Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The fruits of our labors (A non-design related "easy as pie" dinner post)

Disclaimer: The "recipes" I am about to share with you are by no means fancy and they certainly aren't novel or super creative by any means.  That being said, I figured I should share the fruits of my gardening labors (HA!) and hook you up with some "It is 6:30 pm, I just walked in the door, everyone is going nuts and we need food stat" dinner ideas.  My cooking skills may be limited, but I strive to share these "recipes" with you because they are 1) easy 2) healthy 3) yum and 4) use fresh "real food" ingredients...nothing fake! (see no. 2). 

Let's start with a shot of the finished result.

Simple sauceless whole wheat pizza, featuring our straight-from-the-corrogated-steel-tub basil!

I was inspired to start making this easy pizza after Beau and I tried something similar in Glen Ellen at The Fig Cafe, which is the baby property to another fave of ours in Sonoma, The Girl and the Fig restaurant. 

Here are the ingredients (again, see "embarrassing that I am considering it as a recipe...")

1.   Pre-made organic whole wheat pizza crust (I buy the one from Whole Foods...quick!...but, you can also, of course, make your own pizza dough)

2.   Fresh local tomatoes.

3.   Thin slices of mozzarella cheese (I prefer to thinly slice my own from a mozzarella loaf as I can control how thin the slices are)

4.  Fresh basil from your container garden.

5.  100% extra virgin olive oil (I am picky about olive oil...don't skimp out when you are buying.  I strongly recommend extra virgin, cold press)

That is it! 

Again, hilarious that I am considering these steps a "recipe," but here you go.

1.   Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.   Brush a tiny dollop of olive oil onto the crust.

3.  Thinly slice your tomatoes and arrange them onto the crust. 

4.  Thinly slice your mozzarella (to your liking) and place the mozzarella on top of the tomatoes.  Again, the amount of cheese should be gauged to your preference and diet!

5.  Top with as much basil as possible.

Isn't this so pretty?
Now, right there is a shining example of my gardening efforts. 

6.  Bake for approximately 11-15 minutes. 

Delicious, fresh and healthy! 

Now for Part 2 of simple, not-really-recipe recipes.  What should you pair with your fresh pizza?  The most simple and satisfying salad you will ever eat, of course.  I need to digress, per usual, for a few moments re: salads.  My mom is legitimately known as the salad master in plenty of circles...she truly has the ability to make the most incredible green salads.  People are always requesting her recipes (and now mine!) and what we both say is that there is not really a recipe to a great salad, moreso "guidelines" to making them seriously rave-worthy.  I will share said guidelines shortly.

Back to the simple salad.  I have a couple of standard go-to salads that I make, but I think I need to share this with everyone since four sets of house guests in a row have emailed me requesting the "recipe." 

Simplest salad ever.
Loosely inspired by the arugula salad at Slice Pizzeria, one of our fave spots on Magazine. 

Here is the ingredient list:

1.  Mixed greens (I recommend bagged lettuce, actually....whether from the grocery or from your farmer's market.  Some vendors at our farmer's market have started washing a pre-bagging lettuce)

2.  A lemon.

3.  Olive oil (see ingredients for sauceless pizza above).

4.  Salt.

5.  Pepper.

5.  Pecorino Romano (finely shredded).

Yep...that really is all that is in the salad. 

The recipe (again, our salad "recipes" are more about tasting and mixing and not as much about precise measurements!)

1.  Place the entirety of your lettuce (one bag) in your mixing bowl.

2.  Cut your lemon in half (I would suggest a small-medium sized lemon) and squeeze half of it over your lettuce.  Mix the lettuce....really toss it!

3.  This is where it is really hard to explain.  Take your bottle of olive oil and lightly pour the oil around the rim of the bowl (pretty fast) about three times.  I know, I know. Horrible explanation.  Honestly, this is where you really just have eyeball the amount of oil you want in your salad.  Always err on the side of too little and add more as opposed to putting in too much.  Mix the lettuce again.  Taste. 

4.  Grind your salt and pepper over the salad.  Mix.  Taste.  (This again, should be a to-taste test)

5.  Pour your shredded pecorino romano over the salad in the desired amount.  Thoroughly mix again.  Taste.  You're done.

The Aforementioned Salad Guidelines:

1.  Don't pre-mix your dressing.  I think mixing it up as you go (pouring each ingredient, mix, taste technique) is a sure fire win!

2.  No bottled dressing allowed!

3.  Get some "claw" salad tongs.  You will never regret it!

4.  You can never go wrong with a simple base of olive oil and white wine vinegar.  We can discuss multiple yum salads which feature that "base" if you guys are the least bit interested. 

5.  Pine nuts are your secret weapon. 

I really hope that this simple dinner is something you would love to share with your family.  Some of the most satifying recipes are truly the most basic.  If you  have any questions about this din din, let me know.  Back to design tomorrow!




  1. Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to try these. I think we will try your pizza on the Webbie this weekend!

  2. I love your salad, especially because it doesn't contain the scratchy lettuce!

  3. It IS delicious. Thanks for these recipes!! PS I made your orzo yesterday...a HUGE bowl...and the family raved. It is already almost gone.

  4. yum- going to have a fun project and let my boys make pizza.

  5. Put it in and watch it spin!

    JG is a master salad maker too, I'll have to send some of his dressing recipes!

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