Roasted Garlic Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust

I know, fig and roasted garlic doesn’t sound that enticing, does it? And trust me, I was wondering how this last-minute pizza would turn out since it didn’t sound all that good to me either. But you know what? It was really tasty. By the way, the reason I used fresh figs, was because I figured out too late that I had no tomatoes for my little pizza.

It must have been meant to be, because I feel like I discovered something good: that figs could sometimes serve as tomatoes in a pinch. Well, that is if you’re open to those kinds of ideas. And I of course, being very weird in a creative sort of way, am open.

The pizza crust was made with white whole wheat flour so this veggie pizza is very healthy. I’m still very happy with this crust recipe (that I use regularly), since I think a lot of whole wheat pizza crusts taste like cardboard. 

Tips for best results:

- Use pizza stone and pizza peel.

- Bake in hot oven and heat pizza stone in oven for 30 minutes before baking.

- Use cornmeal on pizza peel for great taste and ease of getting pizza in the oven.

Roasted Garlic Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 or more
 
Ingredients
  • For the dough
  • 4½ cups all white whole wheat *I prefer King Arthur’s)
  • 2 cups luke warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for rubbing on dough balls)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • a little rosemary (optional)
  • For the topping, use more or less of ingredients to taste
  • 4-5 fresh figs, sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 cups fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 -2 cups fresh baby greens
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsely, roughly chopped
  • parmigiana cheese if desired
  • a little cornmeal to dust on pizza
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Instructions
  1. For the dough, add yeast to two cups of water and let sit for several minutes until foamy. If it doesn't foam, the yeast is not active, so try again with another packet.
  2. While yeast is dissolving in the water, add flour, rosemary and salt to mixing bowl of Kitchen Aid or food processor. Process a few seconds to blend.
  3. To yeast mixture, stir in sugar, olive oil and vinegar and then add mixture gradually to the flour mixture and process until the dough begins to form a ball and comes away from the sides of the container. Place dough hook on processor and knead for about 15 mintues.
  4. Turn out onto floured surface. Sprinkle with flour and knead for another minute and form into ball.
  5. Place in bowl rubbed with olive oil, cover bowl with towel and let sit for two hours until it doubles in size.
  6. While dough is rising, heat a little olive oil on low in small fry pan. Pan roast garlic for about 20 minutes, or until slightly carmelized. Set aside.
  7. After two hours, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, knead a couple times and cut in ½ or in three equal pieces. Form into round balls and use as needed. To use the next day, rub lightly with olive oil, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight (I prefer using the next day for better flavor).
  8. For the pizza, place rack in the center of the oven and heat to 500 degrees F with pizza stone inside (if you have one) .
  9. Stretch out dough and push downward in center with fingers to desired shape and size.
  10. Dust pizza peel with a little cornmeal and lay your dough on top of it, reshaping it and leaving a little more thickness on the edges.
  11. Evenly arrange cheese and toppings on center of dough.
  12. Lightly rub a tiny bit of olive oil on the edges.
  13. Slide pizza onto baking stone in oven and bake 7-10 minutes until crust edges are golden brown.
  14. While pizza is baking, toss together baby greens with a teaspoon of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Set aside.
  15. Remove pizza from the oven when done and garnish with fresh grated hard, Italian cheese, and greens mixture.

 

Bacon and Strawberry Pancakes

Warning: if you love sweet and savory combos, don’t make too many pancakes because you will be at risk of eating way too many (like I did).

Last weekend I whipped up a couple pancakes for my favorite 5-year-old twins. Little Jaye, son of my big Jaye, sweetly muttered that, “Nina (that’s my name for Grandma) makes the best pancakes.” It so warmed my heart, not because I think my pancakes are great, or felt complimented – it was because I was so glad that I created something that could one day turn into a warm memory for them. I believe some of the best memories we have in life, are made at grandma’s homes across the plantet. And I’ll bet many of them have food in them. : )

With no pancake recipe on my blog, it was time to really figure out a pancake recipe that I could share since I never measure anything when it comes to pancake batter. I actually googled around a bit to find a base recipe (out of total laziness) and stumbled across one that uses half whole wheat flour on Something Edible. – so that’s the one I started with.

Of course I couldn’t just leave the recipe as is, so  I started by dicing up the wonderful Calfornia strawberries I brought back from my day trip down to Santa Maria late last week. Oh my goodness, were these berries delicious!  For even more fun,  I thought I’d make sweet and savory pancakes by also  adding bacon. Trust me, the combination was really, really, REALLY good.

I’m not a huge pancake fan, but now that I’ve made these, I think I just might become one. Have a wonderful, long weekend!


Bacon and Strawberry Pancakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Ingredients
  • 6-8 strawberries, diced finely
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups buttermilk (or milk with 1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey (I used and agave syrup)
Instructions
  1. Heat pan or griddle on medium low. I prefer using a cast iron pan for pancakes.
  2. While pan is heating, sift all dry ingredients into mixing bowl and whisk a couple times.
  3. In large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, butter and agave syrup (or honey). Add one cup of the buttermilk to the egg mixture and whisk about a minute until frothy.
  4. While coninuing to whisk, add the flour mixture and mix until just blended. Let rest a minute or two. The batter should be on thick side. Add a more buttermilk a little at a time until it's the consistency you like. It's fine if it's a bit thick, because after you ladle the batter in the pan, you can use a spoon to spread evenly. If you want a thinner batter, add a little more milk and stir. Just make sure you don't over work the batter or your pancakes won't be tender.
  5. With paper towel, spread thin layer of oil in bottom of pan. Test temperature by sprinkling a couple drops of water in pan - if they "dance" it's ready.
  6. Make a test pancake first. Adjust heat as necessary.
  7. Ladle batter into center of pan and spread evenly with back of spoon. Drop several pieces of strawberries and bacon evenly on wet pancake (see image).
  8. When you see a bubble pop in the center of the pancake, it's time to flip. Cook anohter minute or so until the botton the second side is golden brown.

Chorizo and Tomato Breakfast Pizza

Brealkfast Pizza

I’m not kidding when I say this could be the best thing I’ve ever eaten for breakfast. If I had it in a restaurant, I would be calling my brothers, kids and friends to tell them where to go get this Chorizo and Tomato Breakfast Pizza. The best part about it not being found at a restaurant, is that you don’t have to go any further than your kitchen to enjoy it – which means you can eat it any time you want!

Here’s why it’s really, really, really good: The crust is thin, chewy and 75 percent whole wheat; the chorizo is soy-based, but you’d NEVER know it; and it’s breakfast pizza with and egg planted right in the center for goodness sake! By the way, you can use regular chorizo too. I’m sure it would be just as delicious.

Breakfast Pizza with Chorizo and Tomato

For the crust, I recommend following the directions really closely. It’s very easy, but the kneading and rising time is important. I also think the addition of rosemary, vinegar and salt to the dough makes a big difference. If you’re using whole wheat, make sure to use white whole wheat because it will make a huge difference in taste and texture than using regular whole wheat Also, if you can, use a pizza stone that is pre-heated for at least 30 minutes (at 500 degrees F) to get that wood-fired effect.

Breakfast Pizza

Of course if you don’t like chorizo, feel free to use your favorite sausage, or  ingredients. I’ve experimented a lot with different combos, especially for breakfast, and this is definitely one of my favorites. If you want to try a breakfast pizza with bacon, try this one.

Regarding the egg, if you don’t like runny yolks, just make sure to add your egg to the pizza for a longer cooking time (see directions). And if you don’t like an egg on your pizza – don’t add it! You are the queen (or king) of your pizza!


 

Breakfast Pizza with Chorizo and Fresh Tomatoes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • Adapted from Chef Chuck's Cucina recipe
  • 3½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast (I use Fleishman's rapid rise yeast)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal (for bottom of crust)
  • Topping
  • ½ to 1 cup soy chorizo (I like the Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup black olives, sliced
  • 1-2 raw eggs
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Add flours, rosemary and salt to mixing bowl and whisk.
  2. Add yeast and sugar to 2 cups warm water (not hot). Let stand until foamy and then add the olive oil, vinegar.
  3. To stand mixing bowl, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix with paddle attachment just until combined. Scrape dough off paddle and add dough hook. On medium speed, knead for about 8 minutes. The dough should look tacky while it's kneading.
  4. For the next couple minutes, add 1 tablespoon at a time of flour while continuing to knead in mixer, until the dough starts to come away from the sides and bottom of the bowl and cling to the hook. Once you see that, knead for another minute.
  5. Turn out onto lightyfloured surface, knead a couple more times with hands, and place in large bowl greased with olive oil. Rub a little olive oil on top of dough, lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of dough and cover bowl with towel. Let rise for about 90 minutes, until more than doubled in size.
  6. Turn out onto lightly floured surface, knead a couple times and cut dough in half or thirds, depending on the size and quantity of the pizzas you plan to make.
  7. Rub olive oil on inside of plastic bag. Place individual dough balls in separate bags and refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. Note: You can use the dough right away, but it tastes better the next day. The dough can be refrigerated for 3-4 days, or frozen.
  9. To make pizza, pre-heat pizza stone in oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. For refrigerated dough, remove from refrigerator and plastic bag, and turn out onto lightly floured surface for about 15 minutes.
  10. Stretch dough out to desired thickness and size by pulling gently, even placing on your fists. Place on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal, shaping and gently pressing in the center with fingers. Make sure to leave edges a little thicker for a nice-looking crust.
  11. Drizzle or brush top of dough with a little olive oil.
  12. Add shredded cheese, leaving an inch at the edges for crust.
  13. Add layer of chorizo, then tomatoes and olives.
  14. Slide from peel onto hot pizza stone and cook at 500 degrees for about 6 minutes, until cheese begins to slightly bubble.
  15. While pizza is cooking, add egg(s) to small bowl or cup. At the 6 minute point, carefully pour egg onto top of pizza and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, until crust is slightly charred and egg is cooked to your preference (some like it runny, some don't). Just eyeball it and you should be fine.
  16. Slice when hot with pizza cutter.
  17. Enjoy!

 

Eggplant and Bolognese Pizza

Eggplant Pizza

I’m thinking about making a New Year’s resolution to make and eat pizza at least once a week. That’s because pizza is just such a comforting and delicious food to eat, isn’t it? And the best thing about making homemade pizza is that you can make it as healthy or as naughty as you want. Personally, I love making healthy pizza that tastes naughty! I do that by always using whole wheat crust and fresh, delicious ingredients.

But it all starts with a wonderfully healhty homemade crust. I use what is now my go-to recipe for homemade pizza crust that I slightly adapted from my blogger buddy Chef Chuck. The only thing I do different to the recipe is use whole wheat flour, add dried rosemary, and use a little more vinegar and salt.

If you’re worried that making your own dough is too time consuming, don’t be! It really takes just a few minutes of your time – especially if you have a KitchenAid with a dough hook. But don’t even worry if you don’t have one – kneading dough for about five minutes can be fun – really!

One last note about making your own pizza: Everything can be customized to your taste. That means you can make the size of pizza you want, add more or less sauce, and even change up the ingredients. Don’t like eggplant? Use mushrooms! Like ricotta cheese instead of mozzarella – use it! You get the point.

Either way, just have fun with it and enjoy!

Eggplant Pizza

Eggplant and Bolognese Pizza
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: several
 
Ingredients
  • For the dough
  • 4½ cups all white whole wheat (I prefer King Arthur’s)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for rubbing on dough balls)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • a little rosemary (optional)
  • For the topping, use more or less of ingredients to taste
  • ½ cup slices mozzarella cheese, sliced in small pieces or shredded
  • 1 cup tomato sauce ( or use 4-5 fresh small tomatoes). Or prepare bolognese ahead of time. My recipe can be found here: http://bit.ly/ti6gY4)
  • 1 small eggplant, cut in small 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsely, roughly chopped
  • crushed red pepper if desired
  • Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano cheese if desired
  • a little cornmeal to dust on pizza
Instructions
  1. For the dough, add the yeast to the 2 cups of water for several minutes until it becomes foamy. Add the sugar, olive oil and vinegar.
  2. While the yeast is dissolving in the water, add the flour, rosemary and salt to food processor jar and pulse a couple times.
  3. Add the water and yeast mixture gradually to the flour mixture and process until the dough begins to form a ball and comes away from the sides of the container. Turn out onto floured surface. Sprinkle with flour and knead for several minutes until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  4. Place in bowl rubbed with olive oil, cover with towel and let sit for 1½ to 2 hours until it doubles in size.
  5. While the dough is rising, prepare the eggplant by frying in olive oil in a small pan until lightl golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  6. Back to the dough: After two hours, turn out onto lightly floured surface, knead a couple times and cut in ½ or in three equal pieces. Form into neat balls and use as needed. To use the next day, rub lightly with olive oil, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight (I prefer using the next day for better flavor).
  7. For the pizza, preheat oven (with pizza stone if you have one) to 500 degrees F. Place rack in the center of the oven.
  8. Stretch out your dough and push downward in center with fingers to desired shape and size.
  9. Dust pizza peel (or parchment paper) with a little cornmeal and lay down your dough on top of it, reshaping it and leaving a little more thickness on the edges.
  10. Spread out layer of sauce in center of dough, leaving about an inch for the crust. Arrange eggplant pieces and cheese evenly over sauce. Sprinkle top with fresh parsley.
  11. Lightly rub a tiny bit of olive oil on the edges.
  12. Slide onto pizza stone and let cook for about 10 minutes until cheese is bubbling and crust looks browned.
  13. Remove and garnish with the fresh parsely, parmigiano cheese and crushed red pepper if desired.

Breakfast Pizza with Linguica and Roasted Green Chiles

Breakfast Pizza

It used to be that weekends meant getting up early and heading out for a run, but lately it seems that weekends are meant for one thing: making breakfast pizza!

Breakfast Pizza with Linguica and Green Chile

A few weeks ago, I made a breakfast pizza with bacon  we absolutely adored. As delicious as it was, I’ve been thinking about using the combo of green chile and linguica since those are among my favorite ingredients for breakfast. I also wanted to try a 100 percent whole wheat crust to see if the breakfast pizza was still as delicious. Conclusion – it absolutely is!

I can’t say enough about this whole wheat pizza dough. It is easy to make, chewy and tasty – things you can’t say about most whole wheat crusts. And thank goodness it’s healthy because it looks like this is becoming a staple in this house. It’s great to discover that delicous comfort food we crave can be made healthy!

Breakfast Pizza with Linguica and Anaheim Green Chiles
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • For the dough
  • 4½ cups all white whole wheat (I prefer King Arthur's)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon (or 1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for rubbing on dough balls)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • a little rosemary (optional)
  • For the topping, use more or less of ingredients to taste
  • ½ cup slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 4-5 fresh small tomatoes (flavorful tomatoes make a big difference)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Linguica sausage, sliced thinly
  • 3 Anaheim chiles
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • crushed red pepper if desired
  • Parmigiano cheese if desired
  • a little cornmeal to dust on pizza peel
Instructions
  1. For the dough, add the yeast to the 2 cups of warm (not hot!) water for several minutes until it becomes foamy. Add the sugar, olive oil and vinegar.
  2. While yeast is dissolving in the water, add the flour, rosemary and salt to food processor jar and pulse a couple times.
  3. Add the water and yeast mixture gradually to the flour mixture and process until the dough begins to form a ball and comes away from the sides of the container. Turn out onto floured surface. Sprinkle with flour and knead for several minutes until the dough is smooth and not sticky. (You can also knead in a KitchenAid using a dough hook).
  4. Place in bowl rubbed with olive oil, cover with towel and let sit for two hours until double in size.
  5. While dough is rising, prepare the chiles by slicing and removing seeds. Rub with a little olive oil and place on baking sheet in oven at 450 degrees F for about 20 minutes until skin begins to char (see image below). Make sure to turn over for even cooking.
  6. When done, remove from pan and place in paper bag, seal and let cool. Once cool, peel off skin. Now the chiles are ready to slice for the pizza topping.
  7. After two hours, turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead a couple times and cut in ½ or in three equal pieces. Form into neat balls and use as needed. To use the next day, rub lightly with olive oil, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight (I prefer using the next day for better flavor).
  8. For the pizza, preheat oven (with pizza stone if you have one) to 500 degrees F. Place rack in the center of the oven.
  9. Crack eggs into separate cups (this makes it easy to add them to the pizza halfway through cooking in the oven).
  10. Stretch out your dough and push downward in center with fingers to desired shape and size.
  11. Dust pizza peel (or parchment paper) with a little cornmeal and lay your dough on top of it, reshaping it and leaving a little more thickness on the edges.
  12. Evenly arrange cheese and tomatoes on the dough. Then add the linguica, chiles.
  13. Lightly rub a tiny bit of olive oil on the edges.
  14. Slide onto pizza stone and let cook for about 5-7 minutes. You want the top to look like it's heating up before adding the eggs.
  15. Carefully add the eggs, one at a time, to the center of the pizza and cook for about another 5 minutes or until the egg is at desired consistency and the dough is nicely browned on the edges.
  16. Remove and garnish with the fresh parsley, Parmigiano cheese, crushed red pepper.
  17. Prepare to feast on a delicous breakfast!

Whole Wheat Flatbread


OK, I’m going to make this real simple – if you don’t believe you can make delicious whole grain flatbread with about five minutes of effort, you’d be wrong!

I’ve been meaning to try Mark Bittman’s recipe for quick flatbread because I was completely skeptical as it seemed *too* easy. But it’s really an amazing flatbread that has a flavorful, crispy and chewy texture. I also love its rustic look.  This bread would be perfect with a salad, or as an appetizer served with hummus, cheese or whatever!

I opted to make it with onions and rosemary like suggested, but you can add your favorite herbs or additions. I’m thinking garlic and olives for the next version.

Whole Wheat Flatbread


Whole Wheat Flatbread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I prefer white whole wheat)
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ cup thinly sliced onions
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • t teaspoon dried or fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In bowl, add flour and salt. Using whisk, mix the water with the flour until lumps are gone. It will be loose like pancake batter. Cover and let stand for at least 15 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  3. When batter is ready, add olive oil to 12 inch pizza pan or oven safe iron skillet (that's what I used). Spread the onions in the pan evenly and place in hot oven for a few minutes. Remove from oven and pour batter over onions. Sprinkle with rosemary (or mix into batter before pouring).
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes until edges are a bit charred and the top is nicely browned.
  5. Remove from pan and enjoy right away or store for a couple days and heat before serving.

See how yummy the crusty bottom looks?

 

40 Clove Garlic Spaghetti

My brother Darien is an excellent cook, and I always find myself urging him to start a food blog – not just for the sake of showcasing his recipes to the world, but to make sure I get his very creative recipes. He insists he doesn’t have time. Boooo!

A few weeks back, we were visiting him and his family and he made several wonderful dishes. The one that stuck out for me was the “Garlic Noodles” which were inspired by noodles he enjoyed on a recent food tour in LA.


I asked him how many cloves of garlic he used and he said, “about 40.” OK, I love garlic, but I have to say that I don’t believe I’ve ever used 40 cloves in one pasta (or any type of) dish. And for the most part, I don’t think you ever need that much garlic to get a nice intense garlic flavor, but his noodles were so delicious that I had to try it. I wanted to stay on the healthier side, so I tried a version with whole wheat spaghetti. But then again, I added a little extra fat and flavor with pan fried pork chops, so what am I talking about?

He shared briefly what he did, so here’s my very loose interpretation of it. It was very easy, very tasty and very garlicky!

40 Clove Garlic Spaghetti
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti (or your favorite spaghetti)
  • 2 pork loin blade chops
  • 40 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • about 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped finely (for garnish)
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron), saute whole garlic cloves in olive oil on low heat for about 40 minutes. It is very important to turn often so they roast evenly without burning. Cook until tender and lightly carmelized. Remove garlic, set aside and do not wash pan.
  2. In same pan, add a little more olive oil and turn heat to medium high. When oil begins to shimmer, add the pork chops, a little salt and pepper, and brown on both sides. Once both sides are brown, simmer on a lower temperature a bit longer until cooked through. Remove chops, set aside and do not wash pan.
  3. Cook spahgetti to al dente, but before you strain, make sure to reserve 1 cup of the water and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the strained spaghetti to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Set aside.
  4. In food processor (or blender), combine garlic and half and half and process briefly until it has the consistency of hummus.
  5. In a small pan, and on medium heat, add a little butter, the garlic mixture (you don't have to use all of it, just to taste) and ¾ cup of the water from the pasta. Heat and stir until emulsified.
  6. Reheat the pan that you cooked the chops in with a little olive oil (make sure the meat is removed). Heat should be at medium high. Toss in the crushed red pepper for about 30 seconds, and then the pasta, and briskly toss and scrape the pan so that the pasta gets coated with the flavors from the pork and garlic. Add the remaining water from the pasta to help the process along, and then the garlic and half and half mixture. Continue to toss until evenly coated. Add salt if needed.
  7. Add pasta to serving dish and garnish with a little chopped green onion and more crushed red pepper. You can add grated parmigiano or romano cheese if you like.

Micro Greens Salad with Quinoa, Pancetta and Pomegranate

I was in Trader Joe’s today in a daze, just staring at ingredients and hoping to get a little salad inspiration. And then I saw them – pomegranate seeds! They were just sitting there…little containers of the little red jewels…looking all beautiful. And not too far from them were some very colorful micro greens. Instant inspiration! It didn’t take me long before I was home, groceries unpacked and pancetta frying on the stove.

This salad is very tasty and it was quite yummy to crunch on juicy little pomegranate seeds with savory pancetta. And it was a nice touch to have the quinoa to make it extra satisfying. Eating this salad is like having a party in your mouth! I hope you try it.

A delectable salad with little sweet and savory suprises

Micro Greens Salad with Quinoa, Pancetta and Pomegranate
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces micro greens (I used Trader Joe's Organic Micro Greens)
  • ½ cup quinoa (after cooking), cooked according to directions
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ½ avocado, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pancetta, chopped in very small pieces, cooked until crisp
  • ¼ cup fresh beets, finely grated or thinly julienned
  • splash of extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar
  • Note - add more or less of the salad ingredients to suit your own taste.
Instructions
  1. Toss micro greens and beets with a little olive oil and your favorite vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Spoon a layer of quinoa, drizzled with olive oil, on a serving platter. Sprinkle on some pomegranate seeds, then add a mound of the greens mixture, then the avocado, and finish with the pancetta, more pomegranate and finally the blue cheese.
  3. Of course you can toss everything together in a salad bowl if you like.

Tabouleh Inspired Quinoa Veggie Delight


If I were a poet, I’d write a poem about quinoa because it’s just so wonderful! Every time I prepare it, I think about how it just has everything going for it: good taste, low carb (but tastes like a carb), versatile and high in protein. The other day I wanted to make tabouleh, but remembered that I’m not big on bulgar, and thought about my bff quinoa and thought I’d try something new. So with a little tabouleh inspiration and some fresh ingredients, this is what happened. I will definitely make this again and again because it’s now on the top of my “feel good” foods list with its crunchy and carby texture and lemony, minty flavor.


Tabouleh Inspired Quinoa Veggie Delight
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (white is best for this dish, cooked according to directions)
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ cup carrots, diced
  • ¼ cup cucumber, diced (preferably small persian cukes)
  • ½ medium red or white onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • optional – ¼ cup fresh tomatoes, diced
Instructions
  1. Add all veggies (accept the mint) to a mixing bowl and give it a couple tosses. Fold in the cooked quinoa after it has cooled. Now add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, mint and olive oil. Try it and add more mint, salt, etc. to your taste.
  2. Serving Suggestion
  3. Wonderful side dish that can serve as a salad, but it's awesome as a meal, especially when you're trying to feel good and stay healthy.

 

Prosciutto, Garlic and Lemony Arugula Pizza

I was recently in New York and whenever I’m there, it’s always goodness all
around because it’s where I was born, where my Dad was raised, and just filled with the best food you can find anywhere! I’m just always in love while I’m there.

I’ve shared one of my favorite photos/moments below. Anyway, whenever I return from NY, I always hit the kitchen because I come home so inspired by all the wonderful food. Of course I had New York pizza while I was there, but the best meal I had was in SOHO at a cool place called Mercer Kitchen. I ordered scallops with green pea ravioli that was to die for! I will make an attempt to duplicate that dish, but for now, I’ll just share the pizza I made today just because it was so simply delicious. It never ceases to amaze me how the simplest ingredients can be so compelling! The thing that’s so great about this combo, is the hint of lemon that compliments the arugula and mixes so well with the savory prosciutto. And of course the garlic! Hope you try it!

Prosciutto, Garlic and Lemony Arugula Pizza
 
Ingredients
  • Pizza Dough:
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1½ cups unbleached flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1½ packets, active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • Topping
  • about 2 cups cleaned, dried arugula
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • a splash or two of white balsamic vinegar and lemon juice or my favorite Tres Classique Lemon Splash (http://bit.ly/noT4wl).
  • slices of mozzarella cheese (thinly sliced)
  • thin slices prosciutto
  • a little olive oil and kosher salt
  • a couple pinches oregano
Instructions
  1. Prepare whole wheat pizza dough:
  2. In one cup of luke warm water, add sugar and yeast and let dissolve until a little foamy. In large mixing bowl, add flours and salt. Add the olive oil to the water and yeast mixture. Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until everything comes together. Turn out onto dry and lightly floured surface.
  3. Now the fun part. Knead the dough (by hand) for about 8-10 minutes. You will need to add a tiny bit of flour to your hands and the surface if it gets a little sticky.
  4. Form a large ball and pull the sides under to make a tight ball, coat lightly with olive oil and let rise for about an hour in a olive oil coated bowl, covered with a towel. note: I always cover the ball of dough lightly with plastic wrap before you cover with a towel, but you don’t have to.
  5. After it’s doubled in size, punch it down, cut it in half and knead a couple times. Let rise another 45 minutes and then they are ready to use. If you’re not going to use right away, freeze or place in refrigerator. I just slip into ziplocs.
  6. Preparation and Assembly
  7. On a floured surface, roll the dough out. I use my hands to stretch the dough in combination with a rolling pin. It about 10-12 inches in diameter. Make a little crust by pushing lightly from the middle toward the outside edges. It will come out more evenly if you just roll up from the middle, turn the dough a couple inches and repeat until finished. Place the dough on pizza peel dusted in cornmeal.
  8. Rub a little olive oil in your hands and then lightly coat the top of the pizza dough. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt.
  9. Toss arugula with the lemon splash or a little olive oil and lemon juice.
  10. Make sure to prepare the pizza on a wooden pizza spatula (dusted with corn meal or cornflake crumbs) or something that will help you easily slide into the oven and on to the pizza stone.
  11. Arrange one layer of mozzarella cheese on the pizza cruzt and then layer the prosciutto. Note: Bake for about 1o minutes, or until the topping and the crust looks a little browned and done.
  12. Remove pizza from the oven and toss the greens on the top. Then slice with a pizza cutter.

Serving Suggestion
Get the wine or the beer, and eat it hot! Enjoy!