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Posts Tagged ‘olives’

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Oh, I know I don’t need to tell you how much we love a good pizza…I’ve blogged about it so many times before (here and here and here and here).

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Pizza is our Friday night ritual. The biggest dinner decision we make on Fridays is whether we are going out for a pie (Speaking of going out, I’m so happy to report that we have finally found our “go to” pizza place after 9 months of searching! And, its about 4 minutes from our home! I promise to bring along David’s new iPhone next time we go so I can snap a few photos and then properly share with you it’s loveliness and simple style.) or whether we are staying in to make one. If we stay home, Jack gets to have his Friday pizza AND movie night, which has become a huge hit! He is completely enamored with the screen and is loving Toy Story and Thomas the Train the most, as of late. He has about an hour of screen time each week (mostly from incidental sports watching with us), so this is a BIG night for him and a fun way to kick off the weekend!

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I hope that our Friday night pizza tradition will be one of Jack’s family food memories when he gets all big and grown up. I love family rituals and routines that create memories, but, and I’m sure to no one’s surprise, I am particularly in love with memories shaped by food. It seems that a lot of people have memories of Saturday morning family breakfasts complete with delicious breakfast breads or waffles, eggs, and crispy bacon, but we are not quite at the stage of life when this routine makes sense for our family. Jack is not a lingerer nor is he particularly patient…he wants breakfast soon after waking up and as soon as he takes his last bite of the meal, he’s ready to get down and get busy playing. This makes that required time of prepping and cleaning that bookmark the yummy breakfast a time of frustration for all of us! The long, relaxing breakfast becomes something instead that hijacks our morning leaving us all more frustrated (and fuller) then before we started.

So, while we are a few years off from that food ritual, I wonder what food memories we’re creating now for our little. I’m hoping he will look back and remember our house always having fresh, seasonal, and plentiful produce and jars of homemade granola. I hope his palette is spoiled for life by my instance on homemade chocolate chip cookies and homemade ice cream rather than store bought varieties. I hope he will speak of our “Sunday morning out for breakfast ritual” with fond memories and knowledge that it allowed him to explore different restaurants, different tastes, and new parts of the city. And, I, of course, hope that Friday pizza nights will bring a smile to his face for years to come.

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Here’s our latest homemade pizza recipe. They’ve been quite tasty lately, I must say.

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1 package store bought pizza dough (we buy ours from Trader Joe’s and usually get the herb dough)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce (we don’t like ours too saucy, so one jar will make 2 weeks of pizzas for us plus leave a bit behind for another meal)
3 slices bacon
About 6 large mushrooms, sliced in quarters lengthwise
1/2 cup Kalamata olives,sliced in half
Few sprigs of fesh thyme

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface or counter and let sit for about 20 minutes. I always cook my pizza on a pizza stone, so I work directly on this.

While the dough is coming to room temperature, cook your bacon in a skillet until crispy. Drain and set aside. And, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil and press the dough down with your hands and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough from the centre out to the edges until you have the desired shape and thickness. Also use your fingertips to press and stretch the dough.

Par bake you dough to make the perfect pizza dough consistency by putting it in the oven for about 5 minutes.

Once dough is pre-cooked a bit, spread marinara sauce evenly over crust. Scatter sliced mushrooms and olives, crumble bacon slices, and sprinkle fresh thyme leaves evenly over dough. Cover with mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until dough starts to brown and cheese is bubbling.

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We made this pasta dish after we all arrived home from long days at work and school stumbling into our dark house, shedding our scarves, hats, and coats, throwing our empty lunch bags onto the counter, and gathering in the kitchen for dinner prep. I began chopping as the ravioli boiled in a large pot. Jack got in a few dances to “Farmer in the Dell” and “Oh, Susanna” playing from his farm magnet on the refrigerator, we poured 2 glasses of red wine, and all three of us were happily sitting around the table by 6 o’clock enjoying a delicious plate of pasta.

The arugula brings the perfect addition of green and the olives and feta provide just enough salt and tang to brighten the dish. This is really yummy…a perfect weeknight meal.

Ravioli with Arugula and Olives

1 pound mini cheese ravioli
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped green and black olives
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
2 cups chopped arugula
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli and stir well. Let the pasta cook at a slow boil, stirring occasionally, until tender. When the ravioli is cooked, drain completely and transfer to a large bowl.

Stir the olive oil into the pasta, then add the olives, basil, arugula, and feta cheese and toss gently to mix. Enjoy with red wine and milk 😉

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Do any of you dig fennel like I do??? I’ve been craving it lately and adding it to at least one side dish each week. It’s crunch and freshness promise to lighten the meal, but also pack it with flavor. I like this about fennel. It’s both light and powerful.

Don’t know much about fennel? Well, let me share a bit…

Did you know that fennel is an herb? From large bulbs, it grows stalks with furry-looking leaves and all its parts are edible. The fennel seeds are a popularly used spice in sausages, meatballs, and rye bread and can be bought dried in the spice section of most markets. Also, the seeds are sometimes used as an after meal breath freshener and digestive aid. The furry-looking leaves are delicately flavored and similar in shape to those of dill. The bulb is a crisp, hardy vegetable and can be sautéed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. And, the stalks can be added to soups, stews, and stocks for lots of added flavor.

Fennel is indigenous to the Mediterranean area, so it’s popular in both Mediterranean and Italian cuisines. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, and folate.

Here’s the first of my fennel recipes that I will share with you. This recipe features fennel in the roasted form, so your home is warmed and filled with yummy smells during the roasting process. Roasted fennel makes a perfect side dish to salmon.

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Roasted Fennel with Lemon and Olives

2 fennel bulbs
3 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 lemon
Cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the fennel bulbs into small wedges, you should get about 8 wedges from each bulb.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. With your hand, rub olive oil on the foil and arrange the wedges of fennel on top of it. Drizzle more olive oil over the fennel and season well with kosher salt. Roughly chop the garlic cloves and scatter it over the fennel. Place in the oven to roast until tender, 25-30 minutes.

While the fennel is roasting, slice the olives in half and zest the lemon peel.

When the fennel is done, transfer it to a bowl and toss with the olives, lemon zest, and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. Serve warm.

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