and mozzarella)

Break the eggs onto the top of the pizza.  The asparagus and spinach really did keep the egg whites from running off the pizza.  Top with the cheese all over and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

The four stages of breakfast pizza creation.

The four stages of breakfast pizza creation.

The eggs set nicely and the final result was easy enough to assemble in the morning before school and work.

My 15 year old son was too wigged out by eggs on pizza and refused to even try it.  His loss, because this was WAY better than the honey nut cheerios he ate instead.  However the rest of the family loved it.  The twelve year old ate 3 pieces!

While he dissed my breakfast, my son did give me an app that makes collages of my boring photos.  So I guess I’ll forgive him – this time.  🙂

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Winter CSA Box 10 – Finally, some veggies!

Yesterday, we picked up our first box in several weeks.  But now, it is Spring and some of the spring produce is starting to come up.  We didn’t get a huge variety, but we got a lot.

5 lbs of asparagus.  Some of these shoots were the size of a broomstick, and others were obviously the skinny minnies of the field.  But they all looked great.  I found a recipe for a breakfast pizza that I will use the skinnies on and chop the larger ones into a spring risotto.  Yummm.

5 pounds of asparagus!

5 pounds of asparagus!

Swiss Chard – We received two big bunches, which made my husband very happy.  He loves swiss chard, but always seemed to be gone when it came around last year.  He would hear my stories of sneaking greens into dishes so the kids would eat it, and he would pout.  Yesterday, he steamed one whole bunch, stems and leaves, to serve with pork chops and rice.

This week's haul!

This week’s haul!

Broccoli –  We got both Green Magic broccoli,  which successfully overwintered but does not have a tight head like my farmer felt a good head of broccoli should have.   We also received sprouting broccoli, which he says is very similar to broccolini, except this has purple on the top of its head.   I like the look of the purple sprouted broccoli, but he says the color goes away when it is cooked.  Darn it!

Lentils  –  dried lentils.  I have a pea & lentil cookbook, and the varieties of legumes do mix and match pretty easily.  My daughter was shocked I would have a cookbook solely dedicated to peas and lentils. 🙂

Dried Sage – I have discovered that I can crumble the dried herbs on parchment paper, then pour them into my spice jars when I get tired of the dried spices piling up in the corner of the kitchen counter.

It feels good to get back into the swing of using my CSA veggies again.  🙂

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Bogus Hummus – no tahini

It has been several weeks since we received a shipment from the winter CSA.  Then I had to have surgery that has kept me down and drugged for the past two and a half weeks.  So I haven’t been involved in the cooking portion of our family life (and you really don’t want to see what I would have written while on narcotics!)

I had dried garbanzo beans and wanted to make hummus, but we had no tahini (basically peanut butter only made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts).  My doctor still forbids me to drive and I did not feel like trying to explain tahini to my husband and sending him to the store.  So we winged it, and it turned out pretty well.

Bogus Hummus

First, I brined the dried garbanzo beans.

  • 2 c. dried garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 c. kosher salt

Combine in a bowl with enough water to cover the beans after they swell.  Soak overnight.

The next day, I rinsed the garbanzos and simmered them in unsalted water for 30 minutes, until very tender.  Drain and rinse.

If you don’t have dried garbanzos or don’t want this to be a two day affair, substitute 2 cans of garbanzo beans and adjust the liquids as necessary to get the texture you are looking for.

In the food processor or blender, add the drained garbanzo beans, plus:

  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 6 t. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 T. cumin

Process until smooth and salt and pepper to taste.

You really could add additional spices (chili powder?), but I wanted the kids to eat it as a snack as well.  We ate it with carrots, on baguettes, and with Wheat Thins.

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My daughter said she would only eat my hummus if it was good.  (Brat!)  But she says it is good and she has been eating it, so I can relax.  🙂

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Winter CSA Box 9 – Its coming up Greens – the last box before St. Patrick’s Day

We’ve been very busy around here lately, with big changes at work, at home, at school.  We have been cooking, taking notes and photos of how we have used our CSA goodies, but I just have not had the opportunity to sit down at the computer (or the will to kick the 15 year old off the computer), to write.

But when I do find that time, I have some great recipes coming (and a few the kids didn’t care for but I REALLY liked (Mango Banana Mint Smoothies anyone?)

As we head into the final stretch of the Winter CSA, Farmer Al keeps telling us he is running out of goodies to put in our boxes.  😦  In Box 9, we got a few staples from storage:  dried garbanzo beans, shallots, chili peppers, russet potatoes and apples.  From the newer crops we got Swiss chard, with beautiful red and yellow stems, and baby spinach.  Yumm!

Already I have made a garbanzo bean salad. I carmelized some onions with the chopped chard that I was going to use as a condiment, but the next day I turned it into spaghetti sauce, that we later used as pizza sauce.  That is three, count ’em, 3 days of dining on one running recipe that kept getting reinvented day by day.  And no one complained!  🙂  Sweet!

Because he is running out of goodies, we are skipping the next scheduled pick up for Box 10, but he promises to get us three weeks of CSA in April.  He better not be lying to me again….. GRRR.

Although, my farmer did break my heart since my last pick up.  I had been thinking it was time to sign up for the Summer CSA and wondered why we hadn’t received notice yet.  Then he sent an e-mail announcing that he is changing the format of his CSA.  Rather than a weekly box of vegetables of HIS choice, we now will order what we want in advance and he will deliver each box to a local farmer’s market to be picked up weekly.

This has caused a huge identity crisis for me.  Megan at Clean Eats Fast Feets has talked about how the weekly CSA box appeals to her competitive spirit; how can you use what you are allotted without any waste?  I have to agree.  That challenge awakened something in me that appealed to my problem solving skills – forcing me to try whatever it took to use whatever I had before it was wasted.    Before my CSA, each week I would sit down and select four dishes I planned to make for dinner, shopped for ingredients on the weekend and prepared my dishes each evening during the week.  Very orderly, with some wiggle room for the unexpected/ school concert, dinner invitation, lazy order of pizza without too many extra groceries or ingredients that couldn’t be used within the next few days.

With the CSA box in the middle of the week, even with the advance notice of what might be in your, there was always an element of surprise, and panic.  How will we possibly eat three different types of greens before next week?  What is THAT squash and how should it be cooked?  Will the kids even try anything with those peppers in them?  The risk and the adventure made it fun and challenging.  There was less planning on the weekend and more looking at what I had and creating… something….

Left on my own, I am not likely to ever order as many greens, or squashes (squashi my daughter asks?).  The younger lady of the house suggested I can require myself to order at least one unusual type of vegetable each week to kick up the challenge.  But it just seems so…orderly.

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend of mine who lives on Maui (devastating, I know!) and she  joined a CSA (Yea! – CSAmom influence at work!).  She gets to choose what she receives each week and she loves it.  No one is going to tell her what she has to eat!  She gets papayas, avocados and some funky Italian greens she really likes.

I researched the other CSAs in the area, and they too let you choose the produce you take home, so I am going to stick with my farmer and try the new system.  On the upside, the new pick up spot is at a local winery – I am a member of their wine club, so I CAN do a little free wine tasting while I pick up my vegetables each week.  🙂

Hi ya!  Got some veggies in the truck!  :)

Hi ya! Got some veggies in the truck! 🙂

That may cut down on cooking the day I pick up my CSA box.

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Winter CSA Box 8 – He lied to me! :(

My farmer sends out an e-mail a few days before we pick up, giving us an idea of what he is planning to put in our boxes.  Last weekend, he said there would be Romanesque Cauliflower.

Romanesque Cauliflower

We had this for the first time last summer and were absolutely fascinated.  In fact, my daughter remembered that this was the subject of  my very first post.  🙂

The first time, I wasn’t very creative and we made a pretty lame tuna dish with it.

But, this time was going to be different.  I had roasted squash gnocci I had prepared over the weekend.  We had oven roasted bistro chicken leftovers.   I immediately planned an elegant braised cauliflower dish to serve over the gnocci.  It was going to be a visually spectacular dish with the exotic cauliflower and homemade pasta that would create a lovely photo op for a post about another super CSA-based dining adventure. (Optimistic much?)

Eagerly, I arrived to pick up my produce.  The label on my box said I had either bok choy or romanesque cauliflower.  Huh?

But.  we. have. a. plan.

For. cauliflower.

Then I looked in the box, and I had NEITHER bok choy nor romanesque cauliflower.  😦

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Here is what we did get: mixed salad greens, garlic, onions, beets (with greens), six lovely pink lady apples, horseradish (okay, this could be fun!), and a big chunk of squash.

For something different, I also received a jar of seafood seasoning.

Gourmet Spice Blend from a Local Chef

Gourmet Spice Blend from a Local Chef

I had to go to the grocery store to buy regular old boring cauliflower.  Harumph!

The final dish was yummy and attractive. IMG_1180

But imagine how cool it would have looked with green gremlin houses mixed in!

As for what I did get:

I have a new roast recipe I am trying this weekend and we will probably have the beets and greens with that.

As I type this,   the squash is roasting for squish to make crescent rolls.  Again.  🙂

There is thawed pie crust in the refrigerator, so perhaps a pie is in order, even though they aren’t ugly apples this time.

I’ve never used fresh horseradish before, so I am looking forward to doing some research to see how I can use that.  The kids aren’t excited and my husband has his doubts, but I’m sure we can come up with something my 15 year old will describe as “exotic”.  😉

Check out what others are doing with their CSA bounty at InherChucks’ What’s in the Box Party.

boxquestionintrowhite

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Part II of This Perfect Meal – Lemon Glazed Carrots

I love those perfect looking little CSA carrots that absolutely have to be cooked and prepared whole.  Usually I roast them, but I found this recipe in  Vegetable Love, and wanted to try something new.  Boy am I glad I did!  I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but you probably expected that… 😉

These were lemon-y, tangy and very elegant, but also easy to prepare.  If you are looking to impress with a new twist on boring old carrots, this is the way to go!

Lemon Glazed Carrots

  • 2 lbs. carrots with greens

I suggest the carrots be nor more than 5-6 inches long.  Trim the greens to 1/2 inch and cleaned.

  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar (or less)
  • 2 T. salt

Bring 3 quarts water, sugar and salt to a boil. in a large sauce pan.  Add the carrots and cook for 8-9 minutes, until the carrots are tender.  Drain the carrots.

  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice

Melt the butter and second 1/3 c. of sugar in a large saute pan.  Add the lemon juice and combine.  Add carrots and toss to coat, then cook over high heat for 5 minutes, until sauce becomes a syrupy glaze.

Roast Beef with Lentil Salad and Lemon Glazed Carrots

Roast Beef with Lentil Salad and Lemon Glazed Carrots

There were no leftover carrots.

One of our favorite roasts, this has a red wine reduction sauce that was good drizzled over the lentil salad as well.

I was particularly proud at how many different types of my CSA produce this meal used; lentils, carrots, onions, thyme.  And no hidden greens.  🙂

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Part I of This Perfect Meal – Warm Lentil Salad

On a Saturday, I had time to cook a roast and rounded the meal out with lots of my CSA bounty.  My husband said not only was this a very good dinner, but he had rarely had a meal that went together as well as this one.  Awwww.  That is a man who knows how to keep his wife happy!  🙂

Roast Beef with Lentil Salad and Lemon Glazed Carrots

Roast Beef with Lentil Salad and Lemon Glazed Carrots

I apologize for the poor quality of that picture.  We (I) had forgotten to take  a picture and I stole an untouched dinner plate from under someone’s fork to get the shot.  Guerilla conditions in blogging. This is dangerous work!

Warm Lentil Salad

  • 1 lb. dry lentils
  • 7 c. water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t. thyme

Place lentils, thyme and bay leaf in water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender, bu not mushy.  Drain lentils and remove bay leaf.

  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1 c. onions, finely chopped
  • 4 T. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

While lentils are simmering, combine Dijon mustard through pepper in a large bowl and whisk to blend well.

After draining, add lentils to dressing and toss gently to coat lentils with dressing.

For lunch during the week, you could add meat to make it more filling or re-heat it and top with a dab of greek yogurt.  This was a nice staple to have on hand through out the week and was easy to make if cooking on a weeknight.

Coming up next, those lemon-y carrots!

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Lemon Lavender Ice Cream – it might be something good…

This is a pure csamom creation.  I wanted to cook something with the lavender and thought it might nicely complement lemon ice cream.  However, I had production issues in the process (ie:  I didn’t pay attention to what I was doing), so it turned out differently from what I had hoped.  I’m not even going to call this a recipe yet, because I think it needs some fine tuning.

I started with a Honey Lavender Ice Cream recipe I found at Epicurious.com.  It had received good reviews, but some reviewers found the honey overwhelming.  I had a bottle of muscat canelli ( a sweet desert wine) that I used in place of the honey.

Supporting local winemakers too!

Supporting local winemakers too!

Following the recipe, I combined the heavy cream, half-and-half, 2/3 c wine, and 2 T. dried lavender blossoms.  This was supposed to steep for 30 minutes.

IMG_1149

But I had other things going on and forgot about it.  The cream mixture steeped for far longer than 30 minutes.  After straining the lavender creams through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lavender blossoms, I continued following the recipe, beating the eggs, adding some warm cream to the eggs, then adding that back into the warming creams.

I do like custard based ice creams because I generally find them creamier and more satisfying.

After adding the eggs to the custard mixture, I also added 1/3 c. lemon zest, another 1/3 c of wine (the custard wasn’t sweet at all  before this) and 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice.  At this stage, I heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  But I got distracted again, and the mixture was boiling when I came back to it.  😦

Never, ever giving up, I cooled this mixture overnight, and the next day strained it through the fine mesh strainer once more  and mixed in the ice cream maker.

IMG_1154IMG_1155

 The kids did not care for it at all.  My daughter thought the lavender flavor was too strong (as Anne has mentioned in her ideas) and my son was sure this was not food.  I agree the lavender is too strong (probably because it steeped too long) and the texture is a little off (probably curdled a bit  because of the boiling).  But, the ice cream has a lovely yellow color and a tangy lemon curd-like flavor that my husband liked. This is very strong and something you would eat in small scoops.

I have more wine and lavender, and I will try this again.

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Quick Weekday dinner with Winter Squash Jam

I went back and read Farmer Al’s explanation about the squash chunks.  I thought he said they were galeaux d’eysines (Deleted the darn e-mail already.  Harumph!), but my chunks don’t really look like the photos I found of that type of squash online.

My squash chunks

My squash chunks

While searching for recipes to use that type of squash, I found a completely different recipe that used pumpkin to make what it called a pumpkin jam. The picture had cooked bacon on top of it, which fits perfectly with my blatant pandering mode lately, so I thought we should try it.  🙂 I have lost my original inspirational recipe, and all I have left are my notes and photos.  See what happens when I clean up after myself.! 😦

Since this is a weekday after work, I did not have time to roast the chunks for 40+ minutes.  The recipe called for boiling small cubes of squash for faster preparation, so that is what I would do.    After cutting off the outer shell, I sliced the squash into 1/2″ thick slices and cut those into 1/2 ” cubes.

Winter Squash Jam

  • 2 lb. squash, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2-3 T. unsalted butter
  • 3 T unrefined sugar
  • 1 T. molasses
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1″ slice of crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon

IMG_1139Add all ingredients to a large sauce pan and  simmer for 30 minutes (not a lot faster than roasting, but less work after they were tender).  When the squash is tender,  mash it right in the pot.

While that simmered, I chopped and cooked 3 slices of bacon until they were crispy.

I served the “jam” as a side dish topped with bacon, next to sliced ham (leftovers) and salad (easy).

IMG_1142My fifteen year old son looked at it and said, with some apparent concern,

“Mom, you are supposed to throw out the cat puke, not serve it to us for dinner.”

To which the 12 year old replied enthusiastically, “Eat it!  It IS good!”

I like having a new take on squash squish.  The molasses and sugar surprised the kids  and everyone really did like it, in spite of that unsettling image presented at the beginning of the meal.  It was great as leftovers too.

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Sage Asiago Popovers

We love popovers at our house, and have an old, perfectly cured, cast iron popover pan to bake them in.  I have made sage popovers before and the extra flavor is exciting, so this time I decided to add a little asiago cheese to see what that would do.

My daughter was disapproving – you do not mess with popovers or they don’t pop she scolded.  I haven’t had popovers not pop in a very long time, so I was pretty sure if I didn’t add too much cheese, it would be okay.

I have also baked popovers in muffin pans with some success.  They are still good, even if they don’t fully pop.  But the popover pan is more reliable.

Popovers

Preheat oven to 375°.

  • 1 c. low fat milk
  • 2 large eggs

Combine milk and eggs in a medium bowl and let stand for 1/2 hour.

Popover batter

Popover batter

  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. sage
  • 1 T. finely shredded asiago cheese
  • 1 T. butter, melted

Combine flour, salt, sage and cheese in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Gradually add flour mixture to milk/egg mixture.  Stir in melted butter.

  • 1 t. vegetable oil

Coat the popover pan with cooking spray, then brush vegetable oil evenly among the popover cups.  Heat the pan in the oven for at least 5 minutes.

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Divide batter evenly between popover cups and bake at 375° for 40 minutes.  They should be golden brown.

Serve immediately.

The best part of popovers is poking a hole in the bottom and putting butter in the hole to melt and dribble over your fingers as you eat them.  If they are for breakfast, you can add honey in that hole as well.  🙂  No health food here today!

I served these with a crock pot stew that cleaned up a number of odds and ends from the refrigerator.  We had quite a conversation clarifying that dinner was a stew made of leftovers and not leftover stew.   Aren’t we grammatical?!  🙂

I’ll be honest, these popovers did not fully pop.  I think the cheese was perhaps a little too heavy.

Sorta Popped Popovers

Sorta Popped Popovers

Perfect Popover

Perfect Popover

Still, they tasted wonderful and we didn’t have any left overs.  They were moister and a little more spongy than normal.  If you leave out the cheese, they should pop perfectly.  Although, I will keep experimenting. I’ll let you know if I can get it to work with the cheese. 🙂

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