5.26.16 Asparagus and Burrata Pizza with Arugula Pesto

I suppose a more appropriate name for this pizza might just be “Things available at the Farmer’s Market in May” pizza. Or “vernal pizzquinox” (worst food pun ever? probably). Or maybe just “SPRING!”. Because there’s a whole lot of springyness going on with this pie.

Sure, we went with your standard pizza crust (no need to get too crazy here), but from there, things start to get more seasonal. While I absolutely love a good red pizza sauce, for this pizza I opted for a brilliantly green arugula pesto, which is then topped with fresh asparagus, a sprinkling a freshly grated parmesan, and copious amounts of burrata cheese.

Sidebar here: how I’ve made it to this point in my life without ever having tried burrata cheese, I’ll never know. But now that I’ve discovered how absolutely wonderful it is,  I’m constantly thinking about the stuff. The fact is, while fresh mozzarella makes for some very delicious pizza, rich, creamy burrata is the stuff of pizza dreams.

And as if this pizza doesn’t already have enough going for it, I went there and put an egg on top. Well, multiple eggs really. The eggs cook perfectly in the oven while the pizza bakes, and when it comes out of the oven, piping hot and melty, you’ve also got three over-easy eggs atop, just waiting to spill their golden yolky deliciousness over it all. Top it off with another sprinkle of parm and a smattering of fresh, peppery watercress and there you have it. Spring in pizza form.

Asparagus and Burrata Pizza with Arugula Pesto

Makes 1 large pizza

  • Pizza dough (recipe follows)
  • Arugula pesto (recipe follows)
  • 1 ½ cups asparagus cut into about 1” pieces
  • 8 oz burrata cheese (sub fresh mozzarella if you can’t find burrata)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp flaky salt (such as Maldon)
  • 1 oz fresh watercress (other greens such as baby arugula, pea shoots, or microgreens)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Grease a baking sheet or large pizza pan with cooking spray and sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Place dough in the center of the pan and spread all the way to the edges, spreading dough as thinly as you can without tearing it. Let pizza dough rest while oven heats and you prep the rest of your toppings. (hint - if you’re having trouble spreading the dough all the way to the edges, spread it as far as you can, then let it rest for about 5 minutes. After resting, it will be easier to finish spreading the dough all the way to the edges of the pan).

3. Spread arugula pesto evenly over the prepared pizza dough, leaving a 1” border around the edges. Sprinkle evenly with the asparagus pieces. Break burrata into large chunks and place atop pizza, then sprinkle everything with ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese.

4. Make three indentations in the toppings, then crack one egg into each. Carefully, carefully, transfer pizza pan to oven and bake at 450 degrees until egg whites are set and cheese is melty and beginning to brown, about 15-18 minutes.

5. Remove pizza from oven, and sprinkle evenly with the crushed red pepper, flaky salt, and remaining ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Top evenly with greens and serve immediately.

 

Pizza Dough

Makes 1 large pizza

More in-depth details on perfect pizza dough here.

  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups flour (preferably bread flour)
  • 1 tsp salt

1. Dissolve yeast and honey in water, let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Combine the flour and salt and a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the liquid ingredients, stirring until ingredients are just combined.  Let sit for 10-20 minutes. (note: this sitting stage allows the gluten network to start forming through hydration, which will cut down on your overall kneading time by about 50%. If you’d rather not wait, you can start kneading immediately, and you will just end up needing to work the dough for about 6-8 minutes to build up a sufficient gluten network).

3. Knead dough until a smooth cohesive ball forms and dough passes the ‘windowpane test’ (should take about 2-4 minutes if you rested the dough in the previous step, otherwise about 6-8 minutes).

4. Spray a bowl with cooking spray, put dough into bowl, turning to coat both sides of dough with oil. Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature for 60-90 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.

 

Arugula Pesto

I used pepitas here for an interesting twist, but feel free to sub the more traditional pine nuts, or even sunflower seeds here.

  • 4 cups fresh arugula
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (or 2 stalks green garlic, roughly chopped)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt + more to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until well combined - about 30-45 seconds. Add additional salt to taste if needed. Can be made ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

5.23.16 Wisconsin Grown | Part 5

Up until now, I’ve really only been showcasing the farmer’s market as my source for locally grown goodness, but the truth is, I also get a lot of my produce from my CSA (more on that later) and my own backyard. The benefits to growing your own vegetables and herbs are numerous - you can grow exactly what you want, and as much as you want; you can grow interesting heirloom varieties that may otherwise be hard to find; and most importantly, they are always close at hand. No waiting for market days or CSA pickups; you want a salad? Go out back and pick some lettuce. It doesn’t get any fresher than that. I also feel a sense of pride as I eat my homegrown produce (I grew that salad!)

Sure, it can also be a lot of work. Between planting, weeding, watering, keeping the dog out of the garden bed, and everything else that goes with having a home garden, some days it can seem a bit daunting. And, at least for me, there will always be something I plant that turns out to be a terrific flop. But in the end, I love growing my own food, so it’s totally worth it.

This year, I’ve got a lot of great things slated for the garden. I tend to grow both plants from seed (those that mature and ripen relatively quickly) and transplants (those that need a little extra time and have to be started indoors before the last frost dates). I almost always buy my seeds from Seed Savers Exchange because I love all of the beautiful and interesting heirloom varieties they have available. My seed plants this year include:

  • Sylvetta Arugula
  • Crisp Mint Lettuce
  • Mizuna
  • Dragon Tongue Beans
  • Scarlet Nantes Carrots
  • A & C Pickling Cucumber
  • Edible Flowers - Nasturtium and Johnny Jump-Up

I’m not brave enough to try sprouting my own transplants indoors, so I tend to leave those to the professionals. This year, I bought all of my transplants from Raleigh’s Hillside Farm, a local CSA farm near Evansville, and they are some absolutely beautiful plants. Here are the transplants going into this year’s garden:

  • Heirloom Tomatoes - Yellow Brandywine, Pruden’s Purple, and Sun Gold
  • Red and Yellow Italian Frying Peppers
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Poblano Pepper
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Eggplant
  • Watermelon
  • Purple Basil
  • Thyme
  • Dill

And of course, our garden wouldn’t be complete without a few perennials that keep coming back each spring, including raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, hops, lemon balm, and chives.

Now, seeing as how my garden has just gone in this weekend, none of my garden veggies are anywhere near ready for consumption quite yet. But be on the lookout for them in my posts later this season! And of course, we did (as usual) hit up the farmer’s market for some delicious late spring produce, so we’ve still got something to work with. Here’s what we’re cooking with this week:

Rhubarb - Our breakfasts this week are about to get a whole lot better thanks to these rhubarb coffee cake muffins.

Oyster, Shiitake, and King Trumpet Mushrooms - Once I laid eyes on this beautiful bunch of mixed mushrooms, I absolutely had to get them. They’re going to be amazing in this barley salad I’ve been dying to make.

Broccoli Rabe - There are probably many, many things one can do with broccoli rabe, but in my mind, sauteeing it up and adding it to pasta is the best way to go. With lots of roasted garlic, parmesan, and hot italian sausage, obviously.

Pea Shoots - You know those delicious, garlicky stir fried pea shoots you get at dim sum restaurants? Well, if you pick up some pea shoots at the farmer’s market, you can easily make it yourself at home. Also, this way, you don’t have to share.

Scallions - A big, beautiful bunch of market scallions is the perfect reason to make up a batch of these white cheddar and scallion biscuits with hot sauce butter.

Radishes - We all know that radishes are the perfect vehicle for fresh butter and plenty of flaky sea salt, but did you know the greens are edible too? I’m thinking Deborah Madison’s radish top soup with yogurt and lemon is looking especially appealing these days.

 

5.20.16 Pistachio Cake with Raspberry Mascarpone Filling

It’s hard to believe, but as of today, we have a 6 month old on our hands. I’m still not entirely sure where the time went there. The last 6 months feel as though they’ve gone by both very fast, and very slow. It’s hard to remember life before Leo. Since this little guy was born, things have definitely been different around the house, but we’re still managing to do plenty of cooking, and our little guy has been enjoying every minute of it. In fact, he’s finally started eating real food (he’s loving avocados these days), which, as I’m sure you can imagine, has been incredibly exciting (and incredibly messy).

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Since Leo was born, I’ve been taking full advantage of each of his month birthdays to make him a cake. Because when you love cake as much as I do, you take any excuse to make cake once a month, even if the birthday boy himself can’t actually eat it. I take this whole cake thing very, very seriously.

For Leo’s 1 month birthday, we enjoyed double dark chocolate stout cake. At 2 months, it was sticky gingerbread cake. 3 months saw us eating chocolate cinnamon cake with Grand Marnier frosting, and for 4 months, we had some good old carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. At 5 months, we went rogue and made this Vietnamese coffee cake. And now, we’re at 6 months. I figured something extra special was in order.

Which is why today, we’re celebrating with the lovely pistachio cake. And we’re talking real pistachio cake, not the kind made with pistachio pudding mix from a box. The lovely nutty cake is complemented by a filling of tart-sweet raspberries and creamy mascarpone. And then, the whole thing is topped off with a glossy, smooth layer of dark chocolate ganache (which incidentally, I find to be the easiest and classiest looking way to frost a cake). Happy 6 month birthday to my favorite cake-baking excuse ever!

Pistachio Cake with Raspberry Mascarpone Filling

Cake

  • ¾ cup roasted, shelled pistachios + 2 Tbsp roughly chopped for garnish
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt (use only ½ tsp if using salted pistachios)
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Raspberry Filling

  • 6 oz fresh raspberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature

Ganache

  • ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep two 8” round cake pans (*see note below).

2. Place pistachios in a food processor and pulse until evenly chopped into very small pieces, about 45 to 60 seconds.

3. Combine the chopped pistachios in a bowl with the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

4. In another bowl, combine the milk, yogurt, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until everything is well incorporated.

5. Pour half of the batter into each prepared pan and spread in an even layer to the pans’ edges. Bake at 350 degrees until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the cakes, and invert them out of the pans and onto cooling racks. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.

6. While cakes cool, make the raspberry filling: Combine raspberries, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until raspberries soften and break down completely, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow raspberry mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.

7. Combine the raspberry mixture and mascarpone in a large bowl, whisking together until well mixed. Chill mixture in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

8. Make the ganache: Heat cream in a small saucepan until just steaming, but not boiling. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, whisking constantly until a smooth, glossy consistency is achieved.

9. Assemble the cake: Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet, and place one of the cakes on top. Spread the raspberry filling evenly over the cake, then place the other cake on top. Slowly pour chocolate ganache onto the top of the cake - ganache will coat top and run down to coat sides of cake as well, with excess dripping off onto the baking sheet below. Once cake is coated in ganache, garnish with chopped pistachios and transfer to a refrigerator to cool and allow ganache to set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

*Note on pan prep: In situations where I absolutely need to get cakes out of their pans in one piece, I find that having a well greased pan makes a huge difference. I’ve had great success using the following method:

Trace the bottom of the pan on a sheet of parchment paper, and cut it out - you’ll have a circle that will fit perfectly into the bottom of your pan. Grease the whole pan (bottom and sides) with cooking spray or butter, then lay the parchment paper on the bottom. Next, add a bit of flour to the pan, and turning the pan on its side and moving it around, allow the flour to coat the sides of the pan completely, tapping out any excess. Now your pan is ready to go, and you should have minimal trouble getting your cake out in one piece.

5.17.16 Wisconsin Grown | Part 4

I’m happy to report that we somehow managed to survive the last week. The week started out just fine, but quickly deteriorated when every member of the Woolworth household came down with some sort of sickness. It started with baby, then me, then Forrest, and then, not to be left out, the dog decided he was going to be sick too. There was definitely a point in there where I didn’t know if we’d make it, but luckily we’ve all recovered and things are once again back to normal. Normal enough even that we decided to brave the wind and cold and make a trip to the Westside Community Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. And per usual, we ended up going home with plenty of good things to eat. Here’s what we’re cooking with this week:

Salad Greens - Because apparently I eat way too much salad. I also eat way too much ice cream, so I’d say it balances out. Currently, I’m a big fan of any salad that’s topped with this incredibly delicious Goddess Dressing.

Green Garlic -  Yep, we’re still on the green garlic bandwagon. It won’t be around forever, so I’m making the most of it. Currently, I’m adding it to pesto, vinaigrettes, stir-fries, and frittatas, but the possibilities with this stuff are endless.

Asparagus - I bought more asparagus this week with the intention of making a whole bunch of this spicy Masala Asparagus, but then the Leek and the Carrot posted this fantastic looking Charred Asparagus Grilled Cheese…Good thing we have a lot of asparagus.

Rhubarb - I’ve been dying to try making this Rhubarb Curd from Things I Made Today and slather it on absolutely everything. And whatever rhubarb is left is getting infused into gin for some killer negronis.

Eggs - More big, beautiful, orange-yolked farm eggs. You can be sure that I’ll be looking for any excuse to make pretty much any meal just a little bit better by putting an egg on it.

5.8.16 Wisconsin Grown | Part 3

Once again, we spent our Saturday morning perusing the farmer’s market and buying all manner of green, springy things. Upon returning home with our spoils, I realized I may have gone a little bit overboard in the greens department. I can think of worse problems to have. Here’s what we’re cooking with this week:

Spinach - Yes, we went with more spinach this week. It’s too good to pass up, plus I’ve had a hankering for this Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne. Which is why I conveniently picked up some Cremini Mushrooms as well.

Mustard Greens - I love mustard greens’ slightly bitter, spicy notes. They’re absolutely perfect in this Bitter Greens and Bacon Quiche, which incidentally happens to also be the ideal food to eat for brunch and picnics, aka the two best types of meals.

Arugula - While I have no doubt that a decent amount of arugula will be making its way into the aforementioned quiche, I’m definitely seeing a lot of arugula salads in my future. Most likely with copious amounts of carrot ginger miso dressing.

Watercress - Because mustard greens and arugula weren’t enough peppery greens for one week, I got some watercress too. Which means, more salads!

Ramps - As this was likely the last week that ramps will be available, I obviously had to buy some. They were eaten almost immediately - thrown on the grill until the leaves were slightly charred, and served alongside a nice grilled steak. Bonus points for chopping up a grilled ramp or two and mixing with some softened butter to make ramp butter. There are any number of ways to enjoy ramp butter, but from personal experience, I can say that slathering it on grilled bread and putting a nice dollop atop a freshly grilled steak are two highly recommended options.

Green Garlic - Since its availability is pretty limited, I’m usually always buying green garlic when I can and taking advantage of it’s fresh, springy garlic flavor anywhere I would usually use regular garlic.

Asparagus - One of the highlights of my week was finding a way to cook asparagus that Forrest actually enjoyed. We’ll be eating Lucky Peach’s Stir-Fried Asparagus for the foreseeable future.

Potatoes - You can never go wrong with potatoes. And if, like me, you have an abundance of fresh farmer’s market eggs to boot, this Potato and Leek Frittata seems like the right decision.

5.6.16 Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing

Spring is, without a doubt, the best possible time for eating salads. One look at the all of the vibrant, fresh greens filling the farmer’s markets this time of year, and I’m sure you’ll agree. Frost sweetened spinach, peppery arugula, tender baby greens, hearty kale - greens are everywhere these days. Crisp, fresh-picked greens are welcome change after a winter spent eating copious amounts of root vegetables. Even the most stalwart salad avoiders would find it hard to pass up these gorgeous spring greens.

Admittedly, I can go a little crazy in the greens department this time of year. But when it comes to spring salads, I generally keep things pretty simple - a big bowl of fresh springy greens tossed with a bright flavorful dressing and not much else. With leafy veggies being so delicious this time of year, that’s really all you need.  

These days, my dressing of choice is this golden-hued carrot, ginger, and miso concoction. It’s full of flavor - spicy ginger, sweet carrot, plenty of umami, and just the right amount of heat. Sunny, and bright - it’s exactly how spring should taste.

Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing

makes about 1 cup

  • 2 small carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chile, seeded and roughly chopped (optional)
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water (or more for as needed for a thinner consistency)
  • 2 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ¼ cup canola or other neutral oil

1. Combine all ingredients except canola oil in a food processor. Process until a smooth consistency is achieved, about one minute.

2. With processor running, pour in the canola oil in a thin stream until it is all incorporated into the dressing. Store dressing in the refrigerator - dressing will keep up to 1 week.

5.2.16 Wisconsin Grown | Part 2

It was a cold, rainy Saturday, but that didn’t stop us from heading to the farmer’s market for our weekly spring produce fix. Here’s what we’re working with this week:

Spinach - Early season frost sweetened spinach is my favorite. This week, as chilly evenings continue, I’m thinking of making a big batch of ginger turmeric chicken soup, which conveniently includes a healthy dose of spinach. The rest is slated for salads.

Scallions - I had such success experimenting with these scallion milk bread rolls a few weeks ago, that it seems another batch is in order. I used this recipe for the milk bread, then kneaded in one bunch finely chopped scallions before shaping, proofing, and baking. They were perfect.

Mint - The Kentucky Derby is fast approaching - mint juleps anyone?

Red Russian Kale - An heirloom variety of kale; I’m thinking some of this spicy sauteed kale with coconut milk is in order.

Green Garlic - They look a lot like scallions, but don’t be fooled; green garlic is the young garlic plant harvested before the bulb develops. It tastes like garlic (because it is), but in a fresher, milder way than mature garlic cloves. This time of year, I chop it up (the whole stalk can be eaten, but the upper leaves can be a bit tough), and use it in place of garlic in any recipe I can think of for a nice springy twist.

Asparagus - This time of year, I’m always looking for an excuse to make Deborah Madison’s asparagus and morel bread pudding, and fresh market asparagus seems like the best possible excuse.

Oyster Mushrooms - Since I can’t wait until morels are more readily available to make the aforementioned bread pudding, I’m making it with oyster mushrooms instead. Spoiler alert: it’s still amazing.

Ramps - I couldn’t wait to get my hands on more ramps after seeing these recipes for Turnip, Ramp, and White Bean Dip & Spring Salad with Ramp Green Vinaigrette on the Leek and the Carrot blog. And if that’s not enough, a big pan of this ramp focaccia is never a bad thing to have on hand.

4.28.16 Rhubarb Yogurt Parfaits with Hazelnut Crumble

These days, rhubarb is my jam. It’s one of the few things making a consistent appearance at the farmer’s market this early in the season, and there’s something about its super sour, slightly bitter, and wholly unique flavor that I can’t get enough of.  During rhubarb season, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll find the stuff hanging around my kitchen, waiting to be incorporated into my latest kitchen experiments.

Yes, rhubarb is my jam. So I suppose it’s fitting that my most recent rhubarb endeavor has been to literally make it into jam. I mean why not? It’s incredibly easy to do. Toss it in a pot, add some brown sugar and honey to sweeten things up a little, throw in some vanilla and cardamom to make things interesting, and boil away. It’s that simple.  

And as your jam simmers away, it’s just as easy to roast up a quick cinnamon-spiked oat and hazelnut crumble to go with it. Jam and crumble, of course, being the perfect accompaniments to a creamy bowl of yogurt. Layered together, this trifecta gives the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, creamy and crunchy. Not a bad way to start the day, if you ask me.

Rhubarb Yogurt Parfaits with Hazelnut Crumble

Rhubarb Jam

  • 2 ½ cups sliced rhubarb
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp salt

Hazelnut Crumble + Assembly

  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Plain or vanilla yogurt ( I love Sugar River Dairy’s vanilla yogurt )

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking sheet.

2. Make the rhubarb jam: Combine all jam ingredients in a pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally until rhubarb has cooked down to form a smooth, sauce-like consistency, about 15 minutes. Rhubarb jam can be made ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

3. While rhubarb simmers, make the crumble: combine all crumble ingredients (except yogurt) in a bowl, tossing until well mixed. Spread mixture out onto prepared baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and fragrant, about 10-12 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking. Cool completely. Crumble can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

4. Make parfaits by layering yogurt, with the jam and crumble. Serve immediately.