Saturday, June 24, 2017

Green Pizza with Roasted Zucchini

Don't let the heat keep you away from the Fairmount Farmers Market this Sunday. From Camas Swale Farm, you'll find plenty of inspiration for salads and other cold meals. 

And once the heat breaks, you can try this springtime pizza. The green sauce takes inspiration from this recipe from Joe Beddia's Pizza Camp, and the zucchini are inspired by this roasted zucchini salad from Jacques Pepin.

The resulting pizza was a tasty celebration of spring produce and a nice change from our regular pizza Margherita.

Green Pizza with Roasted Zucchini
makes four individual pizzas

1 recipe of Jim Lahey's no-knead pizza dough (enough for four individual pizzas, started the evening before)
4 medium or 6 small zucchini
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano

green sauce
1 bunch spinach, stems removed and rinsed well
1 handful chives
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt to taste

1. Prepare the pizza dough the evening before, according to Lahey's instructions. Combine 500 g flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon yeast, and 1 1/2 cups (350 g) water, and mix briefly in an electric mixer or by hand until combined into a ball. Cover and let stand for about 18 hours.

2. When you are ready to start the pizzas, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and insert a pizza stone if you are using one. Also put a rimmed baking sheet in for the zucchini.

3. Slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch discs. Toss in a bowl with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil to coat. Slide onto the hot baking sheet in the preheating oven and spread into a single layer. Bake for about 5 minutes until starting to brown, the flip with a spatula and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, return to the bowl, toss with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, and reserve.

4. Prepare the green sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a food processor. Taste and add more salt, pepper flakes, or lemon juice as needed.

5. Divide the dough into four balls, flour them lightly, and shape them according to Lahey's instructions (or use a rolling pin to roll them out on a silicone mat). Sprinkle polenta on a baking sheet or pizza peel and place one pizza dough on top. If you like, you can prebake the crust for 5 minutes in the preheated oven to ensure an extra crispy pizza. Spread over a quarter of the green sauce in a thin layer. Top with a quarter of the roasted zucchini rounds, fresh mozzarella, and pecorino romano. Bake for at least ten minutes, until the crust is crisp and the cheese has started to brown. Prepare and bake the remaining pizzas. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of fresh chopped chives.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Chard and Chorizo Tacos

Tomorrow promises to be a sunny Fathers Day, so be sure to include a trip to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market as part of your celebrations. You'll find fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm and lovely flowers for a deserving dad from Tiger Lily Art

Last Sunday Camas Swale had an eye catching selection of rainbow chard, which was the inspiration for these chard and chorizo tacos. The filling started with caramelized onions and chard stems, then diced chorizo for spice and flavor (you could also use chipotle peppers for a vegetarian version), then the chard greens just until soft, and then a spoonful of creme fraiche or sour cream for richness. Layer these on corn tortillas with rice and beans and top with roasted peppers, avocado, lettuce, or anything else that catches your fancy and adds crunch and color.

Chard and Chorizo Tacos
(serves four)
chard filling
1 bunch chard
1 large onion
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 chorizo pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
salt to taste

for the tacos
corn tortillas
cooked white beans
rice (optional)
avocado slices, roasted pepper slices, lettuce

1. Peel and chop the onion. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and when it starts to shimmer, add the onions. Cook the onions with a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until they are soft and have started to brown.

2. While the onions are browning, rinse the chard leaves, trim off the tips of the stems, and then cut the remaining stems from the leaves. Slice the stems into 1/4 inch slices and reserve. Slice the leaves into 1/4 inch slices and reserve. When the onions have started to brown, add the chard stems and a pinch of salt and continue cooking. Cut the chorizo lengthwise into quarters and then slice widthwise into 1/4 inch pieces. After about 5 minutes, when the chard stems are soft, add the chorizo pieces and cook for another couple minutes. Then add the chard leaves and cook for a few minutes until the chard leaves have just started to soften. Remove from the heat and stir in the creme fraiche or sour cream. 

3. Serve the warmed tortillas topped with beans, (and rice if you like) and the chard mixture, and your choice of toppings. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Smoked Trout Spring Salad

Dark storm clouds may threaten, but don't let that deter you from visiting the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market tomorrow from 10 am - 2 pm. With last week's haul, we had a delicious spring salad with tender lettuce from Camas Swale Farm, bright orange eggs from Fair Valley Farm, and smoked trout. I was skeptical whether this would be a hit for dinner, but since one child likes eggs and the other decided he likes smoked trout, everyone was happy and they both suggested that we have this a lot during the summer.

Smoked Trout Spring Salad 
serves 4
1 head lettuce
16 small potatoes
2 handfuls green beans
4 hard boiled eggs
2 tins of smoked trout in olive oil

1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
4 Tbsp olive oil

Wash and dry the lettuce and arrange on a large platter. Prepare the dressing by mixing together all the ingredients, tasting and adjusting to taste. Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. Quarter and toss the warm potatoes with a tablespoon of dressing. Trim the beans and cook them in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and toss with a tablespoon of dressing. Hard boil the eggs, immerse in cold water, peel, and quarter. Arrange the potatoes and green beans on the bed of lettuce. Drizzle over more dressing. Top with quartered hard boiled eggs and pieces of smoked trout, dust with freshly ground pepper, and drizzle over some of the olive oil from the trout tins. Serve with fresh bread.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Taiwanese Meat Ragu and Spring Vegetables

This Sunday is the first day of the eighth season of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market. Be sure to be on the corner of 19th and Agate between 10 and 2 to pick up organic vegetables from Camas Swale Farm, pastured meats from Fair Valley Farm, and fresh flowers from Tiger Lily Art company.

For your market purchases, here is a recipe for a Taiwanese meat ragu served on rice with roasted and fresh spring vegetables. This is a take on the Taiwanese dish lu rou fan, inspired by recipes from here and here and here. My sister and I both have an irrational love for this dish, which we'll order at a hole in the wall Taiwanese restaurant when I visit her in Chicago. I wanted to make a version that had the same flavors, but would be as easy as a slow roasted Bolognese sauce. I decided to skip the blanched pork belly, but use a base of caramelized shallots for a deep, rich flavor. 

And while I had the oven on low for the ragu, I also roasted some spring radishes and some collard greens (this recipe without the chorizo), which made a delicious accompaniment to the dish, along with some crunchy fresh carrots and cucumbers, a handful of cilantro, and a jammy egg. If you get to the market at 10 on Sunday, you can be eating this for dinner Sunday evening.

Taiwanese Meat Ragu
(serves eight and freezes well)
6 Asian shallots, sliced
2 Tbsp canola oil
8 large dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in 2 cups boiling water
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp of five spice powder
1/4 cup regular soy sauce
1/4 cup dark soy sauce 
1/4 cup sweet rice wine

1. Start rehydrating the shiitake mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water. Heat a large Dutch oven or other oven-safe pan over medium heat. Add the canola oil and then the shallots and cook until they are deeply caramelized. Don't be afraid to let them sit and sear between stirring. 

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Chop the softened shiitake mushrooms and strain the rehydration water to remove any grit. 

3. Once the shallots are well caramelized, add the ground meat and cook through. Then add the garlic, brown sugar, and five spice powder and stir to dissolve. Then add the soy sauce, rice wine, and the reserved mushroom broth and bring to a simmer.

4. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook for two to three hours, allowing the liquid to reduce, the meat to become extremely silky, and a rich, roasted flavor to develop. Check on it occasionally and add a little water if it dries out too quickly. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. 

5. While the oven is on, roast some radishes, collard greens, or other vegetables to serve with the dish. Prepare a jammy egg for each diner by submerging into a small pot of boiling water and simmering for exactly 6 minutes before running under cold water. Cook a pot of rice.

6. Serve the ragu over rice with roasted and fresh vegetables, a jammy egg, and hot sauce on the side. Enjoy.