Archive for ‘Recipes’

September 28, 2012

Recipe from the Garden: Tim Valley’s Bleu Rocket Pizza

Fall Morning – Fog on the Lake

The sun is shining, the trees are changing colors and leaves are gently dancing to the ground.  The crisp mornings lead to warm afternoons, but one sniff of the air and you can tell something is different.  The warm, floral scented breezes have been replaced by cool earthy, woodsy smells.  No need to check the calendar, its officially fall.

Fall is by far my favorite season.  It’s cool and calm, the earth’s energy is slowing in preparation for winter.  Squirrels and chipmunks run a muck burying acorns and walnuts in every nook and cranny (making a mess of my gardens and containers, mind you).  The cool evenings invite fleece and flannel and back yard bonfires.  And nothing spells a better weekend meal for me than my cousin, Tim Valley’s Bleu Rocket Pizza and a glass of Cabernet or Merlot.  Simply put, it’s heaven.

The only thing that could make it better is making this pizza in my backyard pizza oven, but that dream is yet to come to fruition.  Some day… until then, I will continue to warm the house with the wonderful smell of garlic, the smokey prosciutto, the nuttiness of the walnuts and unmistakable scent bleu cheese.   Top it all off with fresh wild rocket or arugula from your garden or local farmers market and its pure bliss.  By the time this pizza hits the table I’m usually drooling.

Tim, thank you so much for sharing this recipe, which has come to be a favorite in my house.  And for everyone else, I hope you enjoy it enough to put it into your recipe repertoire.

Without further adieu…

Tim Valley’s Bleu Rocket Pizza

Individual packet quick yeast
1/2 c water
A little salt
1 T honey

Light Fire in Oven

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Add the first 4 ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Whisk in flour until whisk is sticky. Let rise 15 min.  Roll as flat as possible onto lightly floured surface.  Spray pizza pan with cooking spray or oil.  Lightly flour the top of the crust, fold crust into 4ths (for ease of handling) and place onto pizza pan.  Unfold crust.

Olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
Prosciutto, cut into wide strips (recommended Trader Joe’s Stock Meier – smokey flavor)
Bleu cheese, crumbled
Walnuts, chopped
Mozzarella, shredded
Baby Arugula/Wild Rocket
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Drizzle Olive Oil onto Crust

Drizzle olive oil onto crust.  Using a pastry or silicone brush, brush crust with olive oil.  Spread chopped garlic over the oiled crust. Lay prosciutto strips in a single layer over the garlic.

Spread Small Amount of Bleu Cheese

Spread a small amount of  bleu cheese over prosciutto (careful not to use too much or it will overpower the other flavors.) Sprinkle chopped walnuts.

Thin Layer of Mozzarella

Spread a thin layer of mozzarella over the top.

Browned on Top

Bake in 500 degree oven until brown on top.

While pizza is baking, soak baby arugula/wild rocket, spin dry in a salad spinner or place on absorbent towel.

Topped with Arugula, Salt & Pepper

When pizza is done, remove from the oven and spread a layer of arugula over the top.  Lightly season with a minute amount of salt (don’t over do this, there is already salt in the cheese and prosciutto) and pepper.

Slice and Serve

Slice and serve hot.



July 29, 2012

Wholesome Goodness – Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Over the past few years, as I’ve made my journey with clean eating, we’ve had an interesting relationship.  At times it was strong, the food and recipes were totally inspiring and fulfilling and at other times, not so much.  One of the biggest challenges for me has always been sweets.  I have a ridiculous sweet tooth.  Some of the things I’ve eaten in my lifetime would probably make some people sick just thinking about it.

As a kid I remember climbing onto the counter and getting into the cupboard where my Mom stored the little jars of sprinkles, red hots and other candies for decorating cakes and cookies,  I would analyze the stash, sneak an amount that I thought she wouldn’t notice and pop them in my mouth.  The same went for bags of chocolate chips, marshmallows and canned frosting: chocolate chips by the handful, marshmallows by the mouthful and frosting by the fingerful.  Oh, and marshmallow creme by the spoonful.  And while sweets in pretty much any form were a turn-on, my favorite has always been chocolate chip cookies.  Mmm…hot, gooey, chocolate nearly dripping from a cookie hot out of the oven… Yum!  Unless, of course, my Mom got the bright idea to put nuts in the cookies.  Total buzz-kill.

My Mom was actually pretty good about keeping uncontaminated chocolate chip cookies around and for the most part I wasn’t obsessive about them.  If I wanted one I would ask and that would cover the craving.  On occasion I would ask for a second one (or simply sneak another if I thought my parents would say “no” to the request), but that wasn’t too often.  However, on one occasion, I got up in the middle of the night (sleep walking) and dipped into the cookie jar.  Apparently, I enjoyed a few cookies before my parents found me and put me back to bed.  The next day, when they told me what I had done, I was alarmed.  Not only had I just found out that I’ve been sleepwalking, but I also realized I’d eaten multiple cookies and didn’t even recall enjoying them. What a waste!

And so the journey continued.  When I started clean eating a few years ago, sugar was by far the hardest thing for me to ditch.  Part of the problem is simply my sweet tooth, the other part is that sugar is in nearly everything we eat… even places I didn’t suspect it like pizza sauce, pasta sauce, savory dishes.  When I learned to read labels, I realized why so many people have such a bad relationship with food.  Most of the foods we eat are laced with sugar and other stuff we shouldn’t eat.  That’s also when I realized the only way to control what was going into my body was to make it myself.  The good news is, thanks to the many clean eating gurus, I’ve found replacements to traditional sugar: honey, pure maple syrup, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice (a.k.a. Sucanat), etc. and the best part is that they taste good, fulfill the sweet craving, but I don’t get that addictive need for more like I do with sugar.

And now we come to the subject of this post: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.  While I’ve found many tasty recipes for breakfasts, lunch, dinner and snacks, most of the desserts were not really doing it for me.  I still had the nostalgic craving for chocolate chip cookies, cakes, frostings, etc.  And while I could live without some of the other things, I still yearned for healthy sweets.  In my mind I thought it was an oxymoron, but at the same time thought someone had to have done it, and if they hadn’t, I was going to start experimenting.  Thankfully, it didn’t come to that.

A few weeks ago, while cruising one of the local Co-ops with a friend of mine, we ran across a sale rack of recipe books.  One in particular caught my eye, The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook by Dr. Laura Trice, M.D.  When I first spotted it, I thought it was too good to be true.  Then I started flipping through the recipes and reading the first chapter.  I couldn’t contain my excitement,  “I have to get this!  This is it! This is what I’ve been looking for!”  There are recipes for ice cream, frosting, cakes, and even chocolate chip cookies!  And the best part?  The recipes actually look good.

The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook

So I bought it.  The first recipe I made was the barbeque sauce… holy yumminess!  And now, a couple of days ago I made the chocolate chip cookies.  Now, I have to be honest, while mixing them up, I had my doubts.  And because I’ve always been pretty finicky about my chocolate chip cookies I was afraid I wouldn’t love them.  But when they were baking up they smelled… like chocolate chip cookies.  And when they came out of the oven, I tried one. Mmm…  They were as she had promised in the book.  Wonderful!

But the true test had not yet taken place.  My son.  While he’s not a picky eater at all, I was still a little worried he’s snub the cookies.  Instead, he loved them!

So if I’ve got you craving cookies, head to The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook website and there you will find some sample recipes, including Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Chocolate Fudge Sauce and Golden-Pineapple Carrot Muffins.

So there you have it, for those of you who have been with me on the search for healthy junk food, you can now have your cake and ice cream and cookies and eat them too!


July 12, 2012

Recipe: Megan’s Grilled Zucchini

It’s July, it’s hot and it’s zucchini time.  Once you’ve made zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, sautéed zucchini and zucchini and dip, then what?  What do you do with an abundance of zucchini?  Now you will make Megan’s Grilled Zucchini and love it!

The other night my dear friend Megan, author of the food blog Woo-hoo Tofu!, invited my family to join her family for dinner.  Everything she made was wonderful, we had brats and homemade kale chips and grilled sweet potato fries and broccoli salad, but one thing really stood out: the zucchini.  In a word, it was amazing!

Now, the thing you need to know is that while I like zucchini, I don’t love it. That was, until now.  This recipe is so good that I even talked Megan out of some zucchini from our friend’s garden today so I could make it again for dinner tonight. (She’s taking care of our friends garden while they are on vacation.)  You see, since I only liked zucchini before I haven’t planted it in my own garden for years.  Now I’m kicking myself.  I will definitely add that to my plan for next year!

Okay, so enough of my chatter. Onto the recipe…

Megan’s Grilled Zucchini

Megan’s Grilled Zucchini

3 medium zucchini
1 – 2 T olive oil
2 – 3 T spearmint, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut into 2 – 3 inch pieces. Brush zucchini with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Grill zucchini for 7 – 10 minutes over high heat, flipping half-way through.

Remove from grill and place in medium-sized bowl. Toss with mint and fresh lemon juice.

Serves 4.

Note: We used a grill pan to prevent some of the smaller pieces from falling through the grates, but zucchini could be put directly on grates as well. (That’s how Megan did it and the grill marks were quite pretty too.)