Tag Archives: pizza

Cheesy Asparagus Tart

It’s summer! Well, maybe not technically for another week or so, but farmer’s market is booming and my CSA boxes started coming this week! Getting a box of fresh veggies from one of my favorite farms every week was one of the highlights of my summer last year and I could not wait to sign up again this year.

My first farm box was green, green, green. Lettuce, chard, kale, asparagus, spearmint, tarragon, spring onions, radishes and dried beans to round it out. There will be lots of salads this week. But first, this lovely tart I found in my Forest Feast cookbook. As far as using up fresh veg this summer, I have a feeling this book will be my constant companion. Beautifully illustrated and easy, easy recipes that really highlight the veggies. Asparagus season is almost over so this one was at the top of my list. It didn’t disappoint.

As usual, I played fast and loose with some of the ingredients based on what I had on hand. Feel free to do the same.

Asparagus Tart

Asparagus Tart

Asparagus Tart
(from The Forest Feast, by Erin Gleeson)

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (takes 30-40 minutes to thaw at room temp)
15-20 spears of asparagus
Goat cheese (or other soft cheese of your choice, she used Brie in the original recipe)
1 egg, beaten
Dried Italian seasoning or herbs of your choice
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts or pine nuts
1 tbsp. capers
1-2 tbsp. parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 375˚. Unfold the puff pastry and place on a cookie sheet (greased or lined with parchment). Spread cheese over the puff pastry. Drizzle the beaten egg over the cheese. Place asparagus spears in a row. Sprinkle with other ingredients. Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before slicing.

We served this with a salad and fruit for dinner (also perfect for lunch or brunch!). Using one sheet of puff pastry serves 3-4 people. Easily doubled for more, or can be cut into smaller pieces for appetizers.

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The Sleepover Solution: Build Your Own Pizza Bar

The giggling still echoes in my ears.  Four thirteen-year-old girls can make a lot of noise.  And apparently require almost no sleep.  In any case I know one thing:  A key element of a successful sleepover is the food.  The build your own pizza bar is one we’ve done a couple times and it’s always a rousing success.  Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a fun activity for the kids, no matter what age they are.

While this is perfect kid food, I’ve been known to do this with my grown up friends too.  Everybody gets just what they like, and it’s great if you have a group that includes vegetarians, or others on a special diet.  I love to use the little ciabatta rolls, or a french baguette cut into pieces. If you have gluten-free or low-carb folks in your group you can use gluten free buns, stuff toppings in a pepper half or toss with salad greens for a pizza salad.

We followed up with Frost Your Own Cupcakes for dessert. Yum!

Our masterpieces!

Our masterpieces!

Build Your Own Pizzas

Ciabatta rolls or French baguette, cut into 3-4″ pieces.
Pizza sauce
Pesto (I like to offer an alternative to tomato sauce in case of allergies, etc.)
Assorted pizza toppings of your choice.  We used:
Banana pepper rings
Sliced red & yellow peppers

The pizza bar.  It can be simple or elaborate.  Basic or gourmet.  It's up to you!

The pizza bar. It can be simple or elaborate. Basic or gourmet. It’s up to you!

Put all the ingredients out, make sure you have plenty of utensils for spreading and scooping ingredients.  Have everybody wash their hands first and then make their own pizzas.  Preheat the oven to 400˚.  Lay out a baking sheet or two on which to place the finished masterpieces.  I always recommend they put some sort of marker on their pizzas so they will know which ones are theirs, or just remember where they put it.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown on top.  Remove from oven and let cool a minute or so.  Clear out while the hungry horde descends.


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Farmer’s Market Pita Pizza

I almost forgot to go to Farmer’s Market this weekend.  At the last minute, I remembered I had no veggies in my fridge, and if it wasn’t the market, it was a trip to the grocery store instead.  I chose the market.  I arrived with only a few minutes to spare, in fact some of the vendors were already breaking down their booths.  So I embarked on what surely was the quickest, most efficient farmers marketing I have ever done, rushing through and grabbing a few goodies here and there without giving it too much thought.  It was actually a lot of fun, and I ended up with an armful of random items that somehow go really well together.  Plus I scored a gorgeous flower bouquet, greatly discounted.  I’d like to think it was because I was looking especially fetching that day, but truth is, he probably just wanted to go home.  Maybe both. 🙂

Farmer’s market goodies! Gorgeous flowers, new potatoes, goat cheese, beets, dill, carrots, sweet onions, raspberries and look at those beautiful tomatoes!

So for dinner, obviously I couldn’t wait to dip into my treasure trove of goodies.  I had a couple things left from my last trip to the market that needed to get used up – some pita bread and Italian salami.  Combined with some of fresh goat cheese and freaking amazing tomatoes from this trip, plus some basil from my garden, I had myself a pizza to die for.

My beautiful pizza!

Farmer’s Market Pita Pizza

1 greek pita or flatbread
1 small to medium size tomato, sliced
fresh basil
olive oil
goat cheese
dry salami

Drizzle the pita with a tiny bit of olive oil.  Arrange tomatoes over the top to cover the surface.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Scatter salami and basil over the top and dot with blobs of goat cheese.  Add another little drizzle of olive oil.

Building the perfect pizza. You really don’t even need to cook it if you don’t want to.

Broil for 5 minutes or so until the cheese is melty and the crust is browned around the edges.  Cut into wedges and eat!


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Pizza Quiche

One of our favorite meals, especially when we have friends over, is the “build your own” pizza.  We get ciabatta rolls or french bread and all sorts of yummy toppings and create delicious masterpieces.  It’s always a hit.  But that’s not what this post is about.  Mostly because the four tween girls who were building pizzas distracted me so I didn’t get any pictures.  But you get the idea.  This post is about leftovers.

After the pizza party, I had bits and pieces of pizza toppings to use for…something.  And so pizza quiche was born.  Obviously, you could change this up with whatever toppings YOU like on a pizza, but this combo was particularly tasty.

Pizza Quiche

Pizza Quiche

1 pie crust (I prefer Pillsbury fresh pie crust, found in the dairy case)
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup pepperoni
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup sweet bell peppers, chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup mild banana pepper rings
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425˚.  Unroll pie crust and press into a pie pan (I usually dust the bottom with a little flour to prevent sticking).  Crimp edges around the pan and trim off any extra dough.  In a bowl whisk together eggs, half & half, and salt & pepper.  In the pie pan, layer the pepperoni and veggies.  Top with cheese.  Pour egg mixture over the top.  Carefully set it in the preheated oven.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Turn oven temperature down to 375˚ and cook another 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and LET IT SIT FOR 10 MINUTES.  If you don’t let it sit it won’t set up and it will be a mess on a plate instead of a pretty wedge.  I have learned this the hard way.  Cut into wedges and enjoy hot, cold or in between.


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Project Veggie: Day 24 – French Bread Pesto Pizza

Whoever said there is no such thing as bad pizza or bad sex was clearly an idiot. I’ve had horrible pizza. As for the sex…well, this isn’t that kind of blog.

I think most delivery pizza is pretty gross. Mostly because I prefer mine right out of the oven, with a decent crust, gooey, melty, crunchy, and so hot it burns the roof of your mouth if you eat it too fast. By the time you get a pizza delivered to your door, it may be okay, but it’s not going to be hot and crunchy. It will more likely be a little soggy, and lot greasy and while adequate and even tasty, not anything like what you would get at your neighborhood pizza parlor made to order. And not as good as you could make at home.

I occasionally make or buy dough for pizza crust, but my favorite (and fastest) way to make pizza at home is to use french bread. I like the crunchy baguettes, split in half and then chopped into hand held portions. Simple, fresh ingredients are my favorite toppings. You can buy decent canned sauce at the store, but more often I just use fresh pesto or chopped tomatoes, or both. These are fun for kids or company since you can easily do a “build your own” pizza bar. Set out a variety of toppings, let everybody make their masterpiece, put them all on a cookie sheet and bake.

French Bread Pesto Pizza

French Bread Pesto Pizza

French or sourdough baguette
Mozzarella – shredded or cut into small chunks
Grape tomatoes, chopped
Black olives, chopped
Banana peppers

Spread pesto on the french bread, top with tomatoes, cheese and other toppings. Bake at 400˚ for 10 minutes or so.

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