May 17, 2011

yum factor: goat cheese and zucchini pizza

I'll be the first to admit, it's been tough times in the kitchen lately. Not a lot going on, and when it does go on, there's a mess deal with and not a lot of "yum" to make the mess easier to handle. What you haven't seen here: a completely failed attempt at banana bread, some decidedly not delicious dinners, and preoccupation with other stuff. Bigger fish to fry, if you'll excuse the analogy.

So part of me was getting pretty put out about it all. We started eating out more and more, until I felt like we were eating out at every meal, and the only thing I found myself cooking were iterations of rice and beans. Healthy, yes. Sustainable, certainly. Cheap, you betchya. But food blog worthy? Challenging? Fun to brag about?

Come on now.

In the midst of it all, I watched our garden begin to falter. The bean plants and cucumbers were looking ill, with mazes appearing in the leaves (note: leafminers are vicious little buggers but can be combatted organically with BT). Pillbugs had stumped the growth of our first yellow squash in the garden. We were under heavy attack by predatory bugs.

Things were not boding well for my hopes and dreams of being an urban farmer/food writer/culinary artist/yoga instructor/expert seamstress (see how the snowball effect takes hold?!?). Things had to change.

We took action on the garden, seeking the advice of some pros (the tips? Water deeply, use BT and DT, and check the babies every day for signs of sickness). We set an intention for our garden and our food, and agreed that there was an opportunity here to reset and enjoy. And coinciding with this revelation, heralding it in, in fact, was the latest issue of Vegetarian Times. Cue choir of angels, bright shining light from Heaven, etc.

We're trying their 28-day Eat Green Veg challenge—and by that I mean cooking from their wealth of healthy veg recipes. And they're all in one place, which caters to my lazier busier side.

Here's an incredible recipe for Goat Cheese, Zucchini, and Bell Pepper Pizza, which I followed to the T! The only adaptation was to make a spelt crust from scratch, following Mark Bittman's dough recipe for the most part (I used 1 1/2 cups bread flour and 1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour, and since I was all out of instant yeast I just used the regular stuff. I let it rise in the fridge all day while I was at work, then brought it to room temp before moving forward.).

Oh, what? Pizza's not healthy? Actually, this one is—I'm no nutritionist (yet; let's put that on the to-do list), but the spelt crust is chock-full heart-healthy minerals and vitamins. The sauce is made from organic tomato paste and a little evoo; the toppings are fresh veggies and a little bit of local goat cheese. No grease to speak of, and very little salt. In fact, in lieu of parmesan I sprinkled a little nutritional yeast on top for just a hint of parm flavor. So, yes. Healthy pizza.

In other news, here are a few shots of the gardens. They're coming along and we are looking forward to a summer full of squash, corn, tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumbers, melons, beans, peas, eggplant, and peppers.


reine said...

Wow, your garden looks great despite the pesky pests! I get into kitchen slumps too (call it the "Freezer Pizza Diet.") When it happens again, I will remember how y'all found the opportunity to "reset and enjoy." And maybe I'll make the next pizza from scratch.
By the way, this post was hilarious. And please don't give up on those urban farmer/food writer/culinary artist/yoga instructor/expert seamstress dreams!