Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CSA Adventures: "All We Are Saying Is Give Pizza a Chance"

So, since the first couple of times that we made our own pizza, we really enjoyed the process and the result.  In the past month, because it was so easy to grab fresh pizza dough from Clear Flour Bakery while getting our veggies from our farmshare pick up.

 Playing with Dough!

With the farmshare ending on October 11th, we've celebrated our last couple of weeks of fresh veggies and breads by combining them into pizza form.  Now, eating pizza every week has the potential to be very bad for your health.  Perhaps if we were to have tons of meats on the pizza every week, we'd be in serious cardio attack alley.  But, we used mainly fresh ingredients, and treated ourselves to some delicious meals.

Without further ado, I introduce to you our Nice and Naughty Pizzas.

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions, and Goat Cheese Pizza (Click here for the recipe!)

Sweet and Delicious!

I was SUPER excited about getting butternut squash in the farmshare!  I haven't ever really eaten it until I moved to Boston, but I fell in love with it when I did.  I'd have to credit Giacomo's Restaurant in the North End for my love for the butternut squash.  There's always a line in front of that restaurant, though they have a sister restaurant in the South End.  But the butternut squash ravioli makes waiting so worth it.  To quote my friend Jenny, they're "pillows of heaven."  No joke.

So, I Googled a butternut squash pizza recipe and found this lovely one which includes caramelized onions and goat cheese.  I had never caramelized onions before, so it was exciting to learn the how's.  We actually didn't have any onions handy during the first try at this pizza (as you can see in the picture above), so I put on some garlic as the base.  I was very satisfied with this new attempt at pizza.

Since we didn't use up the whole butternut squash on the first try, we were easily encouraged to make it again.  The second time around, we got ourselves an onion to caramelize.  Naturally, I looked at Mark Bittman's suggestions in "How to Cook Everything."  For some reason, I anticipated something really complicated.  But with our trusty skillet and Bittman's easy directions, the caramelized onions were ready in the time it took for the oven to pre-heat.

Now, the first iteration of the butternut squash pizza was delicious even without the caramelized onions.  But when I added them, it was a whole new level of awesome.  Here's what a slice of heaven looks like:

Nom nom noms

And here's how heavenly it really is:

Nutrition Facts 

Recipe Serves 4

Amount per Serving

  • Calories 177     Calories from Fat 67

Bacon, Arugula, Caramelized Onions, and Mozzarella Pizza (Click here for the inspiration) the bacon probably didn't add to the health factor.  But this was one ridiculously good pizza.  The recipe I originally found used spinach and parmesan cheese.  But we had to get creative without spinach.  Now, I love arugula.  I danced for joy at all of the arugula we were getting at the farmshare.  So, I didn't need any other excuse to put arugula on my pizza.  However, I'm going to credit my boyfriend for adding the mini mozzarella balls.  We usually use them in our kale salads, but it seemed like an appropriate cheese.

Though he loved the butternut squash pizza, my boyfriend is definitely more of a meat-lovers pizza type guy.  Initially, we planned on putting some Trader Joe's pepperoni on our dough.  For whatever reason, the pepperoni didn't happen.  I'd like to think it was either Fate or the Pizza Fairies that lead us down this path.

Once again, we had a chance to caramelize onions.  But this time, we started by pre-cooking the bacon (only about 1/4th of a package, sliced into smaller bits), and using the remaining oil to start cooking the onions.  It didn't seem to negatively affect the caramelizing of the onions.  But I can safely say that it helped to complement the flavor.

Caramelize, my pretty onions!  Caramelize!

I'll be honest here.  I had no idea what to expect.  I'd never had arugula on my pizza, and I didn't know if it would mesh well with the mozzarella or bacon.  You figure sometimes that there are multiple things you love, so why not put them together?  Right?  Musical mash-ups are awesome (see   "Ginormous" as a combination of gigantic and enormous has made it's way into the dictionary.  Generally speaking, interracial/multi-racial folks are absolutely attractive people (from my own personal point of view).

Food mixes, though, can be hit or miss.  Orange juice and cereal make a great breakfast, but I'm not too keen on mixing my orange juice in the bowl with the milk and cereal.  It would probably be pretty gross, and the milk would curdle in the orange juice.  On the other hand, take fried chicken and waffles (see Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles).  Pure genius.  The mix of sweet and salty complement each other in the most satisfying way.

Luckily, this pizza produced the same good feelings as the chicken and waffles do.  Though it felt slightly more naughty/not as healthy with the bacon, the flavors melted into each other so well.  While the butternut squash pizza was like heaven, the bacon mozzarella pizza was like, "If this is wrong, I don't want to be right."

I was loving the pizza so much that I almost forgot to take a picture of it!

Half of it was already gone!

Do you see the melty, bacony goodness?

It only tastes naughty...but isn't so bad after all:

Nutrition Facts

Recipe Serves 4

Amount per Serving

  • Calories 245 Calories from Fat 195

So, as I sit here going through withdrawl from our final farmshare pick up, I think it was a great way to celebrate the season's end.  We were able to share the bacon mozzarella pizza with a friend who gushed about the flavors.  It felt very encouraging.

I would highly recommend the experience to anyone who's willing to change their eating and shopping habits.   Reasons and tips:  It saves you money.  Your body ingests more fresh veggies.  You're buying from local farms, thus the food doesn't have to travel as far and you're supporting the local economy.  You'll have to be willing to try new tastes and recipes (see borscht).  You will learn the hard way to NOT waste food.  You will be exposed to new people and places (like awesome bakeries!).

Of course, joining a farmshare isn't for everyone.  If it takes you too long to get to a pick up location, it probably isn't worth it.  Farmers markets are popping up all over the place though!  So, you can still participate in treating your body and your planet well.  I highly encourage you to think about it.

There's a possibility that my boyfriend and I will join a Winter CSA, but with a different farm at a different pick up location, also at a bakery.  We might see what our lives are like without the fresh veggies for the next month, then decide.  Right now, though, we're still feeling the glow of this first successful farmshare experience.

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